NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 28, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 28, 2022

An update on J.T. Miller’s contract talks with the Canucks, Claude Giroux expects a rough welcome from Philadelphia Flyers fans, the latest on John Klingberg and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford told The Bob McCown podcast that his club would like to re-sign J.T. Miller. However, the two sides “remain a long way apart”.

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller (NHL Images).

Rutherford considered Miller the Canucks’ best player last season and anticipates he’ll be a very good player for a long time. If unable to reach an agreement with the 29-year-old center on a new contract, he said they’ll have to put him “in a place where he’s going to get his contract and where we’re going to get the right assets back that can help the Canucks in the future.”

Asked if there was a timeline and if he saw Miller starting the season in Vancouver, Rutherford said he would start the season with the Canucks if he remains unsigned and no one’s made a suitable trade offer by then. He acknowledged the situation would reach a pressure point for management a month before the trade deadline, saying they don’t want to be in a position where they wouldn’t get anything in return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller is signed for this season at a salary cap hit of $5.25 million. He is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Miller’s agent recently said there was a pathway toward a new contract with the Canucks. Rutherford’s comments suggest that the pathway could be too long, too expensive or both.

There’s still plenty of time for the two sides to negotiate an extension. However, we can expect trade rumors to continue swirling around Miller in the coming season if he doesn’t have a new deal by then.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Claude Giroux believes he’ll be booed by Flyers fans when he plays his first game at Wells Fargo Arena this coming season. Giroux was traded by the Flyers to the Florida Panthers at last season’s trade deadline and signed a three-year contract with the Ottawa Senators earlier this month. He thinks they could give him a standing ovation and then boo him.

DAILY FACEOFF: John Klingberg has changed agents two weeks into free agency. The former Dallas Stars defenseman parted ways with longtime agent Peter Wallen and is now represented by Newport Sports Management.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Klingberg was considered the top defenseman in this summer’s UFA class. It appears he and his former agent overestimated his value on the open market. There were reports last season that he sought an eight-year deal from the Stars worth between $62 million and $68 million. He’s certainly not getting that now.

NEW YORK POST: Former NHL forward Bobby Ryan took to Twitter yesterday to thank hockey fans for their support after he was arrested for public intoxication earlier this week at Nashville airport. Ryan, 35, has battled alcohol abuse and received treatment in 2019-20 through the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ryan’s relapse was unfortunate but he appears determined to return to the path of sobriety. Here’s hoping he can find the help he needs to do so. It was heartwarming to see the overwhelming support he received on social media from fans and former teammates.

THE ATHLETIC: Former Montreal Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme said he was disappointed he didn’t get the opportunity to speak with the club’s new management to discuss their plans for the franchise. Ducharme was replaced last February by Martin St. Louis after the club tumbled to last place in the overall standings. Under St. Louis, the Canadiens showed improvement though they still finished near the bottom of the standings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ducharme was put in a difficult situation by being hired midway through a COVID-shortened season on a struggling team that barely reached the playoffs. He coached them to a surprise run to the 2021 Stanley Cup Final, saw the wheels come off the following season as injuries to key players and a COVID outbreak ravaged the roster and appeared to have been kept in the dark by the club’s new management.

Nevertheless, the results speak for themselves. The Canadiens played like a team that had lost all confidence under Ducharme last season. There’s no denying their overall improvement under St. Louis.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins signed free-agent forward Danton Heinen to a one-year, $1 million contract.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Carolina Hurricanes avoided salary arbitration with Ethan Bear, signing him to a one-year, $2.2 million contract.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Kraken re-signed forward Ryan Donato to a one-year, $1.2 million deal.

SPORTSNET: The St. Louis Blues signed forward Klim Kostin to a one-year, one-way contract worth $750K.

NHL.COM: The Anaheim Ducks signed defenseman Olli Juolevi to a one-year, two-way contract.

The Edmonton Oilers announced the Fort Wayne Comets will be their new ECHL affiliate.

DAILY FACEOFF: Former NHL player Daniel Carcillo released a statement yesterday criticizing Hockey Canada’s top officials for denying systemic and ongoing problems in junior hockey.

Carcillo is spearheading a lawsuit against Hockey Canada, alleging he suffered abuse during his major junior career. Hockey Canada is under scrutiny from Canadian politicians in the wake of two sexual assault scandals involving members of the 2003 and 2018 World Junior teams.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 28, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 28, 2022

Check out the latest Oilers and Leafs speculation plus an update on Ethan Bear in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON THE OILERS

SPORTSNET: In a recent mailbag segment, Mark Spector was asked which goaltender Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland might target in this summer’s free-agent market. He believes he’ll choose a cheaper, less proven goalie than an expensive free-agent question mark.

Spector said sources tell him Marc-Andre Fleury chooses not to play in Edmonton. He anticipates the Oilers’ free-agent targets will be St. Louis’ Ville Husso and Toronto’s Jack Campbell. He envisions a tandem of Campbell and Stuart Skinner.

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Tyson Barrie (NHL Images).

Asked which players could be cost-cutting trade candidates, Skinner listed Zack Kassian ($3.2 million), Warren Foegele ($2.75 million) and Tyson Barrie ($4.5 million). He also included restricted free agent Jesse Puljujarvi depending on his pay raise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers face considerable uncertainty between the pipes for next season. Mikko Koskinen is off to Switzerland while aging Mike Smith could be considering retirement. Even if Smith returns to complete the final season of his contract, they still need a more reliable starter.

Campbell and Husso have shown promise as starters but question marks hover over both. Campbell struggled over the second half of last season with the Maple Leafs, which was his first full campaign as a starter. Husso had a solid regular season with the Blues when Jordan Binnington struggled but gave way to Binnington in the playoffs.

Of those cost-cutting trade candidates, Barrie could attract the most attention. He’s a skilled puck-moving defenseman who could draw interest in the trade market. VancouverHockeyNow’s Rob Simpson believes he’d be a good addition to the Canucks.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE LEAFS AFTER RE-SIGNING LILJEGREN?

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reports Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas still has to deal with restricted free agents Rasmus Sandin, Pierre Engvall and Ondrej Kase after re-signing Timothy Liljegren on Monday.

Koshan wonders how the Liljegren signing affects Justin Holl’s future with the Leafs. While he carries an affordable $2 million cap hit for next season, re-signing Sandin is a priority. He also anticipates trade-deadline pickup Ilya Lyubushkin will hit the open market on July 13.

With less than $7 million in cap space, Dubas must figure out his goaltending. He also needs to bolster his defense and forward lines.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It remains to be seen what Dubas has in store to find the cap space to address those needs. However, it wouldn’t be surprising if Holl gets traded (despite his 10-team no-trade list) in a cost-cutting deal to free up space for Sandin’s new contract.

UPDATE ON ETHAN BEAR

CANUCKS ARMY: Lachlan Irvine cites CHEK TV’s Rick Dhaliwal reporting the Vancouver Canucks have had early discussions with Ethan Bear. The restricted free agent defenseman was given permission by the Carolina Hurricanes to speak with other clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dhaliwal said it’s too early to tell how far those talks go between the Canucks and Bear. He could fit their need for younger, affordable talent, especially on their blueline.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 21, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 21, 2022

Could Devils winger Jesper Bratt become an offer-sheet target? Could the Canucks sign P.K. Subban? What’s the latest on James van Riemsdyk and Ethan Bear? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

UPDATES ON BRATT AND SUBBAN

NHL WATCHER: recently cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek discussing the contract negotiations between the New Jersey Devils and restricted free agent winger Jesper Bratt. His talks on his last contract were “really tough” and both sides are gearing up for another difficult round of negotiations.

New Jersey Devils winger Jesper Bratt (NHL Images).

Marek raised the possibility of Bratt being targeted by a rival club with an offer sheet. Friedman doubted that will happen, pointing to the Devils carrying $25 million in cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  NJ.com’s Ryan Novozinsky has reported both sides are engaged in ongoing contract talks. Bratt has arbitration rights this summer giving him the leverage he didn’t have in his previous negotiations.

The Devils could listen to trade offers for Bratt if those talks stall or appear headed to arbitration to resolve. I don’t doubt recent reports claiming there are several teams interested in the 23-year-old winger following his career-high 73 points this season. Nevertheless, I think both sides want to get a deal done here.

Friedman’s right when he said an offer sheet wouldn’t make any sense here. The Devils can easily match, making it a pointless exercise. Since the salary-cap era began in 2005, only 10 players have signed offer sheets. Of those, only two (Dustin Penner and Jesperi Kotkaniemi) were successfully signed away.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Rob Simpson addressed the notion raised by some Canucks fans of New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban signing with the club as an unrestricted free agent next month.

Simpson noted Subban is a skilled right-handed shot who could be motivated with a new club and could be had at an extreme discount. However, he doubted the Canucks will be interested, pointing out the decline in the 33-year-old’s performance. His acquisition would also go against management’s intention of building up a youthful core of talent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how free agency unfolds for Subban. He’s not expected to be re-signed by the Devils and could find his market options limited because of his declining skills. I think a team in need of some experienced blueline depth will sign him to an affordable one-year contract.

WILL THE FLYERS MOVE VAN RIEMSDYK?

NHL WATCHER: recently cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek discussing potential moves by the Philadelphia Flyers. Friedman believes they could shop winger James van Riemsdyk to free up salary-cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: van Riemsdyk has a year left on his contract with an annual average value of $7 million but an actual salary of $5 million. The 6’3”, 217-pound winger also lacks no-trade protection, giving the Flyers a wide range of potential trade partners.

Now 33, van Riemsdyk is in decline. Nevertheless, he still managed to score 24 goals on the offensively anemic Flyers, marking the seventh time in his 13 NHL seasons he’s reached or exceeded the 20-goal plateau.

A playoff contender could be interested in a big veteran scorer such as van Riemsdyk. However, that contract could be difficult to move given his age and cap hit. The Flyers might have to retain salary, include a sweetener like a draft pick or prospect, or take back a comparable contract.

HURRICANES GIVE BEAR PERMISSION TO SPEAK TO OTHER CLUBS

SPORTSNET’s Elliotte Friedman tweeted on Monday that the Carolina Hurricanes have given Ethan Bear permission to speak to other clubs. They still wish to sign the restricted free agent defenseman but they’re not close to an agreement. Friedman also noted nothing can take place before July 13 with the Hurricanes’ permission.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear struggled this season with the Hurricanes and seemed to fall out of favor with head coach Rod Brind’Amour. He was a healthy scratch during the Canes’ playoff run. The 24-year-old is completing a two-year, $4 million contract and has arbitration rights.










Sunday NHL Rumor Mill – June 5, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Mill – June 5, 2022

The Blackhawks could test this summer’s trade market, what a Kevin Fiala-to-Islanders trade might look like, and some Canadiens’ speculation in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

BLACKHAWKS TO TEST THE TRADE MARKET

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Chicago Blackhawks could be a team to watch over the next few weeks in the trade market.

Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Seth Jones are off the table given their no-move clauses. However, management is testing the market for anyone on their roster that other teams are willing to ask about.

Friedman said another general manager compared this to when they moved Brandon Hagel before the trade deadline. “Can you make them an offer that makes them want to seriously think about it?”

Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That report could make Blackhawks fans nervous about Alex DeBrincat’s future in Chicago. He’s a year away from becoming a restricted free agent with arbitration rights, carries a $6.4 million cap hit and lacks no-trade protection. The 24-year-old winger also set a career-high in points this season with 78 and matched his career-high of 41 goals.

Of everyone on the Blackhawks roster who could be available, DeBrincat is the guy who’ll garner the most interest and fetch the best return. However, the rebuilding Hawks won’t just give him away. The asking price will consist of at least a first-round pick and either a top prospect or a good young (and affordable) NHL player.

Any club acquiring him should ensure they have the cap space to sign him to a big raise after this season. Another 40-goal performance will push his value up into the $9 million per season range.

WHAT WOULD A “FIALA-TO-ISLANDERS” TRADE LOOK LIKE?

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz recently mused over what it might cost the New York Islanders to make a pitch for Kevin Fiala. The Minnesota Wild winger is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights coming off a one-year, $5.1 million contract. The Wild could have difficulty signing him because of their limited salary-cap space for next season.

Kurz believes any potential trade for Fiala would have to start with the Isles’ first-round pick in either this year’s draft or next year’s. He also believes they’d have to throw in a young player or prospect. He rules out Anthony Beauvillier because of his $4.15 million cap hit but suggested Oliver Wahlstrom as an alternative. If the Islanders don’t want to part with their first-round pick, perhaps a prospect such as Aatu Raty might push the deal over the finish line.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind that Kurz is merely speculating here. There’s no indication the Islanders are interested in Fiala, especially with the secretive Lou Lamoriello as their general manager. Nevertheless, this provides at least some idea of what it might take to acquire him. The Wild can’t afford to take back much salary in a Fiala deal.

LATEST CANADIENS SPECULATION

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy recently reported Joel Armia’s performance for Finland in the World Championships has generated some trade buzz about the Canadiens winger.

Armia was said to be a popular name in the market leading up to the March trade deadline. He has three years remaining on his contract with a $3.4 million cap hit, which could mean the Canadiens take back a smaller contract in order to get a draft pick in return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes made no secret of his intention to free up some salary-cap space this summer by shopping a veteran or two. Armia could be among his cost-cutting trade candidates.

Murphy also wondered if Ethan Bear might be a fit with the Canadiens. The 24-year-old Carolina Hurricanes defenseman is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer.

Bear saw action in 58 regular-season games with the Hurricanes but was a healthy scratch in the playoffs. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculated the blueliner might not want to return, though a lot depends on what happens with fellow RFA Tony DeAngelo and pending UFA Ian Cole this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t rule out an interest in Bear if he’s available by the Canadiens. He could be among several affordable young options Hughes could be seeking this summer for his blueline. Murphy’s source cited Bear’s conditioning as an issue, which could hurt his trade value.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 3, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 3, 2022

The Hurricanes hope to retain some key free agents, the possibility of some RFAs not receiving qualifying offers, plus updates on Jack Campbell and David Perron in today’s NHL rumor mill.

HURRICANES HOPE TO RETAIN TROCHECK, NIEDERREITER & DEANGELO

NHL.COM: Kurt Dusterberg reports Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell hopes to re-sign pending unrestricted free agent forwards Vincent Trocheck and Nino Niederreiter. Meanwhile, head coach Rod Brind’Amour hopes restricted free agent defenseman Tony DeAngelo also returns.

Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal indicated he’s not thinking about a contract extension this summer, preferring to play out the final season of his contract before determining his future. Waddell indicated they want Staal to play as long as he feels like doing so.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander reports DeAngelo would love to stay with the Hurricanes. He said he believes everyone in the organization knows that and believes they want him back, expressing appreciation for the trust they put in him following his troubled final season with the New York Rangers.

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo (NHL Images).

DeAngelo, 26, has arbitration rights and is a year away from becoming eligible for unrestricted free agent status. Waddell indicated there’s interest in signing him to a multi-year contract.

Alexander’s colleague Luck DeCock believes the Hurricanes need an upgrade in pure scoring skill. He suggested parting ways with forward Martin Necas, who regressed during this season and bringing in a scoring winger to replace him via trade or free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Waddell called signing Trocheck a priority. That increases the likelihood he won’t become available in this summer’s UFA market. It will depend on whether the two sides can reach an agreement before free agency begins on July 13.

Trocheck tends to be a streaky scorer but he would draw plenty of interest if he tests the market. Vancouver Hockey Now’s Rob Simpson daydreamed about Vancouver signing him but there’s no indication that’s the direction Canucks management intends to take.

DeAngelo made the most of his opportunity with the Hurricanes. While both sides are pleased with how this season turned out, arriving at a suitable deal could be a challenge.

Cap Friendly indicates the Hurricanes have $19.4 million in cap space with 14 players under contract next season. Parting ways with Necas won’t free up additional cap space as he’s a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract.

Trocheck earned an annual average value of $4.725 million while Niederreiter’s was $5.25 million. It could cost a combined $12 million to retain them. DeAngelo, meanwhile, could seek a return to the $4.8 million annually he was earning with the Rangers before agreeing to a one-year, $1 million contract with the Hurricanes for this season. Re-signing that trio won’t leave much room to add a scoring forward.

TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”

SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman suggested limited salary-cap space among NHL teams could lead to some of them not bothering to qualify the rights of some arbitration-eligible RFAs.

Some worth watching include Carolina’s Ethan Bear, Dallas’ Denis Gurianov, Pittsburgh’s Kasperi Kapanen, Chicago’s Dylan Strome and New Jersey’s Miles Wood and Pavel Zacha. He also noted there was speculation that Ondrej Kase could depart Toronto but believes talks are underway between the winger and the Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those players could bolster the depth of talent in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market. There’s no certainty, of course, that most or all of them will hit the open market. Still, it could be worthwhile as Friedman suggested to keep an eye on their respective contract negotiations.

Speaking of RFAs, Friedman believes the Leafs will qualify defenseman Rasmus Sandin’s rights. However, they have a logjam on the left side of their blueline. He pointed out that their cap situation doesn’t afford Sandin contract room.

Meanwhile, there haven’t been any contract talks between the Leafs and goaltender Jack Campbell for months and anything previously discussed is no longer relevant. His agent said there’s been no material contract conversation since the end of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect the Leafs will get something done with Campbell because there aren’t many suitable replacement options in this summer’s trade and UFA markets. The best free-agent options are Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper and Minnesota’s Marc-Andre Fleury and there’s no certainty either guy can be wooed to Toronto.

As for Sandin, he’ll obviously be more affordable to sign than Campbell. Given the priority given to the latter, however, they could end up shopping Sandin if they can’t free up sufficient cap dollars to re-sign him. However, I think Leafs management will try to free up cap room by trying to move out veterans like Petr Mrazek and Wayne Simmonds, though peddling either guy won’t be easy.

Friedman believes the New Jersey Devils and Ottawa Senators will be worth watching as they have their first-round picks in play for talent with a lot of team control.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, a player with more than a year remaining on their contract.

He also doesn’t expect St. Louis Blues winger David Perron will hit the open market on July 13.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 23, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 23, 2021

Cale Makar sets an Avalanche record, Troy Terry’s point streak comes to an end, the three stars of the week and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Cale Makar scored twice to become the first defenseman in Colorado Avalanche history to record multiple goals in consecutive games in a 7-5 win over the Ottawa Senators. Nazem Kadri had a goal and three assists and Andre Burakovsky collected three assists for the Avs. Zach Sanford netted a hat trick for the Senators in their first game since having three games postponed last week due to a COVID-19 outbreak. Senators defenseman Josh Brown left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After stumbling from the gate the Avalanche (19 points) have won five straight games to sit just two points out of a wild-card position in the Western Conference

The Nashville Predators nipped the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 on a third-period goal by Yakov Trenin. Ryan Johansen had a goal and an assist for the Predators. Ducks winger Troy Terry was held off the score sheet, bringing his season-opening points streak to an end at 16 games.

Columbus Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic tallied his first two goals of the season and collected an assist in a 7-4 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Jackets forward Max Domi scored and chipped in two assists and Vladislav Gavrikov also potted two goals. Tage Thompson scored twice for the Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Goaltending has once again become a weakness for the Sabres. Their 3.39 goals-against per game is the fifth-worst in the league.

The St. Louis Blues scored five unanswered goals to down the Vegas Golden Knights 5-2. Vladimir Tarasenko and David Perron each had two assists and defenseman Justin Faulk scored his 100th career goal.

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry’s shutout streak ended at 161:31 but he still made 30 saves for a 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Danton Heinen and Jake Guentzel scored the only goals in the third period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There were questions about Jarry’s ability to carry the load as the Penguins’ starting goalie after a shaky 2020-21 performance. He’s silencing his critics thus far this season, sporting an 8-4-3 record with a 2.09 goals-against average, a .930 save percentage and two shutouts.

An overtime goal by Alexander Barabanov lifted the San Jose Sharks over the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1, snapping the latter’s four-game winning streak. Hurricanes defenseman Ethan Bear missed the game after being placed in COVID protocol following a positive test yesterday. Meanwhile, Hurricanes rookie Seth Jarvis played his 10th game of the season, activating the first year of his entry-level contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise Jarvis is staying put. The 19-year-old forward is playing well with four goals and six points in 10 games.

HEADLINES

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau, Washington Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov, and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Nov. 21.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers center Kevin Hayes is listed as week-to-week after suffering a re-injury against Calgary on Nov. 16. He only recently returned from offseason abdominal surgery.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Hartman was fined $4,250.00 by the NHL department of player safety for slew-footing Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ross Colton.

The Chicago Blackhawks placed defenseman Riley Stillman (left knee) on injured reserve.