NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 23, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 23, 2018

Results of the opening round of the 2018 NHL Draft, plus the latest on John Carlson, Paul Martin, Phil Kessel and much more in your morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Buffalo Sabres selected Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin with the first-overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. The Carolina Hurricanes took right wing Andrei Svechnikov second overall, the Montreal Canadiens selected center Jesperi Kotkaniemi third overall, the Ottawa Senators took left wing Brady Tkachuk with the fourth selection and the Arizona Coyotes used the fifth overall selection to take Barrett Hayton. You can see the full list of the 31 selections by following this link. Rounds 2 through 7 will be held today starting at 11 pm ET.

Buffalo Sabres selected defenseman Rasmus Dahlin with the first-overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There were a few surprises among the top-10 selections. Hayton went much higher than expected while forward Filip Zadina dropped to the sixth overall selection and the Chicago Blackhawks surprised by selecting defenseman Adam Boqvist. Those moves saw a reshuffling of the projected order, resulting in the Edmonton Oilers landing defenseman Evan Bouchard (10th overall) and the New York Islanders getting blueliner Noah Dobson 12th overall.

There was also a notable lack of trades involving established NHL players in the opening round. Just prior to the start of the draft, the Washington Capitals dealt goaltender Philipp Grubauer and defenseman Brooks Orpik to the Colorado Avalanche for a second-round pick (47th overall). I’ll have more on the absence of deals later this morning in the Rumors section. I’ll have analysis on any notable moves later today in my Soapbox section. 

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said his club is really close to re-signing defenseman John Carlson, who’s eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Dealing defenseman Brooks Orpik to Colorado yesterday freed up $5.5-million of salary cap space, providing much-needed room to sign Carlson, who could get an eight-year deal worth around $8 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The interview period for potential UFAs to speak with other clubs begins on Monday, June 25. MacLellan obviously wants to ensure Carlson is signed before then. 

THE MERCURY NEWS:  The San Jose Sharks placed defenseman Paul Martin on unconditional waivers Friday for the purpose of buying out the final season of his contract. The move will free up $3.2 million of salary cap space to put toward re-signing other players or to pursue a free-agent talent such as the New York Islanders’ John Tavares or former KHL winger Ilya Kovalchuk. The Sharks will now have around $19.2 million in cap room.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan denied reports claiming he has a rocky relationship with winger Phil Kessel.  He said their relationship is one of mutual respect and that hasn’t changed in the last three seasons. Rumors claiming otherwise emerged following the Penguins second-round elimination from the 2018 playoffs, sparking speculation Kessel could be traded.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sullivan needed to make those remarks about a month ago when those Kessel trade rumors first surfaced. I daresay his comments will be treated with skepticism now. 

NHL.COM: The Dallas Stars re-signed defenseman Stephen Johns to a three-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $2.35 million.

VANCOUVER SUN: The Vancouver Canucks re-signed forward Markus Granlund to a one-year, $1.475-million contract. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Tampa Bay Lightning won’t be re-signing pending UFA winger Chris Kunitz. They re-signed backup goaltender Louis Domingue to a two-year deal worth $2.3 million and hired Jeff Halpern as an assistant coach. 

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers have agreed to a three-year contract with defenseman Samuel Morin. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings hired Dan Bylsma as an assistant coach. Bylsma was formerly head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres. 

THE ATHLETIC: The Anaheim Ducks have parted ways with assistant coach Steve Konowolchuk. 

TSN: Former NHL players Nick Boynton and Dan Carcillo are suing the NHL, “alleging it failed to warn players about the long-term risk of brain damage from fighting.”


2018 NHL Draft Trade Tracker – June 22 and 23, 2018

2018 NHL Draft Trade Tracker – June 22 and 23, 2018

Notable trades involving established players during the 2018 NHL Draft weekend will be listed here. Analysis of the noteworthy deals will follow in the Soapbox section.

The Carolina Hurricanes trade center Elias Lindholm and defenseman Noah Hanifin to the Calgary Flames for defenseman Dougie Hamilton, forward Micheal Ferland and prospect defenseman Adam Fox. 

Washington Capitals trade goaltender Philipp Grubauer and defenseman Brooks Orpik to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for the 47th overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. 


Latest Rangers and Canucks Speculation – March 22, 2018

Latest Rangers and Canucks Speculation – March 22, 2018

The New York Rangers could be open to shopping a first round pick, while Ben Hutton could face an uncertain future with the Vancouver Canucks. Check out the details in your NHL rumor mill.

Could New York Rangers GM Jeff Gorton shop one of his first-round picks at this year’s draft? (Image via NHL.com).


THE ATHLETIC: Craig Custance reports New York Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton is open to peddling one of his three first-round picks leading up to the opening day of the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas on June 22. The Rangers’ depth in first- and second-round picks in this year’s draft makes Gorton a popular target among peers interested in prying one of those picks away. Gorton tells Custance he open to moving a first-rounder if he can get a good young player in return. 

FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cited NHL insider Pierre LeBrun’s appearance Wednesday on Ottawa’s TSN 1200 discussing possible offseason moves by the Rangers. He noted Custance’s report regarding Gorton’s willingness to move a first-rounder for a good young player. He pointed out the Blueshirts have their own pick, the Boston Bruins’ first-rounder from the Rick Nash trade and the Tampa Bay Lightning’s pick from the Ryan McDonagh deal. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Bruins and Lightning likely to finish in the top-five in the NHL standings this season, those picks will be in the lower tier of the opening round of the NHL draft. Doesn’t mean they’re horrible picks, but the Rangers probably won’t get as much interest in those selections as they will for their own, which could become a top-10 pick, perhaps even first overall. Gorton will likely want a good NHL-established player who’s 22 or younger in return for one of his picks. 


THE PROVINCE: Jason Botchford recently speculated the second-half decline of Vancouver Canucks defenseman Ben Hutton puts his future with the club into uncertainty. Prior to being recently sidelined by a foot ailment, the 25-year-old Hutton was a healthy scratch in a dozen games since Dec. 19. Head coach Travis Green recently noted conditioning was an issue for the blueliner. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s possible the Canucks could put Hutton on the trade block this summer. Cap Friendly indicates he has a year remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $2.8 million, making him an affordable pickup for teams seeking blueline depth. However, his struggles this season could dampen his trade value. Canucks management might be willing to give him another chance in hopes he’ll be motivated to improve his conditioning and his overall game for next season. 


NHL Rumor Mill – March 7, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – March 7, 2018

Should the Oilers consider an upgrade in goal? What will the Senators do with their 2018 first-round pick?

Edmonton Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot’s no-movement clause becomes a modified no-trade on July 1 (Photo via NHL Images)


THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchel recently examined this season’s performance by Edmonton Oilers starting goaltender Cam Talbot. While expecting the Oilers will stick with Talbot, Mitchell observed the 30-year-old netminder endured a difficult 2017-18. He also has one season remaining on his contract, with a no-movement clause becoming a modified no-trade on July 1.

The top free agent goalies this summer include Arizona’s Antti Raanta, Boston’s Anton Khudobin, St. Louis’ Carter Hutton and Winnipeg’s Michael Hutchinson. Raanta’s the best of the bunch but Mitchell noted it isn’t clear if he can take on the starter’s job and remain healthy or successful. The Oilers could go the trade route but their long history of dealing draft picks means a shallow prospect pool. Mitchell feels retaining Talbot and perhaps adding an affordable and reliable backup is the way to go. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Talbot had a rough season but so did most of his teammates. The Oilers struggles this season were largely a team problem. Given Talbot’s career stats and his solid play as Edmonton’s starter in the previous two seasons, I doubt they intend to replace him. If the Oilers make a move for a goalie, it’ll likely be for an experienced backup. 


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports next month’s NHL Draft Lottery could affect Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion’s decision regarding his 2018 first-round pick. As it will be a top-10 selection, it’s assumed the Senators will retain it and instead give the Colorado Avalanche their 2019 first-round pick as part of the terms of the Matt Duchene trade earlier this season.

This year’s pick is lottery-protected but next year’s isn’t. If this year’s pick falls between seventh and 10th overall, LeBrun speculates the Sens could part with that one, rather than give up next year’s and run the risk of losing a potential first-overall selection, especially if the intent is to rebuild by trading Erik Karlsson this summer. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Based on the initial report of the trade, I was unaware the Senators had the option of retaining their first-round pick in this year’s draft and instead send the Avs their 2019 selection. While this isn’t a trade or free-agent rumor, it could be interesting to see what the Senators do with this pick.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 28, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 28, 2018

Game recaps, 2019 NHL Draft host city revealed plus updates on Patrice Bergeron, Matt Murray and more in your morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Eric Staal’s hat trick powered the Minnesota Wild to an 8-3 beatdown of the slumping St. Louis Blues. Staal had five points in the game, as did teammate Jason Zucker (one goal, four assists). Vladimir Tarasenko scored two goals for the Blues.

New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall set a franchise record with a 15-game points streak. (Photo via NHL Images).

 New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall set a franchise record by extending his points streak to 15 games as his club edged the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2. Penguins goaltender Matt Murray missed the game with a concussion suffered during Monday’s practice and there’s no timetable for his return.

Evander Kane made an immediate positive impression in his first game with the San Jose Sharks, collecting two assists to help his new team defeat the Edmonton Oilers 5-2.

Ryan Hartman made a memorable debut with the Nashville Predators, scoring the winning goal in his club’s 6-5 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Hartman was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday. Jets’ trade-deadline acquisition Paul Stastny had a goal and an assist for his new club.

The Boston Bruins scored four unanswered goals to overcome a 3-1 deficit and defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 on an overtime goal by Charlie McAvoy. The Bruins were playing without center Patrice Bergeron, who is sidelined at least two weeks with a fractured bone in his right foot.

Evgeny Kuznetsov scored two goals to lead the Washington Capitals to a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. With the win, the Capitals (79 points) regained first place in the Metropolitan Division.

An overtime goal by Jared McCann gave the Florida Panthers a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Panthers have won seven of their last 10 and sit five points out of a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

Dallas Stars goaltender Ben Bishop made 38 saves as his club blanked the Calgary Flames 2-0. Devin Shore and Tyler Seguin were the goal scorers.

The Los Angeles Kings moved into third in the Pacific Division by beating the Vegas Golden Knights 4-1. Kings netminder Jack Campbell collected his first NHL victory by kicking out 41 shots.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets winger Josh Anderson will be sidelined four weeks with a sprained knee.

SPORTSNET: The Vancouver Canucks are expected to announce today that they’ll be hosting the 2019 NHL Draft.

The Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens hold the most draft picks in the 2018 NHL Draft. The Wings have 11 picks while the Rangers and Canadiens each hold 10. The Rangers also hold the most picks in the first three rounds (seven) while the Wings and Canadiens each have six.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If you’re fans of those teams, that’s at least something positive for fans of those clubs to pin their hopes to over the remainder of an otherwise miserable season. 



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 12, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 12, 2017

NY Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said he’s recovered from a knee sprain suffered during the World Championships.

Updates on Henrik Lundqvist, John Carlson, Petr Mrazek and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

TSN: New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said he’s fully recovered from the knee sprain suffered while backstopping Sweden to gold at the 2017 Wolrd Championships. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rangers fans will breathe easier, though it remains to be seen if he can put last season’s inconsistency behind him and return to his usually dominant form. 

CSN MIDATLANTIC: Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson believes the club’s recent offseason changes could be good for the team. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most observers seem to disagree with Carlson’s take. They’re expecting the Capitals to decline this season. 

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Last season’s humbling performance by Red Wings goaltender Petr Mrazek should give him something to prove in 2017-18. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Two years ago, Mrazek was being heralded as the Wings starter, certain to push out veteran Jimmy Howard. Now, Mrazek will have to work hard to unseat Howard as the club’s starting netminder.

BSN DENVER: Adam Foote has left the Colorado Avalanche front office to spend more time with his family. 

SUNSENTINEL.COM: The Florida Panthers alumni will play a charity game against Coral Springs first responders on Sept. 16. 

TVA SPORTS: If Texas controversial “bathroom bill” is passed, could the NHL relocate the 2018 draft? It’s currently slated to be held in Dallas on June 22-23, 2018.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both the league and the Dallas Stars have strongly spoken out against the proposed bill. There’s no indication yet that relocating the draft will be considered if the bill is passed.