NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 9, 2022
Mitch Marner extends his points streak in the latest Leafs win, Johnny Gaudreau talks about his decision to leave Calgary for Columbus, the latest salary cap update for 2023-24 and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner extended his franchise-best points streak to 21 games as his club blanked the Los Angeles Kings 5-0. Marner scored his 11th goal of the season while Ilya Samsonov made 29 saves for the shutout as the Leafs (17-5-6) sit three points behind the league-leading Boston Bruins with 40 points. The Kings dropped to 14-11-4.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toronto defenseman T.J. Brodie returned to the lineup after missing 12 games with a strained oblique. However, forward Nick Robertson is expected to miss significant time after suffering a shoulder injury in the first period. The Leafs are on a roll, going 10-0-3 since dropping a 4-2 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Nov. 11.
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point scored twice and Steven Stamkos picked up two assists in a 5-2 victory over the Nashville Predators. Stamkos extended his points streak to 12 games while Brian Elliott kicked out 34 shots. The Lightning improved to 16-9-1 while the Predators fall to 12-10-2.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning honored defenseman Ryan McDonagh with a video tribute. He spent five seasons with the Bolts before being traded to the Predators in the offseason.
Winnipeg Jets forward Pierre-Luc Dubois scored two goals and picked up an assist to defeat the St. Louis Blues by a score of 5-2. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 29 shots for the Jets (17-7-1) as they’ve won seven of their last 10 games. The Blues (12-15-0) have dropped seven of their last 10.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets sit in fifth place in the overall standings with 35 points. Defenseman Logan Stanley returned to action after being sidelined since Oct. 24 with a fractured foot. Jets forward Saku Maenalanen left this game with an upper-body injury.
An overtime goal by Tyler Seguin lifted the Dallas Stars to a 4-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Miro Heiskanen tallied twice for the Stars (15-7-5), who sit in second place in the Central Division behind the Jets. The Senators sit in last place in the Atlantic Division with a record of 10-14-2.
The Florida Panthers defeated the Detroit Red Wings 5-1. Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and an assist while Sergei Bobrovsky made 19 saves as the Panthers improved to 13-10-4. The Red Wings sit at 13-8-5.
THE SCORE: Johnny Gaudreau wants Calgary Flames fans to know that he didn’t string them or the team along before signing with the Columbus Blue Jackets. “It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make,” said the former Flames winger. He said it ultimately came down to being able to play closer to home and spend more time with his family.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames were offering more money on a long-term team deal but Gaudreau left that cash on the table to accept a slightly lesser offer with the Blue Jackets.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the salary cap for 2023-24 will be the prime topic at next week’s NHL Board of Governors meetings. The cap could rise by $3.5 million or more over the current $82.5 million if the players repay their remaining cap debt from the pandemic to the owners by the season’s end. If they don’t finish paying it off, and a lot of observers believe they won’t, the cap will only rise by $1 million.
LeBrun and Darren Dreger said there could be a third option whereby the NHL Players Association ask the players if they want the cap to rise by between $2 million and $3 million for next season. From a player’s perspective, it must not impact escrow. So far, there’s been no discussions on that issue between the league and the PA but they’ll have to have that conversation before early summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how they would work that out if the players are willing to find a way for a bigger bump in next season’s cap. LeBrun and Dreger didn’t indicate how the league and the PA could “massage the cap” in a way that won’t affect escrow payments.
COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Some good news for the injury-ravaged Avalanche as winger Valeri Nichushkin could return from ankle surgery for Friday’s game against the New York Rangers.
CBS SPORTS: John Klingberg will return to the Anaheim Ducks lineup Friday against the San Jose Sharks. He’s missed the last seven games with a lower-body injury.
AM NY: New York Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech is considered day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks forward Sam Lafferty is ready to return to action after missing the last six games with a back injury.
GOPHNX.COM: The Arizona Coyotes have loaned forward Dylan Guenther to Team Canada for the upcoming World Junior Championships.