NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 12, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 12, 2023

Hat-trick performances by the Oilers’ Zach Hyman and the Blues’ Brayden Schenn and Pavel Buchnevich highlight the recaps of Saturday’s action in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: A natural hat trick in the first period by Zach Hyman carried the Edmonton Oilers over the Seattle Kraken 4-1 to snap their four-game losing skid. Stuart Skinner made 17 saves for the 3-9-1 Oilers while Jaden Schwartz replied for the 5-7-3 Kraken.

Edmonton Oilers winger Zach Hyman (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were held scoreless in this contest. Kraken netminder Philipp Grubauer got the hook after giving up four goals on 17 shots.

Speaking of hat tricks, Brayden Schenn and Pavel Buchnevich each tallied three goals as the St. Louis Blues crushed the Colorado Avalanche 8-2. Robert Thomas collected four assists while Jordan Binnington stopped 36 shots as the Blues improved to 7-5-1. Mikko Rantanen and Jack Johnson replied for the Avalanche as they slipped to 8-5-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche were without forward Artturi Lehkonen as he’ll be sidelined for weeks with an upper-body injury suffered on Thursday against the Kraken.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander scored to extend his season-opening points streak to 15 games in a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Tyler Bertuzzi and Max Domi each picked up two assists while Ilya Samsonov turned aside 31 shots as they improved their record to 8-5-2. J.T. Miller and Pius Suter scored for the 10-3-1 Canucks.

An overtime goal by Kaiden Guhle lifted the Montreal Canadiens to a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins, ending a 10-team losing streak against the Bruins. Brendan Gallagher and Nick Suzuki also scored for the 7-5-2 Canadiens. Pavel Zacha and Brad Marchand scored for the 11-1-2 Bruins, who remain on top of the Eastern Conference with 24 points.

The Carolina Hurricanes got a 22-save shutout performance from Pyotr Kochetkov to blank the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0. Sebastian Aho and Brent Burns each had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes as they rose to 9-6-0 in the standings. Nikita Kucherov missed this game due to illness as his club dropped to 6-5-4 in his absence.

Speaking of 4-0 shutouts, the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Buffalo Sabres by the same score as Tristan Jarry returned to action by kicking out 35 shots after missing one game with a facial injury. Erik Karlsson scored twice while Evgeni Malkin and Ryan Graves each had two points for the Penguins (7-6-0) as they picked up their fourth straight win. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 36 stops for the 7-7-1 Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres also returned forward Matthew Savoie to his WHL club in Wenatchee after he made his NHL debut on Friday against the Minnesota Wild.

Arizona Coyotes forwards Clayton Keller and Logan Cooley each picked up three points as their club overcame two 2-goal deficits to beat the Nashville Predators 7-5. Michael Carcone scored twice for the Coyotes, who boosted their record to 7-6-1. Filip Forsberg scored twice and collected an assist for the 5-9-0 Predators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes played without center Jack McBain, who is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

Alex Ovechkin scored twice as his Washington Capital (7-4-2) rolled to a 4-1 win over the New York Islanders (5-5-3), handing the latter their third straight loss. Call-up goalie Hunter Shepard turned in a 37-save performance for the Capitals. Alexander Romanov got the Islanders’ only goal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders fans aren’t pleased with their club’s performance this season, calling for head coach Lane Lambert to be fired during this game. Earlier in the week, they were chanting for general manager Lou Lamoriello to lose his job. Meanwhile, the Capitals placed sidelined defenseman Martin Fehervary (foot) on injured reserve.

The Detroit Red Wings held off the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-4, handing the latter their fourth straight defeat. Jake Walman scored what proved to be the game-winner while Jeff Petry and Christian Fischer each had two assists for the 8-5-2 Red Wings. Patrik Laine scored in his first game back with the Blue Jackets (4-7-3) since suffering a concussion on Oct. 20.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: To make room for Laine’s return, the Jackets assigned defenseman David Jiricek to their AHL affiliate in Cleveland.

Dallas Stars goaltender Scott Wedgewood made 31 saves while Wyatt Johnston had a goal and an assist in a 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Cole Perfetti and Brenden Dillon tallied for the Jets (7-5-2) while the Stars (9-3-1) sit atop the Central Division with 19 points.

The Ottawa Senators ended a five-game losing skid on home ice by dousing the Calgary Flames 4-1. Joonas Korpisalo made 24 saves while Drake Batherson had a goal and an assist for the 6-7-0 Senators. Blake Coleman replied for the Flames as they fell to 4-8-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The trade request made by Flames defenseman Nikita Zadorov remains a hot topic among the pundits. I’ll have more in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

Former Los Angeles Kings netminder Cal Petersen made 35 saves to help the Philadelphia Flyers defeat his old team by a score of 4-2. Morgan Frost scored twice as the Flyers improved to 7-7-1 on the season. Carl Grundstrom and Adrian Kempe replied for the 8-3-3 Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Kings reclaimed forward Samuel Fagemo off waivers from the Predators.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 20, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 20, 2023

The Blues name their new captain, the latest on Flyers forwards Sean Couturier and Cam Atkinson, the Canadiens and Canucks make a trade on the eve of the start of training camps, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

STLTODAY.COM: Brayden Schenn was named as the 24th captain in St. Louis Blues history. The club made the announcement yesterday. Schenn, 32, spent the past six seasons with the Blues and was an alternate captain for the past three campaigns. He’s under contract for five more seasons.

St. Louis Blues captain Brayden Schenn (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt that anyone was surprised that Schenn got the nod for the captaincy. A durable, versatile and reliable forward, he’s reached or exceeded 50 points five times over the past six seasons. Schenn’s been in a leadership role with the Blues for several seasons so this was probably an easy choice for the club.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers general manager Daniel Briere said Sean Couturier and Cam Atkinson are good to go when training camp opens on Thursday. The two veteran forwards missed all of last season due to injuries. Both players were scrimmaging with teammates prior to the start of camp.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s good news for the Flyers’ forward depth as they approach this season. It will also provide Briere with an opportunity to evaluate the performances of Couturier and Atkinson to determine their place and role in the club’s rebuilding process.

TSN: The Montreal Canadiens traded goaltender Casey DeSmith to the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday evening in exchange for winger Tanner Pearson and a third-round pick in the 2025 NHL Draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins last month as part of the three-team Erik Karlsson trade, DeSmith wasn’t expected to start this season with the Canadiens.

Pearson is a veteran middle-six winger who’s in the final season of his contract and is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He could become a bargaining chip for the rebuilding Habs by the March 8 trade deadline if he’s fully recovered from the hand injury that ended his 2022-23 campaign and plays well this season.

The Canucks, meanwhile, get a reliable backup for starting goalie Thatcher Demko while freeing up much-needed cap space. This move should also make them salary-cap compliant to start the season. Like Pearson, DeSmith is slated to become a UFA next July. Perhaps a solid performance will earn him a contract extension with the Canucks.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild signed Calen Addison to a one-year contract worth $825K.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coming off his entry-level contract and an inconsistent rookie season, Addison had no leverage with the cap-strapped Wild. The 23-year-old defenseman will need a better effort in his sophomore campaign to garner a better contract next summer when he’ll have arbitration rights.

TSN: The Senators re-signed forward Egor Sokolov to a one-year, two-way contract. He’ll earn $775K at the NHL level.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators are reportedly no closer to signing restricted free-agent center Shane Pinto as they report for training camp today. It’ll be interesting to see how long these negotiations go on. The 22-year-old Pinto has also surfaced in recent trade rumors but reports out of Ottawa claim the two sides are still working toward a new contract.

TSN: cited a report in The Athletic indicating the Chicago Blackhawks will not be naming a captain for this season. The club parted ways this summer with long-time captain Jonathan Toews.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report noted that Seth Jones was keen to become the next Blackhawks captain. His performance this season could determine if he lands the role next season.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Detroit Red Wings have invited forward Artem Anisimov and goaltender Michael Hutchinson to training camp on professional tryout offers. Anisimov, 35, last played in the NHL in 2020-21 with the Ottawa Senators while the 33-year-old Hutchinson played 16 games last season with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 19, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 19, 2023

The fallout from Mike Babcock’s resignation as Blue Jackets coach, the Blues will name their new captain today, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets ownership released a statement yesterday confirming that general manager Jarmo Kekalainen and president of hockey operations John Davidson will remain in their jobs for the coming season.

This comes in the wake of Mike Babcock stepping down as head coach following an investigation by the NHL Players’ Association over allegations he violated the privacy of Blue Jackets players.

Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen (NHL.com)

Ownership indicated it was “deeply frustrated and disappointed” over the events of the past week. Nevertheless, it does not anticipate making further changes to its hockey leadership “at this time.”

Davidson and Kekalainen met with the media yesterday with both men admitting their hiring of Babcock was a “major misstep.” Davidson said that they “got it wrong, and that’s on us.” He vowed they would learn from this going forward, adding that they understood the criticism they were receiving. “It is deserved,” he said.

Kekalainen said he met with the Blue Jackets players on Monday to apologize for any inconvenience or awkward situation that the hiring of Babcock may have placed on them. He insisted that the club did its thorough due diligence before hiring Babcock. Kekalainen felt that he deserved another chance to coach. “Obviously, that was a mistake, and that responsibility is mine.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers are wondering why Kekalainen isn’t losing his job over the Babcock situation. While ownership is standing by their general manager, I think this incident puts his future with the club in jeopardy. He could lose his job by the end of this season if the Jackets fail to make a significant improvement on the ice.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues will announce a new team captain this afternoon, filling the role left vacant after Ryan O’Reilly was traded to Toronto in February. Brayden Schenn is considered the favorite to land the job as he’s been an alternate captain for the past three seasons. Robert Thomas could also be a contender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford also named Schenn and Thomas as possible candidates. Others that he mentioned included Justin Faulk, Colton Parayko and Pavel Buchnevich. The Hockey News’ Lou Korac reports Thomas is believed to have emerged as the front-runner.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: David Pastrnak is prepared to take on more of a leadership role following the retirements of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. Charlie McAvoy and Brad Marchand are considered the favorites to be named the next Bruins captain but Pastrnak will still play a large role among the club’s leaders.

TORONTO SUN: Ryan Reaves believes he’ll bring the grit to the Maple Leafs lineup that’s been missing in recent years. He indicated that he won’t stand for rival players gloating at his teammates the way Radko Gudas did to Leafs goalie Joseph Woll in last spring’s playoffs. “I hope he tries that,” said Reaves. “That would be interesting, that would be fun. I doubt there would be any of that here.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs received some criticism for signing the 36-year-old Reaves to a three-year contract this summer. We’ll soon find out if that was a worthwhile investment by the cap-strapped club.

BUFFALO HOCKEY NOW: Promising forward Matthew Savoie suffered an upper-body injury during the Sabres prospect game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He’ll be reevaluated and could miss the opening days of training camp.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres first-round pick (ninth overall) in the 2022 NHL Draft, the 19-year-old Savoie is expected to challenge for a full-time roster spot. This injury could hamper those efforts.

DAILY FACEOFF: The San Jose Sharks signed Justin Bailey to a professional tryout offer. Bailey last played in the NHL in 2021-22 with the Vancouver Canucks.

The Dallas Stars signed goalie Christopher Gibson to a PTO. He last played in the NHL in 2020-21 with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins named John McLean as a new assistant coach. McLean spent last season as their skills and skating consultant.

TWINCITIES.COM: Former NHL forward Henry Boucha passed away on Monday at age 72.

Boucha won a Minnesota state championship in 1969 and a silver medal with Team USA in the 1972 Winter Olympics.

Drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in 1971, Boucha spent six seasons in the NHL with the Wings, Minnesota North Stars, Kansas City Scouts and Colorado Rockies from 1971-72 to 1976-77 until his career was prematurely ended by an eye injury. In 247 NHL games, Boucha tallied 53 goals and 102 points.

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

NHL Rumor Mill – April 5, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – April 5, 2023

Three teams could be willing to move first-round picks in this year’s draft, an update on Timo Meier’s contract situation plus the latest on the Blues and Senators in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen is “100 percent” open to trading the 2023 first-round pick he received from the Los Angeles Kings in the trade that sent Joonas Korpisalo and Vladislav Gavrikov to the Kings. It’s not going to be a high pick given the Kings’ place in the overall standings. LeBrun said Kekalainen would like to get a top-four defenseman as part of the package for a first-round pick.

Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen (NHL.com)

The Blue Jackets might not be the only team willing to move a 2023 first-rounder. LeBrun indicated the St. Louis Blues previously expressed a willingness to entertain offers for the first-round picks they received from the New York Rangers for Vladimir Tarasenko and the Toronto Maple Leafs for Ryan O’Reilly.

LeBrun also believes the Montreal Canadiens would be willing to trade the 2023 first-rounder they received last year from the Florida Panthers in the Ben Chiarot deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind that the Blue Jackets, Blues and Canadiens aren’t talking about listening to offers for their own first-rounders. Those picks will be in the top 10 and one of them could be first overall following the draft lottery. This year’s draft is considered a deep one so any team holding a top-10 selection won’t part with it unless they get an offer too good to pass up.

Like the Jackets, the Blues and Canadiens could be looking for a promising young NHL player in return (or part of the return) for those picks. That’s what the Canadiens did at last year’s draft, acquiring the New York Islanders pick (13th overall) and flipping it to the Chicago Blackhawks for Kirby Dach.


LeBrun also reported New Jersey Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald has met with trade-deadline acquisition Timo Meier to talk about a long-term contract for the 26-year-old winger. They see him as a core piece moving forward. However, they won’t open discussions until after the playoffs to allow Meier time to adjust to life on and off the ice with his new team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Meier is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer who’s also a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility.

The annual average value of his current contract is $6 million but he’s earning $10 million in actual salary this season. That’s how much it would cost the Devils to qualify his rights unless the two sides can work out an agreement on a deal with a more affordable AAV.


THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Jeremy Rutherford was asked which one of Blues forward Brayden Schenn and defensemen Torey Krug, Colton Parayko, Justin Faulk and Nick Leddy could be moved this summer.

He doesn’t see Schenn and Faulk going anywhere. Despite having a lot of term left on their respective contracts, they’ve been good players for the Blues.

Rutherford thinks they’d move Krug if they could but he hasn’t heard of much interest in the oft-injured 31-year-old defenseman. He believes they’d move the minute-munching Parayko in the right situation. However, they won’t give him away plus he’s got a full no-trade clause.

They could try to move Leddy and his $4 million AAV. However, the three years remaining on his contract could be too much for most teams.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues might have to look at other candidates to cut costs if they’re going to go that route this summer unless they’re willing to part with Schenn or Faulk. There was talk before the trade deadline of teams with interest in Parayko but it’s rumored he would only waive his NTC for the Edmonton Oilers.

Krug or Leddy could be bought out of their respective contract but that would eat up a lot of long-term cap space.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch recently reported the Senators met with Cam Talbot’s agent in December to discuss a contract extension. However, the two sides weren’t close so the talks were put on hold.

It’s believed the two sides discussed a two-year deal. However, the Talbot camp sought a considerable raise over the 35-year-old goalie’s $3.5 million AAV.

The Senators wanted to see how Talbot performed down the stretch before deciding about next season but it’s not looking good for his return. He was sidelined by groin and rib injuries over that period.