NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 5, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 5, 2024

Recaps of a busy Thursday schedule, the first 32 players selected for the 2024 All-Star Game are revealed, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins took a 5-2 lead over the Boston Bruins and held on for a 6-5 victory, snapping the latter’s four-game win streak. Sidney Crosby scored the game-winner and collected two assists while Kris Letang picked up three assists for the 19-14-4 Penguins (42 points), who sit one point out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth. David Pastrnak and Morgan Geekie each had a goal and two assists while Brad Marchand tallied twice for the Bruins (23-8-6) as they dropped to second place in the overall standings with 52 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Penguins announced forward Matt Nieto will be sidelined for six to eight weeks following knee surgery. Meanwhile, Jesse Puljujarvi signed a professional tryout offer with the Penguins’ AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Two unanswered third-period goals by Jacob Trouba and Jimmy Vesey gave the New York Rangers a 4-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Artemi Panarin had a goal and an assist while Vincent Trocheck chipped in three assists for the Rangers (26-10-1) as they took over first place in the overall standings with 53 points. Colin Blackwell scored for the injury-ravaged Blackhawks as they slipped to 11-25-2.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images)

An overtime goal by Nathan MacKinnon lifted the Colorado Avalanche over the Dallas Stars 5-4. MacKinnon scored twice and picked up an assist while Jonathan Drouin also netted two goals for the 25-11-3 Avalanche, who’ve won four straight and moved into first place in the Western Conference with 53 points. Tyler Seguin potted two goals for the Stars (22-10-5) as they sit in third place in the Central Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacKinnon is tearing up the league right now. With 21 points in his last nine games, the Avs center is tied with Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov for the league’s scoring lead with 64 points.

Speaking of Nikita Kucherov, he picked up an assist as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Minnesota Wild 4-1. Darren Raddysh scored twice for the Lightning (19-16-5) as they moved ahead of the New Jersey Devils into the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 43 points. Zach Bogosian scored for the 16-17-4 Wild.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck made 27 saves to backstop his club to a 2-1 win over the San Jose Sharks, handing the latter their 10th straight loss. Morgan Barron and Gabriel Vilardi scored for the Jets (24-9-4), winning four straight and sitting second in the Western Conference with 52 points. Alexander Barabanov scored for the 9-27-3 Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Sharks announced defenseman Matt Benning is out for the rest of the season following hip surgery. He’s expected to be ready for training camp in September.

The Florida Panthers picked up their sixth straight win by downing the Vegas Golden Knights 4-1, handing the Stanley Cup champions their sixth loss in their last seven games. Sam Reinhart, Matthew Tkachuk and Carter Verhaeghe each had a goal and an assist for the 24-12-2 Panthers, who sit second in the Atlantic Division with 50 points. Logan Thompson made 32 saves for the Golden Knights (22-12-5), who sit second in the Pacific Division with 49 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov caught an inadvertent elbow in the head from Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez and left the game in the first period. Barkov’s teammate Evan Rodrigues also left the game following the first period with a lower-body injury.

Before this game, the Golden Knights claimed defenseman Tobias Bjornfot off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings.

A shootout goal by Johnny Gaudreau lifted the Columbus Blue Jackets past the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2. The Blue Jackets (13-19-8) overcame a 2-0 deficit on third-period goals by Damon Severson and Jake Bean while Daniil Tarasov stopped 39 shots. Travis Konecny scored both goals for the 19-13-6 Flyers, who hold the first Eastern wild-card spot with 44 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers forwards Cam Atkinson and Morgan Frost were healthy scratches from this contest. It’s the 11th time Frost has been scratched, which could fuel speculation over his future in Philadelphia.

The Calgary Flames scored four first-period goals en route to a 6-3 win over the Nashville Predators. Rasmus Andersson, Blake Coleman, Yegor Sharangovich and Conor Zary each had a goal and an assist for the 17-16-5 Flames. Goalie Juuse Saros got the hook following the second period after giving up five goals on 20 shots as his Predators (21-17-1) sit in the first Western Conference wild-card berth with 43 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flames defenseman Dennis Gilbert suffered an upper-body injury late in the game following a slew-foot by Predators forward Philip Tomasino. Earlier in the day, they assigned defenseman Oliver Kylington to their AHL affiliate on a conditioning stint as he prepares to return to action after missing all of last season and the first half of this one dealing with mental health issues.

Seattle Kraken netminder Joey Daccord turned aside 32 shots as his club downed the Ottawa Senators 4-1. Jordan Eberle and Vince Dunn each had two points as the 16-14-9 Kraken picked up their sixth straight win and extended their points streak to a franchise record 10 games. They also moved into the final Western wild-card spot with 41 points. Parker Kelly scored for the 14-20-0 Senators, who’ve dropped seven of their last 10 games.

St. Louis Blues forward Robert Thomas scored the game-winner in a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Thomas also picked up an assist for the 19-17-1 Blues. Conor Garland scored for the Canucks (24-11-3) as they sit third overall in the Western Conference with 51 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Blues recalled forward Jakub Vrana, placed defenseman Justin Faulk (lower body) on injured reserve and sent forward Nikita Alexandrov to their AHL affiliate in Springfield on a conditioning stint.

Three unanswered third-period goals powered the New York Islanders over the Arizona Coyotes by a score of 5-1. Bo Horvat scored twice, Mathew Barzal collected two assists and Ilya Sorokin made 25 saves for the Islanders (18-10-10) as they sit third in the Metropolitan Division. Nick Schmaltz scored for the 19-16-2 Coyotes as they slipped out of a Western wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Islanders indicated goalie Semyon Varlamov is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. They called up netminder Ken Appleby from their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport.

Detroit Red Wings forward Robby Fabbri tallied two goals while Patrick Kane scored the winner in a shootout in a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings. The Wings improved to 19-16-4 on the season. Adrian Kempe had two goals for the Kings (20-9-6) as they sit third in the Pacific Division.

The Buffalo Sabres crushed the Montreal Canadiens 6-1. Jeff Skinner had a goal and three assists, Tage Thompson scored twice and Devon Levi made 32 saves for the 16-19-4 Sabres. Joel Armia had the only goal for the 16-17-5 Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Canadiens announced center Christian Dvorak is done for the season after suffering a torn pectoral muscle.


NHL.COM: The league released the names of 32 players (one from each club) selected to participate in the 2024 All-Star Game on Feb. 3 in Toronto.

Among the Eastern Conference notables are Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak and Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov.

Western Conference stars include Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes and Chicago Blackhawks rookie center Connor Bedard, who will be the youngest player in NHL history to play for an NHL All-Star team.

Fans can vote through Jan. 11 to select the remaining 12 players.

DAILY FACEOFF: New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin was not among the 32 players selected for the All-Star Game because his wife was expecting their second child then. He asks Rangers fans to vote for one of his teammates instead.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 1, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 1, 2024

Another milestone for Marc-Andre Fleury, the Senators make some front office changes and the Golden Knights prepare to face off against the Kraken in the 2024 Winter Classic. Details on these and other stories in the NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury appeared in his 1,000th career NHL game but his club dropped a 3-2 decision to the Winnipeg Jets. Fleury made 26 saves and Frederick Gaudreau had a goal and an assist for the 16-15-4 Wild (36 points) as they sit four points out of a Western Conference wild-card berth. Laurent Brossoit stopped 24 shots while Dominic Toninato snapped a 2-2 tie in the third period as the Jets (22-9-4) extended their points streak to eight games and sit one point out of first place in the Central Division with 48 points.

Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury became just the fourth goaltender in NHL history to reach the 1,000-game plateau, joining Martin Brodeur (1,266), Roberto Luongo (1,044) and Patrick Roy (1,029) on the all-time list.

The Ottawa Senators defeated the Buffalo Sabres 5-1. Anton Forsberg kicked out 45 shots while Thomas Chabot collected two assists in his first game back with the Senators since being sidelined on Dec. 2 with a leg injury. Tage Thompson tallied for the Sabres, who sank to 14-19-4 while the Senators are 14-18-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Senators announced several front-office moves. President of hockey operations and interim general manager Steve Staios becomes the full-time general manager, former NHL player and TSN hockey analyst Dave Poulin is their new senior Vice-President of Hockey Operations and Ryan Bowness becomes associate general manager.

The Senators made a management change earlier this season when Staios replaced GM Pierre Dorion on Nov. 2. They also replaced head coach D.J. Smith on Dec. 18 with Jacques Martin on an interim basis. It’s expected they’ll announce a full-time replacement in the offseason.

With Staios now fully in charge of the front office, the focus is likely to shift toward possible roster moves if the Senators fail to show any significant improvement between now and the March 8 trade deadline.

Speaking of the Sabres, Zemgus Girgensons returned to action after being sidelined since Nov. 24 by a lower-body injury.

Edmonton Oilers winger Warren Foegele had a career-high five points (two goals, three assists) as his club thumped the Anaheim Ducks 7-2. Leon Draisaitl has a goal and two assists for the 18-15-1 Oilers (37 points) as they won their fifth straight game and sit three points out of the final Western wild-card spot. John Gibson made 32 saves for the 13-23-0 Ducks.

The Tampa Bay Lightning overcame a 2-0 deficit in a 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Nikita Kucherov had a goal and an assist to become the first player to reach 60 points this season as the Lightning (17-11-6) vaulted one point over the idle Washington Capitals into the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 41 points. Cole Caufield, Johnathan Kovecevic and Nick Suzuki replied for the 15-16-5 Canadiens as they dropped their third straight game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens center Christian Dvorak missed this game with an upper-body injury and is sidelined indefinitely.

Dallas Stars winger Mason Marchment netted a hat trick and set up another goal in an 8-1 drubbing of the Chicago Blackhawks. Tyler Seguin had a goal and two assists for the 22-9-4 Stars, who sit in third place behind the Jets in the Central Division with 48 points. Philipp Kurashev netted the lone goal for the 11-23-2 Blackhawks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Winnipeg and Dallas have identical records but the Jets hold second place in the Central with 20 regulation wins.

Boston Bruins forward Trent Frederic scored twice and set up another as his club defeated the Detroit Red Wings 5-3. Charlie McAvoy collected three assists for the 22-7-6 Bruins (50 points) as they moved to within one point of the league-leading New York Rangers. Patrick Kane’s six-game points streak came to an end as the Red Wings dropped to 17-16-4.

The Pittsburgh Penguins got a 37-save performance from Alex Nedeljkovic in a 3-1 victory over the New York Islanders. Lars Eller scored twice for the 18-13-4 Penguins (40 points) as they picked up their third straight win and extended their points streak to six games, sitting one point out of the final Eastern wild-card berth. Ilya Sorokin stopped 35 shots for the 18-15-5 Islanders as they sit in the first Eastern wild-card spot with 43 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield returned to the lineup after missing the last eight games with an upper-body injury.

Calgary Flames forward Blake Coleman got a goal and an assist in his 500th career NHL game while Andrew Mangiapane collected three assists to nip the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3. Dennis Gilbert also had a goal and an assist for the 15-16-5 Flames. Travis Konecny had two helpers for the 19-12-5 Flyers as they remain in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 43 points.

Third-period goals by Valeri Nichushkin and Josh Manson lifted the Colorado Avalanche to a 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks. Nathan MacKinnon picked up two assists to extend his home points streak to 19 games as the Avalanche (23-11-3) hold first place in the Central Division with 49 points. Tomas Hertl scored for the 9-25-3 Sharks, who’ve dropped eight straight games and also lost top defenseman Mario Ferraro with a suspected shoulder injury following a check by MacKinnon.


NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights will face off against the Seattle Kraken at Seattle’s T-Mobile Park at noon PT on Jan. 1. This will be the Kraken’s first outdoor game and the second for the Golden Knights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll watch it for the novelty of seeing an outdoor game as usual. Besides, there are no World Junior Championship games scheduled for today.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Toronto Maple Leafs placed goaltender Ilya Samsonov on waivers before sending him to their AHL affiliate. Meanwhile, the Buffalo Sabres placed goalie Eric Comrie on waivers before sending him to their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both netminders are expected to clear waivers today. Samsonov has struggled this season and the Leafs intend to work with him during his time with the Marlies to help him improve his game. Comrie, meanwhile, is the third man out behind Devon Levi and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen among the Sabres’ goalies.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: Devils forward Timo Meier left Saturday’s game against the Boston Bruins with an injury. There’s been no update yet regarding his status.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 5, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 5, 2023

The Golden Knights extend their season-opening points streak, the Sharks give up 10 goals again, and much more as we recap a busy Saturday in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights extended their season-opening points streak to 12 games by blanking the Colorado Avalanche 7-0. Golden Knights captain Mark Stone scored two shorthanded goals and collected two assists, Jack Eichel and William Karlsson each tallied twice while Adin Hill kicked out 41 shots for the shutout. Alexandar Georgiev made 27 saves for the 7-3-0 Avalanche while the league-leading Golden Knights sit at 11-0-1.

Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No sign of any Stanley Cup hangover yet for the Golden Knights thus far. Some of those victories came against lesser opponents like the San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks but they’ve also played well against good clubs like the Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Los Angeles Kings, and Winnipeg Jets.

Four-point performances from Jake Guentzel, Reilly Smith and Bryan Rust powered the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 10-2 drubbing of the San Jose Sharks. Penguins defenseman Erik Karlsson collected two assists against his former club, Evgeni Malkin tallied twice and Sidney Crosby collected an assist in his 1,200th career NHL regular-season game. Tomas Hertl, Anthony Duclair and Jacob MacDonald each had two points for the Sharks as they sank to 0-10-1 on the season while the Penguins are 4-6-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks became the first team since the 1965-66 Boston Bruins to give up 10 goals in consecutive games as they also lost 10-1 to the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.

Buffalo Sabres winger Alex Tuch scored twice in the third period to lift his club over the Toronto Maple Leafs by a score of 6-4. The Sabres improved their record to 6-6-0. Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews regained the NHL goal-scoring lead (11) by netting his third hat trick of the season while Mitch Marner had a four-point night. The Leafs sit at 5-4-2 on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews is tied with Rick Vaive for the fourth-most hat tricks (10) in Leafs history. He’s netted three this season in 11 games, joining Cy Denneny and Babe Dye (four), Newsy Lalonde (five), Joe Malone (seven) and Odie Cleghorn (10) among the players requiring the fewest games in NHL history to net three hat tricks in a single season.

Earlier in the day, the Leafs placed defenseman Timothy Liljegren (lower body) on long-term injury reserve (LTIR). Meanwhile, Sabres forward Dylan Cozens missed this game with an upper-body injury.

The Nashville Predators defeated the Edmonton Oilers 5-2. Predators center Ryan O’Reilly netted a hat trick, Filip Forsberg had a goal and two assists and Kevin Lankinen stopped 33 shots for the 5-6-0 Predators. Darnell Nurse and Zach Hyman replied for the Oilers as they dropped to 2-7-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers now have the second-worst record in the NHL. Changes could be coming soon if this club fails to snap out of its tailspin. I’ll have more about that in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup. Predators defenseman Ryan McDonagh missed this contest with a lower-body injury and is considered day-to-day.

Winnipeg Jets forward Nino Niederreiter’s hat trick powered his club to a 5-3 comeback victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Brenden Dillon had a goal and two assists for the Jets as they moved to 5-4-2. Lawson Crouse had a goal and an assist for the Coyotes (5-5-1), who held leads of 2-0 and 3-2 during this game but couldn’t close the deal.

The Detroit Red Wings held off the Boston Bruins 5-4 to snap the latter’s 10-game points streak. David Perron had a goal and two assists while Dylan Larkin and Lucas Raymond each had a goal and an assist for the Red Wings as they improved to 7-4-1. David Pastrnak, James van Riemsdyk and rookie Matthew Poitras each tallied a goal and an assist for the 9-1-1 Bruins, who still sit atop the Eastern Conference with 19 points.

Tampa Bay Lightning forwards Brayden Point (three goals, one assist) and Nikita Kucherov (one goal, four assists) led the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Ottawa Senators 6-4, boosting their record to 5-3-3. Senators captain Brady Tkachuk scored twice and collected an assist as his club sank to 4-6-0, putting them at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Following the game, Tkachuk took issue with Senators fans booing his club’s performance. “It’s frustrating, the negativity from the outside, the constant booing and the bullshit, kind of, from the crowd tonight,” he said. The Ottawa captain added that he understood their frustration but felt that he and his teammates are playing as hard as they can in every game.

The Washington Capitals got a 34-save performance from goaltender Charlie Lindgren to hold off the Columbus Blues Jackets 2-1. Tom Wilson and Sonny Milano scored for the 5-4-1 Capitals while Dmitri Voronkov replied for the Blue Jackets as they fell to 4-5-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blue Jackets left wing Johnny Gaudreau was benched during the final 16 minutes of the third period. Head coach Pascal Vincent wasn’t pleased with his performance, claiming he felt that Gaudreau “wasn’t there” during this contest. That’s a pretty obvious shot across the bow by Vincent against his highest-paid player.

Meanwhile, Capitals defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk left this game early in the first period with a lower-body injury. There was no update on his status following the game.

Los Angeles Kings goalie Cam Talbot had a 24-save shutout in a 5-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Quinton Byfield collected three assists while Arthur Kaliyev and Trevor Moore each had a goal and an assist for the Kings as they moved up to 7-2-2. Cal Petersen allowed five goals on 30 shots from his former team as the Flyers fell to 5-6-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Flyers shifted defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen to LTIR with an undisclosed injury.

The Carolina Hurricanes overcame a 3-0 deficit to nip the New York Islanders 4-3 on an overtime goal by Sebastian Aho. Andrei Svechnikov and Jesperi Kotkaniemi each collected two points for the Hurricanes (7-5-0). Mathew Barzal and Bo Horvat each had two points and Ilya Sorokin stopped 43 shots for the 5-2-3 Islanders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech missed this game as he’s listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

Chicago Blackhawks rookie Conor Bedard scored for the third straight game in a 5-2 upset of the Florida Panthers. Philipp Kurashev had a goal and two assists while Petr Mrazek turned aside 38 shots for the 4-6-0 Blackhawks. Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Matthew Tkachuk replied for the Panthers as they sit at 5-4-1.

The St. Louis Blues got a goal and two assists each from Jordan Kyrou and Brayden Schenn to beat the Montreal Canadiens 6-3. With the win, the Blues improved to 5-4-1. Juraj Slafkovsky, Brendan Gallagher and Nick Suzuki replied for the 5-4-2 Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens center Christian Dvorak made his season debut after being sidelined by a knee injury since March 7. He saw 14:53 of ice time and was held scoreless.

A shootout goal by Matt Boldy lifted the Minnesota Wild (4-5-2) to a 5-4 win over the New York Rangers (8-2-1), snapping the latter’s six-game win streak. Mats Zuccarello had a goal and an assist in regulation as the Wild overcame a 3-0 deficit to take a 4-3 lead before the Rangers’ Chris Kreider tied it in the third period. Artemi Panarin had a goal and an assist as the Rangers winger extended his season-opening points streak to 11 games.

The Calgary Flames snapped a six-game losing skid by defeating the Seattle Kraken 6-3. Mikael Backlund scored twice and rookie Martin Pospisil scored his first NHL goal on his first shot for the 3-7-1 Flames. Oliver Bjorkstrand, Eeli Tolvanen and Jaden Schwartz replied for the 4-6-2 Kraken.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flames winger Andrew Mangiapane was ejected from this game in the first period for cross-checking Jared McCann in the upper back while the Kraken forward was lying on the ice after blocking a shot.

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko made 27 saves in a 2-0 shutout of the Dallas Stars. Pius Suter and Elias Pettersson were the goal scorers as the Canucks now sit at 8-2-1 on the season. Joel Oettinger stopped 26 shots for the 7-2-1 Stars.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 21, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 21, 2023

The Bruins name their new captain, Steve Stamkos hasn’t had any contract extension talks yet with the Lightning, plus updates on William Nylander, Mattias Ekholm, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins named Brad Marchand as the new captain, replacing Patrice Bergeron who retired in July. Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs praised Marchand’s development over his 15 seasons with the club, noting that he had the opportunity to learn from former Bruins captains such as Bergeron and Zdeno Chara.

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marchand’s pesky style of play and his lengthy list of fines and suspensions from earlier in this career had some fans questioning this decision by the Bruins. However, the evolution of his game into an elite scoring winger combined with his lead-by-example performances made him an obvious choice as Bergeron’s successor.

For those who believed defenseman Charlie McAvoy would’ve been a better choice as Bruins captain, his day will come within the next several years. The 35-year-old Marchand will likely retire within the next five years. Marchand is also slated to become an unrestricted free agent in 2025 if he and Bruins management fail to reach an agreement on a contract extension before then.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning captain Steven Stamkos told reporters yesterday that he was disappointed in the lack of contract extension talks with management. “It was something that I expressed at the end of last year that I wanted to get something done before training camp started,” said Stamkos. “There haven’t been any discussions.

Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois said having Stamkos finish his playing career with the Lightning was in everyone’s best interest. However, his captain will have to wait until the end of this season before negotiations begin. “Steven and I share the common goal of bringing the (Stanley) Cup back to Tampa,” said BriseBois. “That’s our objective. In order for us to do that in future years, we’re going to need to spend our cap dollars as wisely as possible.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Re-signing Stamkos won’t be easy for the Lightning. They’ve been pressed for cap space in recent years due to the high cost of retaining their best players, resulting in a steady erosion of their overall roster depth.

With the cap projected to rise by $4 million next season, the Lightning have just over $12 million in cap space with 16 players under contract. I’ll have more on Stamkos in today’s Rumors update.

TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs intend to try William Nylander at center for the coming season. The club also announced that goaltender Matt Murray will soon undergo a “significant surgery” while defenseman Jake Muzzin will remain on long-term injury reserve with a cervical spine injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs experimenting with moving Nylander from the wing is to see if they can add more scoring to their third line while moving David Kampf down to the fourth-line center role. The move also comes with Nylander in a contract year as he’s slated to become a UFA next summer.

Murray will be joining Muzzin on long-term injury reserve with a combined $10.3 million.

DAILY FACEOFF: Edmonton Oilers defenseman Mattias Ekholm will miss the start of training camp with his hip flexor injury. There’s no timeline for his return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Subsequent reports suggest Ekholm won’t be sidelined for long. He regularly skated with Evan Bouchard last season on the Oilers’ second defense pairing.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators general manager Pierre Dorion claimed he and Shane Pinto’s camp are inching toward a new contract for the 22-year-old center. The two sides have reportedly closed the gap in their negotiations but work remains to get a deal done.

Meanwhile, center Josh Norris will be skating with a non-contact yellow jersey as the Senators hit the ice for training camp. Norris tweaked his shoulder during a recent captain’s skate in Ottawa but it isn’t considered a serious injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators aren’t taking any chances with Norris. An injured shoulder requiring season-ending surgery limited him to just eight games in 2022-23.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens center Christian Dvorak will miss the opening month of the regular season as he continues to rehab from his March 15 knee surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That explains in part why the Canadiens brought back Sean Monahan for another series.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Speaking of the Canadiens, Paul Byron announced his retirement as a player and has joined the franchise as a player development consultant. In 521 games over 12 seasons, the 34-year-old two-way winger had 98 goals and 110 assists for 208 points with the Canadiens, Buffalo Sabres and Calgary Flames. He also had 11 points in 36 playoff games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hip injuries force Byron’s retirement after missing the entirety of last season. His energetic play and leadership made him popular with his teammates and a fan favorite in Montreal, especially during the Canadiens run to the 2021 Stanley Cup Final.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: And speaking of players moving on to front-office roles, Patric Hornqvist joined the Panthers’ hockey operations department as a development coach and scout. Hornqvist, 36, announced his retirement in July due to season-ending concussions suffered in December.

NASHVILLE HOCKEY NOW: A DUI criminal charge against Predators head coach Andrew Brunette has been dropped. Brunette was accused of driving his golf cart under the influence in Florida earlier this year.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks confirmed defenseman Tucker Poolman will not play this season due to ongoing migraine symptoms plaguing him since 2021-22.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Saku Maenalanen has been released by the Avalanche from his professional tryout offer after failing his training camp medical.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes signed forward Jan Jenik to a one-year, two-way contract.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 12, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 12, 2023

Quinn Hughes named the Canucks’ new captain, the Avalanche hope Gabriel Landeskog can return for the 2024 playoffs, Zach Parise not returning to the Islanders to start the season, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks yesterday named Quinn Hughes as their new captain. He replaces Bo Horvat, who was traded in January to the New York Islanders. The 23-year-old defenseman is entering his sixth season with the Canucks and is the 15th captain in franchise history.

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hughes got the nod over such notable teammates as J.T. Miller and Elias Pettersson. The respect that he has from his teammates appears to have factored into this move by the club. Horvat spoke to Hughes on Sunday before the announcement was made and took to Instagram to praise the new captain.

THE ATHLETIC: Colorado Avalanche general manager Chris MacFarland is hoping that team captain Gabriel Landeskog can return to the lineup for the 2024 playoffs. The 30-year-old left winger will miss the 2023-24 regular season recovering from the knee injury that sidelined him for the entirety of last season.

There’s still so much to be gleaned from this,” said MacFarland. “It’s hard to put a timeline on it.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Landeskog underwent three surgeries on his knee in the previous two years. If he misses this season and the playoffs his playing career could be over.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello yesterday said that Zach Parise will not be returning to the club for the start of the season. The 39-year-old free-agent winger remains with his family in Minnesota. Lamoriello left the door open for a possible return later in the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Parise isn’t signing with another club nor is he retiring. He appears to be taking some more time to see if he wants to play one more NHL season.

DAILY FACEOFF: Speaking of the Islanders, Alexander Romanov could miss the start of training camp following offseason shoulder surgery. Lamoriello said the 23-year-old defenseman is progressing well and should return to the lineup soon.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens named Mike Matheson as an alternate captain. He replaces Joel Edmundson, who was traded to the Washington Capitals in July. The 29-year-old defenseman is thrilled by the news. “I grew up in Montreal, idolizing this team,” he said, calling it a “pinch-myself moment.”

DAILY FACEOFF: In other Canadiens news, Christian Dvorak has not been medically clear to start the coming season. The 27-year-old forward underwent season-ending knee surgery in March.

CAROLINA HOCKEY NOW: The Hurricanes signed forwards Kieffer Bellows and Jayden Halbgewachs to professional tryout offers.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers prospect Matvei Michkov has been loaned by SKA St. Petersburg to fellow KHL team HK Sochi. The 18-year-old winger played for Sochi last season, collecting 20 points in 27 games. He’d been unable to get playing time with SKA St. Peterburg.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Michkov was chosen seventh overall in this year’s draft by the Flyers. His early-season struggles with SKA St. Petersburg created a stir on social media with his critics already calling him a draft bust. However, it’s far too early to write him off.

Michkov’s under a KHL contract through 2025-26. He’s got plenty of time to sort out his game before he’s ready to join the Flyers. We’ll have a better grasp of his abilities by then.

NHL Rumor Mill – July 29, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – July 29, 2023

A look at five centers the Bruins could target to replace Patrice Bergeron, possible cost-cutting trade options for the Senators, and more speculation over whether the Blues will trade a defenseman in today’s NHL Rumor Mill


THE SCORE: Josh Wegman listed five possible trade options for the Boston Bruins to replace recently-retired first-line center Patrice Bergeron.

Topping his list is Elias Lindholm of the Calgary Flames and Mark Scheifele of the Winnipeg Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve noted previous suggestions linking the Bruins to Lindholm and Scheifele. Lindholm is younger, more affordable and has better all-around skills than Scheifele. However, both players will be expensive to acquire right now, perhaps too expensive for the Bruins to acquire. Boston Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy cited a source suggesting the Bruins would have to part with Jake DeBrusk as part of the return to land Lindholm.

San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture (NHL Images)

Wegman also suggested San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture. He acknowledged a number of obstacles, such as the 34-year-old Couture’s age, expensive contract and three-team trade clause. Nevertheless, he remains productive and would be worth looking into.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wouldn’t hurt to check but I don’t see Couture ending up in Boston. His contract is simply too complicated to move.

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov is available.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Too many red flags around Kuznetsov right now with the biggest being his inconsistent play and $7.8 million average annual value through 2024-25.

Wegman rounds out his list with Montreal Canadiens center Christian Dvorak if the Bruins decide to replace Bergeron by committee along with Charlie Coyole and Pavel Zacha.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll admit anything’s possible and the Bruins could consider that option if there’s nothing more suitable available in the trade market.

However, I expect they’ll likely start the season with Coyle and Zacha and see how things shake out. If they need an upgrade at center, better options could become available near the March trade deadline.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch pointed out the Senators will have to make a cost-cutting trade after signing Vladimir Tarasenko on Thursday to a one-year, $5 million contract. They have roughly $900K in cap room with restricted free agents Shane Pinto and Egor Sokolov to re-sign.

According to Garrioch, the most likely scenario sees the Senators shopping forward Mathieu Joseph before the regular season opens in October. He carries an AAV of $2.95 million through 2025-26.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Steve Warne also considers Joseph the most likely cost-cutting candidate, though he believes the Senators might have to include a sweetener in the deal.

Defenseman Erik Brannstrom ($2 million) is another option but the Senators might prefer retaining him given how many injuries they had on their blueline last season. Warne also speculated they could play hardball with Pinto and sign him to a one-year, $1 million contract and then ink him to a long-term in the new year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Better off to move Joseph than to deplete the blueline depth or get into a contract pissing contest with the promising Pinto.


THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford was recently asked by a reader how the St. Louis Blues intend to address their logjam on the blueline. He noted that general manager Doug Armstrong has said he intends to start the season with eight defensemen on the roster, which means they could send Scott Perunovich to the minors as he’s the only one who’s waiver-exempt.

Rutherford wouldn’t be surprised if Armstrong attempts to pull off a trade before training camp. However, he noted the difficulty the Blues GM had in trying to trade Torey Krug to the Philadelphia Flyers as he invoked his no-trade clause to block that attempt. Armstrong would also likely have to sweeten the pot to move someone like Marco Scandella.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Armstrong is in a mess of his own making with his top-four defensemen (Krug, Justin Faulk, Colton Parayko and Nick Leddy) all carrying full no-trade clauses.