NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 26, 2022

by | Aug 26, 2022 | News, NHL | 36 comments

Jacob Markstrom believes the Flames will be better this season, Phil Kessel talks about his time with the Coyotes and looks forward to joining the Golden Knights, the latest on Trevor Zegras and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE SCORE: In an interview with Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom weighed in on his club’s busy offseason. “In my mind and in my head, I really believe that we’re gonna be better this year,” said Markstrom.

Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom (NHL Images).

The Flames finished first in the Pacific Division last season but lost leading scorer Johnny Gaudreau to the Columbus Blue Jackets via free agency and traded 100-point winger Matthew Tkachuk to the Florida Panthers after he decided he didn’t want to sign a long-term extension.

Markstrom praised Flames general manager Brad Treliving for his decisive moves to address those departures. He acquired playmaking winger Jonathan Huberdeau and defenseman MacKenzie Weegar in the Tkachuk trade and last week signed free-agent center Nazem Kadri.

He really went out there and took what he wanted,” said Markstrom. “I think we’ve got a great team on paper, and now we’ve got to put it together on the ice.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames’ success this season will depend on how well Huberdeau, Kadri and Weegar fit within their roster. It could take some time for the new additions to adjust to their new teammates and head coach Darryl Sutter’s system. If they adapt quickly, the Flames should remain among the top clubs in the Western Conference.

ARIZONA SPORTS: After signing a one-year contract with the Vegas Golden Knights, Phil Kessel reflected on his three seasons with the Arizona Coyotes. He praised his former teammates and those running the Coyotes but felt the club’s direction made it difficult for him after coming from a playoff club like the Pittsburgh Penguins.

They said we were going to win and try to win and compete and obviously that’s not what happened and it’s going to be nice to play on a team that wants to win,” said Kessel. He also felt a player’s value around the league can go down playing for a club like the Coyotes. “Obviously, I think, over the last couple of years you get lost here and people don’t view you anymore like you used to be viewed.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon believes Kessel will be a good fit with his club, suggesting the 34-year-old winger felt a little like he’d been forgotten about in Arizona playing for a rebuilding club.

It’s easy for most fans and pundits to overlook how well individual players perform with the Coyotes. Kessel tallied a career-low eight goals but also managed 44 assists to finish with a respectable 52 points in 82 games last season on one of the league’s lowest-scoring clubs. His production should improve skating with the Golden Knights.

DAILY FACEOFF: Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras and Team Canada forward Sarah Nurse were named the cover athletes for EA Sports’ NHL 23 videogame.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is newsworthy for me only because of some ridiculous negative reaction on social media to Zegras and Nurse being on the cover. In Nurse’s case, it was old-fashioned misogyny about (gasp!) a women’s hockey player being part of an NHL video game (the horror!). Meanwhile, the complaints about Zegras were in part based on his “Michigan” (lacrosse) style goals, which apparently offends the fragile sensibilities of so-called “purists” of the game.

Speaking of Zegras, he’s changed his number this season from 46 to 11 while teammate Jamie Drysdale is switching from No. 34 to No. 6. I hope those of you with a delicate disposition had your smelling salts handy at this news.

ZSC LIONS: announced they’ve signed Columbus Blue Jackets forward Alexandre Texier to a one-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Texier has taken a season-long leave of absence from the Jackets to be closer to his family in Grenoble, France for personal reasons. He has the permission of the Jackets and NHL to play with a European club this season.

DAILY FACEOFF: Former NHL coach Mike Babcock has resigned from his head coaching role with the University of Saskatchewan after one season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to reports, the plan was always for Babcock to do that job for a year or two. His son, Mike Jr., will remain in his role as an assistant coach.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers hired Ian McKeown as their new vice president of athlete performance and wellness.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins assistant coach Mike Vellucci agreed to a two-year contract extension earlier this week.


  1. Colorado will win the cup again this season not good news for Calgary fans & Jacob. Bruins will finish in last place they’ve done nothing to improve.

    • Bruins did nothing to improve but. Sign a real 2nd line ctr picked up a good big in prime Zacha who will have a career year watch and see
      A full year of Lindholm. This team is better then last years team that was 10th in entire nhl. Cheers for the yotes. Then you will have reason to whine Your rants on nothingness are over the top
      Doubt Avs repeat have the talent but need a boat load of luck and health and they are weaker then the cup winning team already

  2. So, is Babcock signaling that he’s available for consideration following the firing of any NHL head coach this coming season? And there will be some who will be canned – both early and later.

    • Have to figure DJ Smith is on a very short rope. Would be crazy Babcock coached in Ottawa. That would add an extra layer to the battle of Ontario

      • Hoo, ya, Pete, would it ever! And I agree that Smith is a candidate to be lopped if they get off to another shaky start. Dorion won’t wait long.

        Another who might not make it to Christmas is Mike Yeo in Philadelphia – isn’t he always being canned?

  3. as a ‘purist’ I really don’t care who is on the cover of a video game. As for the ‘Michigan goal’ its a slick, skillful move but there is a time and a place. You don’t make that move when you are up by 4 goals.

    • Why not ??? Up by four or down by four…It’s entertaining…
      Buckle up Fergy…my guess is you will see more of them or at least more tries…

  4. Tre did a fantastic job IMHO


    Johnny hockey (no control over this by Tre)

    Tkachuk (would have likely been tough negotiations)

    Monahan (injured last year; coming off fairly serious surgery)


    Hoobie (great offence)
    Kadri (great grit and offence)
    Weegar (good D-Man)
    Schwindt (future is TBD)

    Great job by Tre

    Overall…. I agree with Markstrom…. Flames better

    • And while all the talk has been around Gaudreau and Tkachuk being replaced by Huberdeau and Kane, overlooked in the chatter are equally formidable offensive talents like Mangiapane (35g 20a 55 pts) and Lindholm (42g 40a 82 pts) with a supporting cast of Backlund (12g 27a 39 pts), Coleman (16g 17a 33 pts), Toffoli (20g 29a 49 pts (Mtl & Cgy stats) and Dube (18g 14a 32 pts).

      And a solid D of Hanifin, Anderson, Tanev, Zadorov, Kylington and Valimaki who, collectively, chipped in with 35g 162a 197 pts and are now joined by Weegar who brings 8g 36a 44 pts from Florida.

      In fact, with RD Josh Brook coming to camp on a PTO and highly-touted D prospect Jeremie Poirier in the wings, I think Treleving may have one more move up his sleeve with one of those D.

      The will, indeed, still be a well-balanced force in the West.

      • Absolutely true George

        I was just looking at the majority r moves and differentials in roster and prognosticating on the team being better in 22/23

      • Ya, deep every where George, and just to add to your list a really good tender.

        Looking forward to cheering against them here in Edmonton.

        Speaking of their excess D, Edmonton could use some depth!

  5. Help, contract people:

    What’s the point of signing Texier to a contract knowing he won’t play? I’m assuming it’s to retain his rights or something similar.

    Looking for guidance.

    • Texier’s NHL rights still belong to the Blue Jackets. He can still play but he wants to be closer to his family in France this season for personal reasons. He’s not being paid his NHL contract for this season and it won’t count against the Blue Jacket’s salary cap. He’s been given approval by the NHL to sign with a European team for the coming season.

      • Sorry Lyle

        While I was typing my response to Whalercane ; your post wasn’t showing

        Sorry for the duplicative response… ‘twas unintentional

    • Hi Whalercane

      My guess was s that ZSC Lions DO believe he’ll play

      Reading between the lines…. Texier feels his issues stemmed from being away from home and feels playing a year much closer to home will get him back on track

      Clb allowing this; keeps his rights; no cash or cap cost

      Just a guess tho

  6. Re Phil quotes:

    “They said we were going to win and try to win and compete and obviously that’s not what happened and it’s going to be nice to play on a team that wants to win,”

    “Obviously, I think, over the last couple of years you get lost here and people don’t view you anymore like you used to be viewed.”

    He’s bang on IMHO

    What legit free agent wants to go to a team to that will not be playoff bound for a few years; AND play in front of only 4,900 (at best) fans; in a barn with bench seating and very poor camera lines (so watching games on TV will not be optimal) for AT LEAST 4 years

    Phoenix is a wonderful city…. But not if your a player in the last years of your NHL career

    Re Phil in LV.,.. I hope for the sake of the Knights that McCrimmon had a good talk with Phil ; letting him know that his streak is not guaranteed…. If he falters (which might happen)…. He sits

    Not saying he’s likely to slide; but expectations need to be tempered

    • I hope the opposite happened actually. I hope Phil said, I’ll come to your team, but I ain’t playing this Mike Yeo crap. If I sign, I play.

      • Hi Stars Fan

        I’m sure that was Phil’s want…. I have trouble being convinced he’d insist on a verbal promise of continuing Ironman regardless of performance before he signed

        Again, not saying he slides…. Possibility is there; and Knights need to dress their best players…: a back-to-back miss of playoffs is a possibility they need to consider

    • “ What legit free agent wants to go to a team to that will not be playoff bound for a few years;”

      I know! It’s Austin Matthews, I mean after a year of having to suffer from you and the others who think like you and expect things to ramp back up that talk up again who else, like really?

  7. If anyone has to improve it is Markstrom himself.

    He failed in the playoffs last season and in order to regain the trust, he will have to soar in the playoffs.

    • Good point DJ. And waiting in the wings, too, is a goalie they took in the 7th round in 2019 (214th overall) – Dustin Wolf who, after a solid Major Junior career with Everett of the WHL, has put up two eye-opening seasons in the AHL and, in some quarters, is now regarded as their top prospect.

      He could see some NHL exposure this coming season.

    • Well he was really good against Dallas DJ.
      Vs Dallas – .943
      Vs EDM – .852.

      Might have something to do with the Oil’s talent up front too.

      Might have to take a axe swing at both of Draisaitl’s ankles next year come playoff time, as I am guessing there is a reasonable chance they play each other again.

      If so, gonna be entertaining again.

  8. EA sports picked a guy who they think is marketable and not because of his overall skill.

    Zegras finished 76th in points and 103rd for goals. He is best known for a high light reel goal called the Michigan. The video been video millions of time and kids are always trying to replica the goal.

    EA sports obviously believe this kid is very marketable and want to capitalize on the hype.

    Personally my choice wouldn’t have been Cale Makar; But im an old guy who hasn’t played a video game since i was a child.

    Don’t remember what it was called. Had two small white line and another white like ball, that you just try to hit back and forth.

    • 100% agree.


    • You’re talking about a video game that has trick or fancy playmaking ability…he’s known to achieve those moves that we often talk about…the kind of thing a so-so video game needs to go on.

      Did I mention this has zero to do with actual hockey?

      • What point are you making, Ron?
        Genuinely curious.

      • I don’t know anymore. I guess its a game that let you do crazy stuff like both those players can do and more. I think one should expect to be able to tear it up and make ridiculous plays, the kind of thing that makes it more fun to play?

    • Ya, was Pong SOP and Caper.
      That game got boring fast.

      The G kids try that move when messing around all the time, older one has pulled it off on occasion, but haven’t scored on Papa on their driveway with it. Yet. Both are big fans of Zegras Caper, so good choice.

      Picking those 2 for the cover could simply be about growing game sales in USA’s biggest state and amongst girls in NA. Neither market is likely playing a lot of hockey video games yet, and are both huge.

  9. I see there are still 14 RFAs yet without new deals and wonder which, if any, could be hold-outs when the season begins – or dealt before then:

    Dallas – LW/RW Jason Robertson and G Jake Oettinger

    Montreal – C/RW Kirby Dach

    Ottawa – LW Alex Foprmenton – LD/RD Erik Brannstrom

    Detroit – RW/LW Filip Zadina

    Toronto – LD Rasmus Sandin

    Vegas – LD Nicolas Hague

    Arizona – C/LW Barrett Hayton

    Calgary – C/RW Adam Ruzicka

    Los Angeles – LD Michael Anderson – RD Sean Durzi

    Edmonton – C Ryan McLeod

    San Jose – LW/RW Joseph Godjovich

    • My (very) quick reaction is that few here (Oettinger and Zadina) have any leverage.

      IMO Dach will get signed soon. The Habs surely didn’t acquire him without some indication of what he is looking for, and he surely doesn’t want to sour a chance for a fresh start.

      Sandin is stuck with the Leafs’ cap problems and the fact that he hasn’t proven himself worth dislodging what they have on D now.

      This from Dorion on Formenton and Brannstrom this morning:


      • Thanks for the link LJ. Hadn’t seen that recent Dorion comment.

        I figure both will settle for 3-year bridge deals at modest increases per. Makes them easier to deal.

      • Re Sandin, at this moment CapFriendly shows the Leafs $1,493,116 over the cap with 22 signed and no LTIR to cover the “over” – yet.

        Without Sandin they’re down to 6 D – Muzzin, Brodie, Rielly, Holl, Liljegren and Giordano and no room to add a 7th. At some point you have to think Sandin gets a new deal and, realistically, he and his agent can’t be looking at anything over $1.5 which would be a generous upgrade over his expiring $894,167 ELC.

        However, added to the current “over”
        that puts them close to $3 mil over – so either Dubas deals for an existing and assured LTIR, or a fairly big contract is moved.

      • Yeah, I think you are right, George. But being a Leaf must be like being in a drifting life boat with no rescue ship in sight:

        “We are out of food and taking on water. Who goes over the side?”

    • Man I wish Treliving could pry Robertson out of Dallas. I know it would cost an arm and a leg but could you imagine adding him to the forward group. Maybe Dube, Kylington, and their 2023 first gets it done. Don’t want to lose that first, but for him I think it would be worth it..

      • I think there are 30 other teams wishing they could pry Robertson out of Dallas.

  10. 🍁Re; Mike Babcock
    Now he has quite his job in Saskatoon .. Where do we think he is going to coatch Next….??
    First place i though of well 3 places but the one that stands out is Dallas Stars…❗️🤔

    if they get of to an other poor start and the are playing 500 in early January and 33yr old Jamie Benn $9.5M and his side kick 30 yr old Tyler Seguin & his 1$10.5M contract have an other slow start they should get Traded out of Dallars in early 2023

    Then Babcock & jim can start there re-build, they have a great young d/man & Goaltender & Forward in Jason Robertson who scored 40 goals i think last season…💥 and a Great pick up in 25 yr old Mason Marchment this of season.
    if they can pick up a few more young forwards especaly RW they are a bit weak there and sige a UFA Centre next season if the get rid of Benn and Tyler Seguin
    Great and good UFA Certres avalable….in the Low Tax State of Dallas……………………
    Nathan MacKinnon⁉️
    J.T. Miller… will be a UFA👍
    both of these guys would be GREAT Captains✔️
    or Dylan Larkin🤔