NHL Rumor Mill – April 8, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – April 8, 2022

In today’s NHL rumor mill, speculation on how the Wild might make room to re-sign Kevin Fiala plus a look at what might be in store for the Sharks under a new general manager.

DAILY FACEOFF: Chris Gear recently examined ways for the Minnesota Wild to escape their salary cap hell following 2021-22 when the buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter bite deeply into their payroll for the next three seasons. The most immediate effect will be felt in the club’s efforts to sign winger Kevin Fiala to a new contract.

Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala (NHL Images).

Fiala, 25, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’s a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. He’s completing a one-year, $5.1 million deal and is enjoying a career-best performance with 61 points in 69 games.

Gear speculates it could cost the Wild $6.5 million to sign Fiala. He wondered if they might part with Jordan Greenway or Marcus Foligno or perhaps consider moving defenseman Matt Dumba or winger Mats Zuccarello.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wild GM Bill Guerin knew full well he was putting his club into a cap crunch over the next three years when he bought out Parise and Suter. I daresay he’s got several options in mind to address this issue for next season.

Guerin could simply trade Fiala this summer if unable to reach an agreement with the winger on a new contract and use the savings to invest in younger, cheaper talent. Otherwise, he’ll have to make a cost-cutting deal or two to keep Fiala in the fold. Greenway or Foligno would be easiest to move given their affordable contracts and lack of no-trade protection.

Dumba’s been a fixture in the rumor mill over the past two seasons. He’s a year away from UFA eligibility. While he should draw interest in the trade market, his $6 million cap hit and 10-team no-trade clause are potential stumbling blocks.

Zuccarello also carries a $6 million annual average value and a full no-movement clause. However, the no-trade portion becomes modified after this season to a 10-team no-trade list. Nevertheless, teams could be reluctant to take on a 34-year-old winger with two years remaining on his contract.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the San Jose Sharks will conduct an extensive external search for a new general manager after Doug Wilson announced yesterday he’s stepping down for health reasons. They intend to take their time as several candidates might not be available until the summer.

Ownership has faith in the current management to handle the draft and free agency until a suitable replacement for Wilson is found. They’re not interested in a full rebuild and that could affect which candidates are interested in the job.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Sheng Peng also noted the Sharks’ unwillingness for a full rebuild, pointing to their recent signing of Tomas Hertl to an eight-year contract extension. He also believes the reason they’re not handing the role to assistant GM Joe Will, noting they’re seeking an infusion of new ideas as well as different types of candidates. Will also didn’t deny interest in the job.

Peng also thinks Bob Boughner’s job as head coach remains safe for now. That could depend on who eventually takes over for Wilson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Will did a good job filling in for Wilson. He re-signed Hertl, terminated Evander Kane’s contract and acquired promising goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen before the trade deadline. If he doesn’t end up with the GM job, he’ll likely remain in the front office as assistant GM.

The Sharks have several aging stars carrying expensive contracts that could prove difficult to move. With ownership uninterested in rebuilding, Wilson’s replacement will have to find suitable players to incorporate with those veterans in order to build a serious playoff contender.

As noted in yesterday’s rumor mill, the Sharks could trim some payroll to make room for younger talent. Kahkonen’s addition means James Reimer or Adin Hill will be shopped this summer. They could attempt to move Kevin Labanc and his $4.75 million cap hit or Radim Simek and $2.25 million annual average value.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 8, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 8, 2022

Auston Matthews reaches two goal-scoring milestones, the Hurricanes clinch a playoff berth, Roman Josi sets a Predators record, Doug Wilson steps down as Sharks GM, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Auston Matthews scored twice, including the winning goal in overtime, as the Toronto Maple Leafs downed the Dallas Stars 4-3. William Nylander had two points for the Leafs, who hold a five-point lead over the Boston Bruins for second place in the Atlantic Division with 98 points. Joe Pavelski and Jason Robertson each had two points for the Stars (82 points), who hold a two-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights for the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews broke the Leafs’ single-season goal-scoring record with his 55th goal while his 56th set the league record for most goals in a season by an American-born player. At this point, it’s a matter of when, not if, Matthews reaches the 60-goal plateau. He could reach 65 goals before the season ends.

The Carolina Hurricanes became the third team to clinch a playoff berth with a 5-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Jordan Staal scored twice as Carolina overcame a 3-2 deficit with three unanswered third-period goals. Sebastian Aho also tallied two goals for the Hurricanes, who hold a two-point lead over the New York Rangers for first place in the Metropolitan Division with 100 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sadly for the Sabres, they set an NHL record by missing the playoffs for the 11th straight season.

Roman Josi collected three assists to lead the Nashville Predators over the Ottawa Senators 3-2. Josi set Nashville’s single-season franchise record with 87 points. Matt Duchene scored his 37th goal of the season for the Predators as they sit two points up on the Stars in the first Western wild-card spot with 86 points. Senators forward Tim Stutzle missed this game with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Josi is running away with the scoring races for defensemen, sitting 12 points ahead of the Colorado Avalanche’s Cale Makar. With 12 games remaining in the season, the Predators’ captain has a legitimate shot at becoming the first blueliner to reach 100 points since Brian Leetch in 1991-92.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid had a goal and an assist to extend his points streak to 15 games in a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Evan Bouchard has a goal and two assists for the Oilers (89 points) as they sit six points behind the first-place Calgary Flames in the Pacific Division. Kings forward Trevor Moore had a goal and an assist as his club remains three points behind the Oilers.

The Flames meanwhile got two goals from Elias Lindholm and a three-point performance from Matthew Tkachuk to double up the San Jose Sharks 4-2. Lindholm has 38 goals on the season and Tkachuk 34 while Dan Vladar got the win with a 31-save performance. Sharks netminder James Reimer left the game with an injury in the third period.

New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin stopped 30 shots to shut out the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0. Mika Zibanejad picked up two assists as the Rangers sit two points behind the first-place Hurricanes in the Metro Division. Sidney Crosby, John Marino and Radim Zohorna missed this game with undisclosed illnesses as the Penguins are six points behind the Rangers.

The Vancouver Canucks kept their playoff hopes alive with a 5-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Bo Horvat and Elias Pettersson each had three-point performances while Jaroslav Halak kicked out 27 shots for the Canucks (78 points), who sit six points behind the Stars for that final wild-card spot in the West.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks have no room for error now as the Stars hold two games in hand.

Seattle Kraken netminder Philipp Grubauer had a 29-save shutout to blank the Chicago Blackhawks 2-0. Alex Wennberg and Jordan Eberle were the goal scorers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: During the first TV timeout, the Blackhawks announced they will retire Marian Hossa’s No. 81 in 2022-23. Earlier in the day, Hossa signed a one-day contract to officially retire as a Blackhawk. He will become the eighth player in franchise history to have his number retired.

The Montreal Canadiens beat the New Jersey Devils 7-4 to pick up their first regulation win over the Devils since January 2017. Christian Dvorak, Chris Wideman and Kale Clague each had a goal and two assists. Jesper Bratt and Tomas Tatar both had a goal and an assist for the Devils.

Philadelphia Flyers goalie Martin Jones turned aside 26 shots and Travis Sanheim had two assists in a 4-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Philadelphia winger Cam Atkinson was held scoreless in his first game in Columbus since being traded to the Flyers last summer.

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Doug Wilson announced yesterday he is stepping down as general manager of the San Jose Sharks after 19 seasons. Under his management, the Sharks reached the playoffs 14 times. He is currently on medical leave but hopes to continue his NHL career in the future. Wilson was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a player in 2020.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: During Wilson’s tenure as general manager, the Sharks topped the Pacific Division five times, won the Presidents’ Trophy in 2009, reaching the Western Conference Finals four times and the Stanley Cup Final in 2016. He was responsible for drafting such notable Sharks as Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier and Marc-Edouard Vlasic and acquiring Joe Thornton and Brent Burns via trades. Best wishes to Wilson for a full recovery.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba will not play in tonight’s game against the St. Louis Blues with an apparent shoulder injury. However, he remains with the club on their current road trip.

TSN: Former Hockey Night in Canada play-by-play man Bob Cole will receive a lifetime achievement award from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television at the 2022 Canadian Screen Awards show. Cole joined the CBC in 1969 and called his final game in 2019. He received the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award from the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Cole for this recognition of his outstanding work over his long career.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 31, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – March 31, 2022

How much could it cost for the Canucks to re-sign J.T. Miller? How will Alex Goligoski’s new contract affect the Wild’s salary-cap payroll for 2022-23? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma suggested it could cost the Vancouver Canucks an annual average value of $8 million over five or six years to sign J.T. Miller to a contract extension. He considers that to be the going rate and term against comparable players such as the New York Rangers’ Mika Zibanejad and the San Jose Sharks Tomas Hertl.

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller (NHL Images).

Miller, 29, has one year remaining on his current contract with a $5.25 million cap hit. Kuzma believes the Canucks cannot allow their catalyst on and off the ice to test the 2023 free-agent market.

Doing so, however, will require some creativity by Canucks management to free up sufficient cap space for 2023. Winger Brock Boeser is a restricted free agent this summer who is due a $7.5 million qualifying offer while captain Bo Horvat is also slated to become a UFA in 2023.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That creativity could involve shopping Boeser this summer if they cannot reach an agreement on a new contract. It could also involve trading players signed beyond 2023-24 such as Conor Garland ($4.95 million AAV) or Tanner Pearson (3.25 million).

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien pointed out the Minnesota Wild’s signing defenseman Alex Goligoski to a two-year contract extension worth $2 million per season leaves the club with less salary-cap wiggle room for next season.

The Wild’s buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter last year will eat up a big chunk of their cap space for 2022-23. They now have six defensemen under contract for next season with promising Calen Addison waiting in the wings.

Goligoski’s signing prompted O’Brien to wonder if blueliner Matt Dumba’s days with the Wild could be numbered. He also speculated they could be forced to trade the rights of winger Kevin Fiala, who is slated to become a restricted free agent this summer. In addition, O’Brien pondered whether recent additions Marc-Andre Fleury and Jacob Middleton will be playoff rentals or if the Wild will try to bring them back this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild will be a team to monitor during this summer. The additions of Fleury and Middleton could be general manager Bill Guerin going for it this season because he knows cap constraints could hamper the Wild’s progress in 2022-23. That could also involve moving parting ways with Fiala and with Dumba, who is slated to become a UFA following next season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 7, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 7, 2022

Jason Robertson makes Dallas Stars history, the Lightning set a franchise record, questionable calls prove costly for the Senators and Sharks, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Jason Robertson became the first player in Dallas Stars history to tally a hat trick in consecutive games to lead his club over the Minnesota Wild 6-3. Jake Oettinger made 34 saves for the win. The Stars (67 points) have won four straight games and moved ahead of the Nashville Predators into the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference. Kirill Kaprizov scored two goals for the Wild, who’ve dropped eight of their last 10 and cling to third place in the Central Division with 67 points. They activated defenseman Matt Dumba off injured reserve for this game and placed winger Jordan Greenway on IR.

Dallas Stars forward Jason Robertson (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Robertson is also the second player in franchise history to net back-to-back hat tricks, as Bill Goldsworthy did it with the Minnesota North Stars in 1971. The Stars sophomore is a rising talent, with 100 career points in 101 games.

The Tampa Bay Lightning got a franchise-record three goals in 32 seconds by Victor Hedman, Corey Perry and Mikhail Sergachev in a 6-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Hedman finished the game with two goals and Sergachev with three points. Blackhawks forwards Patrick Kane, Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome each had a goal and an assist. The Lighting (80 points) sit three points behind the first-place Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference.

Speaking of the Conference-leading Hurricanes, they extended their home points streak to 11 games by downing the Seattle Kraken 3-2. Carolina winger Teuvo Teravainen scored the game-tying goal in his 500th career NHL game while Martin Necas netted the winner in the third period. Antti Raanta made 28 saves for the win.

New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin kicked out 45 shots in a 4-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. New York winger Chris Kreider scored twice to reach 38 goals and sits one back of Toronto’s Auston Matthews for the goal-scoring lead. The Rangers are tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins with 77 points and hold second place in the Metropolitan Division with a game in hand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets (58 points) are eight points out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

Jack Eichel scored on a power play with five seconds remaining in the third period as the Vegas Golden Knights squeaked past the Ottawa Senators 2-1. The goal was the result of a questionable tripping call on Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot with 46 seconds remaining in the period. Vegas holds third place in the Pacific Division with 68 points. Robin Lehner made 39 saves for the Golden Knights while the Senators’ Anton Forsberg stopped 40 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Forsberg got the call as the Senators placed Matt Murray on injured reserve before yesterday’s game.

The Los Angeles Kings got two goals by Andreas Athanasiou and a 19-save shutout by Cal Petersen to blank the Buffalo Sabres 3-0. The win keeps the Kings one point ahead of the Golden Knights in second place in the Pacific Division. Sabres forward Alex Tuch left the game with an injury in the third period.

An overtime goal by Rickard Rakell gave the Anaheim Ducks a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Cam Fowler, Troy Terry and Adam Henrique each had two points for the Ducks (63 points) as they sit three points out of a Western wild-card spot. The Sharks have dropped 11 of their last 13 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks head coach Bob Boughner wasn’t happy over Rakell’s goal, claiming the Ducks had too many men on the ice at the time. “It’s a complete, disastrous blown call,” said Boughner, who also chastised the officiating crew for racing off the ice without coming over to the Sharks bench to explain the call.

The New Jersey Devils upset the St. Louis Blues 3-2 on an overtime goal by Dougie Hamilton. Jordan Kyrou and Vladimir Tarasenko each had two points for the Blues, who sit second in the Central Division with 71 points.

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks forward Tyler Johnson is pain-free for the first time in four years after undergoing artificial disc replacement surgery (ADR) in December to address ongoing neck pain. It’s the same procedure Jack Eichel underwent last November following his trade to the Vegas Golden Knights from the Buffalo Sabres. Johnson returned to action on March 3.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON/WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals winger Carl Hagelin underwent surgery last Tuesday after suffering an eye injury during practice. He’ll be sidelined indefinitely amid concern his vision could be affected by the injury. Meanwhile, winger Joe Snively underwent wrist surgery and will be sidelined for four-to-six weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Hagelin makes a full recovery.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jason Zucker and defenseman Mike Matheson have resumed skating at the club’s practice facility. No timetable is set for the sidelined players to return to action.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: With goalie Mike Smith suffering from stomach flu, the Oilers have recalled Stuart Skinner.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes signed forward Liam O’Brien to a two-year contract extension. Cap Friendly indicates the annual average value is $775K.

THE SCORE: The Detroit Red Wings claimed defenseman Olli Juolevi off waivers from the Florida Panthers while the New York Islanders claimed forward Austin Czarnik from the Seattle Kraken.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 13, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 13, 2022

Recaps of Saturday’s action, updates on Nathan MacKinnon, Erik Karlsson and Tomas Hertl, the Canadiens acquire Andrew Hammond, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The red-hot Calgary Flames picked up their sixth straight victory by downing the New York Islanders 5-2. Adam Ruzicka had a goal and an assist while Johnny Gaudreau collected two assists. Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin made 24 saves replacing Semyon Varlamov after the latter was placed in COVID protocol following pre-game warmups. With 58 points, the Flames sit one behind the first-place Vegas Golden Knights in the Pacific Division.

Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler (NHL Images)

Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler scored twice and added three assists as he rallied his club from a 2-0 deficit to a 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators. Mark Scheifele scored and collected two assists for the Jets (48 points) as they sit seven points out of a Western Conference wild-card berth. The Predators (60 points) slid one point behind the Minnesota Wild into third place in the Central Division. Predators defenseman Mark Borowiecki was ejected in the first period for elbowing Jets forward Evgeny Svechnikov in the face, who was forced to leave the game with an injury.

A 51- save performance by Thatcher Demko carried the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Brock Boeser and J.T. Miller each had a goal and an assist for the Canucks while the Leafs Auston Matthews tallied his 32nd of the season. Defenseman Travis Hamonic returned to action for the first time since Dec. 8 for the Canucks (50 points), who sit five points out of the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference. The Leafs, meanwhile, remain in third place in the Atlantic Division with 63 points.

The Minnesota Wild held off the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 to extend their home points streak to 12 games. Kevin Fiala tallied a goal and an assist for the Wild while Andrei Svechnikov netted both Hurricanes goals. Wild blueliner Matt Dumba returned from an upper-body injury suffered on Jan. 30. With 61 points, the Wild sit second in the Central Division while the Hurricanes (67 points) hold a one-point lead for first place in the Metropolitan Division.

St. Louis Blues forward Brayden Schenn collected two assists and Oskar Sundqvist had a goal and an assist in a 5-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks, who were held to just 16 shots in this contest. The Blues hold the first Western Conference wild-card spot with 59 points.

Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman picked up his first win since Jan. 2 with a 30-save shutout to blank the Ottawa Senators 2-0. The Bruins got first-period goals by Trent Frederic and Curtis Lazar. Matt Murray made 35 saves for the Senators. With 57 points, the Bruins are four behind the Washington Capitals for the first wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. Senators forward Austin Watson faces a hearing today for interference on Bruins defenseman Jack Ahcan when he appeared to catch Ahcan in the head with a high hit.

Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin had three assists in a 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Wings goalie Thomas Greiss made 32 saves in his first game since Jan. 9 as his club sits seven points behind the Bruins, who hold the final Eastern wild-card berth.

Patrik Laine’s power-play goal in the dying seconds of regulation gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A heartbreaking loss for the Canadiens, whose performance has noticeably improved under new head coach Martin St. Louis. Cole Caufield has definitely benefited from playing for St. Louis, scoring two goals in as many games after managing just one in 30 previous contests this season.

HEADLINES

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon will return to action today against the Dallas Stars after being sidelined since Jan.26 by a broken nose and concussion.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Tomas Hertl’s agent has been in contract extension talks with the Sharks, but the 28-year-old center has yet to decide if he’s staying. Hertl is slated to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end and could cost at least $7 million annually to re-sign.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I’ve noted in the rumor mill, much could depend on how much cap space the Sharks have for next season following the outcome of Evander Kane’s grievance over his contract termination. A date for that hearing has yet to be determined.

The Sharks did get some good news as sidelined defenseman Erik Karlsson could return from surgery on his left forearm earlier than anticipated. He was expected to be re-evaluated by mid-March. However, defenseman Jaycob Megna underwent surgery to repair a displaced fracture and is likely out for four-to-six weeks.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Montreal Canadiens traded minor-league forward Brandon Baddock to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for goaltender Andrew Hammond.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move allows the Canadiens to send struggling young goalie Cayden Primeau back to their AHL affiliate in Laval.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins assistant coach Todd Reirden will undergo knee surgery on Monday after suffering a fall shoveling out his driveway during the All-Star weekend. He’s expected to be sidelined for some time.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 26, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 26, 2021

The Blues sign GM Doug Armstrong to a new contract and make a trade with the Senators, the Wild name Matt Dumba and Marcus Foligno alternate captains, and the latest on Sergei Bobrovsky, Anders Lee and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues signed general manager Doug Armstrong to a five-year contract extension.

St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong (NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise here. In announcing the signing, Blues owner Tom Stillman pointed out the club has made nine postseason appearances during Armstrong’s tenure, including three division titles, a conference title and their first-ever Stanley Cup in 2019.

The Blues also made a trade yesterday, shipping forward Zach Sanford to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for center Logan Brown. They’ll also receive a fourth-round pick in 2022 from the Senators if the 26-year-old Brown doesn’t appear in 30 games this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A St. Louis native, Brown was the Senators’ first-round pick (11th overall) in the 2016 NHL draft but he struggled to crack their rebuilding roster, appearing in just 30 games over the past four seasons. He’ll get a great opportunity to reset his NHL career with his hometown club.

Sanford, 26, developed into a good defensive winger with the Blues. He should be a solid fit on the Senators’ checking lines.

This was also a much-needed cost-cutting move for the Blues. As per Cap Friendly, by exchanging Sanford’s $2 million cap hit for Brown’s $750K, they’re just under the $81.5 million salary cap.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild named defenseman Matt Dumba and winger Marcus Foligno as their new alternate captains. They replace Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, who were bought out of their contracts during the offseason.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky hopes to put last season’s disappointing playoff performance behind him. He’ll be sharing the goaltending duties this season with promising Spencer Knight.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bobrovsky’s going to face a real challenge hanging onto the starter’s job. Knight is a highly-touted young netminder seen as Bobrovsky’s eventual replacement.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: The Islanders are likely to keep left winger Anders Lee out of their first few postseason games. Their captain is returning from surgery to repair a torn ACL that ended his 2020-21 season last March.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They want to ensure Lee is fully up to speed before putting him into game action. No sense rushing him in meaningless preseason games and risk a setback.

THE ATHLETIC: Philadelphia Flyers center Kevin Hayes recently expressed his gratitude to the hockey community at large for the support he and his family received following the sudden death of his older brother (and former NHL player) Jimmy Hayes.

Among the notables to reach out with support were Pittsburgh Penguins president of hockey operations Brian Burke and team captain Sidney Crosby, former New York Rangers teammates Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Shattenkirk, as well as New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban, Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog, and Tampa Bay Lightning forward Pat Maroon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The past several weeks have been difficult for Hayes. He also recently underwent abdominal surgery that will sideline him for the entirety of training camp.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens winger Mike Hoffman could miss up to four weeks with a lower-body injury suffered during offseason training.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana’s first day in training camp didn’t last long. After being delayed joining his teammates by visa issues, he left practice yesterday with a shoulder injury.

SPORTSNET: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Brady Keeper was stretchered from the ice during practice on Saturday with an apparent leg injury. No update was provided on his condition.

TSN: Goaltender Curtis McElhinney took to Instagram yesterday to announce his retirement. During his 13 NHL seasons, the well-traveled McElhinney appeared in 249 career games with the Calgary Flames, Anaheim Ducks, Ottawa Senators, Arizona Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Toronto Maple Leafs, Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning.

McElhinney finished his career on a high note, winning two straight Stanley Cups with the Lightning in 2020 and 2021. He finishes with a record of 94 wins, 95 losses and 20 overtime losses, with a 2.83 goals-against average, a .907 save percentage and 12 shutouts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to McElhinney and his family in their future endeavors.