NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 23, 2017

by | Oct 23, 2017 | News, NHL | 12 comments

Canucks beat the Red Wings, Leafs sign Polak and notable injury updates in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: In the only NHL game on the Sunday schedule, Sven Baertschi scored his first two goals of the season as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Detroit Red Wings 4-1. Bo Horvat collected two assists. Canucks defenseman Troy Stecher left the game following a knee-on-knee collision with Wings forward Tomas Tatar in the second period.

TORONTO STAR: Defenseman Roman Polak is officially back with the Maple Leafs, signing a one-year, $1.1 million contract. The 31-year-old Polak has been working out with the Leafs since training camp. 

SPORTSNET: Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler is expected to miss four-to-six weeks with a knee injury. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fowler joins Ducks blueliners Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen on the sidelines, although those two are expected to return to action by the end of this month. Still, the absence of their best puck-moving defenseman is a significant loss for Anaheim’s defense corps. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Malcolm Subban is expected to miss the next four weeks with an injured right leg. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Starter Marc-Andre Fleury remains sidelined with a concussion, meaning third-stringer Oscar Dansk is being pressed into service while Maxime Legace was recalled from their AHL affiliate. If Fleury remains on the shelf longer than expected, the expansion Golden Knights will get their first real taste of adversity. 

PHILLY.COM: Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald will be out four-to-six weeks with a knee injury. That could open up a roster spot for Samuel Morin or Brandon Manning. 

NORTHJERSEY.COM: New Jersey Devils center Brian Boyle has returned to practice with his teammates for the first time since being diagnosed last month with chronic myeloid leukemia. There’s still no timetable for his return to action. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The fact Boyle is skating again in practice is a promising sign. Here’s hoping he makes a full recovery and returns to the lineup soon. 



  1. The Polak signing seems slightly too expensive, but makes sense. It frees them up to move Rosen to the AHL and get minutes rather than just sitting in the pressbox. I don’t like the trend of overpaying veteran “character” though. I don’t mind wanting character, but overpaying for it makes little sense. I know it’s relatively meaningless for this contract, and for the Leafs situation, but setting precedents of overpaying seems dangerous.

    The Ducks D is their strength so to have 3 of their top 4 go down is rough. If they can stay in the playoff picture it will take big performances from Montour and Larsson most likely. The Ducks top 4, when healthy, is amoung the top 5 in the league, but there is no team that has their depth of skill, so this will be a real test of that depth. It could also be the catalyst for a trade if someone plays there way into a regular role and pushes Vaatanen truly expendable.

    Vegas’ goalie situation is an odd one. I wonder what the odds of your starter and backup goalie getting injured. As amazing as their start has been, it would be even more incredible if they could squeeze a few more wins out of this run while playing a 3rd string goalie.

    • $1.1m may sound like a lot to you (and me!) but it’s chicken feed in the NHL. I don’t see how the Leafs can be accused of overpaying.

      • $1.1 isn’t a lot, but it just seems higher than expected for a #7 D-man who didn’t get a lot of NHL interest. I feel like it was the Leafs throwing a guy a bone for a being someone they liked having around.

        THis contract, or any of the ones they have signed really, aren’t going to cause them too many issues, but it’s the habit of paying over market value for guys because of their Character.

        $1.1M for a #7 D, $2.4M for a 4th line winger who is realistically less talented than the 13th forward, or about a half dozen guys in the AHL. $6.25M for a forward turning 40 at the end of the deal and can’t reasonable be expected to ever put up 30 goals or 60 points.

        These deals are for players to help bring in some character and experience, and likely won’t hurt this teams payroll as they will all expire before they become issues, my comment is more on the habit of paying for character, and the precedent of overpaying guys for intangibles.

        Maybe the Leafs will change this strategy when they need to, as their saving grace is that they just don’t need to be concerned with it that much right now, but if Komorov gets $4M+ on a 4 year deal or they see Bozak as a character guy, and give him a raise or similar money on several more years, then these contracts will start causing issues, especially if they then decide to draw a line in the sand for Gardiner in a couple years.

    • And just their luck that they happenned to trade away a perfectly playable goalie in Calvin Pickard.

      • Yeah, the issue with Pickard trade is that I don’t see Subban as better than Pickard, but I get Vegas decision if they feel differently. They got Subban for nothing, and managed to get a little something back for Pickard. They don’t have their own AHL affiliate, so stocking an AHL team isn’t of much benefit to them, and nobody is supplanting Fleury for a few years.

      • Yes they do. Chicago

      • Sorry, should have been more clear. They don’t own an AHL team of their own. They have an affiliate, but they don’t control it and they don’t need to keep bodies just to fill out an AHL roster.

    • Both Virtanen & Lindholm will be back by weeks end, they are very close.

      Getting Polak signed at that salary is great value, I’m sure he could have gotten more else where had he really been interested in doing so, he’s a solid 5/6 guy on almost any team in the NHL & few are playing for a mil & change.

    • Polak overpaid? He wasn’t signed for character, he was signed to keep the front of the net clear. Which is something that these young puck moving dmen in the system seem to have no idea of how to do. If the goalies can see the pucks, they can stop most of them, which in turn leads to better goals against average.

      • So, if he’s that good at clearing the front of the net while at the same time not being a liability in other aspects of the D position, and with plenty of cap space, why did it take 9 games into the season to sign him – and why didn’t at least 10 other teams desperately needing help on D offer him a contract long before now? And $1.1 MIL???

      • Because he was injured George & he wants to play in Toronto. Could he have gotten more money elsewhere? I assume he could have but he like the role & team so he choose to stay for good value.

        Great deal for Tor. He will make them way less fun to play against & a far better option than either of the kids Tor was dressing.

      • Yeah, whatever … I still think there are many more out there who believe that was a questionable signing than those who think opposing players will be fearful of going up against Polak, Let’s keep track of his hits vis-a-vis giveaways, then we’ll see.