NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 29, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 29, 2018

Rangers re-sign Brady Skjei, list of remaining arbitration hearings, reviewing the Islanders offseason moves and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers avoided salary arbitration with defenseman Brady Skjei as the two sides agreed to a six-year, $31.5-million contract. The annual average value is $5.25 million.

New York Rangers re-sign defenseman Brady Skjei to a six-year deal (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This signing reflects the faith Rangers management have in the 24-year-old Skjei, who has blossomed in just two seasons into a mobile top-four defenseman. He’s expected to start the coming season on the top pairing alongside Kevin Shattenkirk. If Skjei continues his anticipated development, this contract could turn into a bargain for the Rangers. 

NHLPA.COM: Only nine players remain scheduled for hearings entering the final week of the 2018 NHL salary-arbitration period.

Calgary Flames winger Garnet Hathaway’s hearing is slated for July 30, Ottawa Senators defenseman Cody Ceci and Dallas Stars center Gemel Smith have theirs on August 1, New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes and Nashville Predators winger Miikka Salomaki are slated for Aug. 2, Senators winger Matt Stone for Aug. 3 and Vegas Golden Knights’ center William Karlsson, Colorado Avalanche blueliner Patrik Nemeth and Rangers forward Ryan Spooner on Aug. 4.

NEWSDAY: New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello is getting mixed reviews for his offseason moves since taking over the role on June 5. He’s earned praise for overhauling the front office and coaching staff (including his hires of Barry Trotz as head coach and Mitch Korn as goaltending director) as well as his selections in the 2018 NHL Draft. However, his roster moves have drawn criticism, especially his free-agent signings of bottom-six forwards such as Leo Komarov and Valtteri Filppula, and his inability to bolster the blueline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I understand the unhappiness over Lamoriello’s roster moves but he had little choice. John Tavares, the club’s franchise player, opted to sign with Toronto and there really wasn’t any viable options via the trade or free agent markets to replace him. The loss of Tavares means the Isles are now forced into a transitional period as Lamoriello evaluates the roster in 2018-19.

He‘s opted to bring in checking-line depth while promoting Mathew Barzal and Brock Nelson into larger roles. The pickings were slim for decent free-agent defensemen and the cost of a top-four rearguard in the trade market was likely more than he was willing to pay right now. Bringing in goaltender Robin Lehner could improve the Isles between the pipes, especially under Korn’s tutelage.

The Islanders appear to be a long shot to reach the 2019 playoffs. Under Trotz’s coaching, however, they should be competitive in the coming season.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour is seeking $3 million for his North Raleigh home. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 9, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 9, 2018

Conference Finals schedule released, Hurricanes promote Rod Brind’Amour as head coach, update on Joe Thornton and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The schedule for the Eastern and Western Conference Finals was released yesterday. The Eastern Conference Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals opens Friday, May 11 at 8 pm ET in Tampa Bay. The Western Conference Final between the Vegas Golden Knights and either the Nashville Predators or Winnipeg Jets will begin Saturday, May 12 at 7 pm ET.

Nashville Predators star Filip Forsberg is become a clutch playoff performer. (Photo via NHL Images)

  THE TENNESSEAN/WINNIPEG SUN: Speaking of the Predators and Jets, Nashville forward Filip Forsberg is garnering a reputation for scoring highlight-reel goals in big-game situations. Meanwhile, the coaches of both club will be feeling the pressure in the seventh and deciding game tomorrow. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes yesterday promoted assistant coach Rod Brind’Amour to head coach and announced interim general manager Don Waddell has taken over the role on a full-time basis. He will also remain as team president.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After failing to attract a suitable GM to replace the departed Ron Francis (partly because the targeted candidates weren’t willing to work cheap), the Hurricanes are forced to turn to Waddell, who apparently had no interest in the job in the first place. As for Brind’Amour, this will be his first time as an NHL head coach. Both men will be under pressure to end the Hurricanes’ nine-year playoff drought. 

TSN: San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton revealed he tore the ACL and MCL ligaments in his right knee back in January, sidelining him for the remainder of the season. He tore the same ligaments in his left knee last season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  I’ll have more on Thornton later this morning in the Rumors section. He appeared to bounce back well from last season’s injury, with 36 points in 47 games before his latest knee injury. His health could become an issue as he seeks a new contract this summer. 

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils yesterday announced goaltender Corey Schneider underwent surgery last week to repair torn cartilage in his left hip. Left wing Taylor Hall also had surgery to repair torn ligaments in his left hand suffered in late-December, while winger Patrick Maroon went under the knife for a herniated disk in his back. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The fact Hall had a season worthy of the Hart Trophy while spending over half of it hampered by a hand injury makes his performance all the more impressive. He and Maroon are expected to be fully recovered by training camp, but Schneider could be sidelined until at least October. 

LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights are warning fans to beware of fake tickets for the upcoming Western Conference Final. A limited number of tickets for that series go on sale tomorrow. 

TSN: The Pittsburgh Penguins elimination from the second round of the playoffs means their first-round pick (22nd overall) belongs to the Ottawa Senators. The Penguins included that pick as part of their acquisition of center Derick Brassard before the Feb. 26 trade deadline. The Senators also own the fourth overall selection. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Landing that selection gives the Senators the option of perhaps using it as trade bait to bring in an established young player. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 22, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 22, 2018

Lightning eliminate Devils, Capitals take series lead over the Blue Jackets, Leafs stay alive against Bruins. Details and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs with a 3-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils to take their opening-round series in five games. Nikita Kucherov scored his fifth goal of the playoffs and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 26 saves for the win. Devils goaltender Corey Schneider made 35 saves in a losing cause. The Lightning await the winner of the Boston Bruins-Toronto Maple Leafs series.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov picked up his fifth goal of the playoffs in his club’s series-clinching win over the New Jersey Devils (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils proved to be a difficult opponent but they ultimately couldn’t match the Lightning’s talented roster depth. After an injury-plagued season, Schneider redeemed himself with a strong playoff performance. 

Speaking of the Bruins and Leafs, the latter staved off elimination in Game 5 with a 4-3 win. Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen made 42 saves while teammates James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak each had a goal and an assist. Game 6 goes Monday night in Toronto with the Bruins holding a 3-2 series lead. Bruins center Patrice Bergeron returned to the lineup after missing Game 4 with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins came out flat in this game and the Leafs made them pay, driving Tuukka Rask out of the game after he gave up four goals on 13 shots. The Leafs came close to blowing this one but Andersen made the difference with 19 saves in the final period.

The Washington Capitals have taken their first lead of their series with the Columbus Blue Jackets, thanks to a 4-3 overtime victory in Game 5. Nicklas Backstrom scored twice, including the winner, and Braden Holtby made 39 saves for the Capitals, who’ve overcome a 2-0 series deficit to take a 3-2 lead. Blues Jackets forward Matt Calvert tallied two goals and Alex Wennberg collected an assist in his first game back since being sidelined with an upper-body injury in Game 1. The two sides face off in Game 6 on Monday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin promised his club would rally back to tie this series, Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella is guaranteeing his team will force a seventh game. 

New Jersey Devils forward Brian Boyle, Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo and Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal are this year’s finalists for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist (lower-body) is expected to return to action in Game 6 today against the Philadelphia Flyers. Penguins center Evgeni Malkin’s status is unclear after suffering a leg injury in Game 5. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes assistant coach Rob Brind’amour has expressed interest in the vacant head-coaching job. 

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: It appears Randy Carlyle will return next season as the Anaheim Ducks’ head coach. 

NEWSDAY: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman expects construction on a new arena for the New York Islanders at Belmont Park to begin in early 2019.