NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 10, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 10, 2017

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid celebrates a goal against the Vancouver Canucks.

Game recaps, McDavid wins Art Ross Trophy, opening-round playoff match-ups determined and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.com: Connor McDavid collected two assists to become the only player to reach 100 points this season as the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Vancouver Canucks 5-2. McDavid is the first Oiler to win the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading scorer since Wayne Gretzky in 1987. Oilers winger Jordan Eberle netted a hat trick.

The Anaheim Ducks picked up their fifth consecutive Pacific Division title by downing the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 in overtime. Shea Theodore scored the game winner for the Ducks. 

The Detroit Red Wings closed out the Joe Louis Arena with a 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils. Wings forward Riley Sheahan scored twice to snap a season-long goalless streak. 

In his final NHL game, Bryan Bickell scored in a shootout and Brock McGinn netted the winning goal as the Carolina Hurricanes edged the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2. Multiple sclerosis has forced Bickell into retirement. 

Three unanswered goals by Matt Calvert, Josh Anderson and Cam Atkinson lifted the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. James van Riemsdyk scored twice for the Leafs. 

Brayden Point scored twice and set up another as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-2. 

Brock Nelson had a goal and two assists and Anders Lee netted his 34th over the season in the New York Islanders’ 4-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. 

Vladimir Sobotka scored in his first NHL game since 2014 as the St. Louis Blues edged the Colorado Avalanche 3-2. 

James Reimer had a 38-save shutout performance as the Florida Panthers blanked the Washington Capitals 2-0. 

Magnus Hellberg made 22 saves for his first NHL win backstopping the New York Rangers to a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The opening-round postseason series have now been determined. In the Western Conference, it’s the Chicago Blackhawks vs the Nashville Predators, the Minnesota Wild vs the St. Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks vs the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers vs the San Jose Sharks. In the Eastern Conference, it’s the Washington Capitals vs the Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins vs the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Montreal Canadiens vs the New York Rangers and the Ottawa Senators against the Boston Bruins.  

The opening round schedule of the 2017 NHL playoffs has been released. The Pittsburgh Penguins host the Columbus Blue Jackets (7:30 pn ET),  New York Rangers meet the  Montreal Canadiens (7 p.m. ET); Boston Bruins face the Ottawa Senators (7 p.m. ET); St. Louis Blues square off against the Minnesota Wild (9:30 p.m. ET); and San Jose Sharks meet the Edmonton Oilers (10 p.m. ET).

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Dallas Stars announced Lindy Ruff won’t be returning as their head coach next season. 

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 19, 2017

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 19, 2017

Still more speculation suggesting the Washington Capitals could attempt to re-sign Kevin Shattenkirk in June.

 Latest on Kevin Shattenkirk, Matt Duchene, Justin Schultz, the Stars head-coaching job & more in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports there’s a belief any kind of playoff success could prompt the Washington Capitals to try and re-sign pending unrestricted free agent defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. Given their limited salary-cap space, Garrioch speculates they’d have to try get Brooks Orpik and his $5.5 million annual cap hit off their books. The Caps also have to re-sign T.J. Oshie, Karl Alzner and Dmitry Orlov. Garrioch believes the New York Rangers could be the frontrunner for Shattenkirk’s services if he tests the market in July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A couple of weeks ago, Capitals GM Brian MacLellan wouldn’t rule out the possibility of re-signing Shattenkirk. However, it’ll depend on how well he performs with the Caps over the remainder of the regular season and playoffs, as well as his asking price. It’s assumed he’ll seek a seven-year deal worth over $7 million per season. That’s far too expensive for the Caps, even if they somehow manage to clear Orpik’s contract from their salary-cap payroll. 

Buffalo Sabre head coach Dan Bylsma has three years left on his contract but league executives believe he’s under the microscope. Garrioch expects Bylsma will return next season behind the Sabres bench but they better get off to a good start after this season’s disappointment.

If the Colorado Avalanche decide to re-tool by shopping center Matt Duchene, Garrioch believes they should also find a new goaltender because Semyon Varlamov isn’t getting the job done.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury, Washington’s Philipp Grubauer and the NY Rangers’ Antti Raanta could be trade options. Ben Bishop, Brian Elliott and Scott Darling could be available via free agency. 

Garrioch expects the Dallas Stars will part ways with head coach Lindy Ruff this summer. Ruff’s contract expires at the end of this season.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson recently wondered if the Dallas Stars will replace Lindy Ruff at season’s end with former Stars bench boss Ken Hitchcock. He also considers former Edmonton Oilers coach Ralph Krueger and former Florida Panthers coach Gerard Gallant as possible candidates to take over for Ruff.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Stars hire a new coach, I doubt they’ll bring back Hitchcock. The current ownership and management likely want their own guy, not a blast from the past. Gallant could be on their radar. 

While the Colorado Avalanche are seeking multiple pieces for Matt Duchene, Matheson suggested the easier deals are one-for-one, such as the Nashville Predators sending defenseman Seth Jones to Columbus for center Ryan Johansen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs could be reduced to making a one-for-one swap this summer. No one’s paying their current high asking price of a good young NHL-ready defenseman or goalie, a first-round pick and a top prospect plus. 

Speaking of the Preds, Matheson doesn’t see them moving Roman Josi, P.K. Subban, Ryan Ellis or Mattias Ekholm. The Anaheim Ducks, on the other hand, have the depth to move one of their blueliners. Their top four consists of Cam Fowler, Lindholm, Sami Vatanen and Josh Manson, with youngsters Shea Theodore, Brandon Montour and Jacob Larsson waiting in the wings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Expect the Ducks to be the top trade target this summer for clubs with depth in young forwards in need of blueline depth. 

Matheson speculated it could cost the Pittsburgh Penguins three years and $12 million to re-sign blueliner Justin Schultz. They’ll also have to find some money to re-sign Brian Dumoulin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins have over $59 million invested in 15 players next season. Inking Schultz to $4 million annually will take a significant bite out of that cap space, but it’s likely necessary to keep him in the fold. Dumoulin and Connor Sheary are RFAs in need of raises, which could cost a combined $8 million. Centers Nick Bonino and Matt Cullen are UFAs, as are blueliners Ron Hainsey, Trevor Daley and Mark Streit. Hainsey and Streit likely won’t be re-signed and Cullen could retire. Re-signing Bonino and Daley will also eat up valuable cap room, perhaps another $8 million combined. Of course, they will likely drop a salary via the expansion draft, but perhaps not enough to free up room to re-sign everybody.