NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2022

Nazem Kadri spurned a more lucrative deal to sign with the Flames, the Senators signed Tyler Motte, the Blackhawks announced the date for Marian Hossa’s jersey retirement and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports Nazem Kadri is believed to have turned down an offer from a club earlier in this summer’s free-agent period that would’ve paid him $8.5 million per season. Kadri, 31, signed a seven-year deal last month with the Calgary Flames worth an average annual value of $7 million.

Calgary Flames center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

At the time, Kadri’s agent, Darren Ferris, told Flames general manager Brad Treliving that his client’s decision came down to three teams. LeBrun claims the New York Islanders were definitely interested in the former Colorado Avalanche center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to LeBrun, Kadri’s decision not to sign with the team making the bigger offer was because the fit “obviously wasn’t right for him.” He didn’t indicate which team made that offer.

LeBrun also believes that Kadri likely waited to see if Isles GM Lou Lamoriello could free up the necessary cap space to sign him.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators signed Tyler Motte to a one-year, $1.35 million contract. The 27-year-old checking-line forward split last season with the Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers, helping the latter reach the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A low-cost signing that provides more experienced depth to the Senators’ checking lines.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks announced they’ll retire Marian Hossa’s No. 81 during a ceremony on Nov. 20 prior to their game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the United Center.

Hossa will become the eighth player in franchise history to have his number retired. The Hall-of-Famer spent eight of his 19 NHL seasons with the Blackhawks, winning three Stanley Cups between 2010 and 2015.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hossa also briefly played for the Penguins in 2018, helping them reach that year’s Stanley Cup Final.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: It appears goaltender Andrew Hammond won’t be joining the Panthers on a professional tryout offer. He’s reportedly going to sign with KHL club Traktor Chelyabinsk though it hasn’t been confirmed yet. Hammond, 34, split last season with the Montreal Canadiens and New Jersey Devils.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Arizona Coyotes signed winger Alex Chiasson to a professional tryout offer. Former Boston Bruins forward Zach Senyshyn has accepted a PTO with the New Jersey Devils. The Columbus Blue Jackets signed Victor Rask to a PTO. The 29-year-old center split last season between the Minnesota Wild and Seattle Kraken.

Speaking of the Blue Jackets, THE ATHLETIC’s Aaron Portzline reported they’ve hired former NHL defenseman Roman Polak as a European-based scout.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets head equipment manager Tim Leroy is no longer with the club. He’d been in that role since their inaugural season in 2000.

TSN: Nathan Gerbe has retired as an NHL player after 11 seasons to join the Nashville Predators as their forward development coach. One of the NHL’s smallest players at 5’4”, Gerbe played 435 games with the Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets, scoring 63 goals and 151 points.

Speaking of the Predators, they’ve hired Ronda Engelhardt as a North American scout based out of Minnesota. She becomes their first female scout.

CALGARY SUN: Reports indicate the roof of the Saddledome is showing signs of deterioration with netting put up as a precaution. Meanwhile, a committee tasked with finding a replacement for the aging arena has reportedly made some progress.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A crumbling Saddledome could spur along negotiations to hammer out an agreement for a new arena.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 3, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – September 3, 2022

An update on Jakob Chychrun plus the latest Stars speculation in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

GO PHNX.COM: In his latest mailbag segment, Craig Morgan was asked if there was any truth to the rumor that Jakob Chychrun’s camp nixed a trade to the Columbus Blue Jackets earlier this summer.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

Morgan replied that he reported on that story right after the draft. “I had multiple sources tell me that was the case, but a Columbus source denied it.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Columbus Dispatch’s Brian Hedger on July 5 that the Coyotes and Jackets were discussing a Chychrun deal.

Heading into the 2022 NHL Draft on July 7 and 8, the Jackets held the sixth and 12th overall selections. Hedger indicated general manager Jarmo Kekalainen was willing to shop the latter pick for a young NHL player with term remaining on their contract.

Kekalainen ultimately retained that selection and chose defenseman Denton Mateychuk. Perhaps it was because Chychrun didn’t want to go to Columbus. Maybe it was because the two sides simply couldn’t reach an agreement on a deal. Whatever the reason, Chychrun remains with the Coyotes.

Chychrun lacks no-trade protection for the coming season. The Coyotes could’ve traded him to the Jackets without his consent. Perhaps they wanted to do right by him by sending him to a club of his choosing.

Recent speculation had the Ottawa Senators interested in Chychrun. However, they reportedly balked at the Coyotes’ asking price, believed to be two first-round picks and a top prospect.

THE ATHLETIC: In his recent mailbag segment, Saad Yousuf was asked if the Dallas Stars were making any efforts to acquire a right-side defenseman to allow Miro Heiskanen to play on his strong side. The departure of John Klingberg via free agency leaves a void on the right side of their blueline.

Yousef indicated the Stars are aware they need immediate help at that position. However, they have limited cap space with Jason Robertson to re-sign. Their efforts to address it should pick up whenever it becomes feasible.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yousef also wrote this before the Stars re-signed goaltender Jake Oettinger. With around $6.3 million in cap space and Robertson still to sign, they cannot afford to pursue a right-shot defenseman right now.

That doesn’t mean they can’t try a dollar-in, dollar-out trade. However, it could provide difficult, especially when we don’t know what Robertson’s salary will be.

Yousuf was also asked why the Stars haven’t traded Radek Faksa yet. He explained that the 28-year-old forward wouldn’t be easy to move given his declining play and $3.5 million average annual value through 2024-25.

Such a move could also involve salary retention or adding a draft pick as a sweetener. Yousuf said the Stars have decided they are better off with Faksa in the lineup and are hoping he’ll improve under the new coaching staff.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 2, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 2, 2022

The Stars sign Jake Oettinger to a three-year contract, an update on the Canadiens’ contract talks with Kirby Dach, Rangers defenseman Nil Lundkvist requests a trade, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars signed Jake Oettinger to a three-year contract worth $4 million annually. The 23-year-old goaltender was a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract.

Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger (NHL Images).

Oettinger took over as their starting goaltender midway through last season. He backstopped them to the seventh game of the first round of the 2022 NHL playoffs, making a franchise-record 64 saves in a 3-2 overtime loss.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a reasonable bridge deal, giving Oettinger a well-deserved raise that doesn’t break the bank for the Stars. It also sets him up for a more lucrative new contract if he can build upon last season’s promising performance.

SPORTSNET: Eric Engels reports the Montreal Canadiens are discussing a new contract with Kirby Dach. The 21-year-old restricted free agent was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks in July. One of the options being discussed is a four-year contract with an average annual value of around $3.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dach, a third-overall pick of the Blackhawks in 2019, struggled through injury and inconsistency in his years in Chicago. However, he still has plenty of time to regain his promising form. Perhaps the move to the rebuilding Canadiens will help.

Habs management could be banking on it if they’re willing to sign him to a four-year deal. The $3.5 million wouldn’t be extravagant but it could be argued that he hasn’t earned that pay level yet.

NEW YORK POST: Multiple sources claim the Rangers are attempting to trade Nils Lundkvist. The 22-year-old defenseman informed management that he’s unlikely to report to training camp in the absence of a deal.

Rangers general manager Chris Drury is working with Claude Lemieux (Lundkvist’s agent) to find a trade to a club that will give his client an opportunity to see top-four minutes and powerplay time. It’s believed Drury is seeking a young, top-nine center who can grow within the Rangers’ organization.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report adds that Lundkvist has no issues with the Rangers. He just doesn’t see an opportunity to develop on their deep blueline.

This situation resembles Vitali Kravtsov’s standoff with the Rangers last season when he went to Russia to await a trade rather than report to their AHL affiliate. He still remains with the Rangers, however, and will try to earn a roster spot in training camp.

Time will tell if Lundkvist suffers the same fate. He could have more value in the trade market than Kravtsov given his position as a puck-moving, right-shot defenseman. Perhaps the Vancouver Canucks, Arizona Coyotes or Detroit Red Wings will be among his suitors.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Columbus Blue Jackets signed James Neal to a professional tryout offer. Neal, 34, spent most of last season with the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Neal has reached or exceeded the 20-goal plateau 10 times in his NHL career. However, his best seasons are now well behind him. This is probably his last chance to stay in the big league.

THE ATHLETIC/WINNIPEG SUN: Leah Hextall is speaking about her difficult first season calling nationally televised NHL games for ESPN. She was subjected to sexist and misogynistic threats on social media and phone messages.

The worst came from someone threatening to track her down in her hometown of Winnipeg to sexually assault and kill her. “It was that shocking, more than anything, that someone would have that much anger towards me because I was calling a hockey game,” she said. “A hockey game. I’m not saving lives here. I’m just calling a hockey game, and you were willing to threaten my physical and sexual safety?”

Despite the abuse, Hextall will be returning behind the mike this season with ESPN. She wants to inspire girls and women who hope to one day follow her path into hockey broadcasting. She also hopes hockey will bring more women into the game.

Hextall has been covering the NHL since 2012 with several major sports networks before joining ESPN’s NHL broadcast team last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I encourage everyone to read the links attached for the full details of Hextall’s story.

It’s one thing to be critical of how someone reports or broadcasts the game. I’ve faced it myself and it’s part of the job.

However, the abuse and threats Hextall faced, mainly because she’s a woman, were uncalled for and shocking. There’s no need for it at all and no one should have to face that.

I hope Hextall perseveres and becomes a role model for everyone who wants to get into the industry.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 25, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 25, 2022

The World Cup of Hockey is expected to return in 2024, the salary cap could significantly rise after 2023-24, Phil Kessel signs with the Golden Knights, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed the league and the NHL Players Association are moving forward with plans to stage the World Cup of Hockey in 2024. The intent is to hold the tournament during a 17-day window in February 2024 featuring at least eight nations with games played in North America and Europe.

Daly indicated the plan is to play a preliminary round pool in Europe and a preliminary round in North America, with the semifinals and the final held in a North American city.

There is uncertainty over Russia’s participation in the tournament. The NHL has suspended all business operations with that country over its invasion of Ukraine. That’s in alignment with the International Ice Hockey Federation suspending Russia from all international tournaments until further notice.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL’s decision not to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics due to COVID-19 concerns pretty much guaranteed a World Cup of Hockey for 2024 thanks to the extension to the collective bargaining agreement. The NHL is also expected to participate in the 2026 Olympics.

It’s interesting that the league is willing to shutter its operations in midseason for a World Cup. One of the main reasons why they stayed out of the 2018 Olympics was the supposed unhappiness among team owners over “lost revenue” from a two-week pause in February for the Olympics every four years. It’s a different story for a league-run international tournament where they get the bulk of the revenue.

ESPN.COM: Speaking of Russian players, Daly said the league isn’t anticipating that they’ll have any difficulty obtaining work visas for the coming season. Russian players reapplying for visas encountered some difficulties earlier this season. Minnesota Wild star Kirill Kaprizov was twice denied entry to the United States before successfully returning earlier this month.

Several European players played without work visas last season after the NHL worked out an exemption with the U.S. Government due to the pandemic.

SPORTSNET: Daly also believes the NHL salary cap will significantly increase following the 2023-24 season. That will be a year earlier than previous forecasts. He said revenue projections for the coming season are very solid. The salary cap rose by just $1 million to $82.5 million for 2022-23

Vegas Golden Knights sign winger Phil Kessel (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The cap was artificially set at $81.5 million for the past two seasons due to revenue losses caused by the pandemic. It is to rise by $1 million again in 2023-24 and was supposed to rise by another $1 million in 2024-25 until the players paid back their share of hockey-related revenue through escrow.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The Golden Knights signed Phil Kessel to a one-year, $1.5 million contract. The 34-year-old winger played the past three seasons with the Arizona Coyotes, netting 44 assists and 52 points last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights needed some offensive depth among their top-six wingers after trading away Max Pacioretty and Evgenii Dadonov this summer in cost-cutting moves. Kessel could end up skating alongside first-line center Jack Eichel. He also needs just eight more games to set the NHL’s Ironman record, currently held by Keith Yandle with 980 games.

NHL.COM: Timo Meier said he hasn’t held contract extension talks yet with San Jose Sharks general manager Mike Grier. The 25-year-old winger is a year away from restricted free agent status.

Meier said he’s focused on preparing for the upcoming season. He looks forward to meeting with Grier and new Sharks head coach David Quinn when he returns to San Jose for training camp next month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Re-signing Meier should be Grier’s priority if he’s retooling the roster rather than rebuilding it. The winger enjoyed a career-best performance last season with 35 goals and 76 points in 77 games.

Meier’s earning an annual average value of $6 million but his actual salary is $10 million. That’s what it will cost the Sharks to qualify his rights next summer unless the two sides can reach an agreement on a new contract at an AAV below $10 million before then.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Alexandre Texier will not be joining the Blue Jackets for the coming season as per the advice of the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program. He will not be paid his $1.525 million NHL salary for 2022-23 and it won’t count against the club’s salary cap. Texier will be permitted to sign a one-year contract with a European team for this season.

Texier was granted an indefinite leave of absence from the Blue Jackets last March after being sidelined by a fractured finger in January. In a statement, he indicated that he’s experienced personal issues and challenges that require him to be close to his family. He expressed his appreciation to the Blue Jackets and their fans for their support and empathy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Texier receives the help he needs and can maintain his playing career either in the NHL or in Europe.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders defenseman Sebastian Aho was arrested on Aug. 13 in Sweden for drunk driving and had his license suspended as a result. Aho blew .03 on the breathalyzer, putting him over the .02 limit. He was fined 40,000 Swedish Krona.

The incident occurred at 10:30 am after Aho and his wife had visited friends the night before. His agent, Claude Lemieux, said his client was surprised he was still over the limit by the next morning and is very sorry about the mistake.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 4, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 4, 2022

The 2022-23 preseason schedule is released, the Devils avoid arbitration with Jesper Bratt, the Oilers re-sign Kailer Yamamoto, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The league released its 2022-23 preseason schedule. It begins on Saturday, Sept. 24 featuring the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs facing off in a split-squad doubleheader in Toronto.

On Oct. 3, the Nashville Predators will face SC Bern in Bern, Switzerland on Oct. 3 while the San Jose Sharks take on Eisbaren Berlin in Berlin, Germany, on Oct. 4 as part of the 2022 NHL Global Series. The Predators and Sharks will meet to play their regular-season openers on Oct. 7-8 in Prague, Czechia.

Twillingate, NL and Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick will be hosting Kraft Hockeyville games between the Senators and Montreal Canadiens on Oct. 6 and 8 respectively.

New Jersey Devils winger Jesper Bratt (NHL Images).

The regular season opens in North America on Oct. 11.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils and Jesper Bratt avoided arbitration at the last minute by agreeing to a one-year, $5.45 million contract. Bratt, 24, was asking for $6.5 million while the Devils sought $4.15 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bratt will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights again next summer. He tallied a career-high 73 points in 76 games last season. Another season with comparable numbers will put him in line for a more lucrative deal.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers re-signed winger Kailer Yamamoto to a two-year contract worth an average annual value of $3.1 million. Yamamoto was scheduled for arbitration on Aug. 7.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yamamoto’s getting a significant raise over the $1.175 million he earned last season. The 23-year-old two-way winger netted career highs with 20 goals, 21 assists and 41 points last season.

The move puts the Oilers above the $82.5 million salary cap by just over $6 million. They can exceed the cap by 10 percent during the offseason and are expected to place sidelined players Mike Smith and Oscar Klefbom ($6.3 million combined salary) on long-term injury reserve to be cap compliant to start the season. However, they still have Ryan McLeod to re-sign and that could force them to shed a salary via trade or waivers.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets re-signed forward Emil Bemstrom to a two-year, $1.8 million contract.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche signed former Boston Bruins forward Anton Blidh to a one-year, two-way contract worth $750K at the NHL level.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Calgary Wranglers have been unveiled as the Flames’ new AHL affiliate. They were the Stockton Heat from 2015 to 2022.

NHL.COM: The Seattle Kraken hired Jeff Tambellini as their director of player development.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 25, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 25, 2022

Check out the latest on Pierre-Luc Dubois and Kaapo Kakko in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE LATEST ON DUBOIS

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports Pierre-Luc Dubois’ desire to one day play for the Montreal Canadiens is hardly new. “Twice now he’s gone into a summer wanting (expecting?) an offer sheet from the Canadiens to help expedite his path to his preferred city,” he writes.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images).

Portzline pointed out Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen traded defensemen Ryan Murray and Markus Nutivaara the night before free agency two summers ago. He suggests Kekalainen made those moves to clear cap space to thwart any attempt by the Canadiens to sign Dubois to an offer sheet.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So Dubois’ desire to join the Canadiens apparently goes back to his days with the Blue Jackets. It was rumored in January 2021 that former Habs GM Marc Bergevin attempted to acquire Dubois before the Jackets shipped him to the Winnipeg Jets.

The Dubois-to-Montreal trade chatter has been ongoing for weeks during this offseason. There were reports the Canadiens and Jets discussed a trade that was rumored to go down at the draft in Montreal earlier this month. However, that deal failed to materialize.

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks recently joked about the possibility of Dubois and Jonathan Huberdeau being on the Canadiens’ first line in 2024-25. Huberdeau is a year away from UFA and was recently traded by the Florida Panthers to the Calgary Flames.

We’ll learn by next summer whether Huberdeau will remain with the Flames. As for Dubois, he might have to wait until his UFA eligibility in 2024 to sign with the Canadiens. The Jets have justifiably set a high asking price in the trade market. His desire to go to Montreal will also dampen interest from other clubs.

WHY NO OFFER SHEET FOR KAKKO?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports there is no indication Kaapo Kakko and his agent have solicited interest from other clubs to tender the New York Rangers winger an offer sheet.

That’s good news for the Rangers that no one is trying to take advantage of their cap limitations by attempting to sign away Kakko. However, Brooks wonders why no other club believes the 21-year-old winger is worth the approximately $4 million a year it could take to sign him away from the Blueshirts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks suggests the reasons could be rival general managers could be sticking to business as usual with their unwillingness to go the offer sheet route, or perhaps Kakko’s intent to stay in New York. Perhaps the simple answer is other general managers looked at Kakko’s limited body of work and decided he’s not worth it.