NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 7, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 7, 2019

Recaps of the final games of the 2018-19 season, first-round playoff matchups set, Nikita Kucherov wins Art Ross Trophy, Bob Cole signs off, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning tied the league record for most wins in a season (62) by defeating the Boston Bruins 6-3. Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov tallied a goal and set up another to finish the season with 128 points, winning the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading scorer and scoring the most points in one season by a Russian-born player.  The Lightning will face the Columbus Blue Jackets in the opening round of the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs. 

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov won the 2019 Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s leading scorer (Photo via NHL Images)

Montreal Canadiens center Ryan Poehling scored his first NHL goal, collected his first big-league hat trick, and tallied his first game-winning and shootout goals in a 6-5 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Despite Poehling’s four-goal debut, the Canadiens missed the playoffs with 96 points. The Leafs go on to face the Bruins in the opening round.  This game was also the last for Hockey Night in Canada play-by-play man Bob Cole. The 85-year-old is retiring following a 50-year career

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Growing up in the 1970s, Danny Gallivan was my favorite hockey play-by-play man. After Gallivan’s retirement in 1984, Cole became the voice of Saturday night for me. So many great games, so many memories. For me, the best game he ever called was Game Five of the 1984 Patrick Division semi-final between the New York Islanders and New York Rangers. 

Edmonton Oilers winger Leon Draisaitl reached the 50-goal plateau for the first time in a 3-1 victory over the Calgary Flames. His achievement was overshadowed by team captain Connor McDavid leaving the game with an injured left leg. X-rays revealed no broken bones but he’s slated for an MRI on Monday. The Flames, meanwhile, will face the Colorado Avalanche in the opening round. 

Sidney Crosby reached 100 points for the sixth time in his career but his Pittsburgh Penguins were nipped 4-3 by the New York Rangers in overtime. Penguins winger Jake Guentzel reached the 40-goal plateau for the first time. Ryan Strome scored the winning goal for the Rangers. The Penguins will face off against the New York Islanders in the first round. 

The Islanders, meanwhile, got a 29-save shutout from Robin Lehner and two goals by Valtteri Filppula as they blanked the Washington Capitals 3-0. Lehner and Thomas Greiss won the William M. Jennings Trophy for the league’s lowest goals-against average. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin finished the season with 51 goals to win his eighth career Rocket Richard Trophy. He also set a record by leading the league in goals for the eighth time.

Nashville Predators winger Viktor Arvidsson set a franchise record for most goals in a season (34) as his club downed the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2. Filip Forsberg and Nick Bonino each had a goal and an assist for the Predators, whose first-round opponent will be the Dallas Stars. Blackhawks winger Chris Kunitz, 39, is a free agent this summer and uncertain of what his NHL future might be. 

Ben Bishop set a Dallas Stars record with the highest single-season save percentage (.934) and Tyler Seguin scored two goals to blank the Minnesota Wild 3-0. Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau is hopeful of returning behind the bench next season. He’s got a year remaining on his contract and there’s no indication the club is considering a coaching change. 

Shootout goals by Ryan O’Reilly and David Perron gave the St. Louis Blues a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. The Blues will face off against the Winnipeg Jets in the opening round of the playoffs. 

Pierre-Luc Dubois scored twice as the Columbus Blue Jackets romped to a 6-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. Oliver Bjorkstrand also had a three-point night for the Blue Jackets, who’ll face the Lightning in the opening round. 

Buffalo Sabres left wing Jeff Skinner scored twice to reach the 40-goal mark for the first time as his club thumped the Detroit Red Wings 7-1. Red Wings captain Niklas Kronwall said he hasn’t made up his mind yet if he’ll return for another season. The 38-year-old had one of his healthiest seasons in years, prompting speculation he might have one more season left in him. 

Aleksander Barkov set a Florida Panthers record by reaching 96 points in a 4-3 overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils. Nathan Bastian scored two goals and Travis Zajac netted the game-winner. 

Carolina Hurricanes forwards Jordan Staal and Teuvo Teravainen each had a goal and an assist as their club nipped the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3. The Hurricanes’ opening-round opponent will be the Washington Capitals.

Mark Scheifele and Kyle Connor each tallied a goal and an assist as the Winnipeg Jets doubled up the Arizona Coyotes 4-2. The Jets will open the playoffs at home against the Blues.

Ilya Kovalchuk scored two goals to give the Los Angeles Kings a season-ending 5-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights, who dropped seven of their final eight regular-season contests. The Golden Knights face off against the San Jose Sharks in the opening round. 

Erik Karlsson returned to the San Jose Sharks lineup for the first time since Feb. 26 in a 5-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche. He was held pointless but skated over 22 minutes and finished the night with a plus-minus of plus-three. 

The complete 2019 Stanley Cup playoff bracket can be found here

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 4, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 4, 2019

Game recaps and remembering the late Ted Lindsay in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Hall of Fame forward Ted Lindsay has passed away at the age of 93. He spent all but three of his 17 NHL seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, helping them win four Stanley Cups in the 1950s and served as captain from 1952-53 to 1956-57. He also starred on the famous “Production Line” with Gordie Howe and Sid Abel.

A skilled, tough, rambunctious player, “Terrible Ted” mocked opponents, clashed with referees and argued with Wings head coach and general manager Jack Adams. His efforts to form a players union led to his being traded to the Chicago Blackhawks in 1957. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lindsay left a long legacy with the Red Wings and in the NHL. In 1,068 games, Lindsay tallied 379 goals, 472 assists and 851 points, along with 1,808 PIMs, winning the Art Ross Trophy in 1950. In 133 playoff games, he scored 47 goals and 96 points. He later went on to serve as Red Wings general manager from 1977 to 1980 and briefly coached them in 1979-80 and 1980-81.

Lindsay was long active in the Detroit community and raised over $1.5 million for autism research. In 2010, the NHL Players Association remained the Lester B. Pearson Award to the Ted Lindsay Award in recognition of his groundbreaking efforts to form a union. Elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1966, Lindsay was named one of the NHL’s 100 greatest players in 2017.   

NHL.COM: Blake Wheeler scored four goals, Mark Scheifele collected three assists, and Connor Hellebuyck kicked out 40 shots to give the Winnipeg Jets a 5-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Jets (82 points) hold first place in the Central Division while the Blue Jackets (75 points) sit two points behind the Montreal Canadiens for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Since the trade deadline, the Jackets have dropped three of their last games. This definitely isn’t the outcome management expected when they brought in Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel, Adam McQuaid and Keith Kinkaid leading up to last Monday’s trade deadline. 

A four-goal performance by Blake Wheeler carried the Winnipeg Jets to a 5-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets (Photo via NHL Images)

Ryan Johansson’s shootout goal gave the Nashville Predators a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild, snapping the latter’s five-game winning streak. Predators forward Craig Smith rejoined the lineup after missing six games with a lower-body injury. The Predators (81 points) sit one behind the Jets for first place in the Central Division while the Wild (71 points) hold the final wild-card spot in the West.  

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 19 saves to pick up his second straight shutout (and his league-leading eighth of the season) backstopping his club to a 3-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Fleury also leads the league with 32 wins. With the loss, the Canucks (63 points) sit eight points out of a playoff berth in the Western Conference. 

A three-goal third period powered the San Jose Sharks to a 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Melker Karlsson tallied twice for the Sharks, who were playing without defenseman Erik Karlsson for the second straight game with a groin injury. Karlsson won’t require surgery but the Sharks intend to be “extra cautious” with him. The Blackhawks (63 points) sit eight points out of a playoff spot in the West. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Of course they’ll be “extra cautious.” The Sharks want Karlsson healthy and ready to go for the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs. No point risking reaggravating that injury on some meaningless games down the stretch. 

Alex Ovechkin tallied the game-winner to give the Washington Capitals a 3-2 shootout win over the New York Rangers. With the win, the Capitals (83 points) take over sole possession of first place in the Metropolitan Division from the New York Islanders. 

The Philadelphia Flyers picked up their 16th victory in their last 21 games by defeating the Islanders 4-1. Claude Giroux collected two assists for the Flyers, reaching the 70-point plateau for the sixth time in his career.  Forwards Jakub Voracek missed the game with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day while Nolan Patrick left the game after taking a puck to the head and is listed as day-to-day. With 72 points, the Flyers are five points out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. 

Jakob Silfverberg had a goal and an assist as the Anaheim Ducks snapped a five-game losing skid by edging the Colorado Avalanche 2-1. Avalanche defenseman Ian Cole was ejected from the game following a knee-on-knee hit on Ducks forward Devin Shore, who had to be helped off the ice and didn’t return. He undergoes an MRI today. The loss leaves the Avalanche (68 points) three points behind the Minnesota Wild for the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

The Ottawa Senators ended a five-game losing streak by nipping the Florida Panthers 3-2. Senators goalie Anders Nilsson made 30 saves for the win.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 7, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 7, 2019

Game recaps, Mikko Koivu suffers a season-ending injury, Devils trade Brian Boyle to Nashville, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Toronto Maple Leafs blew a 4-2 lead but Morgan Rielly’s third-period goal gave them a 5-4 win over the Ottawa Senators. Magnus Paajarvi scored twice for the Senators. During the game, CBC’s long-time play-by-play man Bob Cole was given a standing ovation as he called his final Leafs game. 

Morgan Rielly’s third-period goal gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a 5-4 win over the Ottawa Senators (Photo via NHL Images)

The New York Rangers edged the Boston Bruins 4-3 on a shootout goal by Tony DeAngelo. 

SPORTSNET: Speak of the Senators, team owner Eugene Melnyk vows his club will spend close to the salary cap from 2021 to 2025 once the club’s current rebuild is completed. “The Senators will be all-in again for a five-year run of unparalleled success – where the team will plan to spend close to the NHL’s salary cap every year from 2021 to 2025,” according to a statement released by the club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Remains to be seen if Senators fans will buy into Melnyk’s vision. They’ve been disappointed by the club’s direction in recent years and unhappy with Melnyk’s ownership of the Sens. 

The Minnesota Wild yesterday announced captain Mikko Koivu is expected to undergo season-ending surgery Friday on his right knee.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Koivu’s absence leaves a big hole at the second-line center position that could prove difficult to fill. It will affect their efforts to hang onto a playoff spot in the Western Conference

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators made two trades yesterday. The first saw them acquire forward Brian Boyle from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. They also reacquired forward Cody McLeod from the New York Rangers in exchange for a seventh-round selection in the 2020 draft. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Austin Watson sidelined indefinitely while undergoing treatment for alcohol addiction and Zac Rinaldo undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery the Predators had a need for more size and grit on their checking lines. Boyle and McLeod should address those issues. Boyle also brings in additional leadership and playoff experience plus he also has a decent scoring touch, with 13 goals in 47 games this season. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray is questionable for the club’s upcoming three-game road trip after suffering an upper-body injury. Head coach Mike Sullivan said it’s not a concussion and Murray will travel with the team. Goalie Tristan Jarry has been recalled on an emergency basis

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien returns to action tonight against the Montreal Canadiens after missing 15 games with a foot injury. Blueliner Josh Morrissey is questionable after blocking a shot during Tuesday’s overtime loss against San Jose. 

THE SCORE: Edmonton Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot apologized to his teammates for remaining in the dressing room after being pulled in the third period of their 6-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday. 

CSNPHILLY.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers placed forward Jori Lehtera on waivers. He’s expected to clear and be sent to their AHL affiliate.

Former NHL stars Mike Modano, Miroslav Satan, and Ziggy Palffy are among the eight members of the International Ice Hockey Federations’ Hall of Fame Class of 2019. 

THE PROVINCE: Former Vancouver Canucks forward and captain Andre Boudrias has passed away at age 75. He spent 12 seasons in the NHL from 1963-64 to 1975-76 with the Canucks, Montreal Canadiens, Minnesota North Stars, Chicago Blackhawks, and St. Louis Blues. His most successful period was with the Canucks, with five straight seasons of 61-plus points. He was also an assistant general manager with the Montreal Canadiens and was part of their Stanley Cup championship teams in 1986 and 1993. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Boudrias’ family, friends, and former teammates and associates. He was the Canucks first scoring star, netting a career-best 78 points in 1974-75 and leading them to their first playoff appearance in 1975. He also spent two seasons in the WHA, helping the Quebec Nordiques win the Avco World Trophy in 1977. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 12, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 12, 2018

Game recaps, speculation over the Coyotes relocating to Houston, injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Brad Marchand scored twice in a four-goal second period for the Boston Bruins as they edged the Arizona Coyotes 4-3. Bruins forward David Backes needed several stitches after being accidentally clipped on the nose by the skate of Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson but returned to the game in the second period.

Speaking of the Coyotes, a Fox 26 Sports (Arizona) report cites NHL sources claiming “Houston Rockets owner Tillman Fertitta has met with National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman and had preliminary talks about buying and relocating the Arizona Coyotes to Houston.” At this point, it appears nothing further has come from those conversations. Fertitta and Rockets chief executive officer Tad Brown declined to comment.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For weeks, there have been rumblings among the NHL punditry linking the Coyotes to Houston. That speculation increased during the league’s process of awarding an expansion franchise to Seattle. It’s believed the Coyotes are currently seeking new owners but no indication they or the league are considering relocation. It’ll be interesting to see what reaction this report generates from the Coyotes’ current ownership or league headquarters. 

Jeff Skinner’s overtime goal capped a three-goal rally for the Buffalo Sabres as they squeaked past the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 to snap a five-game losing skid.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander collected his first two points (both assists) of the season as his club downed the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That should soothe the jangled nerves of Leafs superfan Steve Dangle, who had an entertaining meltdown following his club’s recent 6-3 loss to the Boston Bruins.

Washington Capitals’ captain Alex Ovechkin’s hat trick powered his club to a 6-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings (Photo via NHL Images)

A three-goal third period powered the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Canucks rookie sensation Elias Pettersson had a goal and an assist.

Alex Ovechkin’s hat trick gave the Washington Capitals a 6-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Ovechkin has a league-leading 25 goals and extended his personal points streak to 12 games. Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom collected four assists and T.J. Oshie returned to the lineup after missing 11 games with a concussion.

A four-goal third period enabled the St. Louis Blues to edge the Florida Panthers 4-3. David Perron tallied twice for the Blues, who played without defenseman Joel Edmundson, who injured his hand in the Blues’ previous game.

Pekka Rinne’s 25-save performance gave the Nashville Predators a 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators.

The Minnesota Wild went four-for-four on the power play in a 7-1 thrashing of the Montreal Canadiens. Matt Dumba scored twice while Zach Parise and Mikael Granlund each collected three points. Canadiens goalie Antti Niemi was in net for all seven Wild goals.

Kyle Connor scored twice and Dustin Byfuglien collected three assists as the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 6-3, handing the latter their eighth straight loss. Blackhawks defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook became the seventh set of teammates in NHL history to play 1,000 games together.

The Edmonton Oilers picked up their fourth straight win by beat the Colorado Avalanche 6-4. Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each had three points for the Oilers, who also lost defenseman Oscar Klefbom for what could be weeks with a hand injury. Avalanche wingers Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen each had four points.

LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS: Anaheim Ducks backup goaltender Ryan Miller will be sidelined up to six weeks with a sprained knee ligament. In response, the Ducks claimed goalie Chad Johnson off waivers from the St. Louis Blues. 

SPORTSNET: Broadcasting legend Bob Cole’s final NHL game will be the regular season finale on Hockey Night in Canada. between the Leafs and Canadiens on April 6. He will be retiring at the end of this season after 50 years in the CBC broadcast booth. 

COURIER-POST: The Philadelphia Flyers have hired former Minnesota Wild executive Brent Flahr as assistant general manager. Flahr worked for years with Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher during their years with the Wild. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 28, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 28, 2018

Bob Cole returning for 50th and final season on Hockey Night in Canada, Carolina Hurricanes resurrect the Whalers jersey for two games plus the latest injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: Long-time Hockey Night in Canada play-by-play man Bob Cole will return for his 50th and final season in 2018-19. The 85-year-old will call 10 game during the first half of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For millions of Canadians, Cole was the voice of Hockey Night in Canada for decades. He ranks with Foster Hewitt, Danny Gallivan and Dan Kelly among the greatest play-by-play men in the show’s history. Check out this link and this link and this link for some of his greatest calls. 

NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes will wear throwback Hartford Whalers jerseys for two games this season against the Boston Bruins. The first game will be December 23 and the second on March 5.

The Carolina Hurricanes will play two games this season wearing the Hartford Whalers jersey. (Photo via NHL.com)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A classy move by the Hurricanes to honor their past. The Whalers jersey is among the most iconic in NHL history. Here’s hoping they also blast some Brass Bonanza during the home game.

NEWSDAY: New York Islanders winger Andrew Ladd is listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury and remains questionable for the club’s season opener next week. General manager Lou Lamoriello said he currently doesn’t plan to place Ladd on injured reserve or long-term injured reserve.

STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo was suspended for the club’s remaining two preseason games and the opening game of the regular season for elbowing Washington Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny earlier this week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise here. As I noted yesterday, Bortuzzo had been fined twice by the league in the last two years.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators are hoping recently demoted forward Eeli Tolvanen will remain with their AHL affiliate. He has a clause in his contract allowing him to return to his KHL team (Jokerit) after 10 games with the Milwaukee Admirals. If he returns to the KHL, he’ll be ineligible to return to the NHL for the remainder of the regular season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tolvanen is a highly-touted Predators prospect who was expected to crack their roster this season. They’re obviously hoping some time in the minors will better acquaint him to the North American game. 

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks winger Antoine Roussel (concussion) will miss the start of the season,. 

CBS SPORTS: Pittsburgh Penguins winger Daniel Sprong is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals center Travis Boyd is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks signed defenseman Brandon Davidson to a one-year, $650K contract. 

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets signed forward Mark Letestu to a one-year, two-way contract. He was placed on waivers yesterday for the purpose of sending him to their AHL affiliate in Cleveland. 



Analysis of Notable NHL UFA Signings for July 1, 2018

Analysis of Notable NHL UFA Signings for July 1, 2018

The opening day of the NHL’s free-agent frenzy saw several stars changing teams as well as some interesting depth moves. Here’s a brief look at the day’s most notable signings.

John Tavares comes home to Toronto.

After being spurned by Steven Stamkos two years ago, the Leafs succeed in wooing hometown boy Tavares, inking him to a seven-year, $77-million contract. The annual cap hit is $11 million and it’s believed the 27-year-old center left money on the table to join the Leafs, who’ll now have Tavares, Auston Matthews and Nazem Kadri as their top-three centers. However, the Leafs still have a porous defense that needs improvement. With few palatable options remaining via free agency, perhaps they’ll turn to the trade market for help.

James van Riemsdyk was among several notable players signing big contracts on July 1 (Photo via NHL Images)

James van Riemsdyk returns to the Flyers.

Six years after the Flyers shipped van Riemsdyk to the Leafs, he returns on a five-year, $35-million deal. The annual cap hit is $7 million per season, a tad expensive for a winger who turns 30 next May. Nevertheless, he’s coming off a career-best 36-goal campaign and reached or exceed 54 points in four of the past five seasons. While van Riemsdyk’s presence should provide a welcome offensive boost for the Flyers, he could also be considered insurance in case winger Wayne Simmonds departs next summer via free agency.

Paul Stastny strikes gold in Vegas.

Unable to agree to terms with the Winnipeg Jets, Stastny accepted a three-year, $19.5-million contract with the Vegas Golden Knights. A skilled two-way playmaker, the 32-year-old center should help fill the void left by the departure of veteran leaders James Neal and David Perron to free agency. He’ll also help take some of the burden off young centers William Karlsson and Erik Haula. At $6.5 million per season, Stastny’s an expensive addition but one the Golden Knights can afford over the next three years.

Jack Johnson becomes a Penguin.

As expected, Johnson signed a five-year, $16.25 million deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins, joining his old school buddy Sidney Crosby. His new contract carries a cap-friendly $3.25 AAV, though the term is a little long for a 31-year-old defenseman who struggled last season with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Still, the Penguins have a history of successful reclamation projects with defensemen (Justin Schultz, Trevor Daley, Jamie Oleksiak). If Johnson regains his confidence in Pittsburgh, he could prove a worthwhile addition to their defense corps.

David Perron and Tyler Bozak get the Blues.

It’s the 30-year-old Perron’s third go-around with the Blues and this tenure will be long than his last, inking a four-year, $16-million contract. A skilled, sometimes streaky  playmaking winger, he should provide a much-needed boost to a Blues offense (especially their sputtering powerplay) that really struggled last season. Last season with the Vegas Golden Knights, he enjoyed a career-high 50-assist, 66-point performance.

Bozak, 32, signed a three-year, $15-million deal to come to St. Louis. He’s a solid two-way playerwho should help the Blues shore up their depth at center. He tallied 41 points in 2017-18, marking the fifth time in nine seasons the now-former Maple Leaf exceeded the 40-point plateau.

Handing out deals worth over $4-million annually to 30-something players can be risky, but the Blues were desperate for help up front. Fortunately, the deals aren’t too long. But with over $73 million invested in 22 players, they don’t have much left to re-sign RFAs such as Joel Edmundson and Robby Fabbri

Cole gets an Avalanche of cash.

A reliable physical defenseman with decent puck-moving skills, the 29-year-old Cole cashes in big this summer, signing a three-year deal worth $4.25 million per season with the Colorado Avalanche. Having won two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Cole could bring a measure of leadership and shutdown ability to the Avs blueliner.

Komarov heads to the Island.

After watching franchise player John Tavares sign with Toronto, New York Islanders general manager (and former Leafs GM) Lou Lamoriello replied by signing former Leafs forward Leo Komarov to a four-year, $12-million deal. It’s difficult to fathom what Lamoriello was thinking here. “Uncle Leo” was a popular, hardworking role player in Toronto but the 31-year-old winger struggled through an injury-shortened 2017-18 campaign. His career-best 19-goal, 36-point season came in 2015-16. He’s not worth $3 million annually.