NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 28, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 28, 2019

The latest on Sidney Crosby, Corey Perry, Aleksander Barkov, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Sidney Crosby had his No. 87 retired by the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Crosby spent two seasons with the Oceanic (2003-04, 2004-05) before being drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins. In 2005, he led them to the QMJHL President’s Cup championship.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby had his number retired by his former junior club (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The QMJHL has retired his No. 87 league-wide.  I caught a few games with Crosby’s Oceanic whenever they came to Charlottetown and he was always the best player on the ice. It was obvious he was headed to NHL superstardom. 

THE ATHLETIC: Florida Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville believes Aleksander Barkov and Brett Connolly should be fine after leaving Thursday’s preseason game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The pair were reevaluated on Friday. Meanwhile, Lightning center Cedric Paquette was fined $2,500.00 for high-sticking Panthers winger Frank Vatrano.

TSN: A broken foot could delay Corey Perry’s debut with the Dallas Stars. Perry signed a one-year contract with the Stars this summer after being bought out by the Anaheim Ducks. The injury sidelined him throughout training camp and could keep him out of their season-opener.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Victor Rask could be the odd man out among Minnesota Wild centers. Acquired from Carolina midway through last season, Rask managed just three points in 23 games with the Wild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rask’s stats have tumbled since reaching 21 goals and 48 points in 2015-16. If he can’t cut it in Minnesota he could end up on the trade block again.

THE SCORE: The Calgary Flames signed free agent winger Tobias Rieder to a one-year, two-way contract worth $700K.

TSN: Ottawa Senators forward Rudolfs Balcers is sidelined indefinitely with a lower-body injury.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins forward Joakim Nordstrom’s foot injury could keep him out of the club’s season-opener.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Former Red Wings coach Nick Polano died Thursday of Alzheimer’s disease at age 78. He was the Wings’ bench boss from 1982 to 1985 and was Steve Yzerman’s first NHL coach. He went on to become an assistant GM with the Wings and held scouting jobs with the Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Palono’s family, friends and the Wings organization.

List of NHL Free-Agent Signings – July 1, 2019

List of NHL Free-Agent Signings – July 1, 2019

Check out the listing of today’s notable NHL free-agent signings. This will be updated throughout the day as signings become official.

The Chicago Blackhawks signed goaltender Robin Lehner to a one-year, $5-million contract. 

The New York Islanders sign left wing Anders Lee to a seven-year, $49-million contract. The Isles also signed goaltender Semyon Varlamov to a four-year contract worth $5 million per season. 

The Carolina Hurricanes sign goaltender Petr Mrazek to a two-year, $6.5-million contract. 

The Montreal Canadiens have tendered an offer sheet to Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho. The proposed contract is for five years, with an average annual value of $8.454 million. 


New York Rangers sign left winger Artemi Panarin to a seven-year, $81.5 million contract. The annual average value is $11.6 million.

Florida Panthers signed goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to a seven-year, $70 million deal. They also signed winger Brett Connolly to a four-year, $13-million contract, defenseman Anton Stralman to a three-year, $16.5 million contract and forward Noel Acciari to a three-year, $5-million contract. 

Artemi Panarin signs a seven-year contract with the New York Rangers (Photo via NHL Images).

The Nashville Predators sign center Matt Duchene to a seven-year, $56-million contract.

Dallas Stars sign center/winger Joe Pavelski to a three-year, $21-million contract. The Stars also signed winger Corey Perry on a one-year, bonus-laden contract worth up to $3.25 million. They also signed defenseman Andrej Sekera to a one-year contract with a $1.5 million base salary and $500K in bonuses.

Minnesota Wild sign winger Mats Zuccarello to a five-year, $30-million contract. The Wild also sign forward Ryan Hartman to a two-year contract with an annual average value of $1.9 million.

Vancouver Canucks sign defenseman Tyler Myers to a five-year, $30-million contract. The Canucks also signed blueliner Jordie Benn to a two-year, $4-million contract and rearguard Oscar Fantenberg to a one-year, $850K deal. 

Pittsburgh Penguins sign forward Brandon Tanev to a six-year contract with an AAV of $3.5 million. 

Columbus Blue Jackets sign forward Gustav Nyquist to a four-year, $22-million contract. 

Washington Capitals sign forward Richard Panik to a four-year, $10-million contract and forward Garnet Hathaway to a four-year, $6-million deal. 

Colorado Avalanche sign winger Joonas Donskoi to a three-year contract estimated at around $3.5 million per season. They also sign winger Pierre-Edouard Bellemare to a two-year, $3.6-million contract

Chicago Blackhawks sign center Ryan Carpenter to a three-year, $3-million contract. 

Detroit Red Wings sign center Valtteri Filppula to a two-year, $6-million contract. They also signed defenseman Patrik Nemeth to a two-year deal. 

St. Louis Blues sign forward Nathan Walker to a two-year, $1.4-million contract. 

New Jersey Devils sign winger Wayne Simmonds to a one-year, $5-million contract. 

Edmonton Oilers signed goaltender Mike Smith to a one-year, $2-million contract and sign forward Markus Granlund to a one-year, $1.3-million contract. They also re-signed winger Alex Chiasson to a two-year deal worth $2.15-million per season. 

Ottawa Senators sign Ron Hainsey to a one-year, $3.5-million contract and winger Tyler Ennis to a one-year, $800K contract. 

Toronto Maple Leafs sign center Jason Spezza to a one-year, $700K contract.  

Calgary Flames sign goaltender Cam Talbot to sign a one-year. $2.75-million contract.

Montreal Canadiens sign goaltender Keith Kinkaid to a one-year, $1.75-million contract. 

Tampa Bay Lightning sign goaltender Curtis McElhinney to a two-year, $2.6-million contract. They also signed defenseman Luke Schenn to a one-year, $700K contract. 

Buffalo Sabres sign forward Curtis Lazar,  goaltender Andrew Hammond, and defenseman John Gilmour to one-year contracts each worth $700K.  The Sabres also acquire forward Jimmy Vesey from the New York Rangers in exchange for a third-round pick in 2021.

Winnipeg Jets sign defenseman Nathan Beaulieu to a one-year, $1-million contract. 

Trade Alert: The New York Rangers trade Jimmy Vesey to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a third-round pick in 2021.

NHL Evening Rumor Update – June 30, 2019

NHL Evening Rumor Update – June 30, 2019

Twas the evening before the NHL UFA market opens at noon ET tomorrow. Here’s a quick look at the latest speculation.


EDMONTON JOURNAL: In the aftermath of the Oilers buying out Andrej Sekera, David Staples speculated they could pursue winger Brett Connolly via free agency. He also suspects general manager Ken Holland could shop for a third-line center. Staples still “strongly believes” restricted free agent winger Jesse Puljujarvi is in play and will be traded.

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports former Calgary Flames goaltender Mike Smith is expected to join the Oilers tomorrow on a one-year, bonus-laden contract. His base salary is expected to be around $2 million with an additional $2 million in bonuses.

THE SCORE: Sean O’Leary cites Sportsnet’s John Shannon reports the Oilers are among four clubs pursuing former Anaheim Ducks winger Corey Perry.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Say what you will about Holland (and believe me, Oilers fans have said plenty following the Sekera buyout), he’s not wasting time laying the groundwork for tomorrow’s UFA frenzy. 

As for Connolly, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports “all signs” point to the winger inking a four-year deal with the Florida Panthers tomorrow. As we’ll soon see, it looks like they’re out of the bidding for Artemi Panarin. 

Do the Montreal Canadiens have Anders Lee in their sights? (Photo via NHL Images).


Appearing on the NHL Network, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said he wouldn’t be surprised if the Montreal Canadiens have left wing Anders Lee on their radar.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman said he was told: “Montreal is going to do something.” Given their salary-dumping trade of Andrew Shaw and Nicolas Deslauriers today, that “something” could be a significant addition. It could be Lee. It could be Matt Duchene, who visited the Habs last week during the free-agent interview period. Maybe they’ll add a left-side defenseman via free agency (Jake Gardiner?) or trade (Shayne Gostisbehere). Whatever it is, Habs GM Marc Bergevin has set the table for a big move tomorrow. 


TSN’s Bob McKenzie speculates Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky won’t be signed as a set. Suggests the NY Islanders are the favorites to land Panarin while Bobrovsky could end up with the Florida Panthers. 

TSN’s Darren Dreger yesterday reported over 10 teams have checked in with winger Marcus Johansson. “Has to be looking forward to a raise on the $4.6 million he made this season.”

Dreger’s colleague Frank Seravalli tweets former Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers goalie Cam Talbot appears headed to the Calgary Flames.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM’s Chip Alexander yesterday tweeted Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell confirmed goaltender Curtis McElhinney will depart via free agency. Meanwhile, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports the Hurricanes (despite the addition of James Reimer) are still trying to sign Petr Mrazek. They’re also in on Semyon Varlamov.

COLUMBUS DISPATCH’s Brian Hedger reports winger Ryan Dzingel won’t be returning to the Blue Jackets. “No idea where he’ll land, but it’s not Columbus from what I’ve been told.

NHL Rumor Mill – June 26, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – June 26, 2019

Latest on Mitch Marner, Sebastian Aho, Wayne Simmonds, Brett Connolly and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston wonders if Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner will use the restricted free agent window to meet with other teams. Only one other player (Shea Weber in 2012) has done so publicly. He noted the Marner camp “want to get the lay of the land through phone conversations.” It remains to be seen, however, if a rival club will sign him to an offer sheet.


Speculation persists suggesting Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner could sign an offer sheet (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Paying over $13 million annually for four years plus giving up four first-round picks as compensation is a hefty price for Marner. He’s a terrific young player and I have no issue with him using his rights as a restricted free agent to explore his options. However, he’s not a generational talent like Edmonton’s Connor McDavid. Any team ponying up that much will be overpaying for his services.

However, Marner’s also worth much more than those who believe he should get slightly more than William Nylander’s $6.96 million per season. He’s led the Leafs in scoring twice in his short career, becoming the first Leaf since Mats Sundin to reach 90 points. His camp can make a good case that he’s worth $11 million per season. 


NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Chip Alexander reports Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell continues talks with Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney. Both goaltenders are slated to become unrestricted free agents on July 1. Waddell’s had daily discussions with Mrazek but less so with McElhinney. He also indicated Scott Darling could be bought out, though the club is exploring other options.

Waddell believes there’s no rush to get a decision from captain Justin Williams about his plans. He added he had a good talk with Justin Faulk’s agent. Faulk has a year remaining on his contract. Waddell claims he feels no sense of urgency to re-sign or trade Faulk.

The Hurricanes GM also said discussions are ongoing with Sebastian Aho, expressing confidence the RFA center will be re-signed before training camp. Waddell also dismissed talk of Aho or other RFAs getting offer sheets, claiming it’s being overblown by the media.


SPECTOR’S NOTE: If I were a Hurricanes fan I wouldn’t be too concerned about that eight-year offer for Aho. That could merely be their opening pitch.

Aho is definitely worth more than that. He was their leading scorer in each of the last two seasons and their top scorer in this year’s playoffs. The 21-year-old center is steadily improving, going from 49 points as a rookie in 2016-17 to 65 points in 2017-18 to 83 points this season. He’s getting much more than $6 million annually. 


LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: The Montreal Canadiens are among what’s believed to be a dozen teams to contract Wayne Simmonds. The 30-year-old right winger is slated to become a UFA on July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Buyer beware with Simmonds. In his prime, he was a skilled, physical two-way winger. Pelvic surgery last spring, however, took a toll on his performance this season. For the first time since the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, he didn’t reach 20 goals or 45 points. He might be worthwhile on a one- or two-year deal but I’d be reluctant to invest too much for too long. 


THE SCORE: Josh Gold-Smith cites an interview with UFA winger Brett Connolly’s agent Gerry Johansson with 630 CHED’s “Oilers Now”, indicating he’d had a good conversation with the Edmonton Oilers about his client. “There’s not a much better opportunity in the NHL than the right side in Edmonton,” he said. “That’s a pretty big opportunity for someone like Brett. And obviously he’s a (Prince George, British Columbia) guy, so he’s a western Canadian.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers lack skilled scoring depth at right wing. Connolly’s completing a two-year, $3-million contract with the Washington Capitals.

Cap Friendly indicates the Oilers have over $8.33 million in salary-cap space. If Connolly’s seeking a reasonable raise (around $4 million annually), the Oilers can afford him. However, they might have to part ways with Alex Chiasson or shed some salary to sign him or other players. 


NHL Rumor Mill – June 17, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – June 17, 2019

The latest Penguins, Bruins, Senators, Capitals, and Flyers speculation, plus an update on Nikita Zaitsev, in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: In the wake of the Penguins trading Olli Maatta to Chicago for Dominik Kahan and a draft pick, Ron Cook believes there’s more work to do. Trading Maatta won’t return them to Stanley Cup contender status or resolve their team chemistry. General manager Jim Rutherford last week said he’d welcome back Phi Kessel. Cook, however, believes Rutherford is still trying to trade the winger.

Patric Hornqvist’s age, concussion history, and his lengthy contract make him difficult to move. Blueliner Kris Letang has as 12-team no-trade list, and Evgeni Malkin has a full no-movement clause. Cook considers Malkin the least likely to be traded but doesn’t rule it out if the right deal can be found. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel recently spiked a deal that would’ve sent him to Minnesota for winger Jason Zucker. If Rutherford wants to move the winger he must convince him to broaden his eight-team trade list.  I don’t see Hornqvist, Letang or Malkin going anywhere. 


NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty recently suggested defenseman Torey Krug and center David Krejci could become Boston Bruins’ trade bait. Krug, 28, is a year away from unrestricted free agent status and coming off a strong performance this season. Haggerty thinks he’d be the bait the Bruins need to land a top-six power forward but they’ll have to carefully consider that option.

Haggerty also feels Krejci is now at his peak value and could attract interest in the trade market. Moving his $7.25-million annual average value would clear up some potential salary-cap complications.

Could Boston Bruins center David Krejci become a cost-cutting trade candidate? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Bruins have a projected $14.3 million in salary-cap space. Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, and Danton Heinen are coming off entry-level contracts. Their new deals could eat up most of that cap room. They could buy out David Backes but would see only $333K in cap savings for 2019-20.

Krejci’s no-movement clause reverts to a modified no-trade on July 1. That could make him easier to shop. But after coming so close to winning the Stanley Cup this season, GM Don Sweeney could be reluctant to move Krug or Krejci. 


EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples observes conflicting speculation out of Toronto linking Maple Leafs blueliner Nikita Zaitsev to the Oilers. He notes TSN’s Darren Dreger last week suggesting the Oilers and Vancouver Canucks could have interest in Zaitsev, a third-pairing rearguard earning second-pairing dollars ($4.5 million annually). Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman countered he’s heard the Oilers aren’t going down that route.

However, The Athletic’s James Mirtle considers Edmonton the top destination. He wondered if packaging Zaitsev with Kasperi Kapanen or Andreas Johnsson would bring Adam Larsson to Toronto.

Staples doesn’t believe the Oilers would agree to that deal. “However you slice it, Edmonton can’t afford to have another big contract from a player who isn’t a top performer, not with Milan Lucic already on the books and Andrej Sekera, Kris Russell and Mikko Koskinen all iffy propositions.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m with Staples on this one. There’s a better chance of Lucic getting traded to Vancouver for Loui Eriksson than a package of Zaitsev and Kapanen or Johnsson going to Edmonton for Larsson. And I think Lucic-for-Eriksson is a long shot. 


NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien points out the Washington Capitals’ limited salary-cap space following their re-signing of Carl Hagelin yesterday. They now have around $10.7 million in projected salary-cap room. Their restricted free agents include Jakub Vrana and Andre Burakovsky while Brett Connolly, Devante Smith-Pelly, and Brooks Orpik are unrestricted. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Smith-Pelly isn’t expected to be re-signed. NBC Sports Washington’s J.J.Regan believes their acquisition last week of Radko Gudas spells the end of Orpik’s tenure with the Capitals.

Vrana’s going to be re-signed and I think they want to keep Connolly if he’ll agree to accept less than market value. Burakovsky’s frequently come up in trade rumors this season and could be moved if things get tight cap-wise. 


COURIER-POST ONLINE: Dave Isaac reports Philadelphia Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher has spoken with some teams regarding a potential trade for a backup goalie. Fletcher suggests that search could go into the upcoming free-agency period. It doesn’t sound like pending UFAs Brian Elliott and Cam Talbot will be back. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trade options could including James Reimer of the Florida Panthers and Garret Sparks of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Both are reportedly being shopped by their respective clubs. 


OTTAWA SUN: Given the Senators’ blueline depth, Bruce Garrioch wouldn’t be surprised if they put defenseman Ben Harpur on the trade block. His size and affordable $725K one-way contract could make him an attractive option. The Senators also wouldn’t mind moving veteran winger Mikkel Boedker. He has a year left on his contract with a $4-million cap hit. They’re also expected to qualify the rights of restricted free agents Cody Ceci, Colin White, and Anthony Duclair. 

NHL Rumor Mill – May 6, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – May 6, 2019

Does a swap of Subban-for-Voracek make sense? Should the Canadiens pursue Justin Williams this summer? Which Capitals could be on the move this summer? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi believes the Philadelphia Flyers should swap winger Jakub Voracek for Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban. Noting recent speculation suggests the 29-year-old Subban could be available, Carchidi feels he’d be a perfect fit on the Flyers blueline. He points out Subban is a right-handed shot, a former Norris Trophy winner who plays with an edge. He would become a leader in the Flyers’ dressing room and complement Ivan Provorov on their top defense pairing. 

Should the Philadelphia Flyers swap winger Jakub Voracek for Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban? (Photo via NHL Images)

Carchidi notes Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher has a close relationship with Predators GM David Poile. He also points out Predators coach Peter Laviolette is a former Flyers bench boss who knows some of their current players well. Carchidi believes Voracek’s offensive skills would make him a good fit with the Predators. If Poile wants a defenseman included in the deal, Carchidi recommends Robert Hagg. 

Trading Voracek for Subban would leave the Flyers in need of a scoring winger. Carchidi proposed using their salary-cap space to pursue a winger like Artemi Panarin, Jeff Skinner, Anders Lee or Gustav Nyquist via free agency. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Carchidi is just making a trade suggestion. He’s not saying the Flyers and Predators are discussing a Subban-for-Voracek swap. Still, it’s an interesting scenario with its share of positives and negatives.

Carchidi touched on the positives for both clubs but there are downsides to this. Subban was plagued by a back injury this season which hampered his production. It could be a sign that his style of play is catching up with him. We also don’t know if Subban’s outsized personality would be a good fit with the Flyers. Voracek’s stats tend to fluctuate from season to season, raising concerns about his consistency. The Preds would get some cap relief, moving out Subban’s $9.5 million for Voracek’s $8.25 million, but they’d be taking on a longer-term contract.

So what say you, Flyers and Predators fans? Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section below.


TVA SPORTS: Louis Jean reported Carolina Hurricanes captain Justin Williams considered signing with the Montreal Canadiens as a free agent in 2015. He ultimately joined the Washington Capitals.

With Williams due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, Jean-Charles Lajoie wondered if the Habs should take a run at signing him. Yvon Pedneault believes they’ll have to overpay because of Quebec’s high taxes. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That ship has sailed. If Williams decides to continue playing, he’ll re-sign with the Hurricanes. 

SPORTSNET: Eric Engels believes the Canadiens must explore adding an experienced backup to reduce the workload on starting goalie Carey Price. Potential options could include Philadelphia’s Cam Talbot, Carolina’s Curtis McElhinney, and Ottawa’s Anders Nilsson.

LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Other backup options for the Canadiens could include Columbus’ Joonas Korpisalo, Carolina’s Petr Mrazek, Buffalo’s Linus Ullmark, and Chicago Cam Ward. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Talbot is expected to be re-signed by the Flyers. I can see the Hurricanes keeping the tandem of Mrazek and McElhinney intact. With Sergei Bobrovsky expected to depart via free agency in July, the Jackets could hang onto Korpisalo. The Sabres consider Ullmark a future starter. That leaves Nilsson and Ward, who won’t be re-signed by their current clubs. 


THE ATHLETIC: Chris Kuc speculated Washington Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen could be shopped this summer as a cost-cutting measure. He’s signed through 2020-21 with an annual salary-cap hit of $5.75-million. Capitals GM Brian MacLellan must decide if he’ll re-sign restricted free agent winger Andre Burakovsky and UFA wingers Brett Connolly and Carl Hagelin. Kuc doesn’t expect free agents Brooks Orpik, Devante Smith-Pelly and Dmitrij Jaskin will be back. 

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: J.J. Regan thinks the Capitals would prefer retaining Burakovsky because they don’t have much offense in their pipeline right now. Given their salary-cap constraints, trading Burakovsky is a possibility. If they don’t shed salary, they can’t afford to re-sign Burakovsky, Connolly or Hagelin. Trading Niskanen could address that issue. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the Capitals have over $72.6 million invested in 17 players. In addition to Burakovsky, Connolly, and Hagelin, they must also re-sign winger Jakub Vrana, who’s coming off an entry-level contract and had a 24-goal, 47-point campaign. They could attempt to sign him to an affordable short-term bridge contract with the promise of a bigger raise after that. However, they’ll still need to free up some room if they wish to re-sign the other three.

Niskanen has a 10-team no-trade list but that still give the Capitals 20 potential trade destinations. He could also agree to expand his list. Given the market for skilled right-shot defensemen, the 32-year-old Niskanen could attract interest in this summer’s trade market.