NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 4, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 4, 2019

The Capitals snuff out the Flames, the Blackhawks edge the Ducks, Milan Lucic receives a two-game suspension, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Jakub Vrana’s first career NHL hat trick powered the Washington Capitals to a 4-2 victory over the Calgary Flames. Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson each collected two assists. The league-leading Capitals have won four straight games.

The Flames played without winger Milan Lucic. He received a two-game suspension by the department of player safety for sucker-punching Columbus Blue Jackets winger Kole Sherwood. Flames general manager Brad Treliving disagreed with the decision, claiming Lucic was responding to Sherwood slashing goaltender David Rittich.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With three suspensions and two fines on his resume, Lucic doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt for questionable tactics.

Patrick Kane’s overtime goal gave the Chicago Blackhawks a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks (Photo via NHL Images).

The Chicago Blackhawks blew a 2-0 lead but Patrick Kane scored in overtime as they edged the Anaheim Ducks 3-2. Blackhawks rookie Adam Boqvist scored his first NHL goal. It was Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf’s 1,000th career regular-season game. He picked up an assist in this contest.


NBC SPORTS: Ottawa Senators winger Scott Sabourin was released from the hospital yesterday after being stretchered off the ice following a collision with Boston Bruins winger David Backes on Saturday. The Senators announced he suffered a fractured nose.The club also announced Logan Brown is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury. Backes left the game with an upper-body injury and is expected to miss the next couple of games.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist (undisclosed) was placed on injured reserve.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets forward Adam Lowry will not face supplemental discipline for a questionable hit on Vegas Golden Knights winger Alex Tuch, who left the game and didn’t return.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens have called up forward Ryan Poehling and placed center Jesperi Kotkaniemi on IR with a groin injury.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres placed defenseman Marco Scandella on injured reserve and called up blueliner Lawrence Pilut.

TORONTO SUN: Former NHL winger Dean Prentice has passed away at age 87. Prentice played 22 seasons with the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Minnesota North Stars from 1952-53 to 1973-74. He tallied 391 goals and 860 points in 1,378 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Prentice’s family, friends, and former teammates.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 3, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 3, 2019

The Islanders win their ninth straight game, the Canucks are rising in the standings, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov turned in a 27-save shutout and Derick Brassard scored the only goal in 1-0 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. It was the Islanders’ ninth consecutive win. The Sabres are now winless in their last three contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders’ impressive hot streak seems to be largely overlooked by the media. Thanks to solid goaltending and disciplined play, they’re one of four teams with 10 victories on the season. They’re just three points behind the league-leading Washington Capitals.

Elias Pettersson scored twice as the Vancouver Canucks beat the San Jose Sharks 5-2 (Photo via NHL Images).

 Elias Pettersson scored two goals to give the Vancouver Canucks a 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks, handing the latter their fifth straight loss. The Canucks extended their points streak to seven games. They also learned sidelined blueliner Quinn Hughes is listed as day-to-day after suffering a bruised knee against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks are one point behind the Oilers and Blues for first place in the Western Conference. The Sharks, meanwhile, sank to the bottom of the Conference standings. They continue to be hampered by poor goaltending and a sputtering offense. 

The Boston Bruins extended their points streak to nine games by beating the Ottawa Senators 5-2. Bruins forwards David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand combined for seven points. Their victory was overshadowed as Senators winger Scott Sabourin was stretchered from the game following a collision with Bruins winger David Backes. Sabourin was taken to local hospital and a follow-up report indicated he was doing ok. Backes also left the game with a suspected concussion.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping both players make speedy recoveries. 

Mike Smith made 51 saves and Leon Draisaitl tallied in overtime as the Edmonton Oilers nipped the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1. Colby Cave also scored for the Oilers while Brian Dumoulin replied for the Penguins.

The Calgary Flames shut out the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-0 on a 43-save performance by David Rittich. Flames center Sean Monahan scored to snap his 14-game goalless drought. The Jackets are winless in their last four contests. Flames winger Milan Lucic faces a disciplinary hearing for roughing Jackets forward Kole Sherwood.

Andreas Johnsson’s goal in the 11th round of the shootout gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen turned aside 37 shots. Kasperi Kapanen and Jason Spezza each had a goal and an assist. Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, and Ivan Provorov each had two points for the Flyers. Philadelphia center Sean Couturier has been nursing an apparent injury to his left hand.

The St. Louis Blues picked up their fourth straight win by edging the Minnesota Wild 4-3 on an overtime goal by Ryan O’Reilly. The game was marred by several questionable calls against the Wild.

Nathan MacKinnon’s point streak ended at 13 games as the Colorado Avalanche fell 3-0 to the Arizona Coyotes. Phil Kessel had a goal and an assist while Darcy Kuemper made 33 stops for the shutout. The Avs are winless in four straight.

New York Rangers rookie Alexandar Georgiev kicked out 32 shots backstopping his club to a 2-1 upset over the Nashville Predators. Filip Chytil and Ryan Strome were the Rangers’ goalscorers. Earlier in the day, the Predators revealed their jerseys for the 2020 Winter Classic against the Dallas Stars at the Cotton Bowl. 

The Dallas Stars picked up their third straight win by downing the Montreal Canadiens 4-1. Denis Gurianov scored twice, including a penalty-shot goal, while Ben Bishop made 35 saves. Canadiens goalie Carey Price stop 36 shots.

Sergei Bobrovsky picked up his first shutout with the Florida Panthers in a 4-0 blanking of the Detroit Red Wings. Bobrovsky made 22 saves while Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice and collected an assist.

The Winnipeg Jets overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3. Kyle Connor scored in overtime and collected two assists while.Mathieu Perreault scored twice for the Jets. The flu sidelined Golden Knights starter Marc-Andre Fleury from this game.

P.K. Subban tallied the go-ahead goal as the New Jersey Devils beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-3. It was the Devils first win in four games.

The Los Angeles Kings snapped a four-game losing skid with a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Drew Doughty potted the winner in overtime. Blackhawks blueliner Erik Gustafsson was a healthy scratch.

NHL Rumor Mill – September 4, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – September 4, 2019

Updates on Mitch Marner, Charlie McAvoy, and Jason Pominville in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TSN: In an interview with Bob McKenzie, Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas remains optimistic about getting Mitch Marner re-signed before training camp opens on Sept. 13. He said he had discussions with the restricted free agent winger’s agent as recently as last week.

Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas isn’t interested in trading winger Mitch Marner (Photo via NHL Images).

McKenzie’s colleague Pierre LeBrun reports Dubas has no interest in trading Marner. “That’s not a real avenue that we’ve even remotely explored. It’s our full intention that Mitch Marner will be a Toronto Maple Leaf for a very long time and that’s everything we’re working towards.’’

Writing for The Athletic, LeBrun reports contract term appears to be the sticking point for Marner and other noteworthy RFAs such as Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen, Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point, and Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk.

Regarding Marner, he believes a three-year bridge deal has been discussed but isn’t sure what the annual average value would be. There’s a sense teams could prefer avoiding situations where the player walks directly into unrestricted free agency upon completion of their new deals.

THE LEAFS NATION: cites TSN’s Darren Dreger saying there’s talk of the Leafs and the Marner camp discussing a three-year deal with an AAV of $9.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll find out by next Friday if Duba’s optimism will be rewarded. Marner has indicated he won’t attend training camp without a contract and has already looked into training with the ZSC Lions in Switzerland’s National League A.

I don’t doubt Dubas’lack of interest in trading the young winger. Nevertheless, that probably won’t stop the trade speculation if his contract impasse drags into training camp. I daresay we’ll also hear talk of offer sheets but I doubt that scenario will unfold. 


BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites sources claiming the Boston Bruins are set to return to talks “in earnest” with restricted free agent defenseman Charlie McAvoy. With training camp fast approaching, there’s increased urgency to get a deal done.

Earlier this year, there was talk the blueliner sought a deal comparable to Florida’s Aaron Ekblad’s eight-year, $60-million contract. It’s believed the Bruins countered with something around $5.5 million. Given the Bruins’ current salary-cap crunch and the need to also re-sign Brandon Carlo, there’s talk a bridge deal has been discussed.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty reports the Bruins could get some cap relief if veteran forward David Backes is placed on long-term injury reserve. There’s talk the 35-year-old winger, who has a history of concussions, has been dealing with an undisclosed injury this summer.

The Bruins currently have around $7 million in salary-cap space with McAvoy and Carlo to re-sign. Placing Backes ($6 million AAV) on LTIR would alleviate that problem.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As with Marner, we’ll learn by the end of next week if the Bruins can hammer out a deal with McAvoy (and Carlo) before training camp opens.

If they end up placing Backes on LTIR they won’t have to worry about making a cost-cutting trade to free up space to re-sign their two blueliners. Of course, that’ll depend on how long he’d be sidelined. If he receives medical clearance to return to action this season, the Bruins will have to shed salary to become cap compliant.




Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – July 21, 2019

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – July 21, 2019

The latest Flames, Oilers, Bruins and Devils speculation in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup. 


NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien reports the Calgary Flames saw little salary-cap savings ($500k) for this season by shipping James Neal to Edmonton for Milan Lucic. They have around $9.7 million in cap space but that’ll evaporate quickly with restricted free agents such as Matthew Tkachuk, Sam Bennett, and David Rittich to re-sign. O’Brien speculates it could cost a combined $10 million to get Tkachuk and Rittich under contract. 

Could T.J. Brodie become the next Calgary Flames trade candidate? (Photo via NHL Images)

O’Brien examines some potential cost-cutting options for Flames general manager Brad Treliving, One is buying out defenseman Michael Stone ($3.5 million for 2019-20). Another is trading Bennett’s rights. They could also shop a salaried player like T.J. Brodie ($4.65 million), Michael Frolik ($4.3 million) or Travis Hamonic ($3.875 million). 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Bennett and Rittich filing for arbitration, Treliving’s cost-cutting move could be determined by the outcome of those contract hearings. Bennett’s is slated for July 27, Rittich for July 29.

They could trade Bennett but a more likely course of action is buying out or trading Stone or another salaried player. O’Brien points out Brodie was part of a proposed pitch to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Nazem Kadri before he was shipped to Colorado. Frolik was part of a failed attempt to acquire winger Jason Zucker from the Minnesota Wild at the February trade deadline. 


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports the Oilers have around $2.4 million in salary-cap space following the Lucic-for-Neal trade. He believes signing “a free-agent third-line C, preferably a right-shot, seems a reach.” 

Matheson’s colleague David Staples isn’t sure the Oilers want to or should trade defenseman Kris Russell. “Maybe if you can trade for a 2nd line winger or 3rd line centre. But Russell is defensively sound d-man, good on bottom pairing, OK if asked to play in Top 4 due to injury — & 77 oft-injured.” The 77 being blueliner Oscar Klefbom. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what Oilers GM Ken Holland has up his sleeve. He’s earned kudos for the Lucic-for-Neal swap. Perhaps he’s got something planned to address that third-line center position.

It’s anticipated a promising young defenseman like Evan Bouchard, Ethan Bear or Caleb Jones could crack the roster this season. If so, perhaps Holland will try to move Brandon Manning or Matthew Benning to free up some space. 


NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Following the Lucic-for-Neal swap, Joe Haggerty pondered the possibility of the Bruins pulling off that deal by offering up David Backes for Lucic. He believes it’ll be very difficult for the Bruins to move the 35-year-old Backes in a similar trade for another problem contract where the Bruins aren’t taking on more years to the player they’d receive or giving up a “sweetener” in return. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As we’ve seen this summer, such moves are possible but they will come with a cost to the Bruins. With over $8 million in salary-cap space and Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo to re-sign, they’ll face a cost-cutting scenario before the season opens in October.

They could bury a couple of contracts in the minors. Depending on the combined cost of McAvoy and Carlo, they could be forced to make a trade. If it’s Backes, they’ll either have to retain some salary, take back a toxic contract, or give up a high draft pick or a top prospect. 


NJ.COM: Chris Ryan recently listed three realistic roster moves for New Jersey Devils GM Ray Shero.  One would be acquiring winger Nikita Gusev from the Vegas Golden Knights. Gusev and the Knights are said to be $2 million apart in contract talks and Vegas is reportedly shopping him. Ryan thinks Shero was likely among the GMs to contract the Golden Knights. 

Another would be signing UFA  defenseman Jake Gardiner, who could become more affordable the longer he remains available. Ryan also suggests a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning. They could be in need of shedding salary once Brayden Point is under contract. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Ryan observed, Shero’s already had a busy offseason. He selected Jack Hughes with the first-overall pick in this year’s draft, traded for all-star defenseman P.K. Subban, and signed rugged winger Wayne Simmonds. Shero could opt to evaluate his roster during training camp/preseason play in September before making another significant roster addition. 

NHL Rumor Mill – July 15, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – July 15, 2019

Updates on Tyson Barrie, Kyle Turris, David Backes and more in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently reported Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Tyson Barrie seeks $8-million annually on his next contract. Earlier this month, the Leafs acquired the 27-year-old Barrie from the Colorado Avalanche. He’s a year away from unrestricted free agent status and ranks sixth in scoring among NHL defensemen over the past two seasons.

Can the Leafs afford to re-sign Tyson Barrie after this season? (Photo via NHL Images)

The Avalanche weren’t going to pay Barrie $8 million per season. Fox speculates the Leafs might, depending upon how well their overhauled blueline corps performs in 2019-20. Morgan Rielly is the only Leafs defenseman under contract beyond this season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Much will depend upon Barrie’s performance. So will their cap space for 2020-21. According to Cap Friendly, the Leafs have over $55.3 million invested in just 12 players. They still have to re-sign Mitch Marner this summer.

Assuming Marner’s next contract is worth between $8.5 million – $10.5 million, the Leafs could have between $63 million to $65 million wrapped up in 13 players. Depending upon how much the cap rises for 2020-21, they won’t have much left to re-sign Barrie and flesh out the rest of the lineup.

Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas did a fine job this summer shedding burdensome contracts while addressing his roster’s weaknesses. Time will tell if he can successfully walk that salary-cap tightrope again next summer. 


THE ATHLETIC: Adam Vingan recently reported the Nashville Predators appear willing to retain Kyle Turris this season. The 29-year-old center struggled in 2018-19 but Predators GM David Poile hopes he’ll bounce back. The Preds addition of Matt Duchene via free agency sparked speculation over Turris’ future in Nashville. If he struggles again his trade value will decline, especially with his $6-million per season contract.

Vingan noted Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman floated the notion of the Montreal Canadiens pursuing Turris before free agency. The Habs had interest in Duchene and made a failed attempt to sign Carolina’s Sebastian Aho. Vingan’s colleague Marc Dumont believed the Predators would either have to pick up half of Turris’ salary-cap hit or take back defenseman Karl Alzner. 

In a recent mailbag segment, Vingan was asked about the likelihood of Turris or Nick Bonino getting moved before the start of the season. He won’t be surprised if they’re still with the club on opening night. Given the Preds’ limited salary-cap space, however, he can see one of them being part of a cost-cutting trade. He felt Bonino was a more likely trade candidate. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators have over $5 million in cap space with Colton Sissons and Rocco Grimaldi still to re-sign. They should have enough to get both under contract but, as Granger points out, they won’t have much wiggle room for other moves.

The Canadiens have over $4.8 million in cap space. The Predators will have to absorb half of Turris’ cap hit to make him enticing. Even then, I doubt he’s on GM Marc Bergevin’s radar. At $4.1 million annually through 2020-21, Bonino is more affordable than Turris but his cap hit could still be a stumbling block. 


BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites “a league source with knowledge of the situation” claiming the New Jersey Devils could have interest in Boston Bruins forward David Backes. The 35-year-old has two years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $6 million.

The Bruins have around $8 million in salary-cap space and must re-sign restricted free agent defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo. Shedding Backes’ contract via trade would free up more cap room. The Bruins might have to include a sweetener, such as their first-round pick in 2020, which GM Don Sweeney is reluctant to move. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Murphy notes the Devils have the cap space ($19.8 million) to comfortably absorb Backes’ cap hit. However, they’ll want something worthwhile included in the deal. Otherwise, the Devils could ask the Bruins to pick up part of Backes’ cap hit. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 18, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 18, 2019

The salary cap could be lower than projected, plus the latest on the Bruins, Senators, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

TSN.CA: The NHL’s salary cap for 2019-20 could be lower than the projected $83 million. That could make life difficult for teams already facing limited cap space next season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Last year, the cap numbers for 2018-19 were announced on June 21. Next season’s totals should be released by this weekend at the latest. A lower-than-projected cap could force some teams to shed salary via trades or contract buyouts. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Several Bruins are undergoing surgeries to repair injuries suffered this season. They included captain Zdeno Chara (elbow) and John Moore (shoulder). Meanwhile, Noel Acciari (heel) and David Backes (undisclosed) will be following up with doctors to determine if they require surgery. 

It appears David Backes will return with the Boston Bruins next season (Photo via NHL Images).

Speaking of Backes, it doesn’t sound like he’ll be traded or bought out. General manager Don Sweeney indicated the veteran forward isn’t going anywhere

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators re-signed winger Anthony Duclair to a one-year, $1.65-million contract. They acquired Duclair from the Columbus Blue Jackets before the trade deadline as part of the return for Ryan Dzingel. They informed pending unrestricted free agent Magnus Paajarvi he won’t be re-signed. Contract negotiations continue with restricted free agent Cody Ceci. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After washing out with Arizona, Chicago, and Columbus, this could be Duclair’s last chance to get his NHL career back on track. 

With former Senator Erik Karlsson re-signing with the San Jose Sharks, Ottawa receives a 2021 draft pick from the Sharks. 

THE ATHLETIC’s Joe Smith reports the agent for Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman will be going through the UFA interview period. Smith suggests this doesn’t mean the Lightning are out of the running to sign him. 

CBS SPORTS: The Columbus Blue Jackets re-signed left winger Markus Hannikainen to a one-year, $735K contract.