Oilers captain Connor McDavid enjoyed a second straight four-assist game, David Perron and Shayne Gostisbehere had a big game for the Red Wings while the Predators are rising in the standings. Get the details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid had a goal and four assists in an 8-2 rout of the Anaheim Ducks. It’s the second straight game that McDavid has collected four assists. Zach Hyman scored twice and set up another while Darnell Nurse had three helpers for the 7-12-1 Oilers. Max Jones scored both goals for the Ducks as they dropped to 9-12-0.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid is the fourth player in Oilers history to have four-point performances in consecutive games, joining Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri and Paul Coffey. He also joins Gretzky and Kurri as the third Oiler to have consecutive four-assist games. McDavid is the fifth active NHL player with at least six career contests of four or more assists, joining Nicklas Backstrom (12), Leon Draisaitl (nine), Sidney Crosby (eight) and Blake Wheeler (six).
The Detroit Red Wings dropped the Minnesota Wild 4-1, handing the latter their seventh straight defeat. David Perron scored twice (including his 300th career goal) while Shayne Gostisbehere had a goal and three assists for the 11-6-3 Red Wings, who picked up their third straight victory. Joel Eriksson Ek replied for the 5-10-4 Wild.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wild forward Pat Maroon wasn’t pleased with his club’s performance. “F**king unacceptable…Guys should be pissed off,” said Maroon. Head coach Dean Evason claimed some players were “not pulling their weight.”
Meanwhile, Wild forward Ryan Hartman faces a hearing with the NHL department of player safety for slew-footing Red Wings forward Alex DeBrincat, who avoided injury from the incident.
Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi had a goal and two assists as his club held off the Winnipeg Jets by a score of 3-2. Juuse Saros made 32 saves as the Predators rose to 10-10-0, putting them just one point out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot. Josh Morrissey and Cole Perfetti scored in the third period for the 12-6-2 Jets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: On November 14, the Predators were 5-10-0 coming off four straight losses that put them near the bottom of the Western Conference. They’ve since won five consecutive games including victories against good clubs like the Jets and Colorado Avalanche.
Speaking of the Predators, defenseman Luke Schenn returned to action from a lower-body injury that had sidelined him since opening night.
The St. Louis Blues doubled up the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2. Pavel Buchnevich had a goal and two assists while Jake Neighbours tallied twice for the Blues as they improved their record to 11-8-1. Ryan Donato had a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks as they slipped to 6-13-0.
Three unanswered goals by Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Brady Skjei and Andrei Svechnikov gave the Carolina Hurricanes a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Svechnikov’s game-winner was also his first goal of the season while Seth Jarvis collected two assists as the Hurricanes improved to 12-8-0. Elvis Merzlikins made 40 saves and Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and an assist for the Blues Jackets (6-12-4), who sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings with 16 points.
TSN: The New Jersey Islanders traded minor-league forward Arnaud Durandeau to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for minor-league forward Tyce Thompson.
The latest on Patrick Kane plus updates on the Islanders and Coyotes in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
LATEST ON PATRICK KANE
SPORTSNET (via Kukla’s Korner): Elliotte Friedman believes we should learn by early this week when Patrick Kane will finally decide where he’ll play this season. The 35-year-old unrestricted free-agent winger has made it “tougher than an escape room” to figure out where he’s going.
Free agent winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).
Most observers have speculated the Florida Panthers and Detroit Red Wings as potential destinations. Friedman thinks Kane has narrowed his choices down to a couple of teams.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers have reportedly pursued Kane since the summer and could offer him the best opportunity to win the Stanley Cup this season. However, the Red Wings have the advantage of salary-cap space if he’s seeking a multi-year deal.
VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Chris Gawlik noted some recent speculation linking Kane to the Golden Knights. However, he dismissed that notion by pointing out their lack of salary-cap space plus the difficulty they would face in finding a suitable place for him on their roster.
Barring a long-term injury to one of their top-six forwards, the Golden Knights don’t need Kane to win the Stanley Cup this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I get the notion of a defending champion wanting to load up for another run at the Cup. Nevertheless, Gawlik does a fine job of pointing out why the Golden Knights probably won’t do it.
COULD PELECH’S INJURY FORCE THE ISLANDERS INTO THE TRADE MARKET?
THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple wonders what the New York Islanders will do to replace Adam Pelech, who was placed on long-term injury reserve when he injured his left arm during Friday’s game against the Ottawa Senators. Staple noted how the Isles struggled during Pelech’s two previous long absences due to injuries in 2020-21 and last season.
Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello plucked journeyman defenseman Mike Reilly off waivers Saturday from the Florida Panthers. He’s an affordable stopgap to buy time while Lamoriello looks elsewhere for help if needed.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staple pointed out that Pelech can come off LTIR as early as Dec. 16 but he could be out until sometime in January if surgery is required. That could be the determining factor whether Lamoriello heads into the trade market. Bear in mind that if they use the LTIR savings to add a defenseman they must be cap-compliant when Pelech is ready to return.
COYOTES SEEKING ADDITIONS TO THEIR ROSTER
GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan recently reported that Arizona Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong is actively engaged in trade talks that would involve shipping existing draft picks and prospects out the door to bring in existing NHL talent.
Morgan pointed out how much of a positive impact offseason addition Sean Durzi has made to the Arizona Coyotes’ defense corps. The 25-year-old blueliner is someone who can grow with the club’s young core.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After three years of tearing the roster down, Armstrong has shifted his focus on building up around core players like Clayton Keller and promising future stars such as Logan Cooley. However, don’t expect him to just start shoveling out most of his draft picks and prospects for veterans.
The Coyotes have eight picks in rounds two through four and two picks in round seven of the 2024 draft, six picks through rounds two and three in 2025 and five picks in rounds two and three in 2026. Armstrong can draw on some of them as trade chips to pluck away quality talent from cap-strapped clubs or those who lack draft picks throughout those rounds.
Armstrong won’t be going after aging stars on expiring contracts. Instead, he’ll likely pursue players like Durzi who are in the mid-to-late twenties and could be part of the Coyotes’ long-term plans.
The Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov matches a franchise scoring record as Andrei Vasilevskiy returns to action, the Kings extend their road win streak and a goalie mask brouhaha involving the Wild’s Marc-Andre Fleury. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Nikita Kucherov tied a franchise record for most points in a game with six as the Tampa Bay Lightning thumped the Carolina Hurricanes 8-2. Kucherov scored two goals and set up four others to take over the lead in the NHL scoring race with 35 points. Teammate Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 22 shots for the Lightning (10-6-5) in his season debut since undergoing back surgery in September. Brayden Point tallied a hat trick and added two assists. Michael Bunting had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes as they slipped to 11-8-0.
Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning lit up the Hurricanes on the power play, going four-for-five with the man advantage. Carolina goalie Antti Raanta gave up eight goals on 14 shots.
The Los Angeles Kings extended their season-opening road win streak to nine games with a 5-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Kevin Fiala tallied twice, Drew Doughty collected two assists and Cam Talbot stopped 29 shots as the Kings improved to 12-3-3. Radko Gudas and Alex Killorn replied for the 9-11-0 Ducks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After riding a six-game win streak to a 7-4-0 start the Ducks have plummeted back to earth, losing seven of their last nine contests.
The Colorado Avalanche (13-6-0) nipped the Minnesota Wild by a score of 3-2. Kurtis McDermid broke a 2-2 tie in the third period with the winning goal while teammate Valeri Nichushkin scored to extend his goal streak to six games. Kirill Kaprizov had a goal and an assist for the struggling Wild as they dropped to 5-9-4.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This game was overshadowed by the news that the league wasn’t going to allow Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to wear a custom mask before this game for the club’s Native American Heritage Night.
Fleury wanted to honor his wife Veronique, who is an Indigenous woman. However, the league threatened to fine him for violating their policy prohibiting players from wearing specialty gear, jerseys or hockey tape for theme nights.
Allan Walsh, Fleury’s agent, said his client was willing to pay whatever fine the NHL would hand down for wearing the mask. The league then threatened to levy an “additional significant fine” on the Wild if he did.
Fleury wore the mask during the warmup.
Good on Fleury and good on the Wild for supporting his decision. This was another example of how the NHL continuously shoots itself in the foot with its tone-deaf policies.
Meanwhile, Avalanche defenseman Sam Girard has entered the NHL/NHLPA Players Assistance Program. He released a statement through his agency that he is seeking treatment for severe anxiety and depression that led to alcohol abuse. Best wishes to Girard in his recovery.
Detroit Red Wings forwards Alex DeBrincat and JT Compher each had a goal and an assist to defeat the Boston Bruins 5-2, handing the latter just their second regulation loss. Ville Husso picked up the win with a 25-save performance for the 10-6-3 Red Wings. Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen replied for the Bruins (14-2-3), who remain atop the overall standings with 31 points.
The New York Rangers got two goals from Mika Zibanejad and 36 saves from Igor Shesterkin in a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. It was the 12th win in the last 14 games for the 14-3-1 Rangers, who hold first place in the Metropolitan Division with 29 points. Sean Couturier scored for the Flyers as they dropped to 10-9-1.
An overtime goal by Kevin Korchinski lifted the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-3 upset of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Jason Dickinson had a hat trick as the Blackhawks (6-12-0) overcame a 3-1 deficit. William Nylander’s season-opening 17-game points streak came to an end as the Leafs sit at 10-5-3 on the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nylander had a golden opportunity to win the game on an overtime breakaway but his backhander struck the post and the crossbar and ricocheted away.
Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins kicked out 37 shots to nip the New Jersey Devils 2-1. Eric Robinson’s tie-breaking goal in the first period held up as the game-winner for the 6-11-4 Blue Jackets, who’ve won two straight following a nine-game losing skid. Alexander Holtz scored for the struggling Devils (8-9-1), who’ve dropped six of their last seven contests.
The Nashville Predators (9-10-0) picked up their fourth straight victory with an 8-3 romp over the St. Louis Blues. Filip Forsberg and Luke Evangelista each had two goals and an assist while Ryan O’Reilly scored in his first game in St. Louis against his former club since being traded to Toronto last February. Robert Thomas and Pavel Buchnevich each had a goal and an assist for the 10-8-1 Blues.
Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid had four assists, Leon Draisaitl had two goals and an assist and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got a goal and two assists to blank the Washington Capitals 5-0. Stuart Skinner turned in a 25-save shutout for the 6-12-1 Oilers. Charlie Lindgren stopped 30 shots for the 10-5-2 Capitals.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals forward T.J. Oshie left this game in the second period with an upper-body injury and won’t be traveling with the club during their upcoming road trip.
A shootout goal by Jesse Ylonen gave the Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. Cole Caufield had a goal and an assist while Cayden Primeau stopped 31 shots for the 9-9-2 Canadiens as they overcame a 2-0 deficit. William Eklund had a goal and an assist for the Sharks (3-15-2), who remain at the bottom of the overall standings with just eight points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens recalled forward Joel Armia and placed sidelined defenseman Arber Xhekaj (upper body) on injured reserve. Meanwhile, San Jose winger Filip Zadina left this game with an undisclosed injury. Earlier in the day, the Sharks announced defenseman Jan Rutta is week-to-week with an upper-body injury.
The Buffalo Sabres overcame a 2-0 deficit to down the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2. Jeff Skinner and Alex Tuch each had a goal and an assist for the Sabres, who improved their record to 9-9-2. Sidney Crosby netted his 13th goal of the season as the Penguins fell to 9-10-0.
New York Islanders forwards Kyle Palmieri and Oliver Wahlstrom each had a goal and an assist in a 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators. The Isles (8-6-5) have won three straight games. Drake Batherson tallied twice for the 8-8-0 Senators.
The Winnipeg Jets got a 32-save shutout from Connor Hellebuyck to defeat the Florida Panthers 3-0. Nino Niederreiter, Nikolaj Ehlers and Adam Lowry scored for the 12-5-2 Jets as they picked up their fifth straight victory. Sergei Bobrovsky turned aside 28 shots for the 12-7-1 Panthers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jets head coach Rick Bowness returned behind the bench following a leave of absence to care for his ailing wife Judy, who is recovering from a seizure she suffered last month in Winnipeg.
The Panthers, meanwhile, placed defenseman Mike Reilly on waivers, sparking some speculation over whether this move is being made to clear a roster spot for Patrick Kane. The free-agent forward has been linked to the Panthers and is expected to reach a decision next week on where he’ll sign.
A four-goal third period carried the Calgary Flames to a 7-4 win over the Dallas Stars. Blake Coleman, Elias Lindholm, Mikael Backlund and Nazem Kadri were the goal scorers as the Flames overcame a 4-3 deficit to improve their record to 8-9-3. Wyatt Johnston scored twice for the Stars as they slipped to 12-5-2.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After stumbling through October and at one point finding themselves near the bottom of the Western Conference standings, the Flames (19 points) are just two points out of a wild-card berth.
The Vancouver Canucks defeated the Seattle Kraken 5-1. Connor Garland picked up two assists while Quinn Hughes had an assist to extend his points streak to 10 games for the 14-6-1 Canucks (29 points), who sit one point back of the Western Conference-leading Vegas Golden Knights. Tye Kartye scored for the 8-9-5 Kraken, who lost forward Brandon Tanev during this game to a lower-body injury.
Cale Makar outduels Quinn Hughes as the league’s top defensemen face off for the first time this season, the Bruins and Golden Knights each reach 30 points, the Oilers continue to flounder, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Cale Makar and his Colorado Avalanche defeated Quinn Hughes and his Vancouver Canucks 5-2 in this season’s first meeting between the NHL’s top-two defensemen. Makar had a goal and an assist to extend his points streak to eight games for the Avalanche as they improved to 12-6-0 while Hughes collected an assist for the 13-6-1 Canucks. Mikko Rantanen, Valeri Nichushkin and Jonathan Drouin also each had a goal and an assist for the Avs.
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hughes remains the current league scoring leader with 31 points while Makar is third with 29 points. They each tallied 20 points thus far in November.
Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon had x-rays following this game after blocking a shot with his right leg midway through the third period. Teammate Josh Manson received a game misconduct during the second period for cross-checking Canucks winger Brock Boeser. Meanwhile, Canucks defenseman Mark Friedman left the game in the second with an undisclosed injury.
The Boston Bruins were one of two clubs to reach 30 points this season by downing the Florida Panthers 3-1. Linus Ullmark made 27 saves while Charlie Coyle, John Beecher and Jake DeBrusk scored for the 14-1-3 Bruins, who sit atop the overall standings with 31 points. Anton Lundell replied for the 12-6-1 Panthers.
An overtime goal lifted the Vegas Golden Knights to a 2-1 win over the Dallas Stars. Adin Hill stopped 31 shots while Michael Amadio also scored for the Golden Knights (14-4-2), who sit atop the Western Conference and second in the overall standings with 30 points. Roope Hintz tallied for the 12-4-2 Stars (26 points) as they hold a two-point lead over the Avalanche on top of the Central Division.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez missed this game with a lower-body injury.
A four-goal first period powered the Carolina Hurricanes over the Edmonton Oilers 6-3. Seth Jarvis and Teuvo Teravainen each had two points for the 11-7-0 Hurricanes while Pyotr Kochetkov made 13 saves as he replaced Antti Raanta in the first period when the latter was pulled for precautionary reasons with an undisclosed ailment. Zach Hyman scored twice for the Oilers (5-12-1) while Stuart Skinner was replaced in net by Calvin Pickard. Mattias Janmark returned to the Oilers lineup after missing nearly a month with a shoulder injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Porous goaltending and sloppy defense once again doomed the Oilers, whose brief lift following their recent coaching change has evaporated after three straight losses. The pressure is mounting for Oilers management to do something to acquire a goalie. I’ll have more in today’s Rumors update.
New York Rangers goaltender Jonathan Quick collected his 60th career NHL shutout in a 1-0 blanking of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Quick kicked out 32 shots while Alexis Lafreniere netted the only goal as the Rangers (13-3-1) sit in first place in the Metropolitan Division with 27 points. Tristan Jarry stopped 35 shots for the 9-9-0 Penguins.
The Columbus Blue Jackets snapped a nine-game winless skid (0-7-2) with a 7-3 drubbing of the Chicago Blackhawks. Zach Werenski collected four assists while Boone Jenner scored twice for the 5-11-4 Blue Jackets. Blackhawks center Connor Bedard scored his 10th goal of the season to lead all NHL rookies.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks winger Corey Perry was a healthy scratch from this contest. Teammate Taylor Hall missed this game dealing with an undisclosed injury.
A three-goal first period carried the Detroit Red Wings over the New Jersey Devils 4-0. Lucas Raymond, Dylan Larkin, Robby Fabbri and Moritz Seider tallied for the Red Wings (9-6-3) while goalie Alex Lyon made 16 saves for the shutout. Vitek Vanecek stopped 24 shots as the struggling Devils slipped to 8-8-1 (17 points) on the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After going 7-3-0 in their first 10 games, the Devils have dropped five of their last six and sit 14th in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Winnipeg Jets nipped the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 on an overtime goal by Adam Lowry. Josh Morrissey and Mark Scheifele also scored while Connor Hellebuyck stopped 31 shots as the Jets won their fourth straight and improved to 11-5-2. Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point replied for the Lightning (9-6-5) as they overcame a 2-0 deficit to force the extra frame.
Speaking of overtime wins, the Washington Capitals downed the Buffalo Sabres 4-3. Dylan Strome scored the winner and collected an assist while John Carlsson had two helpers for the 10-4-2 Capitals. Sabres rookie Zach Benson netted his first career NHL goal as his club slipped to 8-9-2 on the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov missed his second straight game due to illness.
The New York Islanders downed the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 to snap the latter’s five-game win streak. Brock Nelson tallied twice while Ilya Sorokin turned aside 34 shots as the Isles improved to 7-6-5. Cam York and Joel Farabee replied for the 10-8-1 Flyers.
St. Louis Blues center Kevin Hayes snapped a 5-5 tie in the third period to give his club a 6-5 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Shorthanded goals by Nick Leddy and Alexey Toropchenko in the second period helped the Blues improve their record to 10-7-1. Matias Maccelli, Nick Bjugstad and Michael Carcone each had two points as the Coyotes dropped to 8-9-2.
The Nashville Predators picked up their third straight win by doubling up the Calgary Flames 4-2. Juuse Saros made 24 saves while Ryan McDonagh picked up two assists for the 8-10-0 Predators. Jacob Markstrom kicked out 41 shots for the 7-9-3 Flames.
Montreal Canadiens goaltender Sam Montembeault made 30 saves and Alex Newhook scored twice to hold off the Anaheim Ducks 4-3. Mason McTavish scored two goals and added an assist as his club overcame a 3-1 deficit before Newhook’s winning goal late in the third period. The Canadiens (8-9-2) snapped a four-game losing streak while the Ducks (9-10-0) have dropped four straight.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Montembeault was the hero for the Canadiens in this one as he made several big saves for the win in this contest.
The Seattle Kraken crushed the San Jose Sharks 7-1. Oliver Bjorkstrand had a goal and three assists while Eeli Tolvanen scored twice and collected an assist as the Kraken improved to 8-8-5. Mike Hoffman scored for the Sharks as they remain at the bottom of the overall standings with a record of 3-15-1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks winger Kevin Labanc missed this game with an upper-body injury.
The latest on Patrick Kane, the Oilers’ goaltending, and the Wild in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
PANTHERS, RED WINGS, SABRES COULD BE FRONT-RUNNERS FOR KANE
TSN: Darren Dreger reports Patrick Kane is getting very close to deciding on which NHL team he’ll join this season. The 35-year-old free-agent winger is reportedly mulling over multiple options.
As many as eight clubs were initially involved as Kane and his agent Pat Brisson were involved in several face-to-face interviews, including a Zoom call with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Brisson is expected to circle back to clubs to tell them they’re out, though that hasn’t happened yet.
Free agent winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).
It was expected that Kane might reach a decision this week. With American Thanksgiving coming up, it might take place by next week.
NHL NETWORK (via NHL WATCHER): Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes the Florida Panthers, Detroit Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres are the leading candidates for Kane’s services. He claimed he keep hearing about Eastern clubs linked to Kane as there may be a concern about travel in the Western Conference.
DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli said he’s spoken to teams that are wondering if the Panthers might be the front-runner for Kane. They could be the best option for him to win a fourth Stanley Cup this season, especially with defensemen Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour returning from injury. Seravalli speculates they could be a multi-year destination for Kane if they can free up cap space down the line.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been reported that Panthers general manager Bill Zito has aggressively pursued Kane since the summer. They currently have around 630K in cap space so someone will have to be traded or demoted to free up a roster spot and cap room for him.
LATEST ON THE OILERS GOALTENDING WOES
SPORTSNET (via NHL WATCHER): Appearing on the latest episode of The Jeff Marek Show, Elliotte Friedman said the Edmonton Oilers could make a really bad trade for a goaltender if they wanted to. However, they don’t want to do that as they’re trying to keep an eye on the big picture at some level.
Friedman believed someone like the Anaheim Ducks’ John Gibson could make a difference for the Oilers. However, he’s not going to fix everything that ails the club.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the representatives for free-agent goaltender Jaroslav Halak have spoken with the Oilers. The 38-year-old is back in Boston contemplating his next move after being released from his PTO contract by the Carolina Hurricanes. LeBrun believes the reason Halak was released was due to his unwillingness to have a conditioning stint in the AHL.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers are backed into a corner with their goaltending and everyone knows it. They would have to overpay to bring in an experienced netminder who might not have much success between the pipes given the Oilers’ sloppy defensive game.
Signing a free agent like Halak would be a more affordable option. However, there’s no guarantee of improvement given his age and the fact he hasn’t played since April.
LATEST ON THE WILD
TSN: Chris Johnston reports Minnesota Wild head coach Dean Evason is not in any imminent danger of losing his job despite his club’s sputtering start to this season. He believes that’s mainly because the best fix is for the Wild’s best players to pull them through this difficult stretch.
Johnston cited the low production thus far from Wild stars like Kirill Kaprizov, Matt Boldy and Marcus Foligno. He believes the heated meeting that general manager Bill Guerin had with the players last week was to send the message that it’s up to them to get themselves out of this situation.
THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo and Joe Smith believe Guerin may have robbed himself of potentially valuable trade-deadline chips by re-signing Foligno, Ryan Hartman, and Mats Zuccarello to multi-year contract extensions.
If the Wild fail to improve, Guerin will have little or no flexibility near the trade deadline. They won’t have many players on expiring contracts to flog for draft picks and prospects.
Leafs winger William Nylander’s performance is pushing up the cost of his next contract, a look at the goalie market for the Oilers plus an update on the Avalanche in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
WHAT PRICE TO SIGN NYLANDER?
TSN: Travis Yost believes William Nylander’s torrid scoring pace will raise the cost of his next contract if he maintains his production throughout this season. He pointed out that the 27-year-old Toronto Maple Leafs winger had closed the gap with teammates such as Mitch Marner, including outperforming them in the playoffs.
TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman observing that the difference between Leafs management and the Nylander camp over the summer was thought to be around $1 million per season in the $8 million to $9 million range. “I just do not think that’s realistic anymore,” said Friedman. Hornby noted that talks are continuing between the two sides.
TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran wondered if Nylander has priced himself out of Toronto. “Looks like the supposed $10-million-a-year ask over the summer might have been a bargain,” he writes.
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun spoke to team executives in rival front offices across the NHL to get their views on what they felt would be a fair contract extension for Nylander. The numbers came in with an average annual value between $8.5 million to $12.25 million on a seven or eight-year contract.
Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if the AAV is below $10 million on his next contract if he maintains his current level of performance throughout this season.
Nylander is the Leafs’ leading scorer thus far and among this season’s league leaders. He’s on pace to reach 100 points for the first time after two seasons between 80 and 87 points. He’s earned far less than teammates Marner and Auston Matthews. His summer asking price indicates that he wants fair market value.
I think Nylander’s asking price is now between $11 million and $12 million. Maybe he accepts a little less if he wants to stay in Toronto but I doubt that number goes below $10 million. If the Leafs won’t pay up, plenty of other clubs will line up to do so if he hits the open market on July 1.
WHAT’S THE GOALIE MARKET LOOK LIKE FOR THE OILERS?
THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell believes the Edmonton Oilers’ salary-cap constraints mean they must find a way to shed the contract of struggling goalie Jack Campbell to free up cap dollars for an upgrade between the pipes.
Mitchell believes it’ll cost the Oilers at least three good prospects/draft picks being bundled with Campbell as sweeteners. He wondered if they could find a team that would accept their 2024 first-round pick, top prospect Xavier Bourgault and a “more established asset” such as Philip Broberg or the sidelined Dylan Holloway packaged with Campbell.
Mitchell then looked around at possible options in the trade market. They include Montreal’s Sam Montembeault and Jake Allen, St. Louis’ Jordan Binnington, Calgary’s Dan Vladar and Detroit’s James Reimer. He felt Vladar was the right choice.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers are in a very bad state with their goaltending right now. I concur with Mitchell regarding what it would cost them to entice a rival team into taking Campbell off their hands. That club could then buy him out next summer if he doesn’t improve over the remainder of this season.
Nevertheless, I still think moving out Campbell’s contract is very difficult with so many teams pressed for cap space this season. The Oilers have no leverage which other clubs will attempt to exploit.
Mitchell mentioned Montembeault and Allen because of recent reports indicating the Oilers had scouted the Canadiens goalies. Binnington’s come up because of rumored concerns in St. Louis over his performance in recent years (though he’s playing better this season) as well as the difficulty of carrying his $6 million AAV. Like the Canadiens, the Red Wings are carrying three goalies which is why Reimer got mentioned. Meanwhile, the Flames could be willing to move Vladar to bring up promising Dustin Wolf.
Binnington, however, has a full no-trade clause while Allen carries a seven-team no-trade list for this season. Given the Oilers’ struggles this season, the attraction of playing with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl might not be enough of a selling point to convince either guy to come to Edmonton.
The Red Wings and Canadiens could have the room to take on Campbell’s contract but I don’t think they’re keen to do so even if they got a package of sweeteners in the deal. The Flames, meanwhile, lack the cap space plus I don’t see them and the Oilers making a deal unless a third team gets into the mix. Indeed, it could take a three-team deal to spread Campbell’s cap hit around to make this happen.
LATEST ON THE AVALANCHE
SPORTSNET (via NHL WATCHER): During his latest “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman said Artturi Lehkonen’s injury is pretty significant. He added the Colorado Avalanche are in the market to add some depth scoring.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word on who they might pursue and what they’re willing to offer. Perhaps we’ll learn more in the coming days.