NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 17, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 17, 2020

Potential revenue streams for playing in empty arenas, plus the latest on Alex Ovechkin, Wayne Gretzky, Connor Hellebuyck and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the NHL could make between $400 million and $500 million USD through various media deals and sponsorships if the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs were staged in empty arenas.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And that, folks, is why the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association are examining every option to safely resume this season during the summer. Last month, the league reportedly informed the PA of potential losses up to $1.1 billion if the entire season was scrapped. If it’s at all possible to cut those losses in half, they’ll look into it.

ESPN.COM: Colorado Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said the three Avs players who tested positive for COVID-19 are feeling better. The trio adhered to the guidelines and self-isolated.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (Photo via NHL Images).

SPORTSNET: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin will face off against Wayne Gretzky in an NHL 20 game broadcast live on the Capitals’ Twitch channel on April 22, with the proceeds going toward COVID-19 relief benefits.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Speaking of virtual hockey, Golden Knights winger Alex Tuch is among several NHL players to team up with professional esports gamers to hold a 14-day live streaming virtual hockey marathon called Hockey2Help to benefit the coronavirus relief efforts. Chicago’s Alex DeBrincat, Toronto’s Mitch Marner, Columbus’ Zach Werenski and the New York Rangers’ Mika Zibanejad are among the participants.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck is considered the front-runner to win the 2020 Vezina Trophy, but he’d rather have a chance to win the Stanley Cup. “It would be a great milestone and it would definitely be one of my goals achieved but at the end of the day, what I truthfully want is the Stanley Cup and a chance to win it,” he said.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues re-signed defenseman Marco Scandella to a four-year, $13.1-million contract extension. Scandella, 30, appeared in just 11 games with the Blues after being acquired in February from the Montreal Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Scandella’s small body of work with the Blues, general manager Doug Armstrong was impressed enough to pay the veteran blueliner $3.275 million annually over the next four seasons. The 30-year-old rearguard took a pay cut from his current $4 million AAV but he obviously felt it was worthwhile sticking with the defending Stanley Cup champion. Given the uncertainty over the effect of the pandemic upon league revenue and this summer’s free-agent market, it was probably a wise decision.

The problem, however, is the Blues now have over $78.5 million invested in 19 players for 2020-21, with captain Alex Pietrangelo slated to become an unrestricted free agent in the off-season. Either Armstrong intends to let Pietrangelo depart, or he’ll have to make a cost-cutting trade and/or buyout to free up sufficient cap payroll to keep his captain in the fold.

TVA SPORTS: Former Montreal Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov has announced his retirement as a professional player. He spent his entire 16-year NHL career with the Canadiens, tallying 119 goals and 453 assists for 572 points, as well as 32 points in 89 playoff contests. He spent the past three seasons in the KHL. Markov sits sixth among the Canadiens’ all-time leaders in games played. He’s also tied with Guy Lapointe for second in all-time points among Habs defensemen and sits second among their blueliners in all-time assists.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Markov in his future endeavors.










Dillon to the Capitals, DeMelo to the Jets, Scandella to the Blues

Dillon to the Capitals, DeMelo to the Jets, Scandella to the Blues

The Washington Capitals acquired defenseman Brenden Dillon from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2020 draft (originally belonging to Colorado) and a conditional third-rounder in 2021. The Sharks retain half of Dillon’s $3.27 million annual average salary. If the Capitals win the 2020 Stanley Cup, the 2021 third-rounder becomes the 2020 third-rounder that originally belonged to Arizona.

The Washington Capitals acquire defenseman Brenden Dillon from the San Jose Sharks (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dillon, 29, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. He’s a big, physical rearguard logging over 19 minutes of ice time per game. He’ll bring some welcome grit to the Capitals’ blueline down the stretch and into the postseason.

The Sharks appear to be getting started on selling off their UFAs to restock their prospect pipeline. With Dillon gone, perhaps forward Melker Karlsson and goaltender Aaron Dell could be next. This move could also stoke speculation over the fates of Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.

The Winnipeg Jets acquired defenseman Dylan DeMelo from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a third-round pick in 2020.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets were in the market for some experienced blueline help. DeMelo is a reliable depth rearguard carrying an affordable $900K AAV. He’s also due to become a UFA this summer. TSN’s Darren Dreger speculates Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff might not be done adding to his defense corps before deadline day.

DeMelo could be the start of another UFA selloff by the Senators. Expect the conjecture about center Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s trade status to ramp up in the coming days.

The St. Louis Blues acquired defenseman Marco Scandella from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a second-round pick in 2020 and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2021.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of teams selling off UFAs, this could be just the start for the Canadiens. Ilya Kovalchuk and Nate Thompson could be next out of Montreal before the deadline. This deal means the Habs have three second-rounders and 12 picks overall in this year’s draft.

Scandella appears to be a replacement for Jay Bouwmeester, who’s on long-term injured reserve recovering from a cardiac incident last week.

 










NHL Rumor Mill – January 9, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – January 9, 2020

The latest on the Canadiens, Islanders, Flames, Predators, Penguins, and Avalanche in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD THE CANADIENS BECOME SELLERS?

SPORTSNET: If the Montreal Canadiens fail to climb back into playoff contention, Elliotte Friedman wonders if general manager Marc Bergevin will move some of his veterans by the Feb. 24 trade deadline.

LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Jean-Francois Chaumont examined Bergevin’s options if he goes into sell mode. The expensive contracts of goaltender Carey Price and defenseman Shea Weber makes them unlikely to be dealt. Weber’s leadership remains invaluable to the Habs.

Could Canadiens forward Max Domi price his way out of Montreal? (Photo via NHL Images)

Tomas Tatar and Jeff Petry are playing well and could fetch solid returns, but Petry’s value to the Habs blueline means it’ll take a significant offer to part with him. Chaumont also speculates Bergevin could listen to offers for Max Domi if the pending RFA proves too expensive to re-sign. It would be surprising if the Habs part ways with winger Artturi Lehkonen.

Chaumont suggests depth players such as Nate Thompson, Nick Cousins, and Brett Kulak could be peddled for draft picks. Recent acquisitions Ilya Kovalchuk and Marco Scandella could also have some value if they play well for the Habs in the coming weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens are nine points out of an Eastern Conference wild-card spot. Barring a miraculous turnaround between now and the trade deadline, they’re not going to reach the playoffs this season.

I don’t see Bergevin getting into a massive sell-off of assets but he could put UFAs like Kovalchuk, Scandella, and Thompson on the trade block. Price, Weber, Domi, and Petry aren’t going anywhere. Tatar has a year left on his contract, but Bergevin could gauge his value in the trade market. He’s not shopping any of his promising youngsters.

LATEST ON THE ISLANDERS

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports defenseman Adam Pelech’s season-ending Achilles injury is a huge loss for the New York Islanders.

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple recently reported Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello was succinct when asked about trade options to replace Pelech. “You don’t replace an Adam Pelech at the trade deadline,” he said.

Nevertheless, Staple speculates Lamoriello may still have to consider adding a veteran blueliner. Options could include San Jose’s Brenden Dillon, New Jersey’s Andy Greene, or Toronto’s Ben Harpur.

Staple also examined how the Islanders could address their scoring drought on the wing. He suggested Ottawa’s Tyler Ennis and Vladislav Namestnikov, Los Angeles’ Tyler Toffoli, Buffalo’s Conor Sheary, and Nashville’s Mikael Granlund as possible trade targets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lamoriello will assess his roster over the next several weeks to determine if a move or two is necessary. For now, they’re using Noah Dobson as a third-pairing defenseman, while coach Barry Trotz continues juggling his forward lines. If there’s no significant improvement, the Isles GM could enter the trade market in February.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST 31 THOUGHTS

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving has told potential trade partners he prefers players with term on their contract over rentals. If Elias Lindholm stays at center, Treliving will seek a winger. If not, he could go in a different direction.

Friedman also said there’s a sense change is coming to the Flames if they don’t improve. They’re happy with younger players like Rasmus Andersson, Dillon Dube, and Andrew Mangiapane but not as thrilled with some of their top dogs like Johnny Gaudreau.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Treliving wants a player with term, perhaps he’ll look at Chicago Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad once he returns from his recent ankle injury. Friedman recently claimed there’s talk Saad could be available.

If the Flames fail to improve this season, a major change such as moving Gaudreau won’t happen until the offseason. That’s assuming Treliving wants to go that route.

Friedman also reports the Pittsburgh Penguins are in the market for a replacement for sidelined winger Jake Guentzel.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And you can read my take here and here.

He also reports Nashville Predators GM David Poile could become a seller at the trade deadline if his club fails to gain ground in the standings. Center Kyle Turris has been shopped. Others could include Craig Smith, Mikael Granlund, and perhaps Nick Bonino.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My take on the Predators here.

UPDATE ON THE AVALANCHE

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 3, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 3, 2020

Three stars and top rookie of the month for December, Canadiens, Sabres, and Flames get busy in the trade market, milestones reached by Zdeno Chara, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COMNathan MacKinnon’s four-point performance (one goal, three assists) led the Colorado Avalanche to a 7-3 thumping of the St. Louis Blues. Nazem Kadri scored twice and Samuel Girard collected four assists. Robert Thomas scored twice for the Blues.

Nathan MacKinnon’s four-point effort carried the Colorado Avalanche over the St. Louis Blues 7-3 (Photo via NHL Images).

The Vancouver Canucks picked up their sixth straight win by holding off the Chicago Blackhawks 7-5. J.T. Miller had a four-point effort while teammates Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat, and Tanner Pearson each collected three points. Patrick Kane scored two goals for the Blackhawks while teammate Adam DeBrincat had three helpers.

The San Jose Sharks defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 on an overtime tally by Brent Burns. Joe Thornton picked up his 1,080th career NHL assist to move into seventh on the all-time assists leader list. Patric Hornqvist scored both Penguins goals.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are unbeaten in their last nine games (8-0-1) after downing the Winnipeg Jets 6-3. William Nylander scored two goals and set up another while teammate Frederik Andersen kicked out 45 shots. Earlier in the day, the Jets announced defenseman Nathan Beaulieu will miss at least a month with a lower-body injury.

Sean Monahan’s third-period goal gave the Calgary Flames a 4-3 win over the New York Rangers. Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and an assist for the Flames while Rangers defenseman Adam Fox collected three assists.

The Vegas Golden Knights scored four first-period goals and hung on to beat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4. Max Pacioretty scored twice for the Golden Knights, who killed off a 6-on-3 Flyers power-play in the final 90 seconds of the third period. Vegas winger Jonathan Marchessault missed the game with a lower-body injury.

A four-goal second period carried the Florida Panthers to a 6-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Evgenii Dadonov tallied twice and added an assist for the Panthers.

The Columbus Blue Jackets edged the Boston Bruins 2-1 on an overtime goal by Pierre-Luc Dubois. The Jackets’ point streak has reached 12 games (8-0-4). Bruins winger David Pastrnak tallied his league-leading 30th goal of the season.

Jack Eichel’s penalty-shot goal in overtime completed a 3-2 comeback by the Buffalo Sabres over the Edmonton Oilers. The Sabres overcame a 2-0 deficit on regulation goals by Curtis Lazar and Sam Reinhart. Sabres rookie winger Victor Olofsson left the game in the third period with a lower-body injury.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy’s 38-save performance carried his club over the Montreal Canadiens 2-1. The Habs played without winger Brendan Gallagher, who’s out indefinitely with a concussion.

Nico Hischier tallied the game-winner as the New Jersey Devils nipped the New York Islanders 2-1. The Devils are 4-0-1 in their last five games. New Jersey center Jack Hughes missed the game with an upper-body injury and is listed as day-to-day. Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech (lower-body injury) also missed this contest.

The Arizona Coyotes doubled up the Anaheim Ducks 4-2 following a three-goal third period. Goaltender Antti Raanta made 26 saves for the win.

HEADLINES

Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau, Pittsburgh Penguins goatender Tristan Jarry, and New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin are the NHL’s three stars for December 2019. Buffalo Sabres winger Victor Olofsson is rookie of the month for December.

Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara and San Jose Sharks forwards Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are the 12th, 13th, and 14th players in NHL history to play at least one game in four or more different decades.

TSN: The Montreal Canadiens yesterday traded defenseman Mike Reilly to the Ottawa Senators for a fifth-round pick in 2021 and minor-leaguer Andrew Sturtz. They also acquired defenseman Marco Scandella from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2020.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With these moves, the Canadiens add some much-needed veteran experience to their blueline in Scandella while shedding a $1.5-million salary-cap hit for 2020-21 by moving out the frequently-scratched Reilly. Eligible for UFA status this summer, Scandella can be considered a rental to keep the Habs’ flickering playoff hopes alive. The Senators, meanwhile, needed defensive depth with Dylan DeMelo, Nikita Zaitsev and Ron Hainsey sidelined by injuries.

The Sabres, meanwhile, flipped that draft pick they received from the Canadiens to the Calgary Flames for winger Michael Frolik.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres needed help up front. That they only had to part with a fourth-rounder speaks to the decline in Frolik’s stock. The Flames were reportedly close to moving Frolik at last year’s trade deadline to the Minnesota Wild in a deal for winger Jason Zucker but it fell through at the last minutes. Frolik might not be the only move the Sabres have in store, while the Flames could also be active in the trade market leading up to this year’s deadline. I’ll have more later this morning in my daily Rumors update.

THE ATHLETIC: Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown returned to practice yesterday following a stint in hospital recovering from pneumonia.

USA TODAY: Carolina Hurricanes center Erik Haula and his wife, Kristen, released a statement yesterday mourning the passing of their unborn daughter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My sincere condolences to the Haulas.










NHL Rumor Mill – December 20, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – December 20, 2019

The holiday roster freeze is in effect until 12:01 am on Dec. 28, but that hasn’t stopped the speculation. Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST PENGUINS SPECULATION

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Josh Yohe was asked if Minnesota Wild winger Jason Zucker or Los Angeles Kings winger Tyler Toffoli were realistic trade options for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He suspects they’d like to add a top-six winger before the trade deadline and feels those names are worth keeping in mind. The Penguins attempted to acquired Zucker last spring. Yohe doesn’t believe they have an interest in free-agent winger Ilya Kovalchuk.

Does Pittsburgh Penguins’ goaltender Matt Murray have value in the trade market? (Photo via NHL Images).

Yohe was also asked about shopping Matt Murray if Tristan Jarry continues out-playing him. He suggests Murray still has value in the trade market, though it’s not what it was a couple of years ago. He also doesn’t rule out forward Nick Bjugstad becoming a trade candidate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford making any moves following the trade freeze until his roster is healthier. He’s consistently demonstrated his ability at making significant in-season deals so I see him being busy near the trade deadline. I don’t think Zucker’s available now, but Toffoli will be for the right price.

Yohe didn’t say if he thought Rutherford would trade Murray. If the Penguins GM is considering that possibility, I don’t see it happening until the summer. Jarry’s playing well for now but Murray still has championship experience. Murray’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. His future in Pittsburgh could be decided on what type of contract he’s seeking. 

SABRES, HURRICANES WILLING TO SHED DEFENSEMEN FOR SCORING HELP

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports there are a lot of teams ready to shed defensemen in exchange for scoring help.

He points out Buffalo Sabres blueliners Colin Miller, Zach Bogosian, and Marco Scandella are among those in the rumor mill for some time. Carolina Hurricanes rearguards Jake Gardiner, Trevor van Riemsdyk, and Joel Edmundson are also out there.

McKenzie said the market’s been soft for those defensemen that are available.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Clubs in need of defensemen might be awaiting better options to appear in the trade market. Some of those teams could also be unwilling to part with a scoring forward.

Salary cap issues could also be a factor. Bogosian, for example, is carrying a $5.14-million cap hit this season while Scandella’s cap hit is $4 million. Gardiner’s earning over $4 million annually through 2022-23.










NHL Rumor Mill – December 19, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – December 19, 2019

The next potential trade-rental targets and updates on teams that aren’t interested in Ilya Kovalchuk in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: In his latest “31 Thoughts”, Ellliote Friedman looked at potential playoff rental targets now that Taylor Hall’s off the market.

With Taylor Hall off the block, New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider could be a hot target in the trade market. (Photo via NHL Images)

He considers New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider and Ottawa Senators center Jean-Gabriel Pageau as obvious targets, based on the past behavior of those clubs with their previous notable unrestricted free agents. Both clubs attempted to negotiate with their former UFAs right up to last season’s trade deadline before moving them. Friedman expects the same for Kreider and Pageau. He also speculates there could be a bit of interest in Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki.

Friedman expects the Los Angeles Kings will shop pending UFAs such as Tyler Toffoli and Trevor Lewis. The Buffalo Sabres have two UFA blueliners in Zach Bogosian and Marco Scandella, who’ve been healthy scratches at times this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kreider and Toffoli seem likely to be dealt by the deadline, but I’m not so certain about Pageau. The rebuilding Senators are showing improvement and Pageau’s been a part of that. The Senators might have to overpay a bit to keep him, but I can see Pageau staying in Ottawa.

Bogosian requested a trade and I expect the Sabres will try to accommodate his wishes. They could retain Scandella if they’re still in the playoff hunt by the deadline.

Several pending UFAs are on clubs that are trying to win this season, which eliminates the possibility they’ll be shopped this season. They include Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom and Braden Holtby, Boston’s Torey Krug, and St. Louis’ Alex Pietrangelo. He expects those teams will deal with the fallout after the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed. Unless those clubs completely collapse over the next two months, I don’t expect any of those players to be shopped. And in the case of Backstrom, I think the Caps intend to re-sign him no matter what.

The same goes for Toronto’s Jake Muzzin and Tyson Barrie, Philadelphia’s Justin Braun, Carolina’s Joel Edmundson and Erik Haula, the Islanders’ Thomas Greiss, Washington’s Radko Gudas, Pittsburgh’s Justin Schultz, and Arizona’s Carl Soderberg.

Friedman also points out several clubs trying to win that could shuffle the deck. He thinks that could affect Calgary’s T.J. Brodie or Travis Hamonic, Florida’s Mike Hoffman, and Nashville’s Mikael Granlund.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Granlund is probably the one in that list most likely to be shopped. He’s struggled to adjust with the Predators since being acquired from Minnesota last season. This could be a case of a player simply not being the right fit with a particular team. Granlund could regain his scoring touch with another club.

Vancouver could be worth watching. Friedman believes there could be interest in pending UFAs Josh Leivo, Chris Tanev, and Jacob Markstrom. However, the Canucks could stick with those three if they’re still in the playoff chase by February.

There could be a market for defenseman Erik Gustafsson if he doesn’t re-sign with the Chicago Blackhawks before the trade deadline. Depending on where the San Jose Sharks are in the standings, Justin Braun could also be available.

While the New Jersey Devils were in the process of trading Taylor Hall, Friedman said a team contacted them expressing interest in defenseman Sami Vatanen. Someone reported the St. Louis Blues offered up Vince Dunn as part of a pitch for Hall, but Friedman would’ve been surprised if they had. He also thinks Wayne Simmonds might prefer staying with the Devils, as he didn’t enjoy his experience last season as a rental player.

UPDATES ON KOVALCHUK