NHL rumors: Latest buzz around trades, coach firings, signings

Take a look at the latest news and rumors around the NHL.
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By Tom Downey, Chat Sports

We’re almost at the midpoint of the NHL season, as the All-Star break is quickly approaching and the Stanley Cup contenders have started to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. The Washington Capitals are atop the Eastern Conference, while the Chicago Blackhawks currently lead the West.

Check out the latest NHL news and rumors below.

• Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella will miss the team’s series against the Montreal Canadiens, reports NHL.com. He sustained two broken ribs Friday after falling during an outdoor practice. 

• The Florida Pantherssigned forward Aleksander Barkov to a six-year extension, reports the Miami Herald. The No. 2 pick in the 2013 draft will earn $5.9 million per year with the new contract. 

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• The St. Louis Blues and David Backes hope to get a new contract for the captain, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. However, there haven’t been any discussions regarding a new deal since the start of the season. 

• Second-year defenseman John Klingberg has been so good for the Dallas Stars this season that he’s getting a burger named after him at the American Airlines Center, according to Stars writer Mark Stepneski. Dubbed “The Klingburger,” the burger will be available at Stars and Dallas Mavericks games at the arena. 

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• Edmonton Oilers rookie Connor McDavid is targeting a Feb. 2 return to game action, according to ESPN. He’s been out since Nov. 3 with a broken clavicle.