NHL Trade Roundup: Reviewing the Deals Last Week
The latest on Tyler Johnson and Steven Stamkos, plus a look at yesterday’s notable free-agent signings in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
UPDATES ON JOHNSON AND STAMKOS
THE SCORE: Tampa Bay Lightning winger Tyler Johnson cleared waivers yesterday. The Lightning had hoped a rival club would claim Johnson and clear his $5 million annual average value from their books.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bolts hope to shed some salary to create cap space to re-sign restricted free agents Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev. Trading Johnson is still possible but the Lightning will have to include a sweetener in the deal like a quality draft pick, prospect or young player. He has a full no-trade but has reportedly submitted a list of preferred trade destinations.
TSN: Lightning captain Steven Stamkos underwent surgery on Wednesday to repair an abdominal core muscle. He’s expected to make a full recovery before the start of the 2020-21 season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stamkos will have plenty of time to recover. The NHL and NHLPA have targeted Jan. 1 for the start date of next season. I believe March 1 could be a more realistic start date, depending on the course of the second wave of COVID-19.
NOTABLE UFA SIGNINGS
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Barrie addition is an affordable short-term acquisition to address Oscar Klefbom’s anticipated lengthy absence as he deals with a nagging shoulder injury. Bringing back Smith, however, doesn’t improve their goaltending, which is their biggest weakness. After failing to find an upgrade via free agency, GM Ken Holland seems unwilling to take a chance in the trade market.
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks are reportedly close to bringing back winger Patrick Marleau for a third stint.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marleau’s had a long, productive NHL career, most of it with the Sharks. However, the 41-year-old winger is well past his prime. This could be based more on sentimentality than what he can actually bring to their lineup.
SPORTSNET: The Columbus Blue Jackets signed former Minnesota Wild center Mikko Koivu to a one-year, $1.5-million contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild opted not to re-sign their long-time captain after the 37-year-old Koivu dropped down their depth chart last season. His best days are behind him but he could still have one decent season left as a fourth-line center with the Jackets.
MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings signed goaltender Thomas Greiss to a two-year deal with an annual average value of $3.6 million and defenseman Troy Stecher to a two-year deal with an AAV of $1.7 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Two decent short-term deals bringing some much-needed goaltending and blueline depth to the rebuilding Wings.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins signed winger Craig Smith to a three-year deal with a $3.1 million AAV.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes signed winger Jesper Fast to a three-year deal ($2 million AAV).
SPORTSNET: The Buffalo Sabres signed center Cody Eakin to a two-year, $4.5-million contract.
The Toronto Maple Leafs signed defenseman Zach Bogosian to a one-year, $1-million contract.
ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes signed forward Johan Larsson to a two-year, $2.8-million contract.
NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals signed defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk to a one-year, $800K contract.
NOTABLE RFA SIGNINGS
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The Sharks re-signed winger Kevin Lebanc to a four-year deal worth an AAV of $4.725 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is Lebanc’s reward for only taking a one-year, $1-million contract last year when the Sharks were facing a salary-cap crunch. His production was down last season but that could be due to the Sharks’ overall poor performance last season. This could be a worthwhile contract for the Sharks if Lebanc regains his 56-point form from 2018-19.
THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche re-signed wingers Andre Burakovsky and Valeri Nichushkin to two-year contracts. Burakovsky’s AAV is $4.9 million while Nichushkin’s is $2.5 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise here. Both forwards were key contributors to the Avalanche last season. Burakovsky enjoyed a career-best 20 goal, 45 point performance in 58 games last season while Nichushkin has turned into a versatile checking-line forward.
WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres re-signed defenseman Brandon Montour to a one-year, $3.85-million contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Montour was the frequent topic of trade speculation last season. It’ll be interesting to see if he has a future in Buffalo beyond next season.
TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild re-signed winger Jordan Greenway to a two-year, $4.2-million contract.
IN OTHER NEWS…
TSN: The Ottawa Senators acquired forward Austin Watson from the Nashville Predators in exchange for a 2021 fourth-round pick.
NHLPA: 26 NHL players filed yesterday for salary arbitration. The arbitration period begins Oct. 20 and concludes Nov. 8.
Detroit Red Wings
New York Islanders
New York Rangers
Toronto Maple Leafs
NHL.COM: Max Domi’s overtime goal gave the Montreal Canadiens a 5-4 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights. The Habs overcame a 4-2 deficit on goals by Tomas Tatar and Brendan Gallagher to force the extra frame. Domi and Tatar each had a goal and an assist. Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty collected an assist against his former club for his 500th career NHL point. Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi missed the game as he’s listed as day-to-day with a groin injury.
The Calgary Flames overcame 2-0, 4-1, and 5-4 deficits to burn the Nashville Predators 6-5 on a between-the-legs overtime goal by Matthew Tkachuk, who also tallied the game-tying goal. Tkachuk and Sean Monahan finished with three points apiece. Predators winger Auston Watson celebrated his new three-year, $4.5-million contract extension with a four-point performance. Teammate Calle Jarnkrok also tallied twice.
TSN: Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien could require up to four months to recover from recent ankle surgery. His agent is in discussions with the NHL Players Association as they review his case. it could have financial complications if it’s determined he injured his ankle playing hockey.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Byfuglien is on a leave of absence mulling his future and was suspended without pay for salary-cap purposes. He underwent this surgery in his home state of Minnesota without informing the team.
General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff shed little light on the situation, raising speculation of a difference of opinion between the player and the organization over the status of his injured ankle. The silence from both sides only generates more questions over the future of Byfuglien’s playing career. For the time being, it seems increasingly likely he won’t be back with the Jets this season.
WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets got more bad news as center Mark Letestu has been sidelined by a heart virus (myocarditis) for six months. Winger Patrik Laine remains sidelined with a minor lower-body injury. Center Bryan Little left practice yesterday with an undisclosed injury and could miss tonight’s game against the San Jose Sharks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Letestu is expected to make a full recovery but he’ll miss the remainder of the regular season.
THE SCORE: Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin has hired a lawyer to investigate how his name became associated with a Russian virtual reality start-up that reportedly lost millions of dollars. The report claimed Malkin invested $4 million into the company, which used his name to attract other investors. He denied investing in the company.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Speaking of the Penguins, they’ve assigned Sam Lafferty to their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
CBS SPORTS: Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov is listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. Buffalo Sabres winger Jimmy Vesey (lower body) has been upgraded from week-to-week to day-to-day. San Jose Sharks center Dylan Gambrell is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings forward Tyler Toffoli was a healthy scratch during Wednesday’s 5-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toffoli is an unrestricted free agent in July. It’ll be interesting to see how he responds to this move.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks have recalled defenseman Adam Boqvist.
The Charlotte Checkers have released Jamie McGinn from his professional tryout offer.
Had been hearing the Landeskog mystery LBI was a broken foot. Not confirmed but he is wearing a walking boot on his right foot.
— AJ Haefele (@AJHaefele) October 31, 2019
Game recaps, Bruins and Jets clinch playoff berths, Bruins re-sign Zdeno Chara, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins clinched a postseason spot by thumping the Florida Panthers 7-3. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara had a big day, becoming the 22nd defenseman in NHL history to reach 200 career goals and re-signing a one-year contract extension. The new deal is worth $2 million in base salary plus $1.75 million in performance bonuses. Meanwhile, the Bruins got some bad news earlier in the day when it was revealed Sean Kuraly will be sidelined a month with a fracture in his right hand.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chara’s new contract is a reasonable one for both sides. The Bruins keep their captain in the fold for another season to maintain stability and leadership on their blueline. Chara gets a fair deal for a player of his declining (but still effective) skills.
The move also provides the Bruins with salary-cap flexibility. With over $68.6 million invested in 19 players, that should provide sufficient room to re-sign restricted free agents Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, and Danton Heinen, who are all coming off entry-level contracts.
The Winnipeg Jets (94 points) secured a playoff berth by blanking the Nashville Predators 5-0. Kyle Connor netted a hat trick while Connor Hellebuyck turned aside 33 shots for the shutout. The Jets also hold a four-point lead over the Predators for the top spot in the Central Division.
Mark Giordano had a goal and two assists to give the Calgary Flames a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Giordano now has points in seven straight games. The Flames (101 points) have a six-point lead over the San Jose Sharks for first place in the Pacific Division and the overall Western Conference standings.
The Colorado Avalanche (80 points) moved ahead of the Arizona Coyotes into the final Western Conference wild-card berth by defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2. Colin Wilson had a goal and an assist for the Avs, while the Blackhawks (74 points) slip six points behind Colorado. The Avs played without winger Mikko Rantanen, who sat out the game with an undisclosed injury and will miss today’s contest against the Hawks.
The Arizona Coyotes (79 points) dropped one point out of the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference by falling 2-1 to the New Jersey Devils in a shootout. Pavel Zacha tallied the winner for the Devils. The Coyotes are winless in their last four contests.
Josh Bailey scored twice, including the go-ahead goal, as the New York Islanders doubled up the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2. The Islanders (93 points) move within one of the Washington Capitals for first place in the Metropolitan Division while the Flyers (80 points) are seven points out of a playoff berth in the East.
The Carolina Hurricanes (89 points) remain two ahead of the Montreal Canadiens for the first wild-card spot in the East by defeating the Minnesota Wild 5-1. Teuvo Teravainen had a goal and two assists for the Hurricanes, while the Wild (79 points) slip one behind the Avalanche in the Western Conference wild-card chase. Wild winger Zach Parise missed the game with a lower-body injury.
Brendan Gallagher, Max Domi, and Tomas Tatar each had three-point performances as the Montreal Canadiens beat the Buffalo Sabres 7-4. With the win, the Canadiens (87 points) hold a three-point lead over the Columbus Blue Jackets for the final Eastern wild-card spot. Gallagher tallied his career-high 33rd goal of the season. The Sabres are now officially eliminated from postseason contention.
Vladimir Tarasenko and Brayden Schenn each had a goal and an assist as the St. Louis Blues held off the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3. With 88 points, the Blues sit two back of the Predators for second in the Central Division. Lightning center Brayden Point scored his 40th of the season.
The Pittsburgh Penguins (93 points) remain tied with the Islanders for second in the Metro Division after nipping the Dallas Stars 3-2. Jared McCann scored twice for the Penguins, including the game-winner in the third period. The Stars (82 points) sit two points above the Avalanche in the first wild-card spot in the West. Stars center Jason Spezza was a healthy scratch for the second time in a week.
The New York Rangers upset the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 on an overtime goal by Ryan Strome. Despite the victory, the Rangers are officially eliminated from playoff contention. The Leafs (94 points) have won just four of their last 10 games.
Anthony Mantha scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Detroit Red Wings surprised the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2, snapping the latter’s four-game winning streak. Vegas sits five points behind the Sharks in the Pacific Division. Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson missed the game with a lower-body injury.
Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson made 26 saves to pick up his first victory since Dec. 17 by edging the Edmonton Oilers 4-3. Brady Tkachuk tallied two goals, including the winner in overtime. The Oilers (74 points) are six points behind the Avalanche for the final Western playoff spot. A lingering back injury prevented Senators forward Zack Smith from playing in this game.
Speaking of the Oilers and Senators, Ken Hitchcock is receptive to the idea of returning behind the Edmonton bench next season. Meanwhile, the Senators confirm their intention to hire a president of hockey operations to provide assistance to general manager Pierre Dorion, who continues to have the full support of team owner Eugene Melnyk.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Remains to be seen if the eventual new Oilers general manager wants Hitchcock back. He might prefer bringing in his own bench boss. As for a new hockey ops president for the Senators, that move will take some of the burdens off Dorion, allowing him to focus on rebuilding the roster.
The Los Angeles Kings downed the Anaheim Ducks 4-3 on a shootout goal by Anze Kopitar.
NBC SPORTS: Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky has been dealing with an upper-body injury that’s been bothering him for a while. His status for today’s game against the Vancouver Canucks remains unclear.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bad enough for the Blue Jackets to be slumping when they’re trying to secure a wild-card spot. Having their starting goalie hampered by an injury makes matters potentially worse.
DENVER POST: NHL referee and Colorado native Brad Watson has retired after 23 seasons. He worked 214 playoff games and eight Stanley Cup Finals.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Watson in his retirement.
Of note in the story: Vrana triggered a $212,500 bonus in his contract (still his entry-level) with 20 goals. He could get another one if he finishes in the top six for ice time among forwards. If you look at aggregate, he’s currently sixth.
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) March 23, 2019
Game recaps, Lightning win Presidents’ Trophy, Steven Stamkos and Elias Pettersson have record-breaking nights, stars of the week, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: It was a record-breaking night for the Tampa Bay Lightning and team captain Steven Stamkos as they rolled to a 4-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. The Lightning (116 points) clinched the Presidents’ Trophy for the first time in franchise history, while Stamkos set a franchise record with his 384th career goal. The loss leaves the Coyotes (78 points) one point ahead of the Minnesota Wild for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson collected an assist to set a franchise record for most points by a rookie (61) in his club’s 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Bo Horvat tallied the game-winner in overtime. The Blackhawks (74 points) gained a point to sit four behind the Coyotes.
Kyle Connor had a goal and an assist as the Winnipeg Jets edged the Los Angeles Kings 3-2, officially eliminating the latter from playoff contention. With 90 points, the Jets hold a three-point lead over the Nashville Predators for the top spot in the Central Division.
For the second straight game, the San Jose Sharks failed to clinch a playoff berth as they fell 7-3 to the Vegas Golden Knights. Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith each had four-point performances for Vegas. Sharks captain Joe Pavelski missed the game with a lower-body injury that could sideline him a little longer than day-to-day.
New York Islanders goaltender Thomas Greiss, Chicago Blackhawks winger Brendan Perlini, and Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending March 17.
THE TENNESSEAN: The NHL and NHLPA have ended the indefinite suspension of Nashville Predators winger Austin Watson following treatment for an alcohol-abuse relapse. He’s expected to rejoin the club for today’s morning skate but no timetable has been set for his return to action.
SPORTSNET: Toronto Maple Leafs center Frederik Gauthier will miss the next two games with a foot injury.
Game recaps, Wild re-sign Stalock, Hurricanes re-up Martinook, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Kyle Connor scored twice in regulation and tallied the shootout winner as the Winnipeg Jets edged the Boston Bruins 4-3. Bruins center Patrice Bergeron also scored two goals while linemates Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak collected three points each.
Conor Sheary’s third-period goal gave the Buffalo Sabres a 5-4 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Sabres winger Jeff Skinner tallied his 31st goal of the season.
Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Anthony Stolarz made 38 saves to shut out the New York Rangers 1-0. Oskar Lindblom netted the only goal as the Flyers picked up their fifth straight win.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes re-upped winger Jordan Martinook to a two-year, $4-million deal.
STAR-TRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild re-signed backup goaltender Alex Stalock to a three-year, $2.355-million contract. The annual average value is $785K.
NJ.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins center Derick Brassard won’t receive supplemental discipline for his elbowing penalty on Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen, opening a gash on Vatanen’s forward.
THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators winger Austin Watson has been suspended indefinitely without pay by the NHL and admitted into stage two of the league’s substance abuse and behavioral health program for his ongoing issues with alcohol abuse.
CBS SPORTS: The Columbus Blue Jackets have recalled Mark Letestu, who’s spent the season in the minors.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former Canadiens players Gerry Plamondon passed away Saturday at age 95. Plamondon was the last surviving member of the Canadiens’ 1946 Stanley Cup championship roster.