NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 21, 2023

by | May 21, 2023 | News, NHL | 29 comments

The Panthers down the Hurricanes in overtime for the second straight game, NHL and NHLPA to discuss the salary cap, the Penguins to seek permission to speak with Kyle Dubas, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers took a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Final with a 2-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Winger Matthew Tkachuk scored in overtime for the second straight game, Aleksander Barkov scored a highlight-reel game-tying goal and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 37 shots for the win. Jalen Chatfield opened the scoring for the Hurricanes while Antti Raanta made 24 saves.

The series shifts to Florida for the next two games with Game 3 on Monday at 8 pm ET.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour decided to start Raanta to give starter Frederik Andersen some rest following Game 1. Raanta was steady in Game 2 but I expect Brind’Amour will return with Andersen for Game 3.

This game wasn’t the four overtime marathon like Game 1 but it was still an absorbing, fast-paced matchup between these two clubs. The Hurricanes could’ve just as easily won the first two games of this series if they were able to get more than one goal at even strength.

Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (NHL Images).

There can now be no doubt that Tkachuk has established his reputation as a clutch playoff performer. One pundit nicknamed him “Playoff Chucky” and he’s earned it. He has to be considered in the running for the Conn Smythe Trophy if the Panthers advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

However, my early Smythe Trophy leader is Bobrovsky. The 34-year-old goaltender had just two series victories on his resume entering the 2023 playoffs. He wasn’t even the Panthers’ starter in the first three games of their opening-round series against the heavily-favored Boston Bruins following yet another inconsistent regular season. His rock-steady performance since then has carried the Panthers to this point.


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the NHL and NHL Players Association will meet this week to open discussions on several issues, including raising the salary cap for 2023-24 beyond the projected $1 million to $83.5 million.

The PA is on record as rejecting the notion of raising the escrow rate of six percent per season for the next three seasons as a trade-off for raising the cap ceiling. However, they are said to be willing to accept a shorter training-camp period to increase the regular-season schedule to 84 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks sees that as a bargaining chip if NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is willing to move off his usual “take-it-or-leave-it” stance. Those extra games would bring in additional hockey-related revenue to 2023-24.

If the PA is indeed willing to agree to expanding the schedule it could garner support from the league Board of Governors, especially with 15 clubs carrying less than $10 million in cap space for next season with another seven carrying less than $15 million.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Pittsburgh Penguins are expected to seek permission from the Toronto Maple Leafs to speak with former general manager Kyle Dubas, who was fired on Friday by Leafs president Brendan Shanahan. The Penguins are in search of a new GM after firing Ron Hextall last month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s unknown if Dubas would be interested after stating last Monday that he’d step away from management for a while if he didn’t return with the Leafs. Nevertheless, the Penguins are conducting their due diligence by trying to contact him to find out.

DAILY FACEOFF: Speaking of former general managers, the Calgary Flames are now allowing other clubs to speak with former GM Brad Treliving after reportedly refusing to do so before his contract expires on June 30. Treliving stepped down from his job with the Flames last month.

TSN: Maple Leafs winger William Nylander has changed his mind about joining Sweden in the IIHF World Championship currently ongoing in Finland and Latvia. He was reportedly reticent about arriving late to this tournament and taking a roster spot away from someone in the current lineup, especially as it may have belonged to his brother Alex.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think that’s a classy move by Nylander. His brother and the other players have been with that team for a while now.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars defenseman Jani Hakanpaa is questionable for Game 2 of the Western Conference Final against the Vegas Golden Knights. He was medically unfit for Game 1 and was replaced by Colin Miller.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said his club’s search for a new head coach will stretch into this week. He now doesn’t expect to reach a decision on his new bench boss until after he returns on May 29 from scouting the World Championship.

OTTAWA SUN/CTV NEWS OTTAWA: Canadian Olympic great Donovan Bailey and stand-up comedian Russell Peters are the latest notables to join Los Angeles-based producer Neko Sparks’ bid to purchase the Senators. Rapper Snoop Dogg is also part of Sparks’ group.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers have parted ways with head trainer Jim Ramsay. He’d been in the role since 1994-95.


  1. The Canes need to win 4 of the final 5 games to go to the Finals. Not good odds. Even should the Panthers lose, they’ve put on a hell of a show.

    • One word describes the Florida approach Paul – relentless!

      Kind of the way Maurice once had the jets playing … until the Country Club attitude amongst certain players took over.

      As for Carolina, it could just as easily be 2-0 in their favour. They certainly haven’t been blown away.

  2. No Penguins…. stay away from Dubas.
    I would prefer a new GM , than a recycled one.

    • Very few of the people on the interview list, at least the ones I’ve seen, are ‘new’ GMs.

      I’d give dubas a shot. Make him GM and head of hockey ops. Let him finally get the chance to make the decisions. His hands have been tied in Toronto. There is a reason that team hasn’t won the cup since 1967. They have organizational flaws. Too much red tape. Too may dinosaurs making the final decisions.

  3. I see the Flames have finally figured out that barring Treleving from joining another team in order to “protect” draft information was about as useless as a knitted condom.

    And it looks like either Matthew Tkachuk – or Bobrovsky – is on his way to the Conn Smythe Trophy.

  4. As per Shanahan –

    The Best deal he made was the “1” he didn’t make ….
    Sudden change to show Dubas the door

    I would imagine Treliving would be the favourite , but who knows – I blame Sutter in Calgary , as per their weak season .
    Treliving certainly didn’t want to trade Tkachuk , but it seemed like a large haul in return at the time

    Marner and Nylander have expressed their interest in coming back , Matthews has gone Silent , and it is apparent he was very close to Dubas .

    If Matthews is reluctant to sign by July 1st , perhaps management should consider moving him as well .

    Trading 1 of Marner or Nylander is not the answer …
    They will need a robust, physical winger in return , plus they need another elite defenseman , which of course is not a realistic return

    Trading Matthews mind you will pretty much engage in a very significant return along with Marner ..

    It’s pretty much a no brainer, Keefe is not returning , he is not the guy either for this team

    • Ken, if Matthews is coming up on new contract negotiations that will pay him upwards of $15 mil per off the cap, I don’t see a whole lot of teams lining up to not only hamstring themselves when it comes to cap management, but at the same time giving up a wealth of valuable assets to do so. To what end?

      • Canes will have the space.
        Mathews for Aho, Pesce + 2024 1st
        That would relieve the Trono cap crunch!

      • @JZ
        Svech+Pesce would help the Leafs
        Aho is another smaller skilled guy that has trouble making space for himself in the playoffs…you can see he is missing Svech.

        But the Canes have assets and cap space this summer to bring in a top 6 guy without trading an important piece

      • Johnny Z – the Hurricanes have $24,123,083 with which to sign 6.

        They have 6 UFAs whose expiring deals add up to $26 mil alone – not all will be returned, but several will (Staal, Fast, Gostisbehere, Andersen, Raanta Pacioretty). They also have RGA Puljujarvi to re-up (expiring $3 mil cap hit).

        When you say Aho, Pesce and 2024 1st would “relieve the Trono cap crunch” – how so?

        Aho and Pesce each have 1 year to go at cap hits of $8,460,250 and $4,025,000 respectively for a total of $12,465,250.

        Matthews has 1 year to go @ $11,640,250, so for the first year it doesn’t help Toronto’s cap crunch at all.

        Speculation has Matthews seeking $15 mil on a contract renewal. But both Aho and Pesce will also be seeking increases – Aho probably close to $9.5 and Pesce around $6 mil – so once again nothing is gained in terms of cap relief.

      • Bruin fans, would you consider moving Pasta or McAvoy in package for Matthews?
        Obviously, Matthews extension has to be agreed upon.

        Leaf fans?

        Doesn’t solve either teams cap issues, both need to make other moves or wait for the cap to move to add.

        IMO Pasta for sure if not on his 10 team NT list, depending what else is included, McAvoy is just creating another massive hole.

      • If the Leafs sign Matthews for 15 million – or anything close to that – it’s a sequel to Dumb and Dumber, insane cap management.

        And who else would pony up that much for anyone player in a long term deal with a cap that looks like it will rise only slowly. I doubt very much that there is a market for any player at any number close to that.

      • Agree LJ, I’ll believe $15M when I see it. MacKinnon is the highest at $12.6, that’s a big jump from there.

        Unless GM’s believe the cap will jump after next season.

      • Ray I would consider Pasta and quickly for Matthew’s. Obviously an extension would have to be in place and Matthew’s contract could not exceed $12.5

    • Mathews only garners a real significant return if he is willing to extend. Mathews as a rental gets some nice pieces. But not what most Toronto fans are looking for.

      • LJ, I agree 100%. Three of the 4 Divas all want to sign extensions, as long as Toronto pays top dollar. IF any Leaf GM grants them anything close to their asking prices, the increases would eat up all of the cap bump and then some, further exacerbating the salary cap mess.

        Now is the time to face reality. If you want to win a Cup in Toronto, then the top players must accept less than the max (Tampa model). Otherwise, c ya. First up is Matthews – agree to extension prior to July 1st or bye-bye. If Auston loves it so much here, then he needs to become a team player with respect to salary demands. Likelihood of that happening is slim to none – 90% of the elite players only care about maximizing their bank accounts. They pay lip service to team success. I suspect many of them actually prefer the extra six weeks of golfing in late spring.

        Carlo Colaiacovo had a great rant this past week; link is on Carlo’s twitter feed – @CarloColaiacovo.

      • Chrisms, better than letting Auston walk and playing “not to get hurt” in his UFA year. LTIR past the end of next season will pay Matthews exactly zero.

      • Agreed hammer. But a lot of armchair gm deals that I see Toronto fans throw out there are for a non rental mathews. Unless he agrees to negotiate an extension with new team or the almost mythical sign and trade he will get good assets. But not the hauls I’ve been reading.
        Think protected 1st good prospect and decent young nhl player.

  5. @ George
    It’s a double edge sword

    How about teams that need to fill their seats , Arizona for 1 , but do they have what it takes – to send a package back ..

    Leafs have a serious problem with this minuscule cap monster

    Even Murray’s almost $5 million contract is another horror show

    The new GM in Toronto needs to sniff out a promising diamond in the rough , as per Sam Bennett , although Bennett was a 4 th overall pick , but didn’t come into his own, until the ride to Florida
    Bennett was ripe for the picking at the time , I always thought he would be a great pickup , understatement at that !

    • Arizona only has 5,000 seats to fill. And the way things are going, the team won’t be anywhere in that State much longer.

      Besides, I seriously doubt Matthews wants any part of a rebuilding team that “needs to fill seats.”

  6. @Johnny Z

    Canes will be motivated for a change , absolutely , especially after their dance with Florida

    Other teams as well , many will think they are ever so close to Lord Stanley

    New York Rangers , broadway of the NHL – Send Trouba and their Russian goaltender over , we have a Russian to go back as well , as part of the package

    There are mega scenarios
    Yzerman is Detroit has 30 million in cap space
    The list is endless

  7. 82 games is to long, don’t need to see the schedule increased to 84

    Eric Francis tweeted that Treliving always had permission to talk to other teams as long as he doesn’t talk about Calgary draft plans.

  8. Daniele Briere will want to his presence known in Philadelphia

    This team desperately needs to get out their doldrums ..

    What an opportunity for Phillie , Toronto is ripe for picking

    Send us Konecny , Hart, , your 1st , plus, plus ..
    Toronto can trade up to 2,3,or 5 and add an elite Center ..

    Win, Win, for both teams
    Mr. Briere we will make sure U get a goalie back

    @George , the more I think of it , a hood portion of the NHL will be lining up for Matthews !!!

  9. Daniele Briere will want to his presence known in Philadelphia

    This team desperately needs to get out their doldrums ..

    What an opportunity for Phillie , Toronto is ripe for picking

    Send us Konecny , Hart, , your 1st , plus, plus ..
    Toronto can trade up to 2,3,or 5 and add an elite Center ..

    Win, Win, for both teams
    Mr. Briere we will make sure U get a goalie back

    @George , the more I think of it , a good portion of the NHL will be lining up for Matthews !!!

  10. Has anybody heard from pengy lately?

    • According to yesterday’s post by him, he’s in Washington State. Possibly Seattle.

  11. Pengy is busy interviewing Dubas