NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 28, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 28, 2019

Bill Peters releases a statement regarding his alleged use of racial slurs, the Boston Bruins re-sign Charlie Coyle and Chris Wagner, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Calgary Flames edged the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 on an overtime goal by Elias Lindholm. Flames defenseman TJ Brodie collected his first points since returning to the lineup after collapsing during practice on Nov. 14. The Sabres have just one win in their last six games. They also announced Vladimir Sobotka is sidelined indefinitely following surgery on his right knee while Rasmus Dahlin is out indefinitely with a concussion.

Flames coach Bill Peters released a statement yesterday apologizing for racial slurs aimed at former NHL player Akim Aliu a decade ago (Photo via NHL.com).

The Flames’ victory was overshadowed by the ongoing controversy surrounding head coach Bill Peters. He was accused of uttering racial slurs toward former NHL player Akim Aliu when both were with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs a decade ago. Former Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Michal Jordan also accused Peters of kicking him during a game in 2015-16.

Peters was not behind the bench against the Sabres, having returned to Calgary as the club investigates his previous conduct. Read below for further details.

Brad Marchand scored his fifth goal in four games as the Boston Bruins nipped the Ottawa Senators 2-1. The Bruins have won five straight games. The club also announced the re-signings of Charlie Coyle and Chris Wagner (details below).

The Toronto Maple Leafs picked up their third straight win under new coach Sheldon Keefe by crushing the Detroit Red Wings 6-0. Andreas Johnsson scored twice and Frederik Andersen made 25 saves as the Leafs peppered the Wings with 54 shots. Wings goalie Jimmy Howard left the game in the first period after suffering a mid-body injury. An ailing Jonathan Bernier took over, giving up three goals on 40 shots.

St. Louis Blues winger Oskar Sundqvist scored twice as his club held off the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3. He subsequently left the game with a lower-body injury. Ivan Barbashev also collected three assists. Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov scored and picked up two assists.

The New York Rangers picked up their third straight win by hanging on for a 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist made 41 saves for the win as his teammates tallied three first-period goals.

Evgeni Malkin had five points while teammates Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust each had four as the Pittsburgh Penguins overcame a 6-3 deficit to beat the Vancouver Canucks 8-6. J.T. Miller and Adam Gaudette each tallied twice for the Canucks.

The Washington Capitals picked up their first win in three games by defeating the Florida Panthers 4-3. Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby kicked out 37 shots. The Panthers are winless in their last three contests.

Philadelphia Flyers goalie Brian Elliott made 15 saves in the third period to preserve a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Flyers extended their points streak to four games.

Max Pacioretty’s game-tying goal late in the third period set the stage for Paul Stastny’s overtime goal as the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Nashville Predators 4-3. The Knight snap a three-game winless skid. Earlier in the day, they placed forward Valentin Zykov on waivers.

Arizona Coyotes forward Christian Dvorak scored twice in the first period and buried the winner in a 4-3 shootout victory over the Anaheim Ducks. The Coyotes have won four of their last six games.

The Colorado Avalanche tallied three third period goals to beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-1. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist for the Avs, who ended Edmonton captain Connor McDavid’s points streak at 11 games.

Dustin Brown and Alex Iafallo each collected two points as the Los Angeles Kings downed the New York Islanders 4-1. It’s the Isles second straight loss coming off a 17-game points streak. The Kings also activated Trevor Lewis from injured reserve.

Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine collected three points as his club tallied five straight goals to beat the San Jose Sharks 5-1. Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck made 32 saves for the win while Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor each picked up two points.

HEADLINES

Calgary Flames head coach Peters issued an apology yesterday in a letter to general manager Brad Treliving, calling the incident “isolated and immediately regrettable.” TSN’s Frank Seravalli noticed a discrepancy in the statement. Peters claimed he immediately returned to the dressing room and apologized to the team following the racial slur aimed at Aliu, but the latter claimed that didn’t happen even after the team captain confronted Peters.

Seravalli also pointed out that Peters didn’t acknowledge the incident with Jordan. However, Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour acknowledged that incident took place, as well as another in which Peters punched an unnamed player. Brind’Amour was Peters’ assistant coach when those episodes took place. He claimed the incidents were addressed by the players and management and never happened again.

Former Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos Jr. claimed then-Hurricanes GM Ron Francis never informed him about Peters’ alleged physical abuse of the two players. He claimed he would’ve fired Peter “in a nanosecond” had Francis told him about those claims.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman cites a source claiming a face-to-face meeting between Peters and the league will likely occur, depending on the Flames’ own actions. That raises the possibility of league-mandated punishment along with whatever the Flames do.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if Peters remains coach of the Flames. His statement hasn’t done anything to dampen calls for his firing. This situation could result in more players coming forward, either on their own or through the NHLPA, with their own stories of mental and physical abuse by NHL and minor-league coaches.

BOSTON HERALD: The Bruins yesterday re-signed forwards Charlie Coyle and Chris Wagner to multi-year contract extensions. Coyle inked a six-year deal worth an annual average value of $5.25 million while Wagner got a three-year deal with an annual salary-cap hit of $1.35 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyle’s contract was the most notable, as he was slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. He’s become a valuable part of the Bruins’ lineup since being acquired in a trade last season from Minnesota. He’s proven to be a versatile two-way third-line forward who can play center or on the wing but also move up to the second line when the need arises. The term seems a little long and the salary a little high but the Bruins are willing to pay it to keep him in the fold.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 18, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 18, 2019

The Devils pick up their first win, Phil Kessel scores his first goals with the Coyotes, John Tavares is sidelined by a broken finger, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The New Jersey Devils picked up their first win of the season by downing the New York Rangers 5-2. Devils rookie Jack Hughes collected his first point and defenseman Matt Tennyson picked up two helpers. Devils winger Taylor Hall could face supplemental discipline after leveling Rangers defenseman Adam Fox with an elbow to the face. Hall received a two-minute minor while Fox was left dazed and sent into concussion protocol.

The Vancouver Canucks overcame a 3-1 deficit to nip the St. Louis Blues 4-3 on a shootout goal by Josh Leivo. Thatcher Demko kicked out 34 shots while Josh Leivo netted the only goal in the shootout. The Canucks have won four consecutive games while the Blues have dropped three straight.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The young Canucks showed a lot of character rallying back against the defending Stanley Cup champions. It’s still early in the season but the Canucks are looking better compared to last season.

Phil Kessel tallied his first two goals with the Arizona Coyotes in a 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators (Photo via NHL Images).

Phil Kessel scored his first two goals with the Arizona Coyotes in a 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators. Nick Schmaltz, Clayton Keller, and Derek Stepan each had two assists. Coyotes defenseman Jordan Oesterle left the game in the first period after being struck in the back of the head by the puck.

Victor Mete and Nick Suzuki scored their first NHL goals while Carey Price made 17 saves as the Montreal Canadiens blanked the floundering Minnesota Wild 4-0. Following the game, the Wild held a players-only meeting. “Bruce (Boudreau) has got to be better. We’ve got to be better. Everybody’s got to be better. That’s it,” said winger Jason Zucker following the meeting.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Things are getting ugly for the Wild and aren’t likely to improve. There’s not much that coach Boudreau can do about their aging core and their lack of skilled young talent. 

Buffalo Sabres goalie Carter Hutton made 47 saves for his second straight shutout in a 3-0 blanking of the Los Angeles Kings. Casey Mittelstadt scored twice and picked up an assist.

The Vegas Golden Knights downed the Ottawa Senators 3-2 on a shootout goal by Jonathan Marchessault. Senators netminder Anders Nilsson made 52 saves in a losing cause. Earlier in the day, Golden Knights forward Valentin Zykov received a 20-game suspension by the league for violating the PED policy. Zykov’s agent blamed an over-the-counter protein supplement for the suspension, claiming the winger was unaware if it contained any banned substance. The team, meanwhile, supported the league’s decision. It’s the second straight year a Golden Knights player received a lengthy suspension for violating the PED policy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights were less supportive of Zykov compared to their defense of Nate Schmidt a year ago. In Schmidt’s case, they claimed his usage was unintentional. President of hockey operations George McPhee stated the two cases were different as Zykov acknowledged using the supplement for several years.

Steven Stamkos tallied the only goal in the shootout frame as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Boston Bruins 4-3. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 34 saves for the win. David Pastrnak tallied two goals and added an assist for the Bruins.

Mark Giordano and Derek Ryan each had a goal and an assist in the Calgary Flames 5-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings, handing the latter their third straight defeat. Flames center Sean Monahan also collected two assists.

Mathew Barzal scored twice and Semyon Varlamov made 32 saves to lead the New York Islanders to a 3-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets.

HEADLINES

TORONTO SUN: A broken finger will sideline Maple Leafs center John Tavares will be sidelined at least two weeks.

TRIBLIVE.COM: An allergic reaction to a suspected spider bite is what’s delayed Alex Galchenyuk’s debut with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was already nursing a lower-body injury.

SPORTSNET: Anaheim Ducks winger Nick Ritchie was fined over $4,100.00 for roughing Buffalo Sabres forward Vladimir Sobotka.

WINNIPEG SUN: Rising ticket prices is cited by Winnipeg fans for the early-season decline in the Jets’ attendance.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 30, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 30, 2018

Game recaps, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin react to Stars’ CEO criticism, injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: New Jersey Devils rookie goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood made 37 saves to collect his first career NHL shutout in a 2-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Pavel Zacha and Andy Greene were the goal scorers. 

Vegas Golden Knights netminder Malcolm Subban picked up his first win of the season with a 30-save performance to defeat the Los Angeles Kings 4-1, snapping the latter’s four-game win streak. Paul Stastny and Alex Tuch each had a goal and an assist. Earlier in the day, the Golden Knights claimed forward Valentin Zykov off waivers from the Edmonton Oilers. 

Speaking of the Oilers, they fell 7-4 to the San Jose Sharks. San Jose defenseman Erik Karlsson had a goal and three assists while teammates Logan Couture and Melker Karlsson each scored twice. Connor McDavid scored twice and Ty Rattie had three assists for the Oilers. 

The Minnesota Wild broke a five-game losing skid by holding off the Winnipeg Jets 3-1. Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk made 26 saves and teammate Zach Parise collected two assists. Patrik Laine scored for the Jets, who also lost defenseman Dustin Byfuglien in the third period with what appeared to be an injured left ankle. An update on his condition could come later today. 

Jake DeBrusk’s game-tying goal in the third period set the stage for Sean Kuraly’s overtime winner as the Boston Bruins edged the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Earlier in the day, the Sabres announced forward Zemgus Girgensons is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury. 

Mathew Barzal’s natural hat trick powered the New York Islanders to a 4-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo via NHL Images)

The New York Islanders welcomed back Toronto Maple Leafs center (and former Isles captain) John Tavares back by shutting out his new club 4-0. Robin Lehner kicked out 36 shots while Mathew Barzal tallied a natural hat trick in the second period.

With starting goaltender Frederik Andersen listed as day-to-day with a groin injury, the Leafs acquired Michael Hutchinson earlier in the day from the Florida Panthers in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick in 2020 and sent him to their AHL affiliate. The Isles, meanwhile, placed winger Jordan Eberle (upper body) on injured reserve and called up Michael Dal Colle. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A statement game by the Islanders, one that should soothe the sting of Tavares’ departure to Toronto via free agency in July. 

Tyler Lewington and Madison Bowey tallied their first-ever NHL goals to give the Washington Capital a 3-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Earlier in the day, the Senators announced defenseman Thomas Chabot (upper body) will be sidelined three weeks, Christian Jaros (broken finger) will miss four weeks, and forward Magnus Paajarvi is dealing with an upper-body issue. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The hits just keep coming for the Senators, as those three join starting goalie Craig Anderson, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Justin Falk on the sidelines. 

Two third-period goals by Adam Erne lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 6-5 win over the Montreal Canadiens to extend their points streak to 14 games. Andrew Shaw scored and Phillip Danault had three assists.

Earlier in the day, Danault was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL’s department of player safety for tripping Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad. Meanwhile, Lightning forward Mathieu Joseph returned to action after missing six games with a lower-body injury but J.T. Miller was placed on IR and is listed as week-to-week. 

Third-period goals by Mike Hoffman and Jonathan Huberdeau enabled the Florida Panthers to squeak past the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1. 

The Pittsburgh Penguins picked up their fifth straight win with four power-play goals to beat the St. Louis Blues 6-1. Matt Murray made 30 saves whiles teammates Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel and Kris Letang each had three points. Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo returned to the lineup after missing 11 games with a hand injury.  

The Nashville Predators suffered their sixth straight loss, falling 4-3 to the New York Rangers. Mika Zibandejad assisted on all the Rangers’ goals while teammate Jesper Fast scored twice. Kevin Fiala collected three points for the Predators. 

Alexander Radulov scored two goals to lead the Dallas Stars to a 5-1 thumping of the Detroit Red Wings. Earlier in the day, Stars captain Jamie Benn and linemate Tyler Seguin responded to the harsh criticism leveled at them on Friday by Stars CEO Jim Lites. Both attempted to downplay the situation but admitted their surprise over Lites’ remarks, adding he never personally addressed his concerns to them. They also acknowledged they and their teammates had to play better.

 “I don’t play for him [Lites],” Benn told the media. “I play for every player in this room, the coaching staff. I come to the rink and, like I said, I am proud to be a Dallas Star and I am proud to go out every night and battle with these guys in games. I really put my teammates first.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Watching the interviews, you could tell Benn and Seguin were doing their best not to add fuel to the firestorm Lites created with his expletive-laden rant the day prior. I’ll have more on this later this morning in the Rumors section. 

An overtime goal by Patrick Kane gave the Chicago Blackhawks a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche, giving the Hawks their fifth win in their last six games. Kane’s winner was also his second goal of the game. 

Nick Schmaltz’s scored in overtime as the Arizona Coyotes overcame a 4-2 deficit to down the Anaheim Ducks 5-4. Ondrej Kase scored twice for the Ducks and Nick Ritchie added three helpers. 

Alexander Edler’s game-winner in overtime gave the Vancouver Canucks a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames. The Canucks have won eight of their last 11 contests. Edler and Brock Boeser each had a goal and an assist. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 1, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 1, 2018

Game recaps, injury, waiver updates, possible candidates for the vacant Flyers GM job, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Another questionable hit by Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson overshadowed his club’s 6-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Wilson was ejected for an illegal hit to the head of Devils forward Brett Seney, though it was actually a hit from behind to Seney’s shoulder. The Capitals winger only recently returned from a 20-game suspension (reduced by an independent arbiter to 14 games) for an illegal hit to the head of St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist.

Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson could once again face supplemental discipline for another questionable hit. (Photo via NHL Images)

Meanwhile, Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 626th career NHL goal to move past Joe Sakic and Jarome Iginla into sole possession of 15th place on the all-time goal-scoring list.

Ryan Getzlaf’s overtime goal gave the surging Anaheim Ducks their fifth win in six games by edging the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1. The Hurricanes were skating with winger Micheal Ferland, who’s listed as day-to-day with a concussion. Earlier in the day, they demoted goaltender Scott Darling to their AHL affiliate and saw winger Valentin Zykov plucked off waivers by the Edmonton Oilers.

Third-period goals by Johnny Gaudreau, Mikael Backlund, and Sean Monahan lifted the Calgary Flames to a 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings were also playing without Ilya Kovalchuk, who was scratch from the game and is listed as day-to-day with an ankle injury.

St. Louis Blues defenseman Colton Parayko scored in overtime as his club nipped the Colorado Avalanche 3-2. Avs blueliner Erik Johnson was ejected during the second period for elbowing Blues center Alexander Steen in the head.

Coming off a 10-game winning streak, the Buffalo Sabres dropped their second in a row by falling to the Florida Panthers 3-2 on an overtime goal by Aleksander Barkov.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. 

NBC SPORTS: Boston Bruins blueliner Brandon Carlo is expected to return to action tonight against the Detroit Red Wings. Carlo’s been sidelined since Nov. 10 with a shoulder injury. 

CBS SPORTS: Detroit Red Wings rearguard Trevor Daley (lower-body injury) is expected to be sidelined this weekend.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton lists former Minnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher, Columbus Blue Jackets assistant GM Bill Zito, former Carolina Hurricanes GM Ron Francis, former Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks GM Dave Nonis, and former Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman as five candidates to fill the vacant Philadelphia Flyers general manager position. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s rumored Fletcher is the front-runner. Reports emerged yesterday claiming the Flyers sought permission to speak with Nonis (who’s now a consultant with the Anaheim Ducks) and Zito. Yzerman might not be available as it’s widely assumed he could take over from Ken Holland as Red Wings GM next summer. 

TSN: “Todd Ewen was posthumously diagnosed earlier this year by a Boston University neuropathologist with the brain-withering disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a development that contradicts the findings of a Toronto doctor two years ago that the former National Hockey League player didn’t have the disease.”

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 14, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 14, 2018

Game recaps, Joe Thornton reaches another milestone, plus updates on Tuukka Rask, Shea Weber, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Joe Thornton reached another milestone in his long career by scoring the game-winning goal as the San Jose Sharks downed the Nashville Predators 5-4. It was Thornton’s 400th career goal. Teammates Erik Karlsson also reached a milestone by collecting his 400th career NHL assist. Joe Pavelski scored twice for the Sharks while Filip Forsberg also tallied two goals for the Predators.

Taylor Hall’s four-point performance led the New Jersey Devils to a 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. (Photo via NHL Images)

Taylor Hall factored in all his team’s goals (two goals, two assists) as the New Jersey Devils snapped a three-game losing skid by doubling up the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2. With just 17 points in 16 games, the Penguins have slid toward the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

Two goals by Tom Kuhnhackl helped the New York Islanders break a three-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Isles forward Cal Clutterbuck tallied his first goal in 52 games.

Mike Hoffman tied a Florida Panthers’ record by extending his points streak to 13 games as his club edged the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1. Hoffman had an assist in the Panthers’ game-opening goal.

The Buffalo Sabres picked up their third straight win by squeezing past the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1. Jeff Skinner and Kyle Opkoso tallied for the Sabres.

Six unanswered goals powered the Detroit Red Wings to a 6-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Mike Green scored and added two assists. With four straight wins, the Wings’ now have a .500 record with 18 points in as many games.

Earlier in the day, the Coyotes announced that defenseman Jakob Chychrun had agreed to a six-year contract extension beginning next season. The annual average value will be $4.6 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chychrun, 20, is in the final season of his entry-level contract. He’s shown considerable potential over the past two NHL campaigns, though his injury history is a little worrisome. If he can stay reasonably healthy over the next seven seasons he has the all-around ability to become a reliable top-two blueliner for the Coyotes. Should Chychrun reach his full potential, general manager John Chayka will look like a genius for locking the young rearguard into a long-term deal for an affordable price. 

After having his 20-game suspension reduced to 14 games, Tom Wilson scored in his return as the Washington Capitals defeated the Minnesota Wild 5-2. Dmitry Orlov also scored twice for the Capitals.

The Edmonton Oilers ended a four-game losing skid in grand style by thumping the Montreal Canadiens 6-2. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl led the way with three points each. The Canadiens did get some good news as sidelined captain Shea Weber could return from offseason knee surgery as early as late-November.

John Tavares extended his points streak to six games with a goal and two assists in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 5-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Nazem Kadri netted two power-play goals for the Leafs.

BOSTON HERALD: Goaltender Tuukka Rask has returned to the Bruins roster following a brief leave of absence to deal with a personal matter.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights have placed forward Erik Haula (lower-body, possible right-knee injury) on injured reserve.

TSN: Winnipeg Jets forward Mathieu Perreault left practice yesterday with a lower-body injury.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Blackhawks placed forward Marcus Kruger on injured reserve and recalled defenseman Gustav Forsling. 

CBS SPORTS: The Carolina Hurricanes sent forward Valentin Zykov to their AHL affiliate in Charlotte on a two-week conditioning stint. Meanwhile, the Columbus Blue Jackets placed Adam Clendening on waivers

THE SCORE: Former NHL player Dan Carcillo said he won’t opt into the proposed concussion lawsuit settlement between the NHL and NHLPA. “Carcillo, for his part, has decided to opt out, saying he wants the NHL to admit liability for failing to sufficiently protect the health of the league’s players.”

 










NHL Rumor Mill – November 9, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – November 9, 2018

Latest on the Penguins, Kings, Hurricanes, and Oilers in your NHL rumor mill.

PENGUINS AND KINGS

TSN: Darren Dreger reports Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford could consider shaking up his struggling roster in hopes of improving their chemistry. He speculates Rutherford might start with a small move by shopping young winger Daniel Sprong, who is struggling to become a top-nine forward. Dreger believes there will be interest in Sprong.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton suggests Patric Hornqvist, Carl Hagelin or Derick Brassard could become trade candidates. The three veterans aren’t playing well right now. Hornqvist carries a no-trade clause but if he’s willing to waive it, he could become an asset worth moving for the right return.

Los Angeles Kings winger Tanner Pearson continues to surface in the NHL trade-rumor mill. (Photo via NHL Images)

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports Los Angeles Kings winger Tanner Pearson “is very much out there in terms of trade speculation and has been for a while.” Pearson’s been held goalless in 14 games.

NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: cites Dreger’s appearance yesterday on Montreal’s TSN 690 discussing possible moves by the struggling Penguins. Noting the trade speculation swirling about Kings forward Tanner Pearson and defensemen Alec Martinez and Jake Muzzin, he wondered if there might be a connection between the two clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind that Dreger isn’t saying the Penguins and Kings are discussing a trade, he’s just wondering if there’s a possible fit. Like the Penguins, the Kings are struggling to score this season.

It’s easy to propose a swap of Sprong for Pearson, as both players might benefit from a fresh start with new clubs. Sprong would address the Kings’ need to bring in younger, affordable talent. The worry for the Penguins, however, is Sprong blossoms into a scorer elsewhere while the player they acquire doesn’t improve their secondary scoring. Pearson’s difficulties this season suggest he won’t be on Rutherford’s radar.

HURRICANES SEEK A SCORER

Pierre LeBrun reports the Carolina Hurricanes are in the market for a scoring forward. He believes that’s a need they identified entering this season. Given their recent struggles following a hot start, there’s a little more pressure to address that issue. LeBrun said they’re monitoring William Nylander’s contract impasse with the Toronto Maple Leafs but they’re also looking elsewhere for help.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes have been linked to Nylander for weeks. While they have the depth in defensemen to entice the Leafs and the salary-cap space (over $15 million in projected space, according to Cap Friendly), they could be unwilling to meet the rumored salary demands (over $8 million annually) of the Nylander camp.

They might also prefer finding a secondary scorer that won’t cost them one of the blueliners. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently reported they’re testing the market for Valentin Zykov. Perhaps they’ll package him with one of their second-round picks in the 2019 draft and target some short-term help by pursuing a pending UFA on a rebuilding club. 

WHAT WILL THE OILERS DO WITH PULJUJARVI?

Dreger also reports there’s “more tension” between the Edmonton Oilers and struggling winger Jesse Puljujarvi. While he’s still in the lineup, there’s talk he could be demoted to their AHL affiliate. “If this does happen, this could, in fact, be a breaking point for a player who just wants to develop in his own way in the NHL, but at this point, it’s still a little too soon to say,” said Dreger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Puljujarvi is only 20 and could still blossom into a reliable NHL scorer but it remains to be seen if he’ll do that in Edmonton or elsewhere. The Oilers could be facing another Nail Yakupov situation with Puljujarvi. His current struggles could spark suggestions that they shop the youngster while he still has some value for a player who can provide immediate help.