NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 6, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 6, 2022

The Senators buy out Colin White, the Penguins sign Casey DeSmith, the Avalanche retain Andrew Cogliano, concern over former CSKA Moscow being allowed to return to the NHL, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators are the first team to buy out a player during this NHL offseason’s first buyout period (July 1-12). On Tuesday, they placed forward Colin White on unconditional waivers for the purpose of buying out his contract. He had three years remaining on his deal at an annual average value of $4.75 million.

 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A first-round pick (21st overall) of the Senators in 2015, White struggled through injuries and inconsistency following his promising 41-point performance in 2018-19. The 25-year-old center becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 13.

Ottawa Senators to buy out Colin White (NHL Images).

Speculation suggests the Montreal Canadiens could target White for an affordable one-year contract. His former agent is Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes, who reportedly attempted to acquire White before the March trade deadline.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins signed goaltender Casey DeSmith to a two-year contract with an annual salary cap hit of $1.8 million. DeSmith, 30, was slated to become a UFA on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for speculation of Marc-Andre Fleury returning to Pittsburgh for a last hurrah with the Penguins. The tandem of DeSmith and starter Tristan Jarry will be back next season. At least they’re affordable. The Penguins’ combined cap hit for their 2022-23 goaltending is $5.3 million.

What say you, Penguins fans? Are you like or dislike the DeSmith signing? Please let us know in the comments section below.

THE DENVER POST: Andrew Cogliano is returning to the Colorado Avalanche on a one-year, $1.25 million contract. The 35-year-old was due to become a UFA next week but said returning with the Stanley Cup champions was “a very easy decision on my end.” Next season will be his 16th NHL campaign.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner reports there is concern over former CSKA Moscow players being allowed to return to their NHL teams next season after Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Ivan Fedotov was accused of dodging the Russian military draft. He was detained and sent to a naval base near the Arctic Circle. Under Russian law, every male citizen between ages 18 to 27 must serve one year in the military.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those players include New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin, who turns 27 in August. Rosner points out Sorokin’s departure from CSKA Moscow was different from Fedotov’s as the latter terminated his KHL contract to sign with the Flyers. Nevertheless, this situation could generate uncertainty over the status of those players throughout this offseason.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen denied a report from Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos claiming former Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh was given the choice of going to the Blue Jackets or Nashville Predators.

Kypreos said McDonagh could either accept a trade to the Predators or be claimed off waivers by the Blue Jackets. Kekalainen said the report was “100 percent inaccurate”. The blueliner was shipped to Nashville on July 3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s also speculation linking the Blue Jackets to Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. I’ll have my take on that in today’s Rumor Mill update.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs promoted Hayley Wickenheiser to one of three assistant general managers along with Ryan Hardy and Darryl Metcalf. They also hired Curtis Sanford as their new goaltending coach and added Matt Moulson to their pro scouting staff.

TSN: Former Leafs goalie coach Steve Briere wasn’t unemployed for long. He’s now the Seattle Kraken’s new goaltending coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL is king when it comes to recycling…coaches, that is.

NEW YORK POST: The Islanders have added Doug Houda and Brian Wiseman as assistant coaches.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Long-time Penguins equipment manager Dana Heinze is retiring.

THE ATHLETIC: The Coachella Valley Firebirds have hired Jessica Campbell as an assistant coach, making her the first woman to serve as a full-time coach in AHL history. The Firebirds are the minor-league affiliate of the Seattle Kraken.

DAILY FACEOFF: Former NHL executive Chris Gear provides insight into the NHL draft floor experience.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 15, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – February 15, 2022

Claude Giroux to the Avalanche? What goaltending options are available to the Capitals? Do the Penguins need to shop for a backup? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON GIROUX

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux (NHL Images).

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW’S Adrian Dater yesterday tweeted he was told Claude Giroux has informed Philadelphia Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher he wants to go to the Colorado Avalanche. Failing that, the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues would be acceptable alternatives.

THE DENVER POST: Sean Keeler believes Avalanche GM Joe Sakic must make a trade to improve his club’s chances of winning the Stanley Cup this year. He considers Giroux the best choice but also suggested Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski as an option if they can’t land the Flyers captain.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche have less than $1.7 million in projected trade deadline cap space. Pulling this off will require the Flyers to retain a healthy chunk of the remainder of Giroux’s $8.25 million cap hit. That could mean involving a third team to broker the deal and spread the cap hit around.

The same goes for Pavelski ($7 million cap hit) though he might not be as costly to acquire as Giroux, provided the Stars are willing to deal with a division rival. They’re still very much on the hunt for a wild-card berth in the Western Conference and could be reluctant to part with him.

WHAT GOALIE OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE TO THE CAPITALS?

THE ATHLETIC: A reader asked Tarik El-Bashir what the Washington Capitals will do to address their inconsistent goaltending which has contributed to their recent slide in the Eastern Conference standings. He wondered if they’re in the market for a rental such as the Chicago Blackhawks’ Marc-Andre Fleury or target a veteran starter under contract beyond this season such as the Los Angeles Kings’ Jonathan Quick or the New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli last week reported the Capitals made a “full-court press” for Fleury but it doesn’t appear that’s going to happen, prompting observers to speculate the 2021 Vezina Trophy winner nixed a trade to Washington. The Kings are in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race so I don’t see them parting with Quick, whose performance has improved this season.

Varlamov, however, could be available if the Islanders fail to gain ground in the Eastern Conference standings, provided he’ll waive his 16-team no-trade clause to return to the team where he began his NHL career. The Capitals, however, only have just over $1.9 million in deadline cap space. They might have to move some salary to accommodate the remainder of Varlamov’s $5 million cap hit for this season or convince Isles GM Lou Lamoriello to retain some salary in the deal.

DO THE PENGUINS NEED TO SHOP FOR A BACKUP?

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski recently reported the improved performance of Casey DeSmith over his last two games could lessen the need for the Penguins to pursue a reliable backup if he can maintain that level of play. It would also free up assets for GM Ron Hextall to pursue a middle-six winger or a defensive blueliner.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 14, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 14, 2021

The latest on Tomas Hertl, a suggestion for the Ducks to embrace a full rebuild, and speculation over whether the Penguins should shop for a backup in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz still believes there is a 50-50 chance Tomas Hertl signs a contract extension with the San Jose Sharks. While the 28-year-old center seems happier this season, that doesn’t necessarily mean he wants to finish his career in San Jose or the Sharks want to sign him to a long, expensive contract.

San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hertl has said he hopes to speak with Sharks general manager Doug Wilson later this season about a contract extension. However, it won’t be easy to fit a new deal for him under their cap hit for next season.

Cap Friendly shows them with almost $62 million invested in 15 players for 2022-23. Assuming Hertl and Wilson agree to a $7 million annual average value, that won’t leave much room to bolster their roster unless they can shed some salary. Some will suggest buying out Evander Kane’s contract but that would leave a lot of dead cap space over the next six seasons.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien believes the Anaheim Ducks should embrace a true roster rebuild following Bob Murray’s resignation as general manager. He suggested attempting to move John Gibson in a well-timed, sell-high trade.

The 28-year-old goaltender carries a $6.4 million annual cap hit through 2026-27. Otherwise, they risk his performance declining by the time they’re truly ready to contend. O’Brien acknowledged trades involving prominent goalies with term on their contracts traded during the season but felt they should be aggressive and creative in pushing their rebuild.

With Ryan Getzlaf, Rickard Rakell, Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson on expiring contracts, O’Brien proposed shopping them (along with Gibson) at the March trade deadline. They could also weaponize their cap space by moving those players out to create enough room to target teams willing to pay a premium to unload some contracts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll likely get a better grasp of what the Ducks interim management intends to do by the second half of the season. They could start shopping those pending free agents and veterans like Gibson who might not fit into their long-term plans if they’ve tumbled out of playoff contention by March. However, they could also retain those players if they’re in the thick of the postseason race.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski wondered if the Penguins will be shopping for a reliable backup as Casey DeSmith has allowed four or more goals in seven of his last 10 starts dating back to last March.

Kingerski noted sources said Penguins management was interested in finding an experienced backup over the summer. Brian Burke (president of hockey operations) downplayed those rumors last month but Kingerski speculates that might be more the result of a bad trade market than a lack of interest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Josh Yohe doesn’t think it’s time yet for the Penguins to start searching for a better backup. However, he feels DeSmith needs to pick up his play and soon. A few more shaky performances and the Penguins won’t have much choice but to find a suitable understudy for starter Tristan Jarry.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 11, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 11, 2021

The Golden Knights advance to the semifinals, the Hart Trophy finalists are revealed, the Blue Jackets hire a new head coach and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights are heading to the semifinals of the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs after eliminating the Colorado Avalanche with a 6-3 victory in Game 6 of their second-round series. Alex Pietrangelo snapped a 3-3 tie late in the second period with what proved to be the winning goal, with William Carrier and Max Pacioretty putting the game away in the third period. Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar missed practice due to an irregularity in his COVID-19 test result but was cleared to be behind the bench for Game 6.

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex PIetrangelo (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights’ depth made the difference as they overcame a 2-0 series deficit with four straight victories. They were built for the heavy going of playoff action and it showed as this series progressed. The speedy Avs were outstanding during the regular season and made short work of the struggling St. Louis Blues but they couldn’t match the Golden Knights’ grinding physical style.

The Stanley Cup Semifinals schedule indicates the Golden Knights will face the Montreal Canadiens beginning Monday, June 14 in Las Vegas. The Tampa Bay Lightning will square off against the New York Islanders on Sunday, June 13 in Tampa Bay.

Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, and Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid are this year’s finalists for the Hart Memorial Trophy.

THE ATHLETIC: Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton had some choice words for the Tampa Bay Lightning in his end-of-season press conference on Thursday. “We lost to a team that was $18 million over the cap or whatever they are,” he said. Hamilton’s Hurricanes were eliminated by the Lightning from the second round in five games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hamilton wasn’t far off in that assessment as Cap Friendly shows the Lightning used $17.3 million in long-term injury reserve this season, in part because top-line right winger Nikita Kucherov ($9.5 million) missed the entire regular season recovering from hip surgery. That gave Bolts management sufficient cap relief to maintain their roster, including the addition of defenseman David Savard at the trade deadline.

Critics accused the Lightning of gaming the system but what they did is allowable under the collective bargaining agreement. As long as a team can prove to the league that a player cannot play during the regular season for medical reasons, they’re allowed to keep them on LTIR until the playoffs, when the cap no longer applies. That rule is applicable for all NHL teams.

TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets announced Brad Larsen has been named their new head coach. He spent the past seven years with the club as an assistant coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting move by the Jackets in promoting from within rather than looking outside their organization for a new bench boss. His familiarity with the players and the team could make for a smooth transition as the Jackets prepare for what could be a roster rebuild after several notable players departed via trades and free agency in recent years.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames hired Kirk Muller as an associate coach. Muller held the same title with the Montreal Canadiens until relieved of his duties in February.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Casey DeSmith underwent core-muscle surgery on Thursday. His recovery time is expected to be six to eight weeks

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks winger Jake Virtanen has denied allegations he sexually assaulted a woman in 2017.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed forward Devin Shore to a two-year contract extension on Wednesday worth $1.7 million. The annual average value is $850K. On Thursday, forward Gaetan Haas signed a five-year deal with EHC Biel in Switzerland. He spent the past two seasons with the Oilers.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 15, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 15, 2021

The Jets down the Leafs in their final regular-season game, Conference championship trophies won’t be awarded this season, plus the latest on Alex Ovechkin, Ondrej Kase and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Winnipeg Jets ended their regular season on a high note by doubling up the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2. Kyle Connor scored twice to finish the season with a team-leading 26 goals. The Leafs’ Auston Matthews was held pointless, finishing the season with a league-leading 41 goals.

Winnipeg Jets winger Kyle Connor (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both clubs will have several days off before they begin their respective first-round series. The Jets face off against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday while the Leafs meet the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski reports the NHL won’t be handing out the Prince of Wales Trophy or the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl to the conference champions this season. The Prince of Wales Trophy is usually awarded to the Eastern Conference champion while the Campbell Bowl is awarded to the Western Conference champion.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The bright side is we won’t have to listen to any of the superstitious nonsense over whether the winning teams will touch those respective trophies. Because, of course, everyone knows touching those awards could determine the outcome of the Stanley Cup Final (end sarcasm mode).

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The lack of a new contract for Alex Ovechkin isn’t bothering Capitals owner Ted Leonsis. He said he and Ovechkin are focused on the upcoming playoffs.

Alex knows that if he plays five more years, 10 more years, whatever it is, we’ve got his back,” Leonsis said, adding the team’s commitment to his captain is to continue to have great teams. “We’ll spend to the cap, we’ll try to win championships. And that’s what he’s focused on because that’ll be his legacy.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin is completing a 13-year, $124 million contract. He and Leonsis agreed at the start of this season to put aside contract discussions until after the playoffs are over. Based on Leonsis’ comments, it sounds like Ovechkin won’t be going anywhere.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins winger Ondrej Kase won’t be playing in Game 1 of his club’s opening-round series against the Washington Capitals tonight. Kase suffered an upper-body injury unrelated to the suspected concussion that sidelined him for all but three games this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whatever the issue, it sounds like Kase could miss more than just Game 1.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins backup goaltender Casey DeSmith left Friday’s practice early to receive medical treatment after making a routine save. It’s suspected to be a lower-body injury. The Penguins open their first-round series against the New York Islanders on Sunday.

TSN: Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Hartman was fined $5,000.00 for a dangerous trip on St. Louis Blues forward Sammy Blais on Thursday.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators signed defenseman Artem Zub to a two-year, $5 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zub, 25, joined the Senators as a free agent from the KHL and played well in his first NHL season. He finished with 14 points in 47 games and a plus-minus of plus-4 while logging over 18 minutes of ice time per game.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Senators, team owner Eugene Melnyk declined to comment about lawsuits filed against five defendants by his traveling companions related to his Caribbean vacation last Christmas.

THE SCORE: cites a report by The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun indicating Alain Vigneault will return as head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers next season.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Speaking of returning coaches, Stars general manager Jim Nill confirmed Rick Bowness will be back behind the bench with his club next season. Nill also said forward Roope Hintz will undergo surgery next week in New York to repair a groin injury.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 6, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – May 6, 2020

The Penguins could face trading a goaltender, plus some recent Jets speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WILL THE PENGUINS TRADE A GOALTENDER?

NHL.COM: cites Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford saying he might have to trade one of his goaltenders during an interview with The Athletic’s Josh Yohe. Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry are restricted free agents with arbitration rights following this season. The Penguins have over $68 million invested in next season’s roster.

Will Matt Murray still be a Pittsburgh Penguins goalie after this season? (Photo via NHL Images)

“I’ll say this: If we are going to keep both of them, we’d have to move a few things around on our team,” Rutherford said. “There is a way to do things and to make that work, yes. There are some very, very tough decisions ahead.” Though next season’s salary cap has yet to be determined, he admitted he’s planning that it won’t be as high as this year’s $81.5 million. “We know that much,” Rutherford said. “It’s certainly not going up.”

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien also referred to Rutherford’s interview with The Athletic. He noted third-stringer Casey DeSmith didn’t come up much in that interview but feels he’s relevant to this situation. O’Brien admitted his surprise that DeSmith failed to secure the backup role this season and that no other club snatched him up when he was placed on waivers before the start of the season. DeSmith’s inconsistency in the minors this season makes O’Brien doubt he’d fetch much of a return in a trade. His best guess is DeSmith will back up Murray or Jarry next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a tough call for Rutherford. Murray backstopped the Penguins to their last two Stanley Cups, but his injury history is cause for concern. Jarry showed potential as a full-time NHL starter this season, but he’s only been in that role for a short time.

I think Rutherford was counting on seeing how Murray and Jarry performed down the stretch and in the playoffs before deciding which one he’d keep. He could re-sign both but that will mean shedding salary elsewhere in the lineup, adversely affecting their overall roster depth.  Murray or Jarry will be playing elsewhere next season.

RECENT JETS SPECULATION

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien recently examined the Winnipeg Jets’ long-term needs. Citing their issues on the blueline, he wondered if Ville Heinola and Sami Niku will develop into NHL defensemen. He also points out their ongoing need for a second- or third-line center.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Murat Ates recently listed veteran defensemen Dmitry Kulikov, Nathan Beaulieu, and Luca Sbisa among those most likely to depart in the off-season. Center Cody Eakin could also be among them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With last month’s termination of Dustin Byfuglien’s contract, Cap Friendly indicates the Jets have over $65.9 million invested in 13 players for next season. The good news is all their key players are signed for next season, so there should be enough room for Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff to address those depth issues.

Kulikov, Beaulieu, Sbisa, and Eakin are unrestricted free agents and might not fit into the Jets’ plans. Maybe one of them gets an affordable one-year deal, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Cheveldayoff considers other options via trade or free agency.