NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 17, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 17, 2022

Golden Knights fire head coach Pete DeBoer, Patrice Bergeron sheds light on his future, Mitch Marner was the victim of a carjacking, Islanders name Lane Lambert as their new coach & more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights fired head coach Pete DeBoer on Monday after less than three seasons in the role. The decision comes after the club failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

Former Vegas Golden Knights coach Pete DeBoer (NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Critics suggest DeBoer was made the fall guy for the club’s inability to clinch a postseason berth. He had a number of his core players sidelined by injuries this season as well as management’s inability to suitably address that problem because of limited salary-cap space. The club’s messy split with goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury last summer was also a factor, as was the cost of acquiring Jack Eichel and his late addition to the lineup due to his recovery from neck surgery.

Speculation has already started over DeBoer’s potential replacement. Former NHL coaches such as Barry Trotz, Paul Maurice and Joel Quenneville have been mentioned, though the latter would require the approval of league commissioner Gary Bettman due to his role in the Kyle Beach scandal.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron shot down rumors he could sign with the Montreal Canadiens as a free agent in July. He indicated he’ll either re-sign with the Bruins or retire.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That rumor was fueled in part by NBC Sports Boston analyst Tony Amonte claiming Bergeron grew up as a Canadiens fan, as well as pointing out his former agent was now the Habs general manager. In fact, Bergeron grew up as a Nordiques fan plus the Canadiens’ limited cap space would’ve made it almost impossible to sign him even if they wanted to.

I believe the Bruins will bring back Bergeron for at least another season. The 36-year-old remains among the NHL’s elite two-way centers and his departure would leave the Bruins quite thin at that position.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs star Mitch Marner was the victim of a carjacking at gunpoint in Etobicoke on Monday evening. Three suspects armed with two handguns and a knife robbed Marner of his black Range Rover at the Cineplex Theatre on The Queensway.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marner and his friend were shaken up but unhurt in the incident and didn’t have guns pointed at them. The suspects apparently didn’t know who he was and were only interested in the vehicle.

TSN: The New York Islanders announced Lane Lambert has been named their new head coach. He served as an associate coach under former bench boss Barry Trotz for the past four seasons.

NHL.COM: New York Islanders defenseman Zdeno Chara, Philadelphia Flyers center Kevin Hayes and Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price for this season’s finalists for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.

THE ATHLETIC: Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point is “highly doubtful” for Game 1 of the second-round series with the Florida Panthers. Point appeared to injure his right leg during Game 7 of their first-round series with the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, he could potentially return later in the second round.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers forward Barclay Goodrow might return at some point during their upcoming second-round series with the Carolina Hurricanes. Goodrow is believed to have fractured his foot or ankle in Game 1 of their first-round series with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

SPORTSNET: Golden Knights captain Mark Stone will likely undergo back surgery on Wednesday. He’s expected to be available for the start of training camp in September.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba confirmed the upper-body injury that sidelined him for 12 games in April was a punctured lung and a dislocated rib. He returned for their first-round series against the St. Louis Blues but admitted being less than 100 percent in that series. The Wild were eliminated by the Blues in six games.

THE ATHLETIC: Los Angeles Kings winger Viktor Arvidsson will undergo surgery on Tuesday to repair a herniated disc. The injury kept him out of the Kings’ series with the Edmonton Oilers. They were eliminated by the Oilers in seven games.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk will undergo surgery for an injured right shoulder that nagged him most of this season.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins forward Brian Boyle underwent surgery on his left knee on Monday.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators forward Tim Stuetzle suffered an injured left leg playing for Germany against France during a World Championships game on Monday. He left the game and there’s no word yet as to the severity of the injury.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 15, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 15, 2022

What next for the Leafs, Bruins and Kings following their first-round playoff exits? Check out the latest in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

ARE CHANGES COMING FOR THE LEAFS?

SPORTSNET: Despite another first-round playoff exit by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Elliotte Friedman didn’t think there needs to be a shakeup in the front office, behind the bench or on the roster. He cited their fourth-overall Eastern Conference finish in the regular season and losing to the defending Stanley Cup champions by one goal in Game 7. He felt there needs to be some tweaks but no one should be fired.

Kelly Hrudey agreed that no one deserves to be fired but there must be changes on the ice. He felt the Tampa Bay Lightning were beatable but the Leafs failed to take a 3-1 series lead in Game 4 and couldn’t finish off the Lightning with a 3-2 series lead. Hrudey isn’t buying excuses such as bad calls.

Jennifer Botterill felt the Leafs did well this season. However, she believes they couldn’t adjust in certain games to find a way to win in the playoffs.

ESPN.COM: Kristen Shilton suggested a lack of killer instinct remains a problem for the Leafs. She thinks there must be changes, likely starting in the front office as team president Brendan Shanahan and general manager Kyle Dubas have to answer for yet another first-round failure.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell (NHL Images).

Turning to the roster, Shilton points out goaltender Jack Campbell is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. He’s in line for a big payday but the cap-strapped Leafs could have difficulty accommodating him. She also wondered about veteran defenseman Jake Muzzin’s status as the Leafs continue to get younger on the blueline.

TORONTO STAR: Mark Zwolinski also pointed out the Leafs have over $77 million invested in their 2022-23 roster with over $40 million going to core forwards such as Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares and William Nylander. That will complicate efforts to re-sign Campbell, who could seek maybe $12 million over three years. Other UFAs include Mark Giordano, Jason Spezza and Ilya Mikheyev.

THE ATHLETIC: Jonas Siegel is among those who believe the Leafs only need to tweak their roster for next season. He doesn’t see their core forwards being moved, though it may be time to question Tavares’ role with the club given his line’s defensive struggles. Defensemen Morgan Rielly and T.J. Brodie aren’t going anywhere.

They’ll have to find a suitable backup goalie if they bring back Campbell as expected. That would mean trying to move oft-injured Petr Mrazek and his $3.8 million cap hit over the next two years. Siegel is also curious about the 33-year-old Muzzin’s future and wondered if the Leafs will try to bring back Giordano.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shanahan, Dubas or head coach Sheldon Keefe could lose their jobs over this but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re back next season. Leafs ownership has been very patient with them and their improvement this season could give that trio one more opportunity to turn this club into a Cup contender.

I’ll be shocked if the Leafs peddle any of their core players. Their hefty contracts would make them difficult to move anyway with the salary cap only rising by $1 million for next season. Nylander is the more affordable at $6.9 million but he’s also been their most reliable playoff performer going back to last year.

The Leafs will try to bring back Campbell but I expect he’ll be seeking more than $4 million per season. Try between $5 million and $6 million annually on a five-year deal.

Even if the Leafs convince Campbell to accept $4 million per season, they must shed salary to sign restricted free agents such as Rasmus Sandin, Timothy Liljegren and Pierre Engvall. Moving Mrazek will help but they’ll need to find a suitable backup. They’ll also have to free up more space if they hope to keep Giordano.

WHAT NEXT FOR BERGERON AND THE BRUINS?

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss reports Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron wasn’t ready to discuss his future during his post-game press conference following his club’s first-round elimination by the Carolina Hurricanes. The 36-year-old center is slated to become a UFA in July but said it was too early to talk about it following a heartbreaking end to the season.

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said he didn’t know which way Bergeron was leaning regarding his future. He said everyone on the team wants him back.

Goss points out a potential departure by Bergeron would create a huge hole at center for the Bruins, leaving Charlie Coyle and Erik Haula as their top-two centers. There aren’t a plethora of potential replacements via free agency or within the organization while the club lacks sufficient assets to use as trade bait to address that issue.

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa considers getting an answer on Bergeron’s future as the club’s top priority. He also believes they must make a decision on Jake DeBrusk’s trade request, which he didn’t withdraw despite signing a two-year contract extension in March. They could also shop a left-shot defenseman like Matt Grzelcyk, who became the odd man out during the playoffs.

ESPN.COM: Kristen Shilton also believes the Bruins need a decision on Bergeron’s fate and DeBrusk’s trade request. She also felt they need to improve their scoring depth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergeron’s status and DeBrusk’s trade request will be the dominant issues for the Bruins. His return will buy some time to start building up their depth at center. Perhaps trading DeBrusk, who’s signed through 2023-24 at $4 million per season, could address that issue.

WHAT IN STORE FOR THE KINGS?

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski wondered if Los Angeles Kings GM Rob Blake will be aggressive in adding to his roster this summer as he was when he brought in Phillip Danault and Viktor Arvidsson last summer. He mused over whether Blake will revisit his interest in Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun.

The Kings will have over $20 million in salary-cap space with Dustin Brown’s contract coming off their books. However, they only have 14 players under contract for next season with Adrian Kempe, Gabe Vilardi, Carl Grundstrom and Sean Durzi among their restricted free agents.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blake must give priority to his key RFAs as well as re-sign or replace UFAs like Andreas Athanasiou and Alex Edler. Depending on how those negotiations go, he might have enough room to make another significant veteran acquisition.

Chychrun and his $4.6 million annual cap hit through 2024-25 would be an affordable pickup cap-wise. However, the Coyotes seek a significant return including high draft picks and top prospects.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 15, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 15, 2022

The Lightning, Oilers and Hurricanes advance to the second round. Check out the recaps of Saturday’s action in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs with a 2-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 of their first-round series. Nick Paul tallied both goals and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 30 saves for the Lightning as they took the series four games to three. Morgan Rielly replied for the Maple Leafs.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a well-earned victory for the Lightning as they continue their quest to become the first team to win three consecutive Stanley Cups since the 1982 New York Islanders. Vasilevskiy seemed ordinary through most of this series but he stepped up in Game 7. With their best scorers neutralized, the Bolts got timely goals from Paul, a depth player acquired from the Ottawa Senators at the trade deadline.

It was a costly win for the Lightning, however, as Braydon Point suffered a leg injury late in the first period and spent the remainder of the game on the bench. No word yet as to whether he’ll be sidelined for their upcoming series against the Florida Panthers but it would be a significant loss for the Bolts if he is.

As for the Leafs, their postseason series drought is now at 18 years. This disappointing loss, however, is unlike this current group’s previous ones. In 2017, 2018 and 2019, they were a young team on the rise going up against better, more experienced opponents in the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins. They underachieved against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2020 playoff bubble while overconfidence cost them last year against the Montreal Canadiens.

This time, the Leafs pushed the defending Stanley Cup champions to the limit with their best players performing well. It was a very entertaining series but the Leafs failed to put the Lightning away in this contest and in Game 6 when they held a 3-2 series lead.

There were calls last year from fans and pundits for the Leafs to make big changes following their stunning collapse against the Canadiens. The front office ignored those cries and focused instead on building up around the core. It’ll be interesting to see what they do this time. I’ll have more in the Sunday NHL rumor mill.

Connor McDavid had a goal and an assist while Mike Smith kicked out 29 shots to shut out the Los Angeles Kings 2-0 in Game 7 of their first-round series. Cody Ceci also scored for the Oilers, who will face off against the Calgary Flames or Dallas Stars in the second round. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick made 39 saves.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers could’ve won this 6-0 if not for Quick’s outstanding goaltending. They dominated the Kings with McDavid leading the way as they advance to the second round for the first time since 2017. There were concerns before this game whether Leon Draisaitl would play following a leg injury in Game 6 but he was in the lineup and picked up an assist on the Ceci goal.

The Kings exceeded expectations in this series, pushing the favored Oilers to the limit. Their performance in this series can be used as a building block going forward. However, it marks the end of Dustin Brown’s 18-season NHL career, all of them spent with the Kings. He announced last month that he would retire following the postseason. The former Kings captain leaves as one of the best players in franchise history after leading them to two Stanley Cups in 2012 and 2014.

The Carolina Hurricanes are marching on to the second round after holding off the Boston Bruins 3-2 in Game 7 of their opening-round series. Max Domi scored twice and Antti Raanta made 27 saves in his first Game 7 appearance. Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak replied for the Bruins. Having taken this series four games to three, the Hurricanes await the winner of the New York Rangers-Pittsburgh Penguins series.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The home team won each game in this series. Raanta was the series MVP for the Hurricanes, filling in for sidelined starter Frederik Andersen and shaking off an injury suffered in Game 2. The Hurricanes got clutch scoring from a trade deadline acquisition in Domi, who finished this contest with three points in what was perhaps his best performance as an NHL player.

Among the questions facing the Bruins heading into the offseason is the future of captain Patrice Bergeron. The long-time Bruins star is an unrestricted free agent this summer and remains among the league’s best two-way forwards. However, there’s speculation the 36-year-old center could retire or perhaps sign elsewhere if he and the Bruins fail to reach an agreement on a new contract. I’ll have more about that in today’s rumor mill.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 29, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 29, 2022

The Panthers win the Presidents’ Trophy, Hurricanes goalie tandem Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta win the Jennings Trophy, Dustin Brown announces his retirement following the playoffs and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers won the Presidents’ Trophy for the first time in franchise history by blanking the Ottawa Senators 4-0. With 122 points, the Panthers hold the NHL’s best record this season. Spencer Knight turned in a 27-save shutout performance while Carter Verhaeghe tallied twice.

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen (NHL Images).

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Antti Raanta kicked out 27 shots while Jesperi Kotkaniemi had a goal and two assists in a 6-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils. The Hurricanes have won six straight. Raanta and Frederik Andersen won the William M. Jennings Memorial Trophy for allowing the fewest goals (202) this season. Earlier in the week, the Hurricanes clinched first place in the Metropolitan Division. Devils winger Andreas Johnsson missed the game with a non-COVID illness.

Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser scored twice, including the overtime winner, as his club overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2. Before the game, Los Angeles winger Dustin Brown announced he’ll retire following the playoffs. The Kings clinched a playoff berth several days ago, sitting third in the Pacific Division with 99 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brown captained the Kings to two Stanley Cups in 2012 and 2014. A versatile and physical forward, he’s spent his entire 18-season career with the Kings, scored 325 goals and 387 assists for 712 points in a franchise-leading 1,296 regular-season games.

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron tallied a hat trick while Linus Ullmark stopped 37 saves to shut out the Buffalo Sabres 5-0. Bergeron also became the fourth player in franchise history to score 400 career goals. The Bruins hold the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference with 107 points.

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov’s 46th goal of the season came in overtime to snuff out the Calgary Flames 3-2. Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau scored his 40th of the season, joining teammates Matthew Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm in the 40-goal club. The Flames clinched first place in the Pacific Division earlier this week (111 points) while the Wild sit two points ahead of the third-place St. Louis Blues with 111 points. Both clubs will face each other in the opening round of the playoffs next week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gaudreau, Tkachuk and Lindholm are the first Flames trio to reach 40 goals in a season since Theo Fleury, Robert Reichel and Gary Roberts did it in 1993-94.

A shootout goal by Matt Duchene lifted the Nashville Predators to a 5-4 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Predators defensemen Roman Josi and Mattias Ekholm each had a goal and an assist while David Rittich made 42 saves for the win. The Predators (97 points) hold a one-point lead over the Dallas Stars for the first Western wild-card berth with both clubs having one game left. The Avalanche hold first overall in the Western Conference with 119 points.

The Edmonton Oilers nipped the San Jose Sharks 5-4 on an overtime goal by Zach Hyman. Edmonton captain Connor McDavid collected an assist for his league-leading 123rd point while Noah Gregor scored two goals for the Sharks. The Oilers recently clinched a playoff spot and sit second in the Pacific Division with 102 points.

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Oliver Bjorkstrand had a goal and an assist as his club upset the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2. With the loss, the Lightning (108 points) failed to clinch third place in the Atlantic Division, sitting one point ahead of the Bruins with both clubs having a game remaining.

New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal collected three assists as his club upset the Washington Capitals 5-1. The Capitals (100 points) recently clinched the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock missed this game with a non-COVID illness.

IN OTHER NEWS…

SPORTSNET: Hundreds of hockey fans, hockey personalities and journalists paid their final respects to Hockey Hall of Famer Mike Bossy yesterday during a funeral service north of Montreal. Bossy passed away from lung cancer on April 14 at age 65.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rest in peace, Mike Bossy. He was one of the greatest goal scorers in NHL history and a key part of the New York Islanders Stanley Cup dynasty from 1980 to 1983.

WINNIPEG SUN: TSN broadcaster Dennis Beyak will retire from his role as the Jets play-by-play man. He held that job since the club relocated to Winnipeg in 2011.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks hired Jeff Greenberg as their associate general manager. Greenberg, 36, is an assistant general manager with MLB’s Chicago Cubs.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 26, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – April 26, 2022

The possibility of Patrice Bergeron departing the Bruins as a free agent this summer plus the latest Sharks speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy acknowledged it seems like a given Patrice Bergeron will either sign a one-year contract with the Bruins this summer or retire as a Bruin. However, he feels there’s a slight chance the 36-year-old future hall-of-famer could test the market if the club fails to go on one more serious Stanley Cup run over the next two months.

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron (NHL Images).

Numerous sources tell Murphy that Bergeron will draw plenty of interest from other clubs if he tests the market on July 13. One of them could be the Montreal Canadiens. His former agent, Kent Hughes, is now the Canadiens’ general manager.

Murphy doesn’t expect Bergeron to “go to the dark side” by signing with the Bruins’ biggest rival. Nevertheless, he wouldn’t blame him if he decided to sign with a Stanley Cup contender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can understand a bit of nervousness among Bruins fans over Bergeron’s future. After all, long-time captain Zdeno Chara was cut loose two years ago and wound up signing with the Washington Capitals last season and the New York Islanders this season.

Chara, however, was a fading star when he and the Bruins parted ways. Bergeron may have slowed slightly but he remains among the NHL’s elite two-way forwards and the Bruins’ first-line center. I daresay management has a strong desire to keep him in the fold beyond this season.

It’ll come down to what Bergeron seeks on his next contract. If he wants a deal beyond three years in length and demands a big raise over his current $6.875 million, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney will thank him for his years of service and bid him good luck in his future endeavors. If Sweeney low-balls Bergeron with a one-year deal at a considerable pay cut, the Bruins captain will walk.

I don’t see either scenario unfolding. The two sides agreed to shelve contracts talks until the season is over. Bergeron’s made no secret of his love of being a Bruin and playing in Boston. I can see them working out a two-year deal with an annual cap hit between $5.5 million and $6 million annually.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien wonders what it’ll take for the San Jose Sharks to rebuild, rather than retool after how this season went down for them. He believes they can only blame so much on bad luck, pointing out that Pacific Division rivals such as the Vancouver Canucks and Vegas Golden Knights could be sturdier next season.

O’Brien pointed out the Sharks still missed the playoffs this season despite career years from rising stars like Timo Meier and bounce-back performances from veterans like Erik Karlsson and Logan Couture. He wondered how much of their failure to reach the postseason can be laid at the feet of head coach Bob Boughner.

Given Doug Wilson’s resignation as general manager, O’Brien speculates the only rebuild could come in the front office. They might have to shed some salary to re-sign restricted free agents like Mario Ferraro and recently-acquired goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen.

O’Brien suggested trading Meier, a restricted free agent next summer who’ll be in line for a raise over his current $6 million annual cap hit, if they wanted to jump-start a rebuild, along with attempting to move Couture and Brent Burns if they don’t want to be part of a rebuild. He also wondered if they would attempt to buy out Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As O’Brien pointed out, Sharks ownership isn’t interested in a rebuild. Whoever takes over from Wilson as general manager will have to find a way to retool the roster into a playoff contender. That could involve replacing Boughner as head coach.

Retooling the roster won’t be easy with veteran core players like Couture, Burns and Karlsson carrying expensive contracts with no-move or no-trade clauses. We can rule out the possibility of Meier hitting the trade block this summer. Buying out Vlasic will be expensive for next season ($3.687 million) and in 2024-25 ($4.187 million) and 2025-26 ($5.187 million) before dropping to a more affordable $1.687 million annually over the remaining four years.

The Sharks will have to make a cost-cutting deal or two to free up cap room for guys like Ferraro, Kahkonen and unrestricted free agent Alexander Barabanov. Fortunately, they won’t break the bank. Trade candidates could include a goalie like James Reimer or Adin Hill, winger Kevin Labanc and defenseman Radim Simek.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 22, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – April 22, 2022

Updates on Kris Letang and Patrice Bergeron plus four free agents who could use a strong finish to this season in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports there’s been ongoing talk between the Pittsburgh Penguins and defenseman Kris Letang. While Letang wants to focus on the season, there’s been more of a connection between his camp and the Penguins, though the progress has been slow.

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Letang, 34, is completing an eight-year contract worth $7.25 million per season. Earlier this year, there was talk he would seek a raise based on his strong performance this season. With 64 points in 74 games, he’s just three away from tying his personal best set in 2015-16.

The Penguins must also attempt to sign fellow UFAs Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust. Malkin, 35, has indicated he’s willing to accept a pay cut. The 29-year-old Rust is finishing a four-year, $14 million contract and will justifiably seek a raise on a long-term deal.

Letang has said he’d like to retire as a Penguin. Unless he’s willing to accept a pay cut or perhaps a modest raise on a short-term deal, he could price himself out of Pittsburgh. The Athletic’s Josh Yohe guesses Malkin stays, Letang signs with the Montreal Canadiens and Rust cashes in with his hometown Detroit Red Wings. We’ll find out by July 13 if those scenarios come to pass.

There’s been less discussion between the Boston Bruins and Patrice Bergeron but that’s by design. There’s a willingness to be patient between the two sides.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergeron and the Bruins agreed to shelve contract talks until the end of this season. I expect he wants to finish his career in Boston and the Bruins want to keep him. Their contract negotiations will start in earnest following the playoffs.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Mike Stephens believes pending free agents such as the Chicago Blackhawks’ Dylan Strome, the Vancouver Canucks’ Brock Boeser, New Jersey Devils’ P.K. Subban and Dallas Stars Alexander Radulov could benefit from a strong finish to this season.

Strome overcame a struggling start to this season to score a career-best 21 goals this season. He’s a restricted free agent and the Blackhawks could be reluctant to pay $3.6 million to qualify his rights for another year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus believes Strome faces a murky future in Chicago. However, he believes the 25-year-old forward’s solid play over the past four months could earn him a new contract with another NHL team if the Blackhawks let him walk.

The 25-year-old Boeser is also a restricted free agent. The Canucks could be unwilling to pay $7.5 million to qualify his rights given how injuries have hampered his production.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boeser was the frequent topic of trade speculation this season. Unless he’s willing to accept a pay cut to stick with the Canucks next season, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s shopped this summer regardless of his performance over his remaining games. If anything, a strong finish would burnish his value in this summer’s trade market.

Stephens acknowledges that Subban and Radulov are now past their prime. Nevertheless, he suggests the pending UFAs could have value playing sheltered minutes on bargain contracts with contenders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 32-year-old old Subban is no longer the flashy mobile defenseman that garnered him the Norris Trophy in 2013 and made him a finalist for the award in 2017. However, he could have value as Stephens suggests in a third-pairing role.

Age and injuries have caught up with the 35-year-old Radulov. I don’t dismiss the possibility he could sign with another NHL club on a cheap one-year deal. Still, I think that he’s at the point in his career where he might need a training-camp tryout next fall to earn a new contract.