NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 31, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 31, 2020

Zdeno Chara signs with the Capitals, seven clubs open training camp today, Ryan Callahan retires, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals yesterday signed Zdeno Chara to a one-year, $795K contract. The 43-year-old defenseman spent the last 14 seasons as captain of the Boston Bruins. He helped them reach the Stanley Cup Final three times (2011, 2013, 2019), winning the Cup in 2011. Chara was a five-time Norris Trophy finalist during his tenure with the Bruins, winning the award in 2009.

Former Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara signs a one-year deal with the Washington Capitals (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Chara’s contract also features an additional $730K in performance bonuses. He’s no longer a Norris Trophy contender but the big blueliner is expected to bring accountability to the Capitals roster after two disappointing first-round exits following their 2018 Cup championship. He’ll likely see second- or third-pairing minutes in Washington.

Chara’s departure from the Bruins wasn’t unexpected given their apparent reluctance to bring him back for another season. Nevertheless, his signing with the Capitals was still surprising. While Bruins fans knew Chara was past his prime, management’s unwillingness to bring him back didn’t sit well with some of them. He was one of the greatest defensemen in franchise history. His exit marks the end of an era.

No word yet from the Bruins as to who replaces Chara as team captain, but Patrice Bergeron likely becomes the leading candidate to take over the role.

NHL.COM: Last season’s seven non-playoff clubs – the Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, New Jersey Devils, Ottawa Senators and San Jose Sharks open training camp today. The other 24 teams begin camp on Jan. 3.

TSN.COM: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly reiterated that Canada’s seven NHL teams have governmental clearance to hold training camp and open the season in their home arenas.

SPORTSNET: Ryan Callahan announced his retirement as an NHL player yesterday after 13 active seasons with the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning. Renowned for his two-way play, Callahan tallied 186 goals and 386 points in 757 NHL contests. After suffering a back injury in 2019, Callahan was traded to the Ottawa Senators, spending last season on injured reserve.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Callahan and his family in their future endeavors.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes officially announced the signing of forward Derick Brassard to a one-year contract.

SPORTSDAY: Dallas Stars defenseman Stephen Johns might not be playing this season. He’s listed as an injured player not participating in training camp. The Athletic cited sources claiming he’s out for the season but general manager Jim Nill said that would be determined by team doctors. Johns has a history of head injuries, missing 22 months to post-traumatic headaches.

NEW YORK POST: The New York Islanders haven’t invited Josh Ho-Sang to training camp, sparking another turn in the rocky relationship between the club and the former first-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ho-Sang spent all of last season in the minors. He was the subject of trade rumors but nothing came of them.

NEWSDAY: Speaking of the Islanders, the current ownership has bought the remainder of former owner Charles Wang’s shares from his estate. Wang, who passed away in 2019, held a 15 percent stake in the club.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators have decided to open the season without fans in their arena after getting approval from the city’s health department to allow limited crowds. The club hopes to gradually bring back fans over the course of the season.

THE AHL: yesterday announced a framework to open their season on Feb. 5 has been approved by their board of governors.










The Best NHL Trade Deadline Deals Since 2010

The Best NHL Trade Deadline Deals Since 2010

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 31, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 31, 2019

Chris Kunitz retires, the Lightning ship Ryan Callahan to the Senators, fallout from the Wild firing GM Paul Fenton, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: After 15 NHL seasons, winger Chris Kunitz is hanging up his skates and will become a player development advisor for the Chicago Blackhawks. He played for the Anaheim Ducks, Atlanta Thrashers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning and the Blackhawks. 

Kunitz won four Stanley Cups, one with the Ducks and three with the Penguins, amassing 268 goals and 619 points in 1,022 games. He was also a member of Canada’s gold medal-winning men’s hockey team at the 2014 Winter Olympics. 

Chris Kunitz retires to join the Chicago Blackhawks front office (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Kunitz in his new job. 

OTTAWA SUN/TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Tampa Bay Lightning yesterday traded winger Ryan Callahan and a fifth-round pick in 2020 to the Ottawa Senators for goaltender Mike Condon and a sixth-rounder in 2020. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a straightforward salary dump by the Lightning. Callahan has a year remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $5.8 million. A degenerative back injury has brought about the end of his playing career.

Rather than go through the salary-cap complications of placing Callahan on long-term injury reserve, the Bolts ship out his cap hit and give themselves over $11 million in salary-cap space. That should be enough to re-sign restricted free agents Brayden Point and Adam Erne to new contracts. However, the Bolts now have to address a logjam between the crease. I’ll have more on that in the Rumors section.

The Senators, meanwhile, can afford to take on Callahan’s cap hit. Thanks to insurance, they’ll only pay over $940K.

THE SCORE: cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman saying the Minnesota Wild are believed to have sought permission from the Philadelphia Flyers to speak with Ron Hextall regarding their now-vacant role of general manager. The Wild yesterday relieved GM Paul Fenton of his duties and are seeking a full-time replacement. Hextall was the Flyers GM from 2014 to 2018. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hextall probably isn’t the only former NHL general manager the Wild could be interested in. It’ll be interesting to see how many they interview and how long it takes to announce Fenton’s replacement. 

VANCOUVER SUN: Canucks winger Brock Boeser’s father is once again battling lung cancer. He was previously diagnosed in 2017. The cancer returned six weeks ago and has spread to his liver and bones. A blood clot triggered heart failure on Monday, placing him into intensive care in critical condition. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Boeser’s dad makes a full recovery. 

SPORTSNET: As expected, Calgary’s city council approved a 35-year arena deal with the Flames to replace the 36-year-old Saddledome.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche re-signed forward Vladislav Kamenev to a one-year, $750K contract. 

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes announced Patrick Dwyer is the new assistant coach of their AHL affiliate in Charlotte.

THE DENVER POST: Former NHL defenseman Mike Christie passed away on July 11 of kidney disease at age 69. A standout defenseman with the University of Denver.

Christie spent seven seasons in the NHL from 1974-75 to 1980-81 with the California Golden Seals, Cleveland Barons, Colorado Rockies, and Vancouver Canucks. He netted 116 points in 412 games and was captain of the Rockies in 1979-80.  

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










NHL Rumor Mill (Part Three) – June 21, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill (Part Three) – June 21, 2019

As the opening round of the 2019 NHL Draft (8 pm ET tonight) draws near, here’s a quick look at some of the latest notable trade rumors.

SUBBAN’S NAME FLOATING IN THE RUMOR MILL

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban’s name is floating around in the rumor mill. The Predators want to clear salary-cap space to either go shopping in the unrestricted free agent market (Matt Duchene?) or re-sign defenseman Roman Josi. McKenzie cautions this is “by no means guaranteed to happen,” noting it’s an aspect of a lot of NHL draft trade talk.

SPORTSNET: Sources tell Elliotte Friedman the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks are looking into Subban’s availability. Any move regarding the Leafs depends upon a resolution to Mitch Marner’s contract talks, 

Three years after getting traded to the Nashville Predators, could P.K. Subban be on the move again? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Subban lacks no-trade protection. He carries an annual average value of $9 million through 2021-22. Three years ago, he was shipped to the Predators by the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Shea Weber. 

If the Preds trade Subban, I’m not sure where he would fit in under the Leafs’ limited payroll. The Canucks, with over $58.4 million invested in 21 players (stick tap to Cap Friendly), can certainly afford him. The question is, what would the Predators want in return?

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW’s Adrian Dater took to Twitter with the following tidbit on Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie: “Hearing some chatter about Vancouver offering Virtanen and 2020 first rounder for Barrie. We’ll see what happens.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think that’s enough to tempt Avs GM Joe Sakic into trading Barrie. Then again, we didn’t expect the Winnipeg Jets to ship Jacob Trouba to the New York Rangers for Neal Pionk and the 20th overall in this year’s draft. 

BRUINS INTERESTED IN KREIDER?

NBC SPORTS: Joe Haggerty reports sources are saying the Boston Bruins have interest in New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider. The Bruins are in need of a top-six winger and there’s speculation the Rangers could try to trade Kreider this weekend.

Kreider is a year away from unrestricted free agent status and carries a $4.625-million cap hit for 2019-20.  Haggerty suggests the Bruins offer up their first-round pick in this year’s draft plus a prospect like Anders Bjork, or a prospect and their 2020 first rounder.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Bruins (or anyone else) is willing to package their 2019 first-rounder with a top prospect, the Rangers could listen. It remains to be seen, however, if the B’s are willing to do it. Kreider could be a bit of a gamble as he could depart via free agency next summer. Haggerty speculates it could cost between $6 -$7-million annually to re-sign him.

MARNER UPDATE

TSN: Darren Dreger said contract term remains a sticking point for Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner. He’s not interested in an eight-year maximum term. “Remains committed to visiting with teams next week if there’s no agreement with Toronto.”

WILD STILL SHOPPING ZUCKER

TVA SPORTS: Renaud Lavoie reports the Minnesota Wild are still shopping winger Jason Zucker. “Nobody expect him to be back in Minny next season,” said Lavoie.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild nearly had a deal in place to send Zucker to the Calgary Flames at the trade deadline but ran out of time. Several weeks ago, a trade that would’ve sent him to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Phil Kessel fell apart because Kessel wouldn’t waive his no-trade clause. Like most, I’m expecting Zucker will be on the move this weekend.

HURRICANES MOVING FAULK?

TSN: Pierre LeBrun tweets hearing the Carolina Hurricanes are shopping defenseman Justin Faulk “after this morning’s meeting with the player’s camp did not go particularly great regarding a possible extension.” He has a year left on his contract with a $4.83 million annual cap hit.

While it’s possible the two sides could still arrive at a deal, the Hurricanes last year traded Elias Lindholm after a similar discussion leading up to the draft also didn’t go well. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Faulk has a 15-team trade list. A lot of teams seeking a right-shot blueliner (hello there, Leafs) could be very interested in acquiring him. 

REIMER ON THE BLOCK

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Florida Panthers are still shopping backup goaltender James Reimer. He’s signed through 2020-21 with a salary-cap hit of $3.4 million. ” If there’s no takers, potential buyout candidate before June 30 buyout window closes,” he said. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL’s Jim Matheson believes the Panthers called the Oilers about Reimer “but unless Edm can get them to take back Brandon Manning’s $2.25 mil for this upcoming season he’s a non-starter for trade and even then his 20-21 $3.4 mil cap hit is very problematic.”

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 21, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 21, 2019

The Canucks re-sign Alex Edler, Lightning winger Ryan Callahan going on LTIR, Ducks re-sign Ryan Miller and more. Get the details on these and other stories on the eve of the 2019 draft in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver begins at 8 pm ET tonight with the opening round. The remaining six rounds will be held Saturday. 

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks yesterday re-signed defenseman Alex Edler to a two-year, $12-million contract extension. Edler, 33, was slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

The Vancouver Canucks re-sign defenseman Alex Edler to a two-year deal (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A reasonable deal for both sides. Edler gets a raise and a no-movement clause and stays with the only NHL team he’s ever played for. The Canucks, meanwhile, retain their best defenseman on a short-term deal plus he’s agreed to make himself available for the 2021 NHL expansion draft. As in the Vegas draft, players with no-movement clauses on expiring contracts must be protected unless they agree to be exposed in that draft.

TSN: The Canucks are reportedly in talks with former Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli to join their management staff. Canucks GM Jim Benning worked for Chiarelli during their tenure with the Bruins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We take you live for a reaction from a Canucks fan.

 

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning revealed Ryan Callahan will be placed on long-term injury reserve. The 34-year-old winger is suffering from degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Callahan has a year remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $5.8 million. When this news broke, some fans felt this was a sneaky way for the cap-strapped Lightning to free up payroll for next season. The timing is merely coincidental. Callahan’s career and his dream of winning a Stanley Cup are over. That’s the real story here.

If the Lightning needs real salary-cap relief they could attempt to trade his rights to a club in need of reaching the cap floor. For now, it appears they’ll go the LTIR route. 

TSN: The Anaheim Ducks re-signed goaltender Ryan Miller, center Derek Grant, and defenseman Korbinian Holzer to one-year contracts. Miller’s deal is worth $1.125 million. Cap Friendly indicates Holzer’s salary is $850K and Grant’s $700K.

SPORTSNET’s Eric Engels reports Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jordie Benn will test the upcoming unrestricted free agent market. 

TVA SPORTS: L.A Lariviere has a two-part series (translation required) listing some interesting behind-the-scenes stories from previous NHL drafts. Among them: Max Pacioretty spiking a proposed deal at last year’s draft that would’ve sent him to the LA Kings. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers have hired Jim Playfair as an assistant coach responsible for their defensive play.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes intend to hire former Buffalo Sabres coach Phil Housley as an assistant coach. 

NHL.COM: The league announced rule changes for video review and coach’s challenges. Coaches will now be able to challenge missed stoppage of play calls in the offensive zone that result in goals. On-ice officials will be able to review their work on major penalties (other than fighting), match penalties, and double-minors for high-sticking. 










NHL Rumor Mill – May 25, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – May 25, 2019

Six potential salary-cap casualties plus updates on the Jets and Flames in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

KOVALCHUK, TURRIS,  AMONG POSSIBLE COST-CUTTING CANDIDATES

SPORTSNET: Ryan Dixon lists Los Angeles’ Ilya Kovalchuk and Nashville’s Kyle Turris among six potential cost-cutting candidates this summer. 

Will the Los Angeles Kings try to trade Ilya Kovalchuk this summer? (Photo via NHL Images)

Kovalchuk, 36, has two years left on his contract with an annual average value of $6.25 million. Dixon noted there was speculation near the trade deadline suggesting a team in “win-now” mode might take a chance on the left winger.

Turris ($6 million annually) has five years left on his contract. The 29-year-old center is coming off a difficult, injury-shortened campaign. 

Olli Maatta (three years remaining at $4.1 million per season) has fallen out of favor in Pittsburgh. Dixon believes another club could give the 24-year-old Penguins defenseman another chance. 

Dixon suggests the Edmonton Oilers could attempt to move Andrej Sekera. The 33-year-old blueliner has two years left on his deal with a $5.5-million annual salary-cap hit. His injury history, however, could make him difficult to move. 

The Tampa Bay Lightning need to free up cap space to re-sign Brayden Point. Right wing Ryan Callahan (one year, $5.8 million) seems an obvious trade candidate. He carries a modified no-trade clause. 

If the Florida Panthers pursue goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky via free agency, they could shop backup James Reimer. He’s got two years remaining at $3.4 million per season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Kovalchuk has a full no-movement clause. He and his family seem happily settled in the Los Angeles area. He might consider waiving his clause to join a Cup contender but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Predators general manager David Poile is among the shrewdest executives in the game. However, I doubt he’ll find a taker for Turris without including a sweetener in the deal or picking up part of that cap hit. Even then, Poile could find it tough drumming up interest.

Maatta’s had his struggles with the Penguins. Nevertheless, there’s a market for young, puck-moving, defensemen. Of those on Dixon’s list, Maatta seems the most likely to move. 

Ken Holland, the Oilers’ new GM, could consider peddling Sekera to free up some cap space. On the other hand, he could retain him to buy time for the younger blueliners in their system.

Callahan’s best seasons are well behind him now. The one positive is he only has a year left on his deal. If the Lightning includes a quality prospect or draft pick in the deal, a club with cap room seeking veteran leadership could consider it. 

The Panthers will pursue an upgrade between the pipes via trade or free agency this summer. If Roberto Luongo doesn’t retire, Reimer will be on the move. Teams looking for an experienced backup could show interest in him. 

LATEST ON THE JETS

WINNIPEG SUN: Ken Wiebe expects Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff could attempt to recoup some draft picks leading up to next month’s NHL Draft. The Jets currently have spots in the second, fourth, and fifth rounds. Trade-deadline acquisition Kevin Hayes is expected to depart via free agency. That could put the Jets in the market for a second-line center. They need someone who can establish chemistry with left wing Patrik Laine. 

Wiebe also suggests defenseman Jacob Trouba could be traded during the draft weekend. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. What could complicate things is it’s unknown if he’s interested in signing a long-term contract when he’s a year away from UFA eligibility.  If Trouba is moved, the Jets could attempt to re-sign pending UFA blueliner Tyler Myers. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cheveldayoff will be busy in the coming weeks. With Laine and Kyle Connor due for big raises, they probably can’t afford to re-sign Trouba. The Jets GM won’t have difficulty finding trade partners for the 25-year-old blueliner. Suitors could include the Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, and New York Rangers. 

To address the Jets’ second-line center position, Wiebe suggests Cheveldayoff target Nazem Kadri of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He calls the 28-year-old center “a hard-nosed player with plenty of skill.” The Leafs could be forced to move Kadri’s $4.5-million annual salary-cap hit to free up room to re-sign Mitch Marner. Wiebe suggests offering up Jack Roslovic in a package deal for Kadri. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A sticking point is Kadri’s modified no-trade clause. The Jets could be on his 10-team no-trade list. If they’re not, a package offer containing Roslovic could tempt the Leafs. 

RECENT FLAMES SPECULATION

SPORTSNET: Eric Francis believes Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving must make addressing his goaltending a priority this summer. One option could be re-signing pending UFA Mike Smith, who’s interested in returning. Failing that, Treliving will have to find an affordable option to split the duties with David Rittich.

Francis suggests St. Louis Blues former starter Jake Allen ($4.35 million annually through 2020-21) might be available via trade. So could New York Islanders backup Thomas Greiss, who’s got a year left on his deal at $3.33 million. Free-agent possibilities include Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov or Carolina’s Curtis McElhinney. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Limited salary-cap space will hamper Treliving’s efforts. With over $68.5 million invested in 19 players, he’s got $14 million available for next season. Most of that will be taken up re-signing Matthew Tkachuk and Sam Bennett. Maybe a dollar-for-dollar swap for Allen or Greiss is possible. Failing that, he’ll have to go cheap for goaltending help.

Varlamov’s frequent injury history could drive down his value in the UFA market. As Francis noted, that could make him an affordable gamble. McElhinney will probably re-sign with the Hurricanes.