Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 10, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 10, 2021

An early look at this season’s pending unrestricted free agents, Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello is working the phones and the Canucks are shopping Olli Juolevi. Check it out in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun recently looked at which of this season’s high-profile unrestricted free agents could sign contract extensions within the next month or two. He wouldn’t be surprised Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg is signed by midseason though there’s work to be done. The Boston Bruins signing Patrice Bergeron is a no-brainer if the 36-year-old center wants to return for another season.

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron (NHL Images).

There haven’t been any real contract discussions between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Evgeni Malkin as he focuses on recovering from offseason knee surgery. LeBrun expects those talks could begin later in the season. He also believes the Penguins want to avoid lengthy deals they could regret for Malkin and defenseman Kris Letang. The latter could be willing to see how the season plays out.

LeBrun believes the San Jose Sharks haven’t given up hope of signing Tomas Hertl but thinks the 27-year-old center is unlikely to do so. He could become a big name potentially available at the March 21 trade deadline.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have had preliminary talks with Morgan Rielly and lines of communication remain open. This could be decided in June depending on the Leafs freeing up sufficient cap space to sign him or Rielly going to market because they can’t afford him. LeBrun expects he’ll be in the $8 million per season club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I concur with LeBrun’s take on all but Klingberg. He’s in the final season of a seven-year deal worth an annual average value of $4.25 million and could seek something comparable to Dougie Hamilton’s $9 million AAV with the New Jersey Devils.

As The Dallas Morning News’ Matthew DeFranks observed, the Stars already have $8.45 million annually invested in Miro Heiskanen, $5.8 million annually in Esa Lindell and $3.65 million in Ryan Suter. Assuming Klingberg accepts something in the $8 million range, the Stars will have one of the NHL’s most expensive bluelines.

Unless the Stars shed salary or decide not to re-sign other pending UFAs like Joe Pavelski and Alexander Radulov, they could be unwilling to ink Klingberg to an expensive long-term extension.

THE ATHLETIC’s Arthur Staple reports New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said general manager Lou Lamoriello isn’t quite finished assembling the roster. He may be looking to trade some of their extra players. NEWSDAY’s Andrew Gross reports Trotz said the Isles GM is still working the phones.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those “extra guys” likely include defenseman Thomas Hickey and winger Richard Panik as they were placed on waivers yesterday. If they clear, Lamoriello could attempt to peddle them elsewhere.

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston confirms a report in The Athletic that the Vancouver Canucks are shopping defenseman Olli Juolevi. The former 2016 first-round pick has tumbled down the Canucks blueline depth chart.

If they can’t find a trade and they decide to send Juolevi to their AHL affiliate, he’ll have to be placed on waivers today. Given his pedigree, Johnston anticipated he’d be claimed by another club.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 9, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 9, 2021

Sidney Crosby undergoes wrist surgery, Patrice Bergeron discusses his contract situation, the latest on Evander Kane and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby underwent surgery on his left wrist on Wednesday. He’s expected to be sidelined for six weeks and could miss the Penguins’ opening four games of this season. General manager Ron Hextall said Crosby has been dealing with an unspecified ailment in his wrist for several years.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It sounds like Crosby aggravated the ailment as he was ramping up his training in preparation for the coming season. The Penguins will now be without their top two centers to open the season. Evgeni Malkin is recovering from offseason knee surgery that will sideline him much longer than Crosby.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron said his focus is on the upcoming season and not on his contract status. The 36-year-old center is entering the final season of his deal and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. He indicated he’ll play out this season and discuss his contract with the Bruins after that.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could make some Bruins fans nervous after seeing long-time stars Zdeno Chara and David Krejci depart over the last two years. Bergeron is no longer in his playing prime but he remains among the league’s best two-way forwards.

Much will depend upon his performance and how much he’ll seek on his next contract. They could be more accommodating to Bergeron given how thin the Bruins are at center.

THE MERCURY NEWS: The NHL’s investigation into allegations San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane bet on his own games has hit a snag. Kane’s estranged wife Anna made the accusations on social media but the league has thus far been unable to interview her. The NHL hoped to have its investigation completed before training camp opened later this month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The article also reported an examination of betting trends that showed no abnormalities for Sharks games last season. Kane was also the Sharks’ leading scorer in 2020-21.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche signed center Artem Anisimov to a professional tryout offer.

TSN: The Calgary Flames signed unrestricted free agent forward Brad Richardson to a one-year, $800K contract and restricted free agent defenseman Connor Mackey to a two-year deal worth an annual average value of $912,500.

Former NHL player J.T. Brown pledged his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation in Boston. “We need more information about brain injuries and concussions, the kind of information you can get from studying brains after someone has died,” said Brown, adding he loves hockey and hopes to make it safer for future generations.

CBC NEWS: Brandon University scolded former NHLer Theo Fleury for “reprehensible remarks” he made against vaccine passports. The university granted Fleury an honorary doctorate in 2015 but says his espousing of conspiracy theories is a “stain on his legacy”. He recently took to Twitter claiming vaccine passports would make it easier for pedophiles to track children and touted an anti-parasitic medicine commonly used for livestock as an alternative to COVID-19 vaccines.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury was one of my favorite players during his NHL career. His work in exposing sexual predators in hockey and as a mental health advocate remains worthy of praise. Nevertheless, it’s sad to see him disappear down this rabbit hole of misinformation.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks scout Patrik Jonsson recently passed away at age 51 of prostate cancer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Jonsson’s family, friends and the Canucks’ organization.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 8, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 8, 2021

Check out the latest on Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Mark Giordano and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Tracey Myers reports the Boston Bruins have discussed a contract extension with Patrice Bergeron. The 36-year-old Bruins captain has one year remaining on his current deal with an annual cap hit of $6.875 million.

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergeron’s eight-year contract turned into a long-term bargain for the Bruins. He won two of his four Selke Trophies during the term of that deal and helped them reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2019. Despite his age, Bergeron remains among the best two-way centers in the league. He won’t get another long-term deal but I expect he’ll sign a short-term extension for perhaps $6 million annually.

Speaking of the Bruins, general manager Don Sweeney said there’s a possibility for David Krejci to return. The 35-year-old center recently announced he intends to finish his playing career in his native Czech Republic “We’ll see if somewhere down the road Krejci opens the door back up,” said Sweeney. He indicated it would be a family decision and there’s no timeline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Krejci could return to the Bruins this season if he signs before the trade deadline. According to Boston Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy, he’d have to sign before Dec. 15 to avoid passing through waivers. 

TSN: Salim Valji reports Mark Giordano is adjusting to his new team after being selected by the Seattle Kraken in last month’s expansion draft. The former Flames defenseman said he’s turned the page on his time in Calgary and looks forward to taking on a leadership role with the Kraken.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: How well things go for Giordano with the Kraken will determine how long he plays in Seattle. The 37-year-old blueliner is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

THE SCORE: Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ron Hextall has full confidence in his goaltenders heading into next season, especially in Tristan Jarry. He expects the 26-year-old Jarry will bounce back from last season’s inconsistent performance in his first campaign as the Penguins’ full-time starter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was plenty of speculation the Penguins would pursue a more reliable starter via trade or free agency this summer. Perhaps they would’ve if not for salary-cap constraints. A recent change in goalie coaches could help Jarry regain his form. If he struggles again, however, Hextall could end up shopping for help before the trade deadline.

CITYNEWS 1130: Player agent Kevin Epp released a statement on behalf of client Jake Virtanen questioning why the complainant who accused the former Vancouver Canucks winger of sexual assault chose to file a civil lawsuit over criminal charges.

Epp said the way the accusation unfolded was “unusual and troubling.” He added Virtanen learned of the accusation via anonymous social media postings, claiming it led to a negative impact upon his client’s career and family.

Kyla Lee, a criminal lawyer at Acumen Law Corporation, said it’s not unusual for a person claiming to be a victim of sexual assault to file a civil suit without contacting the police. She cites the long process of a criminal charge often boils down to a “he said she said” situation making the pursuit of criminal charges challenging. There’s also the perception allegations won’t be taken seriously which prevents victims from reporting the sexual assault to police.

TSN: Edmonton Oilers signed Brendan Perlini to a one-year, two-way contract worth $750K at the NHL level. Perlini last played in the NHL in 2019-20 with the Detroit Red Wings.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 24, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 24, 2021

The Islanders force Game 7 against the Lightning, Patrice Bergeron wins the Mark Messier Leadership Award, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: There will be a Game 7 in the semifinal series between the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning. Anthony Beauvillier’s overtime goal gave the Isles a 3-2 victory in Game 6, tying their best-of-seven series at three games apiece. Game 7 is Friday evening in Tampa Bay.

New York Islanders forward Anthony Beauvillier (NHL Images).

The Lightning took a 2-0 lead on goals by Brayden Point and Anthony Cirelli. Point extended his goal streak to nine straight games and leads all postseason scorers with 14 goals.

Jordan Eberle got the Isles to within one in the second period. Scott Mayfield tied it at 11:16 of the third, setting the stage for Beauvillier’s overtime heroics. Mathew Barzal collected assists on the Eberle and Mayfield goals.

It was a costly loss for the Lightning as leading scorer Nikita Kucherov left the game early in the first period with an undisclosed injury following a cross-check by Mayfield. It happened in full view of the officials but no call was made. Bolts defenseman Erik Cernak missed this game with an undisclosed injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That missed penalty call (the latest in a long string during this postseason) was the only blight on what was otherwise an entertaining Game 6 between these two clubs. If that becomes the final game played at Nassau Coliseum it was a helluva way to go out.

It was a solid response by the Islanders after being thumped 8-0 in Game 5. It appeared they were on their way out after falling behind 2-0 but they showed a lot of character and determination battling back for the win.

Not to take anything away from the Islanders’ performance but the Lightning felt the absence of their leading scorer and best shutdown defenseman in this game. No word as of this morning whether Kucherov and Cernak will be back for Game 7.

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron is this year’s winner of the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens signed John Sedgwick, their VP of hockey operations and legal affairs, to a three-year contract extension, sparking speculation general manager Marc Bergevin could get a similar extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergevin has a year remaining on his current contract. I daresay an extension is likely after the Canadiens’ surprising run to the semifinal this spring. It’ll become a certainty if they eliminate the Vegas Golden Knights tonight and advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

TSN: Rick Westhead reports a former team marketing official with the Chicago Blackhawks said the alleged sexual assault of two former Blackhawks players by a former video coach in 2010 was an open secret among staff both within and outside the club’s hockey department. One of those players has filed a lawsuit against the team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks have declined to comment because of the ongoing lawsuit. The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus and Scott Powers believe the allegations over how the club handled the sex abuse complaints could cast a stain on its championship legacy from 2010 to 2015. Former team president John McDonough and current general manager Stan Bowman are among the club officials linked to this purported incident.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Speaking of the Blackhawks, their Hall-of-Fame broadcaster Pat Foley will be retiring at the end of 2021-22 after 39 seasons in the job.

OTTAWA SUN: Former Senators defenseman Chris Phillips has resigned as the executive director of the Senators Community Foundation.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson announced his retirement yesterday. In 12 NHL seasons with the Blues and Toronto Maple Leafs, he tallied 30 goals and 138 points in 629 games. He won a Stanley Cup with the Blues in 2019, scoring the overtime time in Game 2 of the Cup Final against the Boston Bruins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Gunnarsson and his family in their future endeavors.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 24, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 24, 2021

The Bruins eliminated the Capitals, the Avalanche sweep the Blues, the Jets rally to put Oilers on the brink, and the Predators tie their series with the Hurricanes. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Patrice Bergeron scored twice and Tuukka Rask made 40 saves as the Boston Bruins defeated the Washington Capitals 3-1 to win their opening-round series 4 games to 1. David Pastrnak had a goal and an assist for the Bruins

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins were strong on the power play and penalty kill in this series. Core veterans like Bergeron, Rask, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak led the way while Charlie McAvoy continues to grow as an elite defenseman.

The first three games of this series were very close and could’ve gone either way, but Washington failed to recover from their double-overtime loss in Game 3. Changes could be in store for the Capitals following three straight first-round playoff exits.

The Colorado Avalanche swept the St. Louis Blues in four games with a 5-2 victory. Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen each had a goal and an assist. Vladimir Tarasenko scored both goals for the Blues, who played without sidelined forward David Perron and defensemen Justin Faulk, Robert Bortuzzo and Vince Dunn.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The absence of those key players contributed to the Blues’ demise. Even if they had been in the lineup, however, they might’ve only delayed their club’s elimination by a game or two. Led by MacKinnon, Landeskog, and Rantanen, a deep blueline corps featuring Cale Makar and goaltender Philipp Grubauer, the Avalanche were just too powerful for St. Louis.

An overtime goal by Nikolaj Ehlers capped a four-goal rally as the Winnipeg Jets downed the Edmonton Oilers 5-4 to take a 3-0 lead in their first-round series. Ehlers scored twice while Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck made 44 saves. Leon Draisaitl scored two goals and Connor McDavid collected three assists. The Jets can close out the series in Game 4 tonight. Oilers forward Josh Archibald faces a hearing with the NHL department of player safety for clipping Jets defenseman Logan Stanley.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was a stunning collapse by Edmonton. They had a 4-1 lead early in the third period and seemed to have this game under wraps.

The turning point was the Archibald penalty. The Jets tallied three goals in just over a three-minute span, including two goals 16 seconds apart by Blake Wheeler and Josh Morrissey to force the extra frame. The Oilers now face the daunting challenge of trying to overcome a 3-0 series deficit.

Nashville Predators winger Luke Kunin’s double-overtime goal gave his club a 4-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes to even their series at two games apiece. Kunin also scored the game-opening goal while teammate Juuse Saros made 58 saves for the win. Brock McGinn scored twice for the Hurricanes. The series shifts back to Carolina for Game 5 on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the most entertaining game of the day for me. It was a see-saw contest as both clubs pushed hard for the win. With back-to-back double-overtime victories, the Predators overcame a 2-0 series deficit.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri will appeal his eight-game suspension for his hit to the head of Blues defenseman Justin Faulk.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber was fined $5,000.00 by the league for crosschecking Toronto Maple Leafs forward Wayne Simmonds in Game 2 on Saturday.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 24, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 24, 2021

Recaps of Friday’s action, Dylan Larkin and Jakob Silfverberg are done for the season, P.K. Subban confirms COVID-19 diagnosis, Joe Thornton fined, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Calgary Flames kept their fading playoff hopes alive by doubling up the Montreal Canadiens 4-2. Sean Monahan scored the winning goal and collected two assists as the Flames (43 points) sit six points behind the fourth-place Canadiens in the Scotia North Division. Flames winger Josh Leivo missed the game after landing on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list while Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin was sidelined by an illness unrelated to COVID-19.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It remains to be seen if Leivo has the coronavirus or if this was a false positive. The rest of the Flames and their staff tested negative. They must sweep the next two games against Montreal to have a realistic chance of staying in the postseason chase.

Buffalo Sabres winger Sam Reinhart (NHL Images).

Sam Reinhart tallied a hat trick and goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 36 saves in his NHL debut as the Buffalo Sabres upset the Boston Bruins 6-4. Boston captain Patrice Bergeron missed the game with a suspected lower-body injury. The Bruins hold fourth place in the MassMutual East Division with 60 points.

The New York Rangers gained some ground on Boston with a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Pavel Buchnevich and Alexis Lafreniere each had a goal and an assist to give the Rangers 54 points, putting them six back of the Bruins.

A two-goal performance by rookie Kirill Kaprizov carried the Minnesota Wild to a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Cam Talbot kicked out 40 shots for the win as the Wild (63 points) move within three points of the second-place Colorado Avalanche in the Honda West Division. The Kings (40 points) remain five points behind the fourth-place Arizona Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kaprizov leads all NHL rookies with 21 goals and 40 points. He’s played a key role in the Wild’s solid performance and is the favorite to win the Calder Memorial Trophy this season.

Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros made 29 saves backstopping his club over the Chicago Blackhawks 3-1. The Predators sit in fourth place in the Discover Central Division with 54 points, sitting four up on the Dallas Stars and five ahead of the Blackhawks.

HEADLINES

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin will miss the remainder of the regular season with an upper-body injury. He’s currently their leading scorer with 23 points in 44 games.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks winger Jakob Silfverberg underwent season-ending hip surgery and is expected to be sidelined for four-to-six months. He could miss the start of training camp in September.

TSN: New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban took to social media Friday to confirm he’s dealing with COVID-19. He said the coronavirus “hit me pretty hard” but expects to be “back in the mix soon.” He thanked his supporters for their well-wishes, telling them to take care of themselves.

THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. He could miss today’s game against the New York Islanders.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars head coach Rick Bowness is hopeful Tyler Seguin will make a return to play next week after being sidelined since the fall by hip surgery. However, he maintained he won’t rush the center’s decision to return.

SPORTSNET: Toronto Maple Leafs forward Joe Thornton was fined $3,017.24 by the NHL department of player safety for interfering with Winnipeg Jets forward Mathieu Perreault on Thursday.

TSN: Leafs defenseman Zach Bogosian is out for four weeks with an injured shoulder.

YAHOO! SPORTS: WWE executive Nick Khan said it’s his company’s belief that the partnership between NBC and the NHL could end following this season. The remarks came in response to a question over whether the shuttering of NBCSN might create scheduling conflicts between WWE and the NHL on USA Network.

The NHL’s contract with NBC expires at the end of this season. ESPN has a new deal in place with the league for most of its US broadcast coverage. There’s speculation Disney, ESPN’s parent company, is in the process of working out a deal for the entire NHL slate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was talk of the NHL making a deal with NBC or another media company like Fox Sports or Turner Sports to split its coverage with ESPN. That could no longer be the case if Khan’s remarks are anything to go by.