NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 30, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 30, 2023

The 2023 Draft is completed, the Blackhawks acquire Corey Perry and Josh Bailey, the Red Wings acquire Klim Kostin and Kailer Yamamoto, plus updates on David Krejci, Tyler Bertuzzi, Jesse Puljujarvi and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The 2023 NHL Draft finished up yesterday with the completion of Rounds 2 through 7. You can see the complete list of each player selected (including Round 1) by following this link.

Among the notable numbers emerging from this year’s draft:


Defense: 69
Center: 63
Right Wing: 34

Left Wing: 32

Goaltender: 26


Canada: 86
United States: 50
Sweden: 24
Russia: 19
Finland: 15
Czechia: 7
Slovakia: 7

Belarus: 5
Germany: 4
Kazakhstan: 1

France: 1
Switzerland: 1
Norway: 1
Italy: 1
Denmark: 1

Austria: 1


USHL: 39 (includes NTDP)
OHL: 35 

WHL: 33 



QMJHL: 12 


BCHL: 4 

BIG 10: 4 





AJHL: 3 


ECAC: 2 



RUSSIA-2: 2 


SWEDEN U-18: 2 

SWEDEN-2: 2 









MJHL: 1 

NAHL: 1 

NCHC: 1 



Chicago Blackhawks acquire Corey Perry (NHL Images).

The second day of the draft also saw three trades involving NHL veterans:

The Chicago Blackhawks acquired winger Corey Perry from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for a 2024 seventh-round draft pick. The Blackhawks subsequently signed Perry to a one-year, $4 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning couldn’t afford to re-sign Perry so they shipped out his rights for a draft pick. As for why the 35-year-old winger signed with the rebuilding Blackhawks, the $4 million salary was one reason but the opportunity to play with a potential generational talent like Connor Bedard also likely appealed to him. If Perry plays well, the Blackhawks can peddle him to a playoff contender before next season’s trade deadline.

Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson was reportedly a big fan of Perry’s going back to when he coached the winger in Montreal two years ago. His experience and leadership will be invaluable to this team.

The Blackhawks also acquired winger Josh Bailey and a 2026 second-round pick from the New York Islanders in exchange for future considerations. They placed him on waivers for the purpose of buying out the final year of his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a straightforward salary dump by the Islanders. Bailey was their longest-serving active player but the cap-strapped club had to offload his $5 million cap hit for 2023-24 to free up space for other moves.

The Blackhawks can afford the buyout, which will count as $2.66 million against their salary cap for 2023-24 and $1.166 million for 2024-25. With 16 active roster players under contract, they’ll be roughly $3.2 million within range of the $61.7 million cap minimum for 2023-24.

Bailey, meanwhile, becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

The Detroit Red Wings acquired forwards Klim Kostin and Kailer Yamamoto from the Edmonton Oilers for future considerations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was also a cost-cutting move as shipping out Yamamoto clears $3.1 million from the Oilers’ books. Kostin, meanwhile, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights whom the Oilers evidently believed they couldn’t afford to re-sign. Part of that cap space could be spent on signing UFA Connor Brown on July 1 as well as re-signing RFA defenseman Evan Bouchard.

Detroit Hockey Now’s Bob Duff believes Kostin was the main prize for the Red Wings while Yamamoto could be a buyout candidate. If so, the Wings have until 5 pm ET today to do so.


TORONTO STAR: The Maple Leafs have confirmed that Sheldon Keefe will return as their head coach next season. He has a year remaining on his contract but general manager Brad Treliving indicates that an extension will be discussed during this summer.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: cites a report out of Czechia indicating that Bruins center David Krejci remains undecided whether he’ll return to the club for another season. There was speculation he will retire or return to play in Czechia.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Bruins, winger Tyler Bertuzzi is expected to head to free agency when the market opens at noon ET on Saturday (July 1).

TSN: Jesse Puljujarvi will become a UFA as the Carolina Hurricanes will not issue him a qualifying offer. The 25-year-old winger recently underwent double hip surgery and could be sidelined for some time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could also spell the end of Puljujarvi’s NHL career. The fourth overall pick by the Oilers in the 2016 draft struggled to play up to expectations as a scoring winger.

DAILY FACEOFF: Buffalo Sabres rookie forward Jack Quinn will be sidelined for four to six months following surgery to repair his Achilles tendon. The 21-year-old winger suffered the injury during training this week.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Patric Hornqvist’s NHL playing career appears to be over following two concussion injuries this season. However, the Florida Panthers are hoping to bring him back in another role.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 29, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 29, 2023

Results and reaction from the first round of the 2023 Draft, Jim Nill is named NHL GM of the Year, Mike Babcock receives a two-year contract from the Blue Jackets, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: To no one’s surprise, the Chicago Blackhawks chose top prospect Connor Bedard with the first-overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft on Wednesday evening in Nashville.

Chicago Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson (left) poses with 2023 first-overall pick Connor Bedard (NHL.com).

With the second-overall pick, the Anaheim Ducks chose Swedish center Leo Carlsson. The Columbus Blue Jackets chose Hobey Baker Award-winning center Adam Fantilli with the third-overall pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bedard is the most highly-touted prospect since Connor McDavid in 2015 and Auston Matthews in 2016. He’s considered a potential generational talent who could form the foundation of a Blackhawks resurgence over the next several years.

The Ducks choosing Carlsson over Fantilli was a bit of a surprise as the latter was expected to go second overall. Nevertheless, both players have the potential to become future stars with their new NHL clubs.

The Montreal Canadiens had the highest pick among the Canadian teams at No. 5 overall. They chose Austrian defenseman David Reinbacher.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The reaction on social media among Canadiens fans ranged from disappointment to outrage. Most were hoping the Habs would select Russian winger Matvei Michkov, who was subsequently chosen by the Philadelphia Flyers with the No. 7 selection.

Reinbacher is considered the top defenseman in this year’s draft class. Canadiens GM Kent Hughes explained that their selection was based in part on roster need (depth among right-handed defensemen) and the inability to scout Michkov in person because of NHL and IIHF travel restrictions to Russia due to that country’s ongoing war with Ukraine.

With the sixth overall pick, the Arizona Coyotes chose KHL defenseman Dmitriy Simashev.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This choice was a bigger surprise than the Canadiens taking Reinbacher. Simashev is a promising blueliner who was considered a top-10 prospect by some experts while others had him going outside the first round.

Others who went higher in the draft than I expected included the Coyotes selecting forward Daniil But at No. 12, the Nashville Predators choosing defenseman Tanner Molendyk at No. 24 and the Toronto Maple Leafs taking forward Easton Cowan 28th overall.

The St. Louis Blues held three picks in this round. They chose center Dalibor Dvorsky at No. 10, center Otto Stenberg at No. 25 and defenseman Theo Lindstein at No. 29.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was expected the Blues might trade one or two of their lower first-rounders for more immediate roster help. However, they couldn’t find any suitable deals and opted to retain those picks.

Here is the complete list of first-round selections:

1. Chicago Blackhawks: Connor Bedard, C

2. Anaheim Ducks: Leo Carlsson, C

3. Columbus Blue Jackets: Adam Fantilli, C

4. San Jose Sharks: Will Smith, C

5. Montreal Canadiens: David Reinbacher, D

6. Arizona Coyotes: Dmitriy Simashev, D

7. Philadelphia Flyers: Matvei Michkov, RW

8. Washington Capitals: Ryan Leonard, RW

9. Detroit Red Wings: Nate Danielson, C

10. St. Louis Blues: Dalibor Dvorsky, C

11. Vancouver Canucks: Tom Willander, D

12. Arizona Coyotes (from Ottawa Senators): Danill But, LW

13. Buffalo Sabres: Zach Benson, LW

14. Pittsburgh Penguins: Brayden Yager, C

15. Nashville Predators: Matthew Wood, RW

16. Calgary Flames: Samuel Honzek, LW

17. Detroit Red Wings (from New York Islanders via Vancouver Canucks): Axel Sandin Pellikka, D

18. Winnipeg Jets: Colby Barlow, LW

19. Chicago Blackhawks (from Tampa Bay Lightning): Oliver Moore, C

20. Seattle Kraken: Eduard Sale, LW

21. Minnesota Wild: Charlie Stramel, C

22. Philadelphia Flyers (from Los Angeles Kings via Columbus Blue Jackets): Oliver Bonk, D

23. New York Rangers: Gabriel Perreault, RW

24. Nashville Predators (from Edmonton Oilers): Tanner Molendyk, D

25. St. Louis Blues (from Toronto Maple Leafs): Otto Stenberg, C

26. San Jose Sharks (from New Jersey Devils): Quentin Musty, LW

27. Colorado Avalanche: Calum Ritchie, C

28. Toronto Maple Leafs (from Boston Bruins via Washington Capitals): Easton Cowan, RW

29. St. Louis Blues (from Dallas Stars via New York Rangers): Theo Lindstein, D

30. Carolina Hurricanes: Bradly Nadeau, LW

31. Colorado Avalanche (from Montreal Canadiens via Florida Panthers): Mikhail Gulyayev, D

32. Vegas Golden Knights: David Edstrom, C

DAILY FACEOFF’s Frank Seravalli tweeted that this was the first draft since 2007 in which no trades were completed in the opening round.

Steven Ellis listed the best prospects available during Day 2 of the NHL Draft. They include WHL winger Andrew Cristall, University of Michigan winger Gavin Brindley, and QMJHL winger Ethan Gauthier.

Rounds 2 through 7 go today at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville beginning at 11 am ET.

NHL.COM: Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill was named the winner of the James Gregory General Manager of the Year Award.

TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets will officially name former Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock as their new bench boss on Saturday. He will receive a two-year contract worth $4 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The announcement comes Saturday because Babcock’s contract with the Leafs officially expires at midnight on Friday, June 30.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: The Flames signed forward Yegor Sharangoivich to a two-year, $6.2 million contract. He was acquired from the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday as part of the return for Tyler Toffoli.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes president and CEO Xavier Gutierrez said his team is focused on multiple sites for a new arena in the East Valley (Phoenix) area. They will be seeking locations that will not be subject to a public vote for approval.

The Coyotes recently lost a public vote on a proposed arena project in Tempe. They do not have a hard deadline from the NHL for locking down a new location.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 19, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 19, 2023

Oddsmakers don’t favor the Golden Knights’ chances of repeating as Stanley Cup champs, Valeri Nichushkin is expected to rejoin the Avalanche, the latest notable draft news and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee headlines.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Oddsmakers aren’t bullish on the Golden Knights’ chances of repeating as Stanley Cup champions. Vegas Insider has the Colorado Avalanche as the favorite to win the Cup in 2024 while the Golden Knights have the sixth-best odds, tied with the Boston Bruins, New Jersey Devils, Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone raises the Stanley Cup (NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You don’t need oddsmakers to tell you how difficult it is in today’s NHL to repeat as Stanley Cup champions or for a defending champ to return to the Final.

Since 1990, only three teams – the Pittsburgh Penguins (1991 and 1992, 2016 and 2017), Detroit Red Wings (1997 and 1998) and Tampa Bay Lightning (2020 and 2021) repeated as Cup champions.

The Penguins and Red Wings faced off in the 2008 and 2009 Finals, with the Wings winning in 2008 and the Penguins the following season.

The Lightning reached the Final in three straight years (2020 to 2022), becoming the first team to do so since the Edmonton Oilers (1983 to 1985).

THE DENVER POST: Sources claim Valeri Nichushkin is expected to rejoin the Colorado Avalanche for 2023-24. The 28-year-old winger left the team before Game 3 of the Avalanche’s first-round series against the Seattle Kraken following an incident involving an intoxicated woman in his Seattle hotel room.

There was no criminal investigation of the incident and Nichushkin is not being investigated by the league. The winger has been out of sight since returning to Denver following the incident while the Avalanche have declined to comment.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nichushkin and the Avalanche will have to face questions from the media about this incident at some point before the start of next season. It remains to be seen how forthcoming they’ll be about this situation.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen admitted he’s received several calls from clubs wondering if he’s willing to trade his first-round pick (third overall) in the upcoming 2023 NHL Draft.

Kekalainen said none of the offers he’s received have convinced him to part with the pick. “I’m 99.9 percent sure that we won’t be trading the pick.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There were also reports last week of the Montreal Canadiens contacting the Anaheim Ducks (second overall) and San Jose Sharks (fourth overall) to gauge their willingness to trade their picks. Perhaps they were among those who contacted Kekalainen about his pick.

One of those clubs could be convinced to move their selection for the right price. Given how rarely those picks are traded, however, I’ll be surprised if any of them are moved between now and the opening round on June 28.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Russian prospect Matvei Michkov avoided meeting with NHL teams and didn’t meet with them after KHL games this season. A gifted offensive winger, the 18-year-old Michkov is considered among the top prospects in this year’s draft and could be among the top-five picks.

Kevin Allen writes that Michkov’s actions have prompted speculation that he’s trying to manipulate the selection process to get to a specific team.

Allen thinks he could be angling to be chosen by the Washington Capitals (eighth overall) for an opportunity to play with Russian superstar Alex Ovechkin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Michkov also didn’t attend the NHL Draft Combine earlier this month. His agent claims his client will be in attendance at the upcoming NHL Draft.

Rumored character issues plus his lengthy KHL contract could prompt some teams to skip on Michkov, possibly making him available to lower-seeded clubs in the first round.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery admitted he didn’t read his players well during their stunning first-round loss to the underdog Florida Panthers. After rewatching the games, Montgomery said he could tell that the Bruins weren’t anywhere close to playing with the same tempo as they did during their record-breaking regular season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Overconfidence plus injuries to some key players seemed to play a role in the Bruins’ demise against the determined Panthers. After setting the records for most wins (65) and points (135) in the regular season, Boston seemed to have Florida on the ropes after taking a commanding 3-1 series lead.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald disputed the notion that he believes in a salary hierarchy. This comes after he re-signed winger Jesper Bratt to an eight-year extension with an average annual value of $7.87 million, coming in just under center Jack Hughes’ $8 million AAV.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, Timo Meier’s AAV on his next contract could be higher than Hughes’ if he and the Devils agree to a new deal.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 16, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 16, 2023

The Devils sign Jesper Bratt to an eight-year deal but will take Timo Meier to arbitration, the Senators also elect arbitration for Alex DeBrincat, Jarome Iginla returns to the Flames and John LeClair to the Flyers. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: The Devils re-signed Jesper Bratt to an eight-year, $63 million contract on Thursday. The average annual value is $7.87 million.

New Jersey Devils winger Jesper Bratt (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bratt was slated to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights on July 1. He is completing a one-year contract worth $5.45 million. The cap hit also keeps him below Jack Hughes’ $8 million AAV, which leads all Devils forwards.

The 24-year-old winger’s new contract is front-loaded. He’ll earn $10 million in actual salary next season, declining gradually down to $6 million in 2030-31. He also gets a full no-movement clause from 2024-25 to 2027-28, after which it becomes a 15-team no-trade clause with his no-movement preventing him from being sent to the minors.

It’s a significant investment in Bratt by the Devils. He earned this raise with back-to-back 73-point performances. With their Stanley Cup window opening, they obviously consider the winger to be a key part of their future. It will be money well-invested if Bratt maintains that level of production through most of this contract.

The Devils also filed team-elected arbitration with Timo Meier. They had hoped to get the 26-year-old winger signed up for the same term as Bratt but he seeks more money.

Meier was acquired from the San Jose Sharks before the March trade deadline. The Sharks reportedly went over $9 million annually in their efforts to re-sign him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This report suggests that taking Meier to arbitration is a way of buying time as the two sides continue to negotiate a new contract. The date for his hearing will be sometime in July or August but both sides could hammer out an agreement on a deal before then.

Meier is coming off a four-year contract with an AAV of $6 million. However, he earned $10 million in actual salary, which is what it would’ve cost the Devils to qualify his rights. In the worst-case scenario, the team-elected arbitration would reduce that qualifying offer to $8.5 million as one-year arbitration awards can be at 85 percent of the QO.

This move also ensures Meier won’t receive an offer sheet. Given how high his qualifying offer amount would’ve been, it’s doubtful that any club would’ve attempted to go that route.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators are taking winger Alex DeBrincat to team-elected arbitration. If the two sides fail to reach an agreement on a new contract, the arbitration award would be 85 percent of his $9 million qualifying offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeBrincat, 25, earned $6.4 million annually on his current contract but $9 million in actual salary this season. The report also indicates the Senators are actively shopping him and would prefer to get a deal done before July 1.

If they’re unable to move him, getting him signed to a one-year deal at $7.65 million provides them with cap flexibility to add another player. It would also perhaps make him more enticing as a trade candidate.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Jarome Iginla has returned to the Flames as the special advisor to general manager Craig Conroy. The all-time franchise leader in scoring and games played, the popular former captain was traded by the Flames to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2013.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Iginla spent 16 of his 20 NHL seasons in Calgary. He retired as a player in 2018 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2020.

It was long assumed that Iginla might one day return to the Flames in a front-office role. Conroy said he and his former teammate used to talk about one day working together in the NHL.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The Flyers yesterday announced John LeClair is returning to the club as a special advisor of hockey operations. He spent 10 seasons with the Flyers from 1994-95 to 2003-04, scoring 333 goals and 310 assists.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeClair was part of the Flyers’ famed “Legion of Doom” line alongside Eric Lindros and Mikael Renberg. He’s among their single-season leaders in goals (51) and career leaders in goals and points (643).

LeClair joins general manager Daniel Briere, president of hockey operations Keith Jones and special advisor to hockey ops Patrick Sharp among former Flyers recently hired to front-office roles.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad will undergo shoulder surgery that could keep him out of training camp in September. He expects to be ready to go by the time the regular season begins in October.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ekblad is the second Panthers blueliner undergoing shoulder surgery. However, he’s expected to be ready to return in time for the start of training camp.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars traded forward Fredrik Olofsson’s rights to the Colorado Avalanche for future considerations. They also re-signed goaltender Matt Murray to a one-year, two-way contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No, not that Matt Murray, Leafs fans…

NHL.COM: The order of selection for all seven rounds of the upcoming 2023 NHL Draft has been released. Round one begins on June 28 with the following six rounds on June 29.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind that this list could be revised if there are trades involving 2023 draft picks leading up to June 28.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Tampa Bay Lightning are reportedly set to sell a minority stake of their franchise to private equity group Arctos Sports Partners for a record $1.4 billion.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Last fall, Forbes indicated that 14 of the NHL’s 32 teams were valued at $1 billion or higher, with the Lightning sitting 14th at $1 billion. Selling their minority stake for more than its estimated value will have a ripple effect on the value of the other NHL franchises.

ESPN.COM: Las Vegas police arrested a man who threatened to carry out a mass shooting at T-Mobile Arena just four hours before Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final was played there.

Court records indicate the man has arrests in Las Vegas on various charges stretching back to 2014. He was also arrested last October on a felony charge of threatening an act of terrorism or mass destruction.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 13, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 13, 2023

The latest on the Golden Knights and Panthers on the eve of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, Flames name Ryan Huska as head coach, Rangers to reportedly hire Peter Laviolette as their new bench boss, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


FLA HOCKEY NOW: The Florida Panthers return to Las Vegas hoping to bounce back from the 3-2 loss in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Vegas Golden Knights hold a 3-1 lead in the series and can win the Cup tonight in Game 5.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Panthers forwards Matthew Tkachuk, Nick Cousins, and defensemen Brandon Montour and Radko Gudas skipped practice on Monday. Head coach Paul Maurice offered no updates on their conditions heading into Game 5 but said he would provide an update on Tuesday.

Florida Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those four would have to be seriously injured to miss Game 5 with the Stanley Cup on the line. I wouldn’t be surprised if they play but how effective they’ll be depends on how banged up they are.

All eyes will be on Tkachuk. The Panthers’ leading scorer was clearly hampered in Game 4 by what appeared to be a shoulder injury. Montour’s performance will also be worth monitoring as he’s been their top defenseman in this postseason.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Jack Eichel provided context to his recent meeting with former NBA great and TNT basketball analyst Charles Barkley. In an interview on Hockey Night in Canada during Game 4, Barkley said Eichel didn’t seem to know who he was when he approached the Golden Knights center in a hotel to wish him good luck in the series.

Eichel insisted he knew who Barkley was but was engaged in conversation with someone else when Barkley approached him. He said Barkley was polite and didn’t want to interrupt him but wanted to meet him. “That was the extent of it,” said Eichel, adding he was a big fan of Barkley but felt the encounter was taken a bit out of context.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski reports Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo will not face supplemental discipline for leaving the penalty box for joining a scrum at the end of Game 4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: During his 32 Thoughts podcast on Monday, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said the league looked into the incident and decided against a suspension. Pietrangelo was released from the penalty box at the end of the period and was not the aggressor in the scrum.

THE TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran cited Hockey Night in Canada’s Ron MacLean wondering if NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman would break with tradition and award the Stanley Cup to Golden Knights owner Bill Foley instead of team captain Mark Stone if Vegas wins the Cup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McGran noted that MacLean was merely musing but he hopes that doesn’t come to pass. “Who wants to see an owner be first to hoist the Cup?” writes McGran. “It would be a bit of an emotional letdown”.

I don’t expect Bettman will break the longtime tradition of awarding the Cup to the team captain. If he does, the reaction from fans and pundits will be swift and furious.


CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: As expected, the Flames formally announced Ryan Huska has become their new head coach. Huska had been an assistant coach with the Flames for the past five years. He replaces Darryl Sutter, who was fired last month.

DAILY FACEOFF: cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman tweeting that it appears Peter Laviolette will become the new head coach of the New York Rangers. The former Washington Capitals bench boss would replace Gerard Gallant, who was fired on May 6.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson isn’t considering retirement, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. Johnson is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He’d like to return with the Avs but if not, he will hit the open market.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong said he guarantees the Chicago Blackhawks will get inquiries about their willingness to part with the first-overall pick in the upcoming NHL Draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would take one hell of an offer to tempt Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson into trading that pick. The prize is generational center Connor Bedard, who’s been compared to Edmonton’s Connor McDavid and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby.

Some fans and pundits are dreaming up trade scenarios that would see the Blackhawks part with that pick. Don’t expect any of them to take place. The Hawks will retain that pick and select Bedard as expected.

THE ATHLETIC’s Aaron Portzline cites multiple sources indicating former NHL goaltender Niklas Backstrom will be named as the new goalie coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the sale of the Senators could be days away. He writes that the estate of the club’s late owner Eugene Melnyk is closing in on selling the team to a preferred bidder. Once an agreement in principle is reached, it will require approval from the league.

Three suitors remain in the bidding. Toronto billionaires Michael Andlauer and the Kimel brothers are believed to be the finalists. Los Angeles-based producer Neko Sparks remains in the pictures.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The recent departure of billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos from the bidding might have sped up the evaluation process. He reportedly made the biggest bid ($1 billion USD) but withdrew over the weekend as he was apparently frustrated by the slowness of the process.

**UPDATE** The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch cites sources this morning saying Andlauer is to become the Senators’ new owner**

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Valerie Camillo is leaving her posts as president and CEO of Comcast Spectacor, which owns the Flyers. She was also the club’s alternate governor.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 19, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 19, 2022

The Flames sign Nazem Kadri and trade Sean Monahan to the Canadiens, Carey Price appears unlikely to play this season, and the Predators will host the 2023 NHL Awards and Draft. Details and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed Nazem Kadri to a seven-year worth an annual average value of $7 million.

Calgary Flames sign Nazem Kadri to a seven-year contract. (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As of publication, the full details of Kadri’s new contract have not been revealed on Cap Friendly or Puck Pedia. I anticipate we’ll learn more about it in the coming days.

Kadri was the top player still available in the free-agent market. For weeks, the 31-year-old center was linked to the New York Islanders in the rumor mill. However, Flames general manager Brad Treliving quietly pulled off yet another major acquisition this summer that bolsters his club’s depth at center and replaces some of the snarl they lost by shipping Matthew Tkachuk to Florida last month.

Signing with the Flames may seem like a surprise on Kadri’s part given he spiked a trade to Calgary by the Toronto Maple Leafs three years ago. However, he later explained that he refused to waive his 10-team no-trade clause at the time because he wanted to stay with the Leafs. Kadri was subsequently traded to the Colorado Avalanche.

The $7 million cap hit reflects a player coming off a career-high 87-point season and a strong postseason performance. Kadri was underpaid on his previous contract, earning $4.5 million annually. It can be argued that the AAV is a little high by about $1 million but the Flames obviously believe he’s worth it.

It’s the term, however, that’s more concerning. A $7 million AAV over a three or four-year contract for a player who turns 32 on Oct. 6 could be considered a reasonable period of time. Paying that much for a player who will be approaching 39 by the time it’s over could prove burdensome for the Flames’ cap as his skills decline in the final half of that deal.

For Treliving, however, that’s an issue to deal with down the road. Signing Kadri and acquiring Jonathan Huberdeau should be suitable replacements for Tkachuk and the departed Johnny Gaudreau. These moves are expected to maintain the Flames’ place among the NHL’s top teams. No one will complain about the expense or length of Kadri’s contract if he helps them win the Stanley Cup.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens acquired Sean Monahan and a conditional first-round pick from the Flames in exchange for future considerations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames needed to clear cap space for Kadri’s contract. Trading Monahan and his $6.376 million cap hit for 2022-23 addressed that issue. The 27-year-old center said he’s looking forward to a fresh start after hip injuries hampered his performance over the past three seasons.

Monahan also indicated he’s recovered from hip surgery and is on the ice four days a week gearing up for the coming season. He’s hoping to be at 100 percent when training camp opens next month.

A strong performance will be crucial to Monahan’s playing career in the NHL. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer so a return to form in the coming season could earn him a new contract with the Canadiens or bolster his stock in next summer’s free-agent market.

The details surrounding the conditional first-rounder the Canadiens will receive are complicated. The Gazette’s Pat Hickey simplified it by explaining the Habs will receive one of the following: “Calgary’s choice in 2024, 2025 or 2026 or the Florida Panthers’ choice in 2025 or 2026. They could also get Calgary’s third-rounder in 2025 or a fourth-rounder in 2026.”

In other words, the Canadiens are guaranteed to get a first-round pick out of this sometime in 2024, 2025 or 2026.


MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The Canadiens could afford to acquire Monahan because it appears Carey Price will be on long-term injury reserve for this season. General manager Kent Hughes explained the news on the 35-year-old goalie’s ongoing recovery from a knee injury is “pretty discouraging”, adding there’s been no improvement in his rehab process. Price’s AAV is $10.5 million through 2025-26.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This news isn’t unexpected but it’s still rather sad. Price has been the face of the franchise for over a decade. However, he missed all but five games last season due to his ongoing rehab from last summer’s knee surgery, as well as a stint in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program and a bout of COVID-19. Those five games may have been the last he’ll ever play.

Placing Price on LTIR provides the Canadiens with the wiggle room to take on Monahan and perhaps make other additions as required. However, they won’t find anyone who can replace Price.

This news should also put an end to recent speculation suggesting Canadiens backup Jake Allen might be available.


THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators will host the 2023 NHL Awards and the 2023 NHL Draft. The award show is scheduled for June 26, 2023, and the draft will be held on June 28 and 29 at Bridgestone Arena.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Jim Rutherford blamed the mental effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason why he stepped down as general manager of the Penguins last year. Given his age, he and his family rarely left home once the pandemic started. Confined to his home office, Rutherford said it affected his “mental toughness”.

I don’t want to suggest I had mental health issues,” Rutherford told Jason Mackey. “The way I would describe it is I wasn’t mentally as strong as I should have been to be myself and continue to do that job. I was starting to react to things differently than I normally would, which led to where I got to.”

Rutherford insisted his departure had nothing to do with former Penguins president/CEO Dave Morehouse, whom he was rumored to be clashing with. He remains complimentary of his time with the team, saying he was well-treated by everyone (including Morehouse) throughout his tenure with the club. He’s now the president of hockey operations for the Vancouver Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the pandemic has affected many people’s mental health to various degrees and continues to do so. The uncertainty and stress led me to reach out to a therapist earlier this year and I found it quite helpful in learning to adjust to this new reality.