NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 25, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 25, 2021

Sidney Crosby set a franchise scoring record and a points-per-game milestone, Zdeno Chara reached a games-played milestone, the Wild clinch a playoff spot, injury updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: Sidney Crosby and Bryan Rust each scored their 20th goals of the season as the Pittsburgh Penguins doubled up the New Jersey Devils 4-2. Crosby’s empty-netter late in the game set a franchise record for most 20-goal seasons with 13. He also joined Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe as the only NHL players with 16 point-per-game seasons, sitting fifth on the all-time list in that category. The Penguins sit in second place in the MassMutual East Division with 65 points, one behind the Washington Capitals. The Devils have dropped nine straight games.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

Capitals defenseman Zdeno Chara became the fifth defenseman in NHL history to play 1,600 games during his club’s 6-3 victory over the New York Islanders. Daniel Sprong scored twice and Evgeny Kuznetsov had a goal and two assists for the Capitals, who played without captain Alex Ovechkin as he’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury. The Islanders (63 points) sit third behind the Penguins.

Aleksander Barkov’s overtime goal capped a three-goal rally by the Florida Panthers as they nipped the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3. Florida defenseman MacKenzie Weegar had a goal and three assists while Carolina blueliner Dougie Hamilton scored twice. The Panthers (67 points) sit one point behind the first-place Hurricanes in the Discover Central Division.

The Dallas Stars kept their playoff hopes alive on Jamie Benn’s overtime goal to edge the Detroit Red Wings 2-1. Wings goaltender Jonathan Bernier made 50 saves in a losing cause. With 52 points, Dallas sits just two behind the fourth-place Nashville Predators in the Central. Stars defenseman John Klingberg missed the game with an undisclosed injury.

The league-leading Vegas Golden Knights (70 points) picked up their ninth straight victory by dropping the Anaheim Ducks 5-1. Chandler Stephenson scored twice for the Golden Knights, who opened a four-point lead over the second-place Colorado Avalanche in the Honda West Division. Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf left the game following the second period with an upper-body injury.

A hat trick by Ryan O’Reilly rallied the St. Louis Blues past the Colorado Avalanche 5-3. O’Reilly also collected an assist as the Blues (46 points) are one point behind the fourth-place Arizona Coyotes in the West Division. Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar had a goal and two assists for the Avalanche.

The Minnesota Wild became the third team to secure a berth in the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs in a 6-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Kevin Fiala and Jared Spurgeon each had a goal and an assist for the Wild (65 points), who moved one point behind the Avalanche. Before the game, the Sharks honored Patrick Marleau for recently setting the NHL all-time games played record.

Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper had a 26-save shutout to blank the Los Angeles Kings 4-0. Phil Kessel had a goal and an assist.

Joe Thornton became the oldest player (41 years, 296 days) in Toronto Maple Leafs’ history to score a goal as his club beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-1. Toronto sits atop the Scotia North Division with 65 points, eight up on second-place Winnipeg. The Jets played without forward Adam Lowry, who remains sidelined with an upper-body injury.

The Calgary Flames moved closer to the fourth-place Montreal Canadiens in the Scotia North Division by downing the sputtering Habs 5-2. Johnny Gaudreau scored twice as Calgary sits just four points (45 points) sit just four behind Montreal. Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury. Canadiens forwards Tomas Tatar and Paul Byron missed the game with lower-body injuries while goaltender Carey Price returned to Montreal for further treatment for a concussion suffered earlier in the week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames season seemed over three weeks ago after winning just once in nine games. They’ve since won five of their last seven to keep their playoff hopes alive while the floundering Canadiens have won just three of their last 11.

Third-period goals by Tanner Pearson and J.T. Miller lifted the Vancouver Canucks to a 4-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. Ottawa goaltender Matt Murray left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury. Meanwhile, Canucks center Elias Pettersson is reportedly doubtful to return this season as he remains sidelined by an upper-body injury suffered on March 2.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 3, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – April 3, 2021

Who could the Islanders be targeting in the trade market? Could Sam Bennett become available as the Flames fade? What’s the latest on the Leafs and Oilers? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

ARE HALL, PALMIERI ON THE ISLANDERS’ TRADE LIST?

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple believes Taylor Hall could be among those on the New York Islanders list approaching the April 12 trade deadline as they seek a replacement for sidelined captain Anders Lee.

Staple doubts the 29-year-old Buffalo Sabres winger is at the top of the Isles wish list. General manager Lou Lamoriello is unwilling to pay the reported asking price of a first-round pick.

Kyle Palmieri is still the best fit in Staple’s estimation. However, teams like the Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins and perhaps the Toronto Maple Leafs could also pursue the 30-year-old New Jersey Devils winger, potentially driving up the Devils’ asking price.

New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri could be among the New York Islanders’ trade list (NHL Images).

Staple also noted Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno and Los Angeles Kings winger Dustin Brown have also been connected to the Islanders in the rumor mill. Foligno is a pending UFA who could end up re-signing with the Jackets while the Kings could hang onto Brown if they remain in playoff contention.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lamoriello holds his cards close to the vest but he’s also made his share of bold moves over the years. He could land Hall if the Sabres lower the asking price but I think he’d prefer Palmieri as his style of play fits better into Isles coach Barry Trotz’s system.

I don’t see Foligno or Brown going anywhere. It wouldn’t surprise me if Foligno signs a contract extension with the Jackets. Brown has another season remaining on his contract with a seven-team no-trade list. I don’t think the Kings are really feeling any pressure to move their former captain. That doesn’t mean they won’t listen to offers but trading him isn’t among their priorities.

As for what Lamoriello might offer up, Newsday’s Andrew Gross suggested young forward Kieffer Bellows as a potential trade candidate.

BENNETT COULD DRAW TRADE INTEREST AS FLAMES FADE

SPORTSNET: Eric Francis believes plenty of teams could line up to make a pitch for forward Sam Bennett as the Calgary Flames playoff hopes fade. Earlier this season, Bennett’s agent told Elliotte Friedman his client would welcome a change of scenery. Francis feels the 25-year-old forward’s versatility and previous postseason performance could attract more attention in the trade market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Calgary GM Brad Treliving could make Bennett’s trade wish come true by next Monday at 3 pm ET. The Flames have dropped seven of their last nine and sit six points behind the fourth-place Montreal Canadiens in the Scotia North Division. The end of the regular season is just over five weeks away and the Canadiens hold five games in hand.

LEAFS CALLED SABRES ABOUT ULLMARK

WGR 550: During an April 1 appearance on “The Instigators” with Andrew Peters and Craig Rivet, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said the Toronto Maple Leafs spoke with the Buffalo Sabres regarding goaltender Linus Ullmark.

Friedman indicated the Leafs were doing due diligence and merely inquiring as to the Sabres’ plans for Ullmark. He doesn’t think the Sabres’ asking price would be a first-round pick but does believe the netminder would have some value in the trade market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This came about as a result of Leafs starter Frederik Andersen remaining sidelined by a lower-body injury until at least next week. Ullmark is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun said he doesn’t believe the Leafs are panicked over Andersen’s status and didn’t have a sense they were calling other teams. Like Friedman, however, he acknowledged that could change if Andersen is sidelined longer than expected.

LATEST OILERS SPECULATION

SPORTSNET: Mark Spector wondered if Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland can find the right fit for his roster before the trade deadline when he’s already maxed out at the $81.5 million salary cap. His lack of second, third and fifth-round picks in this year’s draft also limits his buying power.

A third-line center and a top-six left winger as the Oilers’ primary needs. Spector suggested Detroit Red Wings center Luke Glendening, Vancouver Canucks center Brandon Sutter and Ottawa Senators winger Ryan Dzingel as trade targets.

Montreal Canadiens winger Tomas Tatar would be a good fit but that hinges on the Canadiens’ playoff fortunes. He also doesn’t see Canucks winger Tanner Pearson as much better than what the Oilers already have. His suggested trade asset includes Caleb Jones or Ethan Bear if the price is right.

THE ATHLETIC: Jonathan Willis also mentioned Glendening and Sutter as well as Vancouver’s Travis Boyd and Calgary’s Derek Ryan as his proposed trade targets. He considers Ryan as best-suited to address the Oilers’ needs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whoever Holland pursues in the trade market it’ll have to be dollar-in, dollar-out. That means giving up a current roster player in a one-for-one swap or shipping out a player to another club in a separate move to clear cap space for the intended target.

I don’t see the Canadiens moving Tatar while they’re in the thick of the Scotia North playoff chase. Pearson is currently sidelined but could return to action later this month. However, the current outbreak of COVID-19 among the Canucks likely takes him and Sutter out of the equation.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 12, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – March 12, 2021

A look at some suggested trade targets for the Leafs and Bruins, speculation of Eric Staal returning to the Hurricanes and the latest on the Oilers in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SUGGESTED TRADE TARGETS FOR THE LEAFS

SPORTSNET: In a recent mailbag segment, Luke Fox was asked if the Toronto Maple Leafs should look at acquiring Taylor Hall from the Buffalo Sabres for Alex Kerfoot, a pick and a prospect plus 50 percent of Hall’s $8 million cap hit retained. Depending on the pick and prospect, it could be a high price for the Leafs (or any team) to pay for a playoff rental. Hall’s full no-movement clause makes moving him by April 12 challenging but Fox believes he’d waive it to join the Leafs.

Buffalo Sabres winger Taylor Hall (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fox is betting on the Leafs adding another top-six forward. However, I doubt it’ll be Hall unless Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas and his capologist can pull off another creative move to free up the necessary cap space to acquire him. The Leafs are pressed against the cap with almost nothing banked for trade-deadline cap space.

They could consider more affordable options to bring in a top-six forward. Fox cited Elliotte Friedman saying they’re poking around sellers like the Nashville Predators, Sabres and Detroit Red Wings. They’ve been frequently linked for Predators forward Mikael Grandlund. If they’re looking at one of the Sabres my guess is it would be Eric Staal. Fox also tossed out Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno and New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri as other options but I’m not sure either guy is available right now despite their pending free-agent statuses.

SUGGESTED TRADE TARGETS FOR THE BRUINS.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss included Hall, Granlund and Palmieri among his list of suggested trade targets for the Bruins. He also included Nashville forwards Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson and defenseman Mattias Ekholm, Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell, Vancouver Canucks winger Tanner Pearson, Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard and Arizona Coyotes rearguard Alex Goligoski.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Hall, Forsberg, Arvidsson or Palmieri as realistic trade options for the Bruins. Hall’s contract is a problem while the Preds’ asking price for Forsberg and Arvidsson will be far too expensive. The Bruins also lack sufficient tradeable assets to win a bidding war for Palmieri. I’d include Rakell in that group but Bruins general manager Don Sweeney and Ducks GM Bob Murray have a recent trade history so I won’t fully dismiss that possibility.

The Bruins could use some experienced blueline depth. However, the need for scoring depth is the priority so I’m ruling out Ekholm, Savard or Goligoski. That leaves Granlund or Pearson as their more realistic trade options.

A STAAL REUNION IN CAROLINA?

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Carolina Hurricanes have internally discussed the possibility of bringing back Eric Staal, though it’s not a “top-of-the-agent” item. However, there could be a couple of Canadian teams that could have interest in the Sabres center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eric Staal spent nearly 12 of his 17 NHL seasons with the Hurricanes. He enjoyed his best years in Carolina, winning a Stanley Cup in 2006 and wearing the captaincy for seven seasons. A reunion with brother and current Hurricanes captain Jordan and with head coach and former teammate Rod Brind’Amour would make a great story. However, it remains to be seen if it’s a realistic option.

LATEST ON THE OILERS

SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland indicated he’d prefer adding an impact player over a depth player if he makes a move before the trade deadline. He said his roster has enough depth players. However, his salary-cap situation means any deal would be dollar-in, dollar-out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson believes the Oilers need a top-six left-winger. One option would be Montreal’s Tomas Tatar but Matheson doubts he’ll be available with the Canadiens fighting for a playoff berth. He feels the Canucks’ Tanner Pearson could be a better option but his cap hit ($3.75 million) could be a problem.










NHL Playoffs: Canadiens Tie Series with Convincing Win over Flyers

NHL Playoffs: Canadiens Tie Series with Convincing Win over Flyers

 










NHL Rumor Mill – May 21, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – May 21, 2020

The latest on the Canadiens and an update on Tyson Barrie in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST CANADIENS SPECULATION

SPORTSNET: In his latest mailbag segment, Eric Engels was asked what he thought Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin was doing in Colorado before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. Avalanche GM Joe Sakic dismissed the speculation at the time, pointing out Bergevin’s daughter attends Colorado University, but Engels indicated that didn’t explain why Canadiens’ assistant GM Scott Mellanby accompanied him on that trip.

Montreal Canadiens center Max Domi (Photo via NHL Images).

Engels believes something was brewing between the two clubs before the deadline, though he’s not certain what might’ve been discussed. “What I would say, however, is that some seeds were likely planted and we could see something materialize between these teams at some point this off-season,” he said. “There are multiple scenarios that make them good trading partners.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergevin’s visit to Colorado sparked plenty of wild speculation before the trade deadline. Canadiens like Tomas Tatar, Phillip Danault, Jeff Petry, Max Domi, Jonathan Drouin, and even Carey Price were bandied about in the rumor mill, while Philipp Grubauer, Tyson Jost, Samuel Girard, Ryan Graves, and Nikita Zadorov were mentioned as potential Avs trade candidates.

Maybe the Canadiens and Avalanche will hammer out a major deal before next season, or maybe their rumored trade talks in February will come to nothing. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Asked about the possibility of the Canadiens bringing back Mikhail Sergachev by signing the Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman to an offer sheet, Engels thinks it would be too expensive, perhaps costing around $8 million annually plus the loss of a first, a second, and a third-round pick as compensation if the Bolts didn’t match. Instead, the Habs could keep an eye on which players the Lightning might shop in a cost-cutting deal to free up the cap room to re-sign Sergachev.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sergachev would have to be receptive to signing an offer sheet in the first place. If he isn’t, it’s a waste of time pursuing that plan. As Engels points out, the Habs could instead look at acquiring someone like Ondrej Palat, Alex Killorn, Yanni Gourde, or Tyler Johnson if the Bolts put one of them on the trade block. Those four, however, have no-trade protection, meaning one of them would have to agree to be traded to Montreal.

Engels was asked about the long-term futures of Domi and Tatar in Montreal. He feels if Domi, a restricted free agent, was trending toward a one-year deal before the season was paused, it’s difficult to imagine he’ll get a longer-term offer now. Tatar, a UFA next summer, may have been on his way to pricing himself out of Montreal, but a flat cap beyond next season could make it difficult for him to get that type of deal. Engels likes the chances of both staying in Montreal next season.

BARRIE FACES UNCERTAIN FUTURE

THE SCORE: Matt Teague reports Tyson Barrie admitted he’s facing uncertainty following this season. The Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent, but the current pause of the schedule means it’s yet to be determined when he’ll be heading to market. “It’s a weird time to be heading into free agency,” Barrie said, adding his current focus is on helping the Leafs make a playoff run whenever this season resumes.

Regarding possible destinations as a free agent, Barrie indicated he’ll be seeking a team looking for a defenseman with his skills. “A good team headed in the right direction and a good organization,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of right organizations that tick those boxes.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Vancouver Canucks could be one of those clubs. Barrie was born in Victoria, BC, and makes his off-season home there. He was linked to the Canucks before the trade deadline.  He could be a fit as a right-side defenseman if they part ways with Chris Tanev or Troy Stecher in the off-season.

 

 










NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – Montreal Canadiens

NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – Montreal Canadiens