NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 13, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 13, 2019

Shea Theodore reveals cancer diagnosis, Logan Couture named Sharks captain, the latest contract signings, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

REVIEWJOURNAL.COM: Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore revealed he was diagnosed with testicular cancer over three months ago. General manager Kelly McCrimmon said Theodore has fully recovered following treatment and will participate in training camp on the first day of practice today.

Speaking of the Golden Knights, winger Ryan Reaves is listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Theodore in his ongoing recovery. Check out this link for information on diagnosing and treating testicular cancer. 

Logan Couture is the new captain of the San Jose Sharks (Photo via NHL Images).

  NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks named center Logan Couture as their new captain. He replaced Joe Pavelski, who signed with the Dallas Stars this summer. Brent Burns, Joe Thornton, Erik Karlsson and Tomas Hertl were named alternate captains.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets yesterday announced defenseman Josh Morrissey signed an eight-year, $50-million contract extension. The annual average value is $6.25 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the deal comes with a full no-movement clause from 2022-23 to 2024-25 and a modified no-trade for the remaining years. He’ll also earn $8 million annually in real salary in three of the first four years of the deal.

A terrific signing by the Jets. Morrissey, 24, has developed into a solid top-pairing defenseman. As Dustin Byfuglien ages, Morrissey will take over as the linchpin of Winnipeg’s blueline. Given his youth and ongoing development, this contract will be considered a steal for the Jets in a few years. 

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers have reportedly reached an agreement with defenseman Ivan Provorov on a six-year contract. The annual average value is said to be $6.75 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The deal is expected to be officially announced today. It’s less than the $8 million per season his side was reportedly seeking. I don’t doubt the three-year, $15-million contract inked by Columbus Blue Jackets rearguard Zach Werenski affected these negotiations.

It’s still a solid deal for Provorov, though he might’ve been better served inking a bridge contract similar to Werenski’s. Should Provorov continue to improve, he’ll be locked into a deal that could potentially pay him less than his true value over the next six years. The Blue Jackets’ blueliner, meanwhile, can pursue a more lucrative deal in three years time. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed defenseman Marcus Pettersson to a one-year contract worth just over $874K.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins would’ve preferred paying Pettersson more on a long-term deal but their limited salary-cap space handcuffed them. They’ll reward him next season for agreeing to this affordable contract. The signing pushes the Penguins above the $81.5-million cap ceiling by just over $1 million but they could get cap compliant by demoting one or two of their nine defensemen. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: A degenerative back disc has brought Oilers center Kyle Brodziak’s playing career has come to an end after 15 seasons. With one year remaining on his contract at an annual average value of $1.15 million, he’ll be placed on long-term injury reserve by the Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Brodziak in his future endeavors. He finishes his career with 129 goals and 296 points in 917 career games. Not bad for a gritty checking-line forward who was a seventh-round pick by the Oilers in 2003. 

OTTAWA SUN: Senators defenseman Christian Wolanin suffered a torn labrum earlier this week. He will undergo surgery and is expected to be sidelined for four months.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings won’t name a captain this season. Jusitn Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin, Frans Nielsen and Luke Glendening will be the four alternates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is just postponing the inevitable. Give Larkin the “C” already!


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 7, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 7, 2019

Joe Thornton returns with the Sharks, the Blackhawks re-sign Brendan Perlini, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks yesterday announced Joe Thornton will return on a one-year, $2-million contract.

Joe Thornton returns for a 15th season with the San Jose Sharks (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No one’s surprised by this news. Indeed, it was expected the 40-year-old Thornton would return for a 15th season with the Sharks.

No details yet if this is a bonus-laden deal or a straightforward $2 million. Nevertheless, it’s an affordable deal for the Sharks, leaving them with over $2.6 million in salary-cap space (stick tap to Cap Friendly) for the upcoming season.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks re-signed forward Brendan Perlini to a one-year contract worth just over $875K.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As the Sun-Times noted, Perlini’s a streaky scorer but improved after joining the Blackhawks in a trade from Arizona last season. Perhaps he’ll find more consistency playing a full season with the Hawks, who have over $2.4 million in cap space for this season.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers center Kyle Brodziak is expected to be on long-term injury reserve this season. A nagging back injury prevented him from training this summer and could sideline him for the entire 2019-20 campaign.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs has passed ownership of the club to his six children. The transfer apparently took place earlier this year. In the past decade, Jacobs has taken a more hands-off approach to the club, allowing team president Cam Neely room to operate the hockey and business side of the franchise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cynical fans assume this transfer changes nothing over how the club is run. I disagree.

For decades, Jacobs ran this team with an iron hand. Fans complained about the steady departure of its best players because ownership and management were unwilling to spend to retain its best players. That’s no longer the case and a big reason why the Bruins spent most of this decade among the league’s top franchises.



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 6, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 6, 2019

The latest on Mikko Rantanen, Milan Lucic, Vladimir Tarasenko, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen is currently skating in Norway awaiting a new contract. His focus, however, is returning to the Avs. “For me, the only option is the NHL. And how the future will turn out, you never know.”

Colorado Avalanche free agent Mikko Rantanen considers playing in the NHL his only option (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some will seize upon that last sentence to suggest Rantanen might prefer playing for another NHL club or might be traded if he and the Avs fail to agree to a new deal. Don’t bother, he’s going to be re-signed by the Avalanche.

With over $15 million in cap space (stick tap to Cap Friendly), they can easily afford him. Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic said he’s hoping to get Rantanen under contract before training camp opens next week.

SPORTSNET: Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving downplayed remarks made by Milan Lucic in which some Edmonton Oilers fans considered a direct swipe at Oilers captain Connor McDavid.

Lucic said he felt pressure to overachieve in Edmonton. He believes he’ll be more successful playing alongside an older captain (Mark Giordano) in Calgary as he did playing with Zdeno Chara in Boston.

“Totally ridiculous”, said Treliving of the supposed “swipe”, pointing out Lucic’s friendship with McDavid.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Much ado about nothing. Lucic was probably feeling the pressure of being a team leader for a mediocre Oilers club while struggling with his own declining performance. Surrounded by a deeper roster in Calgary, he won’t have to shoulder that burden. 

THE SCORE: St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko said he’ll be ready for training camp after off-season shoulder surgery and a knee scope following the Stanley Cup playoffs.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed center Riley Sheahan to a one-year, $900k contract. This move was made in part because center Kyle Brodziak (back issues) isn’t expected to pass his training-camp physical next week.

LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights signed Jimmy Schuldt to a one-year, one-way contract worth $800K.

NBC SPORTS: U.S. women’s hockey star Kendell Coyne Schofield will be a color commentator for select San Jose Sharks games this season.

ESPN.COM: The NHL “dropped Jogmo World Corp. as a primary technology partner in its player and puck tracking plans.” They’re in the process of finding a replacement, vowing the technology will be up and running in time for the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs. “A league source said that technology company SMT is the league’s new partner.”

TSN: The NHL and NHL Players Association are set to meet on Friday to renew collective bargaining agreement talks. The PA has until Sept. 15 to decide whether it’ll terminate the current CBA effective a year from now.

League commissioner Gary Bettman said he’s willing to work with the PA to address its concerns. “Whatever (players) want in their period of having to decide what to do, we’ll try to be as accommodating as possible,” said Bettman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the contentious labor history between the league and the PA, it’s easy to look at Bettman’s comments with a jaundiced eye. This time, however, the league appears keen to avoid another lockout. CBA extension talks have been ongoing for nearly a year now, lacking the tension and rancour of previous years.


Notable NHL Free-Agent Signings – July 1, 2018

Notable NHL Free-Agent Signings – July 1, 2018

The NHL free-agent market opens today at noon ET. Here’s a list of today’s notable signings, which will be updated throughout the day. 

Toronto Maple Leafs signed center John Tavares to a seven-year, $77-million contract

Toronto Maple Leafs sign John Tavares to a seven-year contract (Photo via NHL Images)

Philadelphia Flyers reportedly signed left wing James van Riemsdyk to a five-year, $35-million contract. 

Tampa Bay Lightning re-signed defenseman Ryan McDonagh to a seven-year contract extension worth $6.75 million per season.

Arizona Coyotes officially announced the signing of defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to an eight-year contract extension worth $8.25 million AAV. They also re-signed defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to a two-year contract extension worth $5 million AAV, and signed free-agent winger Michael Grabner to a three-year deal worth $3.35 million per season. 

Vegas Golden Knights will sign center Paul Stastny to a three-year contract. The annual average value is $6.5 million. They’ve also signed defenseman Nick Holden to a two-year deal worth $2.2 million annually. 

Pittsburgh Penguins will reportedly sign defenseman Jack Johnson to a five-year, $16.25-million contract. They’ve also signed Matt Cullen to a one-year, $650K contract

St. Louis Blues expected to sign winger David Perron to a four-year deal worth $4 million per season. The Blues have also signed center Tyler Bozak to a three-year contract with an AAV of $5 million and goaltender Chad Johnson to a one-year, $1.75-million deal. 

Colorado Avalanche reportedly close to signing defenseman Ian Cole to a three-year contact worth an annual cap hit of $4.25 million.

Chicago Blackhawks sign goaltender Cam Ward to a one-year, $3-million contract with a full no-movement clause. They’ve also signed winger Chris Kunitz to a one-year, $1-million contract and defenseman Brandon Manning to a two-year deal. 

Boston Bruins expected to sign goaltender Jaroslav Halak to a two-year contract worth $2.75 million annually. They also signed winger Joakim Nordstrom to a two-year, $2 million deal and defenseman John Moore to a five-year contract worth an AAV of $2.75 million.

Columbus Blue Jackets sign center Riley Nash to a three-year contract worth $2.75-million per season. 

Buffalo Sabres will reportedly sign goaltender Carter Hutton to a three-year, $8.25-million contract.

New York Islanders have an agreement in place to bring back defenseman Thomas Hickey on a four-year deal worth an AAV of $2.5 million. They also signed forward Leo Komarov to a four-year, $12-million contract.

Detroit Red Wings expected to sign goaltender Jonathan Bernier to a three-year deal worth around $3 million annually and forward Thomas Vanek to a one-year, $3-million contract. 

Edmonton Oilers will sign forward Kyle Brodziak to a two-year deal with an AAV of around $1 million and forward Tobias Rieder to a one-year, $2-million contract.  

Dallas Stars expected to sign forward Blake Comeau to a three-year deal worth $2.4 million per season. They’ve also re-signed winger Valeri Nichushkin to a two-year deal worth $2.95-million annually. Roman Polak is reportedly heading to the Stars on a one-year contract worth $1.3 million.

Vancouver Canucks are expected to sign center Jay Beagle to a four-year contract worth $3 million annually and forward Antoine Roussel to a four-year deal worth $3.25 million per season. 

Calgary Flames expected to sign center Derek Ryan to a three-year deal worth an AAV of $3.125 million and center Austin Czarnik to a two-year deal worth $1.25-million annually. 

Carolina Hurricanes sign goaltender Petr Mrazek to a one-year deal worth $1.5 million. 

Montreal Canadiens are expected to announced the signing of center Tomas Plekanec to a one-year deal worth a base salary of $2.25 million plus bonuses. 

Minnesota Wild will reportedly sign defenseman Greg Pateryn to a three-year contract and signed goaltender Andrew Hammond. 


NHL Rumor Mill – June 30, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – June 30, 2018

Updates on John Tavares, James van Riemsdyk, Ryan O’Reilly and many more in your NHL rumor mill.


NEWSDAY: With the NHL’s 2018 free-agent market opening on Sunday, Andrew Gross writes there’s still no indication what New York Islanders center John Tavares will do. Tavares met with the Islanders and five other clubs (“Maple Leafs, Sharks, Bruins, Stars and Lightning”) this week listening to proposals during the free-agent interview period.  Should Tavares depart the Islanders via free agency, Gross speculates they could target possible replacements such as Winnipeg’s Paul Stastny in the UFA market or pursue Buffalo’s Ryan O’Reilly in the trade market.

NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis suggests Tavares could be leaving the Islanders if he hasn’t reached a decision by midnight tonight. The Islanders are the only club who can offer him an eight-year contract, provided he signs it before July 1. After that, they can only offer a seven-year deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  The free-agent market officially opens at noon ET on Sunday. We’ll likely learn Tavares fate by no later than tomorrow afternoon.

The futures of notable free agents, such as James van Riemsdyk, depends upon John Tavares’ decision over where he’ll sign on July 1 (Photo via NHL Images)


TSN: Frank Seravalli reports several of the six teams with interest in John Tavares are also ready to make bids to Toronto Maple Leafs’ pending UFA winger James van Riemsdyk. The Leafs, however, aren’t among those teams.

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers reports multiple sources the Chicago Blackhawks inquired about van Riemsdyk but likely cannot match what other clubs can offer him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Tavares watch is affecting the free agent and trade markets. Teams that lose out in the bidding for the superstar center are expected to seek other options, including UFAs such as van Riemsdyk. Once Tavares makes his decision, we should see an increase in player movement, especially via trades. 


THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers reports the Chicago Blackhawks are still trying to move the contract ($5.275-million annual cap hit) of all-but-retired winger Marian Hossa. They’ve also reportedly devoted $2.5-million to a one-year contract for former Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward and remain interested in Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk. There’s speculation they could move center Artem Anisimov, who submits a 10-team trade list on Sunday, but a source said the Blackhawks will only consider moving him if the deal makes sense.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks could be forced to package a promising young player or a decent draft pick with Hossa’s contract if they hope to tempt a club into taking it off their hands. Failing that, they could be forced to consider moving Anisimov’s $4.45-million cap hit to free up room to acquire a defenseman or a winger.  

STLTODAY.COM: Jim Thomas wonders if there’s a deal on the horizon that would send Buffalo Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly to the St. Louis Blues. He noted rumors have tied the Blues, as well as the Montreal Canadiens, to O’Reilly. Given that the center is due a $7.5-million signing bonus on July 1, Thomas doubts the Blues would make a deal for O’Reilly before then.

The Blues have over $16 million in cap space but they were passed over by UFA forwards John Tavares and Ilya Kovalchuk. The pickings at center via free agency are slim, though they could find better options on the wing. They’ve shown interest in St. Louis native Patrick Maroon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was talk the Canadiens were willing to acquire O’Reilly before July 1 but so there’s no indication they’re close to a deal. If O’Reilly’s still with the Sabres by midnight tonight, that edge the Canadiens had will be gone and could lean toward other clubs such as the Blues. 

BOSTON HERALD/NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Steve Conroy reports Boston Bruins backup goaltender Anton Khudobin appears headed to the free-agent market on Sunday. If their bid for John Tavares proves unsuccessful, they could pursue a winger such as Michael Grabner or James van Riemsdyk. Meanwhile, Joe Haggerty reports a source said the Bruins have shown trade interest in Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek.


TSN: cites a report by Arizona Sports’ Craig Morgan indicating the Arizona Coyotes are looking to add a winger on July 1 and have had discussions with pending UFAs such as David Perron, James van Riemsdyk and Michael Grabner

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Coyotes have over $19 million in salary-cap space with no restricted free agents left to sign. They’re not a cap-ceiling club so they won’t be investing most of that cap space, but it appears they’re also not going to hover too close to the $58.8-million cap minimum. Whether they can sign one of those noteworthy free agents remains to be seen. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: David Schoen reports multiple sources claim winger Ryan Reaves is expected to re-sign with the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday. Defenseman Luca Sbisa, however, will not return. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites Sportsnet’s Mark Spector saying there’s a good chance UFA center Kyle Brodziak signs with the Oilers on Sunday. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 17, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 17, 2017

Game recaps, latest on the Senators, Lemieux’s five-goal game voted greatest NHL moment & more in your morning coffee headlines.

 NHL.COM: Craig Anderson had a 28-save shutout performance as the Ottawa Senators blanked the Montreal Canadiens 3-0 in frigid conditions before over 33,000 fans at Ottawa’s Lansdowne Park in the 2017 Scotiabank NHL100 Classic.

The game was overshadowed by comments made the day prior by Senators owner Eugene Melnyk complaining about declining ticket sales for the Senators at Canadian Tire Centre and hinting the club could relocate if things didn’t improve.

League commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly did damage control on Saturday, stressing that Melnyk said he isn’t selling the Senators and insisting the club isn’t going anywhere. Bettman called the reaction to Melnyk’s comments “much ado about nothing”, pointing out a franchise cannot be moved without first going through the league process and receiving approval from the league board of governors.

Meanwhile, Ottawa city councillors were caught off guard by Melnyk’s remarks. Deputy mayor Bob Monette said he wasn’t aware of any difficulties with ongoing negotiations regarding a proposed development of LeBreton Flats to include a new arena for the Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Melnyk’s reputation for shooting from the lip cast an unnecessary pall over what was supposed to be his team’s highlight game of the season. While he has every right to be concerned over the declining attendance, his comments were ill-timed and poorly received by Ottawa fans. Rather than scolding his fan base and hinting at relocation, perhaps Melnyk and his staff should actually listen to the fans’ complaints about attending Senators games and their suggestions for improving the experience.

Anton Stralman and Yanni Gourde each had three-point performances as the Tampa Bay Lightning held off the Colorado Avalanche 6-5. Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog scored three goals and set up two others while teammate Nathan MacKinnon scored twice.

Carter Hutton set a franchise record with 48 saves to give the St. Louis Blues a 2-0 shutout victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Vladimir Tarasenko collected a goal and an assist in this game. Blues center Kyle Brodziak missed the game with an undisclosed injury.

Jordan Eberle’s overtime goal gave the New York Islanders a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Isles captain John Tavares scored a goal and set up two others whiles Kings forward Tyler Toffoli had a two-point game. Speaking of the Islanders, sources tell Newsday the state of New York could soon reach a decision on their arena proposal for Belmont Park, perhaps before the end of the month.

Cam Talbot made 29 saves in his first game since Nov.28 backstopping the Edmonton Oilers to a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. Talbot missed seven games with an upper-body injury. Teammate Milan Lucic had a goal and an assist. Wild captain Mikko Koivu’s scoring woes continued in this game. His last goal came on Oct. 28 and his last point on Nov. 24. 

The Philadelphia Flyers extended their win streak to a season-high six games on two goals by Shayne Gostisbehere in a 2-1 overtime victory over the Dallas Stars.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After a 10-game losing skid threatened to derail the Flyers’ season, their current winning streak puts them within four points of a wild-card berth. 

Pekka Rinne had a 32-save shutout performance as the Nashville Predators beat the Calgary Flames 2-0, stretching their record in December to 6-0-1.

Alex Ovechkin’s overtime tally completed a three-goal comeback for the Washington Capitals as they rallied to down the Anaheim Ducks 3-2.

Mats Zuccarello scored in overtime and Henrik Lundqvist made 33 saves as the New York Rangers edged the Boston Bruins 3-2.

Olli Maatta’s goal in the dying seconds of the third period was the game winner as the Pittsburgh Penguins snapped a three-game losing streak by doubling up the Arizona Coyotes 4-2. Penguins center Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist in this one.

Scott Darling made 35 saves while Noah Hanifin’s second-period goal stood up as the winner as the Carolina Hurricanes squeaked past the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 for their third consecutive win.

SPORTNET: Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux’s five-goal game on Dec. 31, 1988 was voted the greatest moment in NHL history by the fans. He became the first, and only, player to score five goals in five different ways. “Lemieux scored one goal at even strength, one while shorthanded, one on the power play, one on a penalty shot and even buried an empty netter to secure an 8-6 victory over the New Jersey Devils that night.”

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Vegas Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant faces his former team when the Knights square off tonight against the Florida Panthers. 

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Al the Octopus sold for $7,700 Saturday in an online auction of memorabilia from Joe Louis Arena.