NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 21, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 21, 2019

Taylor Hall returns to the ice, Dan Girardi hangs up his skates, plus updates on Dustin Byfuglien, Alex Goligoski, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall scored a goal and collected an assist in a 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers in preseason play on Friday. It was Hall’s first game since suffering a knee injury last December. “I felt pretty good,” said Hall, who played just over 18 minutes. “There wasn’t a whole lot of flow to the game at certain points, but it was a lot of fun to be out there and (to) have some success right off the bat was a good feeling. It’s kind of the way you’d want to draw it up if you were coming back.”

New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall returned to action in his first game since last December (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a promising start for Hall. He’ll be crucial to the Devils’ playoff hopes this season.

TSN: Defenseman Dan Girardi yesterday announced his retirement. He spent 13 seasons in the NHL, 11 with the New York Rangers and two with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A solid, big-minute defensive blueliner, Girardi’s best seasons came during his long tenure with the Rangers, helping them reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2014. In recent years, however, his performance declined as he struggled to adjust to the increasingly faster pace of the game. Best wishes to Girardi and his family in their future endeavors.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets head coach Paul Maurice said he recently had a “wonderful conversation” with defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, who’s taken a leave of absence from the club. Maurice offered up no timetable for the big blueliner’s return. He also downplayed a chance encounter at a restaurant between a couple of fans and Byfuglien, with one of the fans claiming the defenseman told her he will be playing this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets’ official line is they’re giving Byfuglien all the time and space he needs during this leave of absence. A report earlier this week claiming the rearguard was pondering his future has Jets fans understandably concerned he might retire.

THE ATHLETIC: Arizona Coyotes defenseman Alex Goligoski admitted he lost his passion for the game around mid-December last season. However, he was re-energized following the club’s mandatory off-week in late-January.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Critics believe the off-week for teams is a waste of time, hurting momentum and roster cohesiveness. Goligoski’s case proves it can be beneficial for players experiencing burnout.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers re-signed defenseman Tony DeAngelo to a one-year, $925K contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeAngelo was the Rangers’ only remaining unsigned restricted free agent. While he was holding out for more, the Rangers lacked sufficient cap space to give him a more substantial raise. If he matches or exceeds last season’s promising 30-point performance, the Blueshirts will reward him for it next summer.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning placed goaltenders Louis Domingue and Mike Condon on waivers yesterday for assignment to their AHL affiliate in Syracuse.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens rookie Ryan Poehling is sidelined indefinitely with a concussion while veteran Paul Byron is nursing an upper-body injury.

NHL.COM: The Washington Capitals named Jim Slater to their player development department.


NHL Rumor Mill – July 31, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – July 31, 2019

The latest on Jake Gardiner and Chris Kreider plus an update on the Lightning in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TALKNORTH.COM: The Athletic’s Michael Russo speculates Jake Gardiner might already have a “handshake deal” in place with an NHL club. He thinks that unnamed team might be waiting to clear out some salary-cap space to officially sign the 28-year-old defenseman.

Does Jake Gardiner have an unwritten agreement on a contract with an NHL club? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We could be waiting until September before we find out where Gardiner lands. It’s rumored he’s hoping to return to the Toronto Maple Leafs once they get Mitch Marner under contract. That could prove difficult given the Leafs’ limited cap space and the anticipated high cost of re-signing Marner.

Other teams with limited cap space that could perhaps use Gardiner include the Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights, Florida Panthers, and Edmonton Oilers.


NEW YORK POST’s Larry Brooks yesterday took to Twitter to provide an update on the Rangers. “Cannot say that there is necessarily anything brewing but a couple of industry sources report that “Kreider’s name is out there everywhere.” Rangers’ buyout window closes at 5 PM tomorrow.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Rangers sit over $4.1 million above the $81.5-million salary cap, with restricted free agents Brendan Lemieux and Anthony DeAngelo to re-sign. Brooks has stumped for the Rangers to buy out defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk but there’s no indication they’re going that route.

If they don’t buy out Shattenkirk or anyone else, they could be forced to go the trade route to free up cap space. Kreider has frequently come up in trade chatter this offseason. He’s an unrestricted free agent next summer and carries a $4.625-million cap hit for 2019-20.


THE ATHLETIC: In the wake of yesterday’s swap of Ryan Callahan to Ottawa for Mike Condon, Joe Smith reports Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois isn’t done dealing. There’s a logjam between the pipes, with Andrei Vasilevskiy and Curtis McElhinney as their starter and backup. Condon could be backing up Scott Wedgewood on the Bolts’ AHL affiliate in Syracuse.

That leaves Louis Domingue, last season’s backup, as the odd man out. He’s on the trade block as BriseBois has already spoken with several teams. Smith suggests the Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers, San Jose Sharks, and Colorado Avalanche as possible destinations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Domingue is on the second season of his two-year contract with an annual salary-cap hit of $1.15 million. He should be enticing to teams seeking an affordable backup. Some of them could be on Smith’s list of possible destinations. It could take until training camp for Domingue to find a new home as clubs will likely take the time to evaluate their goalie depth before deciding on upgrades.

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. 

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 2, 2019

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 2, 2019

Updates on Erik Karlsson, Patrick Marleau, Dion Phaneuf, and more in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman said Erik Karlsson “is taking a long, hard look at deciding if he wants to stay in San Jose.” The 28-year-old defenseman was acquired by the Sharks in September from the Ottawa Senators. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Erik Karlsson could soon reach a decision regarding his future in San Jose (Photo via NHL Images).

Friedman believes Karlsson will decide if he’ll test the market in about a week. He said the blueliner wants to win and the Sharks made a good impression upon him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Recent speculation linked Karlsson to the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning. If he wants to stay with the Sharks he might have to accept less than market value. As per Cap Friendly, the Sharks have over $58 million invested in 15 players.

Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, and Gustav Nyquist are also due to become UFAs. Meanwhile, restricted free agents Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc are slated for big raises. 


SPORTSNET: Nick Kypreos said it sounds like the Toronto Maple Leafs and winger Patrick Marleau are set to part ways. Marleau’s family is moving back to San Jose and he’d prefer playing close to them. Kypreos said he’s heard the Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, and the Los Angeles Kings are among the clubs in the mix.

Regarding the Kings, Kypreos feels it would have to be a type of deal “that would have to involve taking on that contract would be, maybe, taking on a current roster player that the Leafs would have to give up, and maybe even retaining as much as maybe $1.5, $2 million.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun first reported the Leafs were talking to the Kings about Marleau. However, that deal sounds unlikely. Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times took to Twitter yesterday saying it’s her understanding Marleau won’t be traded to the Kings. “Any discussions quickly made it obvious that the teams’ respective needs/cap situations meant there wasn’t a workable deal to be made.

Cap Friendly indicates the Kings have over $71 million tied up in 19 players. Taking on Marleau’s full cap hit ($6.25 million) or even a reduced amount still takes a big bite out of their remaining cap space. Unless the Leafs take back a toxic contract (like Ilya Kovalchuk’s, which they won’t), I don’t expect to see Marleau skating with the Kings next season.

The Coyotes have a history of taking on bad contracts if they’re also packaged with a quality draft pick, prospect, or young NHL-ready player. This year, however, they might be unwilling to do those deals. They have even less cap room (over $74 million invested in 20 players) than the Kings. While all their core players are under contract for 2019-20, ownership could be reluctant to take on significant salary this summer.

The Avalanche, meanwhile, have lots of cap space (over $45 million invested in 13 players) for next season. They must re-sign winger Mikko Rantanen to a lucrative new contract this summer. After that, however, they’ll still have plenty of room to re-sign their other key free agents and make a significant acquisition or two.

General manager Joe Sakic indicated he intends to be busy in this summer’s free-agent market. Perhaps he’ll also consider a bold move like taking on the final season of Marleau’s contract, provided the Leafs include an enticing sweetener in the deal. 


SPORTSNET: Kypreos also speculated the Kings could buy out Dion Phaneuf. The 34-year-old defenseman has two years remaining on his contract worth $12 million. Kypreos points out that a buy out “would get him $8 million over the next four years and a chance to get back into unrestricted free agency on July 1.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A buyout could be the only option. Phaneuf is in decline and it’s doubtful they’ll find many takers in the trade market. The first two years would still be costly for the Kings. The first year counts as over $2.9 million against their cap payroll, jumps to over $5.4 million in the second year, before dropping to over $1.4 million annually in the final two years. 


OTTAWA SUN: With the Senators’ recent re-signing of goaltender Anders Nilsson, Bruce Garrioch suggests Mike Condon’s days with the Sens may be numbered. The 29-year-old netminder has one year remaining on his contract worth $3 million. A hip issue sidelined him for all but two NHL games this season. The Senators could buy out that remaining season but Garrioch believes they’ll try to trade him to a club seeking a veteran for their AHL farm team.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 7, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 7, 2018

Game recaps, update on the Senators Uber incident and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Mark Stone’s five-point performance (two goals, three assists) carried the Ottawa Senators to a 7-3 thumping of the New Jersey Devils. Matt Duchene (three assists), Thomas Chabot (three points) and Colin White (two goals) also factored in the Senators victory.

Matt Duchene publicly apologized to assistant coach Martin Raymond following the Ottawa Senators 7-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. (Photo via NHL Images)

Duchene, Chabot, and White were among the seven Senators secretly filmed by an Uber driver in Phoenix recently mocking assistant coach Martin Raymond. The Senators revealed they knew about the video well before it made the rounds on social media and insist they’ve dealt with it internally.

The seven players involved yesterday issued a statement apologizing to Raymond and their teammates and Duchene profusely apologized to Raymond again during last night’s post-game press conference.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Last night’s game suggests the Senators have put this incident behind them. Still, time will tell if this episode was really much ado about nothing or indicative of ongoing turmoil within the Senators’ dressing room. 

Frederik Andersen made 36 saves and Connor Brown had a goal and an assist as the Toronto Maple Leafs downed the Vegas Golden Knights 3-1. Vegas also lost forward Erik Haula, who was stretchered from the game in the third period after falling awkwardly following a clean hit by Leafs forward Patrick Marleau.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: More information on Haula’s condition is expected later today but it appears he suffered a serious injury to his right knee. 

The Los Angeles Kings defeated the Anaheim Ducks 4-1, handing Willie Desjardins his first victory as their new head coach. Ilya Kovalchuk scored a goal and set up two others. It’s the Ducks’ eighth loss in their last nine games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle could be among the NHL coaches currently on the hot seat. 

Ryan O’Reilly had a hat trick as the St. Louis Blues beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1, handing the latter their fifth straight defeat.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After a good start to this season the Hurricanes are struggling of late. This could provide more fuel to the speculation they’re interested in acquiring William Nylander from the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

Nikita Kucherov scored twice and set up another while Andrei Vasilevskiy turned aside 33 shots in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.

Neal Pionk’s end-to-end goal late in the third period proved to be the game winner as the New York Rangers overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Montreal Canadiens 5-3 in a penalty-filled contest. Rangers center Kevin Hayes collected three assists while Canadiens winger Tomas Tatar scored twice.

The San Jose Sharks blew a two-goal lead but a third-period goal by Barclay Goodrow gave them a 4-3 win. Sharks forward Marcus Sorensen had a three-point night.

Jimmy Howard made 40 saves and Dylan Larkin scored the only goal in a shootout as the Detroit Red Wings edged the Vancouver Canucks 3-2. Vancouver rookie center Elias Pettersson tallied his 10th goal of the season.

Sergei Bobrovsky made 26 saves backstopping the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 4-1 win over the Dallas Stars.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Florida Panthers forward Derek Mackenzie is sidelined indefinitely following shoulder surgery.

SPORTSNET: Adam Oates has joined the Los Angeles Kings as a consultant.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 1, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 1, 2018

Canucks defeat Blackhawks plus the latest on Jonathan Quick, Henrik Lundqvist, Sebastian Aho and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Jake Virtanen had his first two-goal NHL game to lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 4-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Canucks forward Brendan Gaunce had a goal and an assist. Blackhawks star Patrick Kane missed the game due to illness.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick is sidelined indefinitely following surgery yesterday to repair a torn meniscus. Recovery time is typically between three-to-six weeks.

Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick will be sidelined several weeks following knee surgery. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll have more on the Kings later this morning in the Rumors section. 

NEW YORK POST: Long-time Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist insists he’s committed to the club’s rebuilding plans.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, he’s not going to ask for a trade to a playoff contender so quit bugging him about it. 

THE SCORE: The Nashville Predators activated goaltender Pekka Rinne (undisclosed ailment) off injured reserve yesterday.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell said he believes a new contract for rising star Sebastian Aho can be completed before season’s end. Both sides are seeking a long-term deal and Waddell said they’re not that far part regarding the money.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Aho is in the final season of his entry-level contract and has steadily improved in his brief NHL career. He had 49 points as a rookie, 65 as a sophomore (and was their leading scorer last season) and is on pace (17 points in 12 games) for 116 points this season. He might not finish with 100 points but it’s safe to assume (barring injury) he could reach 80.

Aho is the real deal, the biggest star the Hurricanes have had since Eric Staal was in his playing prime. He could get between $8.5 million and $10 million annually. If the Hurricanes can get him for less than $8 million per it’ll be a bargain. 

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs defenseman Ron Hainsey will play in his 1,000th career NHL game when the Leafs face off against the Dallas Stars.

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens forward Paul Byron (lower-body injury) is questionable for tonight’s game against the Washington Capitals.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators placed goaltender Mike Condon on waivers. 

CBS SPORTS: Philadelphia Flyers forward Corban Knight (broken collarbone) is expected to be sidelined four months. 

The Anaheim Ducks sent forward Sam Steel to their AHL affiliate

AWFUL ANNOUNCING: The NHL is shifting more weekend games to afternoons to attract more European fans. The league “has changed the start time of nearly 50 games this season for the purpose of broadcasting games in prime time across the European continent.”