NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 30, 2022
The latest on Jack Eichel, Eric Staal and Jakub Vrana, the Golden Knights acquire Adin Hill from the Sharks, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Jack Eichel is healthy and looking forward to a better performance in his first full season with the Vegas Golden Knights.
The 25-year-old center was traded to the Golden Knights last November after disagreeing with the Buffalo Sabres over which surgery to undergo for a herniated disk in his neck. He underwent artificial disk replacement following the trade, made his debut with the Golden Knights on Feb. 16 and played the final six weeks of the season with a non-displaced thumb fracture.
Eichel said he’s looking forward to returning to form. “I just want to get back to being that dynamic force that I was before I got hurt and I know I’ll be there,” he said.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel finished with 14 goals and 25 points in 34 games despite coming off a lengthy layoff from his surgery and being hampered by his thumb injury. When healthy, he’s proven he’s an 80-point player and could reach or exceed that plateau with the Golden Knights. If he does, it gives them a good shot at reaching the 2023 playoffs.
Eric Staal is hoping to play his way back into the NHL with a professional tryout offer with the Florida Panthers. The 37-year-old forward last played in 2020-21 with the Buffalo Sabres and Montreal Canadiens.
Staal played five games last season on a PTO with the AHL’s Iowa Wild and was captain of Team Canada at the 2022 Beijing Olympics. He’ll be joining younger brother Marc Staal at Panthers training camp. Marc signed a one-year contract with the club in July.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staal might not make the cut on a deep Panthers club. However, a strong training camp and preseason effort could help him land a one-year contract with another club.
This is probably Staal’s last chance to earn a roster spot with an NHL club. He’s had a long and productive career and is among the greatest players in Carolina Hurricanes history. However, his best years are now well behind him.
DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of players looking forward to a bounce-back performance following an injury-shortened season, Jakub Vrana believes the Detroit Red Wings could be a playoff club in 2022-23.
Vrana, 26, missed most of last season recovering from shoulder surgery. He’s now fully healthy and excited over the Red Wings’ off-season additions. “In my opinion, we have strengthened enough, so there is a better chance for the playoffs,” said Vrana. “We will definitely go all out.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vrana was limited to 13 goals and 19 points in 26 games last season. His lengthy absence contributed to the Red Wings missing the 2022 postseason. A healthy season from him combined with a solid performance from their off-season additions and their promising youngsters should make the Wings a playoff contender.
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: The Sharks traded goaltender Adin Hill to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for Vegas’ fourth-round pick in 2024.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon’s recent remark about going with Logan Thompson and Laurent Brossoit as his goalie tandem to start the season. Brossoit is coming off hip surgery so perhaps he’s not fully recovered. If he has, McCrimmon probably wants to ensure he’s got sufficient experienced depth among his goalies.
As for the Sharks, this move enables them to go with a tandem of the promising Kaapo Kahkonen backed up by veteran James Reimer for the coming season. It also sheds Hill’s $2.175 million cap hit, giving the Sharks some extra wiggle room under the cap.
Speaking of the Sharks, they re-signed winger Jonah Gadjovich to a one-year, two-way contract. He’ll earn $750K at the NHL level.
THE ATHLETIC: The Chicago Blackhawks last week announced the hiring of Patrick Sharp and Troy Murray as the team’s TV color analysts. They’ll replace Ed Olczyk, who left the job after 16 years to join the Seattle Kraken in a similar role.
Question asked by the Athletic
Why are the Bruins last in the NHL prospect pipeline rankings?
One word answer …….. Sweeney
Rick? Have you changed your name to Joe?
There are 170 players on colleague Corey Pronman’s list of the NHL’s top 23-and-younger talent. Fabian Lysell is the only Bruin.
Not only that, but the 2021 first-rounder is the list’s Mr. Irrelevant, at No. 170.
Bruins are in major trouble all this signing of #37 & #46 does is buy them another year to be relevant
The Bruins should let #37 hit 1000 points as a Bruin and move him @ TDL to a contender for a package.
It is time for a restock.
Too many things have to go right to get into the playoffs this season
Actually Joe I would rank Lohrei every bit as high as Fabian I watched about a half dozen NCAA games last season. Mason is a very good d I would rank him ahead of Carlo, right now.
Unfortunately with the injured McAvoy and March it’s gonna rough. Agree with you about Sweeney. 2 Worst gms in Boston Bruins history O’Connell and guess who
This is how I envision the Atlantic Div 202223
Boston hasn’t done anything to improve the team
Rick, as you know Boston will be without their best two players to start the season.
I’m still not 100% sold on their goaltending and the first couple of months will let us know where they are heading.
US Thanksgiving is November 24th and if your not in the playoff picture at the time, history has shown it is difficult to get in.
Boston will have played a quarter of their season at that point and neither McAvoy or Marchand are expected in the lineup.
You know other teams have went for the cup and gave up future draft picks and future prospects. But they don’t rank 32 in the team prospect pool.
You look like you got almost all wrong. On standings projections If you get lucky maybe you hit 50%. At least you got mtl correct.
I’d have liked the Habs to trade a 4th for Adin Hill and go with a tandem of Montembeault and Hill through this season.
Pretty sure VGK or any team looking for goaltending would give more for Jake Allen, possibly a 2nd.
Lower cap hit and in what is accepted to be a rebuilding year it would be worth the gamble on two young goalies reaching maturity.
Jake Allen has been everything the Habs needed, solid guy, good in the locker room, team friendly contract, doesn’t give up weak goals.
I can’t rate the suggestion of trading Allen to go with Montembeault as one of your best, HF30. Sometimes shock affects memory. Perhaps last season caused you to forget how – I say this charitably – uneven Montebeault was.
I can put up with Montebeault backing up Allen, but were he to play 30% of the games it would surely demoralize the Habs – irrespective of what Hill could do.
Montembault was put in bad position from the get go and it got worse when Allen, who played 35 games, was injured.
Montembeault ended up playing 38 games, many through injury himself, off season wrist surgery.
He started slowly but improved as the year wore on which was very evident to people watching the team to the end.
HuGo thought enough of him to give him a 2yr one way contract with an increase of 33%.
Adin Hill has been a serviceable goaltender who was highly touted at one point and surely worth a 4th round pick.
I like Jake Allen, I think the high draft pick they can get for him is better in the long run.
Its a moot point since Hill is gone, maybe Vladar is available.
You are perfectly entitled to your opinion and debate here is a purpose of the site. But yours is not the definitive opinion, so enough of that “very evident to those people watching” commentary.
I am aware that he had a wrist issue.
I watched the team to the end. He had a few good games and more than a few not good games.
His GAA with the Habs last year was .891; while with Florida as their third goalie his stats were .890 and .894.
In April of last year he had a .920 save % against Toronto, and an .805 save % against Washington. For all of April last year his % was .874. Where is the improvement?
He performed exactly as his record indicated he would perform, and a GAA of less that .900 is not an NHL standard.
He was signed because as someone – you, wasn’t it? – stated there were few to no viable alternatives.
You’re entitled to your opinion but
considering it is my initial post that drew your “debate”, let me recap it.
1) I would have liked the Habs to trade a 4th round pick for Adin Hill.
2) Trading Allen would bring a higher return, possibly a 2nd round pick.
3) It would be a lower cap hit (700,000 less)
You fail to address any of the above
I won’t get into your strawman other than to point out last years record.
I guess I misunderstood.
When you said you believe Montembeault be part of a goal tending tandem that might reach maturity, I interpreted your use of the word maturity as reaching consistent satisfactory performance. Perhaps you meant something else.
When you said we all saw him improve last year, I thought you meant his on ice performance as borne out by his statistics and a record that were better than in previous years. Maybe you meant something less tangible.
Re your new comment: Isn’t it my choice to address the point I want to respond to, and let other points be?
I just don’t see Montembeault the same way you do. I would be quite pleased if your opinion on him is correct.
Last word to you …
I also predict Eichel will be injured not even half way through the season. Very injury prone guy.
You Also-predicted he was a lock to be a Bruin when he was on the trade block
So you are simply saying eichel will have a career year