NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 28, 2023
The 2023-24 schedule is released, the Leafs and Senators will retain their head coaches for next season, Bruins are preparing for life without Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, plus more news heading into the 2023 Draft in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NOTE: The 2023 NHL Draft opens tonight at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville with the first round starting at 7 pm ET.
Follow this link for my take on yesterday’s notable trade activity.
NHL.COM: The league released its schedule for 2023-24 starting with a tripleheader on Oct. 10 featuring the Vegas Golden Knights’ 2023 Stanley Cup banner raising before facing off with the Seattle Kraken at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Also on that night, the Nashville Predators will meet the Tampa Bay Lightning while the Chicago Blackhawks journey to Pittsburgh to square off against the Penguins.
All seven Canadian teams will be in action on Oct. 11 with the Montreal Canadiens against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Ottawa Senators facing the Carolina Hurricanes, the Winnipeg Jets meeting the Calgary Flames, and the Edmonton Oilers meeting the Vancouver Canucks.
Notable dates include the Tim Hortons Heritage Classic between the Flames and Oilers on Oct. 29 at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium, the Jan. 1 Winter Classic between the Golden Knights at Kraken at Seattle’s T-Mobile Park, and the NHL All-Star Weekend from Feb 1-4 in Toronto.
The regular-season schedule ends on Apr. 18.
TORONTO STAR: Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving confirmed that Sheldon Keefe will return as head coach for 2023-24. He also expressed confidence in getting Auston Matthews and William Nylander signed to contract extensions this summer.
Keefe has a year remaining on his contract. Treliving said he’s open to signing him to an extension.
OTTAWA SUN: Senators GM Pierre Dorion confirms head coach D.J. Smith and his coaching staff will be back for 2023-24.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The performances of both clubs will determine if those coaches will remain in those jobs beyond 2023-24. Another early playoff exit will likely spell the end of Keefe’s tenure behind the Leafs bench while another missed postseason will see Smith receive his walking papers.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins are preparing for next season under the assumption that centers Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci will retire at some point this summer. Team president Cam Neely said they’ll give both players the time they need to reach their decisions but the club has to press on with their offseason plans.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins created salary-cap space by trading Taylor Hall to Chicago but most of that will be taken up attempting to re-sign or replace key players. If Bergeron and/or Krejci decide to return it’ll be on low-cost one-year contracts provided the Bruins can still squeeze them in.
DAILY FACEOFF: Teams that have met and interviewed Matvei Michkov have come away impressed by the young Russian prospect. Stories have circulated about the 18-year-old KHL winger questioning his attitude. Michkov is considered the best Russian prospect in years and could be chosen among the top 10 in this year’s draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Any NHL club that selects Michkov will have to be patient. He’s signed with KHL team SKA St. Petersburg through 2025-26. It could be worth the wait if he follows in the footsteps of Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov and Minnesota’s Kirill Kaprizov, who quickly matured into NHL stars following their KHL tenures.
CHICAGO HOCKEY NOW: The Blackhawks signed Nick Foligno to a one-year, $4 million contract. They acquired the 35-year-old forward the day prior from the Bruins. He was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Foligno wouldn’t have gotten that much money on a one-year deal on the opening market. If he has a good season the rebuilding Blackhawks can attempt to move him to a contender at the trade deadline for a draft pick. This signing also helps the Hawks reach the $61.7 million salary-cap floor for 2023-24.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars re-signed winger Evgenii Dadonov to a two-year, $4.5 million contract. The average annual value is $2.25 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dadonov struggled through most of last season with 18 points in 50 games skating with the rebuilding Montreal Canadiens. He regained his scoring touch after being acquired by the Stars on Feb. 26 with 15 points in 23 regular-season games along with 10 points in 16 playoff contests.
SPORTSNET’s Elliotte Friedman reports the Anaheim Ducks are unlikely to give winger Max Comtois a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A once-promising young winger, Comtois’ production has declined since his 33-point performance in 55 games during the COVID-shortened 2020-21 season. The 24-year-old could become an affordable reclamation project.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Speaking of the Ducks, they’ve named former captain Ryan Getzlaf a player development coordinator.
DAILY FACEOFF: Seattle Kraken defenseman Carson Soucy intends to test the free-agent market on July 1.
SPORTSNET: The New Jersey Devils have given winger Miles Wood permission to speak with other clubs. Wood, 27, is scheduled to become a UFA on July 1.