NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 19, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 19, 2023

The Oilers’ Connor McDavid reaches another scoring milestone, the Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews reportedly considering retirement, the Capitals’ John Carlson talks about his gruesome head injury and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid had his fourth straight multi-point game (1 goal, two assists) in a 6-4 victory over the Seattle Kraken. Evander Kane tallied a hat trick while Leon Draisaitl and Mattias Ekholm each collected three assists for the 39-23-8 Oilers as they hold third place in the Pacific Division with 86 points. Jamie Oleksiak collected two assists for the Kraken (38-24-7) as they hold the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference with 83 points.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was McDavid’s 40th multi-point game, making him the sixth player in NHL history to reach that plateau. Meanwhile, Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer left the game with a non-COVID illness.

The Boston Bruins defeated the Minnesota Wild 5-2 to snap the latter’s 14-game points streak. Brad Marchand collected three assists, David Pastrnak scored his 47th goal of the season and Linus Ullmark stopped 29 shots for the Bruins (52-11-5) as they sit atop the overall standings with 109 points. Marcus Johansson has a goal and an assist for the 39-22-8 Wild as they slipped to third place in the Central Division with 86 points.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and two assists and defenseman Cale Makar collected three points in a 5-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Mikko Rantanen tallied his 46th goal of the season for the Avalanche (40-22-6) as they won their fifth straight game to move ahead of the Wild into second place in the Central with 86 points. Pius Suter replied for the 30-29-9 Red Wings.

The New York Rangers got a 33-save shutout by Igor Shesterkin as they thumped the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-0. Mika Zibanejad had a goal and two assists while Artemi Panarin tallied twice for the 40-19-10 Rangers as they sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 90 points. The Penguins (34-25-10) dropped their third straight game and slipped into the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 78 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins defensemen Jeff Petry and Jan Rutta missed this game with injuries.

New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin stopped 29 shots in a 4-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Jean-Gabriel Pageau had a goal and an assist for the 36-27-8 Islanders as they hold the first Eastern wild-card berth with 80 points. The Sharks fell to 19-37-14.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: San Jose goalie James Reimer became the latest NHL player to refuse to wear a Pride jersey during pregame warmups for his club’s Pride Night event. The Sharks also sent rookie winger William Eklund back to their AHL affiliate.

An overtime goal by Neal Pionk lifted the Winnipeg Jets over the Nashville Predators 3-2. Nikolaj Ehlers and Josh Morrissey each had two points as the Jets improved to 39-28-3 (81 points) to hold the final Western Conference wild-card spot, sitting two points behind the Kraken. Juuse Saros made 31 saves for the Predators (34-25-8) as they sit five points back of the Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Predators captain Roman Josi left the game in the first period with an undisclosed injury. There was no post-game update regarding his condition.

A four-goal third period rallied the Florida Panthers to a 4-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Sam Reinhart scored twice while Aleksander Barkov, Carter Verhaeghe and Brandon Montour each collected two points as the 35-27-7 Panthers (77 points) moved within one point of the Penguins. Akira Schmid made 37 saves for the Devils (44-18-7) as they sit second in the Metropolitan Division with 95 points.

Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho scored in overtime to complete his hat trick and nip the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4. Martin Necas had two points as the Hurricanes moved to 45-15-8 and widen their lead over the Devils atop the Metropolitan Division with 98 points. Noah Cates, Tyson Foerster and Brendan Lemieux each had a goal and an assist for the 25-32-12 Flyers.

The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Ottawa Senators 5-4 on a shootout goal by Alex Kerfoot. Matt Murray kicked out 48 shots, Calle Jarnkrok tallied twice while Mitch Marner and John Tavares each had two points for the 42-18-9 Maple Leafs as they sit second in the Atlantic Division with 93 points. Brady Tkachuk scored two goals for the 33-31-5 Senators as they sit seven points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brandon Hagel had a hat trick in a 5-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Nikita Kucherov and Mikhail Sergachev each had two assists for the Lightning (42-22-6) as they remain three points back of the Leafs with 90 points. Nick Suzuki had two assists for the 27-37-6 Canadiens, who played without defenseman Kaiden Guhle (lower-body injury) for this game.

Dallas Stars forward Jason Robertson scored twice (including the winning goal) and collected an assist in a 6-5 overtime victory over the Calgary Flames. Jamie Benn had two assists for the 38-19-13 Stars as they sit in first place in the Central Division with 89 points. Rasmus Andersson had a goal and two assists for the Flames (31-24-15) as they sit four points behind the Jets for the final Western wild-card spot with 77 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames made Milan Lucic a healthy scratch for this game.

Shootout goals by Andrei Kuzmenko and J.T. Miller gave the Vancouver Canucks a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Elias Pettersson scored in the third period to tie the game for the 30-33-5 Canucks as they extend their points streak to nine games. The Kings (40-20-10) sit in second place in the Pacific Division with 90 points.

The Arizona Coyotes doubled up the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2. Clayton Keller and Juuso Valimaki each had three points for the 27-31-11 Coyotes as they extended their points streak to eight games. The Blackhawks fell to 24-39-6.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A report out of Chicago cited sources claiming Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews is seriously considering retirement after dealing with long-COVID symptoms and chronic immune response syndrome. He’s been out of the lineup dealing with those ailments since Jan. 28. The club still publicly remains hopeful that he’ll return to the lineup before the end of the season.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sidelined Capitals defenseman John Carlson revealed that he suffered a fractured skull and a severed temporal artery when he was struck in the head by a slapshot during a Dec. 23 game against the Winnipeg Jets. The 33-year-old defenseman has only recently returned to skating with his teammates with a non-contact jersey. There is no exact date yet for his return.

NHL Rumor Mill – March 8, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – March 8, 2023

Were the Sharks close to moving Erik Karlsson at the trade deadline? Will the Blue Jackets have another busy off-season? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng recently reported Sharks general manager Mike Grier said there were various times throughout this season when he’d had trade talks with different teams regarding Erik Karlsson.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

Grier indicated that there was lots of interest in the 32-year-old defenseman. However, he said the discussions never got to the point where he felt they were close to getting something for Karlsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Grier was referring to what he felt would be a worthwhile return for Karlsson, who has matched his career-high of 82 points and leads all defensemen this season in scoring.

The Karlsson trade rumors have faded away now that the trade deadline has passed. However, I expect they’ll resurface in the offseason, especially in late June heading toward the draft. That’s typically when players of his magnitude get traded.

Karlsson’s $11.5 million cap hit through 2026-27 and full no-movement clause still won’t be easy to move, especially if the salary cap only rises by $1 million for next season. Nevertheless, I’m not dismissing the possibility given the high level of interest in him this season.

Grier also mentioned he would spend the remainder of this season evaluating his goaltending. He wants to see if Kaapo Kahkonen or James Reimer can show they’re capable of being the Sharks’ full-time starter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The focus will be on the 26-year-old Kahkonen. He was acquired from the Minnesota Wild by Grier’s predecessor at last year’s trade deadline.

Reimer, 34, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Grier attempted to trade him at Friday’s deadline but couldn’t find a suitable destination for him once Joonas Korpisalo and Jonathan Quick were traded.


THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline pointed out that the Columbus Blue Jackets have one of the youngest rosters in the NHL. He believes they could benefit from veteran leadership that knows how to win and would hold players accountable, pointing out the departure in recent years of veterans such as Nick Foligno, David Savard, Seth Jones, Jakub Voracek and Cam Atkinson.

Portzline also believes the Blue Jackets need to make a trade or a free-agent signing this summer to bolster their blueline after trading Vladislav Gavrikov last week. GM Jarmo Kekalainen anticipates being able to add to his roster this summer as cap-strapped clubs are forced to shed salary through trades or letting players depart via free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kekalainen will be shopping around to improve his defense and leadership core this summer. Finding the right players for the right deal is crucial. They got a superstar in winger Johnny Gaudreau below market value last summer but also garnered criticism for signing defenseman Erik Gudbranson to a four-year, $16-million deal.

NHL Rumor Mill – March 4, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – March 4, 2023

Why didn’t the Flyers trade James van Riemsdyk on deadline day? Were the Predators willing to move Roman Josi and Juuse Saros? What went on with the Hurricanes, Capitals and Sharks? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall reports Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said he spoke with other clubs for three weeks leading up to the March 3 trade deadline. He was willing to take on a player with an expiring contract, one with a one-way contract in the minors and was also willing to retain salary but couldn’t find a buyer.

Philadelphia Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk (NHL Images).

Fletcher said he didn’t get an offer for James van Riemsdyk until 1:40 pm ET on deadline day. He said it was a conditional offer that required the interested club to move one of its forwards to another team in order to finalize the deal for van Riemsdyk.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Sam Carchidi cited reports claiming the Flyers had a deal with the Detroit Red Wings for van Riemsdyk but it fell through. Fletcher said he tried to move the winger to a playoff contender and hope to get a draft pick in return. The Seattle Kraken were rumored to be interested but nothing came of it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fletcher was pilloried by Flyers fans on social media following the deadline. He said he’s not worried about his job but he and the front office have faced increasing heat since last summer from fans and pundits over the club’s questionable moves and an apparent lack of direction.

The Flyers finally admitted earlier this week that they weren’t going to make the playoffs and would be sellers at the deadline. They could finally admit to themselves that a much-needed roster rebuild is required. Whether Fletcher and his front-office staff will be part of it remains to be seen.


THE TENNESSEAN: Paul Skrbina reports Nashville Predators GM David Poile said defenseman Roman Josi and goaltender Juuse Saros were considered off-limits during trade discussions leading up to Friday’s deadline. He indicated that his club was making changes that he hoped were short-term “to make our long-term future very bright.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Josi’s name didn’t come up in trade rumors but a few pundits mentioned Saros as a possible trade candidate. Poile’s recent moves (shipping out Nino Niederreiter, Mikael Granlund, Mattias Ekholm and Tanner Jeannot for draft picks and prospects) indicate his successor Barry Trotz will be rebuilding around Josi and Saros.


THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander reports Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell indicated there was one major trade his club was in on but couldn’t pull off. He said that trade discussions often started with his club giving up a first-round pick or one of their younger players, which he was unwilling to do.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Waddell limited himself to acquiring winger Jesse Puljujarvi from Edmonton and defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere from Arizona. He said the front office believes the team is good enough to compete for the Stanley Cup led by head coach Rob Brind’Amour.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber reports the Capitals received trade offers for winger Conor Sheary and defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk leading up to the deadline. GM Brian MacLellan opted to retain them because he sees the pending free agents as players his club could retain after this season.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Max Miller reports Sharks goaltender James Reimer was disappointed not to be traded to a playoff contender before the deadline. Sharks GM Mike Grier reported a trade was never close for the 34-year-old netminder. Once Jonathan Quick and Joonas Korpisalo got traded, Grier said there wasn’t a big market for goalies.

NHL Rumor Mill – March 3, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – March 3, 2023

The Trade Deadline is 3 pm ET today. Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Charlie O’Connor explains why the Philadelphia Flyers haven’t been active leading up to deadline day. It’s because the Flyers lack the kind of assets that other teams believe should be prioritized. They’re either fall-back rentals (James van Riemsdyk) or veterans with expensive contracts (Kevin Hayes) that can be difficult to move by the deadline.

Philadelphia Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk (NHL Images).

TSN: Chris Johnston believes van Riemsdyk remains on the Vegas Golden Knights’ radar. The Winnipeg Jets could also be interested. The Flyers could retain half of his $7 million cap hit to facilitate a trade.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports a couple of teams are interested in Montreal Canadiens defenseman Joel Edmundson. One of them could be the Calgary Flames.

SPORTSNET: Eric Engels also cited a couple of sources claiming at least two playoff-bound clubs are interested in the 29-year-old Canadiens defenseman. Edmundson has a year remaining on his contract with a $3.5 million cap hit.


CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve MacFarlane reports there’s some late-breaking trade buzz around Flames forward Mikael Backlund as the club could be trending toward selling at the deadline. MacFarlane cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting that the Carolina Hurricanes are among the clubs calling the Flames to see whether they’re buying or selling.


CHEK TV’s Rick Dhaliwal reports the Vancouver Canucks are still working the phones. They’ve had talks with the Florida Panthers but he’s hearing it’s nothing major. Dhaliwal also shot down speculation linking J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser to the Pittsburgh Penguins.


WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck cited a report from Bally Sports’ Andy Strickland claiming defenseman Logan Stanley has asked the Jets for a trade.


TORONTO STAR: Nick Kypreos believes the Maple Leafs could be in the market for some goaltending depth behind Ilya Samsonov.


SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng listed Nick Bonino, James Reimer and Alexander Barabanov among his list of 10 Sharks who could be trade candidates. He also speculated recently acquired forward Vladislav Namestnikov could be flipped to a playoff contender.


NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner reported league sources claimed the Islanders have been in discussions with the Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues. Isles GM Lou Lamoriello could be looking at acquiring a defenseman. Rosner mentioned a source believes Lamoriello should be looking at Predators blueliner Dante Fabbro.


TSN: Chris Johnston reports the Ottawa Senators are still working the phones. They could be seeking another center.

Darren Dreger believes the Winnipeg Jets aren’t done dealing after acquiring winger Nino Niederreiter on Feb. 25. He thinks they’re still seeking a forward. He also thinks the Vegas Golden Knights could still be active.

Pierre LeBrun reports the Carolina Hurricanes are still trying to add to their roster. However, they have no appetite to part with their first-round pick for a rental player.

NHL Rumor Mill – February 6, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – February 6, 2023

Check out the latest on Jonathan Toews and Kevin Hayes, possible Blues trade candidates and a look at the goalie market in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Shayna Goldman recently listed the Colorado Avalanche, Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers, Carolina Hurricanes, Washington Capitals and Dallas Stars as six teams who should be in the mix for Jonathan Toews.

Goldman acknowledged Toews has yet to decide if he’ll waive his no-movement clause before the March 3 trade deadline. She also noted the decline in the 34-year-old center’s performance but suggested that could be due to the depleted Blackhawks roster.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toews and teammate Patrick Kane are expected to meet with Blackhawks management by the middle of this month to discuss their futures. Toews should draw interest around the league if he agrees to waive his no-movement clause, though the remainder of his $10.5 million cap hit will require some creativity for the aforementioned clubs to acquire him.

The Avalanche and Hurricanes both need a reliable second-line center while the Jets and Stars could be in the market for a top-six forward. The Oilers and Capitals, on the other hand, are believed seeking blue-line depth. That will take them out of the market for Toews.

Philadelphia Flyers center Kevin Hayes (NHL Images).


PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Sam Carchidi cited Detroit Hockey Now’s Kevin Allen recently reported that there is an NHL club showing interest in Philadelphia Flyers forward Kevin Hayes and wants to move him back to center. The 30-year-old has been playing mostly on left wing this season and has 15 goals and 45 points in 50 games this season.

Carchidi points out that Hayes has three more years remaining on his contract with an average annual value of $7.1 million. He also has a 12-team no-trade list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Allen and Carchidi didn’t indicate which team is interested in Hayes. His partial no-trade clause could be a sticking point but his annual cap hit is the bigger obstacle.

The interested club could prefer the Flyers retain part of Hayes’ cap hit. I don’t think Philadelphia general manager Chuck Fletcher would want that retained salary on his books as dead cap space for three years.


SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe looked at potential St. Louis Blues trade candidates if they become sellers leading up to the March 3 deadline. He noted that GM Doug Armstrong isn’t afraid to make difficult or occasionally unpopular decisions.

Wiebe believes decisions are coming soon for pending unrestricted free agents such as Ryan O’Reilly, Vladimir Tarasenko, Ivan Barbashev, Noel Acciari, Tyler Pitlick, Josh Leivo, Niko Mikkola and Thomas Greiss. However, he also wondered if Armstrong would consider moving some of his core players with term remaining on their contracts. Whether there will trade discussions regarding defenseman Colton Parayko or winger Pavel Buchnevich remains to be seen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wiebe pointed out that not all of those Blues pending UFAs could hit the trade block. Some of them, including O’Reilly, could be re-signed. As for players like Parayko and Buchnevich, Armstrong could retain them with an eye on building up a new core around Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas. Still, he could listen if a club comes calling with an interesting offer.


SPORTSNET: Ryan Dixon recently examined a rather thin trade market for goaltenders as deadline day approaches. Those who could draw some trade buzz include the Arizona Coyotes’ Karel Vejmelka, Columbus Blue Jackets Joonas Korpisalo, San Jose Sharks James Reimer, Ottawa Senators Cam Talbot and the Vancouver Canucks’ Thatcher Demko.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Demko popped up in the rumor mill after Bo Horvat got traded but I don’t believe the Canucks are willing to go that far. They’re talking about retooling rather than rebuilding and they’ll need an affordable starter ($5 million annually through 2025-26).

I realize there is some concern about Demko’s shaky play earlier this season before he was sidelined on Dec. 1 with a leg/hip injury. Still, trading him would be an extreme reaction on the Canucks’ part and an admission that they’re doing more than just retooling.

Vejmelka keeps coming up in the rumor mill because he carries an affordable $2.75 million cap hit through 2024-25 and put up decent numbers this season on the woeful Coyotes until January. Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong could listen to offers but I’m skeptical that he’ll trade Vejmelka.

Korpisalo, Reimer and Talbot seem more likely trade candidates given their UFA statuses this summer. Of those three, I think Reimer is the one who’ll be on the move. Talbot’s banged up and teams passed on Korpisalo at last year’s deadline.

NHL Rumor Mill – January 28, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – January 28, 2023

Check out the recent speculation on Dylan Larkin, Vladislav Gavrikov and Lars Eller plus the latest on the Sharks and Kraken in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan considers the Detroit Red Wings trading Dylan Larkin as highly unlikely. The 26-year-old center is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin (NHL Images).

Khan believes trading Larkin would set back the Red Wings’ rebuild. They’re more likely to get futures (a young player, prospect, draft picks) than a player who could have an immediate impact.

Communication between Wings general manager Steve Yzerman and Larkin’s agent, Pat Brisson, has been good, with both sides talking regularly. Khan writes that the two sides have agreed on the maximum eight-year term but remain apart on the average annual value. The Wings prefer $8 million while the Larkin camp seeks $9 million.

Larkin’s next contract would also affect other contracts. Khan reports they’d like to bring in a top-line scoring center and believes they could be among the teams pursuing Bo Horvat if the Vancouver Canucks captain hits the open market on July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt Larkin gets shopped by the March 3 trade deadline even if he remains unsigned or the Wings are out of playoff contention by that point. It wouldn’t be surprising if both sides compromise on a figure between $8 million and $9 million per season.

The Wings have over $41 million in projected cap space for 2023-24 so there’s plenty of room for Larkin’s new contract. However, they must also re-sign or replace fellow UFAs like Tyler Bertuzzi, Pius Suter, Adam Erne Oskar Sundqvist, Olli Maatta and Alex Nedeljkovic.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Brian Hedger recently reported the Blue Jackets are exploring trade scenarios involving defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov. The club has granted permission for rival teams to speak with him and his agent.

Gavrikov, 27, is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He carries an affordable $2.8 million cap hit for this season. Hedger indicated a scenario exists where the Jackets could match the best contract offer for Gavrikov generated through those trade discussions.

Hedger believes the long Gavrikov goes without a new contract the more likely he’ll be traded. The Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs have emerged as potential trade destinations. It’s believed the Jackets will seek a first and a third-round pick in return. If Gavrikov gets a contract extension from a rival club, it could increase the return to the Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trading away Gavrikov could also ensure the Blue Jackets finish dead last in the overall standings by season’s end. That would improve their odds of winning the 2023 draft lottery and securing the rights to top prospect Connor Bedard.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber cited The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun and Eric Duhatschek reporting Capitals center Lars Eller has come up in the rumor mill. They suggest he could be used as a trade chip to add a defenseman. Duhatschek speculated the Los Angeles Kings as a destination as they’re deep on the right side of their blueline and could part with Sean Walker or Matt Roy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Much will also depend on how long Capitals defenseman John Carlson remains sidelined. Silber also mentioned that winger Anthony Mantha has been the odd man out this season. The Capitals might prefer moving Mantha over Eller.


THE MERCURY NEWS: Curtis Pashelka reported San Jose Sharks GM Mike Grier might not be done dealing after shipping out Matt Nieto and Ryan Merkley to the Colorado Avalanche earlier this week.

The Sharks have other pending UFAs in forward Nick Bonino and goaltender James Reimer who could draw interest in the trade market leading up to the March 3 deadline. Winger Timo Meier could also attract plenty of attention if Grier decides to move him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bonino and Reimer seem likely to be playing elsewhere on March 3. Meier could be shopped but he’s a restricted free agent this summer. If Grier didn’t receive sufficient offers, he can simply wait until the offseason to peddle him.

SEATTLE HOCKEY INSIDER: Rob Simpson examined possible trade chips for the Kraken if GM Ron Francis becomes a buyer at the trade deadline.

Prospects Jagger Firkus, Ryker Evans and Jani Nyman could become trade bait. Francis also carries three second-round picks in the 2023 draft.

Simpson believes the Kraken’s priorities will be shoring up their depth on defense and at center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Francis could put more emphasis on using those draft picks as trade bait rather than draw from his shallow prospect pool.