SPECTOR’S NOTE: The dollars were the sticking point in negotiations resulting in Zegras missing nearly two weeks of training camp and preseason play. It was reported the Ducks offered between $3 million and $4 million annually.
Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras (NHL Images).
Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek ended up paying more but it’s still a team-friendly amount. This deal also sets an artificial cap ceiling for Verbeek to wield when he goes into contract talks with promising youngsters such as Mason McTavish and Leo Carlsson.
As The Athletic’s Eric Stephens and Pierre LeBrun observed, this contract gives Zegras a runway to elevate his game and establish himself as a true franchise player for the Ducks. If he does, he’ll be poised to command a much more lucrative deal as he’ll have arbitration rights when this contract expires in 2026.
Verbeek’s next order of business is signing restricted free agent Jamie Drysdale. With Zegras under contract, perhaps a new deal for the 21-year-old defenseman will be announced before the end of this week.
THE MERCURY NEWS: San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn said Logan Couture (lower-body injury) is improving but he remains questionable for the club’s season opener next week. The 34-year-old center isn’t expected to resume skating until the end of this week at the earliest.
NEW YORK POST: Rangers center Filip Chytil remains sidelined with an upper-body injury. He remains day-to-day but head coach Peter Laviolette isn’t sure if Chytil will be ready for their season opener.
Recaps of Sunday’s preseason action, Brandon Sutter retires, the Bruins release Alex Chiasson, plus the latest notable waiver moves and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Ottawa Senators winger Drake Batherson scored a goal and collected three assists to lead his club over the Florida Panthers 4-2 at Kraft Hockeyville in Sydney, NS. Anton Lundell scored both goals for the Panthers.
Last-minute goals by Troy Terry and Robert Hagg rallied the Anaheim Ducks to a 5-4 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Ryan Strome tallied twice for the Ducks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of the Ducks, they claimed defenseman Lassi Thomson off waivers from the Senators yesterday.
The Detroit Red Wings got three-point performances from Michael Rasmussen and J.T. Compher to thump the Chicago Blackhawks 6-1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks announced that forward Samuel Savoie underwent successful surgery on his right femur yesterday and is expected to make a full recovery. Savoie suffered the injury during Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Wild after crashing awkwardly into the boards.
An overtime goal by Oskar Olausson lifted the Colorado Avalanche to a 4-3 win over the Dallas Stars.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche center Peter Holland has agreed to continue his professional tryout offer with their AHL affiliate, the Colorado Eagles.
IN OTHER NEWS…
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Brandon Sutter has retired after being released yesterday by the Edmonton Oilers from his professional tryout offer. In 13 seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Vancouver Canucks, the 34-year-old center had 152 goals and 137 assists for 289 points in 770 regular-season games along with 18 points in 50 playoff contests.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sutter cited health reasons for his retirement. He last played in the NHL in 2020-21 with the Canucks before being sidelined for the past two years by the effects of long COVID.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins released Alex Chiasson from his PTO. The 33-year-old winger is an 11-year NHL veteran. He played 22 games last season with the Detroit Red Wings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No indication yet as to Chiasson’s intentions. He could still land with another NHL club as an affordable depth signing before the regular season opens next season.
WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets will face the Calgary Flames in preseason action tonight without Kyle Connor, Nikolaj Ehlers and Gabriel Vilardi. Connor and Vilardi are still recovering from illness while Ehlers continues to recuperate from neck spasms.
SPORTSNET: Vancouver Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet said winger Ilya Mikhayev will not play in any of the club’s remaining preseason games. However, they are pleased with his ongoing recovery from the knee surgery he underwent in February. Despite Mikheyev’s progress, Tocchet said the team isn’t ready yet to confirm if the winger will be in the lineup on opening night next week.
DAILY FACEOFF: Los Angeles Kings forward Samuel Fagemo, Montreal Canadiens forward Lias Andersson and Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Philippe Myers are the notable players among the 45 placed on waivers yesterday as NHL teams continue to trim their rosters with the start of the regular season a week away.
Flames assistant GM Chris Snow dies from ALS complications, Ducks winger Alex Killorn sidelined for four-to-six weeks, a recap of Saturday’s preseason action, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
CALGARY SUN: Flames assistant general manager Chris Snow died Saturday following a four-year battle with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He was 42.
Calgary Flames assistant general manager Chris Snow (NHL Images).
Given one year to live following his diagnosis in 2019, Snow and his family became inspirations as they chronicled his treatment while he continued working with the Flames and maintaining his family life. Through the #SnowyStrong campaign, they raised thousands of dollars for research efforts.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My sincere condolences to the Snow family as well as their friends and Snow’s colleagues. Tributes from throughout the hockey world for Snow began last week after he was hospitalized by a cardiac arrest leading to a catastrophic and irreversible brain injury. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the Snow family.
TSN: Anaheim Ducks winger Alex Killorn has been sidelined for four to six weeks with a fractured finger suffered during Wednesday’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks. Killorn, 34, was signed to a four-year contract by the Ducks when free agency began on July 1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Killorn was brought in to add some much-needed experience and leadership to the rebuilding Ducks. His absence will be a setback to their hopes for a good start to this season, especially if restricted free agents Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale remain unsigned when the puck drops on their season-opener next week.
TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs defenseman Conor Timmins’ preseason has come to an end after suffering a lower-body injury during Friday’s preseason game against the Montreal Canadiens. “He is going to miss some time, he is going to be out for a bit,” said Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Timmins was enjoying a strong training camp and looked good in preseason action prior to his injury. No word yet as to the severity but there’s speculation he could also miss the start of the season.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre reported Jets forwards Kyle Connor and Gabe Vilardi are dealing with illness. It’s uncertain if they’ll participate in practice on Sunday and play on Monday.
DAILY FACEOFF: Ottawa Senators defenseman Lassi Thomson and Buffalo Sabres goaltender Dustin Tokarski are the notable players to hit the waiver wire on Saturday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thomas is a former first-round pick who’s had difficulty cracking the Senators lineup on a full-time basis. It’ll be interesting to see if he gets claimed by another club today.
RECAP OF SATURDAY’S PRESEASON GAMES
NHL.COM: Vancouver Canucks captain Quinn Hughes scored twice and picked up an assist in a 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
The Buffalo Sabres got two goals from Jeff Skinner as they overcame a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3. Patrik Laine tallied twice for the Blue Jackets.
Nikita Kucherov scored a power-play goal for the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 5-4 win over the Nashville Predators. Waltteri Merela scored twice including what proved to be the game-winner.
The Toronto Maple Leafs got a 33-save performance from Martin Jones to beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-1. Following the game, the Canadiens announced they were returning 2023 first-round pick David Reinbacher to HC Kloten in the Swiss-A League.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Returning Reinbacher to his Swiss team for this season was the Canadiens’ stated plan before training camp began. They wanted the 18-year-old defenseman to get a taste of NHL action before sending him back to Switzerland to continue his development.
An overtime goal by Erik Haula gave the New Jersey Devils a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers.
The New York Islanders jumped to a 4-0 lead and held on to down the New York Rangers 5-3. Cal Clutterbuck and Anders Lee each had a goal and an assist for the Islanders.
Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin tallied twice in a 5-2 victory over the Washington Capitals. Lucas Raymond and Alex DeBrincat each collected two assists for the Wings.
The Minnesota Wild nipped the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on an overtime goal by Connor Dewar. Blackhawks prospect Samuel Savoie was stretchered from the game in the second period after falling awkwardly into the boards.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Savoie suffered a lower-body injury. Blackhawks coach Luke Richardson said the young forward was still being evaluated. There could be an update on his condition today.
Jason Robertson scored in overtime to give the Dallas Stars a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Blues. Brayden Schenn netted two of the Blues’ three goals.
The Los Angeles Kings beat the San Jose Sharks 2-1 on an overtime goal by Samuel Fagemo.
The Wild re-sign Mats Zuccarello and Marcus Foligno, updates on Cale Makar and Jake Guentzel, recaps of preseason play and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild signed forwards Mats Zuccarello and Marcus Foligno to contract extensions on Friday. Zucarrello, 36, agreed to a two-year contract with an average annual value of $4.125 million while the 32-year-old Foligno inked a four-year deal with an AAV of $4 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both players were slated to become unrestricted free agents next July. Zuccarello accepted a pay cut from his current AAV of $6 million while Foligno got a raise from his current $3.1 million AAV.
The Wild didn’t overpay to keep these two in the fold. Zuccarello remains productive with 67 points last season but there is a risk that his performance will decline given his age. It can also be argued that Foligno’s play will deteriorate given his physical game. Nevertheless, Wild management evidently believes they need their leadership and experience beyond this season.
THE ATHLETIC: Joe Smith reports Wild general manager Bill Guerin indicated forward Ryan Hartman will be next to have his contract extended. The two sides are in talks and Guerin claimed things are “heading that way.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hartman, 29, is eligible for UFA status next July. His current AAV is $1.7 million.
THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar practiced for the first time since training camp opened last week. He’s been dealing with a lower-body issue but remains confident he’ll be ready for the start of the season next month. Makar is hoping to play in one of the Avs’ three remaining preseason games.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins winger Jake Guentzel has returned to practice in a non-contact capacity. He is rehabbing from his Aug. 2 ankle surgery. He’s not expected to return to action until Oct. 24.
THE PROVINCE: The Columbus Blue Jackets claimed goaltender Spencer Martin off waivers from the Vancouver Canucks.
NEW YORK POST: Friday’s preseason game between the Rangers and Islanders at UBS Arena was postponed due to heavy rains causing flooding with a state of emergency declared in New York. The game will take place on Saturday at 7 pm.
RECAP OF FRIDAY’S PRESEASON ACTION
NHL.COM: Vladimir Tarasenko scored his first goal with the Ottawa Senators in a 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of the Senators, they named Steve Staios as their new president of hockey operations on Friday. Staios has a long history with Senators owner Michael Andlauer as he served under Andlauer as president and general manager of the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs from 2016 to 2022.
The Philadelphia Flyers got shootout goals by Bobby Brink and Morgan Frost to nip the Boston Bruins 4-3. Brink had a goal and an assist in regulation while David Pastrnak scored twice for the Bruins.
Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson left in the second period with an upper-body injury and didn’t return as his club dropped a 4-3 decision to the Los Angeles Kings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word if Gibson was held out for precautionary reasons or if the injury was serious. The Ducks could release an update today.
The Toronto Maple Leafs got goals from Matthew Knies and Mikko Kokkonen as they held off the Montreal Canadiens 2-1. Josh Anderson replied for the Canadiens.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs played without John Klingberg as the defenseman is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
Three unanswered goals by Nicolas Hague, Brendan Bisson and William Karlsson rallied the Vegas Golden Knights to a 3-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, Golden Knights coach Bruce Cassidy ruled out defenseman Zach Whitecloud with an undisclosed injury. No decision has been made as to whether he’ll be in their season opener next month.
An overtime goal by Brad Malone gave the Edmonton Oilers a 2-1 win against the Calgary Flames. Jack Campbell got the win with a 34-save performance.
Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Jonas Johansson kicked out 42 shots in a 4-0 shutout of the split-squad Carolina Hurricanes. Anthony Cirelli tallied twice for the Lightning.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It seems like Johansson is trying to send a message to management that he can fill the void while starter Andrei Vasilevskiy spends the next eight to ten weeks recovering from back surgery.
The Lightning also played without center Logan Brown and defenseman Roman Schmidt as both are sidelined indefinitely by injuries.
The other Hurricanes squad didn’t fare any better as they dropped a 4-2 decision to the Florida Panthers.
Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy is sidelined by back surgery, Connor Bedard makes his preseason debut with the Blackhawks as does Erik Karlsson with the Penguins, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy is expected to miss the opening two months of the season following surgery to repair a herniated disk in his lower back. General manager Julien BriseBois said the injury is unrelated to those Vasilevskiy played through last season.
Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (NHL Images).
BriseBois indicated the club has no plans to seek an external option to replace Vasilevskiy but he didn’t rule out the possibility. Their current goaltending tandem of Jonas Johansson and Matt Tompkins possess limited NHL experience.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a major blow to the Lightning to start the season. Vasilevskiy is among the league’s elite goalies, winning the Vezina Trophy in 2019 and the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2021. He was the backbone of their three consecutive Stanley Cup Final appearances from 2020 to 2022 and their back-to-back Cup wins in 2020 and 2021.
Losing Vasilevskiy could put the Lightning into an early-season hole too deep to climb out of if Johansson and Tompkins aren’t up to the task. Despite the Bolts’ intention of sticking with their current tandem, there’s plenty of speculation that BriseBois could go shopping for help. I’ll have more about that in today’s NHL Rumor Mill update.
NHL.COM: Chicago Blackhawks rookie Connor Bedard picked up two assists in his NHL preseason debut as his club beat the St. Louis Blues 2-1 in overtime. The 18-year-old center set up Andreas Athanasiou’s game-winner and finished with nine shot attempts and five shots on goal while winning 10 of 16 faceoffs and logging over 21 minutes of ice time.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite his impressive performance in this game, Bedard felt that he could’ve played better. If he performs as well in regular-season play as he did in this game, the Blackhawks will have a future superstar on their hands.
Erik Karlsson made his preseason debut with the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Acquired from the San Jose Sharks in a blockbuster trade last month, he had one shot on goal and logged over 19 minutes of ice time. Drew O’Connor tallied two goals for the Penguins.
In other preseason action:
Kiril Kaprizov scored twice as the Minnesota Wild doubled up the Colorado Avalanche 4-2.
Tyler Toffoli scored in his preseason debut with the New Jersey Devils in a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers. Toffoli was acquired by the Devils in June from the Calgary Flames.
Washington Capitals rookie Ivan Miroshnichenko collected two assists while veteran winger Tom Wilson had a goal and an assist in a 4-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings.
The Seattle Kraken defeated the Vancouver Canucks 3-1 on two goals by winger Eeli Tolvanen.
TSN: Calgary Flames assistant general manager Chris Snow remains on life support while arrangements for organ donation are made, his wife Kelsie announced. Snow became unresponsive on Tuesday and went into cardiac arrest on Tuesday, resulting in a catastrophic brain injury. He’d been battling ALS since 2019.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Snow’s family.
DAILY FACEOFF: Speaking of the Flames, the club intends to keep promising goaltender Dustin Wolf in the AHL to start the season if a trade of backup Dan Vladar doesn’t materialize. GM Craig Conroy indicated that Wolf is exempt from waivers this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wolf won’t be in the AHL for long. I daresay we’ll see him join the Flames on a permanent basis at some point during this season.
WINNIPEG SUN: Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers acknowledged he’s been unlucky recently when it comes to injuries. The 27-year-old winger has been frustrated over the spate of various injuries that have sidelined him over the past two years. The latest is neck spasms that have kept him out of preseason action thus far.
CBS SPORTS: Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk suffered a cut above his eye during practice on Wednesday. He required several stitches and will miss Friday’s preseason matchup with the Jets. Tkachuk is expected to be good to go for the club’s season opener next month.
SPORTSNET: Vancouver Canucks goaltender Spencer Martin and Pittsburgh Penguins forward Rem Pitlick and defenseman Ty Smith were the notable players placed on waivers yesterday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report also indicated Martin was the subject of some trade discussions. We’ll find out this afternoon if he ends up claimed by another team.
The Flames re-sign Mikael Backlund and name him their new captain while dealing with the tragic news about assistant GM Chris Snow, the latest on Patrick Kane, recaps of Wednesday’s preseason action and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed center Mikael Backlund to a two-year contract extension and named him their captain. The average annual value of his new deal is $4.5 million.
Calgary Flames center Mikael Backlund (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a significant move by the Flames. Backlund, 34, was slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. He was among a handful of players who seemed non-committal about signing contract extensions following a disappointing 2022-23 season for the club. This move could encourage notable pending UFAs such as Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin to consider inking new deals with the Flames.
At the same time, the Flames were dealing with the news that assistant general manager Chris Snow became unresponsive and went into cardiac arrest yesterday. His wife Kelsie announced on social media that paramedics were able to get his heart beating again but he suffered a catastrophic brain injury caused by lack of oxygen. He is not expected to regain consciousness.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Snow has been battling ALS since 2019 and survived three years longer than expected after being given a year to live. My sincere condolences to Snow’s family, friends and the Flames organization.
The Flames also announced yesterday that winger Jakob Pelletier will miss the start of the season as he recovers from shoulder surgery. He will be sidelined indefinitely.
TSN: The agency representing Patrick Kane released a video yesterday highlighting his conditioning routine as he recovers from an offseason hip resurfacing procedure.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A number of teams are reportedly interested in signing Kane once he’s ready to return to action later this season. This video was obviously released as a way to update those clubs on the medical status of their client.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Washington Capitals defenseman Joel Edmundson underwent surgery for a fractured hand suffered during a recent scrimmage. He will be sidelined for four-to-six weeks.
NEW YORK POST: An undisclosed injury has kept Islanders winger Kyle Palmieri sidelined through the first week of training camp. It’s uncertain if he’ll be ready to play when the season begins next month.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars winger Roope Hintz is dealing with an upper-body injury but isn’t expected to be out for long. Meanwhile, young forward Chase Wheatcroft’s training camp is over after suffering a fracture in Tuesday’s game against the Minnesota Wild.
TORONTO SUN: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman hinted the skills competition for the 2024 NHL All-Star Game in Toronto could be toned down.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, it’ll be less gimmicky compared to recent years.
NHL.COM: Connor McDavid scored in overtime to lift the Edmonton Oilers over the Vancouver Canucks 2-1. Ryan-Nugent Hopkins also scored for the Oilers while Stuart Skinner made 21 saves. Quinn Hughes replied for the Canucks as Casey DeSmith stopped 27 shots.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Canucks announced they will induct Roberto Luongo into their Ring of Honour on Dec. 14. The Hall-of-Fame goaltender spent nearly eight seasons with the Canucks from 2006-07 to 2013-14.
The Montreal Canadiens got goals from Juraj Slafkovsky and Cole Caufield to nip the Ottawa Senators 4-3. Caufield finished with a goal and an assist while teammate Nick Suzuki collected two assists.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens defenseman Mike Matheson was a late scratch with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day. Meanwhile, Senators center Josh Norris is getting closer to returning to action as he shed his yellow no-contact jersey and participated in full drills yesterday.
Max Domi scored his first goal of this preseason as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-2 at Joe Thornton Community Centre in St. Thomas as part of Kraft Hockeyville.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs pulled defenseman John Klingberg (muscle tightness) during the second period as a precautionary measure. Meanwhile, Leafs forward Dylan Gambrell is sidelined indefinitely after suffering a concussion in practice on Tuesday.
Three consecutive third-period goals lifted the Carolina Hurricanes to a 4-1 victory over the Florida Panthers. It was the first time head coach Rod Brind’Amour had to face his son Skyler in an NHL game.
The New York Islanders took a two-goal lead over the Philadelphia Flyers and held on for a 2-1 victory. Isles goalie Ilya Sorokin made 12 saves before giving way midway through the second period by Kenneth Appleby, who stopped 17 shots.
An overtime goal by Tyler Motte lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Nashville Predators 2-1.
The Los Angeles Kings downed the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 on an overtime tally by Tyler Madden. Akil Thomas had a hat trick for the Kings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Prior to the game, the Golden Knights announced that defenseman Zach Whitecloud is out indefinitely as he continues to receive treatment for an injury suffered on Monday against the Colorado Avalanche.
The Anaheim Ducks doubled up the San Jose Sharks 4-2.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a costly defeat for the Sharks as winger Filip Zadina and defenseman Radim Simek left the game with injuries.
A shootout goal by Andrew Mangiapane gave the Calgary Flames a 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Rookie goalie Dustin Wolf made 19 saves for the Flames while Jets netminder Connor Hellebuyck kicked out 18 shots.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Winnipeg Jets forward Cole Perfetti exited this game in the second period after being hit in the head by Flames forward Martin Pospisil, who received a match penalty. The Jets held Perfetti out from the remainder of this game for precautionary reasons but is not in concussion protocol. Meanwhile, Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers remains sidelined by a neck injury.