NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 8, 2019
The latest on Auston Matthews, Dylan Larkin, Zach Werenski, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock yesterday indicated he expects centers John Tavares and Auston Matthews to average around 19 minutes of ice time per game this season. Babcock received criticism for not playing Matthews more during their Game 7 loss to the Boston Bruins in the opening round of the 2019 playoffs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Juggling the ice time of two superstar centers is a problem every NHL coach wants to have. In Toronto, of course, every decision by Babcock is questioned by millions of armchair coaches. Because it’s the dog days of the off-season when there’s little real hockey news to report, Matthews’ ice time for the coming season is headline news.
Dylan Larkin believes he’s ready to take on the captaincy of the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings played without a captain last season after Henrik Zetterberg was placed on long-term injured reserve.
“A letter is a letter, but being a captain of a franchise like the Detroit Red Wings would mean a lot to me. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, I still get to play for the Detroit Red Wings and I get to play in the NHL and I’m going to try to play my best.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Larkin would make a fine captain for the Wings. The final decision rests with Wings general manager Steve Yzerman.
NHL.COM: Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen remains optimistic defenseman Zach Werenski will be re-signed before training camp opens next month. Werenski, 21, is among several notable restricted free agents around the league who remain unsigned. Kekalainen believes the agents for Werenski and the others are playing a waiting game to see who signs first.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s still early August and neither side is in a rush to get these deals done. Once the calendar flips to September and the start of training camps approach, I anticipate a flurry of signings.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov wants to play a final season in the NHL and reach a milestone 1,000 games, preferably with the Habs. Two years ago, the 40-year-old blueliner signed a two-year deal with the KHL’s Ak Bars Kazan after failing to reach an agreement with the Canadiens. He spent his entire NHL career in Montreal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens need depth on the left side of their blueline. I don’t know if Markov would be a fit at this stage of his career. Perhaps the Habs bring him to camp on a professional tryout offer if they don’t bring in another rearguard via trade or free agency.
THE SCORE: Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon said Don Waddell remains the club’s general manager. Speculation over Waddell’s future was raised earlier this week when he was reportedly interviewed by the Minnesota Wild for their vacant GM position. Waddell lacks a formal contract with the Hurricanes but Dundon insists he remains employed by the club.
On the MIN GM search — Wild were declined permission to speak to NYR AGM Chris Drury. It’s the second time a team has asked and been politely rebuffed (BUF).
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) August 7, 2019