NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 23, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 23, 2020

The Oilers and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins put off contract discussion, Mikael Granlund returns to the Predators, the Lightning sign Erik Cernak and Jan Rutta, the Capitals sign Conor Sheary, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE SCORE: The Edmonton Oilers and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have agreed to put contract talks on the back-burner. The 27-year-old forward is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. There were reports in October that the two sides were making progress on a contract extension.

Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The two sides could resume negotiations at some point during the season. The flattened salary cap for the foreseeable future will affect the value of Nugent-Hopkins and his peers in next summer’s UFA market. He’s earning $6 million per season on his current contract. The longer he goes unsigned, however, the more likely his name could pop up in trade rumors.

TSN: The Nashville Predators signed winger Mikael Granlund to a one-year, $3.75 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m surprised by this signing because of Granlund’s offensive struggles during his previous season and a half with the Predators and reports he was seeking a long-term deal. It was rumored the Preds were interested in winger Mike Hoffman to boost their scoring punch. Both sides evidently decided it would be worthwhile to give it another go.

It’s an affordable deal for the Predators that would leave them with $9 million in cap space (stick tap to Cap Friendly) for the coming season. That will provide general manager David Poile with considerable flexibility to put toward another UFA signing or to make trades as needed over the course of the season.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning signed restricted free agent defenseman Erik Cernak to a three-year contract worth an annual average value of $2.95 million. They also signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Jan Rutta to a two-year deal worth $1.3 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: These signings push the Lightning above the $81.5 million salary cap by over $6.15 million with RFA center Anthony Cirelli still to be signed. The Bolts have until Jan. 13 to become cap compliant. They’re expected to make a cost-cutting trade or two but could get some flexibility if winger Nikita Kucherov ($9.5 million AAV) ends up on long-term injury reserve because of a nagging hip ailment.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals signed UFA winger Conor Sheary to a one-year, $735K contract. He’s expected to skate on their third line. The signing leaves the Capitals with $2.2 million in cap space.

LAS VEGAS SUN: Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland announced his NHL retirement yesterday. He was one of the original Golden Knights selected in the 2017 expansion draft and the club’s unofficial leader. The 38-year-old blueliner also played with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Calgary Flames during his 11 NHL seasons, tallying 127 points in 671 regular-season games. He won the Mark Messier Leadership Award in 2018 as the Golden Knights reached the Stanley Cup Final.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Engelland in his future endeavors.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports former Toronto Maple Leafs center Frederik Gauthier is considering a professional tryout offer with the Arizona Coyotes. He spent parts of the last five seasons with the Leafs.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins signed UFA forward Jordan Nolan to an AHL contract earlier this month. He could have a shot at cracking the roster in training camp next month. Nolan spent six seasons with the Los Angeles Kings, winning two Stanley Cups. He also played for the Buffalo Sabres and St. Louis Blues. He spent last season with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: The Red Wings intend to name their first captain in three years. Dylan Larkin is considered the front-runner for the captaincy. The role has been vacant since former captain Henrik Zetterberg’s playing career was ended by nagging back injuries in 2018.

NHL.COM: The league and the NHLPA announced its medical protocols and critical dates for the coming season. They also revealed a change to the offside rule (stick tap to Kukla’s Korner) indicating a player’s skate will not have to be in contact with the blue line in order to be on-side.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The only change to the previously reported critical dates is the last possible date for awarding the Stanley Cup was changed to July 9 from July 15, though it comes with a note indicating that date could change. The same goes for the May 11th start of the playoffs.

SPORTSNET: The Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils and Washington Capitals are the first teams to unveil helmet ads on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The ads are on the side of the helmets where the team logos used to be. They’re not garish or create an unnecessary distraction. Based on the photos provided in the link, I daresay the other NHL clubs will follow their lead.

 










NHL Rumor Mill – April 22, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – April 22, 2020

Check out the recent speculation on the Philadelphia Flyers, Vegas Golden Knights, and Toronto Maple Leafs in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DOES GOSTISBEHERE HAVE A FUTURE WITH THE FLYERS?

NBC SPORTS: Examining the Philadelphia Flyers’ long-term needs last week, James O’Brien noted Shayne Gostisbehere surfaced in trade rumors this season. He pointed out the 26-year-old defenseman was hampered by injuries this season. He doesn’t feel they should sell low on a player who can generate offense, is reasonably young, and carries a generally cheap annual average value ($4.5 million) through 2022-23.

 

Does Shayne Gostisbehere still have a future with the Philadelphia Flyers? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Flyers have over $69.5 million invested in 13 players for 2020-21. They have enough to re-sign restricted free agents like Nolan Patrick, Oskar Lindblom, Philippe Myers, and Robert Hagg, and should have sufficient space to re-sign or replace unrestricted free agent goalie Brian Elliott. If they want to add to their lineup, however, they’ll have to make a cost-cutting trade. The preference could be to get a player of decent value for Gostisbehere, but they could sell low and use the cap savings to pursue another player via a separate trade or free agency.

WHICH GOLDEN KNIGHTS UFAS MIGHT DEPART AFTER THIS SEASON?

THE ATHLETIC (SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED): Jesse Granger recently examined which Vegas Golden Knights’ free agents will stay or go. He believes keeping UFA goalie Robin Lehner will mean moving a big piece of their lineup because they cannot afford to invest $13-$14 million in Lehner and Marc-Andre Fleury. Granger predicts UFA forward Ryan Reaves could re-sign for one more year at $1.5 million. The emergence of Nicolas Roy could make Tomas Nosek expendable. It might be time to move on from Deryk Engelland and Jon Merrill.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Golden Knights pull a swerve and trade Fleury, they’ll bid adieu to Lehner following this season, whenever that might be. If Reaves is discussing a two-year extension, perhaps it’ll be for $1.5 million annually.

LATEST LEAFS SPECULATION.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox addresses some Toronto Maple Leafs speculation in a recent mailbag segment. He doubts the Leafs can land St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo via free agency. He noted the Leafs prefer dealing for players with term left on their contracts, suggesting Anaheim’s Josh Manson, Buffalo’s Rasmus Ristolainen, and Minnesota’s Matt Dumba as possible trade targets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Pietrangelo were willing to sign with the Leafs, they cannot afford him. It’s believed it could cost over $9 million annually to sign him. Assuming a flat cap for next season, the Leafs have nearly $77 million invested in 16 players for next season. Unless they shed significant salary, they won’t have sufficient cap space to invest in Pietrangelo.

As for Manson, Ristolainen, and Dumba, the asking price for each will likely be a top-six scorer, preferably a center. That’s what the Ducks, Sabres, and Wild need. And no, I don’t believe Alexander Kerfoot will address that need.

Fox believes Andreas Johnsson could be the player Leafs GM Kyle Dubas would be most comfortable trading, but he doesn’t consider him the one most likely to be moved. He feels Kerfoot or Kasperi Kapanen would be more enticing to GMs with defensemen they’re willing to trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johnsson’s sophomore slump and injured right knee hurt his trade value. It could take parting with Kapanen or Kerfoot to land that top-four blueliner the Leafs desperately need after this season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 29, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 29, 2019

Three stars of the week, Vladimir Tarasenko sidelined for five months, Evgeni Malkin hopes to return by week’s end, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: A five-goal first period powered the Vancouver Canucks to a 7-2 thrashing of the Florida Panthers, ending the latter’s eight-game points streak. J.T. Miller scored twice while Elias Pettersson and Alexander Edler each collected three assists. Panthers goaltender Sam Montembault was pulled after giving up three goals on nine shots but returned for the second period after Sergei Bobrovsky allowed two goals on six shots.

Nick Schmaltz scored in the shootout as the Arizona Coyotes overcame a 2-0 deficit to nip the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Conor Garland had a goal and an assist for the Coyotes, who’ve won six of their last seven games. Jeff Skinner had a goal and an assist for the Sabres.

HEADLINES

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand, Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi, and Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Brian Elliott are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Oct. 27, 2019.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko will undergo shoulder surgery and will be sidelined for five months.

Shoulder surgery will sideline St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko for five months (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a serious blow to the Blues’ offense, robbing them of their best goal scorer. They’ll have to turn to a young forward like Robert Thomas, Sammy Blais or Robby Fabbri to fill the void.

SPORTSNET: Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin hopes to return to action on Saturday against the Edmonton Oilers. A lower-body injury has sidelined him for all but two games this month.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES/DETROIT FREE PRESS: The Chicago Blackhawks traded forward Brendan Perlini to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for defenseman Alec Regula.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perlini requested a trade last week after seeing limited playing time with the Blackhawks. He could provide a bit of a boost to the struggling Red Wings’ anemic offense. Regula currently skates for the OHL’s London Knights.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets center Adam Lowry received a two-game suspension for a dangerous hit on Calgary Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington during Saturday’s Heritage Classic game in Regina.

TSN: The Flames placed winger Tobias Rieder on waivers.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs defenseman Travis Dermott will make his season debut tonight against the Washington Capitals. He was sidelined by offseason shoulder surgery.

NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils defenseman Connor Carrick required surgery to repair a broken finger. He’ll be sidelined four-to-six weeks.

CBS SPORTS: Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray will miss three-to-four weeks with a broken hand.

Dallas Stars blueliners Andrej Sekera (undisclosed injury) won’t play tonight against the Minnesota Wild.

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland is day-to-day with a minor lower-body injury.

NBC SPORTS: San Jose Sharks defenseman Radim Simek will join their AHL affiliate on a conditioning stint. He hasn’t played since undergoing season-ending knee surgery last March.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins assigned Joseph Blandisi and Adam Johnson to their AHL affililate.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers called up Filip Chytil and Ryan Lindgren.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 24, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 24, 2019

The Leafs reacquire David Clarkson’s contract, the Predators re-sign Colton Sissons to a seven-year deal, and an arbiter awards Jets forward Andrew Copp a two-year contract. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs reacquired the contract of David Clarkson from the Vegas Golden Knights last night in exchange for goaltender Garret Sparks. The Leafs also received a fourth-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

The Toronto Maple Leafs reacquired the contract of permanently sidelined winger David Clarkson (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas continues to juggle his limited salary cap space. By taking back Clarkson’s dormant contract, Dubas can allocate his $5.25-million cap hit, and that of permanently sidelined Nathan Horton ($5.3 million), toward re-signing restricted free agent Mitch Marner by placing both on long-term injury reserve.

Some suggest the cap-strapped Leafs could start the season without Marner, place Clarkson and Horton on LTIR on the opening day of the regular season, and then re-sign the winger. It’ll be interesting to see how Dubas plays this. 

As for Sparks, he’ll likely start this season with the Golden Knights’ farm club. Having lost the confidence of the Leafs coaching staff, this move gives the goaltender a chance to get his career back on track with Vegas.

LAS VEGAS SUN: Soon after trading Clarkson’s contract to Toronto, the Golden Knights signed defenseman Deryk Engelland to a one-year, bonus-laden contract. He’ll earn a base salary of $700K with performance bonuses that could take him up to $1.5 million. The move gives the Golden Knights a projected $1.025-million in cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights still have restricted free agent Nikita Gusev to re-sign, but it sounds like they’ll instead try to trade his rights. Shedding Clarkson’s cap hit makes it easier for them to make other minor salary moves if necessary without the LTIR hassle.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators yesterday avoided salary arbitration with Colton Sissons, re-signing the winger to a seven-year, $20-million contract. The annual average value is $2.857 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Predators GM David Poile praised Sissons work ethic, versatility, and leadership when announcing this deal. While the cap hit is reasonable, it’s an unusually long term for a role player. Some observers wonder why Sissons would agree to such a lengthy deal with that low cap hit. Perhaps it’s because he’s playing in a city where there’s no state tax. It could just be because he loves living and playing in Nashville.

TSN: An arbiter awarded Winnipeg Jets forward Andrew Copp a two-year, $4.56-million contract. The annual average value is $2.28 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Copp sought a one-year, $2.9-million contract while the Jets pitches a two-year deal worth $1.5 million annually. The arbiter split the difference. This will affect the Jets’ efforts to re-sign Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor. I’ll have more later today in the Rumors section.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche signed defenseman Anton Lindholm to a two-year, two-way contract.

TWINCITIES.COM: Former NHL forward Alex Tanguay is joining the Iowa Wild as an assistant coach.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers added Brian Wiseman to their coaching staff. Wiseman spent several seasons as an assistant coach with the University of Michigan.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 30, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 30, 2019

Some fallout from the Penguins trading Phil Kessel to the Coyotes, Ryan Spooner, and Valeri Nichushkin to be bought out, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE SCORE: cites reports indicating Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford and Phil Kessel disagree over the latter’s trade demands. After shipping Kessel last night to the Arizona Coyotes, Rutherford claimed the winger asked to be traded several times. Kessel claims Rutherford is mistaken, adding Rutherford met with him once and told him he would never be a Penguin again.

Phil Kessel disagrees with Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford over his trade requests (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Regardless of who said what, the fact remains Kessel is now with the Coyotes and the Penguins got a decent return and freed up some valuable salary-cap space. 

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks yesterday placed forward Ryan Spooner on unconditional waivers to buy out his contract. “By buying Spooner out, the Canucks reduce his cap hit to $1.033 million for each of the next two seasons. The Rangers, who had retained 22.5 percent of his salary when they traded him to the Oilers, will have their cap hit reduced to $300,000.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like the Canucks are freeing up salary-cap room to make a significant signing when the unrestricted free agent market opens at noon ET tomorrow. It’s assumed they’re pursuing a defenseman like Tyler Myers or Jake Gardiner. 

SPORTSDAY: The Dallas Stars placed winger Valeri Nichushkin on unconditional waivers to buy out his contract. The move “allows the Stars to clear $2.25 million in cap space next season while adding $450,000 against the cap in 2020-21.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  The once-promising Nichushkin was never the same after suffering a knee injury in his sophomore season in 2014-15. This move will be seen as freeing up cap room to either re-sign pending UFA winger Mats Zuccarello or pursue Joe Pavelski in the free-agent market. 

TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs hired former Philadelphia Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol as an assistant coach. They also re-signed defenseman Martin Marincin to a one-year, $700K contract.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames re-signed forward Alan Quine to a one-year, two-way deal worth $735K at the NHL level.

 

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 25, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 25, 2018

Games recaps, Connor McDavid takes over the lead in the scoring race, Bruce Boudreau reaches a coaching milestone and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored twice to take over the lead in the NHL scoring race as his club nipped the Los Angeles Kings 3-2. McDavid now has 96 points, one ahead of Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov. The loss leaves the Kings with 89 points, sitting just outside of a the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid has taken over the lead in the NHL scoring race. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers may be eliminated from playoff contention, but McDavid is making a statement that he’s not about to quit on this season. His recent surge in the scoring race will provide more fodder for those who believe he’s a Hart Trophy candidate this season. 

The Colorado Avalanche edged the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 on an overtime goal by Gabriel Landeskog. Semyon Varlamov made 39 saves for the win. The Avs (90 points) moved into the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference while preventing the Golden Knights (101 points) from clinching a playoff spot. Vegas defenseman Deryk Engelland missed his second straight game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights are assured of a playoff berth but they have struggled a bit of late, dropping four of their last six contests. 

Minnesota Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau got his 500th career victory as his club defeated the Nashville Predators 4-1. Jason Zucker had a goal and an assist for the Wild, who limited the Predators to 20 shots. With 92 points, the Wild maintain their hold on third place in the Central Division.

The Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Detroit Red Wings 4-3, picking up their 13th straight home win and tying their franchise record with 45 wins. William Nylander and Nazem Kadri scored the tying and winning goals respectively in the third period for the Leafs (97 points), who sit third in the Atlantic Division.

The St. Louis Blues (89 points) climbed into the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference by edging the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1. Jake Allen turned aside 33 shots for the win as the Blues handed the Jackets their first loss in 11 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teetering on the brink of falling completely out of the playoff race over two weeks ago, the Blues are now one of the league’s hottest teams, winning five straight games and seven of their last ten. 

New Jersey Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid kicked out 35 shots to give his club a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. With the win, the Devils (86 points) sit three over the Florida Panthers for the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

The Panthers, meanwhile, kept their playoff hopes alive by scoring four unanswered third-period goals to double up the Arizona Coyotes 4-3. Vincent Trocheck scored twice for the Panthers (83 points). The Panthers were playing without goaltender Roberto Luongo, who missed the game with a minor upper-body injury.

Nicklas Backstrom collected four assists while Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson each scored twice as the Washington Capitals dumped the Montreal Canadiens 6-4. The Capitals (95 points) opened a five-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins for top spot in the Metropolitan Division.

Evander Kane scored twice as the San Jose Sharks downed the flickering Calgary Flames 5-1. With 95 points, the Sharks move to within six points of the Pacific Division-leading Golden Knights.

Cam Ward made 34 saves backstopping the Carolina Hurricanes to a 5-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators. It was the first game for Senators captain Erik Karlsson following the death of his unborn son.

A 31-save effort by Anton Forsberg gave the Chicago Blackhawks a 3-1 win over the New York Islanders, who are falling ever close to being eliminated from playoff contention.

Jimmy Vesey scored twice and set up another as the New York Rangers beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-1.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets are downplaying a scrap during practice between Blake Wheeler and Ben Chiarot as simply “boys being boys.”

via GIPHY