NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 29, 2016
Game recaps, Blackhawks re-sign Panarin and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.com: Sidney Crosby tallied his league-leading 26th goal and Marc-Andre Fleury made 19 saves in relief of an injured Matt Murray (lower body) as the Pittsburgh Penguins edged the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2.
Murray suffered the injury late in the second period. No word yet as to the severity. Earlier in the day, the Penguins learned defenseman Brian Dumoulin will miss four-to-six weeks with a broken jaw.
Robby Fabbri’s hat trick carried the St. Louis Blues to a 6-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, spoiling the return of Flyers center Sean Couturier from a knee injury.
Tyler Johnson’s overtime goal capped a 4-3 comeback victory for the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Montreal Canadiens. The Bolts were down 3-1 but third-period goals from Victor Hedman and Ondrej Palat sparked their rally. The Lightning were playing without center Valtteri Filppula, who was scratched from the game for missing a team meeting.
Ryan Miller made 36 saves backstopping the Vancouver Canucks to a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Earlier in the day, the Kings placed forward Tyler Toffoli (lower body) on injured reserve.
The Toronto Maple Leafs blew a 2-0 lead in the third period against the Florida Panthers, but Mitch Marner’s shootout goal gave them a 3-2 victory. Panthers center Aleksander Barkov left the game with an undisclosed injury. No update yet as to his status.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Blackhawks yesterday announced the re-signing of winger Artemi Panarin to a two-year, $12-million contract extension. The new deal, which pays Panarin $6 million per season, goes into effect in 2017-18.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a compromise deal for both sides. Panarin, the 2016 Calder Memorial Trophy winner and current Blackhawks’ leading scorer, gets a fair and well-deserved raise. The Hawks aren’t locked into a more expensive long-term deal with him just yet, pushing that inevitability ahead by two years. It was assumed Panarin would seek an eight-year deal worth around $7 million annually, but he was obviously willing to accept a shorter deal for less money to stay with the Blackhawks.
However, this new deal creates a significant problem for the ‘Hawks next season. With over $66 million invested in 15 players for 2017-18, the Blackhawks could have at most around $9 million remaining (assuming a $75 million cap ceiling) to re-sign other players and fill out the rest of their roster. I’ll examine how they could handle this later today in the Rumor section.
YAHOO SPORTS: (stick tap to GJ Berg): Long-time San Jose Sharks stars Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau aren’t sweating questions about their futures. Both are eligible for unrestricted free agency in July.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given Thornton’s still playing well for someone who’s 37, I expect the Sharks will re-sign him to a two-year deal for perhaps around $6 million annually. Marleau, also 37, is in obvious decline. I think this season will not only be his last with the Sharks, but also the final one of his long NHL career.
OTTAWA SUN: Senators goaltender Craig Anderson isn’t expected to return for a while. Anderson’s on a personal leave of absence to be with his wife Nicholle, who is undergoing cancer treatments.
CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty believes the struggling Boston Bruins are in need of a shakeup and advocates replacing head coach Claude Julien.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Remains to be seen if the Bruins follow Haggerty’s advice. They could be reluctant to make that move while they’re still clinging to a postseason berth. If the losses start piling up and knock them out of playoff contention, Julien could be in jeopardy of losing his job.
CALGARY SUN: Flames winger Troy Brouwer (broken finger) is listed as week-to-week.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner (abdominal surgery) will miss the next four-to-six weeks.
WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets demoted Andrew Copp and Brandon Tanev to the minors.