NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 11, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 11, 2022

Leafs great Borje Salming diagnosed with ALS, an update on David Pastrnak’s contract talks, the latest contract signings as the arbitration period winds down, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Borje Salming released a statement yesterday revealing he’s been diagnosed with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He played 16 of his 17 NHL seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1973 to 1989.

Hall of Fame defenseman Borje Salming (NHL.com).

Salming, 71, indicated he’s receiving the best medical care and that there are treatments to slow the disease’s progression. He remains positive and asks the public to respect his privacy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My thoughts are with Salming and his family as he battles ALS. The Hall-of-Famer is one of the greatest players in Leafs history. He’s a pioneer for European hockey players, blazing a trail in the NHL in the 1970s.

Salming holds the Leafs franchise record for career assists (620) and sits fourth with 768 career points. From 1974-75 to 1979-80, he was a four-time finalist for the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman, was named to the First All-Star Team in 1976-77 and to the Second All-Star Team five times.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins general manager Don Sweeney characterized his contract negotiations with David Pastrnak as “ongoing”. He indicated the club is prepared to go into the coming season with the 26-year-old winger unsigned if the two sides cannot agree to a contract extension before then. Pastrnak is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Plenty of time remains for the two sides to reach an agreement on a new deal. Sweeney indicated Pastrnak is still in Europe and expects to get more clarification on a timeline for working out a new contract upon his return. He also said he’s been in regular contact with the winger’s agent.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The Red Wings avoided arbitration with Jake Walman by signing the 26-year-old defenseman to a one-year, one-way contract worth $1.05 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The arbitration period ends today. Of the 26 players who filed this year, all but one (Nashville’s Yakov Trenin) avoided the process by signing new contracts with their respective clubs before their scheduled hearings.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres signed free-agent forward Riley Sheahan to a one-year, $950K contract.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets reached an agreement with forward David Gustafsson on a two-year contract worth an average annual value of $775K at the NHL level. The first season is a two-way deal and becomes one-way for the second season.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Winger Johan Larsson reportedly signed a three-year contract with Swedish Hockey League club Brynas IF. The deal has yet to be officially announced. Larsson, 30, spent 10 seasons with the Minnesota Wild, Buffalo Sabres, Arizona Coyotes and Washington Capitals from 2012-13 to 2021-22.

CAP FRIENDLY: Goaltender Andrew Hammond signed a professional tryout offer with the Florida Panthers.

NHL.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins recently named Chris Butler as a player development coach, Greg Pateryn as a professional scout and Garrett Peters as a global crossover scout.

SPORTSNET: Oilers superfan Ben Stetler died at age six following a battle with cancer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My sincere condolences to Stetler’s family and the Oilers organization.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 10, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 10, 2022

Surgery will sideline Max Pacioretty for six months, the Hurricanes re-sign Martin Necas, plus the latest on David Krejci, Jacob Trouba and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Max Pacioretty’s debut will the Carolina Hurricanes will be delayed as the 33-year-old winger will undergo surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon. He’s expected to be sidelined for six months. The Hurricanes acquired Pacioretty last month from the Vegas Golden Knights.

Carolina Hurricanes winger Max Pacioretty (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pacioretty’s recovery could stretch into February. The Hurricanes brought him in to offset the departure of winger Nino Niederreiter via free agency.

Pacioretty will return in time to help them during the final two months of the regular season and the playoffs. He is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

The Hurricanes also announced that they signed Martin Necas to a two-year, $6 million contract. The average annual value is $3 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A promising young forward, the 23-year-old Necas had completed his entry-level contract. An inconsistent performance last season resulted in his name frequently surfacing in trade rumors. The Hurricanes are willing to give him an opportunity to bounce back but another difficult season could turn him into a trade candidate with an affordable contract.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: David Krejci said his decision to return to the Bruins was not based on the club’s recent coaching change. He indicated he had decided to come back before the club replaced Bruce Cassidy as head coach with Jim Montgomery. Krejci explained the reason for returning to the Bruins was a desire to play with his old teammates again.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Krejci announced last summer that he was leaving the Bruins to finish his playing career in his native Czechia. He indicated that playing alongside old teammate David Pastrnak in this year’s World Championships was a turning point in his thinking about coming back to Boston for another season.

NEW YORK POST: Jacob Trouba’s natural leadership made him the consensus choice throughout the Rangers to become their first captain in four years. Chris Kreider, the club’s longest-serving active player, indicated on social media that all of his teammates believed Trouba had been their captain over the past two years without actually wearing the “C”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some players are just natural leaders. That appears to be the determining factor in Trouba being awarded the captaincy.

NHL.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers recently extended their ECHL affiliation with the Reading Royals. The agreement runs through 2023-24 with an option for a third season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 9, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 9, 2022

The Bruins sign Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Pavel Zacha, the Rangers will reportedly name Jacob Trouba as their new captain, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins were very busy on Monday as they announced centers Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci will be returning for 2022-23.

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron (NHL Images).

Bergeron, 37, signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract along with $2.5 million in performance bonuses. The 36-year-old Krejci inked a one-year, $1 million deal with $2 million in performance bonuses.

The Bruins also avoided arbitration with Pavel Zacha, signing the 25-year-old forward to a one-year, $3.5 million contract.

All three will be eligible for unrestricted free agent status next July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A tidy bit of work there by the Bruins. It was widely assumed that Bergeron and Krejci would be returning for the coming season. Zacha’s arbitration hearing was scheduled for Aug. 11.

Bergeron told reporters there was no chance he was going to play for another NHL team, dousing rumors suggesting his former agent Kent Hughes might attempt to sign him now that he was the general manager of the Montreal Canadiens. He indicated Hughes did not approach him, adding the Habs GM knew the Bruins were the only team he wanted to play for.

Puck Pedia indicates the trio’s base salaries push the Bruins above the $82.5 million salary cap by $2.2 million. They can garner cap relief by demoting players to the minors and/or placing sidelined players like Charlie McAvoy and/or Matt Grzelcyk on long-term injury reserve to start the season.

If Bergeron and Krejci achieve their performance bonuses they could carry over against the Bruins’ 2023-24 salary cap if the club remains over the cap at the end of the coming season.

Zacha’s signing opens up a second buyout window but they’ll have 48 hours from the final day of the arbitration period (Aug. 11) to do so. Puck Pedia indicates only players who were on the roster at the last trade deadline carrying an annual cap hit of at least $4 million can be bought out.

RDS.CA: cites ESPN’s Kevin Weekes’ report on Twitter claiming the New York Rangers will name Jacob Trouba as their new captain today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trouba would become the first Rangers captain since Ryan McDonagh in 2018. I felt alternate captain Chris Kreider was the favorite for the role in part because he’s the longest-serving active Ranger.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes reached an agreement on a new contract with forward Lawson Crouse ahead of his scheduled arbitration hearing scheduled for Monday. It’s a five-year, $21.5 million contract with an annual average value of $4.3 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crouse, 25, is coming off a career-best performance last season of 20 goals and 34 points in 65 games. After shedding contracts last summer, Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong has been signing current young veterans this year that he believes will be key players in the club’s future.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The Golden Knights signed forward Nicolas Roy to a five-year, $15 million contract. The average annual value is $3 million.

DAILY FACEOFF: A case that claimed Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a former Boston Ballet dancer has been withdrawn because it was confirmed she was not a minor at the time of the alleged relationship. Katz denied the claim, as did Sage Humphries, the dancer with whom he was allegedly involved.

NHL.COM: The Seattle Kraken named Dave Lowry as an assistant coach. Lowry was the Winnipeg Jets’ interim coach last season. He spent six seasons as an assistant coach with the Jets, Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 7, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 7, 2022

Should the Avalanche forget about bringing back Nazem Kadri? What are their options if they do? Should the Islanders trade Mathew Barzal to make room for Kadri? What’s the latest on Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

SHOULD THE AVS SIGN KADRI OR CONSIDER OTHER OPTIONS?

THE DENVER POST: Mark Kiszla doesn’t blame Nazem Kadri for wanting top dollar on the open market. However, he points out that Colorado Avalanche president of hockey operations Joe Sakic doesn’t have a reputation for overpaying talent.

Former Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

Kiszla suggests Kadri should fit in somewhere between Valeri Nichushkin’s $6.125 million annual cap hit and Gabriel Landeskog’s $7 million. He believes it would be foolish for the Avalanche to pay more than $26 million over four years for him. The Avs would also have to make a cost-cutting trade to fit him into their cap payroll for the coming season.

Sakic could opt instead to look outside the organization to replace Kadri. Former Avalanche center Paul Stastny remains available via free agency. Kiszla also suggested attempting to acquire Jonathan Toews from the Chicago Blackhawks sometime before next year’s trade deadline.

THE ATHLETIC: Peter Baugh also looked at possible options if the Avalanche can’t afford to bring back Kadri. Stastny, Sonny Milano and Evan Rodrigues remain on the open market plus he didn’t rule out going the rental player route at next year’s trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche would love to bring back Kadri and he’d love to return but the cost of doing so is simply too much. They can’t afford him unless they ship out someone like Samuel Girard to free up the cap space and that’s apparently not something they want to do. So, they’ll either have to go with a more affordable option via free agency or the trade market or look within the organization.

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks reports that “the usual suspects” claim Kadri still seeks a long-term deal starting around $9 million annually. He believes that explains why he remains unsigned. Meanwhile, there’s been ongoing speculation linking Kadri to the Islanders. Speaking of which…

SHOULD THE ISLANDERS TRADE BARZAL TO MAKE ROOM FOR KADRI?

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefan Rosner believes the Islanders must soon decide if Mathew Barzal remains part of their future before it’s too late. The 25-year-old center becomes a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer and will also be a year away from UFA eligibility.

Barzal has said he views his long-term future with the Islanders but Rosner reminds us that John Tavares said the same thing before he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He cited colleague Jimmy Murphy tweeting a hypothetical trade in which Barzal is traded to the Detroit Red Wings to clear cap space to sign Kadri.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello could surprise us by trading Barzal to the Wings or another club and use the $7 million savings for 2022-23 to sign Kadri. However, I don’t see that scenario happening. Lamoriello can find other ways to shed sufficient salary for Kadri such as shopping Anthony Beauvillier or packaging Josh Bailey with a draft pick or prospect.

Trading Barzal would be a rather extreme measure on Lamoriello’s part. Since he wouldn’t want to take back much salary in return, he’d be getting pennies on the dollar for a gifted playmaking center in his playing prime just to make room for a soon-to-be 32-year-old center seeking big bucks on a long-term deal.

UPDATE ON BERGERON AND KREJCI

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont reports Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci technically remain unsigned. However, the word around town is Bruins general manager Don Sweeney remains confident they’re done deals with the veteran centers to sign on for one year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speculation since June has Bergeron and/or Krejci already having agreed to one-year contracts while Sweeney takes the time to determine how to fit the duo within his limited cap space. If so, the Bruins GM is taking a page from the Lamoriello playbook as the Isles GM has done the same thing in the recent past.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 6, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 6, 2022

A look at what David Pastrnak’s contract extension could look like plus the latest notable contract signings in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss recently examined what he believes David Pastrnak’s contract extension could look like. The 26-year-old Bruins winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).

Goss points out Pastrnak’s value to the Bruins as one of the NHL’s most-skilled forwards. Since 2019-20, only five players (Auston Matthews, Leon Draisaitl, Alex Ovechkin, Connor McDavid and Kyle Connor) have scored more goals than Pastrnak. He suggests an eight-year deal worth $9.5 million per season would be fair for both sides, matching defenseman Charlie McAvoy as the highest-paid Bruin.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty believes Jonathan Huberdeau’s eight-year, $10.5 million contract with the Calgary Flames sets the table for Pastrnak’s new deal. He points out the Bruins winger is three years younger than the 29-year-old Huberdeau but has averaged more goals and points in his career with the Bruins than Huberdeau did in his career with the Florida Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pastrnak is going to get a lucrative long-term contract between $9.5 million and $10.5 million per season. He’s getting it from the Bruins on an eight-year deal or from another club in next summer’s free-agent market on a seven-year contract.

The Bruins’ expensive commitment to McAvoy indicates they have no plans of rebuilding their roster. I expect they’ll pay out a massive raise to Pastrnak and use those two as their foundation players going forward.

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators forward Yakov Trenin has signed the two-year contract he was awarded via arbitration. The deal is worth an average annual value of $1.7 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trenin, 25, is coming off a career-best 17-goal performance in 80 games last season. The 6’2”, 201-pound forward plays a physical two-way game and can skate at left wing or center. The arbitration award is a significant raise over the $725K AAV of his previous contract.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The Golden Knights avoided salary arbitration with Keegan Kolesar, signing the 25-year-old forward to a three-year contract with an annual cap hit of $1.4 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A versatile, physical checking-line forward, Kolesar had 24 points in 77 games last season with the Golden Knights. He earned an AAV of $725K on his previous contract.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 2, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 2, 2022

A look at how the Islanders could clear cap space to sign Nazem Kadri and a potential cost-cutting trade candidate for the Bruins in today’s NHL rumor mill.

HOW WOULD THE ISLANDERS CLEAR CAP SPACE FOR KADRI?

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner cited a source who told him over the weekend that Nazem Kadri could be joining the New York Islanders. However, the hold-up is the Isles need to clear out some salary-cap space.

New York Islanders winger Josh Bailey (NHL Images).

Rosner had no details about Kadri’s rumored deal with the Islanders. However, he believes it could be worth around $7 million annually. With the club currently carrying around $11 million in cap space, Kadri’s anticipated cap hit wouldn’t leave much to re-sign restricted free agent defensemen Noah Dobson and Alexander Romanov.

Under the collective bargaining agreement, teams are allowed to exceed the salary cap by 10 percent during the offseason but must be cap compliant when the regular season begins. Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello could find it difficult to dump salary with teams knowing it’s to make room for Kadri.

Rosner reports the Islanders are shopping Josh Bailey. The 32-year-old winger carries a $5 million annual cap hit through 2023-24. Rosner suggests his veteran presence could do wonders for rebuilding clubs with cap space such as the Arizona Coyotes or Chicago Blackhawks.

However, Lamoriello would have to add a couple of draft picks or a prospect in the deal to move Bailey. Winger Anthony Beauvillier and goaltender Semyon Varlamov have also appeared in trade rumors but Rosner believes they’re staying put.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rosner isn’t the only person to tie Kadri to the Islanders in recent days. There’s speculation the two sides already have an agreement in place but are waiting to announce it once Lamoriello frees up sufficient salary-cap space. Until then, however, it’s still just speculation at this point.

Bailey’s age and contract are sticking points but he did put up a respectable 44 points with the Islanders last season. He also lacks no-trade protection, giving Lamoriello plenty of potential trade partners. I agree with Rosner that the Isles GM will have to include a sweetener or two in the deal as an enticement.

Potential trade partners could also squeeze Lamoriello to part with Beauvillier or Varlamov rather than Bailey.

COULD THE BRUINS SHOP CRAIG SMITH?

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont recently pondered how the Bruins will free up salary-cap space for their efforts to sign Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Pavel Zacha. They have around $4.8 million in salary-cap space.

Dupont points out the Bruins will get some early-season wiggle room by placing Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy on long-term injury reserve until they return from offseason surgeries around Dec. 1. However, he’ll have to shed some salary once those players return to the lineup.

Craig Smith could be the likeliest to go. He carries a $3.1 million cap hit for the coming season and becomes a UFA next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Smith, 32, is a former four-time 20-plus goal scorer who had 16 goals and 36 points last season. He lacks no-trade protection and could interest clubs seeking an experienced middle-six winger. However, the Bruins might have to include a draft pick or prospect as a sweetener in the deal.

Speculation earlier in the offseason suggested Matt Grzelcyk could become a trade candidate. He’s signed through 2023-24 with a $3.67 million AAV.