NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 29, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 29, 2019

Alex Ovechkin, Marc-Andre Fleury, and Steven Stamkos reach new career milestones, the latest injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Warren Foegele scored twice and collected an assist to lead the Carolina Hurricanes over the Washington Capitals 6-4. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 256th career power-play goal to pass Teemu Selanne for third on the all-time list. Capitals winger Tom Wilson missed the game with a lower-body injury.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin sits third on the NHL’s all-time power-play goal list (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin is in striking range of Dave Andreychuk (274) and Brett Hull (265) on the all-time list. 

Vegas Golden Knights netminder Marc-Andre Fleury made 27 saves for his 454th career victory in a 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Fleury moves into a tie with Curtis Joseph for sixth place on the all-time wins list. Teammate Shea Theodore collected three assists.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury is just four wins behind the New York Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist, who’s fifth on the all-time list. Both are the wins leaders among active NHL goalies. 

A three-goal second period enabled the Tampa Bay Lightning to hold off the Montreal Canadiens 5-4. Lightning captain Steven Stamkos picked up his 800th career point, Victor Hedman collected four assists, and Alex Killorn scored twice. Brendan Gallagher had two helpers for the Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stamkos is third among the Lightning’s all-time points leaders. Martin St. Louis is first with 953 points and Vincent Lecavalier second with 874. 

The New York Rangers edged the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 on an overtime goal by Tony DeAngelo, snapping the Leafs six-game win streak. Ryan Strome had a four-point performance and teammate Artemi Panarin collected three assists. Leafs center Auston Matthews scored two goals and set up another. The Rangers played without winger Brendan Lemieux, who’s sidelined 3-4 weeks with a fractured left hand. Earlier in the day, the Leafs announced defenseman Jake Muzzin is week-to-week with a broken foot whiile Ilya Mikheyev will miss at least three months following surgery to repair an artery and tendons in his wrist severed during Friday’s game against New Jersey.

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray made 44 saves in a 6-4 win over the Nashville Predators. It was Murray’s first victory since Nov. 9. The Penguins blew 3-0 and 4-1 leads before Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust clinched the win with two late goals. Rust had a four-point night and Evgeni Malkin picked up three assists. Predators captain Roman Josi also had three assists while Mikael Granlund tallied twice. Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist returned to action since being sidelined on Nov. 30 by a lower-body injury. The Predators placed winger Colton Sissons on injured reserve with an ankle injury.

Timo Meier tallied a hat trick as the San Jose Sharks halted a four-game losing skid by downing the Philadelphia Flyers 6-1. Sharks forward Melker Karlsson left the game in the first period after taking a slap shot to the head. He received some stitches and it’s hoped the injury isn’t as severe as it seemed.

Jacob Markstrom made a career-high 49 saves as the Vancouver Canucks nipped the Los Angeles Kings 3-2. Elias Petterson had two points, including the game-winning goal. Kings captain Anze Kopitar also had a goal and an assist.

Ben Bishop made 41 saves in regulation and overtime backstopping the Dallas Stars over the Colorado Avalanche 3-2. Joe Pavelski and Alexander Radulov scored the only goals in the shootout. The Avalanche have dropped four of their last five games.

The Florida Panthers overcame a 3-1 deficit and held on for a 5-4 victory over the Detroit Red Wings, handing the latter their fifth straight defeat. Mike Hoffman had a three-point peformance for the Panthers.


WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres winger Jeff Skinner is out three-to-four weeks with an upper-body injury suffered during Friday’s loss to the Boston Bruins.

NBC SPORTS: Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug (upper body, injured reserve) and Charlie McAvoy (upper body) won’t be available for tonight’s rematch against the Sabres.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers placed Markus Granlund and Brandon Manning on waivers.

CBS SPORTS: The Winnipeg Jets placed goaltender Eric Comrie on waivers.



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 28, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 28, 2019

Game recaps, Alex Ovechkin to skip the 2020 All-Star Game, injury updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Boston Bruins center Patrick Bergeron enjoyed his third straight two-goal game in a 3-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Goaltender Jaroslav Halak made 26 saves for the shutout. The Bruins played without defenseman Torey Krug, who suffered an upper-body injury earlier in the week. Sabres winger Jeff Skinner left the game in the third period with an upper-body injury.

Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron has scored twice in each of his last three games (Photo via NHL Images).

An own goal in overtime by New Jersey Devils blueliner Damon Severson gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a 5-4 victory. Leafs forwards John Tavares and William Nylander each had a goal and two assists, as did Devils forwards Nico Hischier, Kyle Palmieri and Jesper Bratt. Leafs forward Ilya Mikheyev left the game in the third period with a wrist injury after being accidentally clipped by Bratt’s skate blade. Earlier in the day, the Leafs revealed forward Trevor Moore is sidelined indefinitely with a concussion.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That goal pretty much symbolized the Devils’ season. They played well enough to win this one, only to lose it bizarrely.

T.J. Oshie’s scored in overtime as the Washington Capitals nipped the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1. Earlier in the day, Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin announced he’ll skip the 2020 NHL All-Star Game next month in St. Louis. Ovechkin thanked the fans for voting him captain of the Metropolitan Division, but felt he needs the extra time to rest and prepare for the second half of the season. He’ll receive an automatic one-game suspension by the league.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see if other players follow Ovechkin’s lead.

The Calgary Flames won the latest match in the Battle of Alberta by thumping the Edmonton Oilers 5-1. Andrew Mangiapane had a three-point game while teammates Elias Lindholm and T.J. Brodie had two points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With just four wins their last 15 games, the Oilers have slid from first place in the Pacific Division at the start of December to the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Flames, meanwhile, have won 10 of their last 15.

Chicago Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner won his first game against his former club in a 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders. He made 38 saves as the Blackhawks are 4-2-0 in their last six contests. Duncan Keith and Dylan Strome each picked up two assists.

New York Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist kicked out 39 shots backstopping his club over the Carolina Hurricanes 5-3. Mika Zibanejad scored twice and picked up an assist while Artemi Panarin scored and set up two others for the Rangers.

The Minnesota Wild tallied three unanswered third-period goals to down the Colorado Avalanche 6-4. Wild forward Zach Parise and Kevin Fiala each collected two points while Avalanche winger Matt Calvert scored twice. Avs rookie defenseman Cale Makar returned to action after missing eight games with an upper-body injury.

Pittsburgh Penguins netminder Tristan Jarry turned aside 30 shots in a 5-2 victory over the Nashville Predators. The Penguins have won five of their last six games.

David Perron’s overtime goal gave the St. Louis Blues their seventh straight win as they downed the Winnipeg Jets 5-4. Tyler Bozak scored twice and Jaden Schwartz picked up three assists. Kyle Connor tallied twice for the Jets.

Three goals within a 1:37 span in the second period enabled the Anaheim Ducks to hang onto a 4-3 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. Cam Fowler and Devin Shore each had a goal and an assist for the Ducks. Nate Schmidt tallied twice for the Golden Knights.

The Los Angeles Kings overcame a 2-0 deficit to edge the San Jose Sharks 3-2 on an overtime goal by Jeff Carter. Martin Frk scored twice for the Kings. Sharks center Joe Thornton netted his first goal of the season. Earlier in the day, the Kings placed forward Trevor Lewis (upper body) on injured reserve.


YARDBARKER: Former Kings winger Ilya Kovalchuk is ineligible to play in the KHL for the remainder of this season.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha is sidelined at least a month with a rib injury.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens forwards Joel Armia (wrist injury) and Paul Byron (knee) are listed as week-to-week. Center Jesperi Kotkaniemi is slated to return to action tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning after missing eight games with a concussion.

Has The Buffalo Sabres Long-Awaited Breakout Season Finally Arrived?

Has The Buffalo Sabres Long-Awaited Breakout Season Finally Arrived?


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 8, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 8, 2019

The Sabres re-sign Jeff Skinner, Ivan Barbashev receives a one-game suspension and Patrick Marleau puts his Toronto home up for sale. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

WGR550: The Buffalo Sabres last night reached an agreement with Jeff Skinner on an eight-year, $72-million contract extension. The 27-year-old left winger was slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. His new deal is worth an annual average value of $9 million. 

The Buffalo Sabres re-signed Jeff Skinner to an eight-year contract (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly provides the full details of Skinner’s new contract. He’s earned $10 million annually in actual salary through all but the final two seasons of this deal. In 2021 and 2023, he’ll receive $7.5 million in signing bonuses. It also comes with a full no-movement clause throughout.

Critics of Sabres general manager Jason Botterill quickly took to social media saying he overpaid to keep Skinner in the fold. They point to the decline in his goal production over the final two months of this season as a cause for concern.

Botterill, however, had little choice. Skinner established strong offensive chemistry with Sabres captain Jack Eichel. Letting him walk via free agency would’ve sent the wrong message to Eichel and his teammates, as well as the Sabres’ long-suffering fans.

Yes, this could end up being an expensive mistake by Botterill. But if Skinner continues to produce on Eichel’s line and helps turn the Sabres into a playoff contender, it’ll be considered as money well spent. 

STLTODAY: St. Louis Blues forward Ivan Barbashev will miss Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. He received a one-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Boston Bruins forward Marcus Johansson during Game 5. Blues GM Doug Armstrong called the punishment “excessive”. 

THE ATHLETIC: Thanks to the solid defense in front of Jordan Binnington, the Boston Bruins are struggling to cash in offensively on the Blues goaltender. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Bruins fail to address this issue in Game 6 on Sunday they can forget about returning to Boston for Game 7. 

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs winger Patrick Marleau put his Toronto home up for sale. Recent trade rumors have him linked to the Arizona Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marleau is coming off a down season and carries a $6.25-million annual cap hit through 2019-20. Still, he could be moved to a budget club if the Leafs bundle him with a quality draft pick or prospect or perhaps a young NHL-ready player.

It could take until early-July for a potential Marleau deal to go down. Cap Friendly indicates he’ll receive $3 million of his $4.25-million actual salary as a signing bonus on July 1. Interested clubs will likely prefer the Leafs pay that bonus. 

LAUSANNE HC: signed forward Josh Jooris to a three-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jooris spent five NHL seasons with the Calgary Flames, New York Rangers, Arizona Coyotes, Carolina Hurricanes, and Pittsburgh Penguins. He spent this season with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. 

NHL Rumor Mill – June 7, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – June 7, 2019

Updates on Jeff Skinner and Jack Roslovic, possible trade destinations for Kyle Turris, plus the latest on the Flyers and Stars in today’s NHL rumor mill.  


Is it crunch time in contract talks between Jeff Skinner and the Buffalo Sabres? (Photo via NHL Images)

TSN’s Bob McKenzie took to Twitter yesterday with an update on contract talks between the Buffalo Sabres and left wing Jeff Skinner. “A week later than perhaps I expected, but it sounds like the Jeff Skinner contract negotiations are down to crunch time,” writes McKenzie. “My sense is he’ll either get a deal done in the next day or two or head off to UFA. If it gets done, I’d presume it to be 8 years at around $9M AAV.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both sides have expressed optimism over getting a deal done. Looks like we won’t have to wait much longer to find out if that optimism was justified. 


NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall speculates Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher might not be done in the off-season trade market. He recently acquired pending free agent forward Kevin Hayes from the Winnipeg Jets. Noting Fletcher’s desire to add a veteran defenseman, Hall suggests Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba and Minnesota’s Jared Spurgeon as intriguing options. 

Trouba, 25, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights and a year away from UFA eligibility. The 29-year-old Spurgeon is also slated to become a UFA next summer. His salary-cap hit is just over $5 million for 2019-20 and he has a modified no-trade clause. While serving as Wild GM, Fletcher signed Spurgeon to his current contract. 

Hall also noted Fletcher is willing to entertain offers for the Flyers’ first-round pick (11th overall) in the upcoming NHL Draft. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall points out there’s no indication the Flyers are pursuing Trouba or Spurgeon. Including that first-round pick in a package offer for either guy, however, could prove enticing to their current respective clubs. I daresay the Jets and Wild would also want one of the Flyers’ good young defensemen as part of the return. Of the two, Trouba is the most likely to be available in the off-season trade market. 


THE ATHLETIC: During a recent mailbag segment, Adam Vingan was asked which teams could be realistic destinations for Nashville Predators center Kyle Turris. The Preds require a scoring forward but have limited cap space for 2019-20.

Turris is coming off a disappointing, injury-shortened campaign. He’s signed through 2023-24 with an annual cap hit of $6 million). Vingan suggests the Columbus Blue Jackets, Vancouver Canucks, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators as possible options. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All could use help at center and have the salary-cap space to absorb Turris’ annual average value. While he had a solid performance at this year’s World Championships, that might not be enough to entice one of those clubs to take on that full contract.

Vingan points out Predators GM David Poile has never retained salary in a trade before but might have to if he intends to move Turris. Otherwise, he could be forced to include a sweetener like a quality draft pick, a top prospect, or a promising youngster in the deal. 


WINNIPEG SUN: Paul Friesen reports the former agent for Jets forward Jack Roslovic denied a report claiming his ex-client requested a trade at least once during this season. “Jack never once asked for a trade,” said Ken Robinson. He explained Roslovic was disappointed in his role earlier this season as a fourth-line center. Despite being recently fired by Roslovic, Robinson went on to praise his former client.  

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this year’s trade deadline, there was a rumor claiming the Jets didn’t want to part with Roslovic in their pursuit of Kevin Hayes. That should be a good indicator that they remain high on the 22-year-old’s potential. He’s a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract. I doubt the Jets intend to move him. 


SPORTSDAY: During a recent live chat, Matthew DeFranks was asked who he saw as potential free-agent targets to be the Dallas Stars’ fourth defenseman. He took into account the Stars’ salary-cap constraints and the potential of losing that defenseman in the 2021 expansion draft. DeFranks suggests Tampa Bay’s Anton Stralman and Dan Girardi, Vegas’s Deryk Engelland, or perhaps Winnipeg’s Tyler Myers. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, it’ll have to be an affordable veteran option signed to 2021. 

NHL Rumor Mill – June 6, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – June 6, 2019

The latest on Erik Karlsson, Jacob Trouba, Jeff Skinner, Jason Zucker and more in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


TVA SPORTS: Renaud Lavoie said there’s absolutely nothing that indicates Erik Karlsson will sign with the Montreal Canadiens this summer. He was responding to an Ottawa Sun report claiming Karlsson hopes to get offers from the Canadiens and Ottawa Senators. The 28-year-old San Jose Sharks defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. 

Lavoie said several people close to Karlsson claim the Sun report didn’t hold water. The blueliner hasn’t yet informed the Sharks of his intentions. Even if he hits the open market, Lavoie said it won’t be down to the Senators and Canadiens. He points out the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning could become suitors. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sun report claimed Karlsson’s wife, an Ottawa native, wanted to return to the area or as close as possible. However, the Senators are rebuilding their roster with young players and seem to have moved on. The Canadiens need a left-side defenseman but could consider more affordable options than Karlsson. 

The cap-strapped Lightning must shed some salary to make room for Karlsson but they’ve also got to re-sign Brayden Point. Unless the rearguard is willing to accept a big pay cut, I doubt he’ll land in Tampa Bay. The Rangers have the cap space (over $19 million) to sign Karlsson but they could also target Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin. They can afford one but not both. 


WINNIPEG SUN: Ken Wiebe examined which clubs could make the best offer for Jacob Trouba. The 25-year-old Jets defenseman is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’s also a year away from UFA eligibility. There’s speculation he could be traded before month’s end.

The Winnipeg Jets could set a high asking price for defenseman Jacob Trouba (Photo via NHL Images).

Wiebe lists the Philadelphia Flyers, Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers, and New Jersey Devils as possible trade partners. Targets for return from the Flyers include defensemen like Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim, winger Travis Konecny, or center Nolan Patrick. Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen has surfaced in trade rumors this spring. 

Possible targets from the Penguins could include a defenseman like Brian Dumoulin or Olli Maatta or center Nick Bjugstad. Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei or center Brett Howden could interest the Jets, as could Devils defenseman Damon Severson. Wiebe believes the Jets could also target a first-round pick from the Flyers, Sabres, Penguins, and Rangers. 

TSN: Should the Jets trade Trouba, Frank Seravalli reports general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will try to re-sign Tyler Myers. The 29-year-old blueliner is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Seravalli said there’s no shortage of teams with interest in Myers. The Vancouver Canucks, Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars could pursue him. He could earn over $6-million annually on the open market. The cap-strapped Jets could try to get him at a slight discount in exchange for an expanded role on a potential winner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets’ asking price for Trouba could be a good young player and a first-round draft pick or two promising youngsters.  Landing a first-round pick means moving Trouba before the upcoming draft weekend (June 21-22) in Vancouver. I believe the Detroit Red Wings and Florida Panthers could also get into the bidding. A Trouba trade could open the door to re-signing Myers but that also depends on the cost of re-signing Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor. 


THE DENVER POST: Mike Chambers believes Jeff Skinner would be everything the Colorado Avalanche need. The 27-year-old Buffalo Sabres left wing is a four-time 30-goal scorer. Chambers feels Skinner would be a perfect fit on their second line or he could skate on the top line with Gabriel Landeskog moving down to the second. He also praised Skinner’s character and experience. 

Chambers also thinks it’s worthwhile for the Avalanche to look into signing Columbus winger Artemi Panarin. While the 27-year-old left winger is probably too expensive, Chambers doesn’t see the harm in trying. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sabres GM Jason Botterill remains confident of re-signing Skinner. If he hits the open market the Avs could consider calling him. However, they’ll have to get in line as he’ll attract lots of interest.

It doesn’t hurt to look into signing Panarin but I don’t think Colorado’s on his radar. Media speculation suggests he’d prefer signing with teams in Florida (Panthers), New York (Rangers or Islanders), California (Ducks or Kings) or returning to the Chicago Blackhawks. 


MSN SPORTS: cites a report by Mike Halford of Vancouver’s TSN 1040 saying a source claims the Canucks have interest in Jason Zucker. He said there are several proposals on the table for the Minnesota Wild winger.

Zucker carries a $5.5-million annual cap hit through 2022-23. His modified no-trade clause kicks in on July 1. The Canucks have plenty of cap room to absorb his contract, as well as some promising young players to tempt the Wild. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild reportedly offered up Zucker for winger Brock Boeser but the Canucks rejected it. Boeser, 23, is a restricted free agent. Unless he’s seeking far more than the Canucks are willing to pay, I don’t believe they’ll part with him. Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat, and promising blueliner Quinn Hughes are also untouchable. Beyond them, I’m not sure the Canucks have sufficient assets to offer up for Zucker. 


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Markus Lehto, who represents Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi, denied a rumor claiming his client signed with KHL team Jokerit. “Totally inaccurate,” said Lehto.

THE SCORE: Sean O’Leary cited TSN’s Darren Dreger saying league sources believe Puljujarvi remains a strong trade option for the Oilers.