NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 21, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 21, 2023

Recaps of Wednesday’s games, the league reached an agreement with Diamond Sports Group to continue local broadcasts for this season, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Seattle Kraken upset the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 as Joey Daccord matched a franchise record with 42 saves for the win. Brandon Tanev and Jordan Eberle scored for the 11-14-9 Kraken (31 points), who move within three points of a wild card berth in the Western Conference. Blake Lizotte replied for the Kings (18-7-4), who remain in third place in the Pacific Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Kraken announced that center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a fractured leg bone suffered during their game against the Dallas Stars earlier this week.

Winnipeg Jets forward Gabriel Vilardi (NHL Images)

Winnipeg Jets forward Gabriel Vilardi scored for the fourth straight game and added two assists in a 5-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. The win vaulted the Jets (19-9-3) one point over the Dallas Stars into first place in the Central Division with 41 points. Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist for the 15-13-4 Red Wings (34 points), but they’ve dropped four straight games and slipped two points out of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite missing 18 games with a knee injury, Vilardi has six goals and seven assists for 13 points in as many games. Meanwhile, Pierre-Luc Dubois (the player Vilardi was traded for this summer) has 12 points in 29 games in the first season of his eight-year, $68 million contract with the Kings.

As for the slumping Red Wings, they placed goaltender Ville Husso on injured reserve and signed netminder Michael Hutchinson to a one-year, two-way contract before the start of the holiday roster freeze on Dec. 20.

An overtime goal by Dylan Strome lifted the Washington Capitals over the New York Islanders 3-2. Darcy Kuemper stopped 30 shots while Hendrix Lapierre had a goal and an assist for the Capitals (16-9-4) as they moved into the final Eastern wild-card spot with 36 points. Hudson Fasching and Anders Lee scored for the Islanders (15-8-9) as they sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 39 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of the Capitals, they’re expected to sign defenseman Ethan Bear once the holiday roster freeze is lifted on Dec. 28. Bear participated in their optional morning skate yesterday.

HEADLINES

THE ATHLETIC: The NHL reached an agreement with Diamond Sports Group to continue local broadcasts to the end of 2023-24. This affects 11 franchises: the Anaheim Ducks, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues and Tampa Bay Lightning.

It also ends those clubs’ agreements with Diamond, which filed for bankruptcy in March. The deal is similar to the one reached between Diamond and the NBA

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: cited a report in the Wall Street Journal indicating Amazon is discussing possible investment with Diamond Sports Group. If an agreement is reached, Amazon Prime Video would become the streaming home for regional broadcasts, including those of the Blue Jackets.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Dish Network has dropped the Golden Knights’regular-season games on channel Vegas 34 because of a carriage dispute. Those games are still available on other means, including the team’s streaming service KnightTime+.

Speaking of the Golden Knights, goaltender Logan Thompson is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lighting defenseman Mikhail Sergachev missed practice yesterday nursing an injured left foot. It’s uncertain if he’ll be able to participate in Thursday’s game against the Golden Knights.

DAILY FACEOFF: Edmonton Oilers winger Connor Brown is expected to be a healthy scratch for Thursday’s game against the New Jersey Devils.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Ex-Flyers forward Nolan Patrick has not retired from hockey. He was listed as a “Retired pro with significant NHL experience” in his profile with The Power Play, a hockey coaching and mentorship program. The site has since edited his profile to read that he’s a “4X NHL Pro with significant experience.”










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 19, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 19, 2023

Josh Norris makes an impressive season debut with the Senators, the Red Wings down the Penguins and Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar recently set a league record. Details on these and other stories in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Ottawa Senators center Josh Norris scored twice in his season debut as his club trounced the Washington Capitals 6-1. Tim Stutzle had three assists and Drake Batherson had two helpers. John Carlsson scored Washington’s only goal while Alex Ovechkin has just one assist in his first three games and was held without a shot in consecutive games for the first time in his career.

Ottawa Senators center Josh Norris (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Norris had been sidelined since Jan. 21 by a shoulder injury. His return provides a big boost to their offense as well as bolster their depth at center. Meanwhile, Senators defenseman Artem Zub left the game in the third period after taking a puck to the side of his face. No word yet as to his condition but for now he could be considered day-to-day. Capitals forward Nic Dowd missed this game with an upper-body injury.

The Detroit Red Wings got two goals each from Alex DeBrincat and Andrew Copp in a 6-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Dylan Larkin had three assists and a fighting major as the Wings have won three straight games. Erik Karlsson had a goal and two assists for the Penguins.

IN OTHER NEWS…

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar set an NHL record for defensemen during their 4-1 win over the Seattle Kraken on Tuesday. With an assist on Logan O’Connor’s goal, he became the fastest blueliner to reach 250 career points. He did so in 241 games, beating out Hall-of-Famer Bobby Orr by six games.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets saw a significant drop in attendance in their first two home games of this season. There were roughly 2,000 empty seats for their season opener and over 4,000 for Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings.

Average attendance at the 15,325-seat Canada Life Centre dropped to 14,025 last season. Their season-ticket base of 13,000 has dropped to less than 10,000.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see if that trend continues over the course of this season.

The growing cost of attending NHL games in the league’s smallest market at a time when inflation has driven up the cost of living is one factor. The novelty of the NHL’s return could be finally wearing off for some of their fans. The Jets decline since reaching the 2018 Western Conference Finals could also be turning off some of their followers.

TSN: Speaking of the Jets, winger Gabriel Vilardi will miss the next four to six weeks with a sprained MCL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was speculation that the Jets might pursue a winger such as Vancouver’s Conor Garland if Vilardi’s injury was as serious as that of Montreal’s Kirby Dach, who’s out of the season with a knee injury.

The Jets currently have around $2.4 million in cap space. They have no reason to place Vilardi on long-term injury reserve until they’re acquiring someone with a higher cap hit than his $3.43 million. They could instead opt to make do with a call-up from their farm team until he returns.

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators defenseman Luke Schenn will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a lower-body injury.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The Minnesota Wild recalled forward Sammy Walker and placed defenseman Alex Goligoski (lower body) on long-term injury reserve.

CAROLINA HOCKEY NOW: The Hurricanes called up goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov. The move comes after Frederik Andersen left Tuesday’s game against San Jose after taking a puck to the mask.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 18, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 18, 2023

Recaps of Tuesday’s games include Leon Draisaitl setting an Oilers record, the Avalanche tying a league record, plus the Canucks and Penguins making a trade. Details on these and other stories in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Leon Draisaitl and Zach Hyman each had four points as the Edmonton Oilers picked up their first win of the season with a 6-1 drubbing of the Nashville Predators. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had three points, Connor McDavid, Warren Foegele and Evan Bouchard each had two points while Jack Campbell kicked out 42 shots for the win. Tommy Novak netted the Predators’s only goal.

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Draisaitl’s two goals came on the powerplay, giving him the franchise record for career tallies on the man advantage with 128. Meanwhile, the Predators held a video tribute to Oilers defenseman Mattias Ekholm as he returned to Nashville for the first time since being traded to Edmonton last season.

The Colorado Avalanche defeated the Seattle Kraken 4-1. Mikko Rantanen and Valeri Nichushkin were among the goal scorers for the Avalanche while Alexandar Georgiev got the win with a 37-save performance. Kailer Yamamoto replied for the Kraken, who are winless (0-3-1) in their first four games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche tied the league record for consecutive regular-season road wins (14) stretching back to last season.

Vegas Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault scored in the shootout to lift his club to a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars. William Karlsson and Kaeden Korczak each had a goal and an assist while Adin Hill got the win by stopping 24 shots. Craig Smith and Joe Pavelski replied for the Stars while Jake Oettinger made 32 saves.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The defending Stanley Cup champion Golden Knights are red-hot to start the season with a league-leading four straight wins. Stars center Roope Hintz made his season debut after being sidelined by an upper-body injury.

The Minnesota Wild scored three power-play goals and tallied twice shorthanded to thump the Montreal Canadiens 5-2. Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello each had three points, Joel Eriksson Ek scored twice and Marc-Andre Fleury made 27 saves for the Wild. Tanner Pearson and Alex Newhook replied for the Canadiens, who lost defenseman Kaiden Guhle to an upper-body injury in the second period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Following the game, the Canadiens announced that center Kirby Dach (knee injury) is done for the season. Meanwhile, the 38-year-old Fleury soaked up the atmosphere as he played what was likely his final game in Montreal as he faces potential retirement at the end of this season. Speaking of the Wild, defenseman Alex Goligoski missed this game with a lower-body injury.

Former Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois scored his first goal of the season with the Los Angeles Kings in a 5-1 victory over his former club. Phillip Danault and Trevor Moore each had three points for the Kings. Mark Scheifele replied for the Jets, who lost forward (and former King) Gabriel Vilardi to a lower-body injury in the first period following a hit by Blake Lizotte.

The Buffalo Sabres blew a 2-0 lead but nipped the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 on an overtime goal by Dylan Cozens. Zemgus Girgensons and Jeff Skinner also scored while Devon Levi stopped 21 shots for the Sabres as they picked up their first win of the season. Brandon Hagel tallied both Lightning goals as Jonas Johansson made 28 saves.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lightning captain Steven Stamkos missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury. Sabres defenseman Mattias Samuelsson left this game in the third period with an upper-body injury while winger Victor Olofsson was a healthy scratch.

Four unanswered third-period goals lifted the Carolina Hurricanes to a 6-3 win over the San Jose Sharks. Seth Jarvis tallied twice for the Hurricanes while Tomas Hertl collected two assists for the Sharks as they remain winless (0-2-1) in their first three games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho missed this contest with an upper-body injury. Goaltender Frederik Andersen was pulled early in the first period for precautionary reasons when he appeared dazed after being struck in the mask by a shot. He was replaced by Antti Raanta.

Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart turned in a 25-save performance to shut out the Vancouver Canucks 2-0. Flyers center Sean Couturier scored his first goal for the first time since missing all of last season due to back surgery. Thatcher Demko turned aside 40 shots for the Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Canucks traded minor leaguers Jack Rathbone and Karel Plasek to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for defenseman Mark Friedman and forward Ty Glover. The addition of Friedman brings more size and experience to the Canucks blueline. The Canucks also placed defenseman Guillaume Brisebois on long-term injury reserve.

The New York Islanders blanked the Arizona Coyotes 1-0. Mathew Barzal tallied the game’s only goal while Ilya Sorokin made 14 saves for the shutout. Karel Vejmelka kicked out 33 shots for the Coyotes.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: The Devils placed goaltender Keith Kinkaid on waivers.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 3, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 3, 2023

Check out the latest on Devils’ winger Jesper Bratt, Jets forward Gabriel Vilardi, Canucks winger Tanner Pearson and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: Jesper Bratt recently explained to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman that he used the pressure of his two short-term contracts as motivation to justify that he was worthy of a long-term deal.

New Jersey Devils winger Jesper Bratt (NHL Images).

I liked going into the summer pressuring myself a little more,” said Bratt. “Okay, I have to prove myself. I gotta work harder, I gotta show them how good I am.”

The result was back-to-back 73-point campaigns for Bratt, including breaking the 30-goal plateau last season for the first time. Earlier this summer, the 25-year-old winger signed an eight-year, $63-million contract ($7.875 million average annual value).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bratt acknowledged his new challenge will be justifying his lucrative new contract. He’ll have little difficulty doing that if he remains a 30-goal, 70-plus-point winger.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets forward Gabriel Vilardi arrived in Winnipeg last week to begin preparation for training camp later this month. Acquired from the Los Angeles Kings in June as part of the Pierre-Luc Dubois, the 24-year-old Vilardi claimed to be unaware of the club’s soap opera over the past two seasons over a perceived lack of accountability and leadership among the players.

Vilardi claimed he was surprised to find out that the Jets didn’t have a captain last season. “I thought Mark Scheifele was the captain. I don’t even know. That gives you my answer,” he said, going on to say that he uses that line often.

I’m here to play hockey. That’s my job. From what I’ve seen so far, Winnipeg isn’t that bad. We’ll see the winter.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vilardi was the key piece in the four-asset return that the Jets received from the Kings for Dubois. He’s coming off a career-best performance of 24 goals and 41 points in 63 games. His performance this season could play a crucial role in the Jets’ playoff hopes for this season.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Rob Simpson reports Canucks winger Tanner Pearson feels he’s 100 percent recovered from the hand injury that limited him to just 14 games last season. That could create a salary-cap crunch for the Canucks, who are currently some $4.4 million over the $83.5 million cap. Pearson, 31, carries a $3.25 million AAV for the coming season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pearson was mentioned earlier this year as a potential trade candidate if he was ready to return for the start of this season. Those rumors could surface again if he is indeed good to go for 2023-24.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators and Shane Pinto aren’t close to a new contract. However, it’s hoped the restricted free agent center will be signed soon. NHL training camps open on Sept. 21.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pinto, 22, completed his entry-level contract last season. It was his first full NHL campaign and he showed promise with 20 goals and 35 points in 83 games. The Senators, however, are bumping up against the cap.

The Senators can exceed the cap by 10 percent until the start of the season when they must be cap compliant. Signing Pinto will mean clearing some cap space via demotions and/or trade.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers president Keith Jones said his club was getting close to a new contract for Morgan Frost. The 24-year-old center completed his ELC last season. He had 19 goals and 46 points in 81 games in 2022-23. “Morgan’s an important player for us in the future. That will work itself out,” said Jones.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Speaking of the Flyers, 2023 first-round pick Matvei Michkov was a healthy scratch for SKA St. Peterburg’s KHL season-opening on Saturday. Chosen seventh overall by the Flyers, the 18-year-old winger is considered one of Russia’s top hockey prospects.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This news caused a bit of a stir yesterday on hockey Twitter..er, sorry, “X”. A scoring winger, Michkov was apparently scratched because of his defensive play.

I wouldn’t put too much stock into Michkov getting benched unless this becomes a trend over the course of this KHL season. He’s under contract with SKA St. Petersburg through 2025-26. There’s plenty of time for this kid to develop his game before joining the Flyers, provided his KHL club will let him go.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Sammi Silber reports former NHL defenseman Madison Bowey has signed with KHL club Dynamo Minsk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE Bowey’s last NHL season was in 2021-22 with the Vancouver Canucks, playing two games with them and spending the rest of the season with their AHL affiliate in Abbotsford. He spent last season with the AHL’s Laval Rocket.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 20, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 20, 2023

Nicklas Backstrom talks about his recovery from hip resurfacing, the Leafs’ Ilya Samsonov and the Blackhawks’ Philipp Kurashev face arbitration, the latest notable contract signings and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom is looking forward to playing a full season after his recovery from his hip resurfacing procedure last year.

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom (NHL Images).

Backstrom, 34, indicated that he’d been dealing with chronic hip pain since 2015 which eventually worsened, affecting his play and quality of life away from the arena. Since the procedure, he said that he’s gotten his life back and is confident he’ll be even stronger for the Capitals in the coming season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backstrom missed the first half of last season recovering from the procedure, finishing with 21 points in 39 games. At the end of last season, Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan expressed uncertainty over whether he could fully regain his form.

Backstrom’s performance will likely be the main focus when Washington’s training camp opens in September. Improvement in his play will be a significant factor in the outcome of the Capitals’ 2023-24 season.

TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs and goaltender Ilya Samsonov are $2.5 million apart in their salary arbitration filings. Samsonov seeks a one-year contract worth $4.9 million while the Leafs countered with $2.4 million. The two sides have until Friday to reach an agreement on a new contract before the scheduled arbitration hearing.

THE ATHLETIC: The Chicago Blackhawks and forward Philipp Kurashev have yet to reach an agreement on a new contract with an arbitration hearing slated for Thursday. It appears that this will go before an arbitrator. Kurashev seeks a one-year, $2.65 million deal while the Blackhawks seek a two-year contract with an average annual value of $1.4 million.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets and Gabriel Vilardi have avoided arbitration as the two sides agreed to a two-year contract with an AAV of $3.437 million.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The Golden Knights avoided arbitration with forward Brett Howden, signing him to a two-year contract with an AAV of $1.9 million.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The New Jersey Devils signed former Boston Bruins forward Tomas Nosek to a one-year, one-way contract worth $1 million.

SEATTLE HOCKEY INSIDER: The Kraken signed head coach Dave Hakstol to a two-year contract extension through 2025-26.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken’s performance this season landed Hakstol that extension. They reached the playoffs in just their second season of existence. He was a finalist in 2022-23 for the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year.

ESPN.COM: New NHL Players Association executive director Marty Walsh is focused on getting NHL players involved in the 2026 Milano Cortina Olympic Winter Games in Italy. He indicated that he’s been working with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, collectively together with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL last participated in the Winter Olympics in 2014.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Former NHL defenseman Markus Nutivaara said he doesn’t miss playing hockey after a hip injury prematurely ended his playing career. The 29-year-old announced his retirement two weeks ago.

Nutivaara began to feel the effects of the injury in 2019-20. He said that when his hip failed to improve, his back started to fail and other problems flared up. “I skated on one leg for three years,” he said. He indicated that he underwent two operations to address osteoarthritis in his hip until the doctors informed him they could do no more.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: During the interview, Nutivaara said his hip is still pretty bad. He took the time to praise the San Jose Sharks for their support, singling out his Finnish teammates as well as Sharks icon Joe Thornton.

Nutivaara also warned young players off taking painkillers. He said that he took them often during the 2019-20 season, indicating that he felt stomach pain doing so. He said it wasn’t worthwhile to continue his playing career if he needed painkillers to do it.

TSN: Nate Thompson has announced his retirement following his 15-season NHL career. He last played in 2021-22 with the Philadelphia Flyers. The 38-year-old forward scored 65 goals and collected 99 assists over 844 career games with the Boston Bruins, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning, Anaheim Ducks, Ottawa Senators, Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens, Winnipeg Jets and Flyers.










Notable NHL Trades for June 27, 2023

Notable NHL Trades for June 27, 2023

The New Jersey Devils acquire winger Tyler Toffoli from the Calgary Flames in exchange for forward Yegor Sharangovich and a third-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils will be a very scary team to face in 2023-24. Imagine a first line centered by Nico Hischier with Ondrej Palat and Jesper Bratt on the wings with Toffoli skating on right wing on the second line centered by Jack Hughes with Timo Meier on the left wing.

Toffoli had requested a trade from the Flames after indicating he wasn’t interested in a contract extension. He’s coming off a career-best performance with 34 goals and 39 assists for 73 points. If he meshes well with Hughes and Meier, the Devils will possess an even more lethal scoring punch than what they had this season.

This move leaves the Devils with $19 million in cap space with 15 active roster players under contract. Meier remains to be re-signed which could eat up a big chunk of that cap space.

The Flames, meanwhile, get a decent return in Sharangovich. A restricted free agent coming off a two-year contract with an annual cap hit of $2 million, he should be an affordable re-signing.

A versatile forward who can play center or on either wing, the 25-year-old Sharangovich is a year removed from a career-best of 24 goals and 46 points. His production dropped this season to 13 goals and 30 points as he was dropped to the Devils’ third line. He’ll get an opportunity to earn top-six minutes in Calgary.

The Winnipeg Jets trade Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for forwards Alex Iafallo, Gabriel Vilardi and Rasmus Kupari as well as a 2024 second-round pick. The Kings also signed Dubois to an eight-year contract believed to be worth an average annual value of $8.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a major move by the Kings as they attempt to move from playoff contention status into a Stanley Cup contender.

Dubois, 25, is a top-six forward who can play center or wing. The 6’4”, 214-pounder is coming off a career-best 63 points with the Jets, reaching the 60-point plateau for the third time in five years. He can play a two-way game but does his best work in the offensive zone.

Coming off a one-year, $6 million contract, it was assumed the Dubois camp would seek over $9 million annually for their client. He’s still getting a healthy raise here on a long-term deal.

Winnipeg Jets trade center Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Los Angeles Kings (NHL Images).

Dubois comes with some baggage having forced the Jets (and before them, the Columbus Blue Jackets) into trading him. Nevertheless, Kings general manager Rob Blake believes he’s worth the investment. He’ll likely skate as their second-line left wing alongside Kevin Fiala.

The Jets wanted a return that helps them now and in the future.

Vilardi is the main addition here. The 23-year-old winger shook off early injuries that threatened his career to enjoy a career-best 23 goals and 41 points in 63 games this season. A restricted free agent with arbitration rights, he should be an affordable re-signing for the Jets. If Vilardi can stay healthy, he should a productive forward in Winnipeg.

Iafallo, 29, plays a solid two-way game and should fit in well on the Jets’ checking lines. He’s signed through 2024-25 with an average annual value of $4 million. He had 36 points in 59 games this season, marking the fifth straight season he’s exceeded the 30-point plateau.

The 23-year-old Kupari is completing his entry-level contract. He’s split the past three seasons between the Kings and their AHL affiliate. He has potential as a playmaking forward who can play center or wing.

The Philadelphia Flyers traded center Kevin Hayes to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a sixth-round pick in 2024. The Flyers also retain 50 percent of Haye’s $7.14 million average annual value through 2025-26.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the aftermath of a reportedly attempted trade by the Flyers and Blues that would’ve included defenseman Travis Sanheim going to St. Louis with Hayes and blueliner Torey Krug going to Philadelphia. Krug, however, nixed that deal by refusing to waive his no-trade clause.

The Flyers really wanted Hayes gone after he butted heads at times this season with head coach John Tortorella. They settled for retaining half of his cap hit to move him. It’s the second significant trade by new general manager Daniel Briere, who shipped Ivan Provorov to the Columbus Blue Jackets earlier this month in a deal involving the Los Angeles Kings.

With half of Hayes’ salary off their books, the Flyers have over $10 million in projected cap space for 2023-24 with 15 active roster players under contract. One wonders what other moves Briere might have up his sleeve in the coming days.

As for the Blues, GM Doug Armstrong appears committed to making a quick turnaround for next season after missing the 2023 playoffs. They’re getting a 31-year-old center who put up 54 points with this season’s floundering Flyers. He’ll likely slot in as their second-line center, which likely means they won’t be bringing back former captain Ryan O’Reilly, who was dealt to Toronto before the March trade deadline.

The Colorado Avalanche traded center Alex Newhook to the Montreal Canadien in exchange for the 31st overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, the 37th overall pick and prospect Gianni Fairbrother

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is an affordable gamble by the Canadiens, who already possess a promising prospect pool along with several talented youngsters already on their roster.

Kent Hughes made one notable reclamation project last season by acquiring Kirby Dach from Chicago. Newhook looks like the latest one. He’s coming off his entry-level contract.

The 22-year-old is a former first-round pick by the Avalanche who has two 30-plus point seasons under his belt. Capable of playing center or wing, the 5’10”, 190-pounder he has good speed and playmaking abilities. He’s also of the right age to fit into the Canadiens’ rebuilding program.

Colorado, meanwhile, now holds two picks in the first round and one in the second of this year’s draft. They had no selections from rounds two through four before this trade so this move puts them in a much better position. They can retain those new acquisitions to restock their prospect pipeline or perhaps use them as trade bait to add to their current roster.

The New Jersey Devils traded goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a sixth-round pick in 2023.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once considered a future starting goalie for the Devils, Blackwood has been hampered by frequent injuries. The 26-year-old was limited to 47 games over the past two seasons.

A restricted free agent who’s a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility, Blackwood was no longer a fit with the Devils with Vitek Vanecek and Akira Schmid as their current tandem. They might not be done making trades involving a goaltender as they’ve been linked to Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck.

Blackwood will now get a chance at a fresh start with the rebuilding Sharks. He could get a one-year “show-me” contract with the opportunity to earn a longer-term deal based on performance. Failing that, they could ship him to a playoff contender at next year’s trade deadline.