Devils edge SC Bern, Shea Weber named Canadiens captain, Scott Hartnell and Radim Vrbata retire, Sam Gagner on waivers and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NJ.COM: Taylor’s Hall’s overtime goal lifted the New Jersey Devils to a 3-2 victory over SC Bern during exhibition play in Switzerland yesterday.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens named defenseman Shea Weber as their 30th captain in franchise history.
Shea Weber named the new captain of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo via NHL Images)
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weber, the former captain of the Nashville Predators and one of the most respected players in the league, was the logical choice to replace former Habs captain Max Pacioretty.
CALGARY SUN: Speaking of the Canadiens, they acquired defenseman Brett Kulak from the Calgary Flames in exchange for AHL blueliners Rinat Valiev and Matt Taormina. Kulak will report to the Habs’ AHL affiliate in Laval. They also offered rearguard Simon Despres a minor-league contract.
BOSTON HERALD: Bruins defenseman Torey Krug will be sidelined three-to-four weeks with an injured left ankle.
TSN: Winger Scott Hartnell retired after 17 NHL seasons. In 1,249 game, Hartnell tallied 327 goals and 707 points with the Nashville Predators, Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets, including nine 20-goal campaigns.
Radim Vrbata also announced his retirement after 16 NHL seasons. He had 284 goals and 623 points in 1,057 games with the Colorado Avalanche, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Arizona Coyotes, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vancouver Canucks and Florida Panthers. That included eight seasons with 40-or-more points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Hartnell and Vrbata in their future endeavors.
SPORTSNET: The Vancouver Canucks placed forward Sam Gagner on waivers yesterday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gagner is signed through 2019-20 with an annual salary-cap hit of $3.125 million. Don’t be surprised if he clears waivers today.
The Toronto Maple Leafs traded defenseman Connor Carrick to the Dallas Stars for a conditional seventh-round draft pick in 2019.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers traded blueliner Jakub Jerabek to the St. Louis Blues for a conditional draft pick.
WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres acquired defenseman Jack Dougherty from the Nashville Predators in exchange for forward Nicholas Baptiste. They also announced forward Scott Wilson will be sidelined eight-to-10 weeks following surgery to repair a fractured ankle.
Notable Stanley Cup Final news plus updates on Radim Vrbata, Slava Voynov and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson won’t be suspended for his blindside hit on Vegas Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault (Photo via NHL Images)
NBC SPORTS: Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson avoided supplemental discipline for his blindside hit on Vegas Golden Knights winger Jonathan Marchessault during Game 1 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final.
LAS VEGAS SUN: The T-Mobile Arena crew are working to improve ice conditions for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. Players on both clubs complained about the poor quality of the ice during Game 1.
ESPN.COM: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said it’s too early for the league to comment on suspended former Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov’s efforts for reinstatement.
Voynov was suspended indefinitely by the league and the Kings terminated his contract after he returned to Russia in 2015 following a two-month jail sentence on a misdemeanor charge of corporal injury to a spouse. Daly said Voynov still has a couple of legal hurdles to clear before the league will comment on the matter.
ARIZONA SPORTS: After nearly two decades living in North America, now-retired NHL forward Radim Vrbata and his family head back to the Czech Republic today. He intends to take a year to spend time with his family before considering his next options.
TORONTO STAR: Maple Leafs forward Zach Hyman has published his third children’s book.
ARIZONA DAILY STAR: Tucson Roadrunners coach Mike Van Ryn is reportedly taking a coaching job with the St. Louis Blues. A former NHL defenseman, he spent several seasons as an OHL and AHL assistant coach before taking over as the Roadrunners bench boss this season.
TSN: A “a top NHL lawyer watered down a warning to players about the long-term dangers of repeated head trauma on a poster displayed in every NHL team dressing room.”
Game recaps, seven of eight opening-round playoff series set, Rangers fire Vigneault, Red Wings re-sign Holland and the hockey world mourns junior hockey tragedy. Details and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Gabriel Landeskog scored and collected two assists as the Colorado Avalanche defeated the St. Louis Blues 5-2 to clinch their first playoff berth since 2014. The Avs will face the Nashville Predators in the opening round of the 2018 playoffs, while the Blues will miss the postseason for the first time since 2011.
Claude Giroux’s first career hat trick helped the Philadelphia Flyers clinch a playoff berth (Photo via NHL Images)
Thanks to Claude Giroux’s first career hat trick, the Philadelphia Flyers also clinched a playoff berth by shutting out the New York Rangers 5-0. Giroux also reached the 100-point plateau (102) for the first time, becoming the first Flyer to do so since Eric Lindros in 1995-96. The Flyers’ opening-round opponent will be the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Flyers’ win also ended the Florida Panthers’ playoff hopes. Following the game, the Rangers announced the firing of head coach Alain Vigneault.
Speaking of the Panthers, they went on to set a franchise record for home wins (27) by downing the Buffalo Sabres 4-3. Vincent Trocheck and Colton Sceviour each tallied a goal and an assist for the Panthers. It was the final game for Panthers winger Radim Vrbata, who is retiring after 16 NHL seasons.
The Boston Bruins picked up their 50th win of the season by downing the Ottawa Senators 5-2. With 112 points, the Bruins sit one back of the Tampa Bay Lightning for first place in the Atlantic Division and can overtake the Lightning if they defeat the Panthers tonight.
As for the Lightning, they picked up a point in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. The Bolts overcame a 2-0 deficit to force the extra frame.
The Toronto Maple Leafs set a franchise record for most points in a season (105) with a 4-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen established a franchise record for single-season victories with 38. The Leafs will face either the Lightning or Bruins in the opening round.
Filip Forsberg tallied a hat trick as the Nashville Predators doubled up the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2. Before the game, the Predators were honored with the Presidents’ Trophy for the best regular-season record. The Blue Jackets’ opening round opponent will be the Washington Capitals.
Capitals’ captain Alex Ovechkin scored his 48th and 49th goals of the season in a 5-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. Ovechkin wins the Richard Trophy as the NHL’s leading goal scorer for the seventh time. Like the Leafs, the Devils await the outcome of tonight’s Bruins-Panthers game to determine if their first-round opponent will be Boston or Tampa Bay.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin narrowly missed reaching the 50-goal mark for the eighth time in his career. Only Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy (nine 50-goal seasons) have more.
Connor McDavid picked up two assists and Leon Draisaitl scored the winning goal as the Edmonton Oilers edged the Vancouver Canucks 3-2. Canucks stars Daniel and Henrik Sedin were held without a point in what was their final NHL game but were feted by the Oilers and their fans following the game. McDavid finished the season with 108 points to win the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading scorer for the second straight year.
Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck became the first American-born netminder to win 44 games as he backstopped his club to a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. The Jets will face the Minnesota Wild in the opening round.
The Anaheim Ducks secured second place in the Pacific Division by shutting out the Arizona Coyotes 3-0. Ducks winger Corey Perry picked up his 400th career assists. The Ducks hold home-ice advantage in their first-round matchup with the San Jose Sharks.
The Sharks, meanwhile, fell 6-3 to the Minnesota Wild. Jason Zucker scored twice for the Wild and teammate Eric Staal netted his 42nd of the season.
Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn netted a hat trick in a 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings, who’ll face the Vegas Golden Knights in the opening round.
The Golden Knights, meanwhile, were crushed by the Calgary Flames 7-1. Flames rookie Mark Jankowski scored four goals.
John Tavares scored in overtime as the New York Islanders edged the Detroit Red Wings 4-3. Isles forward Anders Lee scored his 40th of the season. The Red Wings also announced they re-signed general manager Ken Holland to a two-year contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can see the 2018 opening-round playoff bracket here.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: 15 people were killed and 14 injured when a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League collided with a semi-trailer late-Friday afternoon. Among the dead is Jaxon Joseph, son of former NHL defenseman Chris Joseph.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This tragedy overshadowed yesterday’s news and shook up the tight-knit hockey community. My sincere condolences to the families of the dead and injured, the Broncos organization and the town of Humboldt. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the families.
Game recaps, a couple of minor trades plus the latest on Alex Ovechkin, Taylor Hall and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall extended his points streak to a franchise-record 16 games (Photo via NHL Images).
NHL.COM: Nico Hischier collected three points, Stefan Noesen scored twice and Taylor Hall extended his points streak to a franchise-record 16 games as the New Jersey Devils defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2. With the win, the Devils opened a three-point lead over the Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference standings, with the Devils holding the first wild-card berth.
A 50-save performance by Jaroslav Halak carried the New York Islanders to their first shutout win of the season, downing the New York Rangers 3-0. Isles rookie Mathew Barzal set up all three goals. Earlier in the day, Islanders forward Anders Lee politely rejected a donation to his cancer fund from a group raising money for a billboard demanding the replacement of general manager Garth Snow.
The Pittsburgh Penguins picked up their 10th consecutive home win by beating the Los Angeles Kings 3-1. Defenseman Dion Phaneuf scored his first goal as a King. Earlier in the week, he was dealt to Los Angeles in a multi-player trade.
Marian Gaborik scored a goal and added an assist in his first game with the Ottawa Senators to help his new team defeat the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Gaborik was part of the return Ottawa received from Los Angeles earlier this week in the Dion Phaneuf trade. Sens center Matt Duchene assisted on all three Ottawa goals. Earlier in the day, the Senators made their second trade of the week, shipping centre Chris DiDomenico to the Chicago Blackhawks for defenceman Ville Pokka.
The Tampa Bay Lightning snapped a two-game losing skid with a 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov had a four-point night (one goal, three assists) and Steven Stamkos potted two goals.
Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne saw his 11-game unbeaten streak end with a 4-3 loss to the Calgary Flames. Matthew Tkachuk and Dougie Hamilton each had a goal and an assist for the Flames.
Alex Ovechkin also had a goal and three assists as he led his Washington Capitals to a 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Ovechkin reached another milestone as he collected his 1,100th career NHL point. Tom Wilson also scored two goals for the Capitals.
The Chicago Blackhawks suffered their eighth straight loss, falling 3-2 to the Anaheim Ducks. Goaltender John Gibson made 42 saves as his club overcame a 2-0 deficit with three unanswered goals.
Arizona Coyotes rookie Clayton Keller had a goal and three assists as the Arizona Coyotes dropped the Montreal Canadiens 5-2. Keller’s teammate Brendan Perlini scored two goals.
The Edmonton Oilers suffered their fifth consecutive defeat in a 4-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights (80 points), who extended their Western Conference lead over the Nashville Predators by three points.
Goaltender Martin Jones made 43 saves while Brent Burns scored and set up another to give the San Jose Sharks a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.
SPORTSNET: The Toronto Maple Leafs traded forward Nikita Soshnikov to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2019.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Leafs fans were disappointed with the return for Soshnikov. Goes to show that a player’s actual value in the trade market usually isn’t as high as fans believe.
TSN: Florida Panthers winger Radim Vrbata last month submitted a 10-team list of acceptable trade destinations as requested by management.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun expects a limited market for the 36-year-old Vrbata, who has just 13 points in 36 games with the Panthers this season.
STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues activated forward Zach Sanford (shoulder surgery) off injured reserve and sent him to their AHL affiliate for conditioning.
Analysis of Notable NHL Free Agent Signings – July 1, 2017
Joe Thornton re-signed a one-year deal with the San Jose Sharks on July 1, 2017.
As the opening day of the 2017 NHL free-agent market winds down, here’s a brief look at the day’s notable signings.
San Jose Sharks re-sign defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic (eight years, $7 million annual average value) and goaltender Martin Jones (six years, $5.75 million AAV). Both contracts kick in on July 1, 2018. The Sharks also sign center Joe Thornton (reportedly one-year deal and around $6.5 million).
Vlasic’s an elite NHL defenseman and his new contract puts him among such notables as Drew Doughty of the LA Kings and Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins. I’d say he belongs there. He’s a crucial part of the Sharks defense corps.
Jones’ new salary places him around fifteenth among the highest-paid goalies. If the 27-year-old returns to his solid form of 2015-16, this could prove a bargain for the Sharks over the long run.
Despite all the speculation linking Thornton to other clubs leading up to July 1, it wasn’t surprising that he re-signed with the Sharks. He was seeking a three-year deal but apparently was willing to accept a one-year deal for a full $6.5 million salary.
It’s been reported Thornton’s future in San Jose was tied to long-time Sharks teammate Patrick Marleau. Thornton’s signing could signal Marleau’s return.
Anaheim Ducks re-sign defenseman Cam Fowler (eight years, $6.5 million AAV) and goaltender Ryan Miller (two years, $2 million AAV).
Like Vlasic’s and Jones’ new contract, Fowler’s kicks in next July. Though he was the subject of frequent trade speculation last summer, it’s apparent the Ducks consider him the key cog of their blueline. Th 25-year-old’s new contract is comparable to that of St. Louis’ Alex Pietrangelo.
As for Miller, his days as an elite netminder are in the past. He’ll take on a backup/mentor role for starter John Gibson.
New York Rangers sign defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (four years, $6.65 million AAV). The biggest name in this summer’s UFA market lands where he was always expected to go. He finished among last season’s leading scorers among blueliners though he’s earned criticism for his defensive game.
The 28-year-old will be skating on the right side of the Blueshirts top pairing with Ryan McDonagh. He’s being overpaid for his services but the Rangers at least didn’t lock him up for too long.
Pittsburgh Penguins re-sign defenseman Justin Schultz (three years, $5.5 million AAV). Schultz rejuvenated his NHL career with the Penguins, playing a role in their consecutive championships in 2016 and 2017. Tallying a career-high 51 points last season, he was among the league’s highest-scoring blueliners. That ensured the Pens would keep the mobile rearguard in the fold and give him a healthy raise to boot.
Montreal Canadiens sign defenseman Karl Alzner (five years, $4.65 million AAV). The Canadiens land themselves a quality replacement for Alexei Emelin, who was plucked away by Vegas in the expansion draft. The 28-year-old Alzner is a durable, physical shutdown defender. The Habs got him for a reasonable deal.
Dallas Stars sign center Martin Hanzal (three years, $4.75 million AAV). The 6’6”, 226-pounder brings size and two-way skills at center for the Stars. However, he also has a long injury history and only two 40-point seasons on his resume. The salary’s a little pricey but the Stars didn’t saddle themselves with a lengthy term.
Carolina Hurricanes sign right wing Justin Williams (two years, $4.5 million AAV). Williams, 35, returns to the team where he won his first Stanley Cup in 2006. He gets a nice pay raise over the $3.25 million per season of his previous two-year deal. Despite his age, he remains a reliable second-line right wing. The rebuilding Canes should benefit from his skills and leadership.
Nashville Predators sign center Nick Bonino (four years, $4.1 million AAV) and left wing Scott Hartnell (one year, $1 million AAV). Bonino’s two championship seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins bolstered his free-agent value. The Pred needed two-way depth at center and willingly ponied up for him. This move likely means they’re out of the bidding for Avalanche center Matt Duchene.
The Predators also shipped Colin Wilson to the Colorado Avalanche to make room for Hartnell, who was recently bought out by Columbus. He’s returning to the club where his NHL career began. While the 35-year-old is in decline, he could be a worthwhile checking-line depth addition for the Preds.
Winnipeg Jets sign goaltender Steve Mason (two years, $4.1 million AAV) and defenseman Dmitry Kulikov (three years, $4.33 million AAV). Mason’s earning the same annual cap hit as he did on his previous three-year deal with the Philadelphia Flyers. The Jets needed an experienced goalie to carry the bulk of the workload until promising Connor Hellebuyck is ready for the full-time starter’s job. As with former Jets starter Ondrej Pavelec, however, consistency is an issue for Mason.
Kulikov, meanwhile, hopes to get his career back on track after a back injury hampered him during his brief tenure with the Buffalo Sabres. When healthy, he’s a mobile, big-minute defender. But if his back woes flare up again, this could become a costly error for the Jets.
Vancouver Canucks sign forward Sam Gagner (three years, $3.1 million AAV) and defenseman Michael Del Zotto (two years, $3 million AAV). Gagner’s 50-point bounce-back performance last season with the Blue Jackets earns him a big raise over his one-year, $650K deal in 2016-17. If he can maintain his usual 40-point production, he could provide a decent boost to the Canucks offense.
Del Zotto, meanwhile, takes a bit of a pay cut for two seasons in Vancouver. He’ll provide the retooling Canucks with experienced puck-moving depth, buying time to allow their younger rearguards to develop.
Tampa Bay Lightning sign defenseman Dan Girardi (two years, $3 million AAV) and winger Chris Kunitz (one year, $2 million). The Bolts get older, but perhaps not necessarily better. They sought an experienced top-four defenseman with a right-handed shot. However, the 33-year-old Girardi has a lot of miles on him and has lost a step or two. That’s one reason the Rangers bought him out.
Same goes for Kunitz, who’s also getting $1 million in bonus money. He helped the Penguins win three Stanley Cup titles since 2009 but saw his production decline over the past two years. Yzerman’s taking a couple of gambles here, but at least they’re affordable and only short term.
Toronto Maple Leafs sign defenseman Ron Hainsey (two years, $3 million AAV). Hainsey reached the playoffs last season for the first time in his career, helping the Pittsburgh Penguins win the Stanley Cup. The Leafs expect he’ll bring experienced depth to their defense corps, but it remains to be seen how much the 36-year-old has left in the tank.
Philadelphia Flyers sign goaltender Brian Elliott (two years, $2.75 million AAV). After washing out with the Calgary Flames last season, the 32-year-old Elliott will try to get his career as an NHL starter back on track with the Flyers. His deal is a reasonable one, but he’s unlikely to end the Flyers’ seemingly never-ending carousel of mediocre goaltending.
Florida Panther sign right wing Radim Vrbata (one year, bonus-laden contract, $2.5 million base salary). The 36-year-old Vrbata will replace now-departed winger Jaromir Jagr. He was the Coyotes’ leading scorer last season with 55 points and could be a decent short-term addition to the Panthers’ scoring lines.
Los Angeles Kings sign winger Mike Cammalleri (one year, $1 million AAV). After being bought out by the New Jersey Devils, Cammalleri returns to the city his NHL career began. The 35-year-old still has a decent scoring touch, but injuries in recent years have limited his effectiveness.
Chicago Blackhawks sign winger Patrick Sharp (one year, $800k AAV). The 35-year-old tallied 20 goals and 55 points in 2015-16 but injuries limited him to just 18 points last season. Having recovered from hip surgery, perhaps a return to Chicago, where he had his best seasons, can help him regain to form. It’s an affordable risk for the cap-strapped Blackhawks.
Would a swap of Dustin Brown for Dion Phaneuf make sense for the LA Kings & Ottawa Senators?
Latest on Dion Phaneuf, Joe Thornton, Matt Duchene and more in your NHL rumor mill.
SPORTSNET: In his latest “30 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman suggested one move that might make sense for the Los Angeles Kings and Ottawa Senators is swapping winger Dustin Brown for defenseman Dion Phaneuf. However, he’s unsure if Brown’s no-trade list allows him to go to Ottawa.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t see how that works for the Senators. They need scoring and Brown’s best seasons are well in the past. Phaneuf carries a $7 million annual cap hit for four more seasons while Brown has five more years at $5.875 million annually left on his contract. The Sens could shed salary but the cap-strapped Kings would be add nearly $1.2 million to their payroll in this proposed swap.
Potential suitors for San Jose Sharks pending UFA center Joe Thornton include “Columbus, Los Angeles, Montreal and the Rangers.” He can also see Toronto having interest but isn’t certain if they do. He also doubts Thornton would be keen to join Detroit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs have Auston Matthews, Nazem Kadri and Tyler Bozak at center. Unless they intend to part ways with one of them – and I don’t believe they are – I don’t see Thornton being a fit there.
Friedman thinks it’s possible Alex Galchenyuk remains with the Montreal Canadiens. Hasn’t been as much of a market for him as previously thought.
There’s an expectation Vancouver Canucks UFA goaltender Ryan Miller could sign a $1 million deal with the Anaheim Ducks, though Friedman isn’t sure if bonuses would be added to that.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller’s possible departure could force the Canucks into the UFA market for a goaltender. The Province’s Jason Botchford lists Steve Mason, Chad Johnson, Brian Elliott, Jonathan Bernier and Mike Condon as possible replacement options available for the Canucks.
The New York Rangers appear close to a deal with defenseman Brendan Smith. Same can’t be said for the Calgary Flames and Michael Stone. The Ottawa Senators and Winnipeg Jets could have interest in Buffalo Sabres d-man Dmitry Kulikov. It could cost between $4-$4.5 million annually to sign Washington’s UFA d-man Karl Alzner. Some are curious to see if the Sabres make a big pitch for Kevin Shattenkirk, who might not be heading to the Rangers as originally assumed.
It could be Minnesota, Pittsburgh or retirement for veteran center Matt Cullen, though Friedman wouldn’t be surprised if the Sabres put in a call. They could also look at center Brian Boyle.
Friedman suggests the Pittsburgh Penguins as a “low-key possibility” trade destination for Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene. He said the Penguins have circle around Duchene before and wonders if a pitch of defenseman Olli Maatta and more pieces might get a deal done.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Phil Kessel trade two years ago was a clear indication that Penguins GM Jim Rutherford isn’t afraid to make a big move. But with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin as the Penguins top-two centers, I don’t think Duchene’s a fit there. Yes, he can also play on the wing, but the Pens will be in need of possibly replacing third-line center Nick Bonino if he departs via free agency. I don’t see Duchene thriving in that role. Moving Maatta would also leave a hole on the Penguins’ blueline.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowen reports Andrei Markov seeks a two-year, $12 million contract from the Canadiens. Meanwhile, Pat Hickey reports Washington Capitals pending UFA blueliner Karl Alzner has interest in joining the Habs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can see the Habs countering with one-year and $6 million. It’ll be interesting to see how the Markov situation pans out. Alzner could be a good replacement for the departed Alexei Emelin.
THE ATHLETIC: Craig Custance reports the Detroit Red Wings “have had conversations with the camps for defensemen Trevor Daley, Dan Girardi and Ron Hainsey. It’s expected they’ll also give strong consideration to defenseman Dmitry Kulikov.”
Scott Power reports the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets pending UFA forward Sam Gagner have mutual interest in each other.
PHILLY.COM/WINNIPEG SUN: The Philadelphia Flyers and Winnipeg Jets could turn to the free-agent market for goaltending depth. Options include Steve Mason and Brian Elliott. The Jets could also look at Sabres defenseman Dmitry Kulikov.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont reports the Boston Bruins were rumored to have interest in Arizona Coyotes right wing Radim Vrbata at the March trade deadline. A source close to the 36-year-old Vrbata said the veteran winger could have interest in signing with the Bruins. He tallied 55 points on the sad-sack Coyotes last season.
CSN MID-ATLANTIC: J.J. Regan wonders if the Washington Capitals could attempt to shop goaltender Philipp Grubauer for a return to fill their holes on the blueline. He believes the Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets definitely need a starting goaltender. He lists the Buffalo Sabres, Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings as possible destinations. He notes the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers also need help between the pipes but considers them unlikely trade partners.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Regan observers, if the Capitals shop Grubauer they should do it before the UFA market opens on July 1. Problem is, most of those teams lack sufficient blueline depth to bring the Caps a suitable defenseman. Sure, Jets defeseman Jacob Trouba came up over the past year in trade chatter but they obviously won’t move him for a package with Grubauer as the centerpiece.