NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 30, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 30, 2018

Game recaps, injury and waiver updates, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Buffalo Sabres 10-game winning streak came to an end last night as they fell 5-4 to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Steven Stamkos scored the tying goal and Cedric Paquette netted the winner in the third period. Sam Reinhart scored twice for the Sabres.

Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine is the fourth-youngest player in NHL history to reach 100 career goals. (Photo via NHL Images)

Patrik Laine scored his 100th career goal to become the fourth-youngest player in NHL history to reach that milestone as the Winnipeg Jets edged the Chicago Blackhawks 6-5. Laine scored twice (his 20th and 21st of the season) while teammate Nikolaj Ehlers tallied a hat trick.  The Jets skated without defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, who suffered a concussion during Tuesday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Ryan Donato scored the only goal in a shootout to give the Boston Bruins a 2-1 win over the New York Islanders. During a pre-game ceremony, the Bruins honored Rick Middleton by raising his No. 16 to the rafters. Meanwhile, Bruins president Cam Neely suggested it was “unlikely” the club would extend a similar honor to former goaltender Tim Thomas, citing his limited tenure with the Bruins, who haven’t retired the numbers of any of their former goaltenders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thomas is a two-time winner of the Vezina Trophy and won the Conn Smythe Trophy for backstopping the Bruins to the 2011 Stanley Cup. Gerry Cheevers helped the Bruins win two Stanley Cups. Frankie “Mr. Zero” Brimsek won the Calder Trophy, two Vezina Trophies, was twice named to the First All-Star Team, and won two Stanley Cups. It’s ridiculous that the Bruins haven’t honored them.

The Edmonton Oilers spoiled the return of Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick with a 3-2 victory. Defenseman Oscar Klefbom potted the game-winner late in the third period. Quick had been sidelined since Oct. 23 by knee surgery.

Arizona Coyotes netminder Adin Hill made 29 saves to pick up his first NHL shutout in a 3-0 victory over the Nashville Predators. Recently acquired center Nick Schmaltz tallied his first goal as a Coyote. Earlier in the day, the Coyotes claimed goalie Calvin Pickard off waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers.

Max Pacioretty scored twice and William Karlsson netted the winning goal as the Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 to pick up their fifth straight win. Canucks defenseman Alex Edler was knocked from the game in the third period after being hit from behind by Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves.

Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson turned in a 27-save shutout to blank to New York Rangers 3-0. The Rangers were skating without Vladislav Namestnikov, who remains in concussion protocol since Monday’s game against the Senators.

Second-period goals from Cam Atkinson, Riley Nash, and Artemi Panarin gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Wild.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes placed goaltender Scott Darling on waivers yesterday and placed defenseman Haydn Fleury on injured reserve.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Acquired and signed last year to a four-year contract, Darling’s been a bust as the Hurricanes’ starting goaltender. He’s been outplayed this season by Curtis McElhinney and Petr Mrazek. If he clears waivers he’s expected to be sent to their AHL affiliate in Charlotte. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens have demoted defenseman Victor Mete to their AHL affiliate in Laval. 

NJ.COM:  The Devils placed rookie forward Joe Anderson (broken ankle, week-to-week) on injured reserve. 

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues placed forward Nikita Soshnikov on waivers. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins reclaimed Jean-Sebastien Dea off waivers from the New Jersey Devils and sent him to their AHL affiliate. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 25, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 25, 2018

Capitals re-sign Carlson, Senators re-sign Wideman, a couple of minor trades and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NBC WASHINGTON: The Capitals yesterday re-signed defenseman John Carlson to an eight-year deal reportedly worth an annual average value of $8 million. 

The Washington Capitals re-signed defenseman John Carlson to an eight-year contract (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise here. The Capitals couldn’t afford to lose their best defenseman, Their trade of blueliner Brooks Orpik and his $5.5-million cap hit to Colorado on Friday was done specifically to clear sufficient salary-cap space for Carlson’s new contract. The deal is comparable to the reported eight-year, $8.25-million AAV deal agreed upon between the Arizona Coyotes and Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

Carlson would’ve been the best defenseman in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market and would’ve attracted lucrative offers. The extra year from the Capitals and the opportunity to stay with the Stanley Cup champions were obviously attractive options for him.

With Carlson signed, Cap Friendly indicates the Capitals have over $66.2 million invested in 16 players. leaving around $13 million to re-sign free agents such as Michal Kempny, Tom Wilson, Devante Smith-Pelly and Jay Beagle. 

TSN: The Ottawa Senators re-signed defenseman Chris Wideman to a one-year, $1-million contract. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Chicago Blackhawks have acquired forward Michael Chaput from the Canucks for forward Tanner Kero.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues re-signed forward Nikita Soshnikov to a one-year, one-way contract worth $800k.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings placed defenseman Xavier Ouellet on unconditional waivers for the purpose of buying out the final year ($1.3-million AAV) of his contract.

MLIVE.COM: The Wings also traded defenseman Robbie Russo to the Arizona Coyotes for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2019. 


NHL Player Trade Value – Fan Opinion vs Reality

NHL Player Trade Value – Fan Opinion vs Reality

Fans of every NHL team are sometimes guilty of overvaluing their club’s roster talent and prospect depth. Take, for example, the reaction of some Toronto Maple Leafs fans when their club shipped little-used forward Nikita Soshnikov to the St. Louis Blues for a 2019 fourth-round pick.

Did the Toronto Maple Leafs get a poor return for forward Nikita Soshnikov from the St. Louis Blues? (Photo via NHL Images)

When Sportnet reported the deal, several Leafs fans took to the comments section complaining that their club should’ve received more for Soshnikov. A few fear this deal could one day haunt the Leafs.

The reality is the Leafs received exactly what Soshnikov is worth at this point in his career. He’s a hardworking, frequently injured 24-year-old winger who struggled to crack the Leafs roster.

As for the rationale behind the trade, Soshnikov had fallen behind other players on the Leafs depth chart. Due to return soon from injured reserve, the Leafs opted to move him to another club rather than demote another player.

In time, Soshnikov might blossom into a decent player in St. Louis. On the other hand, he could encounter the same issues with the Blues that he faced with the Leafs.

It’s not unusual for hockey fans to play “armchair general manager.” It’s fun to second-guess management decisions, discussing or debating them with friends or total strangers in chat rooms and message forums and comment sections.

Still, love of our favorite team can sometimes cloud our judgement.

That’s why we sometimes get upset when a young, unproven player is shipped away for a small return.

It’s why we wonder why the general manager of our beloved club hasn’t plucked away a rival’s superstar by offering up the equivalent of magic beans and a bag of pucks.

It’s why we question moves or ponder why their general manager isn’t pursuing a player on a rival club that appears to be there for the taking.

When another team acquires what we consider a solid asset for seemingly pennies on the dollar, we chide our GM for failing to act sooner when the opportunity was there.

It’s only natural to look at how someone’s doing a job and assume we can do better. Never mind that we hockey fans lack the qualifications to manage a pee-wee team, let alone a pro hockey franchise. No, we feel we’re smarter and can see the bigger picture.

Despite our opinions, the reality is few of us know the NHL trade market very well.

Even those of us fortunate enough to cover the league for a living are reduced to guesswork over a player’s trade value. We usually compare them to peers who were moved in earlier deals.

Those pundits fortunate enough to have insider knowledge will get tipped off as to what the GM is seeking for a return. In most cases, however, the return usually isn’t what we predicted it might be when the trade eventually goes down. On occasion, it’s considerably more. Usually, it’s less.

It’s the general managers, aided by coaches and scouts, who set the market value. Not every player’s is the same. What a team got for trading one player doesn’t mean they’ll get a similar or better return with another. Various factors – team and player performance, salary, no-trade clauses, injury history, roster depth, contract status, team chemistry, personalities, placement in the standings, pressure from ownership – come into play.

That’s not to suggest general managers are beyond reproach. Sometimes they make mistakes, some more than others. Even the best have the occasional blunder on their resume.

In most cases, however, they’re making the best deal they can based on how much their peers are willing to part with.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t voice opinions about a player’s value or critique a trade. It’s a harmless discussion and, for some of us, a nice way to earn a living.

Still, fan assessment of a player’s trade value will often differ from their actual worth in the NHL trade market.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 16, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 16, 2018

Game recaps, a couple of minor trades plus the latest on Alex Ovechkin, Taylor Hall and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall extended his points streak to a franchise-record 16 games (Photo via NHL Images).

  NHL.COM: Nico Hischier collected three points, Stefan Noesen scored twice and Taylor Hall extended his points streak to a franchise-record 16 games as the New Jersey Devils defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2. With the win, the Devils opened a three-point lead over the Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference standings, with the Devils holding the first wild-card berth.

A 50-save performance by Jaroslav Halak carried the New York Islanders to their first shutout win of the season, downing the New York Rangers 3-0. Isles rookie Mathew Barzal set up all three goals. Earlier in the day, Islanders forward Anders Lee politely rejected a donation to his cancer fund from a group raising money for a billboard demanding the replacement of general manager Garth Snow.

The Pittsburgh Penguins picked up their 10th consecutive home win by beating the Los Angeles Kings 3-1. Defenseman Dion Phaneuf scored his first goal as a King. Earlier in the week, he was dealt to Los Angeles in a multi-player trade.

Marian Gaborik scored a goal and added an assist in his first game with the Ottawa Senators to help his new team defeat the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Gaborik was part of the return Ottawa received from Los Angeles earlier this week in the Dion Phaneuf trade. Sens center Matt Duchene assisted on all three Ottawa goals. Earlier in the day, the Senators made their second trade of the week, shipping centre Chris DiDomenico to the Chicago Blackhawks for defenceman Ville Pokka.

The Tampa Bay Lightning snapped a two-game losing skid with a 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov had a four-point night (one goal, three assists) and Steven Stamkos potted two goals.

Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne saw his 11-game unbeaten streak end with a 4-3 loss to the Calgary Flames. Matthew Tkachuk and Dougie Hamilton each had a goal and an assist for the Flames.

Alex Ovechkin also had a goal and three assists as he led his Washington Capitals to a 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Ovechkin reached another milestone as he collected his 1,100th career NHL point. Tom Wilson also scored two goals for the Capitals.

The Chicago Blackhawks suffered their eighth straight loss, falling 3-2 to the Anaheim Ducks. Goaltender John Gibson made 42 saves as his club overcame a 2-0 deficit with three unanswered goals.

Arizona Coyotes rookie Clayton Keller had a goal and three assists as the Arizona Coyotes dropped the Montreal Canadiens 5-2. Keller’s teammate Brendan Perlini scored two goals.

The Edmonton Oilers suffered their fifth consecutive defeat in a 4-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights (80 points), who extended their Western Conference lead over the Nashville Predators by three points.

Goaltender Martin Jones made 43 saves while Brent Burns scored and set up another to give the San Jose Sharks a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

SPORTSNET: The Toronto Maple Leafs traded forward Nikita Soshnikov to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2019.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Leafs fans were disappointed with the return for Soshnikov. Goes to show that a player’s actual value in the trade market usually isn’t as high as fans believe. 

TSN: Florida Panthers winger Radim Vrbata last month submitted a 10-team list of acceptable trade destinations as requested by management. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun expects a limited market for the 36-year-old Vrbata, who has just 13 points in 36 games with the Panthers this season. 

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues activated forward Zach Sanford (shoulder surgery) off injured reserve and sent him to their AHL affiliate for conditioning. 


NHL Rumor Mill – February 5, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – February 5, 2018

Latest on the Maple Leafs and Penguins plus updates on Patrick Maroon and Mike Hoffman in your NHL rumor mill.


TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reports there’s a slim possibility the Maple Leafs could trade impending free agent left wing James van Riemsdyk at the Feb. 26 trade deadline. However, the general feeling is they’ll retain him for the remainder of the season. General manager Lou Lamoriello won’t just focus on possibly shopping other unrestricted free agents such as Tyler Bozak, Leo Komarov, Dominic Moore or Roman Polak. Winger Josh Leivo reportedly wants a fresh start elsewhere while Nikita Soshnikov could also be on the market.

Koshan notes rugged forward Matt Martin, who’s signed through 2019-20, has been a healthy scratch in the last five games. He also feels it could cost the Leafs a good young forward such as William Nylander, Mitch Marner or Kasperi Kapanen to acquire a top-four defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Jonas Siegel reports Leivo’s agent said his client doesn’t want to leave Toronto but he wants an opportunity to play. The 24-year-old forward has yet to suit up in 2018. While both sides appear to be handling this situation well, the Leafs’ forward depth probably means Leivo will remain the odd man out. Maybe he gets packaged for a return that attempts to boost Toronto’s defensive depth.

As for van Riemsdyk, I’ll be very surprised if he’s moved at the deadline. While Lamoriello won’t engage in a fire sale of his pending UFAs, I wouldn’t be shocked if one of the others noted by Koshan gets moved by deadline day. Maybe Martin, too, though his grit and experience could come in handy down the stretch and into the postseason. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: Jonathan Bombulie speculates the play of versatile center Riley Sheahan could determine what moves the Pittsburgh Penguins make by the trade deadline. Of late, Sheahan’s been centering Phil Kessel on the Pens’ third line. If he remains in that role, the Pens could pursue an affordable fourth-line center such as Edmonton’s Mark Letestu or Minnesota’s Matt Cullen, or perhaps look at upgrades elsewhere. If they feel Sheahan lacks the offensive skills to remain their third-line center, they could instead pursue someone such as Ottawa’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau. If they feel he’s an “in-betweener”, maybe they look at someone like Montreal’s Tomas Plekanec.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins’ improvement since December has somewhat reduced the pressure upon GM Jim Rutherford to swing a significant trade. Doesn’t mean he still won’t do it, but if Sheahan remains comfortable in the third-line position, it could shift Rutherford’s view from center to perhaps adding a scoring winger. 

Salary-cap constraints could force the Edmonton Oilers to move winger Patrick Maroon by the trade deadline (Photo via NHL Images).


EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples points out left wing Patrick Maroon’s been a model of consistency for the Oilers over the past two seasons.

So why would the Oilers consider trading him at the deadline? “Well, there are those massive contracts with Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Milan Lucic, not to mention a big contract with Andrej Sekera, and significant deals with Kris Russell, Adam Larsson, Oscar Klefbom and Cam Talbot. Big deals are surely on the way for Darnell Nurse and, I would argue, Jesse Puljujarvi.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the choice, I think Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli would prefer to re-sign Maroon. Maybe he can convince the winger to accept a hometown discount to stay in Edmonton. However, this is likely Maroon’s only opportunity to cash in on a big payday via free agency. If cap constraints prevent the Oilers from re-signing Maroon before the deadline, I think he’ll be on the move by Feb. 26. 

TSN: Frank Seravalli plays the “Tradecentre Match Game” with Ottawa Senators winger Mike Hoffman, listing the Carolina Hurricanes, Edmonton Oilers and New Jersey Devils as possible trade destinations. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes are struggling to score of late and that’s jeopardizing their playoff hopes. Carolina GM Ron Francis has yet to make a significant player-for-player hockey trade. That’s what it will probably take to pry Hoffman away from the Sens, who reportedly seek a young NHL-ready player in return. As per Cap Friendly, he carries a 10-team no-trade list and Carolina could be on it.

He also has an annual average value of over $5.1 million through 2019-20. That prices him out of the Oilers’ range unless the Sens are willing to pick up part of it, which is doubtful. Hoffman could be a good fit with the Devils, provided he’s willing to accept a trade to New Jersey. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 15, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 15, 2017

Game recaps, analysis of the Kings trading Cammalleri to Oilers, injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each scored twice as the Edmonton Oilers thumped the Vegas Golden Knights 8-2.

Henrik Sedin had a goal and an assist as the Vancouver Canucks overcame a 2-0 deficit to nip the Los Angeles Kings 3-2.

Earlier in the day, the Kings traded winger Mike Cammalleri to the Edmonton Oilers for forward Jussi Jokinen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cammalleri was losing ice time with the Kings as younger forwards such as Alex Iafallo and Adrian Kempe took on more prominent roles on their scoring lines. The Oilers need scoring depth at right wing and that’s where he’ll likely be slotted.  Jokinen, meanwhile, struggled with the Oilers and didn’t have the confidence of head coach Todd McLellan. The Kings hope he’ll provide experienced depth to their checking lines. 

Zach Werenski’s overtime goal gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Earlier in the day, sidelined Canadiens goaltender Carey Price assured the media his current lower-body injury isn’t related to the season-ending one he suffered in 2015-16, insisting it remains a minor issue. He’s been sidelined nearly two weeks. The Habs also claimed goaltender Antti Niemi off waivers from the Florida Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given Niemi’s poor performance this season, this move provoked criticism by Habs followers on Twitter. However, GM Marc Bergervin justified the decision, citing Price’s injury and uncertainty over how long backup Al Montoya might be sidelined by a concussion.

Call-up Charlie Lindgren’s playing well but Bergervin wanted a little more experienced behind him. Niemi played under Habs goalie coach Stephane Waite when both were with the Chicago Blackhawks, so perhaps Waite can help Niemi overcome his current difficulties in goal. 

Connor Hellebuyck made 33 saves while Adam Lowry scored and set up another to give the Winnipeg Jets a 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes, who set a league record by become the first team not to record a regulation win in its first 20 games of the season. Prior to the game, the Jets inducted former star Dale Hawerchuk into their Hall of Fame.

Earlier in the day, the Coyotes traded goaltender Louis Domingue to the Tampa Bay Lightning for goalie Michael Leighton and winger Tye McGinn.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The writing was on the wall for Domingue with the Coyotes when he struggled filling in for sidelined starter Antti Raanta, forcing the Coyotes to acquire Scott Wedgewood from the New Jersey Devils. He’ll become the Lightning’s third-string goalie. 

Devan Dubnyk picked up his third straight shutout and also collected an assist as the Minnesota Wild blanked the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0.

Sidney Crosby snapped an 11-game goalless skid and Conor Sheary scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Pittsburgh Penguins edged the Buffalo Sabres 5-4. Sam Reinhart had a three-point performance for the Sabres.

Kevin Fiala and Mattias Ekholm each had a goal and an assist to give the Nashville Predators a 6-3 win over the Washington Capitals. T.J. Oshie potted two goals for the Capitals. The loss spoiled the return of Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen, who missed 13 games with a left hand injury.  Earlier in the day, the Predators learned winger Scott Hartnell and defenseman Yannick Weber will be sidelined several weeks with lower-body injuries.

Aleksander Barkov and Vincent Trocheck’s shootout goals gave the Florida Panthers a 4-3 victory over the Dallas Stars. Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo made 40 saves and Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice for the Panthers. Jamie Benn tallied twice for the Stars.

NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils defenseman Mirco Mueller fractured his left clavicle during Sunday’s game against Chicago and will be sidelined indefinitely.

MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings forward Martin Frk could be sidelined for a week with a groin injury. 

TSN: Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion doesn’t expect winger Clarke MacArthur to play this season. MacArthur failed his team medical upon reporting to training camp in September and has since moved with his family to Florida. He’s been hampered by concussions in recent years.

SPORTSNET: The Toronto Maple Leafs called up forward Nikita Soshnikov and demoted forward Frederik Gauthier.