NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 23, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 23, 2024

The Canucks and Bruins extend their leads in their respective conference, the Oilers announced the signing of Corey Perry, the three stars of the week are revealed, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The league-leading Vancouver Canucks picked up their eighth win in their last nine games with a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Thatcher Demko made 31 saves for his fifth shutout of the season while Pius Suter and Quinn Hughes were the goal scorers for the Canucks (32-11-4) as they sit atop the Western Conference with 68 points. Petr Mrazek stopped 27 shots for the 14-31-2 Blackhawks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks forward Nick Foligno returned to action after being sidelined since Jan. 5 by a fractured finger. Chicago head coach Luke Richardson told reporters that there hasn’t been a change in the 6-8 week recovery period for rookie Connor Bedard (fractured jaw), who’s been sidelined since undergoing surgery on Jan. 8. Meanwhile, the Canucks announced defenseman Carson Soucy will be sidelined for five to six weeks with an injured hand.

Boston Bruins center Charlie Coyle had a goal and an assist while Jeremy Swayman turned aside 20 shots to down the Winnipeg Jets 4-1. The Bruins extended their win streak to five games and are 6-0-3 in their last nine contests. With a record of 29-8-9, they’re first in the Eastern Conference and one point back of the Canucks in the overall standings. Vladislav Namestnikov scored for the Jets (30-11-4) as they sit second in the Western Conference with 64 points.

New Jersey Devils winger Tyler Toffoli (NHL Images).

New Jersey Devils forward Tyler Toffoli completed a hat trick in overtime to lift his club to a 6-5 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. Curtis Lazar tallied twice for the 24-18-3 Devils (51 points), who moved within two points of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth. Jonathan Marchessault scored twice and collected an assist for the Golden Knights (27-14-6) as they overcame a 3-1 deficit and at one point led 5-3. With 60 points, they’re second in the Pacific Division.

The Florida Panthers snapped a four-game losing skid by defeating the Nashville Predators 4-1. Sam Reinhart tallied his 34th goal of the season while Sam Bennett collected three assists for the Panthers (28-14-4) as they sit second in the Atlantic Division with 60 points. Juuse Saros stopped 34 shots for the 25-21-1 Predators, who hold the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 51 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov missed his third straight game with a lower-body injury while defenseman Gustav Forsling missed this match for family reasons.

Arizona Coyotes winger Jason Zucker had a goal and an assist in a 5-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Connor Ingram made 25 saves for the 23-19-3 Coyotes (49 points) as they moved to within two points of the Predators. Lars Eller and Sidney Crosby replied for the 21-17-6 Penguins (48 points) as they remain five points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Down 3-2 in the third period, the Penguins pulled their goalie for an extra attacker on a delayed penalty. Kris Letang dropped a pass to teammate Evgeni Malkin but the latter inadvertently redirected the puck into his own net. As for the Coyotes, defenseman Matt Dumba left the game with an upper-body injury. Earlier in the day, they announced that blueliner Troy Stecher will be out for four-to-six weeks with a lower-body injury.

A shootout goal by Fabian Zetterlund lifted the San Jose Sharks over the Los Angeles Kings 4-3. Zetterlund also scored in regulation while Kaapo Kahkonen kicked out 44 shots for the 12-31-4 Sharks. Quinton Byfield and Kevin Fiala each had two points for the 22-13-9 Kings (53 points), who hold the first Western wild-card spot but have just two wins in their last 10 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks defenseman Mario Ferraro left this game in the second period after taking a spill into the boards. There was no update regarding his status following this match.


TSN: The Edmonton Oilers yesterday officially announced they signed Corey Perry to a one-year, prorated contract. The deal carries a base salary of $775K with performance bonuses totaling $325K. To make room for Perry, the Oilers placed forward Adam Erne on waivers to send him to their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perry practiced with the Oilers for the first time yesterday. He’s expected to make his debut in their lineup on Saturday against the Predators.

During his introductory press conference, Perry said he took full responsibility for the incident that led to his contract termination by the Chicago Blackhawks in November. He also said that he received help from counselors regarding mental health and other issues, thanking them along with his family and friends for their support.

NHL.COM: Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov, Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak and Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Logan Thompson are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Jan. 21.

New York Rangers center Vincent Trocheck and Winnipeg Jets winger Kyle Connor have been added to the 2024 NHL All-Star roster. They replace Chicago Blackhawks center Connor Bedard and Vegas Golden Knights center Jack Eichel, who are sidelined by injuries.

NEW YORK POST: Sidelined Rangers forward Filip Chytil is returning to New York after spending the last three weeks in his native Czechia recovering from a suspected concussion. There is no timetable for when he’ll return to the lineup or resume practicing with his teammates.

DAILY FACEOFF: The New York Islanders removed goaltender Semyon Varlamov from injured reserve. He has been sidelined for nearly three weeks with a lower-body injury.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs defenseman Conor Timmins was fined $2,864.58 for cross-checking Seattle Kraken forward Brandon Tanev on Sunday.

THE MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens recalled defenseman Arber Xhekaj from their AHL affiliate in Laval, loaned blueliner Justin Barron to Laval and placed center Mitchell Stephens on waivers.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers have sent rookie forward Bobby Brink to their AHL affiliate in Lehigh Valley. He’d been a healthy scratch in four of the Flyers’ last six games and saw his ice time reduced in his last five contests.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Former Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron shot down another rumor suggesting he was training for a possible comeback in February. “No, it’s not happening,”, he said. “I’m not making a comeback, not trying to make a comeback.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This rumor started because Bergeron has been skating in the Boston area in a weekly gathering of friends and former NHL players. As he said back in August, he’s at peace with his decision to retire and is getting on with his life.

Perhaps one day Bergeron will return to the NHL in management, coaching or scouting. His playing days, however, are over. He’s 38 and has nothing left to prove or gain following a 19-year career as one of the greatest players in Bruins history, retiring while still at the top of his game.

NHL Rumor Mill – January 18, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – January 18, 2024

Check out the latest on Jake Guentzel, Marc-Andre Fleury, Jakob Chychrun, Patrice Bergeron and more in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Kyle Dubas said he hasn’t had any conversations with other teams about Jake Guentzel. The 29-year-old Penguins winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Dubas downplayed recent comments by Guentzel’s agent Ben Hankinson suggesting the possibility that negotiations could get ugly. He felt that Hankinson was referring to where the team is going in the next few years and that the agent didn’t mean for his comments to develop into the level of noise they received.

The Penguins GM said at some point they’ll determine together what’s best for both sides.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s assumed Dubas could consider trading Guentzel by the March 8 trade deadline if the club falls out of playoff contention and an agreement on a contract extension hasn’t been reached by then. We’ll have to wait and see how things unfold in the coming weeks.


THE SCORE: Sean O’Leary cited Minnesota Wild GM Bill Guerin telling The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun that it’s premature to start gauging the trade market for Marc-Andre Fleury. The 39-year-old goaltender is eligible for UFA status on July 1.

Guerin understands Fleury will draw interest from other clubs if the Wild fail to rise in the standings soon. Nevertheless, he said his team isn’t giving up on their season.

Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

Fleury carries a full no-movement clause. LeBrun believes it would take a prominent role with another club for him to consider moving it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m not sure a prominent role is out there for Fleury at this stage of his career. He remains well-liked but I think interested clubs would prefer him in a backup role.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch suggests we keep an eye on Jakob Chychrun as Senators GM Steve Staios weighs his trade options. He cites sources claiming Staios is getting plenty of interest in the 25-year-old defenseman from other teams.

Garrioch claims the Edmonton Oilers are among the teams that could use some help on defense. They were in heavy pursuit of Chychrun last season which is why Garrioch thinks they’d be the best trade fit.

Chychrun is signed through next season with an average annual value of $4.6 million. Garrioch thinks Staios could meet soon with the blueliner’s agent to discuss a contract extension. If the numbers don’t add up, Staios’ discussions with other clubs could heat up.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wouldn’t surprise me if Chychrun wound up on the trade block before deadline day. Staios didn’t acquire the rearguard and isn’t beholden to him. The Senators are a mess and changes must be made.

However, I’m not convinced the Oilers will be the best fit in terms of salary cap space. They’re pressed against the $83.5 million cap and only have $920K of projected trade-deadline cap room. It’ll have to be a dollar-for-dollar swap or a three-team deal with the Senators retaining half of Chychrun’s cap hit with the Oilers moving out a salaried player to make the dollars fit.

Let’s not forget that the Oilers were interested in Chychrun at the time because they were in the market for a left-side defenseman. They addressed that need before the 2023 trade deadline by acquiring Mattias Ekholm. What they need now is a right-side defenseman. I know Chychrun can play that role but he’s better off on the left side.


BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cited Paul Bissonnette and Ryan Whitney discussing the possibility of Patrice Bergeron returning to the Bruins during a recent episode of their “Spittin’ Chiclets” podcast.

Bergeron has been skating to stay fresh for the Bruins’ alumni games. Bissonette and Whitney mused over whether the former Bruins captain might be preparing for a February comeback.

Murphy casts doubt on that possibility, citing two sources who dismissed that notion. He also pointed out that Bergeron has repeatedly said he’s at peace with his decision to retire and considers him a man of his word.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergeron enjoyed a career that will make him a first-ballot Hall-of-Fame inductee. He’s got a Stanley Cup ring and won more Selke Trophies than anyone in league history. He’s got nothing left to prove and now wants to spend more time with his family. I’ll be shocked if he staged a comeback.


PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Jonathan Bailey cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently musing over Arthur Kaliyev’s future with the Los Angeles Kings. Friedman observed that the 22-year-old winger hasn’t been playing much this season. Bailey wondered if this might be an opportunity for the Philadelphia Flyers to try and acquire Kaliyev if the price is right.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings have been struggling of late. If they were to put Kaliyev on the trade block they’ll probably want a good roster player in return instead of draft picks and prospects.

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz cited a recent report by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggesting the Flyers could be interested in signing Nick Seeler to a contract extension.

However, a league source informed Kurz that no dollar figures were exchanged and the club doesn’t seem to be in a rush to do anything with Seeler or Sean Walker before the trade deadline. They could opt to retain both blueliners and try to make the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring injuries or a collapse in the standings between now and March 8, I think the Flyers will stand pat and push for the playoffs. After that, they’ll sit down with Walker and Seeler and see if they can negotiate new deals with them.


TSN: Darren Dreger reported Tuesday that the Winnipeg Jets are looking for an affordable fit at center and on their blueline as the trade deadline approaches.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch also reported hearing the Jets would like to bolster their depth at center before the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Montreal’s Sean Monahan could be a fit here but the Jets could face competition from other clubs to acquire him. Cost-effective blueline depth could include the Flyers’ Walker and Seeler and Anaheim’s Ilya Lyubushkin.


TVA SPORTS: Montreal Canadiens GM Kent Hughes said his club isn’t planning to trade Arber Xhekaj. The popular defenseman has been skating with their AHL affiliate in Laval since Dec. 4, prompting rumors that he might not fit into the club’s plans.

Hughes noted the Canadiens sent Xhekaj to Laval to work on improving aspects of his game. The improvement of Jayden Struble allowed them to do so. They want Xhekaj to improve his defensive play so he can help the Canadiens over the long term.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 28, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 28, 2023

The Senators sign Vladimir Tarasenko, the Bruins intend to retire Patrice Bergeron’s number, the Coyotes sign top prospect Logan Cooley and the Panthers prepare to celebrate their 30th anniversary season in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators signed free agent Vladimir Tarasenko to a one-year, $5 million contract. It’s expected the 31-year-old scoring winger will skate among the Senators’ top-six forwards.

Ottawa Senators sign Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tarasenko was the biggest name remaining in this summer’s unrestricted free-agent market. He’s a six-time 30-goal scorer who should provide a boost to the Senators’ offense this season.

Tarasenko reportedly rejected an earlier bid from the Senators along with others from several other clubs before replacing his agent with new representation in early July. This season’s flattened salary cap hampered his chances of landing a lucrative long-term deal after coming off an eight-year contract worth an average annual value of $7.5 million.

Forced to accept a shorter term for less money, Tarasenko is betting that he’ll have a productive season with the Senators. Another 30-goal campaign could help him land a better contract via next summer’s free-agent market when the salary cap is projected to rise by at least $4 million.

As for the Senators, this move leaves them with around $784K in cap space with restricted free agents Shane Pinto, Egor Sokolov and Alex Formenton to re-sign. A cost-cutting trade could be in the works.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins team president Cam Neely confirmed the club will retire Patrice Bergeron’s No. 37 at some point in the near future. Bergeron announced his retirement earlier this week after 19 NHL seasons, all of them with the Bruins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Proper thing. Bergeron is one of the greatest players in Bruins history. Whether that happens this season or perhaps when he’s officially inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in three years’ time remains to be seen.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes signed top prospect Logan Cooley on Thursday to a three-year entry-level contract. Cooley, 19, was chosen third overall in the 2022 NHL Draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cooley had originally planned to return to the University of Minnesota this season. However, the lure of playing in the NHL proved too strong.

Cooley is perhaps the most highly-touted prospect in Coyotes’ history. He’ll face considerable pressure to play up to lofty expectations. How well he does will affect the rebuilding Coyotes’ plans of becoming a playoff contender in the near future.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers will be celebrating their 30th anniversary in 2023-24. The club unveiled its anniversary logo and there are plans to bring back former players, coaches and personalities who were part of the franchise during those three decades.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 27, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 27, 2023

Patrice Bergeron explains why he retired, the Hurricanes re-sign Sebastian Aho, the Leafs place Matt Murray on LTIR, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines

DAILY FACEOFF/BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Patrice Bergeron met yesterday with reporters and explained his decision to retire after 19 seasons with the Boston Bruins.

Bergeron, 38, said that he felt it was best to leave while still at the top of his game. He also wants to spend more time with his family.

The former Bruins captain also cited the physical toll that two decades of NHL action has taken on his body, though he indicated that he had no major issues. “It’s time to let that heal and move on,” he said.

As for his future, Bergeron indicated that he doesn’t believe joining the NHL coaching ranks is in the cards. “Never say never, but for now, I don’t have a want or will to coach.”

Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most pro athletes tend to hang on too long, often becoming shadows of their former greatness late in their careers. Bergeron was that rare player still capable of playing at a high level at an age when most are in decline. He made the wise choice to trust his instincts and recognize the best time to leave the game.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes yesterday signed Sebastian Aho to an eight-year, $78 million contract extension effective July 1, 2024. The 26-year-old center will earn an average annual value of $9.75 million plus his deal comes with a full no-movement clause throughout and a modified no-trade clause (15-team no-trade list) in the final season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise that the Hurricanes locked up their first-line center on a long-term extension. Aho’s been their best forward since his 2017-18 sophomore season and a key reason why they’re a Stanley Cup contender. His new AAV is a reasonable raise over his current annual cap hit of $8.46 million. Aho probably would’ve gotten more in next summer’s open market but opted for the long-term security of staying with the only NHL club he’s ever played for.

General manager Don Waddell also indicated that he’s not close to re-signing other Hurricanes eligible for unrestricted free-agent status next summer. They include defensemen Brett Pesce and Brady Skjei and winger Teuvo Teravainen.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs announced goaltender Matt Murray is sidelined indefinitely and has been placed on long-term injury reserve.

The designation, however, comes two months after Murray was considered fully recovered from a late-season concussion and was well enough to be considered for a start against the Florida Panthers during the Leafs’ second-round series.

This report also came without any details as to the nature of Murray’s injury. The league reserves the right to have an independent doctor assess to determine if the LTIR designation is justified.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move prompted speculation on social media accusing the Leafs of circumventing the salary cap. It’s my understanding that the approval of the team doctor is required before a player is placed on LTIR. I believe that Murray must also report to training camp and undergo a physical. If he fails that, he will remain on LTIR for the 2023-24 season until such time that he’s physically able to return to action, which might not happen given his injury history.

Murray and his $4.687 million cap hit join sidelined defenseman Jake Muzzin and his $5.625 million on LTIR giving the Leafs some $10.3 million in cap relief. However, they remain above the $83.5 million cap by just over $2 million. That means they’ll have to shed salary via trade or demotion or end up icing a 20-man roster for the coming season.

THE ATHLETIC: Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski has returned to the ice in semi-competitive play for the first time since his season-ending shoulder injury last November. He’s participating in a no-contact summer league as he looks toward returning to NHL action for 2023-24 with the Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Werenski’s absence was among the factors that contributed to the Blue Jackets missing the playoffs last season. They’ve bolstered their blueline this summer by adding Ivan Provorov and Damon Severson but a healthy and productive Werenski will be crucial to their hopes of postseason contention.

TVA SPORTS: Maxime Comtois revealed it was a mutual decision between himself and the Anaheim Ducks to part ways this summer. The Ducks didn’t send him a qualifying offer, making the 24-year-old forward an unrestricted free agent.

Comtois said he’s getting calls from interested clubs though none have turned into a concrete offer yet. After playing several years with the rebuilding Ducks, he said he wants to play for a winning team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Comtois also said that he’d be interested in joining the Montreal Canadiens but he has not received a call from them. The Habs are rebuilding their roster with an eye on making room for their promising young prospects.

SPORTSNET: Logan Cooley is having second thoughts about returning to the University of Minnesota for another season and could sign his entry-level contract with the Arizona Coyotes. Cooley, 19, was taken third overall in the 2022 NHL Draft by the Coyotes.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche re-signed forward Ben Meyers to a one-year, $775K contract.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed 2023 first-round pick Samuel Honzek to a three-year entry-level contract. The 18-year-old left winger was chosen 16th overall.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 26, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 26, 2023

Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron announced his retirement, Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz has passed away, Wild GM Bill Guerin named the club’s president of hockey operations, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron announced his retirement yesterday through a statement on the club’s website.

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron announced his retirement(NHL Images).

Bergeron, 38, thanked the many people who supported him during his 19-season NHL career spent entirely with the Bruins. They included the club’s ownership, management, coaches and teammates, as well as his family, his agents and the fans.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In my opinion, Bergeron was the greatest two-way forward in NHL history and among the great players in Bruins history. He was also one of the classiest and most-respected players to lace up skates in the NHL and should be a first-ballot inductee into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Bergeron was a finalist for the Selke Trophy as the league’s top defensive forward in 12 straight seasons (2011-12 to 2022-23), winning it a record six times. He’s third among the Bruins’ franchise leaders in total games played (1,294), goals (427) and points (1040) and fourth in assists with 613. He helped the Bruins reach the Stanley Cup Final three times (2011, 2013 and 2019), winning the Cup in 2011 and captaining them to 65 wins and 135 points (both NHL records) in 2022-23.

In addition to his NHL success, Bergeron was also a winner on the international stage. He won gold playing for Canada at the 2004 World Championships, 2005 World Junior Championship, and the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics. He was also part of Canada’s Spengler Cup win in 2012 and the World Cup of Hockey in 2016.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Shukri Wrights wondered who will replace Bergeron as the Bruins’ captain. He mentioned long-time winger Brad Marchand and top defenseman Charlie McAvoy as possible candidates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Replacing Bergeron as team captain will be a difficult task. Finding someone to fill his role as their first-line center is a much bigger challenge. I’ll have more on that in today’s Rumor Mill.

CHICAGO HOCKEY NOW: Rocky Wirtz, the chairman of the Blackhawks since 2007, passed away on Tuesday at age 70. Taking over following his father William’s death, he was responsible for the club’s ascension from an also-ran into a Stanley Cup contender, winning three championships in 2010, 2013 and 2015.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus observed, Wirtz leaves behind a mixed legacy. While he resurrected the Blackhawks following years of stagnation during his father’s tenure as team owner, he was also the club’s chairman when Kyle Beach was allegedly sexually assaulted in 2010 by the team’s video coach at the time.

An investigation cleared Wirtz but several key front-office personnel were fired, including general manager Stan Bowman and team president John McDonough. He angrily shouted down his son and two reporters for mentioning Beach during a disastrous town hall event in February 2022. Wirtz subsequently issued an apology but was rarely seen at Blackhawks events after that.

STAR-TRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild named general manager Bill Guerin as their new president of hockey operations.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: The New York Islanders are still awaiting a decision from Zach Parise if he’ll retire or return for another season. Parise, 38, completed his 18th NHL season, playing in all 82 games and scoring 21 goals while seeing time on their power-play and penalty-killing units.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers signed Eetu Luostarinen to a three-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $3 million. The 24-year-old forward is earning $1.5 million on his current contract which expires at the end of this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Luostarinen made significant progress in his three seasons with the Panthers. He saw top-six minutes last season, netting a career-best 17 goals and 26 assists for 43 points.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 9, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 9, 2023

Check out the latest on Jonathan Toews, Patrice Bergeron, Corey Perry, Jack Campbell and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

SPORTSNET: Mark Spector was asked about the Edmonton Oilers chances of signing Jonathan Toews in his latest mailbag segment. He indicated that the Oilers are among several teams keeping tabs on the former Chicago Blackhawks captain, but the 35-year-old center isn’t giving off a vibe that he wants to resume his playing career.

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews (NHL Images).

Toews has been battling long COVID-19 and several other ailments that have hampered his fitness. Spector reports the word is he won’t play in 2023-24. When Toews’ agency sent out its list of free agents, the future Hall of Famer wasn’t on their list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toews was also diagnosed with chronic immune response syndrome which sidelined him for the entire COVID-shortened 2020-21 season. His performance has steadily declined since 2019-20, tallying 37 points in 71 games in 2021-22 and 31 points in 53 games last season as he took some time off due to his ailments.

Toews has yet to issue a statement regarding his plans for his playing career. The longer he goes without signing a contract this summer, the more likely he’ll be hanging up his skates.

SPORTSNET: Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said Friday that he’s still awaiting word from Patrice Bergeron as to whether he’ll return for another season or retire. The only news from the 37-year-old Bruins captain was the recent birth of his first son.

Sweeney was asked about the condition of Bergeron’s ailing back. The GM believes that will be part of his decision-making progress.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergeron won the Selke Trophy last month as the NHL’s top defensive forward for a record sixth time. It was reported earlier this month that the Bruins are conducting their offseason business as though Bergeron and fellow center David Krejci won’t be back.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Corey Perry will be acting as a mentor to young Blackhawks such as 2023 first-overall pick Connor Bedard. The 38-year-old veteran winger signed a one-year contract with the Blackhawks following their acquisition of his rights last month from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Perry talked about how veterans such as Teemu Selanne and the Niedermayer brothers helped him during his early years with the Anaheim Ducks. He went on to play a similar role with the 2020-21 Montreal Canadiens, helping young players such as Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins shot down the notion among some Oilers fans of the club buying out the remaining years of goaltender Jack Campbell’s contract. “My information is that there is zero chance of that. None. Period.”

THE ATHLETIC: Former New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow told Kevin Kurz that he would love to return to the NHL in some capacity someday.

Snow, 53, was relieved of his duties as Isles GM in June 2018 in a five-year payout agreement with former owner Charles Wang that recently ended on July 1. He’s spent the past three seasons as head coach of the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Several current Islanders such as Mathew Barzal, Ilya Sorokin, Brock Nelson, Anders Lee, Ryan Pulock, and Adam Pelech selected by Snow during his years as Islanders GM. So were former Islanders such as John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Jared Spurgeon, Devon Toews, Anthony Beauvillier and Nino Niederreiter.

GOPHNX.COM: The Arizona Coyotes have started preliminary contract extension talks with head coach Andre Tourigny.