NHL Rumor Mill – February 18, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – February 18, 2022

Check out my analysis of Daily Faceoff’s Trade Targets list in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DAILY FACEOFF: Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux, Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot, and San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl top Frank Seravalli’s top-25 NHL trade targets list.

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lot of speculation over where Giroux could go with the Colorado Avalanche believed the front-runner. As Seravalli points out, the 34-year-old Flyers captain’s no-movement clause gives him full control over this situation.

Chiarot is expected to return to action next week from a minor injury, sparking conjecture the Canadiens could trade him soon. The Florida Panthers, New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues are said to be among his suitors.

Hertl and the Sharks have reportedly started contract extension talks. As Seravalli observes, there’s no certainty they’ll reach an agreement before the March 21 trade deadline.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Brandon Hagel and Arizona Coyotes blueliner Jakob Chychrun sit fourth and fifth. Seravalli reports the Florida Panthers, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils and Calgary Flames were known to have talks with the Blackhawks about Hagel, though the Flames moved on to Tyler Toffoli.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I noted yesterday the report by Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times citing a source saying Hagel was virtually off the table. The Blackhawks could be listening to offers for just about everyone but Hagel probably won’t be moved unless they get a terrific offer.

As for Chychrun, lots of teams are believed to be interested. However, the Coyotes’ hefty asking price of a high first-round pick, a top prospect and a good young NHL player explains why he’s still in Arizona.

Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser, Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg, Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, Canadiens blueliner Jeff Petry, and Seattle Kraken rearguard Mark Giordano fill spots six through 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli notes the Boeser trade chatter increased soon after the Canucks new management team was in place. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’ll cost $7.5 million to qualify his rights.

However, the Canucks are still chasing a playoff berth in the Western Conference. Hockey ops president Jim Rutherford and general manager Patrik Allvin both said there’s no urgency to make trades. They could wait until the offseason to shop Boeser if they can’t reach an agreement on a new contract or receive a suitable trade offer before the March 21 deadline.

The Stars are also in the playoff hunt in the Western Conference. They might not shop pending UFA Klingberg unless they fall out of contention over the next four weeks. Fleury’s contract and modified no-trade clause make shipping him to a Stanley Cup contender a difficult move. The same goes for Petry. Giordano, on the other hand, could end up on the move before March 21 if the Kraken can find him a suitable destination.

Ottawa Senators forward Nick Paul, Canucks forward J.T. Miller, Stars winger Joe Pavelski, New York Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev, and Columbus Blue Jackets netminder Joonas Korpisalo fill spots 11 to 15.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Paul, Pavelski and Korpisalo are UFAs this summer while Georgiev is a restricted free agent. The Senators hope to retain Paul but they could shop him if they can’t reach an agreement on an extension.

What I said about Klingberg applies to Pavelski. I continue to have my doubts the Rangers will move Georgiev as that will send them into a thin goalie market for an experienced, reliable backup.

New Jersey Devils forward Pavel Zacha, Winnipeg Jets forward Andrew Copp, Blue Jackets winger Max Domi, Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk and Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith are in spots 16 to 20.

Zacha and DeBrusk are RFAs with arbitration rights while the others are UFAs. The Devils could entertain offers for Zacha but they can also afford to wait until the offseason. It’s been three months since DeBrusk requested a trade.

Copp will draw interest in the trade market if the Jets become sellers but that’s not yet a certainty. The well-traveled Domi could be on the move again. The Golden Knights won’t have to trade Smith to clear cap space if Mark Stone and Alec Martinez remain on LTIR for the remainder of the regular season.

Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell, Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nick Leddy, Coyotes winger Phil Kessel and Calvin de Haan round out the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rakell could be on the move if the Ducks continue to slide out of playoff contention. Roslovic has really struggled following the Jackets coaching change last summer. Leddy and de Haan should be affordable pickups for playoff contenders seeking defensive depth. Kessel could also interest clubs looking for a winger with playoff experience.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 9, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – February 9, 2022

Latest speculation over Golden Knights trade candidates as Jack Eichel’s debut gets closer, more talk of the Avalanche as a destination for Claude Giroux, plus updates on the Flames, Canucks and Blue Jackets in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports a source suggesting Jack Eichel could make his debut with the Vegas Golden Knights within the next couple of weeks. The 25-year-old center has been recovering from neck surgery since his acquisition from the Buffalo Sabres in November. He believes they’ll have to make a trade or two to clear sufficient salary-cap space when Eichel comes off long-term injury reserve.

LAS VEGAS SUN: Danny Webster lists forwards Reilly Smith and Evgenii Dadonov and goaltender Laurent Brossoit as possible trade candidates. If defenseman Alec Martinez remains on LTIR they would have to move $4.3 million in cap space. Smith and Dadonov each carry annual cap hits of $5 million. Moving one of them could do the trick.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Owen Krepps cites Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman discussing possible Vegas trade options. Friedman suggested Smith and Mattias Janmark while Marek proposed William Karlsson.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not the first time we’ve heard Smith, Dadonov or Brossoit bandied about as trade options. Janmark is a pending UFA carrying a $2 million cap hit while Karlsson carries a $5.9 million cap hit through 2026-27 with a 10-team no-trade clause. Dadonov also has no-trade protection.

Of these, Smith would be the easiest to trade. He’s got a $5 million cap hit but lacks no-trade protection and would have considerable value in the trade market among playoff contenders looking for scoring. The Golden Knights could be reluctant to part with him but might not have much choice if they can’t find takers for the other candidates.

GIROUX TO THE AVALANCHE?

THE DENVER POST: Mike Chambers cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman telling NHL Network that he considers the Colorado Avalanche as a perfect fit for Claude Giroux. The 34-year-old Philadelphia Flyers captain is an unrestricted free agent this summer and there’s growing conjecture over whether he’ll waive his no-movement clause at the trade deadline.

Given Giroux’s $8.25 million cap hit, Friedman suggested a possible three-way trade involving a club with salary-cap space willing to absorb part of the Flyers forward’s cap hit. He pointed to teams like the Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils. The Arizona Coyotes have two retained salaries but can only have three.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman’s been hammering the “Giroux to the Avalanche” drum for a while now. Whether that three-way deal materializes remains to be seen but we shouldn’t dismiss the possibility.

Any club picking up part of Giroux’s cap hit will only be doing so for the remainder of this season. The Coyotes could do it seeing how it’s only short term. It’ll depend, of course, on what they get as a sweetener to make the deal happen.

UPDATES ON THE FLAMES, CANUCKS AND BLUE JACKETS

TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving could be in the market for secondary scoring before the March 21 trade deadline. He also thinks the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens could be trade partners to address that need. A lot of the top contenders are seeking defensemen, which could give the Flames an edge in the trade market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe they’ll have an interest in Reilly Smith if the Golden Knights attempt to move him to clear cap space for Jack Eichel? Stay tuned…

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance reports Jaroslav Halak’s next game with the Vancouver Canucks will trigger a $1.25 million performance bonus in his contract. He also has a $250K performance bonus if he maintains a save percentage of .905 or higher this season. Those bonuses would count against the Canucks 2022-23 payroll because they’re using long-term injury reserve to exceed this season’s $81.5 million salary cap.

Assuming Halak agrees to waive his no-movement clause before March 21, the Canucks could negotiate with an acquiring club to have them pay his games-played bonus as part of the deal since it has to be paid within 30 days of the conclusion of the season. The other option is to clear enough cap space so that Halak’s bonuses count against this year’s cap payroll.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It might be easier to make a cost-cutting deal or two (J.T. Miller? Brock Boeser? Tanner Pearson? Conor Garland?) to free up cap space than to find a club willing to take on Halak’s bonus. Not playing Halak isn’t an option as team president Jim Rutherford said his contract has no bearing on whether he plays or not. Injuries could also force him into the lineup.

Aaron Portzline reports Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen could be busy at this year’s trade deadline. Pending UFA forward Max Domi is expected to be shopped and it seems center Jack Roslovic could be had for the right price.

The Jackets have been shopping goaltender Joonas Korpisalo for some time but his play hasn’t done much to boost his trade value. They could listen to offers for forward Gustav Nyquist but might have to retain part of his $5.5 million cap hit through 2022-23.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 7, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 7, 2022

Analysis of the Daily Faceoff’s updated 20 trade targets in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DAILY FACEOFF: San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl, Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot and Arizona Coyotes blueliner Jakob Chychrun top Frank Seravalli’s updated list of 20 NHL trade targets.

San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl (NHL Images).

Hertl’s having a strong performance in his contract year and could fetch the Sharks a strong return. Seravalli suggests keeping an eye on the New York Rangers in the Hertl sweepstakes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks remain in the hunt for a Western Conference wild-card spot but they could move Hertl if they fail to gain ground between now and the March 21 trade deadline. He’ll draw plenty of interest but the Rangers have the cap space and the depth in tradeable assets to perhaps outbid other clubs.

Seravalli said the Florida Panthers and St. Louis Blues have been linked to Chiarot. He believes the 30-year-old Canadiens defenseman could help Stanley Cup contenders like the Vegas Golden Knights, Colorado Avalanche, Washington Capitals or the Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And if one of those clubs is willing to part with a first-round pick they might be able to land Chiarot provided they’re not on his 10-team no-trade list.

The Coyotes won’t have much to build around if they trade Chychrun. That explains why their asking price is so high.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been reported the Coyotes could seek a return comparable to what the Buffalo Sabres got from the Vegas Golden Knights for Jack Eichel. In other words, a good young NHL player, a top prospect close to being NHL-ready, a first-round pick and a second-rounder.

Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse and New York Rangers goaltender Alexander Georgiev are fourth and fifth on Seravalli’s list. He said the Philadelphia Flyers have spoken to the Coyotes about Crouse. Georgiev made what Seravalli considers a “soft trade request” last summer. While it’s important for a team to have two trustworthy goalies, Seravalli considers Georgiev an unnecessary luxury when the Rangers have one of the best goalies in the league in Igor Shesterkin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 16 points in 31 games, the 24-year-old Crouse is well on his way to exceeding his career-high of 25 points on the low-scoring Coyotes. As Seravalli observes, he could become a 20-goal forward on a deeper club.

Shesterkin’s recent injury history and Georgiev’s improvement over the last month suggest the latter isn’t going anywhere this season. Georgiev is a restricted free agent this summer so the Rangers aren’t under any pressure to move him before the trade deadline.

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo, Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk, Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic, Jackets winger Max Domi, and Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith fill positions six through 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli said several teams have “engaged” with the Jackets regarding Korpisalo. As an unrestricted free agent this summer, he’s more likely to move than Georgiev.

DeBrusk’s trade request has been well-documented but Bruins general manager Don Sweeney hasn’t found a suitable offer yet. Perhaps DeBrusk gets shopped soon to free up some cap space for Tuukka Rask’s imminent return.

I’m not surprised to see Domi on this list given his UFA status this summer but Roslovic was a bit of an eyebrow-raiser. He’s struggled this season but the 24-year-old is an RFA this summer and really likes playing in his hometown. The Jackets don’t have to move him at the trade deadline but it wouldn’t hurt to entertain offers.

The Golden Knights must shed salary to make room for Jack Eichel’s return from neck surgery next month. Smith is considered the likely candidate because of his UFA status in July. Seravalli suggested he could fetch them a solid return, pointing to the Toronto Maple Leafs parting with a first-round pick and two-fourth-round picks at last year’s deadline for Nick Foligno.

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nick Leddy, Florida Panthers winger Patric Hornqvist, Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell, Coyotes winger Phil Kessel and New York Rangers winger Vitali Kravtsov are 11 through 15 on this list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Red Wings jockeying for a wild-card spot they could be reluctant to part with Leddy. Seravalli suggests the Panthers could move Hornqvist as a cost-cutting move but that could take place in the offseason. His gritty style could be invaluable for them in the playoffs.

I also have my doubts about Rakell being available with the Ducks flying high in the Western Conference. That could change if they should tumble down the standings. A playoff club in need of scoring depth could add Kessel as a rental player. He’s a proven postseason performer.

Kravtsov is on loan to KHL club Traktor Chelyabinsk. He cannot be recalled by his NHL team until Traktor’s season is over.

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan, Seattle Kraken blueliners Mark Giordano, Blackhawks center Dylan Strome and winger Henrik Borgstrom and San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane round out the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 37-year-old Giordano’s a UFA this summer and his chances of playing for a Stanley Cup contender are dwindling. Maybe he’ll get shopped to a Cup contender by the deadline.

Strome’s been in the rumor mill all season long but there’s doesn’t appear to be much interest in him, de Haan or Borgstrom. However, that could change leading up to deadline day.

Kane’s personal baggage and hefty contract have been well-documented obstacles blocking any chance of a trade. It could take enticing another team to get involved as a third-party broker to get a deal done but even that seems like a long shot.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 15, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 15, 2021

NHLPA strongly encourages players to get vaccinated, Jack Roslovic out to prove he can be a top-six center, the latest contract signings and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: NHL players are being strongly encouraged by the NHL Players Association to get vaccinated for COVID-19, warning about the potential loss of pay if they don’t.

Unvaccinated players who contract the coronavirus during this season or cannot play due to local health regulations face hefty fines and could have their pay withheld by their teams. It’s also unlikely they’ll receive an exemption to travel to Canada for games.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said over 85 percent of players are vaccinated. The league isn’t expected to mandate its players to receive the vaccine but will instead abide by government and public health guidelines. Daly indicated discussions with the PA over health protocols are ongoing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league and the PA want to prevent a repeat of last season when COVID outbreaks among several clubs. Those incidents resulted in rescheduling games as teams that were sidelined ended up playing through more compressed timetables once they were medically cleared to return to action.

Most players probably won’t need much encouragement to avoid face that again. The possible withholding of salary (which the teams are allowed to do) could provide sufficient enticement for the stragglers to get vaccinated.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Jack Roslovic is out to prove himself as a top-six center with the Blues Jackets. While his offensive ability was solid last season, his defense and faceoff skills needed work. Roslovic is hopeful his work ethic, new assistant coach Paul Vincent (who worked with him during their tenures with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose) and new head coach Brad Larsen’s system will help him improve.

THE PROVINCE: The Canucks avoided arbitration with Jason Dickinson, signing him to a three-year deal worth an annual average value of $2.65 million. The 26-year-old forward was acquired last month from the Dallas Stars.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Canucks have over $10.6 million in cap space with Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes to re-sign. It’s speculated it could cost between $12 million and $14 million to sign those two. The Canucks could get $3.35 million in cap relief if Micheal Ferland (post-concussion symptoms) is placed on long-term injury reserve.

TSN: The New York Islanders signed Aatu Raty to a three-year, entry-level contract. The 18-year-old forward was the second-round pick (52nd overall ) by the Isles.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Raty was projected to be a first-round selection but his struggles last season sent his value tumbling. Some observers feel he could be the steal of this year’s draft. His performance in a recent summer tournament suggests he’s playing like he’s got something to prove.

WXYZ.COM: The Detroit Red Wings signed goaltender Sebastian Cossa to an entry-level contract. He was the 15th overall pick in this year’s draft.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning anthem singer Sonya Bryson-Kirksey has been released from hospital following a nearly month-long battle with COVID-19 that at one point landed her in intensive care.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Bryson-Kirksey in her ongoing recovery.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 4, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 4, 2021

Brad Marchand and Alex Wennberg each tally a hat trick, the Stars and Sharks keep their playoff hopes alive and more Canucks added to the COVID-19 protocol list. Details and more in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Brad Marchand tallied a hat trick and David Pastrnak scored twice to lead the Boston Bruins over the Pittsburgh Penguins 7-5. Pittsburgh forwards Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel each had a goal and two assists. With the win, the Bruins (43 points) opened a four-point lead over the Philadelphia Flyers for fourth place in the MassMutual East Division. The Penguins (50 points) are seven points ahead of the Bruins in third, sitting two behind the second-place New York Islanders. The Bruins also learned defenseman Brandon Carlo is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury suffered on Thursday against the Penguins. 

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand (NHL Images)

Mathew Barzal scored the winner in a shootout as the Islanders nipped the Flyers 3-2. Anthony Beauvillier scored twice for the Isles but Claude Giroux countered with two to force extra time. The Islanders are tied with the Washington Capitals with 52 points but the latter holds first place in the East with a game in hand. Isles forward Ross Johnston left the game following a first-period fight with Flyers defenseman Samuel Morin and didn’t return.

The Buffalo Sabres picked up their second win in three games by edging the New York Rangers 3-2 in a shootout. Tage Thompson potted the winner for the Sabres. Artemi Panarin scored twice for the Rangers, who are tied with the Flyers with 39 points but the latter holds fifth place in the East Division with a game in hand.

The Tampa Bay Lightning picked up their 17th straight home victory over the Detroit Red Wings by edging the latter 2-1. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 25 saves while Ross Colton and Brayden Point tallied for the Lightning (54 points), who are tied with the Florida Panthers but hold first place in the Discover Central Division with a game in hand.

A hat trick by Alex Wennberg and a 44-save effort by Sergei Bobrovsky gave the Panthers a 5-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The struggling Jackets sit seventh in the Central with 36 points. Jackets forward Jack Roslovic was a healthy scratch in his contest with just two points in his last six outings.

A 41-save shutout by Juuse Saros carried the Nashville Predators to a 3-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Eeli Tolvanen’s 10th goal of the season was also the winning goal as the Predators (41 points) have won seven of their last eight contests, opening a two-point lead over the Blackhawks for fourth in the Central Division.

The Dallas Stars kept their playoff hopes alive with a 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Tanner Kero broke a 2-2 tie while Jake Oettinger kicked out 41 shots for the Stars (36 points), who sit five points behind the fourth-place Predators in the Central Division. The Hurricanes (51 points) remain three points behind the Lightning and Florida Panthers in the Central.

Cale Makar’s goal within the final minute of regulation lifted the Colorado Avalanche over the St. Louis Blues 2-1. Nathan MacKinnon also scored for the Avs (54 points), who won their fourth straight and sit four points up on the Vegas Golden Knights in the Honda West Division. The Blues (38 points) remain one behind the fourth-place Arizona Coyotes.

Third-period goals by Kirill Kaprizov and Joel Eriksson Ek 55 seconds apart rallied the Minnesota Wild over the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1. With 48 points, the Wild are just two back of the second-place Golden Knights in the West Division.

A third-period goal by Dylan Gambrell gave the San Jose Sharks a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Evander Kane and Kevin Labanc each had a goal and an assist as the surging Sharks moved into a tie with the Blues, though the latter holds fifth in the West Division on the basis of regulation plus overtime wins.

The Ottawa Senators got two goals from Evgenii Dadonov and 35 saves from Anton Forsberg to beat the Montreal Canadiens 6-3, snapping the latter’s three-game win streak. Artem Anisimov also collected three assists for the Senators while Josh Anderson tallied twice for the Canadiens, who remain in fourth place in the Scotia North Division with 41 points. Habs winger Tyler Toffoli also scored in his return to the lineup after missing three games with a lower-body injury. The Senators played without Colin White, who’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

THE PROVINCE: Seven more Vancouver Canucks players were added to the NHL COVID-19 protocol list on Saturday while two more coaches also tested positive. Travis Boyd, Thatcher Demko, Jayce Hawryluk, Bo Horvat, Tyler Myers and Brandon Sutter were the new additions to the list. Several of the cases affecting the club are the highly contagious Brazilian P.1 variant.

Hawryluk is a positive case, marking the second time in a year he’s tested positive for COVID-19. Research shows the P.1 variant is capable of reinfecting people who previously suffered from other strains of the coronavirus.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the NHL is proceeding on the assumption the entire Canucks team will likely test positive. It’s built into the league’s planning going forward, similar to what happened at the start of the season with the Dallas Stars. This is a variant of the coronavirus the league hasn’t seen before.

The Canucks shutdown will last longer than anticipated. They will not be playing next week. The league has discussed future dates with the club but those won’t be announced for a while.

North Division games will likely be scheduled past May 11, using the week of May 10-14 as a buffer. The three US divisions could still start their playoffs on May 11. The league also remains confident it can complete the 56-game schedule.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports there are discussions about holding the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs in a bubble environment similar to last year, though it’s not something anyone wants at this point. Much will depend upon how things evolve between now and then.

Meanwhile, the NHL has issued a memo to its 31 teams reiterating the rules, regulations and best practices for mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Previous outbreaks among several clubs have put a strain on the schedule, with most teams facing a grueling timetable over the next six weeks making up games postponed earlier in the season. That’s going to take a physical toll on the players over the next month.

The league wants to avoid moving the regular season and playoff schedules forward because they don’t want to push the postseason any deeper into the summer than it already is. They also don’t to risk the Stanley Cup Final being staged at the same time as the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, which are slated to begin on July 23.

Teams want to avoid a playoff bubble because it will adversely affect their already depleted revenue for this season. The players don’t want it because they’ll be separated for weeks from their families. Nevertheless, they could have little choice if the variants of the coronavirus lead to a significant increase in infections among the North American population.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 12, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 12, 2021

Recaps of Thursday’s action, the league introduces enhanced COVID-19 protocols, two more Flyers are added to the protocol list and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Evgeni Malkin’s game-tying goal late in the third period set the stage for Sidney Crosby’s shootout winner as the Pittsburgh Penguins edged the New York Islanders 4-3. Penguins Bryan Rust had a goal and an assist while teammate Zach Aston-Reese scored in his first game since returning from offseason shoulder surgery.

The Florida Panthers picked up a 5-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning to snap the latter’s six-game winning streak. Alex Wennberg and Aaron Ekblad each tallied a goal and an assist for the Panthers, who were playing without winger Anthony Duclair as he was added to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. The Lightning played without captain Steven Stamkos, who’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers have 18 points (8-1-2) and sit one point behind the Lightning in the Central Division.

Columbus Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic (NHL Images).

A four-goal third period rallied the Columbus Blue Jackets from a 4-2 deficit to nip the Chicago Blackhawks 6-5, ending the latter’s three-game win streak. Cam Atkinson scored and collected three assists while Jack Roslovic tallied twice. Blackhawks forwards Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat each had a goal and two assists. The Blackhawks played without Andrew Shaw as he suffered another concussion during Tuesday’s game against the Dallas Stars. They also learned defenseman Connor Murphy will miss 10-14 days with an injured right hip.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shaw has a history of head injuries. It may be time for him to consider retirement rather than risk further serious injury by continuing his playing career. Roslovic, meanwhile, has four goals and nine points in eight games since being acquired from the Winnipeg Jets and now centers the Jackets’ top line.

The Nashville Predators ended a three-game losing skid by clipping the Detroit Red Wings 3-2. Dante Fabbro netted the game-winner in the final minute of the third period. Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm missed the game with an undisclosed injury and was placed on injured reserve.

Connor Hellebuyck made 41 saves backstopping the Winnipeg Jets over the Ottawa Senators 5-1, handing the latter their fourth straight defeat. The Senators also lost goalie Matt Murray as he left the game after two periods following a collision with teammate Nikita Zaitsev. More information about his condition could be released later today.

Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith made 38 saves for his 40th career shutout to blank the slumping Montreal Canadiens 3-0. Jujhar Khaira, Darnell Nurse and Tyson Barrie were the goal scorers. The start time for the game was pushed back an hour after Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi was held out of the game-day skate and placed on the COVID-19 protocol list. The game was allowed to proceed following rapid testing of his teammates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens have returned to earth after their red-hot start. They’ve dropped three of their last four games and managed just six goals during that period. Opponents have neutralized the Habs’ offense by clogging the neutral zone and outworking them in their own zone. In recent years the Canadiens have started strong only to suffer setbacks during the second quarter of the schedule that leaves them struggling over the remainder of the season. Time will tell if the latest slump is a minor speed bump or the harbinger of yet another collapse.

The Carolina Hurricanes dumped the Dallas Stars 5-3 to hand the latter their four straight loss. Nino Niederreiter broke a 3-3 tie with a breakaway goal early in the third period. Jordan Staal and Sebastian Aho each had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes. Stars defenseman Andrej Sekera returned to the lineup after spending a week on the COVID-19 protocol list while goalie Anton Khudobin played his first game after being scratched from Sunday’s game for missing Saturday’s practice.

Jacob Markstrom made 33 saves to give the Calgary Flames a 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Markstrom and teammates Chris Tanev and Josh Leivo were playing their first game in Vancouver since the former Canucks signed with the Flames last fall. Sean Monahan and Mark Giordano each collected two points for the Flames while the spiraling Canucks suffered their sixth straight defeat.

The Los Angeles Kings picked up their first win in six games by thumping the San Jose Sharks 6-2. Drew Doughty collected three assists for the Kings while Tomas Hertl scored both goals for the Sharks. Earlier in the day, the Sharks announced goaltender Devan Dubnyk was listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks coach Bob Boughner called out goalie Martin Jones following this game, saying his performance was “not up to our standard.” Jones (5-3-0) has been erratic, playing well in his victories and getting pulled early in each of his defeats this season.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson made 21 saves to shut out the Vegas Golden Knights 1-0. Max Comtois tallied the lone goal as Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (27 saves) suffered his first loss of the season. The Golden Knights played without netminder Robin Lehner, who’s listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: The NHL is adding game-day rapid testing for players, team personnel and on-ice officials as part of its expanded safety protocols in hope of stemming potential COVID-19 outbreaks.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The number of Flyers on the COVID-19 protocol list rose to five as Jakub Voracek and Morgan Frost were added on Thursday. The club’s next scheduled game is Feb. 18, after which they’re slated to travel to Nevada to face the Boston Bruins in an outdoor game at Lake Tahoe.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL could be forced to find a replacement for the Flyers in that game or postpone that contest and shift it to an indoor venue at a later date.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild are cleared to resume team activities today though 12 players remain on the protocol list. They are scheduled to return to action against the Kings on Tuesday.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes fired assistant general manager Steve Sullivan, adding they would not be seeking a replacement for him. Sullivan was interim GM after John Chayka left his role with the club last summer.

CBS SPORTS: A lower-body injury will sideline Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk against the New York Rangers tonight.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Scott Perunovich will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery today.

NHL.COM: Willie O’Ree’s number retirement ceremony has been rescheduled to Jan. 18, 2022, to allow for in-person attendance. A trailblazer for players of color, O’Ree was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder in 2018. He’ll become the 12th player in Bruins history to have his number retired.