NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 24, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 24, 2022

The number 13 proves to be lucky for the Panthers, the Blues extend their points streak, Sidney Crosby ties Jaromir Jagr for the second-most 30-goal seasons in Penguins history, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers set a franchise record with their 13th consecutive win by downing the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on an overtime goal by Brandon Montour. Claude Giroux had a goal and two assists, Aleksander Barkov had a goal and an assist and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 34 shots. Mitch Marner and Justin Holl scored for the Leafs while teammate Auston Matthews was held scoreless in his return to the lineup after missing three games with an undisclosed injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers also set an NHL record for the most overtime goals in one season with 13. They have opened a four-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche in the overall standings with 120 points. Meanwhile, Toronto picked up a point and sit in second place in the Atlantic Division with 109 points. Leafs rookie winger Michael Bunting is expected to miss some time after leaving the game with a lower-body injury.

An overtime goal by Justin Faulk lifted the St. Louis Blues over the Arizona Coyotes 5-4 to extend their points streak to 15 games (13-0-2). Faulk finished the game with two goals and an assist. Coyotes rookie winger Bokondji Imama tallied his first career NHL goal. The Blues are tied with the Minnesota Wild with 107 points but the latter holds second place in the Central Division with a game in hand.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

Sidney Crosby tied Jaromir Jagr for the second-most 30-goal seasons in Pittsburgh Penguins history as he led his club over the Detroit Red Wings 7-2. Crosby has ten 30-goal campaigns and sits one back of franchise leader Mario Lemieux. Evgeni Malkin scored twice and Kris Letang had a three-point performance as the Penguins opened a two-point lead over the Washington Capitals for third place in the Metropolitan Division with 101 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Red Wings forward Filip Zadina missed this game and will be sidelined for the remainder of the season with appendicitis.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos scored multiple points for the fifth straight game in a 6-2 victory over the Nashville Predators. Stamkos had a goal and two assists and has 13 points in his last five contests. Nikita Kucherov also had three points as the Lightning (104 points) sit five points back of the Leafs in third place in the Atlantic Division. Predators captain Roman Josi scored to become the first defenseman to reach 90 points since Raymond Bourque in 1993-94.

The Carolina Hurricanes got an overtime goal by Seth Jarvis to nip the New Jersey Devils 3-2. Hurricanes rookie goalie Pyotr Kochetkov made 19 saves for the win in his first NHL game. With the win, the Hurricanes opened a two-point lead over the New York Rangers atop the Metropolitan Division with 110 points.

Speaking of the Rangers, they dropped a 3-1 decision to the Boston Bruins. David Pastrnak had a goal and an assist in his return to the Bruins lineup after missing eight games with an undisclosed injury. The Bruins hold a two-point lead over the Capitals for the first wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference with 101 points.

Calgary Flames forward Elias Lindholm scored his 40th goal of the season in a 6-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Chris Tanev collected three assists, Dillon Dube scored twice and Johnny Gaudreau collected two points for the Flames, who sit in first place in the Pacific Division with 108 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The loss leaves the Canucks’ playoff hopes hanging by a thread. With 87 points, they’re six behind the Dallas Stars for the final wild-card berth. The Stars need just one point to eliminate the Canucks from postseason contention.

Speaking of the Stars, they overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat the Seattle Kraken 3-2. Roope Hintz tallied twice and Jake Oettinger kicked out 30 shots for the win. Kraken rookie Matty Beniers was held pointless for the first time in six games.

The Los Angeles Kings improved their chances of securing a playoff spot by doubling up the Anaheim Ducks 4-2. Anze Kopitar, Quinton Byfield and Arthur Kaliyev each collected two points as the Kings hold a seven-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights for third place in the Pacific Division with 96 points. Trevor Zegras scored to set the Ducks rookie points record with 58.

The Ottawa Senators defeated the Montreal Canadiens 6-4 with rookie forward Mark Kastelic scoring his first two NHL goals and Anton Forsberg making 44 saves. Canadiens rookie Cole Caufield scored his 20th goal of the season and Rem Pitlick tallied twice. Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot was held scoreless in his first game since breaking his hand on March 16.

Forwards Jeff Skinner and Tage Thompson each had a goal and an assist as the Buffalo Sabres extended their win streak to four games with a 5-3 victory over the New York Islanders.

San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier scored his 34th goal of the season in a 4-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Kaapo Kahkonen got the win by stopping 27 shots.

IN OTHER NEWS…

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner missed practice for the second straight day amid speculation he requires season-ending knee surgery. The Golden Knights have declined to comment and remain hopeful he’ll play tonight against the San Jose Sharks.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets forwards Mark Scheifele and Cole Perfetti have been shut down for the season due to nagging injuries.

CBS SPORTS: An upper-body injury could sideline Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba for the remainder of the regular season and possibly the first game of their opening-round series against the Blues.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: The Flyers have ruled all their injured players except for Nick Seeler are sidelined for the season. That list includes Cam Atkinson, Carter Hart, Rasmus Ristolainen, Sean Couturier and Cam York.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 23, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – April 23, 2022

In today’s NHL rumor mill, the Jets could face offseason changes following the disappointing outcome of this season plus a look at some potential decisions facing the Red Wings.

CHANGES COULD BE COMING THIS SUMMER FOR THE JETS

SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe believes the Winnipeg Jets must begin the process of repairing a winning culture that’s been in decline in recent years starting with their remaining games in this season. He feels the franchise’s foundation is showing cracks in need of repair.

The Jets have plenty of offensive skill but they’re not scoring on a consistent basis. They’re giving up too many quality scoring chances, they don’t defend well enough around their net while their special teams have struggled.

Wiebe feels some of those issues were papered over by goaltender Connor Hellebuyck’s play in recent years. However, they were exposed when he wasn’t playing at a Vezina-caliber level this season as the volume of shots and scoring chances against him increased.

WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck shares Wiebe’s concern that there are cracks in the Jets’ foundation. He pointed out that players such as Kyle Connor, Nikolaj Ehlers, Paul Stastny and Josh Morrissey have publicly admitted the team’s performance is not up to snuff, with Connor also admitting a culture change is needed.

Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff (NHL.com).

Billeck believes that will be up to general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff or his replacement if ownership decides a change is needed in the front office. It could also have an effect on contract talks with center Pierre-Luc Dubois, who’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre believes it’s time for the Jets to conduct a full examination to address the malaise gripping the club. He wonders if that will be conducted by Cheveldayoff or his boss, Mark Chipman. The Jets owner has to be seeing the effects on the ice and in the stands, where the Jets are averaging 1,500 – 2,000 empty seats per game.

McIntyre also pondered the possibility of the Jets bringing in an experienced and sharp hockey mind from outside the organization as other clubs have done in recent years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The focus of these pieces center on whether there will be changes in the front office after this season. Cheveldayoff’s been in the job since 2011. While he built them up into a Western Conference finalist in 2018, they’ve been steadily declining since then. Perhaps a change in management is necessary.

Whoever is the Jets general manager this summer must decide if a roster shakeup is required or if the problem could be addressed with a coaching change. Long-time bench boss Paul Maurice stepped down in December claiming the team needed a “new voice” to reach the next level. Assistant coach Dave Lowry took over on an interim basis but was no more successful than his predecessor.

Some roster changes could still be in order if the Jets replace Cheveldayoff and hire a new head coach. McIntyre has suggested moving out a couple of expensive veterans to clear roster and cap space for promising young defensemen such as Dylan Samberg and Ville Heinola.

Center Mark Scheifele recently surfaced in the rumor mill as an offseason trade candidate. Some Jets fans would like to see captain Blake Wheeler replaced but his age (35), $8.25 million cap hit through 2023-24 and full no-movement clause makes that option difficult to achieve.

LATEST RED WINGS SPECULATION

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Kevin Allen and Bob Duff recently addressed some questions about the Red Wings’ future plans. They don’t see Jeff Blashill returning as head coach, with Allen saying he’s heard GM Steve Yzerman could look at some tough, demanding coaching candidates if he replaces Blashill.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blashill’s been the Wings’ head coach for the past seven seasons. He couldn’t be faulted for most of the club’s struggles during the earlier years of its rebuild. However, they were expected to make significant improvement this season, perhaps even contend for a wild-card spot. Their second-half collapse amid ongoing concerns over their defensive play suggests it’s time for a fresh perspective behind the bench.

Allen and Duff both believe Yzerman’s roster priority is to bring in a second-line center. They also expect he’ll seek an experienced second-pairing defenseman. Possible forward options could include the New York Rangers’ Andrew Copp and the Carolina Hurricanes’ Vincent Trocheck via free agency. Duff’s also hearing Yzerman could target Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg if he hits the open market.

They also suggest Tyler Bertuzzi and Filip Zadina as trade candidates if the Wings don’t see them as part of their long-term plans. Bertuzzi is a year away from UFA status while Zadina is a restricted free agent this summer. They could retain the latter as they appreciate how hard he’s working to become a better player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yzerman’s shown a willingness to make bold moves, first by shipping Anthony Mantha to Washington for Jakub Vrana at last year’s trade deadline and acquiring goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic from Carolina last summer. I wouldn’t be shocked if he peddles Bertuzzi and/or Zadina to land that second-line center or second-pairing blueliner this summer.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 9, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – April 9, 2022

In today’s NHL rumor mill, more speculation linking Claude Giroux to the Senators, questions about possible offseason moves by the Red Wings and Lars Eller’s future with the Capitals.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Ian Mendes was asked if Kevin Fiala or Claude Giroux would be easier for the Ottawa Senators to obtain in the offseason. He believes it could be Giroux, as the Florida Panthers forward is slated to become an unrestricted free agent whereas the Minnesota Wild winger is a restricted free agent.

Florida Panthers forward Claude Giroux (NHL Images)

Mendes noted Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently reported the 34-year-old Giroux is doing some homework on the Senators and their situation in Ottawa. If the former Flyers captain can win a Stanley Cup with the Panthers, it could nudge him toward signing with his hometown club.

Fiala, meanwhile, would prove expensive to acquire via trade and to sign as he also has arbitration rights and is in line for a significant raise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The uncertainty over the Senators’ ownership situation following the recent death of Eugene Melnyk could affect the club’s efforts to attract free-agent talent. No one knows yet whether Melnyk’s heirs will maintain control of the franchise or sell to another ownership group willing to keep the club in Ottawa.

As for Giroux, I don’t rule out the possibility of him coming home to Ottawa. Nevertheless, it’s not a certainty that’s what he wants to do or that the Senators would be interested in signing him. If the Panthers fail to win the Cup and they’re unable to re-sign Giroux, he could opt to sign with a contender for next season.

THE ATHLETIC: Max Bultman was recently asked by a reader if the entire Detroit Red Wings core had to be remade (except for Moritz Seider). He suggested Filip Hronek could be a good trade candidate if management wanted to shake things up and get a solid return. However, he could prove difficult to replace, making it more worthwhile to keep the 24-year-old defenseman unless someone’s willing to make a big offer for him.

Asked about the future of winger Filip Zadina, Bultman suggested a possible coaching change by the Wings could factor into their decision to keep or trade him. Ultimately, it comes down to their evaluation of the former first-round pick and whether they feel they’ve done all they can to tap into his potential.

Bultman also doesn’t expect Wings general manager Steve Yzerman to pursue a big-ticket UFA such as John Klingberg this summer. A good second-line center option via free agency could be Carolina’s Vincent Trocheck, who wouldn’t break the bank or be a signing that goes over five years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what Yzerman does this summer. He’s been building patiently with promising youth over the past three years. Nevertheless, the Wings are at a point where he could attempt to accelerate the process via trade or free agency. Then again, he could also decide a coaching change would be more beneficial.

THE ATHLETIC: Tarik El-Bashir was asked if the Washington Capitals might part with center Lars Eller in the offseason. He doesn’t consider it a slam dunk but didn’t rule it out if the Capitals decide to shed some salary and free up a roster spot for promising Connor McMichael. Eller, 32, has a year remaining on his contract with an annual cap hit of $3.5 million.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 5, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – March 5, 2022

What moves could the Leafs, Avalanche, Red Wings and Oilers make before the trade deadline? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LEAFS

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox reports Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas has made adding a defenseman his priority before the March 21 trade deadline. What type of blueliner and how much he’ll cost will depend upon the healthy of sidelined rearguard Jake Muzzin, whose $5.625 million cap hit is currently on long-term injury reserve. If Muzzin is out for the regular season with concussion symptoms, one imagines Dubas will seek a comparable left-shot defenseman.

TORONTO STAR: Mark Zwolinski examined what Dubas could part with to bolster his roster before the trade deadline. The Leafs GM isn’t afraid to trade draft picks and he’s got his first-, second-and seventh-round picks in this year’s draft. He might be willing to part with his first-rounder for a defenseman like Dallas’ John Klingberg, Arizona’s Jakob Chychrun or Anaheim’s Hampus Lindholm.

Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm (NHL Images).

Other trade chips could include a defenseman such as Justin Holl, Rasmus Sandin, Timothy Liljegren or Travis Dermott. Pending restricted free agent forward Pierre Engvall is another possibility. Minor leaguers Joshua Ho-Sang and Alex Steeves and prospects Matt Knies, Nick Abruzzese and Topi Niemela could interest other clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubas has shown a willingness in the recent past to swing big deals with seemingly limited cap room. I don’t dismiss the possibility of him pulling another rabbit out of his hat again.

I wouldn’t expect to see Klingberg, Chychrun or Lindholm joining the Leafs by deadline day. The Stars aren’t sellers as they’re battling for a Western Conference wild-card berth. The Coyotes’ asking price for Chychrun is likely too expensive for the Leafs while the Ducks are reportedly trying to re-sign Lindholm.

Some Leafs followers believe Dubas needs to improve his goaltending. That’s as maybe but the reality is there aren’t many quality goalies available that would be an improvement over the current tandem of Jack Campbell and Petr Mrazek. Marc-Andre Fleury seems to be leaning toward finishing the season with the Chicago Blackhawks while there’s no indication the New York Islanders are shopping Semyon Varlamov. The rest of them are career backups or past-their-prime starters.

AVALANCHE

THE DENVER POST: Mark Chambers lists Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux, San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl, Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski, Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller and Buffalo Sabres defenseman Colin Miller as five potential trade targets for the Colorado Avalanche.

THE ATHLETIC: Peter Baugh and Scott Wheeler list prospect defenseman Justin Barron, the Avalanche’s 2023 first-round pick and prospect forward Oskar Olausson among the potential trade chips general manager Joe Sakic could dangle. Others include defenseman Sean Behrens and their 2023 second-rounder.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Giroux is the main guy the Avs have been linked to in the rumor mill. Everything depends on whether he’ll waive his no-movement clause to go to Colorado. The Flyers will likely seek a first-rounder, a top prospect and a young player in return.

Hertl could also be an option though he and the Sharks are reportedly engaged in contract extension talks. The Stars are in the thick of the Western wild-card chase so they’re not shopping Pavelski, who’d like to stay in Dallas after this season.

The Canucks aren’t parting with Miller unless someone makes a substantial offer that involves young NHL players. Colin Miller, on the other hand, would be an affordable pickup for the Avs once he returns from his undisclosed injury.

RED WINGS

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli added Detroit Red Wings forward Filip Zadina to his list of trade targets at No. 12. He said Wings GM Steve Yzerman hasn’t tipped his hand but there’s a sense around the league that the 22-year-old winger could benefit from a change of scenery.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Kevin Allen wonders if there will be much of a trade market for Wings backup Thomas Greiss. Washington Capitals GM Brian MacLellan doesn’t seem to like his choices in the trade market. Darcy Kuemper’s improved play takes the Colorado Avalanche out of the goalie market. The Edmonton Oilers, Boston Bruins and Minnesota Wild could be interested in Marc-Andre Fleury but some believe he wants to finish this season with the Blackhawks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The sixth-overall pick in 2018, Zadina hasn’t blossomed into the scorer he was projected to become. He’s still young enough to get his career back on track and reach his full potential, which could prove enticing to clubs looking for promising scorers.

OILERS

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports the Oilers are seeking a dollar-in, dollar-out trade and seek a veteran, big right-shot rental defenseman. He pointed out Oilers winger Josh Archibald is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, suggesting shopping him and his $1.5 million cap hit to an American team.

Archibald has resumed skating with the Oilers after his COVID-related heart-muscle condition cleared up. He also remains unvaccinated, making it difficult for the Oilers to keep him due to Canada-US border restrictions. Matheson acknowledged that could also make American clubs leery of acquiring Archibald.

 

 










NHL Rumor Mill – January 26, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 26, 2022

Which clubs are in or out on Jakob Chychrun? What’s the latest on Claude Giroux and Marc-Andre Fleury? How’s the Oilers goalie hunt going? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST CHYCHRUN SPECULATION

SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman reports several teams are “going hard” at attempting to acquire Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. He believes the Florida Panthers are among them but doubts they’ll part with Anton Lundell. Other suitors could include the Columbus Blue Jackets, Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes and Colorado Avalanche, while the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings are out for now.

TSN: Darren Dreger believes the Toronto Maple Leafs are among the clubs who’ve “kicked tires” on Chychrun but it could take creativity on general manager Kyle Dubas’ part to fit him within their tight payroll. He also cites sources saying the Kings, Panthers, Bruins, Ducks, and St. Louis Blues are among the clubs with a strong interest in the Coyotes blueliner.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to Friedman’s colleague Jeff Marek, only one team has pitched an offer that would meet the Coyotes’ rumored asking price of a good young NHL player, a top prospect and a first-round pick. If it was sufficient the Coyotes would’ve moved Chychrun by now. I suspect GM Bill Armstrong will use that offer as leverage to land a better return from another team. With Chychrun carrying three more years on his contract, Armstrong has the luxury of time here.

The Columbus Dispatch’s Brian Hedger is skeptical of rumors linking the Blue Jackets to Chychrun. He believes trading either of the first-round picks they’ll have in this year’s draft would take away a valuable asset that could be used to address their more pressing need for impact centers. Hedger also noted there’s no certainty Chychrun would stay with the Jackets once his current contract expires and raised concern about the rearguard’s history of knee injuries.

RUMOR TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman expects Claude Giroux to meet with his agent Pat Brisson to discuss his future during the All-Star weekend. Friedman believes there are Colorado Avalanche players who’d love to have him as a teammate but it could take getting a third team involved to make it work.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Giroux carries a full no-movement but could waive it to join a Stanley Cup contender like the Avalanche. However, he also carries an $8.275 million cap hit for this season with over $3.8 million remaining to be paid out. The Avs, meanwhile, are pressed for cap space which will make landing him a complicated endeavor.

The Washington Capitals are believed to be looking into acquiring Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals have just over $2 million in projected trade deadline cap space. Fleury’s cap hit for this season is $7 million with $3.255 million currently remaining to be paid out. They’ll have to free up some room to make this work, assuming they’re not on Fleury’s 10-team no-trade list.

The Edmonton Oilers were willing to part with a late-round draft pick for Martin Jones but the Philadelphia Flyers wanted more for the 32-year-old goaltender. They’ve also looked at the New York Rangers’ Alexandar Georgiev, the Dallas Stars’ Braden Holtby and Anton Khudobin, St. Louis Blues’ Ville Husso, Columbus Blue Jackets Joonas Korpisalo, Washington Capitals Vitek Vanecek and New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see the Rangers moving Georgiev after he did a fine job filling in for the sidelined Igor Shesterkin earlier this season. Ditto the Blues with Husso after he spelled off Jordan Binnington when he missed seven games to COVID-19 earlier this month

The Stars prefer moving Khudobin while the Oilers could be on Varlamov’s 16-team no-trade list. Vanecek won’t be available unless the Capitals acquire an upgrade while Jones and Korpisalo probably aren’t much of an upgrade over the Oilers’ tandem of Mikko Koskinen and Stuart Skinner.

In short, the Oilers appear screwed in their efforts to land a goaltending upgrade.

Friedman wondered if the Toronto Maple Leafs might attempt to acquire Ben Chiarot based on their previous interest in the defenseman before he signed with the Montreal Canadiens. The Calgary Flames, Florida Panthers and St. Louis Blues are among the clubs looking at him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Chris Johnston reported the Leafs would prefer landing players with a little more term on their contracts. That shouldn’t rule them out of pursuing a UFA like Chiarot but it sounds like Dubas could be reluctant this season to part with assets for rentals after getting burned in last year’s Nick Foligno deal.

The Coyotes intend to retain Lawson Crouse…Friedman wonders if Detroit Red Wings forward Filip Zadina could use a change of scenery.

UPDATE ON THE SENATORS

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion scouted the Minnesota Wild during their recent game against the Canadiens and spoke briefly with Wild GM Bill Guerin. LeBrun doubts there’s anything imminent but pointed out the Wild were among the teams discussed during the Senators’ pro scouting meetings as one of the NHL clubs pressed for salary-cap space.










Pandemic impacting NHL Training Camp for Prized Prospects

Pandemic impacting NHL Training Camp for Prized Prospects