NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 11, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 11, 2022

Leafs great Borje Salming diagnosed with ALS, an update on David Pastrnak’s contract talks, the latest contract signings as the arbitration period winds down, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Borje Salming released a statement yesterday revealing he’s been diagnosed with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He played 16 of his 17 NHL seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1973 to 1989.

Hall of Fame defenseman Borje Salming (NHL.com).

Salming, 71, indicated he’s receiving the best medical care and that there are treatments to slow the disease’s progression. He remains positive and asks the public to respect his privacy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My thoughts are with Salming and his family as he battles ALS. The Hall-of-Famer is one of the greatest players in Leafs history. He’s a pioneer for European hockey players, blazing a trail in the NHL in the 1970s.

Salming holds the Leafs franchise record for career assists (620) and sits fourth with 768 career points. From 1974-75 to 1979-80, he was a four-time finalist for the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman, was named to the First All-Star Team in 1976-77 and to the Second All-Star Team five times.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins general manager Don Sweeney characterized his contract negotiations with David Pastrnak as “ongoing”. He indicated the club is prepared to go into the coming season with the 26-year-old winger unsigned if the two sides cannot agree to a contract extension before then. Pastrnak is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Plenty of time remains for the two sides to reach an agreement on a new deal. Sweeney indicated Pastrnak is still in Europe and expects to get more clarification on a timeline for working out a new contract upon his return. He also said he’s been in regular contact with the winger’s agent.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The Red Wings avoided arbitration with Jake Walman by signing the 26-year-old defenseman to a one-year, one-way contract worth $1.05 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The arbitration period ends today. Of the 26 players who filed this year, all but one (Nashville’s Yakov Trenin) avoided the process by signing new contracts with their respective clubs before their scheduled hearings.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres signed free-agent forward Riley Sheahan to a one-year, $950K contract.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets reached an agreement with forward David Gustafsson on a two-year contract worth an average annual value of $775K at the NHL level. The first season is a two-way deal and becomes one-way for the second season.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Winger Johan Larsson reportedly signed a three-year contract with Swedish Hockey League club Brynas IF. The deal has yet to be officially announced. Larsson, 30, spent 10 seasons with the Minnesota Wild, Buffalo Sabres, Arizona Coyotes and Washington Capitals from 2012-13 to 2021-22.

CAP FRIENDLY: Goaltender Andrew Hammond signed a professional tryout offer with the Florida Panthers.

NHL.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins recently named Chris Butler as a player development coach, Greg Pateryn as a professional scout and Garrett Peters as a global crossover scout.

SPORTSNET: Oilers superfan Ben Stetler died at age six following a battle with cancer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My sincere condolences to Stetler’s family and the Oilers organization.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 10, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 10, 2022

Surgery will sideline Max Pacioretty for six months, the Hurricanes re-sign Martin Necas, plus the latest on David Krejci, Jacob Trouba and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Max Pacioretty’s debut will the Carolina Hurricanes will be delayed as the 33-year-old winger will undergo surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon. He’s expected to be sidelined for six months. The Hurricanes acquired Pacioretty last month from the Vegas Golden Knights.

Carolina Hurricanes winger Max Pacioretty (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pacioretty’s recovery could stretch into February. The Hurricanes brought him in to offset the departure of winger Nino Niederreiter via free agency.

Pacioretty will return in time to help them during the final two months of the regular season and the playoffs. He is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

The Hurricanes also announced that they signed Martin Necas to a two-year, $6 million contract. The average annual value is $3 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A promising young forward, the 23-year-old Necas had completed his entry-level contract. An inconsistent performance last season resulted in his name frequently surfacing in trade rumors. The Hurricanes are willing to give him an opportunity to bounce back but another difficult season could turn him into a trade candidate with an affordable contract.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: David Krejci said his decision to return to the Bruins was not based on the club’s recent coaching change. He indicated he had decided to come back before the club replaced Bruce Cassidy as head coach with Jim Montgomery. Krejci explained the reason for returning to the Bruins was a desire to play with his old teammates again.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Krejci announced last summer that he was leaving the Bruins to finish his playing career in his native Czechia. He indicated that playing alongside old teammate David Pastrnak in this year’s World Championships was a turning point in his thinking about coming back to Boston for another season.

NEW YORK POST: Jacob Trouba’s natural leadership made him the consensus choice throughout the Rangers to become their first captain in four years. Chris Kreider, the club’s longest-serving active player, indicated on social media that all of his teammates believed Trouba had been their captain over the past two years without actually wearing the “C”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some players are just natural leaders. That appears to be the determining factor in Trouba being awarded the captaincy.

NHL.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers recently extended their ECHL affiliation with the Reading Royals. The agreement runs through 2023-24 with an option for a third season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 9, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 9, 2022

The Bruins sign Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Pavel Zacha, the Rangers will reportedly name Jacob Trouba as their new captain, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins were very busy on Monday as they announced centers Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci will be returning for 2022-23.

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron (NHL Images).

Bergeron, 37, signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract along with $2.5 million in performance bonuses. The 36-year-old Krejci inked a one-year, $1 million deal with $2 million in performance bonuses.

The Bruins also avoided arbitration with Pavel Zacha, signing the 25-year-old forward to a one-year, $3.5 million contract.

All three will be eligible for unrestricted free agent status next July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A tidy bit of work there by the Bruins. It was widely assumed that Bergeron and Krejci would be returning for the coming season. Zacha’s arbitration hearing was scheduled for Aug. 11.

Bergeron told reporters there was no chance he was going to play for another NHL team, dousing rumors suggesting his former agent Kent Hughes might attempt to sign him now that he was the general manager of the Montreal Canadiens. He indicated Hughes did not approach him, adding the Habs GM knew the Bruins were the only team he wanted to play for.

Puck Pedia indicates the trio’s base salaries push the Bruins above the $82.5 million salary cap by $2.2 million. They can garner cap relief by demoting players to the minors and/or placing sidelined players like Charlie McAvoy and/or Matt Grzelcyk on long-term injury reserve to start the season.

If Bergeron and Krejci achieve their performance bonuses they could carry over against the Bruins’ 2023-24 salary cap if the club remains over the cap at the end of the coming season.

Zacha’s signing opens up a second buyout window but they’ll have 48 hours from the final day of the arbitration period (Aug. 11) to do so. Puck Pedia indicates only players who were on the roster at the last trade deadline carrying an annual cap hit of at least $4 million can be bought out.

RDS.CA: cites ESPN’s Kevin Weekes’ report on Twitter claiming the New York Rangers will name Jacob Trouba as their new captain today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trouba would become the first Rangers captain since Ryan McDonagh in 2018. I felt alternate captain Chris Kreider was the favorite for the role in part because he’s the longest-serving active Ranger.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes reached an agreement on a new contract with forward Lawson Crouse ahead of his scheduled arbitration hearing scheduled for Monday. It’s a five-year, $21.5 million contract with an annual average value of $4.3 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crouse, 25, is coming off a career-best performance last season of 20 goals and 34 points in 65 games. After shedding contracts last summer, Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong has been signing current young veterans this year that he believes will be key players in the club’s future.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The Golden Knights signed forward Nicolas Roy to a five-year, $15 million contract. The average annual value is $3 million.

DAILY FACEOFF: A case that claimed Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a former Boston Ballet dancer has been withdrawn because it was confirmed she was not a minor at the time of the alleged relationship. Katz denied the claim, as did Sage Humphries, the dancer with whom he was allegedly involved.

NHL.COM: The Seattle Kraken named Dave Lowry as an assistant coach. Lowry was the Winnipeg Jets’ interim coach last season. He spent six seasons as an assistant coach with the Jets, Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 8, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 8, 2022

The latest on Jonathan Huberdeau, John Tavares, Jonathan Drouin and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane believes the Flames should name a captain for the coming season after playing without one in 2021-22. He suggests Jonathan Huberdeau for the role with Johnny Gaudreau departing via free agency and Matthew Tkachuk traded to Florida last month.

Calgary Flames winger Jonathan Huberdeau (NHL Images).

Acquired from the Panthers in the Tkachuk trade, Macfarlane points out Huberdeau quickly embraced his identity as a Flames. He’s made his intentions clear that he wants to be a leader on and off the ice.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames could decide to play without a captain for the coming season before reaching a decision on who should wear the “C”. Then again, they could make that determination after evaluating their players in training camp and preseason play. Though Huberdeau hasn’t yet played a game for the Flames, his experience should make him a front-runner for the job.

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares said he’s free of the body aches that plagued him since last summer. The 31-year-old took part in a charity game last week in Barrie, Ontario that helped to raise $155K in conjunction with the John Tavares Foundation.

Tavares remains determined to lead the Leafs in overcoming their recent playoff disappointments. He also praised management for keeping most of the club’s core intact while finding ways to fill the holes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt Tavares’ resolution to helping his club finally stage a deep playoff run. Whether they’ve got the goaltending this coming season to pull it off remains to be seen.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jonathan Drouin is looking forward to playing a full season under Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis. The 27-year-old winger played only two games with St. Louis behind the bench last season before a wrist injury sidelined him for the remainder of the 2021-22 schedule.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This season will be a crucial one for Drouin. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He’ll need a healthy and productive performance if he hopes to garner a new deal with the Canadiens or to boost his free-agent stock.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets avoided salary arbitration with winger Mason Appleton as the two sides agreed to a three-year deal with an average annual value of $2.166 million. Appleton was scheduled for an arbitration hearing on Aug. 11.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 7, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 7, 2022

Jason Zucker hopes to rebound in 2022-23, the chair of Hockey Canada’s board of directors steps down, Lawson Crouse and the Coyotes make their arbitration filings, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Jessi Pierce recently reported that Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jason Zucker is feeling better and is optimistic about the coming season. He’s hoping to rebound from an injury-shortened 2021-22 campaign that saw him play in just 41 games.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jason Zucker (NHL Images).

Zucker, 30, is currently playing in Da Beauty League, a 4-on-4 summer hockey league for professional and college players from Minnesota. He’s also feeling positive about the Penguins’ chance in 2022-23 in part because they kept most of their roster core intact during the offseason. That included re-signing Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A healthy Zucker could help the Penguins’ chances in the coming season. A four-time 20-plus goal scorer earlier in his career with the Minnesota Wild, he’s been plagued by injuries over the past three seasons.

SPORTSNET: Michael Brind’Amour will be stepping down as the chair of Hockey Canada’s Board of Directors. This move comes as the organization has been battered in recent weeks by accusations of sexual assault involving players from the 2003 and 2018 World Junior teams.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brind’Amour’s resignation may not be the last for the scandal-plagued organization. For those who are wondering, he is not related to Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Arizona Coyotes and Lawson Crouse made their arbitration filings yesterday. Crouse seeks $4 million for 2022-23 while the Coyotes are looking for $2.5 million. The hearing is slated for Monday, Aug. 8.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crouse, 25, earned an annual cap hit of $1.55 million on his previous contract. He’s coming off a career-best 20-goal, 34-point performance.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed forward Tyler Benson to a one-year, two-way contract worth $750K at the NHL level.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes avoided salary arbitration with defenseman Maxime Lajoie as the two sides agreed to a one-year, two-way deal worth $750K.

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings will honor their 1997 and 1998 Stanley Cup championships teams during separate ceremonies early in the coming season. The 1997 team will be recognized in a pregame ceremony on Nov. 3 against the Washington Capitals while the 1998 club will be honored prior to Nov. 5 game against the New York Islanders.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 6, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 6, 2022

A look at what David Pastrnak’s contract extension could look like plus the latest notable contract signings in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss recently examined what he believes David Pastrnak’s contract extension could look like. The 26-year-old Bruins winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).

Goss points out Pastrnak’s value to the Bruins as one of the NHL’s most-skilled forwards. Since 2019-20, only five players (Auston Matthews, Leon Draisaitl, Alex Ovechkin, Connor McDavid and Kyle Connor) have scored more goals than Pastrnak. He suggests an eight-year deal worth $9.5 million per season would be fair for both sides, matching defenseman Charlie McAvoy as the highest-paid Bruin.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty believes Jonathan Huberdeau’s eight-year, $10.5 million contract with the Calgary Flames sets the table for Pastrnak’s new deal. He points out the Bruins winger is three years younger than the 29-year-old Huberdeau but has averaged more goals and points in his career with the Bruins than Huberdeau did in his career with the Florida Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pastrnak is going to get a lucrative long-term contract between $9.5 million and $10.5 million per season. He’s getting it from the Bruins on an eight-year deal or from another club in next summer’s free-agent market on a seven-year contract.

The Bruins’ expensive commitment to McAvoy indicates they have no plans of rebuilding their roster. I expect they’ll pay out a massive raise to Pastrnak and use those two as their foundation players going forward.

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators forward Yakov Trenin has signed the two-year contract he was awarded via arbitration. The deal is worth an average annual value of $1.7 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trenin, 25, is coming off a career-best 17-goal performance in 80 games last season. The 6’2”, 201-pound forward plays a physical two-way game and can skate at left wing or center. The arbitration award is a significant raise over the $725K AAV of his previous contract.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The Golden Knights avoided salary arbitration with Keegan Kolesar, signing the 25-year-old forward to a three-year contract with an annual cap hit of $1.4 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A versatile, physical checking-line forward, Kolesar had 24 points in 77 games last season with the Golden Knights. He earned an AAV of $725K on his previous contract.