NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 24, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 24, 2024

The Oilers win their 14th straight game, Nikita Kucherov regains the scoring lead, the Devils re-sign general manager Tom Fitzgerald, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


ESPN.COM: The Edmonton Oilers picked up their 14th consecutive win by downing the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1. Warren Foegele and Evander Kane each had a goal and an assist for the 27-15-1 Oilers, who sit third in the Pacific Division with 55 points. Dmitri Voronkov scored for the Blue Jackets (14-23-9) as they dropped to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings with 37 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers need just three more wins to tie the league record of 17 straight wins currently held by the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov (NHL Images).

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov regained the league in the NHL scoring race (80 points) with a hat trick and an assist in a 6-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Anthony Cirelli collected two assists for the Lightning (25-18-5) as they moved past the idle Toronto Maple Leafs into third place in the Atlantic Division with 55 points. Cam Atkinson had a goal and an assist for the 25-17-6 Flyers, who have lost three straight but remain in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 56 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kucherov sits three points ahead of Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon in the scoring race…Earlier in the day, the Lightning announced forward Austin Watson is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

Meanwhile, the Flyers announced before this game that goaltender Carter Hart was on an indefinite leave of absence for personal reasons…They also placed winger Owen Tippett on injured reserve.

The Vegas Golden Knights nipped the New York Islanders 3-2 thanks to a 40-save performance by Adin Hill. Ivan Barbashev and Nicolas Roy each had a goal and an assist for the 28-14-6 Golden Knights as they sit second in the Pacific Division with 62 points. Brock Nelson and Jean-Gabriel Pageau replied for the 20-16-11 Islanders (51 points) as they sit two points behind the Detroit Red Wings for the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

Speaking of the Red Wings, they dropped a 5-4 decision to the Dallas Stars. Roope Hintz tallied twice and collected an assist while Wyatt Johnston collected three assists for the Stars (28-13-6) as they sit in third place in the Central Division with 62 points. Dylan Larkin and Lucas Raymond each had two points for the 24-18-5 Red Wings.

An overtime goal by Tomas Hertl gave the San Jose Sharks a 3-2 upset victory over the New York Rangers. Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 29 shots for the 13-31-4 Sharks (30 points). Adam Fox had a goal and an assist for the Rangers (29-15-3), who hold first place in the Metropolitan Division with 61 points but have won just three of their last 10 games.

The Minnesota Wild picked up their third straight win by dropping the Washington Capitals 5-3. Marcus Johansson tallied twice while Filip Gustavsson made 30 saves for the 21-21-5 Wild (47 points) as they move within four points of the final Western Conference wild-card spot. Anthony Mantha scored two goals for the 22-17-6 Capitals (50 points) as they sit three behind the Red Wings for the final Eastern wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals defenseman Ethan Bear was a healthy scratch from this game as Rasmus Sandin returned from injury.

St. Louis Blues winger Brandon Saad scored twice, including the winning goal as his club rallied to a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames. Nick Leddy picked up three assists while Jordan Binnington turned aside 32 shots for the Blues (23-20-2) as they sit three points out of a Western wild-card spot with 48 points. Yegor Sharangovich had a goal and an assist for the 21-21-5 Flames (47 points) as they dropped their third straight contest.

The Anaheim Ducks doubled up the Buffalo Sabres 4-2. Jakob Silfverberg tallied two goals while John Gibson made 28 saves for the 16-30-0 Ducks. Jordan Greenway had a goal and an assist for the 20-23-4 Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ducks rookie Olen Zellweger collected an assist in his NHL debut. Meanwhile, the Sabres announced before this game that defenseman Erik Johnson would miss this contest and Wednesday’s matchup with the Los Angeles Kings.

Ottawa Senators goaltender Joonas Korpisalo made 24 saves in a 4-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Shane Pinto scored his first goal of the season for the 18-24-1 Senators while Johnathan Kovacevic replied for the 19-21-7 Canadiens, who have lost three straight games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kovacevic returned to the Canadiens lineup after being out of the lineup for the last three games. Winger Tanner Pearson played his first game since being sidelined on Dec. 9 with an upper-body injury while defenseman Arber Xhekaj was recalled from their AHL affiliate in Laval.


NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: The Devils yesterday announced they’d reached an agreement with general manager Tom Fitzgerald on a multi-year contract extension. He’s also been promoted to president of hockey operations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fitzgerald has done a good job rebuilding the Devils back to respectability despite their struggles this season. He signed Jack Hughes and Jesper Bratt to reasonable long-term contracts, acquired Timo Meier, Dougie Hamilton, Tyler Toffoli and Ondrej Palat and drafted Luke Hughes and Simon Nemec. His biggest challenge remains addressing his club’s inconsistent goaltending.

THE SCORE: Los Angeles Kings head coach Todd McLellan has called out center Pierre-Luc Dubois. “At the end of the day, whether PL gets four minutes or 24 minutes, he has to be a difference-maker,” said McLellan.

The Kings acquired Dubois from the Winnipeg Jets last summer and signed him to an eight-year contract worth an average annual value of $8.5 million. He’s managed just nine goals and 19 points in 44 games this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s not the kind of positive impact the Kings envisioned when they traded for Dubois. It’ll be interesting to see whether McLellan’s remarks light a fire under the 25-year-old center.

CBS SPORTS: The Seattle Kraken activated goaltender Philipp Grubauer off long-term injury reserve and sent Chris Driedger to their AHL affiliate in Coachella Valley.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Toronto Maple Leafs activated winger Ryan Reaves from injured reserve and designated winger Tyler Bertuzzi as a non-active roster player as he and his wife await the birth of their child.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 15, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 15, 2023

Lightning stars Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov enjoy milestone performances, the Blue Jackets beat the Leafs after blowing a huge lead, the Canucks honor Roberto Luongo, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos enjoyed his first-ever four-goal game while Nikita Kucherov becomes the first player this season to reach 50 points in a 7-4 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Andrei Vasilevskiy kicked out 53 shots as the Lightning (14-12-5) sit just outside the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 33 points. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had three points and Connor McDavid had a goal and an assist for the 13-13-1 Oilers as their win streak ended at eight games.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 40 points, McDavid now sits 10 behind Kucherov in the scoring race while his Oilers (27 points) are two points out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot. Meanwhile, Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury.

The Columbus Blue Jackets blew a 5-0 lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs but prevailed 6-5 on an overtime goal by Kent Johnson, who finished the night with two goals and an assist. Elvis Merzlikins stopped 43 shots for the 10-16-5 Blue Jackets as he returned to action after missing three games to an illness. Auston Matthews scored twice and added an assist while Mitch Marner had a goal and two assists for the Leafs (15-6-6) as they sit second in the Atlantic Division with 36 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blue Jackets seemed to be cruising to an easy victory entering the third period but the Leafs made it interesting with a five-goal rally. It was a costly win for the Jackets as winger Patrik Laine left this game favoring his left shoulder. Maple Leafs forward Ryan Reaves departed with a lower-body injury.

After inducting Hall-of-Famer Roberto Luongo into their Ring of Honour, the Vancouver Canucks blanked the Florida Panthers 4-0. Thatcher Demko turned in a 36-save shutout while Dakota Joshua tallied twice for the Canucks, who became the second team to reach 20 wins (41 points) this season and second overall in the Western Conference. The Panthers (17-10-2) sit third in the Atlantic Division with 36 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Demko and his Canucks teammates are starting to look like the squad that Luongo backstopped to five division titles, two Presidents’ Trophies and a run to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final from 2008-09 to 2012-13.

A shootout goal by Bobby Brink gave the Philadelphia Flyers a 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals. Owen Tippett scored the game-tying goal late in the third period while Morgan Frost collected two points as the Flyers improved to 16-10-3 to sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 35 points. Tom Wilson and Dylan Strome each had a goal and an assist as the Capitals slipped to 14-8-4 (32 points) to sit one point out of an Eastern wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov missed this game due to an illness.

The Carolina Hurricanes nipped the Detroit Red Wings 2-1. Jordan Staal netted the game-winning goal in the second period while Pyotr Kochetkov stopped 25 shots for the Hurricanes (16-12-1), who hold the final Eastern wild-card spot with 33 points based on wins. Ville Husso made 37 saves for the 15-10-4 Red Wings as they hold the first Eastern wild-card berth with 34 points.

Minnesota Wild forward Matt Boldy’s shootout goal gave his club a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames. Boldy also scored in regulation while Filip Gustavsson turned aside 35 shots for the win as the Wild improved to 11-12-4 (26 points), sitting three points out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot. Yegor Sharangovich had a goal and an assist for the Flames (11-14-5) as they sit two points out of a wild-card spot in the West with 27 points.

The St. Louis Blues doubled up the Ottawa Senators 4-2 in their first game under interim head coach Drew Bannister. Robert Thomas scored twice and set up another while Jordan Binnington made 32 saves as the Blues (14-14-1) snapped a four-game losing skid to move into the final Western wild-card spot with 29 points. Joonas Korpisalo stopped 26 shots for the Senators (11-13-0), who remain in last place in the Eastern Conference with 22 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, Blues forward Jordan Kyrou was asked about the firing of now-former head coach Craig Berube. “I’ve got no comment. He’s not my coach anymore,” said Kyrou.

Those remarks didn’t sit well with Blues fans as they booed Kyrou during this game. He was visibly upset afterward, saying he respected Berube and was only trying to say that he was focusing on his future and helping the team win. Overcome by emotion, Kyrou said, “I love playing here, so it’s tough hearing the fans boo me.”

Speaking of coaching changes, one wonders how much longer the Senators front office will remain patient with bench boss D.J. Smith as the losses mount and another season starts to slip away.

The Seattle Kraken thumped the Chicago Blackhawks 7-1, ending Blackhawks rookie Connor Bedard’s 10-game road points streak. Kailer Yamamoto tallied twice while Oliver Bjorkstrand had a goal and two assists for the 10-14-7 Kraken, who also sit just outside the final Western wild-card spot with 27 points. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, remain mired in last place in the overall standings a record of 9-19-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Kraken indicated goaltender Philipp Grubauer is sidelined week-to-week with a lower-body injury.


THE ATHLETIC: Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin was the focus of an investigation following a human resources complaint by a team employee alleging verbal abuse in the workplace.

The alleged incident took place in late November. Two team sources claim the investigation is completed and determined Guerin did not commit a fireable offense.

The Wild aren’t commenting on the matter but released a statement indicating they conducted two separate investigations into alleged violations of their code of conduct and took appropriate steps to address those issues. This news comes a day after the club and assistant general manager Chris O’Hearn “mutually agreed to part ways”. Team sources say it was coincidental that the two investigations were concluded almost simultaneously.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said he and league commissioner Gary Bettman had been briefed about the investigations and were satisfied with the results.

SPORTSNET: Oilers winger Zach Hyman is calling for the eradication of antisemitism. Hyman is Jewish and the grandson of Holocaust survivors. “We live in Canada, in the US, where these things (antisemitism) shouldn’t be happening. And we can’t turn a blind eye to it,” he said. “Being a Jewish person doesn’t feel comfortable right now, and that’s a scary feeling.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No one should be the target of hate because of their religion. Freedom of religion is among the rights guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and under the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Buffalo Sabres placed winger Jeff Skinner (upper body) on injured reserve.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy and center Pavel Zacha were placed on injured reserve.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Arizona Coyotes center Nick Schmaltz (undisclosed injury) will be a game-day decision for Friday’s matchup against the San Jose Sharks. Sean Durzi (lower body) has missed the last two games and is doubtful to face the Sharks.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 19, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 19, 2023

The fallout from Mike Babcock’s resignation as Blue Jackets coach, the Blues will name their new captain today, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets ownership released a statement yesterday confirming that general manager Jarmo Kekalainen and president of hockey operations John Davidson will remain in their jobs for the coming season.

This comes in the wake of Mike Babcock stepping down as head coach following an investigation by the NHL Players’ Association over allegations he violated the privacy of Blue Jackets players.

Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen (NHL.com)

Ownership indicated it was “deeply frustrated and disappointed” over the events of the past week. Nevertheless, it does not anticipate making further changes to its hockey leadership “at this time.”

Davidson and Kekalainen met with the media yesterday with both men admitting their hiring of Babcock was a “major misstep.” Davidson said that they “got it wrong, and that’s on us.” He vowed they would learn from this going forward, adding that they understood the criticism they were receiving. “It is deserved,” he said.

Kekalainen said he met with the Blue Jackets players on Monday to apologize for any inconvenience or awkward situation that the hiring of Babcock may have placed on them. He insisted that the club did its thorough due diligence before hiring Babcock. Kekalainen felt that he deserved another chance to coach. “Obviously, that was a mistake, and that responsibility is mine.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers are wondering why Kekalainen isn’t losing his job over the Babcock situation. While ownership is standing by their general manager, I think this incident puts his future with the club in jeopardy. He could lose his job by the end of this season if the Jackets fail to make a significant improvement on the ice.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues will announce a new team captain this afternoon, filling the role left vacant after Ryan O’Reilly was traded to Toronto in February. Brayden Schenn is considered the favorite to land the job as he’s been an alternate captain for the past three seasons. Robert Thomas could also be a contender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford also named Schenn and Thomas as possible candidates. Others that he mentioned included Justin Faulk, Colton Parayko and Pavel Buchnevich. The Hockey News’ Lou Korac reports Thomas is believed to have emerged as the front-runner.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: David Pastrnak is prepared to take on more of a leadership role following the retirements of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. Charlie McAvoy and Brad Marchand are considered the favorites to be named the next Bruins captain but Pastrnak will still play a large role among the club’s leaders.

TORONTO SUN: Ryan Reaves believes he’ll bring the grit to the Maple Leafs lineup that’s been missing in recent years. He indicated that he won’t stand for rival players gloating at his teammates the way Radko Gudas did to Leafs goalie Joseph Woll in last spring’s playoffs. “I hope he tries that,” said Reaves. “That would be interesting, that would be fun. I doubt there would be any of that here.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs received some criticism for signing the 36-year-old Reaves to a three-year contract this summer. We’ll soon find out if that was a worthwhile investment by the cap-strapped club.

BUFFALO HOCKEY NOW: Promising forward Matthew Savoie suffered an upper-body injury during the Sabres prospect game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He’ll be reevaluated and could miss the opening days of training camp.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres first-round pick (ninth overall) in the 2022 NHL Draft, the 19-year-old Savoie is expected to challenge for a full-time roster spot. This injury could hamper those efforts.

DAILY FACEOFF: The San Jose Sharks signed Justin Bailey to a professional tryout offer. Bailey last played in the NHL in 2021-22 with the Vancouver Canucks.

The Dallas Stars signed goalie Christopher Gibson to a PTO. He last played in the NHL in 2020-21 with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins named John McLean as a new assistant coach. McLean spent last season as their skills and skating consultant.

TWINCITIES.COM: Former NHL forward Henry Boucha passed away on Monday at age 72.

Boucha won a Minnesota state championship in 1969 and a silver medal with Team USA in the 1972 Winter Olympics.

Drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in 1971, Boucha spent six seasons in the NHL with the Wings, Minnesota North Stars, Kansas City Scouts and Colorado Rockies from 1971-72 to 1976-77 until his career was prematurely ended by an eye injury. In 247 NHL games, Boucha tallied 53 goals and 102 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Boucha’s family, friends and former teammates.

Notable NHL Moves For July 1, 2023

Notable NHL Moves For July 1, 2023

Check in regularly for today’s notable player moves during the opening day of the NHL’s annual free-agent market.

New York Islander sign goaltender Semyon Varlamov to a four-year, $11 million contract. 

Detroit Red Wings sign center J.T. Compher to a five-year, $25.5 million contract.

New York Islanders sign Scott Mayfield to a seven-year, $24.5 million contract. 

Seattle Kraken signed Brian Dumoulin to a two-year, $6.3 million contract.

Colorado Avalanche signs Jonathan Drouin to a one-year, $825K contract.

Pittsburgh Penguins sign Lars Eller to a two-year, $4.9 million contract.

New York Islanders sign Pierre Engvall to a seven-year, $21 million contract. 

Colorado Avalanche sign winger Miles Wood to a six-year, $15 million contract. 

Pittsburgh Penguins sign defenseman Ryan Graves to a six-year, $27 million contract. 

Pittsburgh Penguins bring back goaltender Tristan Jarry on a five-year, $28.875 million contract.

Anaheim Ducks sign Alex Killorn to a four-year, $25 million contract. 

Arizona Coyotes sign Jason Zucker to a one-year, $5.3 million contract. 

Detroit Red Wings sign Daniel Sprong to a one-year, $2 million contract.

Dallas Stars sign Matt Duchene to a one-year, $3 million contract

Tampa Bay Lightning sign Conor Sheary to a three-year $6 million contract. 

Boston Bruins sign defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to a one-year, $1 million contract. 

Nashville Predators sign forward Gustav Nyquist to a two-year, $6.37 million contract. 

Detroit Red Wings sign defenseman Justin Holl to a three-year, $10.20 million contract. 

Washington Capitals sign Max Pacioretty to a one-year, $2 million contract.

Vancouver Canucks sign Carson Soucy to a three-year, $9.75 million contract. 

Nashville Predators sign Ryan O’Reilly to a four-year, $18 million contract. 

Carolina Hurricanes sign defenseman Dmitry Orlov to a two-year. $7.75 million contract. 

Carolina Hurricanes bring back goaltender Frederik Andersen on a two-year, $6.8 million contract. 

Ottawa Senators sign goaltender Joonas Korpisalo to a five-year, $20 million contract.

Buffalo Sabres sign defenseman Erik Johnson to a one-year, $3.25 million contract. 

Edmonton Oilers sign winger Connor Brown to a one-year, $4 million contract. 

Anaheim Ducks sign defenseman Radko Gudas to a three-year, $12 million contract. 

San Jose Sharks sign goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood to a two-year $4.7 million contract. 

New York Rangers sign right wing Blake Wheeler to a one-year, $800K salary plus $300K max bonuses.

Boston Bruins sign left wing James van Riemsdyk to a one-year, $1 million contract. 

Boston Bruins sign winger Milan Lucic to a one-year, $1 million contract. 

Los Angeles Kings sign Cam Talbot to a one-year, $1 million contract.

Montreal Canadiens traded defenseman Joel Edmundson to the Washington Capitals for a third-round pick and a seventh-rounder in the 2024 NHL draft.  The Canadiens are retaining 50 percent of his cap hit.

Nashville Predator sign Luke Schenn to a three-year contract with an AAV of $2.75 million

Florida Panthers sign defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to a one-year, $2.25 million contract.

Toronto Maple Leafs sign forward Ryan Reaves to a three-year contract with an AAV of $1.3 million.

NHL Rumor Mill – July 1, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – July 1, 2023

The NHL’s annual free-agent market opens at noon ET today. Here’s the latest on the notable pending UFAs such as Tyler Bertuzzi, Vladimir Tarasenko, Max Pacioretty and Blake Wheeler plus the latest on Alex DeBrincat and Logan Thompson in the Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Carolina Hurricanes will be aggressive in the UFA market. He wouldn’t be surprised if they pursued such notables as Tyler Bertuzzi, Vladimir Tarasenko, Dmitry Orlov or Blake Wheeler.

The Toronto Maple Leafs could also have an interest in Bertuzzi and could also pursue a UFA defenseman. They’ve also been linked to former Minnesota Wild enforcer Ryan Reaves.

Ryan O’Reilly has been linked to the Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Ryan O’Reilly (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be surprised if the Canadiens, Predators and Canucks seriously pursue O’Reilly given their current state of retooling/rebuilding their rosters. Still, I’ve learned to expect the unexpected in free agency (hello there, Johnny Gaudreau to Columbus) so never say never, I guess.

DAILY FACEOFF: reported significant interest in former Carolina Hurricanes winger Max Pacioretty despite his twice-injured Achilles tendon last season. Team indicated the Hurricanes granted Pacioretty permission to speak with other clubs prior to July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given those injuries I expect Pacioretty ends up signing an affordable one-year contract. He’s 34 so he’s not eligible for a 35-plus bonus-laden deal. **Update** As reader “Chris” pointed out, Pacioretty would be eligible to sign a 35-plus contract due to his number of career games played (400-plus) and the number of days spent on injured reserve (100-plus days) on injured reserve in the last year of their most recent contract.

TSN: Darren Dreger speculates the Boston Bruins or Florida Panthers as possible destinations for Blake Wheeler.

SPORTSNET: Friedman reports that we shouldn’t expect any immediate decisions from Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane on where they’ll be signing.

Jonathan Quick could be heading to the New York Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: ESPN’s Kevin Weekes broke the news of Quick potentially heading to the Rangers to back up Igor Shesterkin.

The Wings and Predators have also been linked to former Colorado Avalanche center J.T. Compher.

Speaking of the Wings, Friedman expects them to make a big move given their plentiful cap space this summer. “All eyes are on Alex Killorn, with Alex DeBrincat trade talks stalled.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Killorn player for Wings general manager Steve Yzerman when the latter was GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

One team with an interest in defenseman Scott Mayfield told Friedman they believe he is all but re-signing by the New York Islanders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello usually doesn’t officially announce his UFA re-signings until September. Don’t be surprised if Mayfield’s name is still listed as unsigned in a month’s time.

Friedman believes the Leafs and Edmonton Oilers are in on former Washington Capitals winger Connor Brown.

The Vancouver Canucks could be interested in a UFA defenseman such as Ian Cole or Carson Soucy.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals are among the teams interested in Senators winger Alex DeBrincat, along with the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman saying the Red Wings are no longer the favorites to land DeBrincat. He also listed the Capitals, Islanders and Stars as possible trade partners as well as the Anaheim Ducks.

Silber believes the Capitals’ limited salary-cap space would make it difficult to acquire and re-sign DeBrincat. They could get cap relief if they could shed the contracts of Evgeny Kuznetsov and Anthony Mantha via trade but those moves seem unlikely.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators would prefer to move DeBrincat as soon as possible but they’re willing to be patient. If a trade can’t be found before their club-elected arbitration date later this summer, they’ll retain him for 2023-24 and try again to move him during the season. Nevertheless, I expect him to be moved soon.


VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Chris Gawlik cited ESPN’s Kevin Weekes reporting a few teams contacted the Golden Knights about the availability of goaltender Logan Thompson. This came amid word they were close to signing playoff hero Adin Hill to a two-year contract, which was completed on Friday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gawlik doesn’t rule out the possibility of Thompson getting traded, pointing to the Reilly Smith deal earlier this week that no one saw coming. However, he noted there are no indications the Golden Knights are shopping the 26-year-old netminder.

With Robin Lehner facing an uncertain future due to health issues and the limited options within their system, the Golden Knights will likely return this season with a tandem of Hill and Thompson.

NHL Rumor Mill – June 29, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – June 29, 2023

The latest trade speculation involving William Nylander, Connor Hellebuyck, Noah Hanifin, Travis Konecny and more heading into Day 2 of the 2023 Draft in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan speculates contract extension talks between Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving and winger William Nylander might not go as smoothly as Treliving confidently predicted.

Koshan thinks it behooves Treliving to gauge Nylander’s value in the trade market for a return that improves the Leafs. “Speculation in a potential swap for Nylander has included Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson of the San Jose Sharks and Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For what it’s worth, the Leafs have reportedly looked into the cost of acquiring Karlsson from the Sharks. Moving Nylander and his $6.9 million cap hit for next season could help offset the cost of taking on Karlsson’s contract, though the Leafs would want the Sharks to retain a healthy portion of his $11.5 million annual cap hit through 2026-27.

For now, I suspect Treliving will continue with his contract extension discussions with Nylander.


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the New Jersey Devils remain interested in Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck. However, he doesn’t think they want to pay a big price to get him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils could also want the Jets to retain part of Hellebuyck’s $6.16 million AAV for 2023-24. Some observers suggest the possibility of the Jets starting next season with Hellebuyck and then perhaps attempting to move him before the trade deadline to a club like the Devils.


LeBrun reports the Florida Panthers are interested in Calgary Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin. Panthers winger Anthony Duclair is part of that discussion but LeBrun isn’t convinced they have the best chance of landing Hanifin.


According to LeBrun, the Philadelphia Flyers continue to listen on Travis Konecny and received a few trade offers but nothing to tempt them into parting with the winger. Unless something changes, however, they’re likely to hang onto Konecny.

LeBrun’s TSN colleague Darren Dreger indicated before the opening round of the draft that Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim continues to draw interest.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman thought the Pittsburgh Penguins had some interest in Winnipeg Jets winger Blake Wheeler. However, he’s not convinced it’s going to happen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman published this before the Penguins acquired Reilly Smith from the Vegas Golden Knights yesterday. I’m just mentioning this in passing.


Friedman thinks it’s possible the Toronto Maple Leafs could sign rugged winger Ryan Reaves if he fails to land a new contract with the Minnesota Wild. The Leafs are looking to beef up their bottom-six forwards. Ottawa’s Austin Watson is another possibility.


Friedman speculates there might not be a role for Christian Dvorak now that they’ve got so many centers. He could be someone worth keeping an eye on.


THE TENNESSEAN: Gentry Estes cited a report from Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli indicating the Nashville Predators tried to make a big splash during the first round of the 2023 NHL Draft. There was speculation they attempted to move up in the draft order by offering up promising goaltender Yaroslav Askarov as part of a package deal for one of the picks among the top 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One rumor had them offering Askarkov and the 15th overall pick as part of a package deal to the Montreal Canadiens for the fifth-overall selection. It never came to pass.