NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 18, 2023

by | Nov 18, 2023 | News, NHL | 6 comments

William Nylander continues his points streak as the Leafs rally to beat the Red Wings in Sweden while Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour return to the Panthers lineup. Details on these and other stories in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander extended his season-opening points streak to 16 games in a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings at the NHL Global Series in Sweden. The Leafs were down 2-0 but Nylander rallied his teammates in the third period with a goal and two assists and was named the game’s first star. John Tavares also had a goal and two assists as the Leafs improved to 9-5-2. Daniel Sprong and Lucas Raymond scored for the 8-6-3 Red Wings.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nylander has been the Leafs’ best player thus far this season. He’s their leading scorer with 25 points and sits second in goals with 11. He’s also among the league leaders in both categories. At this pace, he’ll become a serious candidate for the Hart Memorial Trophy as his team’s MVP.

Nylander’s strong performance in his contract year will also make the cost of re-signing him even more expensive for the Leafs. Reports out of Toronto since July claimed his camp was seeking an annual average value of $10 million. That figure could be between $11 million and $12 million now.

Red Wings defenseman Jake Walman left this game in the second period with an apparent upper-body injury. There was no postgame update on his condition.

Florida Panthers defensemen Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour made their season debuts as their club nipped the Anaheim Ducks 2-1. Eetu Luostarinen and Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored for the Panthers (11-5-1) as Anthony Stolarz made 34 saves for the win. Frank Vatrano replied for the Ducks (9-8-0) as John Gibson stopped 33 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ekblad and Montour had been sidelined by offseason shoulder surgeries. They were held scoreless but their return to the blueline was a welcome sight for the Panthers.

It was a costly win for the Panthers as team captain Aleksander Barkov left the game with an injured left knee in the third period after Ducks defenseman Jackson Lacombe stuck out his leg and struck Barkov. Lacome was initially assessed a five-minute major but it was reduced on review to two minutes. There was no postgame update on Barkov’s condition.

The Winnipeg Jets held off the Buffalo Sabres by a score of 3-2. Connor Hellebuyck turned aside 26 shots, Cole Perfetti extended his goal streak to five games while Nino Niederreiter and Vladislav Namestnikov each collected two assists for the 9-5-2 Jets. Alex Tuch and JJ Peterka replied for the Sabres as they slipped to 7-9-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres activated goaltender Eric Comrie and winger Zach Benson off injured reserve for this game while placing center Tage Thompson (left-hand injury) on IR.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Arizona Coyotes center Barrett Hayton will be sidelined for four to six weeks as he undergoes surgery for an upper-body injury suffered against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.

Hayton’s teammate Matias Maccelli also left that game after being struck in the face by a puck. While he required “major dental surgery” he’s expected to be okay though it’s uncertain as to when he’ll return to the lineup.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens defenseman Arber Xhekaj is listed as day-to-day after leaving Thursday’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights with an apparent injury to his left shoulder.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was concern that Xhekaj could miss considerable time if the injury was serious. That’s understandable considering he underwent season-ending surgery to his right shoulder in February. This news suggests that he might not be laid up for too long.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sharks center Nico Sturm will miss the next two games as he takes a leave of absence to attend to a personal matter.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk (lower-body injury) and winger Anthony Mantha (ruptured eardrum) will return to the lineup for today’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins backup goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic scored a goal for the club’s AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday against the Providence Bruins. It’s the second time he’s scored in AHL action during his career. He’s on loan to the Penguins’ farm team on a conditioning stint.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The government of Quebec is facing criticism for paying upwards of $7 million to the Los Angeles Kings to play two preseason games next season in Quebec City against the Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers.

Critics believe that money could’ve been better spent on more pressing issues, especially when it was revealed that the Montreal Canadiens were willing to play some preseason games in Quebec City for free.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Someone on social media joked that Quebec City wanted to see real NHL teams rather than the Canadiens. It’s part of the province’s efforts to bring a team back to Quebec City. However, it’s unlikely to succeed given the more lucrative markets in Houston, Atlanta and Salt Lake City that are expected to be the next destinations for NHL expansion franchises. 


  1. It’s doom & gloom In leaf land. Nylander playing very well and leafs may or may not be able to pay him. Worry worry worry ! Starting to sound like a news channel.

    Most obsessed about the leafs ain’t even fans at all. Rinse, repeat, recycle…

    • We,, I’ve never pretended to be a card=carrying member of Leafs Nation, but when they are part of the topic of the day – and in the interest of generating discussion – it’s difficult not to glance at their situation heading into next season and not see huge cap problems looming.

      Right now CapFriendly shows them with what would appear to be a HUGE cap reserve of $34,205,333 heading into a season when the cap is projected to be $87,500,000.

      But that’s with just 10 players committed to and with a long list of UFAs that include Nylander, Bertuzzi, Domi, Brodie, Klingberg, Giordano and Samsonov, in addition to a handful of RFAs.

      Not all we be re-signed, certainly, but those that are – especially Nylander – will be getting increases and they will need to find – somewhere – adequate replacements for those that aren’t re-signed. And that won’t come on the “cheap” side.

      Suggestions I’ve seen range from “trade Nylander” to “peddle Marner or Tavares” – but peddle them where? With NM-NT clauses they sure as hell aren’t going to agree to waive to go to rebuilding teams like SJ … and virtually no other team could accommodate them – assuming they’d even waive to go – unless it was almost a dollar for dollar deal. But that would defeat the whole purpose of trading them in the first place!

      Now, maybe a “true” Leafs fan can see a way out of the mathematical conundrum that isn’t obvious to a commenting “not true fan” like me. If so, let’s hear it.

      • Okay George this is what I would do. I don’t see Tre letting Nylander walk so I see them signing probably 10.5-11 next year they will have to find cheaper guy’s or AHL prospects to fill in the year.

        Tavares will be up after next year I believe he will take a discount 5-6 range cap with go up again and they do have some young guys coming. At least that’s what I would do.

      • Fair enough Man on TV. But Klingberg aside (I doubt Treleving would renew that brain fart), do you re-sign any of UFAs Bertuzzi, Domi, Brodie, Giordano or Samsonov? If so at what cost and if not, who do you see in the system at ELC costs who would be adequate replacements, or ptential cheaper UFAs from elsewhere?

        Among the RFAs to re-up are Liljegren, who’s coming off an expiring $1.4 mil deal) along with Marlies players Ellis, Ovchinnikov, SDteeves (who’s having a pretty decent season so far in the AHL), and D-man Lajoie. Whatver they get counts against the cap if they make the Leafs roster of course.

  2. Okay George I haven’t done the math to see if they can sign Bert or Domi all depends on what they are asking. Lilly he will get million raise maybe 2.5 as for Brodie and Gio good question Tre might want to build the D differently.
    If Samsonov has a big year he might price himself out.
    As for the guy’s in the AHL they have a few that could play 3/4 lines Robertson is up now Steeves, Abruzzese , Holmberg are Forwards who could help on D they don’t have a lot of guys but Niemela will probably get a shot next year at some point.
    And George they have couple young forwards that will be given every chance next year in Frazer Minten and Easton Cowan the latter was last cut at 18 and Minten played a few games.
    Tell me George you think Ottawa will make the playoffs this year looks like a deep division.

    • THAT’S a big question. Winning their two in Sweden against Detroit and Minnesota is a start. Most of all they need consistency in their approach to game situations. They certainly can’t build up 4-0 leads as they did against Detroit … and then blow it before winning in OT.

      Things could begin to look a lot clearer as to playoff hopes if they continue to play well and eliminate the gaffes when Chabot and Greig get back by mid-December. Right now I’d say “flip a coin.”