NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 20, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 20, 2019

Patrick Kane has a four-point performance, Jack Eichel’s points streak comes to an end, the holiday roster freeze is now in effect, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane scored a goal and set up three others in a 4-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad left the game with an injured right ankle. Earlier in the day, the Hawks revealed defenseman Brent Seabrook remained in Chicago for medical evaluation. Meanwhile, the Jets reclaimed goaltender Eric Comrie off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane led his club to a 4-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets (Photo via NHL Images).

James van Riemsdyk scored twice and Travis Konecny collected three assists as the Philadelphia Flyers thumped the Buffalo Sabres 6-1. The Sabres played without captain Jack Eichel, who was scratched following an upper-body injury believed suffered during pre-game warmups. His 17-game points streak has come to an end.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel’s absence highlights his value to the Sabres. He’s put this club on his back this season, determined not to miss the playoffs again. If he’s out for a lengthy period, it could spell doom to their postseason hopes.

Mathew Barzal scored in regulation and the game-winner in a shootout as the New York Islanders edged the Boston Bruins 3-2. Islanders winger Cal Clutterbuck left the game to get stitches on his wrist after getting cut by a skate blade. Earlier in the day, the Isles activated Tom Kuhnhackl from injured reserve. The Bruins are 1-4-3 in their last eight games.

Ottawa Senators winger Anthony Duclair’s 20th goal of the season was also the overtime winner as his club beat the Nashville Predators 5-4. Senators center Jean-Gabriel Pageau collected three assists. The Predators overcame a 4-1 deficit to force the extra frame.

Minnesota Wild forwards Eric Staal, Mats Zuccarello and Marcus Foligno each had a goal and two assists in an 8-5 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon returned to the lineup for the first time since Dec. 3. Jakob Chychrun scored twice and Nick Schmaltz picked up three assists for the Coyotes, who lost goalie Darcy Kuemper to an injured right leg.

Chris Tanev’s overtime goal gave the Vancouver Canucks a 5-4 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. The Canucks had blown 2-0, 3-1, and 4-3 leads before Tanev’s heroics in the extra frame. Elias Pettersson scored twice for the Canucks, who scratched Brandon Sutter and Loui Eriksson from this contest.

Three unanswered goals late in the third period lifted the Carolina Hurricanes over the Colorado Avalanche 3-1. Andrei Svechnikov, Jaccob Slavin and Sebastian Aho were the goal scorers. Earlier in the day, Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard was fined over $1,900.00 for boarding Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat on Wednesday.

The Montreal Canadiens overcame a 2-0 deficit to down the Calgary Flames 4-3 on an overtime goal by Max Domi. It was the Habs’ sixth win in their last eight contests. Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, and Elias Lindholm each had two points for the Flames.

The Dallas Stars overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3. Tyler Seguin had two points, including the game-winning goal, while teammates Alexander Radulov and John Klingberg also picked up two points.

The Columbus Blue Jackets nipped the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on an overtime goal by Pierre-Luc Dubois. Jackets winger Cam Atkinson left the game with a lower-body injury. Earlier in the day, they placed defenseman Andrew Peeke (broken finger) on injured reserve.


The NHL holiday trade freeze is now in effect until 12:01 am ET on Saturday, Dec. 28.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz is listed as week-to-week with an undisclosed injury.

THE MERCURY NEWS: San Jose Sharks winger Kevin Labanc could miss the club’s weekend games with an upper-body injury. They also claimed forward Stefan Noesen off waivers yesterday from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Long-time hockey reporter Kevin Allen’s 34-year tenure with USA Today has come to an end.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Allen’s one of the best hockey scribes in the business. Here’s hoping he’s not out of the game for long.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 5, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 5, 2019

John Carlson leads the Capitals over the Kings, Evander Kane and Ryan Johansen fined, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Washington Capitals defenseman scored twice, including his 100th career NHL goal, in a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Carlson has 42 points in 30 games this season. The Capitals have won five straight games.

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson tallied his 100th career NHL goal (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Face Off Hockey Show host Scotty Wazz points out Carlson is on pace to become the first defenseman since Ray Bourque (1993-94) to exceed 90 points in a season. He’s currently on track for 115 points.

The Ottawa Senators snapped a five-game losing streak by upsetting the Edmonton Oilers 5-2. Tyler Ennis led the way for the Senators with a goal and two assists. The Senators held Oilers captain Connor McDavid off the score sheet while Leon Draisaitl was limited to an assist.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not easy to contain McDavid and Draisaitl. Any team that can have a chance of beating the Oilers.

Tristan Jarry had a 28-save shutout performance backstopping the injury-depleted Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues. Pittsburgh defenseman Jack Johnson (illness) joined Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist, Bryan Rust, Nick Bjugstad, Brian Dumoulin and Justin Schultz on the sidelines. The Penguins are 7-0-2 in their last nine home games.

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer kicked out 38 shots to down the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1. Nathan MacKinnon tallied a goal and picked up an assist for the Avs. During the game, Avs center and former Leaf Nazem Kadri was honored with a video tribute by the Leafs and a nice ovation from Toronto fans.


NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL’s department of player safety for elbowing Washington Capitals defenseman Radko Gudas on Tuesday.

TSN: Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen also received a $5,000.00 fine for elbowing Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point on Tuesday.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon is expected to miss two weeks with an upper-body injury. Captain Mikko Koivu is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

SPORTSNET: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alex Edler will be sidelined at least two weeks with an upper-body injury.

CBS SPORTS: Philadelphia Flyers winger Michael Raffl (finger) is on injured reserve.

The Winnipeg Jets claimed forward Nick Shore off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

STAR-TRIBUNE.COM: A Minnesota judge ruled former NHL player Mark Pavelich is mentally ill and dangerous, ordering him committed to a secure treatment facility. Another hearing is scheduled in February to determine if he’ll be committed for an indefinite period.

Pavelich, a member of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” US Olympic team, faced criminal charges for beating a friend with a metal pole following a fishing trip. His family is convinced he’s suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy related to repeated concussions during his NHL career.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2019

NHLPA decision to re-open CBA extended to Monday, Evgeny Kuznetsov receives a three-game suspension, Wild re-sign Jared Spurgeon, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE SCORE: The NHL Players Association intends to use a provision in the NHL collective bargaining agreement to extend its deadline to re-open the CBA to Monday, Sept, 16. The provision allows the deadline to be advanced to the next business day if the decision date falls on a Sunday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the PA decides to re-open the CBA, it will expire in one year if the two sides fail to reach agreement on a CBA extension. Optimists will consider this one-day extension as potentially good news, providing the PA and the league an extra day to work out a deal. Whatever decision the players make, Ottawa Senators PA representative Dylan DeMelo claims they will be united behind it.

WASHINGTON POST: Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov received a three-game suspension by the NHL after testing positive for cocaine this spring while representing Russia at the 2019 World Championships. Kuznetsov won’t appeal the suspension.

The NHL suspends Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov for three games after testing positive for cocaine earlier this year (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: it’s a slap on the wrist for Kuznetsov but also a warning shot across his bow. A repeat offense will lead to a lengthier suspension.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild yesterday re-signed defenseman Jared Spurgeon to a seven-year, $53-million contract extension. The annual average value is $7.575 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bill Guerin’s first significant signing since taking over as the Wild’s general manager is being widely applauded. Despite his 5’9″, 167-pound frame, Spurgeon is a key part of the Wild defense corps. The 29-year-old logs big minutes and plays well at both ends of the rink.

With the rising salary cap driving up players salaries, this deal for Spurgeon is already a bargain for the Wild. He would’ve received much more in next summer’s free-agent market.

WINNIPEG SUN: Winger Patrik Laine will train with SC Bern in Switzerland as his contract impasse continues with the Jets. Meanwhile, The Athletic’s Ken Wiebe reports Andrew Copp is dealing with a minor injury while Sami Niku and Kristian Vesalainen “were a bit stiff after they were in a fender bender on Friday.”

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Center Kevin Hayes denied a rumor from back in June claiming he would sign with the Flyers only if they overpaid him. “Someone made up something and that’s all I’m going to say about that,” he said. In June, he signed a seven-year, $50-million contract.

NHL.COM: Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk won’t be ready for the start of the season as he continues to rehab from off-season shoulder surgery.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens blueliners Noah Juulsen (head) and Karl Alzner (groin injury) are listed as day-to-day.

CBC: A U.S. casino is suing Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk “for more than $900,000, saying he tried and failed to pay them with bank drafts over a winter weekend in 2017.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Annnnnd the Melnyk Circus continues in Ottawa. Step right up, folks, and let’s see what mischief the Senators cantankerous owner can ensnare himself into this season.


NHL Rumor Mill – August 26, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – August 26, 2019

A look at this season’s top-10 trade candidates in the NHL rumor mill.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi, and New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider tops Matt Larkin’s list of this season’s top trade candidates.

Larkin dismissed recent attempts by Sabres general manager Jason Botterill to downplay the Ristolainen trade speculation. He pointed out Botterill loading up with right-side blueliners, Ristolainen’s apparent exasperation with the Sabres, and the club’s need for help at forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve suggested for weeks that the Sabres’ recent acquisitions of Colin Miller and Henri Jokiharju set the stage for a Ristolainen trade. Botterill, however, will wait for the right offer. It could happen before training camp, early in the season or at the trade deadline but it should happen at some point this season.

After struggling with the Oilers, Larkin believes Puljujarvi needs a fresh start elsewhere. It’s difficult to see him returning to the Oilers. His low trade value, however, could make it tough for GM Ken Holland to find a suitable deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As the Edmonton Journal’s Kurt Leavins observed, Puljujarvi has more value to the Oilers than he does in the trade market. The young winger lacks leverage as he doesn’t have a job lined up in Europe yet. He’s pressing to be traded but Holland can stand firm until he gets a suitable trade offer.

New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider remains a trade candidate this season (Photo via NHL Images).

Kreider could be shopped if the Rangers aren’t playoff-bound by the trade deadline. The Rangers insist he’ll be joining them in training camp. Larkin points out they have limited salary-cap space and restricted free agents Brendan Lemieux and Anthony DeAngelo to re-sign. He wonders if that could make Kreider a cap casualty.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For months, Kreider was the subject of trade speculation. Most of it had to do with his UFA status next summer and the Rangers’ cap space. It seems, however, they want to see how things unfold with him in the lineup this season.

Lemieux and DeAngelo could end up accepting the Rangers’ qualifying offers (over $1.7 million combined), meaning the Blueshirts won’t have to shed that much to become cap compliant.

The pending UFA statuses of Ottawa Senators center Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Florida Panthers winger Mike Hoffman could turn them into rental players by the trade deadline. If the Panthers are in playoff contention, Hoffman could be retained as an own rental for the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pageau ($3.1-million annual average value) should be an affordable re-signing for the Senators. But as Larkin points out, they’re in full rebuild mode and could peddle Pageau to the highest bidder. The veteran center could also decide he’s had enough of the Melnyk circus and move on.

Hoffman’s future will depend upon his role with the Panthers and what he seeks on his next contract. He was their leading goal-scorer (36) last season and finished third with 70 points. A similar performance could make him invaluable to the Panthers, especially if they’re in playoff contention.

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk is also slated for UFA status next summer. If a new deal can’t be reached, Larkin wonders if the Hurricanes will risk losing him for nothing. Meanwhile, Winnipeg Jets center Jack Roslovic has expressed frustration over his bottom-six role. A restricted free agent next summer, he hasn’t asked for a trade. Larkin suggests he could be used to acquire a defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Faulk’s been a fixture in the trade rumor mill for over a year but remains with the Canes. I’d like to think they could re-sign him but team owner Tom Dundon is something of a wild card. He could become a factor in determining Faulk’s future in Carolina.

Jets management doesn’t seem keen to part with the promising Roslovic. But as Larkin notes, their depth at forward shows how difficult it’s been for Roslovic to crack the top-six. The cost of re-signing Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor won’t give the Jets much wiggle room to take on a salaried defenseman unless they ship out a comparable salary. Roslovic (894k AAV) won’t address that issue.

Los Angeles Kings forward Tyler Toffoli, Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon, and Detroit Red Wings rearguard Mike Green round out Larkin’s list. All are pending UFAs on rebuilding/retooling teams.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another performance by the Kings like last season and they could entertain offers for Toffoli at the deadline.

Spurgeon expressed interest in re-signing with the Wild before their recent management change. That’ll depend upon where new GM Bill Guerin wants to take this team after he’s had time to evaluate their performance this season.

Wings GM Steve Yzerman will likely try to get something for Green by the trade deadline.

NHL Rumor Mill – August 23, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – August 23, 2019

Latest on the Wild, Stars, Rangers, and Canucks in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: With Bill Guerin the Minnesota Wild’s new general manager, Jared Clinton believes his first order of business is determining which direction to take the franchise. He could continue to build around the veteran core or use the opportunity to at least undertake a roster reset. He points out the Wild are thin on prospect depth.

Does Jason Zucker fit into the plans of the Minnesota Wild’s new general manager? (Photo via NHL Images)

Clinton feels Guerin must also decide if Jason Zucker has a future with the Wild. Earlier this year, the 27-year-old winger was nearly traded twice by Guerin’s predecessor. Trading him, however, would hurt their top-six forward depth.

Clinton advocates shopping defenseman Jared Spurgeon, who’s a year away from unrestricted free agent status. He feels Matt Dumba is a ready-made replacement for Spurgeon, who could fetch a significant return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what Guerin has in store for the Wild. A roster rebuild could be in the cards. Guerin could take this season to evaluate the Wild’s performance before deciding if a significant shakeup is necessary. If an overhaul is required, Zucker and Spurgeon could be his best trade chips.


THE ATHLETIC: Sean Shapiro recently reported defenseman Julius Honka doesn’t know if he’ll be playing with the Dallas Stars this season. A restricted free agent, he skated in just 29 games last season and was a frequent healthy scratch.

Stars GM Jim Nill discussed trading the former first-round pick (2014) during this year’s NHL draft. He’s since constructed a blueline that will be almost impossible for Honka to crack.

Shapiro believes Honka could thrive in a third-pairing role with another NHL club. He would also be affordable, costing perhaps less than $1 million annually to sign. However, he remains in limbo until the top unsigned RFAs are signed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Honka, 23, could be a cost-effective one-year gamble for a club looking for blueline depth. That being said, he could be waiting a while before someone comes calling with an offer.


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reported Tony DeAngelo and Brendan Lemieux face limited options in their contract standoffs with the Rangers. If they don’t accept the club’s qualifying offers (one-year, $874K), they could either withhold their services or attempt to attract an offer sheet from a rival club. The two aren’t in prime position to cash in that way but the compensation return for players of their pay grade is light and the Blueshirts have limited salary-cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With both coming off entry-level deals lacking arbitration rights, DeAngelo and Lemieux have little leverage here. A rival club could try signing them to an offer sheet but I don’t consider that likely. The Rangers could attempt to trade one or both if they don’t re-sign. Ultimately, I expect both will accept their qualifying offers.


VANCOUVER SUN: Ben Kuzma reports Canucks forward Nikolay Goldobin is expected to sign a short-term contract extension. He has no leverage, arbitration rights, or even a guaranteed roster spot because of the Canucks glut of wingers. GM Jim Benning expects to get something done soon.

Kuzma suggests they’re “either dangling yet another motivational carrot in front of Goldobin or perhaps they’re pondering a sign-and-trade scenario to free up cap space and a roster spot.” Once winger Antoine Roussel returns in December from knee surgery, Goldobin could be placed on waivers.

NHL Rumor Mill (Part Two) – June 21, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill (Part Two) – June 21, 2019

Updates on Matt Duchene, Chris Kreider, and Jesse Puljujarvi plus the latest on the Canadiens, Capitals, Senators and more in Part 2 of today’s NHL rumor mill. 


Note: All the Leafs speculation in that segment has been covered in Part One of today’s NHL rumor mill. 

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports it’s believed Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin inquired about Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere. The Flyers are happy to retain Gostisbehere but are willing to listen to offers. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergevin needs a top-four left-side blueliner, preferably one who can line up with Shea Weber on the Habs’ first pairing. No surprise he looked into Gostisbehere’s availability.

I’m expecting Bergevin to swing a deal this weekend to address that need. Maybe he’ll make a call to the Calgary Flames. T.J. Brodie is said to be available and can play either side. The Habs have also been linked to Nick Leddy of the New York Islanders. 

Darren Dreger reports Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning seeks an experienced blueliner via the trade market. He noted Colorado’s Tyson Barrie has surfaced in the rumor mill. If Benning decides to go the free-agent route, Winnipeg’s Tyler Myers could be an option.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Benning has the 10th overall pick in this year’s draft. Maybe he’ll dangle that as trade bait for a quality rearguard today.

LeBrun said the Columbus Blue Jackets haven’t yet made an offer for pending UFA center Matt Duchene but remain interested in keeping him. Duchene’s agent, Pat Brisson, will start fielding calls from interested clubs on Sunday and Monday and from there they’ll decide what their plans are. 

Chris Kreider’s days with the New York Rangers could be numbered (Photo via NHL Images).


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks feels Chris Kreider’s days with the Rangers could be coming to an end. The 28-year-old winger is a year away from UFA eligibility and there have been no contract extension talks between the two sides. Brooks speculates the Kreider camp could seek a six- or seven-year deal worth $6.75 million per season.

Given Kreider’s inconsistent play this season and the Rangers’ rebuilding efforts, he could hit the trade block this weekend. Brooks suggests shopping him for a first-round pick in this year’s draft, listing Detroit, Buffalo, Florida, Arizona or Colorado as possible trade partners. However, he expects those clubs would have to know they can re-sign Kreider to an extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers are expected to be among the bidders for scorers like Artemi Panarin or Matt Duchene if they hit the UFA market on July 1. It’s believed they’ll want to free up sufficient cap space to pursue those players. If Kreider no longer fits into the Blueshirts’ future, moving his $4.625-million cap hit for next season makes sense. I doubt they’ll get a first-round pick for him but it doesn’t hurt to ask.


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Robert Tychkowski reports Oilers GM Ken Holland is prepared to let Jesse Puljujarvi play in Europe next season. The agent for the 21-year-old winger said his client would play in Finland next season unless traded to a new NHL club. Puljujarvi is a restricted free agent on July 1. Tychkowski observes the young forward’s trade value is very low right now. He feels it’s unlikely Puljujarvi is traded unless it’s as part of a larger package. 

Oilers winger Milan Lucic has been the subject of frequent trade speculation this spring. However, Holland said he hasn’t asked the Lucic camp to waive his no-movement clause. He won’t do that unless there’s a deal in the works. So far, all’s quiet on that front. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Holland gets an impressive trade offer I don’t see him moving Puljujarvi. And since the Oilers retain his rights if the winger heads to Finland next season, he can afford to be patient with the youngster. Maybe Puljujarvi’s agent is trying to test Holland. If so, Holland is calling his bluff. 


THE WASHINGTON POST: Isabelle Khurshudyan reports on winger Andre Burakovsky’s uncertain future with the Capitals. He’s a restricted free agent and qualifying his rights ($3.25 million) could prove too expensive for the cap-strapped club. GM Brian MacLellan admitted Burakovsky’s inconsistency this season was frustrating but still considers him a good player. He said he won’t move the winger unless he gets a return he’s comfortable with. Khurshudyan speculates that could be “a draft pick or a comparable forward around Burakovsky’s age (24) and ability.”

SPORTING NEWS: Sammi Silber reports MacLellan acknowledged he’s “still talking to some teams” regarding Burakovsky. Silber said one possible suggestion could be shipping the winger to Edmonton for Jesse Puljujarvi. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacLellan could decide not to qualify Burakovsky’s rights in hopes of re-signing him as a UFA to a more affordable deal. It would be a risky move as Burakovsky could decide to pursue a more lucrative offer elsewhere. If that tactic isn’t workable, MacLellan could trade the winger rather than qualify him. 


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Ottawa Senators GM Pierre Dorion is willing to consider taking on the contract of a veteran player from a cap-strapped club. However, he’ll want a “sweetener” involved, such as a first-round draft pick or a top prospect included in the deal.

The Senators have plenty of salary cap space to make this work.  It’s believed five or six clubs have discussed moving contracts to the Senators. Those discussions could continue throughout next week. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Should the salary cap come in at between $81.5 to $82 million as rumored, the Senators will still have lots of cap space to take on a veteran contract. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $48.4 million invested in 16 players, with Cody Ceci and Colin White their noteworthy RFAs. Dorion should be able to work this to his advantage.