NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 29, 2023

by | Aug 29, 2023 | News, NHL | 11 comments

The Bruins’ plan to fill their top-two center roles this season, front office changes for the Sabres and Capitals, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery is very confident that Pavel Zacha and Charlie Coyle can fill the club’s top-two center positions. Those roles became areas of concern following the recent retirements of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci.

Boston Bruins center Pavel Zacha. (NHL Images)

Montgomery believes Zacha is ready to handle the first-line center role, saying the 26-year-old still has a high ceiling after his career-best performance (21 goals, 57 points) last season.

The Bruins were rumored to be interested in Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm and Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele earlier in the offseason. One NHL source claimed they would circle back on Lindholm if he became available before the start of this season.

They were also said to be prepared to move Linus Ullmark. However, it appears the asking price for the desired center was too high and the return too low for Ullmark.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins probably have no choice but to go with Zacha and Coyle to start this season. It’s believed they lack sufficient trade capital to outbid other clubs that could have an interest in Lindholm. That probably holds true as well for Scheifele.

BUFFALO HOCKEY NOW: Terry Pegula has taken over as the Sabres team president. Pegula Sports & Entertainment, which also owns the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, is being dissolved and separating resources, with each club focusing on their respective efforts.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The Washington Capitals also made some front-office changes, naming general manager Brian MacLellan as president of hockey operations. They also promoted Chris Patrick to assistant general manager.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers suggest this move lays the groundwork for Patrick to eventually take over as general manager, allowing MacLellan to focus solely on his role as hockey ops president.

NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers formally announced they’ve signed forwards Sam Gagner and Brandon Sutter to professional tryout agreements.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise here. It was previously reported in the Edmonton media that Gagner and Sutter would get professional tryout offers.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of PTOs, the Avalanche signed former Dallas Stars forward Joel Kiviranta.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs added some size to their blueline yesterday, signing former Simon Benoit to a one-year, $775K contract. The 6’3”, 203-pound defenseman spent the past three seasons with the Anaheim Ducks.


  1. With the retirements that have already happened and with several of their best players over 35, Boston is going to be forced to refresh/reload/rebuild (Pick your favorite GMspeak for “We don’t have enough quality players to make a deep playoff run”) sometime in the near future. Were I their GM, I’d already be planning to rebuild/whatever around Pastrnak, Coyle, Swayman and a couple under 25 guys who start standing out.

    • Did you mean Zacha instead of Coyle? Coyle is 31 and a nice complementary 3C. He’s not a top 2 center to build a future around. I’m not sure we know that Zacha is either yet, but we know that Coyle isn’t.

      • Oops, yes, I made a small mistake. Thanks for pointing that out. Since my mid-50’s, my memory has started to get holes which leads to such errors.

      • I understand Paul. I often say that the memory was the second thing that left me as I reached 70. I just wish I could remember what the first one was.

      • PB & Iago

        I can’t remember if I’m 61 or 62

        Some on here swear I can’t remember that I’m both a Leafs’ and Pens’ fan

        Every statement of mine perhaps should be a question…. Akin to this famous movie line with a vocal rise on the last syllable

        “I’m Ron Burgundy ?”

  2. Boston defense, goaltending and systems will make them a competitive team this season.

    Can Pavel Zacha be a number 1 center his draft position would suggest yes, being drafted 6th overall.

    Last season was his best in the nhl with 21 goals 36a 57pts and a +26

    His contract of 4 years at $4,750,000 does not suggest a 1st line center. If he can replicate his numbers last season it’s good value and if he can turn into a late boomer and become a number 1 center 30 goals and 70 plus points then it’s a steal of a deal.

    I think Coyle can be a number 2 center he has shown he is capable of doing so; the concern with Coyle is he can dominate for 5 games, then disappear for 15.

  3. Wow, Kiviranta gets PTO!! That would be something if he came to be an Avalanche? From Avalanche killer during 2020 bubble to an Avalanche

  4. Pavel Zacha is a 2nd line centre at Best…

    Charlie Coyle, He is a 3rd line centre Tops

    There 3 top Centre Prospects are All Duds ‼️, They
    Can’t Score in the AHL….

    -John Beecher, 23 points with PB
    -Curtis Hall, 23 4 points in 37 ganes with PB…
    -John Farinacc 22, 20 points with Harvard

    Bottom Line is…
    The Bruins will have to trade for a 1st line Centre at the trade deadline or in the July 1st UFA period 🤔

    • If they had the assets to go after a 1C, I think thy would have done so by now (Lindholm, especially).
      Not sure they will be in any better spot come the trade deadline either, unless someone becomes desperate for goaltending and wants Swayman.
      Maybe LA?

    • The Oil have 3 potential 1st line centers, and I’ll wager the Bruins finish both higher in the overall standings and with more wins than they will.

      • Are you paying in real cash or imaginary money from the fantasy world that comment came from.