With the start of the NHL free-agent market fast approaching, here’s a look at today’s notable player movement.
The Montreal Canadiens trade winger Andrew Shaw and a seventh-round pick in 2021 to the Chicago Blackhawks. In return, the Canadiens receive a second- and a seventh-round pick in the 2020 draft and a third-round pick in 2021.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Can you say, “salary dump”, kids? I knew you could because that’s what this is. Shaw, 27, has three years remaining on his contract (stick tap to Cap Friendly) at an annual average value of $3.9 million. The Canadiens now have over $12 million in salary-cap room. It’s believed this move sets the stage for what could be one or two significant roster additions via trade or (most likely) free agency tomorrow.
Shaw, meanwhile, returns to the club where he began his NHL career, helping the Blackhawks win two Stanley Cups (2013, 2015). A physical checking-line winger with a decent scoring touch, his style of play has also taken a toll on his body. He was frequently sidelined over the past three seasons.
The Canadiens also traded forward Nicolas Deslauriers to the Anaheim Ducks for a 2020 fourth-round draft pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s an additional $950K off the Habs books. They’re also loading up on draft picks for the 2020 Draft. They now have 12 picks, including two in the second round, four in the fourth, and two in the fifth. Some of those could be used as trade bait in other deals.
The Florida Panthers trade goaltender James Reimer to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for goaltender Scott Darling and a sixth-round draft pick. The Panthers placed Darling on waivers to buy out his contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reimer is signed through 2020-21 with an annual average value of $3.4 million. With the Hurricanes attempting to re-sign Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney expected to depart tomorrow via free agency, Reimer could be filling the backup role. However, The News & Observer’s Luke DeCock says Reimer’s time with the Canes could be short. “Other potential moves in works,” he said. Stay tuned.
Florida Panthers trade James Reimer to the Carolina Hurricanes (Photo via NHL Images).
Darling had two years left on his contract with a $4.1 million AAV. Given his struggles over the past two years, he no longer had a future with the Hurricanes and doesn’t fit into the Panthers’ goaltending plans. Cap Friendly has the breakdown of the buyout.
The Edmonton Oilers placed defenseman Andrej Sekera on unconditional waivers for a contract buyout.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sekera, 33, had two years remaining on his deal worth $5.5 million annually. You can see the breakdown of the buyout here. This move comes as a surprise. Oilers GM Ken Holland had indicated he’d prefer keeping Sekera around. Looks like Holland wants the cap space for other moves.
The Philadelphia Flyers placed defenseman David Schlemko on unconditional waivers as a precursor to buying out his contract. The 32-year-old had a year remaining on his deal at $2.1 million.
Game recaps, injury updates, Canadiens and Flyers swing a four-player trade, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Philadelphia Flyers rookie goaltender Carter Hart collected his eighth straight win backstopping his club to a 6-2 drubbing of the Anaheim Ducks. Hart tied Jocelyn Thibault as the only two goalies in NHL history to win eight straight games before their 21st birthday. Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher confirmed Hart would remain with the club for the remainder of the season. While the Flyers have points (9-0-1) in their last 10 games, the Ducks have just two victories in their last 21 contests, sending them tumbling to the bottom of the Western Conference standings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hart’s the biggest reason behind the Flyers’ recent resurgence, providing them with the quality goaltending that was lacking earlier in the campaign.
As for the Ducks, injuries and a lack of scoring depth have crippled them this season, but I also believe general manager Bob Murray’s reluctance to fire head coach Randy Carlyle is another contributing factor. It’s apparent the players have tuned out Carlyle. Big changes are required in Anaheim and they should start behind the bench as soon as possible.
**UPDATE** The Ducks fired Carlyle this afternoon. Murray will take over as the coach on an interim basis for the remainder of the season.
John Tavares’ overtime goal lifted the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 (Photo via NHL Images).
John Tavares’ overtime goal gave the Toronto Maple Leafs (71 points) a 4-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens, opening a two-point lead over the latter for second in the Atlantic Division. Earlier in the day, the Canadiens shipped David Schlemko and Byron Froese to the Philadelphia Flyers for Christian Folin and Dale Weise, placed defenseman Karl Alzner on waivers, and placed Paul Byron (forearm) on injured reserve as winger Andrew Shaw returned to the lineup.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A bit of tinkering here for both clubs, with Schlemko and Weise as the notable players in this deal. By moving Schlemko to the Flyers, the Canadiens shed his $2.1 million salary-cap hit through next season while bringing back Weise ($2.35 million through 2019-20), who was a popular checking line forward during his previous tenure in Montreal.
The Canadiens sent Weise to their AHL affiliate but there’s talk they’ll try to bring him up into the roster soon. Schlemko, meanwhile, is expected to skate alongside promising Philippe Myers on the Flyers’ blueline.
The St. Louis Blues picked up their fifth straight win by nipping the Nashville Predators 3-2. Blues rookie goalie Jordan Binnington picked up his ninth win in 11 starts and teammate Vladimir Tarasenko stretched his points streak to seven games. The Blues (57 points) maintained their grip on the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton collected two assists to tie Gordie Howe (1,049) for ninth on the all-time list in a 5-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Kevin Lebanc tallied a hat trick for the Sharks. Following the game, Oilers head coach Ken Hitchcock criticized his players’ performance. “At this time of year, the coaches can’t want it more than the players,” he said. The Oilers (53 points) are four points out of a playoff berth.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The players are a disheartened bunch right. They’ve tried their best since the All-Star break but their lack of depth is hampering those efforts and hurting morale. Scolding them won’t overcome those issues.
Jacob Markstrom made 44 saves and Elias Pettersson scored the winner in a shootout to give the Vancouver Canucks a 5-4 win over the Calgary Flames. Pettersson also collected two assists in regulation. Flames winger James Neal lost some teeth after being struck in the mouth by the stick of Canucks defenseman Alex Biega but he was able to finish the game. Biega received a double-minor penalty. Earlier in the day, the Canucks revealed sidelined winger Sven Baertschi is dealing with post-concussion syndrome.
Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby surpassed Mario Lemieux for most games played in franchise history (916) in a 5-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Penguins (63 points) have dropped four straight and cling to the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.
An overtime goal by Patrice Bergeron gave the Boston Bruins a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Before the game, the Bruins honored Bergeron for recently playing his 1,000th career NHL game. The Kings also activated forward Trevor Lewis off injured reserve.
Third-period goals by Conor Sheary, Connor Mittelstadt, and Kyle Okposo carried the Buffalo Sabres to a 3-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. The Sabres (61 points) sit two points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.
The Minnesota Wild snapped their four-game losing skid by doubling up the New Jersey Devils 4-2, handing Devils goalie Cory Schneider his 20th consecutive loss. With the win, the Wild (59 points) hold the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Ryan Pulock scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the New York Islanders edged the Colorado Avalanche 4-3. It was the Avs’ sixth straight defeat, putting them three points behind the St. Louis Blues (57 points) for the final wild-card berth in the West.
Ottawa Senators goaltender Anders Nilsson made 44 saves as his club downed the Winnipeg Jets 5-2. Mark Stone scored twice against the Jets, who’ve dropped three straight games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe the Jets’ recent slump puts more pressure on GM Kevin Cheveldayoff to swing a deal before the trade deadline.
The Arizona Coyotes ended a five-game losing skid by holding off the Dallas Stars 3-2. Alex Galchenyuk scored twice for the Coyotes (53 points), who sit four points out of a Western Conference wild-card spot. Stars defenseman Roman Polak left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.
Mike Hoffman’s overtime goal gave the Florida Panthers a 5-4 victory over the Washington Capitals, giving the Panthers their sixth win in their last eight contests. Brett Connolly scored twice for the Capitals.
Cam Atkinson scored the game-tying and winning goals as the Columbus Blue Jackets rallied to down the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3.
Game recaps, injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines
NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy turned in a 31-save shutout performance in a 4-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Brayden Point scored twice for the Lightning. Earlier in the day, Vasilevskiy was named as the replacement for Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price in the 2019 NHL All-Star Game. Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov picked up his 70th point of the season, becoming the fastest player to reach that number since Jaromir Jagr in 1999.
Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov is the fastest player to reach 70 points in 20 years. (Photo via NHL Images)
Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask picked up his 250th career NHL victory by blanking the Minnesota Wid 4-0. Teammates Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron each had a goal and two assists. Earlier in the day, the Wild recalled forward Joel Eriksson Ek.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rask is now two wins away from tying Hall of Famer Tiny Thompson for the most career victories by a Bruins goaltender.
San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson extended his points streak to 14 games as his club thumped the Edmonton Oilers 7-2. Karlsson collected three assists while forwards Evander Kane and Joonas Donskoi each scored two goals.
Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler had a four-point night (one goal, three assists) to lead his club to a 7-4 victory over the Colorado Avalanche, who’ve dropped seven of their last eight games. Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba each had a goal and two assists for the Jets while Gabriel Landeskog scored twice for the Avalanche.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche hold the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference. If they don’t snap out of their current funk soon, they’ll tumble out of playoff contention.
T.J. Oshie scored twice, including his 200th career goal, as the Washington Capitals downed the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3. The Flyers tied an NHL single-season record by starting a seventh goalie as Mike McKenna made 21 saves in a losing cause.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers’ two-plus decades of failing to find or retain – hello there, Sergei Bobrovsky – a reliable starting goaltender has come home to roost in a big way this season. Addressing this issue must be the top priority of new general manager Chuck Fletcher.
Buffalo Sabres rookies C.J. Smith and Lawrence Pilut scored their first career NHL goals in a 5-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Sabres winger Jeff Skinner tallied his 29th goal of the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Skinner sits one goal behind Washington’s Alex Ovechkin for the league goal-scoring lead. He needs nine more goals to break his career high of 37.
The Carolina Hurricanes held off the New York Islanders 4-3 to pick up their fifth straight win while snapping the Isles’ six-game winning streak. Brock Nelson scored twice for the Islanders, who re-activated Valtteri Filppula off injured reserve and demoted winger Joshua Ho-Sang. With the loss, the Isles slipped one point out of the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ho-Sang continues to struggle to earn a full-time roster spot with the Islanders. I consider him a prime trade candidate, either at the deadline on Feb. 25 or during the offseason.
Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray made 36 saves to pick up his eighth consecutive win as his club defeated the Florida Panthers 5-1. Sidney Crosby tallied his 20th of the season and Bryan Rust scored twice, including one of two shorthanded goals for the Penguins.
Antti Niemi kicked out 30 shots as the Montreal Canadiens edged the Detroit Red Wings 3-2, handing the latter their eighth loss in their last nine games. Tomas Tatar had two assists for the Canadiens while Andreas Athanasiou tallied twice for the Wings. Earlier in the day, Canadiens defenseman David Schlemko cleared waivers and was demoted to their AHL affiliate in Laval.
Tyler Seguin scored twice and set up another as the Dallas Stars downed the St. Louis Blues 3-1. Blues forward Alex Steen is expected to be sidelined for the remainder of January with an injured left shoulder.
The Vegas Golden Knights picked up their seventh straight victory by beating the New York Rangers 4-2. Vegas forward Jonathan Marchessault snapped a seven-game goalless drought.
SPORTSNET: The Vancouver Canucks placed center Elias Pettersson (knee sprain) on injured reserve. He’s expected to return in time for the All-Star Game in San Jose later this month.
ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes center Nick Schmaltz will miss the remainder of this season with a lower-body injury.
The game recaps feature three shutouts, plus the three stars of the week, Carey Price drops out of the 2019 All-Star Game, and more in today’s NHL morning headlines.
NHL.COM: Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau scored twice as his club edged the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3. Gaudreau has collected 13 points in his last five games.
Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau is the NHL’s first star for the week ending Jan. 6, 2019. (Photo via NHL Images)
Speaking of Gaudreau, he led the NHL’s three stars for the week ending January 6, 2019. San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns and New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner were the second and third stars.
The Minnesota Wild shut out the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 as a brutal turnover by Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry set the stage for Wild center Mikael Granlund’s winning goal. Canadiens captain Shea Weber left the game after taking a puck to the face but is expected to return to the lineup for tonight’s game against the Detroit Red Wings.
Speaking of the Canadiens, goaltender Carey Price will skip the 2019 All-Star Game as he deals with a nagging lower-body injury. As a result, he’ll receive an automatic one-game suspension by the league. The Habs also placed defenseman David Schlemko on waivers.
The Nashville Predators blanked the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-0, handing the latter their third defeat in their last four games. Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne made 18 saves for the shutout while teammates Mattias Ekholm, Kevin Fiala, and Colton Sissons each had a goal and an assist.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs are one of the NHL’s highest-scoring clubs but the Predators schooled them in the art of shutdown hockey.
St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington’s NHL debut was a memorable one as he kicked out 25 shots for a 3-0 shutout of the Philadelphia Flyers, who’ve lost seven straight games. Blues center Ryan O’Reilly collected two assists.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The only good thing about the Flyers this season is Gritty.
San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson extended his personal points streak to 13 games with three assists in a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After a slow start to this season Karlsson has now adjusted to his new club, becoming an invaluable addition to their blueline.
SPORTSNET: Former NHL forward Dominic Moore signed with Switzerland’s ZSC Lions.
TSN: NHL defenseman Jason Garrison signed with Djurgardens IF in Sweden. Garrison’s NHL contract was terminated last week for declining to report to the Chicago Blackhawks AHL affiliate.
Latest on Mitch Marner’s contract situation, Brian Dumoulin and David Schlemko injured, Al Montoya on waivers, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE SCORE: Darren Ferris, the agent for Mitch Marner, said Friday he’s had some productive discussions regarding a contract extension with the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, if an agreement isn’t reached by the start of the season, they’ll renew talks next summer. Marner is in the final season of his entry-level contract.
Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner willing to wait until next summer to talk contract. (Photo via NHL Images)
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps the Leafs are waiting to see how much it costs to get restricted free agent William Nylander under contract before sending proposals to Marner and Auston Matthews, who’s also in the final year of his ELC.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin suffered an upper-body injury during Friday’s preseason game against the New Jersey Devils. Head coach Mike Sullivan hopes to have more information on Dumoulin’s status later today.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers placed goaltender Al Montoya on waivers yesterday for the purpose of assigning him to their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers are opting to go with inexperienced Mikko Koskinen as Cam Talbot’s backup. While Koskinen’s preseason numbers (10 goals on 69 shots, .885 save percentage) haven’t been good, he has a no-movement clause preventing his demotion.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Bad news for oft-sidelined Canadiens defenseman David Schlemko, as he’ll miss about six weeks because of an injured knee.
NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils claimed forward Jean-Sebastien Dea off waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Game recaps, injury updates & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Toronto Maple Leafs scored four times on their first five shots to defeat the Detroit Red Wings 6-3. Auston Matthews, William Nylander, Nazem Kadri and Morgan Rielly each scored a goal and set up another for the Leafs. Nick Jensen collected three assists for the Wings.
Jaden Schwartz tallied a hat trick to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Vladimir Tarasenko netted his 150th career NHL goal. The Blues also welcomed back forward Alexander Steen, making his season debut after suffering a broken wrist in preseason play.
Adrian Kempe and Mike Cammalleri did all the goal scoring for the Kings in their 5-1 victory over the hapless Montreal Canadiens. Kempe tallied his first career NHL hat trick while Cammalleri scored twice and set up two others.
It was a costly win for the Kings, however, as forward Jeff Carter left the game with a lower-body injury that could sidelined him for a while. Meanwhile, the Canadiens learned David Schlemko underwent surgery on his right hand and is sidelined three-four weeks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s still only early in this season but the Canadiens (1-5-1) are in deep trouble. Despite getting a high volume of shots in their first seven games, they’re struggling to find the back of the net. They certainly let down backup Al Montoya, who kept them in this game through the first two periods. Costly defensive breakdowns in the third period led to this loss for Montreal.
BOSTON HERALD: The Bruins announced forward Ryan Spooner (torn groin muscle) will miss four-to-six weeks. Meanwhile, goaltender Tuukka Rask was banged up in practice yesterday and didn’t return. A further update on his condition is expected today.
THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators listed center Nick Bonino as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Bonino’s agent believes he’ll be sidelined for “a couple of weeks.”
NBC SPORTS: Former NHL agent Stacey McAlpine has been charged with fraud in a case related to former Ottawa Senators Dany Heatley and Chris Phillips. McAlpine is accused of bilking the two players out of $12 million over a seven-year period.