NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 23, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 23, 2022

Zdeno Chara reaches a milestone, the Predators drop the Panthers, Patrik Laine extends his points streak as his Blue Jackets upset the Leafs, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Zdeno Chara tied Chris Chelios for most games played by an NHL defenseman (1,651) as his New York Islanders sunk the Seattle Kraken 5-2. Zach Parise scored two goals and collected an assist for the Islanders while Chara collected an assist while logging 20:15 of ice time. The Kraken has dropped five straight games.

New York Islanders defenseman Zdeno Chara (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chara can break the record when the Islanders face off against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday.

The Nashville Predators scored three straight third-period goals to overcome a 4-3 deficit and defeat the Florida Panthers 6-4, snapping the latter’s nine-game home winning streak. Tanner Jeannot scored twice, Filip Forsberg had a goal and two assists and Roman Josi netted a goal and picked up an assist as the Predators (62 points) hold a three-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings for the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Jonathan Huberdeau and Sam Reinhart each finished the night with two points for the Panthers, who sit atop the Eastern Conference with 75 points.

Patrik Laine scored twice, including the game-winner in overtime, to extend his points streak to 10 games as the Columbus Blue Jackets upset the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3. Auston Matthews had a goal and two assists for the Leafs, who are 0-2-1 in their last three contests but remain in third place in the Atlantic Division with 68 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers are raising concerns about the Leafs’ goaltending as Jack Campbell and Petr Mrazek gave up 15 goals over the last three games. However, they haven’t been helped by their teammates’ sloppy defensive play around their net. It’s an ongoing issue that could get worse with Jake Muzzin in concussion protocol for the second time this season. That’s sparking speculation the Leafs could go shopping for help if Muzzin ends up on long-term injury reserve. I’ll have more about that in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington made 25 saves for his first win since Jan. 9 as he backstopped his club to a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Ivan Barbashev had a goal and an assist and Vladimir Tarasenko potted the winning goal. With 66 points, the Blues moved one point ahead of the Minnesota Wild into second place in the Central Division.

Speaking of the Wild, they were upset by the Ottawa Senators 4-3. Thomas Chabot scored twice for the Senators (including the winning goal) and collected an assist while Anton Forsberg got the win with a 40-save performance.

A shootout goal by Trevor Zegras lifted the Anaheim Ducks over the San Jose Sharks 4-3. Rickard Rakell scored twice, including the game-tying goal, as the Ducks sit just outside the final Western Conference wild-card spot with 59 points. Brent Burns had a three-point performance and Logan Couture scored twice for the Sharks, who sit nine points behind the Ducks and Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keep an eye on the Sharks as the trade deadline approaches if they don’t gain any ground in the playoff chase. They’re getting closer to becoming sellers and that will stoke rumors over the fate of pending free agent center Tomas Hertl’s future in San Jose.

HEADLINES

TSN: Arizona Coyotes winger Andrew Ladd will miss the next four-to-six weeks with a lower-body injury.

NHL.COM: Speaking of the Coyotes, they made a minor trade with the Boston Bruins by shipping them the rights to college defenseman Michael Callahan in exchange for a seventh-round pick in 2024.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong has been busy in the trade market. This was the third trade he’s made since Feb. 19, acquiring Nick Ritchie from the Leafs and also shipping goalie Carter Hutton to Toronto.

THE ATHLETIC: Former Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray has reportedly joined the Calgary Flames as a scout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray resigned from the Ducks last fall amid reports he’d mistreated his employees. He indicated at the time of his resignation that he was entering an alcohol abuse program. Here’s hoping he got the help he needed and gets his career back on track.

CBS SPORTS: The Philadelphia Flyers placed forward Derick Brassard (hip) on injured reserve.

Nashville Predators defenseman Mark Borowiecki is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Former Red Wings defenseman Vladimir Konstantinov has joined opponents of Michigan’s 2019 auto no-fault insurance law in criticizing a fee cut that would slash payments to medical providers almost in half. Konstantinov was left permanently disabled following a limousine crash in 1997. He stands to lose the round-the-clock care he’s received at home for near 25 years.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 16, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 16, 2022

Milestone performances for Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby tallied his 500th career NHL goal while teammate Kris Letang scored in overtime in a 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Crosby joins Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin as the second active player to reach the 500-goal plateau and the second in Penguins history. Crosby and Letang finished the night with a goal and an assist as the Penguins move into second place in the Eastern Conference with 70 points.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The next active player in reach of 500 goals is Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos with 462.

Speaking of Ovechkin, he scored twice in a 4-1 victory over the Nashville Predators to reach the 30-goal mark for the 16th time in his career, sitting second to Hall-of-Famer Mike Gartner (17 seasons). Capitals coach Peter Laviolette picked up his 700th career win as the Capitals (63 points) opened a five-point lead over the Boston Bruins for the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. With 60 points, the Predators dropped to the first Western Conference wild-card berth.

Meanwhile, the Bruins dropped a 2-1 decision to the New York Rangers as K’Andre Miller netted the winner in the ninth round of the shootout. Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin made 31 saves in regulation and overtime as his club sits third in the Metropolitan Division with 66 points.

The Tampa Bay Lightning scored five straight goals to overcome a 3-1 deficit and down the New Jersey Devils 6-3. Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman, Pat Maroon and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare each had a goal and an assist for the Lightning, who take over first place in the Eastern Conference with 70 points due to a game in hand over the Penguins. Devils rookie Dawson Mercer had a goal and two assists.

Joe Pavelski scored twice and set up two others to lead the Dallas Stars over the Colorado Avalanche 4-1, snapping the latter’s 19-game points streak. Teammate Tyler Seguin had a goal and two assists as the Stars (54 points) moved within one point of the final Western Conference wild-card spot. The Avalanche, meanwhile, remains atop the overall standings with 72 points.

Speaking of that wild-card berth, the Los Angeles Kings dropped into that spot after falling 5-2 to the Edmonton Oilers. Connor McDavid and Evander Kane each had a goal and an assist while teammate Kailer Yamamoto netted the winning goal by snapping a 2-2 tie. Both teams have 55 points but the Oilers moved into third place in the Pacific Division with a game in hand. The Oilers have won three straight under new head coach Jay Woodcroft.

Tyler Toffoli scored in his first game with the Calgary Flames in a 6-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Flames acquired Toffoli on Monday. Elias Lindholm had a goal and an assist as Calgary has won seven straight to take over first place in the Pacific Division with 60 points.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice and collected an assist to beat the Ottawa Senators 5-2. Robert Thomas had a goal and two assists while Pavel Buchnevich picked up three assists. The Blues hold third place in the Central Division with 61 points.

The Buffalo Sabres got two goals by Victor Olofsson in a 6-3 win over the New York Islanders. Alex Tuch and Peyton Krebs each had two points for the Sabres. Kyle Palmieri scored twice for the Islanders.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen was placed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

THE SCORE: Ottawa Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot missed Tuesday’s game against the Blues as he remains sore from a hit by Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson on Sunday.

TSN: The Nashville Predators signed defenseman Mark Borowiecki to a one-year, $900K contract extension.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks will return to full capacity at Rogers Arena on Saturday against the Anaheim Ducks as provincial indoor restrictions are eased this week.










List of Notable NHL UFA Signings – October 9, 2020

List of Notable NHL UFA Signings – October 9, 2020

8:30 pm ET: St. Louis Blues sign Torey Krug to a seven-year, $45.5 million contract.

7 pm ET: Toronto Maple Leafs sign T.J. Brodie to a four-year contract ($5 million AAV).

4 pm to 5 pm ET: Calgary Flames sign Jacob Markstrom to a six-year, $36-million contract.

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3 pm to 4 pm ET: Anaheim Ducks sign Kevin Shattenkirk to a three-year contract ($3.9 million AAV)

Washington Capitals sign defenseman Justin Schultz to a two-year, $8 million contract.

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2 pm to 3 pm ET: Florida Panthers sign Alexander Wennberg to a one-year $2.25 million contract.

New York Rangers sign Jack Johnson to a one-year, $1-million contract.

Nashville Predators sign Mark Borowiecki to a two-year, $4-million contract.

In other contract news, the Ottawa Senators sign Matt Murray to a four-year contract with an annual average value of $6.25 million. The Senators acquired Murray, a restricted free agent, on Wednesday from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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1 pm to 2 pm ET: Vancouver Canucks sign Braden Holtby to a two-year deal ($4.3 million AAV)

Minnesota Wild sign goaltender Cam Talbot to a three-year, $11-million contract.

Dallas Stars sign Anton Khudobin to a three-year contract ($3.5 million AAV)

Edmonton Oilers sign center Kyle Turris to a two-year contract ($1.65 million AAV)

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12 pm to 1 pm ET:  Washington Capitals sign goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to a one-year, $1.5 million contract.

Toronto Maple Leafs sign winger Wayne Simmonds to a one-year, $1.5-million contract with a full no-movement clause.

Detroit Red Wings sign winger Bobby Ryan to a one-year, $1-million contract.

Winger Pat Maroon (two years, $900K AAV) and defenseman Luke Schenn (one year, $800K) are returning with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Florida Panthers sign defenseman Radko Gudas to a three-year contract ($2.5 million AAV).

In other news, the Tampa Bay Lightning placed winger Tyler Johnson on waivers. He has four years remaining on his contract with a $5 million annual cap hit and a full no-trade clause.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson will remain with the Arizona Coyotes. His deadline to be traded to either Boston or Vancouver came and went without a deal.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 12, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – September 12, 2020

The latest on the Leafs, Canucks and Blues in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LEAFS

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reports the Maple Leafs haven’t been actively shopping goaltender Frederik Andersen, but it behooves general manager Kyle Dubas to listen to offers. A high number of goalies potentially available via the trade and free-agent markets could affect Dubas’ final decision on Andersen. Koshan expects Andersen will still be a Leaf when next season opens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So do I unless Dubas can find a replacement who’s as good or better than Andersen.

Michael Traikos believes the Leafs shouldn’t waste their time pursuing an expensive defenseman such as St. Louis’ Alex Pietrangelo. Instead, he suggests signing a more affordable physical option like Mark Borowiecki, who’s heading to the free-agent market after several seasons with the Ottawa Senators. While Borowiecki isn’t the right-shot blueliner the Leafs seek, he would add a much-needed element of toughness to their roster.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Dubas can’t find that top-pairing right-side rearguard, he might be forced to consider one or two affordable depth alternatives. Someone like Borowiecki could be among those options depending on how much cap space Dubas can free up.

SPORTSNET: Florida’s Aaron Ekblad, Minnesota’s Matt Dumba, St. Louis’ Colton Parayko, Buffalo’s Rasmus Ristolainen and Vancouver’s Troy Stecher are among Luke Fox’s list of 15 intriguing blueline trade targets for the Leafs.

Anaheim’s Josh Manson, Carolina’s Brett Pesce, Arizona’s Niklas Hjalmarsson, Columbus’ David Savard and Minnesota’s Jonas Brodin are also on Fox’s list. The remainder includes Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm, Chicago’s Connor Murphy, Florida’s MacKenzie Weegar and Edmonton’s Adam Larsson and Matt Benning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt Ekblad, Dumba, Parayko and Pesce are available. Ristolainen was rumored to be on the trade block a year ago but Sabres coach Ralph Krueger loves his game so he’s probably off the market. Manson’s a possibility but the Ducks will want a good scoring forward (preferably a center) in return. Ditto the Wild with Brodin and the Blue Jackets with Savard. 

The Coyotes could try to move Hjalmarsson in a cost-cutting deal provided he waives his no-movement clause. The asking price for Ekholm could also be a scoring forward. Stecher is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights and could hit the trade block if the Canucks can’t afford to re-sign him.

Larsson, Benning and Murphy have surfaced in offseason trade chatter. The Panthers could cut some payroll but I think they want to re-sign Weegar.

Rory Boylen, meanwhile, wondered if Dubas might flip his recently-acquired first-round pick (15th overall) to upgrade the defense corps, seek out further salary-slicing deals that would involve moving a mid-level contract like Alexander Kerfoot ($3.5 million), Andreas Johnsson ($3.4 million) and Pierre Engvall ($1.2 million), or explore options for Andersen’s replacement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I won’t be surprised if Dubas flips that first-rounder in a deal for a top-four defenseman. They want to win right now and already have enough youth on the roster.

CANUCKS

SPORTSNET: Iain MacIntyre reports Tyler Toffoli’s willingness to re-sign with the Vancouver Canucks creates another salary-cap headache for GM Jim Benning. Toffoli, 28, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on Oct. 9, along with goaltender Jacob Markstrom and defenseman Chris Tanev. Toffoli earned an annual average value of $4.6 million on his current contract and his next deal could be worth between $5-$6 million annually.

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston reports Tanev also wants to re-sign with the Canucks. Unless the club can free up some salary-cap space, keeping the 30-year-old defenseman won’t be easy. Benning remains hopeful of re-signing the long-time Canucks blueliner. Johnston urges caution, pointing out a decade of wear-and-tear have taken a tool upon Tanev’s performance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johnston points out the Canucks have $15 million in cap space. Unless Benning can shed a salary or two, there won’t be enough room to re-sign Markstrom, Toffoli and Tanev. Even then, Tanev would be the odd man out. The combined cost of re-signing Markstrom and Toffoli could be at least $11 million.

Toffoli won’t lack for suitors if he hits the open market. In a recent mailbag segment, The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz suggests he’d be a good target for the San Jose Sharks.

BLUES

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment, Jeremy Rutherford reported a source claimed the St. Louis Blues offered Alex Pietrangelo a five-year deal worth close to $7 million than $8 million annually. It’s believed the 30-year-old defenseman isn’t happy with the offers he’s received.

It’s believed Pietrangelo could settle for something between $8-$9 million. Rutherford expects negotiations to continue, but sources say if Pietrangelo’s wife wasn’t from St. Louis and they hadn’t started their family there he might’ve already told the Blues he’s moving on.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Pietrangelo won’t come down from his asking price the Blues must shed more salary to re-sign him or bid him farewell. Plenty of time remains until the free-agent market opens on Oct. 9 to hammer out an agreement.

Rutherford acknowledged the trade chatter about Vince Dunn, but he believes the Blues want to keep him. He’s a restricted free agent without arbitration rights, giving the club control over his contract. Barring a holdout, they could re-sign him for next season between $2.5 – $3 million. Maybe they trade him if they cannot re-sign him beyond 2020-21.

Rutherford also expects the Blues will do everything they can to re-sign winger Jaden Schwartz, but if Pietrangelo re-signs, he could become a cap casualty. He’s got a year left on his contract with an AAV of $5.35 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rutherford also touched on the possibility of the Blues getting $7.5 million in cap relief next season if Vladimir Tarasenko is on long-term injury reserve throughout the season. He’s projected for reevaluation of his surgically-repaired shoulder in December or January, but could be sidelined longer. Right now, there’s no certainty he’ll be out for the entire season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 11, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 11, 2020

The Stars regain the lead in the Western Conference Final, Sean Couturier wins the Selke Trophy, and updates on Alex Killorn, Brayden Point and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Alexander Radulov scored 31 seconds into overtime as the Dallas Stars edged the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final. The Stars hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Stars captain Jamie Benn had a goal and an assist while Anton Khudobin made 38 saves for the win. Mark Stone had two points for the Golden Knights, including the game-tying goal that forced overtime. Game 4 of the series is Saturday at 8 pm ET.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All of the scoring came in the third period, with the Golden Knights out-shooting the Stars 18-4 thanks to three power-play opportunities. Khudobin was outstanding for Dallas while Stars coach Rick Bowness’ decision to reunite Benn, Radulov and Tyler Seguin on the top line provided a much-needed boost to their offense.

Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier is this year’s winner of the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Couturier for a long-overdue recognition of his place among the league’s best defensive forwards. He’s the first Flyer to win the Selke since Dave Poulin in 1986-87.

The NHL Department of Player Safety suspended Tampa Bay Lightning winger Alex Killorn for one game for boarding New York Islanders center Brock Nelson in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final.

The Lightning could also be without their leading scorer for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final. Center Brayden Point left Game 2 with an undisclosed injury and might not dress for tonight’s contest with the Isles.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning coped without Killorn and Point for most of Game 2. It will be a bigger challenge offsetting their absences for the entirety of Game 3.

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports 17 NHL teams have slashed expenditures and reduced payroll amid a COVID-19 crunch. That includes Original Six teams like the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks.

Of the seven Canadian teams, only the Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t yet reduced the pay of staff members, including team presidents, coaches and general managers. The Ottawa Senators’ coaching staff received relief from the league after having their pay cut by 50 percent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Seravalli points out, the teams are doing this because there’s been no meaningful revenue coming in since mid-March and none on the immediate horizon. He also anticipates those cuts will affect free agency and salary-cap payrolls.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki will test the free-agent market.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues re-signed forward Jacob de la Rose to a one-year, one-way contract worth $700K.

TSN: The Edmonton Oilers signed forward Adam Cracknell to a one-year, two-way contract.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes signed a three-year agreement with the Chicago Wolves to be their new AHL affiliate.

NHL.COM: The Charlotte Checkers (the Hurricanes’ former AHL farm club) signed a multi-year affiliation deal with the Florida Panthers.

CBS SPORTS: Former Colorado Avalanche defenseman Mark Barberio signed a three-year contract with Lausanne HC of Switzerland’s National League.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 10, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 10, 2020

Update on the NHL’s plans to resume the season if possible, plus the latest on Colby Cave, Dougie Hamilton and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: While NHL commissioner Gary Bettman recently acknowledged the possibility of the league having to scrap the rest of the regular-season schedule, Pierre LeBrun reports the priority remains to hold regular-season contests before the playoffs. “Whether that’s 82 (games) – probably not – 78, 76, 74, all possibilities mentioned on that call,” said LeBrun.

Darren Dreger reported a flash poll of NHL general managers found 20 GMs supported a best-of-five series from the opening round through the Conference Finals, but they’d still want a best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most NHL fans and pundits (including myself) believe this season is likely over in its entirety. I daresay those at NHL headquarters and the brain trust at the NHL Players Association understands this could happen.

But as I’ve frequently pointed out, as long as there’s a chance to salvage part of this season to recoup some of their lost revenue and crown a Stanley Cup champion, the league and the PA – with the full blessing of the team owners and the players – will consider every option.

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski reports Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell said his club is looking into staging home games that would include a limited number of fans should the regular-season resume later this year. Waddell indicated it’s part of several options the club is exploring, including returning with no fans in the building.

Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes probably aren’t the only NHL club considering such choices.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell wonders what the NHL will do about this season’s conditional trades if the season prematurely ends and those conditions can’t be met.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Plenty of speculation and suggestions from some in the media, but the league insists it’s too early to address that issue. Nevertheless, I expect that will become a larger issue if it becomes apparent the rest of the season could be canceled.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Santa Clara County executive officer Dr. Jeffrey Smith recently told the county’s Board of Supervisors he didn’t expect sports to resume until at least the American Thanksgiving weekend in November. That would mean no games for the San Jose Sharks and the NFL’s San Francisco ’49ers, among others.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If that turns out to be the case, kiss the 2019-20 NHL season goodbye.

SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers forward Colby Cave remains in a medically induced coma following surgery on Tuesday to remove a colloid cyst that was causing pressure on his brain.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Cave pulls through and makes a complete recovery.

Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton would be ready to play if the NHL seasons resumes later this year. Hamilton suffered a broken left leg in January.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki said he expects to be able to play his club’s remaining regular-season games if the schedule should resume. He was sidelined by an ankle injury when the league went on hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Rather than return to the Oilers, forward Anton Slepyshev re-signed a two-year deal with the KHL’s CSKA Moscow.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Journal’s Jim Matheson speculated the Oilers were offering up a one-year deal. Looks like Shepyshev wants the security of a multi-year deal. He also probably received more money to stay in Moscow than he would’ve got from the Oilers.

NBC SPORTS: After adopting the ’80s hit “Gloria” as a theme song last season, the St. Louis Blues players have opted this year for the Eddie Murphy tune “Party All The Time.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can bet that’s what they’ll do if they repeat as Stanley Cup champions.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Former Blackhawks captain Pat Stapleton suffered a stroke on Wednesday and passed away at the age of 79. “Whitey”, as he was nicknamed, spent eight seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks from 1965-66 to 1972-73, and was a member of Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union. He also spent five seasons in the WHA. In 10 NHL seasons, Stapleton tallied 43 goals and 337 points in 635 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Stapleton’s family, friends, and former teammates.