That frustration drove Jakob Chychrun to request a trade, prompting Morgan to ponder if others such as Clayton Keller and Lawson Crouse might do the same if the club “follows the same lather, rinse and repeat formula for the next two seasons”.
If the Coyotes stick to that program, Morgan wondered why they would keep a player such as Nick Schmaltz around. The 27-year-old forward won’t be in his prime when the rebuild is over, his trade value has never been higher and his salary significantly increases over the next three seasons.
Morgan mused over whether the Coyotes could get more assets by peddling Schmaltz and 26-year-old goaltender Karel Vejmelka. He also wondered if doing so would upset their other core players.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It will be up to Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong and head coach Andre Tourigny to sell their younger stars like Keller on their program and keep them motivated to be part of it. If those guys lose faith over the next couple of years they could follow Chychrun’s example and ask to be traded.
Schmaltz and Vejmelka are in a different situation given their ages and where they could fit within their rebuild. That would explain why their names surfaced in the rumor mill leading up to the March 3 trade deadline. Armstrong could shop one or both this summer but, as Morgan observed, it comes with the risk of upsetting those younger core players.
I think it’s more likely Schmaltz and Vejmelka get traded than Keller and Crouse. That doesn’t mean that I believe Armstrong is going to trade those two older players this summer. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see if they pop up in the trade speculation leading up to the NHL Draft on June 28-29.
HOW WILL THE RED WINGS ADDRESS ITS IMBALANCE BLUELINE?
THE ATHLETIC: Max Bultman wondered how the Detroit Red Wings intend to address their imbalanced blueline. Most of their defense prospects are left-handed shots. He anticipates general manager Steve Yzerman will make one or two additions to the right side of their defense corps.
Free agent options could include the New Jersey Devils’ Damon Severson, the New York Islanders’ Scott Mayfield, Boston Bruins’ Connor Clifton or the Minnesota Wild’s Matt Dumba.
The Sabres, Avalanche and Stars are the winners in Monday’s action, the three stars of the week are announced plus injury updates and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: The Buffalo Sabres snapped a four-game losing skid with two third-period goals by Alex Tuch to hold off the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3. Dylan Cozens, Owen Power and JJ Peterka each had two points for the Sabres, who improved to 33-28-5 (71 points) to sit five points behind the New York Islanders for the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth. Auston Matthews had a goal and two assists for the Leafs (40-18-8) as they sit second in the Atlantic Division with 88 points.
Buffalo Sabres winger Alex Tuch (NHL Images).
Colorado Avalanche forward Artturi Lehkonen scored twice and collected an assist in an 8-4 drubbing of the Montreal Canadiens. Cale Makar collected three assists and Valeri Nichushkin had a goal and two assists for the 37-22-6 Avalanche, who sit in third place in the Central Division with 80 points. Josh Anderson scored his 20th of the season for the 26-35-6 Canadiens, who’ve dropped seven in a row.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lehkonen left the game in the second period with a broken finger after being struck by a shot. He’s returning to Colorado for surgery. Canadiens forward Rem Pitlick left the game in the first period after going head-first into the boards. No update was provided on his status.
The Dallas Stars downed the Seattle Kraken 5-2. Jamie Benn had a goal and two assists while Miro Heiskanen had three assists for the Stars (37-17-3) as they hold first place in the Central Division with 87 points. Vince Dunn had collected two assists for the 37-23-7 Kraken as they hold third place in the Pacific Division with 81 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stars forward Tyler Seguin remains sidelined recovering from a superficial cut to his leg. He could return to action within the next couple of weeks.
NHL.COM: Arizona Coyotes winger Clayton Keller, Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby and Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner are the three stars for the week ending March 12.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov is sidelined indefinitely with a knee injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Svechnikov’s absence is a big blow to the Hurricanes’ offense. He’s third among their scorers with 23 goals and 55 points in 64 games.
GOPHNX.COM’s Craig Morgan tweeted that Coyotes forward Christian Fischer is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. There is no timeline yet for Nick Schmaltz’s return from a lower-body injury.
CBS SPORTS: Minnesota Wild winger Marcus Foligno suffered a lower-body injury during Sunday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes.
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks have shut down rookie forward Cole Guttman for the rest of the season due to a shoulder injury.
TSN: The Nashville Predators signed forward Mark Jankowski to a one-year, $775K contract.
SPORTSNET: Eric Engels reports a potential expansion of video review for high-sticking and over-the-glass calls was discussed during yesterday’s meeting of NHL general managers. There was also discussion about meeting with the NHL Players Association to potentially grandfather in cut-resistant equipment as mandatory.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oh, goody! More things to slow down the game.
NORTH STAR BETS: Chris Johnston reports NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly takes a dim view of three-team trades where a club acts as a broker to allow trades among cap-strapped teams. He said the league has never favored such trades but relented to them years ago because general managers lobbied to have retained-salary transactions in the collective bargaining agreement.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe that was implemented in the updates to the CBA following the 2012-13 lockout. Former Leafs general manager Brian Burke was reportedly among those GMs at the time leading the charge for retained salary transactions to facilitate more movement in the trade market. I doubt we’ll see the league clamp down on that in the next round of collective bargaining.
Johnston also reported Daly didn’t sound as though there is any need to implement a rule that would prevent teams from sitting out players for “trade-related reasons” as we saw in the weeks leading up to the March 3 trade deadline. However, he didn’t rule out the possibility if it were to become a trend.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Daly may have said the same thing to the general managers. Probably something along the lines of, “Don’t make it a habit, gentlemen, or else.”
LeBrun believes the Flyers could entertain trade offers ahead of the June draft for Konecny, who has two years remaining on his contract with an average annual value of $5.5 million. It doesn’t mean they’ll trade him but they could look at what his market value might be. LeBrun said he knew of at least one playoff contender that was planning to make an aggressive trade offer before Konecny go hurt.
Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Konecny could be the Flyers’ best trade chip this summer but that depends on what their plans are going forward. Are they continuing to “aggressively retool” or will they finally engage in a roster rebuild? If it’s the latter, he could fetch the type of return that could help them over the long term.
Turning to Gibson, LeBrun reports most teams still view the 30-year-old goalie as a difference maker. He’s halfway through his eight-year contract with a $6 million AAV and a 12-team no-trade clause. LeBrun believes Gibson could agree to a trade to a playoff contender. There wasn’t much interest in him at the trade deadline but LeBrun thinks some teams could contact the Ducks during the offseason.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gibson’s contract (especially the annual cap hit) is a sticking point, especially given his less-than-stellar numbers in recent years, though in fairness those can be attributed in part to the depleted roster in front of him. I don’t doubt that some teams could come calling but they’ll either want the Ducks to retain half of that cap hit or take back a toxic contract in return.
The Arizona Coyotes weren’t able to move Nick Schmaltz despite his nearly point-per-game pace over the past couple of seasons and reasonable $5.85 million AAV. LeBrun believes it’s because the final three years of his contract are backloaded, meaning Schmaltz will earn $8.15 million in actual salary per season during that period. It could take a deep-pocketed team that likes the player to take him off the Coyotes’ hands.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Schmaltz’s injury history is also a concern. He missed 43 regular-season games in 2018-19, nine playoff games in 2020, 19 games last season and 16 games this season.
Recaps of Wednesday’s games, the three stars and rookie of the month for February are revealed, the Red Wings re-sign Dylan Larkin, the Penguins acquire Mikael Granlund, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored twice and collected an assist to down the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2. Zach Hyman had a goal and an assist against his former club as the Oilers improved to 33-21-8 and hold third place in the Pacific Division with 74 points. Mitch Marner had a goal and an assist for the 37-16-8 Maple Leafs as they sit second in the Atlantic Division with 82 points.
Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid extended his multi-goal streak to five games. Defenseman Mattias Ekholm joined the Oilers for his first game after being acquired from the Nashville Predators the day prior, logging over 20 minutes of ice time and collecting an assist on Hyman’s goals.
New Jersey Devils forward Dawson Mercer scored for the seventh straight game and collected three assists in a 7-5 victory over the Colorado Avalanche, snapping the latter’s six-game win streak. Tomas Tatar had a goal and two assists for the Devils (40-15-5) as they sit one point behind the Metropolitan Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes with 85 points. Nathan MacKinnon scored twice for the 34-20-5 Avalanche (73 points) as they remain one point back of the second-place Minnesota Wild in the Central Division.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Avalanche placed defenseman Cale Makar (concussion) on injured reserve.
Speaking of the Hurricanes, they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Vegas Golden Knights. Jack Eichel scored twice while Reilly Smith snapped a 2-2 tie late in the third period as the Golden Knights improved to 36-19-6 and sit in first place in the Pacific Division with 78 points. Martin Necas and Jordan Staal replied for the Hurricanes (39-12-8) as they’ve dropped two straight games.
An overtime goal by Vladimir Tarasenko lifted the New York Rangers over the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 3-2. Tarasenko also collected two assists while Igor Shesterkin kicked out 26 shots for the Rangers (35-17-9) as they sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 79 points. The Flyers have lost eight of their last nine games and dropped to 23-28-11.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Patrick Kane will make his debut with the Rangers on Thursday against the Ottawa Senators. The Rangers acquired the 34-year-old winger from the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday.
Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin tallied two goals and collected an assist as his club doubled up the Arizona Coyotes 4-2. The Stars improved to 32-16-13 and hold first place in the Central Division with 77 points. Coyotes forward Clayton Keller scored his 25th goal of the season as his club fell to 21-31-9.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyotes center Nick Schmaltz left the game in the second period after taking a puck to the left side of his face. Earlier in the day, the Stars placed forward Luke Glendening (undisclosed) on injured reserve.
The Washington Capitals kept their fading playoff hopes alive by nipping the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 on an overtime tally by Tom Wilson, who finished the game with two goals. The Capitals (30-27-6) are three points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 66 points. Trevor Zegras had a goal and an assist for the 20-34-8 Ducks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals defensemen Nick Jensen and Martin Fehervary left this game with injuries. Meanwhile, the Ducks withheld blueliners John Klingberg and Dmitry Kulikov from this game for trade-related reasons.
NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon and Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark are the NHL’s three stars for February 2023. Ottawa Senators goalie Mads Sogaard was named rookie of the month.
DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The Red Wings and Dylan Larkin reached an agreement yesterday on an eight-year, $69.6 million contract extension. Larkin’s average annual value starting next season will be $8.7 million. The deal also comes with a full no-trade clause through the first five seasons and becomes a 10-team trade list for the final three years.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Larkin’s lengthy contract negotiations at times made him the subject of trade speculation. However, it was clear the Wings weren’t going to trade him. Doing so would’ve left them without an established first-line center which would’ve significantly set back their development.
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins made two trades yesterday. The first saw them ship forward Teddy Blueger to the Vegas Golden Knights in a cost-cutting move, receiving a 2024 third-round pick and minor-league defenseman Peter Diliberatore in return. They followed up by acquiring forward Mikael Granlund from the Nashville Predators in exchange for a second-round pick in 2023.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Granlund is a versatile two-way playmaking forward who can play center or right wing. The 31-year-old carries an AAV of $5 million through 2024-25.
This move isn’t sitting well with some Penguins followers. They argue that adding Granlund does nothing to make the club younger, improve their speed or make them a bigger, tougher club.
The Predators, meanwhile, have accumulated nine picks in the four trades they’ve made since Feb. 25. They picked up a first-round pick in this year’s draft as well as a pick in the third, fourth and fifth rounds, two second-rounders and a fourth in 2024 and a first-rounder in 2025.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning traded forward Vladislav Namestnikov to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for forward Michael Eyssimont. That move frees up $500K in cap space for the Lightning.
Recaps of Monday’s games, the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2022 is inducted, the three stars of the week are revealed, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues held off the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on a third-period power-play goal by Jordan Kyrou. Jordan Binnington stopped 45 shots while Robert Thomas had a goal and an assist for the Blues (6-8-0), who’ve now won three straight games. The Avalanche (8-5-1) got a 36-save effort from Alexandar Georgiev while Mikko Rantanen tallied a goal and collected an assist.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Avalanche announced that Kurtis MacDermid would be sidelined for four-to-six weeks with a lower-body injury. They also placed sidelined forward Shane Bowers (upper body) on injured reserve.
Calgary Flames winger Jonathan Huberdeau (NHL Images).
Calgary Flames winger Jonathan Huberdeau tallied his 200th career NHL goal as his club held on to nip the Los Angeles Kings 6-5 and improve their record to 7-6-2. Tyler Toffoli and Elias Lindholm each had a goal and two assists for the Flames while Arthur Kaliyev scored twice for the 10-7-1 Kings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Huberdeau was returning to action after missing the last three games with an injured foot. Coming off a career-best 115-point performance with the Florida Panthers in 2021-22, he’s having a slow start with his new club this season with seven points in 12 games.
Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov made 27 saves for his first career NHL shutout in a 3-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Jordan Staal and Jordan Martinook each had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes as they improved their record to 10-5-1 while the Blackhawks dropped to 6-6-3.
The New York Islanders got a 36-save performance from Semyon Varlamov to double up the Ottawa Senators 4-2. Mathew Barzal collected two assists for the 11-6-0 Islanders. Claude Giroux and Tim Stutzle each had two points for the Senators as they fall to 5-9-1. Giroux extended his points streak to nine games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barzal is tied with Brock Nelson as the Islanders’ leading scorer this season with 18 points. He has yet to score a goal.
NHL.COM: The Hockey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022 was officially inducted on Monday night. The six members included former Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, former NHL goaltender Roberto Luongo and former Vancouver Canucks forwards Daniel and Henrik Sedin. Finnish women’s hockey star Riikka Sallinen and pioneering Black hockey star Herb Carnegie were also inducted.
PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Bill Clement and Al Morganti were inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame for media excellence.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Class of 2022 for their well-deserved honors.
NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen, Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark and New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox were the NHL three stars for the week ending Nov. 13, 2022.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine will be sidelined for three-to-four weeks with a sprained ankle. He’s the latest member of the injury-ravaged club to be sidelined, joining Zach Werenski, Jakub Voracek, Nick Blankenburg, Justin Danforth and Adam Boqvist.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets are also sitting at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings with nine points in 14 games. This rash of injuries will only make it more difficult for this club to climb out of that increasingly deep hole.
TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs announced defenseman Jake Muzzin is sidelined indefinitely with a cervical spine injury and will be re-evaluated in February. Fellow blueliner T.J. Brodie is expected to miss two weeks with an oblique injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The absence of Muzzin and Brodie has some pundits suggesting general manager Kyle Dubas should make a trade to bolster their injury-ravaged blueline. I’ll have more about this in today’s NHL rumor mill.
DAILY FACEOFF: Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun and center Nick Schmaltz are set to return to the lineup next week. Chychrun has been sidelined by off-season wrist surgery while Schmaltz has been sidelined by a rib injury since the Coyotes’ season opener.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chychrun’s been a fixture in the trade rumor mill for months. Expect the speculation to ramp up once he resumes playing.
NHL.COM: Seattle Kraken defenseman Carson Soucy was fined $5,000.00 by the department of player safety for roughing Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois on Sunday.
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW/CBS SPORTS: Sharks defenseman Radim Simek has been placed on IR with an upper-body injury while blueliner Nikolai Knyzhov (Achilles) has been placed on long-term injury reserve.
WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Quinn will be sidelined this week with an undisclosed injury.
Recaps of Monday’s games, Sidney Crosby tops the stars of the week, an update on the health of Hall-of-Famer Borje Salming, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad each had four points while Adam Fox collected three assists as the New York Rangers downed the Anaheim Ducks 6-4. It was Panarin’s second four-point game of the season and set a Rangers record for the most points (10) in the first four games of a season.
New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin (NHL Images).
Alex Ovechkin scored twice as the Washington Capitals defeated the Vancouver Canucks 6-4. The Capitals got four unanswered goals in the third period as Ovechkin finished the night with four points while Evgeny Kuznetsov had three assists. Kuznetsov could face supplemental discipline for slashing Canucks defenseman Kyle Burroughs in the face. Capitals winger Connor Brown left the game with an apparent injury to his right leg.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet reports the Canucks became the first team in NHL history to lose each of their first three games of the season after blowing a multi-goal lead in each game. They had a players-only meeting after the game but it could take more than that to address their poor defensive play.
Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk celebrated his 26th birthday with two goals and an assist in a 5-3 victory over the Florida Panthers. Patrice Bergeron had a goal and an assist while Linus Ullmark kicked out 38 shots for the win. Sam Bennett and Colin White each had a goal and an assist for the Panthers, who lost defenseman Aaron Ekblad to a lower-body injury in the second period.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers blueliner Brandon Montour missed this game with an upper-body injury.
The Arizona Coyotes upset the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2. Shayne Gostisbehere snapped a 2-2 tie late in the third period after the Leafs overcame a 2-0 deficit. The Leafs appeared to tie the game 3-3 with 37 seconds remaining but it was overturned on a hand pass by Morgan Rielly. Gostisbehere, Nick Ritchie and Christian Fischer each had a goal and an assist. Leafs captain John Tavares picked up an assist for his 900th career point. Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin left the game with a neck injury in the second period.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The overturned goal shouldn’t overshadow the fact the Leafs were dreadful for most of this game against a club that (on paper) they should’ve easily defeated. Whatever the reason, they struggled against a determined Coyotes club that didn’t collapse when the Leafs staged their third-period rally.
Nathan MacKinnon and Valeri Nichushkin each had a goal and two assists to lead the Colorado Avalanche over the Minnesota Wild 6-3, handing the latter their third straight loss. Kirill Kaprizov tallied twice for the Wild.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Goaltending has been an issue for the Wild thus far. Marc-Andre Fleury was terrible in their first two games while Filip Gustavsson wasn’t much better in this contest against the Avalanche.
The Montreal Canadiens nipped the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 on an overtime goal by Kirby Dach. Evgeni Malkin scored twice for the Penguins but the Canadiens got goals from Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield to force the extra frame. Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen missed this game on parental leave but Sam Montembeault got the win with a 26-save performance.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Caufield’s goal came from a beautiful thread-the-needle pass from Jonathan Drouin, who’s been the target of criticism from Canadiens fans and the subject of trade speculation. More passing plays like that could silence his critics and improve his stock in the trade market.
An overtime goal by Phillip Danault gave the Los Angeles Kings a 5-4 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Danault scored twice while Anze Kopitar, Kevin Fiala and Adrian Kempe each had two points. David Perron scored two goals and collected an assist for the Red Wings. Kings defenseman Alex Edler missed this game after being struck in the face by a puck during warmups.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A strong defensive effort by Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin set the stage for teammate Oskar Sundqvist’s game-tying goal that forced overtime. With his club down 4-3, Larkin hustled back to thwart Kings winger Viktor Arvidsson’s attempt at an empty-net goal after the Wings pulled netminder Ville Husso to go with six attackers.
Andrei Svechnikov and Sebastian Aho each had three-point performances to lead the Carolina Hurricanes to a 5-1 victory over the Seattle Kraken. Schenikov scored two goals while goalie Frederik Andersen turned aside 22 shots for the win.
The Dallas Stars rolled to a 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Jake Oettinger made 24 saves, Tyler Seguin and Miro Heiskanen scored while Mason Marchment collected two assists. Mark Scheifele scored for the Jets.
NHL.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid and Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oetting are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Oct. 16, 2022.
TORONTO STAR: Hall-of-Famer Borje Salming can no longer speak and has to be fed through a tube as a result of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). On Aug. 10, Salming released a statement indicating he’d been diagnosed with the disease for which there is no cure.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It appears Salming’s symptoms are spreading rapidly. Spare a thought or prayer for the Leafs legend.
DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi has been sidelined for four-to-six weeks with an upper-body injury.
ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes center Nick Schmaltz is out for six-to-eight weeks with an upper-body injury.
DAILY FACEOFF: The Philadelphia Flyers placed defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury. He played in two preseason games but missed their first two regular-season contests.