Bruins? Canucks? Ekman-Larsson trade market ‘intensifying’

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We could see some significant player movement across the NHL this offseason, and one of the biggest names getting attention right now is Arizona Coyotes defenseman (and captain) Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

Trading him would represent a fairly seismic shift for a Coyotes team that is already likely to lose Taylor Hall to unrestricted free agency over the next few weeks.

Thursday ended up being a noteworthy day on the Ekman-Larsson front due to several reports regarding interested teams and his preferred destinations.

This would not be an easy trade for the Coyotes to complete because Ekman-Larsson’s contract is not only significant financially (seven years remaining at an $8.25 million salary cap hit), but because he also has a no-movement clause that allows him to dictate where he goes.

The Edmonton Oilers were thought to be a team with interest in Ekman-Larsson, especially given the uncertainty surrounding Oscar Klefbom who may need shoulder surgery that could sideline him for a significant portion of 2020-21 season. But TSN’s Darren Dreger reportedthat while trade talks around Ekman-Larsson are believed to be “intensifying,” the Oilers have been informed they are NOT currently on the very short-list of teams he would consider a trade to.

Who are the teams on that list?

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, it is Boston and Vancouver (with long-time Coyotes reporter Craig Morgan adding that Boston has been a preferred destination).

Let’s take a quick look at both of those options.

Boston Bruins

This would be the definition an “all in, Stanley Cup or bust” trade.

Over the past two years the Bruins have been in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final and finished the following regular season with the league’s best record. They are already one of the league’s powers and have a potentially massive hole opening up on their blue line due to the pending unrestricted free agency of Torey Krug.

(Not to mention the fact that Zdeno Chara, if he returns, is going to be 43 years old.)

There is a need there, and it would give Charlie McAvoy a long-term partner on the team’s top defense pairing.

The wild thing about this is the Bruins actually have the salary cap space to take on Ekman-Larsson’s contract, but doing so would almost certainly slam the door shut on a Krug return. The question then becomes are the Bruins better with Ekman-Larsson (minus whatever assets they have to give up to acquire him) than they are with Krug?

That’s a tough question to answer.

They can both be outstanding players, they are the exact same age, and their salary commitments will probably end up being in the same ballpark depending on what Krug’s value is on the open market.

Their overall production offensively is very similar, but Ekman-Larsson’s underlying numbers have regressed in recent years. Krug’s, meanwhile, have remained very strong. It is important to point out, though, the quality of talent around each player in those seasons. Playing next to McAvoy and behind David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, and Brad Marchand would do a lot to revitalize any career.

Vancouver Canucks

This is the exact type of move we should be expecting from the Canucks this offseason.

They have been operating like they are contenders for a couple of years now despite being in a rebuild, and their postseason success in 2020 (winning their play-in round series against Minnesota, eliminating St. Louis in the First Round, then taking Vegas to Game 7 in the Second Round) is only going to further convince them they are close.

They have an impressive core of emerging young stars (Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat, Quinn Hughes) and definitely need more help on defense to help complement them.

The big issue here: Can they afford this?

The Canucks have $14 million in salary cap space to work with, but have a LOT of holes to fill at the bottom roster. They definitely need another top-four defenseman, but they are also going to need a goalie (either re-signing Jacob Markstrom or a different outside addition) and will have several roster spots to fill due to potential UFA losses (Tyler Toffoli, Chris Tanev). That does not even get into other improvements they may need to make to simply improve their depth production, something that needs to happen.

Can they do all of that?

Another potential wrinkle in all of this: Neither one of these teams currently owns a first-round pick in the 2020 NHL draft, an asset that Arizona would almost certainly want as part of a trade. The Coyotes do not currently have a pick until the fourth-round in this year’s class. The Bruins own picks in the second and third rounds, while Vancouver does not have a pick until the third round.

A 2021 first-round pick could, however, be in play. The Coyotes are also lacking a pick there as punishment for violating the NHL’s scouting combine testing policy.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Hughes has first NHL hat trick, Devils beat Capitals 5-1

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NEWARK, N.J. – Jack Hughes had his first career NHL hat trick, Vitek Vanecek made 38 saves against his former team and the New Jersey Devils beat the Washington Capitals 5-1 on Saturday for coach Lindy Ruff’s 800th victory.

“It’s exciting,” Hughes said. “Couple of two-goal games in my career, so nice to cap it off with the third one tonight.”

Ruff became the fifth NHL coach to reach the 800-victory mark. The former Buffalo player won 571 games with the Sabres from 1997-2011. He had 165 wins in five seasons with Dallas and has 64 in two-plus seasons with New Jersey.

“It means I’ve been around a long time,” Ruff cracked. “Great to win the game. Again, you got to do a lot of right things, have good teams, and the way our team is playing I have to give them a lot of credit for getting me there.”

The Atlantic Division-leading Devils have won two in a row after seeing their franchise-record 13-game winning streak snapped by Toronto.

Devils captain Nico Hischier and Fabian Zetterlund also scored.

John Carlson scored for Washington and Charlie Lindgren made 24 saves.

“Not scoring goals, not capitalizing on our chances,” Carlson said. “We’ve had our chances, especially today, but we only walked away with one goal. We could have had five or six. It’s just not going in right now.”

Vanecek, meanwhile, was hoping for the shutout against a familiar foe.

“That would have been nice, but that’s hockey,” Vanecek said, “For sure you’re trying, but not every time; the win is more important.”

Hischier opened up the scoring with his 10th goal of the season midway through the first period on a power play after Alexander Ovechkin was called for slashing.

Hughes wrapped the puck around goalie Lindgren’s right leg and the goal post to put the Devils up 2-0 5:59 into the second period. Hughes appeared to have lost his angle on the goal when he ripped a shot off Lindgren’s face mask and into the net midway through the period for his 10th goal of the season to give New Jersey a 3-0 lead.

The 2019 No. 1 overall draft pick added his third midway through the third period as hats rained down on the ice with New Jersey up 4-0.

“You want to continue to play the right way, but if an opportunity comes you want to definitely put it in the back of the net with authority,” Hughes said. “So tonight, I was able to cap it off and it was nice.”

Fabian Zetterlund capped the scoring for New Jersey late in the third period.

NOTES: The Devils improved to 16-0-0 this season when Hischier has a point. New Jersey’s Nathan Bastain (upper body) did not return after the first period. . Ovechkin is still nine goals away from 800 and 11 from passing Gordie Howe for second place on the NHL goals list.


Capitals: At Vancouver.

Devils: At the New York Rangers.

Bruins set NHL record with 12 straight home wins to start season

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

BOSTON — The Boston Bruins set the NHL record for most home victories to start a season with their 12th straight, topping the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime with a power-play goal from David Pastrnak.

The Bruins broke the mark of 11 that was set by the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks and equaled by the Florida Panthers last season.

“That felt awesome,” Bruins first-year coach Jim Montgomery said. “We talked about it after the second (period) going into the third. There’s been a lot of great teams in this league and you’re able to set a precedent, break a record. It’s pretty special and it doesn’t happen if those guys don’t believe in themselves like they do.”

Boston, which trailed 2-0 late in the second period, tied it with 9:33 left in regulation when David Krejci scored his second of the game on a shot from the right point.

“It’s never fun being down going into the third, you’re sitting in here (in the locker room) trying to figure it out,” Krejci said. “You want to come out and do the job, something special on the line. It’s hard to win in this league. To get 12 in a row at home is pretty special.”

In overtime, Carolina was playing shorthanded after being called for too many men on the ice when Pastrnak one-timed a pass from Brad Marchand inside the far post from above the left circle.

“It was a big win for us, obviously, coming from behind,” Pastrnak said.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Stefan Noesen each scored a power-play goal for Carolina, and Pyotr Kochetkov made 38 saves. The Hurricanes lost their fifth straight.

In a rematch of last spring’s opening-round playoff series that the Hurricanes won in seven games, Carolina shutout the NHL’s highest scoring team for nearly two periods and jumped ahead a pair of power-play goals in the opening period.

“We took too many penalties. That’s hurting us right now,” Kotaniemi said. “I think 5-on-5 we’re doing a really good job. We started good tonight and couldn’t keep that up.”

Boston’s tying goal was originally disallowed because of goaltender interference on Nick Foligno but overturned on a coach’s challenge after it was ruled that he was nudged into the crease by Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce.

Boston starting goaltender Linus Ullmark made 28 saves but had to leave with 13:03 left in the third period with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Teammate Connor Clifton had jumped on him to block a shot during a scramble. Jeremy Swayman made six stops in relief.

Carolina’s Noesen scored at 6:34 in to make it 1-0. And with five minutes left in the period, Kotkaniemi collected the puck near the side of the net after Seth Jarvis‘ shot bounced off the back glass and slipped it inside the post at 15:05.

Krejci scored for Boston with 31 seconds left in the second.

Boston came in with a league-high 82 goals in 20 games (4.10 per game), but it was held to relatively few chances despite getting a 5-on-3 power-play advantage early on.


The Bruins honored captain Patrice Bergeron, who recorded his 1,000th career point when the team was on the road against Tampa Bay, with a message on the Jumbotron. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

Bergeron became just the fourth Bruin to reach the mark, joining Hall of Famers Ray Bourque (1,506), Johnny Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012).


Hurricanes: Host the Calgary Flames.

Bruins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Predators postpone 2 games due to Nashville water main break

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  The Nashville Predators postponed two home games because of a water main break that soaked their downtown arena.

Hours after the Predators decided they couldn’t play against the Colorado Avalanche, the team announced it also postponed the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Makeup dates for the two games will be announced later.

The NHL said the water main break that occurred “significantly impacted the event level” of Bridgestone Arena. Team locker rooms and the ice surface are on the event level.

Predators President and CEO Sean Henry told reporters that the water in the event level ranged from 3 inches to 3 feet.

“We’re assessing it right now. We’re remediating it,” Henry said. “The good thing is, the water got shut off, the city responded in a pretty fast manner. I don’t think anyone is ready for things like this the Friday after Thanksgiving.”

Video posted by a WTVF-TV reporter shows the water puddled up on the main floor’s concourse area and the team store. The team was forced to close the store until further notice, pointing shoppers online for Black Friday specials.

The Predators’ next home game is now scheduled for Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

The water issue also resulted in a switch to a different venue for a college hockey game between Northeastern and Western Michigan. They also had been scheduled to play at Bridgestone Arena, a game that was moved to Ford Ice Center Bellevue.

Rangers trade Ryan Reaves to Wild for 5th-round pick in 2025

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The New York Rangers traded enforcer Ryan Reaves to the Minnesota Wild for a 2025 fifth-round pick.

Reaves had been a healthy scratch for eight of the past 12 games for the Rangers. He gives struggling Minnesota some extra muscle and a veteran presence.

The 35-year-old is signed through only the rest of this season at a $1.75 million salary cap hit. He has no points and 12 penalty minutes in 12 games of his second season with New York.

Reaves has played in 869 NHL regular-season and playoff games for the St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights and Rangers. He was with the Golden Knights during their inaugural season in 2017-18 when the reached the Stanley Cup Final.