NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 20, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 20, 2022

The Devils extend their win streak to 12, the Bruins tie a league record for consecutive home wins, the Blues picked up their sixth straight win and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines

NHL.COM: The New Jersey Devils remain red hot by defeating the Ottawa Senators 5-1 to extend their winning streak to 12 games. Yegor Sherangovich and Michael McLeod each had a goal and an assist while Akira Schmid stopped 25 shots for the Devils (15-3-0) as they open a seven-point lead for first place in the Metropolitan Division with 30 points. Derick Brassard replied for the struggling Senators as they fall to 6-10-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Senators captain Brady Tkachuk took exception with some Ottawa fans chanting for the dismissal of head coach D.J. Smith at the end of this game. Tkachuk put the blame for the club’s poor play on himself and his teammates, claiming he was “sick and tired” of the criticism aimed at Smith.

Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy (NHL Images).

Speaking of win streaks, the Boston Bruins won their 11th straight home game by thumping the Chicago Blackhawks 6-1. Charlie McAvoy collected four assists and David Pastrnak tallied twice as the Bruins (16-2-0) tied an NHL record for the most season-opening home victories. They sit atop the league’s overall standings with 32 points. Jonathan Toews scored the only goal for the 6-8-3 Blackhawks.

The St. Louis Blues picked up their sixth straight victory by dropping the Anaheim Ducks 6-2. Pavel Buchnevich led the way with two goals and two assists while Robert Thomas had a three-point night as the Blues improve to 9-8-0. Adam Henrique and Cam Fowler replied for the Ducks as their record slides to a league-worst 5-12-1. Earlier in the day, the Ducks activated defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk off injured reserve.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: St. Louis winger Vladimir Tarasenko missed this game due to illness. It’s been a weird start to this season thus far for the Blues. They won their first three games and then lost eight straight before reversing their fortunes with their current win streak.

An overtime goal by Connor McDavid lifted the Edmonton Oilers over the Vegas Golden Knights by a score of 4-3. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins collected three assists while McDavid and Leon Draisaitl each had a goal and an assist as the Oilers improved to 10-8-0. Mark Stone tallied twice for the Golden Knights (14-4-1) as they sit in first place in the Western Conference with 29 points.

The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-2 to hand the latter their eighth straight loss. Leafs winger Mitch Marner collected two assists to extend his points streak to 12 games while William Nylander scored twice and John Tavares had a three-point performance. Alex Tuch and Casey Mittelstadt replied for the 7-11-0 Sabres while the Leafs raised their record to 10-5-4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Sabres claimed forward Tyson Jost off waivers from the Minnesota Wild.

Shootout goals by Jonathan Huberdeau and Rasmus Andersson gave the Calgary Flames a 5-4 victory over the Florida Panthers. Adam Ruzicka scored twice and collected an assist for the Flames (8-7-2) while Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and an assist for the 9-7-2 Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the first game between these two clubs since the trade in July that sent Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar to the Flames in exchange for Tkachuk.

Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn had a goal and two assists in a 5-2 win over the New York Islanders. Joe Pavelski, Tyler Seguin and Mason Marchment each had two points as the Stars extended their record to 11-5-2. Mathew Barzal netted his first two goals of the season for the Islanders as they slide to 11-8-0.

The Seattle Kraken nipped the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on an overtime goal by Jordan Eberle, who finished the night with two points as the Kraken (10-5-3) have won seven of their last nine games. Phillip Danault and Trevor Moore replied for the 11-8-2 Kings.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos tallied in overtime to tame the Nashville Predators 3-2. Nikita Kucherov had a goal and two assists and Brayden Point had two assists for the Lightning to boost their record to 11-6-1. Filip Forsberg and Nino Niederreiter replied for the Predators (8-8-2) while Juuse Saros made 36 saves in a losing cause.

The Colorado Avalanche blanked the Washington Capitals by a score of 4-0. Alexandar Georgiev kicked out 32 shots to pick up his first shutout with the Avalanche (10-5-1) while Cale Makar, Nathan MacKinnon, Andrew Cogliano and Artturi Lehkonken were the goal scorers. Darcy Kuemper made 25 saves against his former club as the banged-up Capitals drop to 7-10-3.

On the night the Minnesota Wild celebrated Alex Goligoski’s 1,000th career game, he scored in overtime in a 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Sam Steel scored the game-tying goal late in the third period for the 8-8-2 Wild while Sebastian Aho tallied for the 10-5-3 Hurricanes.

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry stopped 32 shots for his first shutout of the season to blank the Winnipeg Jets 3-0. Jason Zucker, Bryan Rust and Jake Guentzel were the goal scorers while Sidney Crosby collected two assists as the Penguins bolster their record to 8-7-3. Connor Hellebuyck made 29 saves for the 10-5-1 Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Jets announced winger Nikolaj Ehlers will be sidelined indefinitely as he undergoes sports hernia surgery next week.

The Montreal Canadiens overcame 2-0 and 4-3 deficits to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4 on a shootout goal by Nick Suzuki, who finished the night with two assists. Cole Caufield scored twice (including the game-tying goal with three seconds on the clock) while Mike Matheson scored in his season debut for the 9-8-1 Canadiens. Owen Tippett scored two goals for the Flyers (7-7-4) as their winless skid extends to six games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens winger Mike Hoffman suffered an undisclosed injury and left the game after the second period. The Flyers went into this contest with winger Travis Konecny sidelined by an upper-body injury. They also lost forward Scott Laughton in the third period with an upper-body injury.

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Filip Hronek scored two goals as his club romped to a 6-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Dylan Larkin and Moritz Seider each collected three points as the Red Wings improved their record to 9-5-4 while the injury-ravaged Blue Jackets fell to 6-10-1.

New York Rangers netminder Igor Shesterkin made 22 saves as his club held off the San Jose Sharks by a score of 2-1. All the scoring came in the third period as Julien Gauthier and Adam Fox tallied for the Rangers (9-6-4) while Logan Couture replied for the 6-11-3 Sharks.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 10, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 10, 2022

Growing speculation over the futures of Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko with the Blues plus a look at what the Oilers could do to replace the sidelined Evander Kane in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

COULD THE BLUES SHOP O’REILLY AND TARASENKO BEFORE THE TRADE DEADLINE?

STLTODAY.COM: Jeff Gordon suggests a retooling of the Blues roster could come sooner than later if they continue to flounder in the standings. With Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou are the new foundations of the franchise, general manager Doug Armstrong could consider parting with center Ryan O’Reilly and winger Vladimir Tarasenko for draft picks and prospects. Both are slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer.

St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly (NHL Images).

Gordon feels Tarasenko seems more likely to test the market given the past signals from his camp. Armstrong could ask him to waive his no-trade clause to facilitate a trade.

O’Reilly would be tougher to part with given his leadership value and his positive effect on the roster since his arrival. However, he turns 32 this season and appears to be slowing down. Nevertheless, he’d attract interest from postseason contenders.

THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford also believes there will be interest in Tarasenko and O’Reilly if they hit the trade block. However, it will likely be greater closer to the March 3 trade deadline than in November, when it’s difficult for contending teams to fit in players carrying $7.5 million cap hits.

Rutherford speculates Armstrong could be looking at smaller deals for more immediate help. He might be able to pull one off in the coming weeks.

SPORTSNET: Regarding a possible trade of O’Reilly, Ken Wiebe pointed out that Armstrong isn’t afraid of making difficult decisions when it comes to team captains on expiring contracts. He let Alex Pietrangelo walk in 2020 and did the same with David Backes four years earlier.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun suggested O’Reilly would look good centering the Colorado Avalanche’s second line. He also suggested Vancouver’s Bo Horvat and Chicago’s Jonathan Toews as other candidates for that role with the Avs if they become available in the trade market.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater mused about a possible reunion of O’Reilly and the Avalanche. He began his career in Colorado in 2009-10 and spent six seasons there before he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres in 2015.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the two, Tarasenko is the most likely to be traded by the Blues before March 3. He requested a trade in July 2021 over his unhappiness with the team doctors’ treatment of his injured shoulder. While he’s still with the Blues, there was a report this summer claiming he never rescinded that request.

I would’ve considered trading O’Reilly to be unlikely entering this season. Now, I’m not so sure. His struggles this season are one reason behind the Blues’ difficulties. That could dissuade Armstrong from signing him to an extension.

Unlike Tarasenko, O’Reilly lacks no-trade protection so the Blues GM can ship him anywhere, though I daresay if it comes to that he’ll ask his captain where he’d prefer to go. Maybe O’Reilly would welcome a return to the Avalanche. Then again, he could favor another destination.

HOW WILL THE OILERS REPLACE EVANDER KANE?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples wonders if the Oilers will use Evander Kane’s cap hit to add another top-six forward with Kane returning just before the playoffs. The 31-year-old winger is on long-term injury reserve for the next three-to-four months recovering from wrist surgery.

Yes, those are the rules, “ writes Staples. “Tampa Bay did it. It may well develop in that direction for the Oilers.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yes, it could. Kane’s average annual value is $5.125 million. According to Cap Friendly, the Oilers have $4.76 million in projected trade deadline cap space. However, they just ensure they can become cap compliant whenever Kane returns to action.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 9, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 9, 2022

A look at the biggest concerns facing the Blues, Senators, Bruins and Canadiens in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Limited scoring and defensive lapses are threatening to sink the St. Louis Blues’ season. If things don’t improve soon, GM Doug Armstrong could face deciding whether to attempt a season-saving trade or commence a rebuild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jeremy Rutherford followed up by exploring Armstrong’s options. He could replace head coach Craig Berube, trade pending UFAs Vladimir Tarasenko and Ryan O’Reilly, or start a rebuild.

St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly (NHL Images).

Rutherford believes Tarasenko and O’Reilly would draw plenty of interest in the trade market. However, it’s probably too early in the season to move them. If Armstrong decides to shop one or both, it’ll like be near the March 3 trade deadline.

A lack of consistency among the Ottawa Senators’ defensemen remains an issue. The recent injury to Artem Zub magnified the problem. They’ll have to do something soon lest it threatens to derail their season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators have some cap space (less than $4 million) plus plenty of promising young assets to use as trade bait. They could also dangle unsigned winger Alex Formenton if they can’t get him under contract before the Dec. 1 deadline.

They’ve been linked to Jakob Chychrun but the Arizona Coyotes defenseman remains week-to-week and won’t provide any immediate help. The Coyotes also set a high asking price that no one currently wants to pay.

This is supposed to be the season the Senators finally turn things around. With just four wins in their first 12 games, however, they’re at the bottom of the Atlantic Division and in danger of falling too far behind the pack to catch up. I suspect a trade could be coming sooner rather than later.

The Boston Bruins must clear salary-cap space when sidelined defenseman Charlie McAvoy returns to action. With Mike Reilly and Nick Foligno having cleared waivers, they’ll have to include some assets if they hope to part with either guy. Winger Craig Smith is an unrestricted free agent next summer but he’s been injured and his playing time has been reduced.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reilly seems like the odd man out. He hasn’t requested a trade but already spent a bit of time in the minors to make room for the return of Brad Marchand.

The Montreal Canadiens hoped to flip forwards Evgenii Dadonov, Jonathan Drouin and to a lesser extent Mike Hoffman for assets at the trade deadline. So far, however, their poor performances thus far haven’t done much to improve their value.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun yesterday reported Dadonov’s been held pointless thus far and hasn’t seen much time on the power play this season. That’s because head coach Martin St. Louis is going with the guys he trusts (Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield, Kirby Dach) to produce.

LeBrun indicated teams he’s spoken with about Dadonov said they want to see how he plays in the coming weeks to see if the Canadiens can create a trade market for him. He got back into the lineup for last night’s win against the Detroit Red Wings but did little to improve his trade value. Perhaps Dadonov will get more chances for playing time as the season goes on.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 15, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – October 15, 2022

Could the Blackhawks trade Jonathan Toews but not Patrick Kane? Could the Blues re-sign Vladimir Tarasenko but not Ryan O’Reilly? Will the Flyers trade a key veteran this season? Read on for the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Among their staff’s bold predictions for 2022-23 were three interesting forecasts involving the Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues and Philadelphia Flyers.

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews (NHL Images).

Mark Lazerus observed the consensus is the Blackhawks will trade Patrick Kane because he’ll be too valuable at the trade deadline to retain while Jonathan Toews is untradeable. However, he suggests Toews could be valuable to clubs like the Colorado Avalanche that could be in the market for a third-line center. As for Kane, Lazerus believes the winger could be looking for a reason to stay in Chicago and finish his career with the Blackhawks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That would certainly be a swerve from the current narrative suggesting Kane could end up playing for a contender like the New York Rangers by deadline day.

As Lazerus observed, Kane would have the best trade value of the two. However, the 33-year-old winger’s no-movement clause gives him complete control over his fate this season.

Toews also has a full NMC and the same cap hit ($10.5 million) as Kane. Nevertheless, he would be more affordable in terms of return for contenders seeking experienced postseason depth at center.

Jeremy Rutherford, meanwhile, made the bold prediction of the St. Louis Blues re-signing Vladimir Tarasenko and parting ways with team captain Ryan O’Reilly. He pointed out teams weren’t willing to trade for Tarasenko and wondered if they’d be willing to pay for his services in the free-agent market. He also asked if the Blues can afford to lose the skilled winger.

Rutherford suggested O’Reilly could be expendable with centers Robert Thomas and Brayden Schenn on long-term contracts. He also reminded us that general manager Doug Armstrong has parted company with previous captains like Alex Pietrangelo and David Backes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rutherford admitted he didn’t fully believe this scenario either. Still, the topic was bold predictions and this one certainly fits into that category.

Tarasenko’s probably a goner after this season. His unhappiness with the club’s medical staff over the treatment of his injured shoulder led to a trade request in 2021 that he reportedly hasn’t rescinded. They’ll likely re-sign O’Reilly to a five-year deal for slightly less than his current $7.5 million AAV.

Turning to the Flyers, Charlie O’Connor’s bold prediction is they’ll trade one of their “recognizable veterans on long-term contracts.” That player would likely be one who doesn’t buy into head coach John Tortorella’s game plan. If it happens, they could be quickly on the move as GM Chuck Fletcher can’t afford to be patient anymore.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: O’Connor didn’t single anyone out because we don’t know yet which players might not see eye-to-eye with Tortorella as the season unfold. Recognizable veterans on long-term contracts could include Sean Couturier or Kevin Hayes.

I’m not saying one of those guys will clash with Tortorella. For all I know, they could be fully onboard. Still, it’ll be interesting to follow the Flyers this season to see who buys into what their new coach is peddling and who doesn’t.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 19, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – September 19, 2022

In today’s NHL Rumor Mill: limited cap space could affect the Blues’ efforts to re-sign Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko plus an update on P.K. Subban.

CAN THE BLUES AFFORD O’REILLY AND TARASENKO?

STLTODAY.COM: Jim Thomas reports the Blues could find it difficult to re-sign Ryan O’Reilly, Vladimir Tarasenko, Ivan Barbashev and Niko Mikkola. The four are slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer.

St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly (NHL Images).

Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said he intends to let the season play itself out, “have those guys play.” He didn’t rule out contract negotiations during the coming season. “It means if we do, we’ll do it behind closed doors.”

O’Reilly and Tarasenko will draw the most interest. Both were key players in the Blues’ Stanley Cup run in 2019.

O’Reilly has become the Blues captain and remains among the league’s best two-way players. He also seems to enjoy playing in St. Louis.

Tarasenko, however, requested a trade last summer but enjoyed a career-best 84-point performance last season. Reports emerged this summer claiming he hasn’t rescinded that request.

Both players currently carry an average annual value of $7.5 million. O’Reilly turns 32 in February while Tarasenko will be 31 in December, meaning they won’t be getting eight-year contract extensions like those signed this summer by teammates Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou.

With a projected salary cap of $83.5 million for 2023-24, the Blues will have around $15.95 million in cap space with 13 players under contract. Assuming O’Reilly returns for a cap hit similar to his current one, that’ll leave just $8.45 million for the rest of the roster.

Thomas wondered how much of a pay cut O’Reilly might accept to remain with the Blues. He believes term will be an issue as well.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tarasenko is likely playing his final season with the Blues. His trade request did not become an issue with his teammates and it’s unlikely to be one this season. Even if he has another 80-point performance, there’s a sense that the rift between himself and the front office hasn’t fully healed.

Signing O’Reilly, on the other hand, is likely to be a priority for Armstrong. Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek last week suggested the Blues captain could seek a deal comparable to the seven-year, $49 million contract that Nazem Kadri signed last month with the St. Louis Blues. His colleague, Elliotte Friedman, doubted the Blues will agree to that.

Maybe O’Reilly will accept a pay cut if the Blues offer up a deal of at least five years? That’s something he and Armstrong will have to discuss at some point between now and next July.

If O’Reilly is re-signed, the Blues could be forced to shed salary elsewhere to clear enough room to fill out the remainder of their roster.

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS P.K. SUBBAN?

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons observes training camp is fast approaching but P.K. Subban is nowhere to be found. He made a series of calls to people close to the 33-year-old defenseman but hasn’t been able to reach him.

As far as Simmons knows, Subban has neither a place to play nor has he received a training camp invitation. While the former Norris Trophy winner and All-Star isn’t the player he once way, he’s still good enough to end up somewhere with an NHL club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reports from earlier this summer claimed Subban was receiving some interest and was evaluating potential destinations. Maybe he’s still deciding where he’ll land or perhaps those teams have moved on to other defensemen.

Training camps open on Sept. 21 and 22. We should know Subban’s fate by week’s end.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 23, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 23, 2022

A look at five stars who could hit the trade block this season plus three potential destinations for Phil Kessel in the NHL Rumor Mill.

FIVE NHL STARS WHO COULD HIT THE TRADE BLOCK THIS SEASON

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly and winger Vladimir Tarasenko topped Dan Kingerski’s list of five NHL stars who could get shopped this season. Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi, Arizona Coyotes defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere and Anaheim Ducks blueliner John Klingberg round out the list.

St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly (NHL Images).

These five players are in the final season of their contracts and are eligible to become unrestricted free agents next summer. Kingerski suggested their respective teams would be wise to move them in order to avoid protracted contract talks ending with their departures via free agency. He cited what happened with the Calgary Flames and Johnny Gaudreau last season as an example.

Kingerski also believes Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller is among several players already on the trade block. He anticipates long-time Chicago Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews will also appear in trade rumors. Like the others, they’re also slated to become UFAs next summer

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be easier for those teams to shop those players if they’re not in the playoff chase when the 2023 NHL trade deadline rolls around. The Blackhawks, Coyotes and Ducks aren’t expected to be postseason contenders so it won’t be surprising if Kane, Toews, Gostisbehere and Klingberg hit the trade block in the New Year.

The Canucks and Red Wings could qualify for the playoffs. They could retain Miller and Bertuzzi as own rentals and take their chances on their possible departures next summer.

Most observers (including me) consider the Blues a postseason contender. Unless that changes over the course of the season, I don’t see O’Reilly or Tarasenko going anywhere.

WHERE COULD KESSEL END UP?

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Mike Stephens suggested the Edmonton Oilers, Dallas Stars and Los Angeles Kings as possible destinations for Phil Kessel. The 34-year-old right winger is among the few noteworthy players still available in this summer’s UFA market.

The Oilers and Stars could benefit from Kessel’s playmaking skills. However, both clubs would have to do some salary-cap maneuvering to make it work. The Stars have over $10 million in cap space but most of that will go toward re-signing Jake Oettinger and Jason Robertson.

Stephens suggested Kessel might be a fit on the Kings’ third line. They have enough cap space to make it happen if they can convince him to accept a pay cut.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel’s been linked to the Oilers though some observers believe they could or should make a play for Patrick Kane. The former Coyotes winger would be a much more affordable option for them.

Kessel is going to have to accept a pay cut wherever he goes. At this stage of his career, he’s probably not that worried about it.

The chance to play this season and set the NHL Ironman record likely means more to Kessel now. He could be a good, affordable fit as a depth forward with a postseason contender.