NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 5, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 5, 2018

Jets re-sign Blake Wheeler plus updates on Zdeno Chara, Matt Duchene, Josh Morrissey and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets yesterday re-signed captain Blake Wheeler to a five-year, $41.25-million contract extension. The new deal, worth an annual average value of $8.25 million and also contains a full no-movement clause in its first three seasons, goes into effect next July.

The Winnipeg Jets re-signed forward Blake Wheeler to a five-year contract extension. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wheeler, who tallied a career-high 91 points last season, is the Jets highest-paid player, though he’ll likely cede that honor to Patrik Laine next summer. Keeping Wheeler out of next summer’s UFA market was expensive but that’s the price the Jets had to pay to keep him in the fold.

After years in sometimes painful roster building the Jets are now Stanley Cup contenders. Wheeler was a big part of that and no one can blame him for wanting to stay put, even if he might’ve received more money on perhaps a longer deal on the open market.

Wheeler, however, will turn 33 during the first year of that new contract. It’s unlikely the Jets will get full value for their money as his play inevitably declines. Still, if he can help keep them in Cup contention for the first two or three years of the deal they’ll consider it money well spent.

The biggest problem, however, is how much this contributes to their coming salary-cap crunch next summer. I’ll have more on that later this morning in the Rumors section. 

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Speaking of the Jets, general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff expects to have restricted free agent defenseman Josh Morrissey under contract by the time training camp opens next week. Sources say the Morrissey camp prefers a short-term deal while the Jets are pushing for a loftier term. That might result in Morrissey getting something between $5-$6 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Morrissey’s representatives prefer a short-term deal because they feel their client could be in line for a significant raise on his next contract. The Jets prefer a long-term deal for what could ultimately prove to be a bargain over the long term should Morrissey reach his full potential. 

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara won’t be joining his teammates during their upcoming trip to China so as to avoid the rigors of 12-hour flights on his 41-year-old body. Other Bruins staying in Boston include “Patrice Bergeron and Noel Acciari (both recovering from postseason groin surgeries), and defenseman Torey Krug (broken left ankle in May). Sean Kuraly and Danton Heinen, who served ambassadorships to China in July, will not return for a second trip.”

The Bruins have also invited defenseman Mark Fayne to training camp on a tryout basis.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators center Matt Duchene said he’s unconcerned over his contract status entering this season, focusing instead on helping the club turns things around following a disappointing 2017-18. Duchene is a year away from unrestricted free agent status and remains open to re-signing with the club. He adds he’s spoken with general manager Pierre Dorion several times this summer regarding the direction of the team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt Duchene’s sincerity about staying in Ottawa but let’s see if he still feels the same way if the Senators have another lousy season. 

Speaking of the Senators, they’ve brought back Chris Kelly as a development coach. He spent eight of his 14 NHL seasons with the Senators before retiring at the end of last season. 

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres forward Sam Reinhart said he’s focused on the upcoming season and not his contract. The restricted free agent is leaving negotiations with the club up to his agent as he prepares for training camp. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As with Morrissey, the holdup could be over the length of Reinhart’s new contract. 

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers will honor former Blueshirt Vic Hadfield by raising his No. 11 to the rafters of Madison Square Garden in a pre-game ceremony on Dec. 2.  He spent 13 of his 16 NHL seasons with the Rangers from 1961-62 to 1973-74, rallying 20-or-more goals seven times, including a 50-goal campaign in 1971-72. The Rangers also announced they’ve hired Steve Konowalchuk as an amateur scout working primarily in the WHL. 

TSN: Free-agent goaltender Jeff Glass will join the Calgary Flames on a professional tryout offer. 

SPORTSNET’s Eric Francis reports Zach O’Brien and Justin Falk will also have tryouts with the Flames. 

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The keepers of the Stanley Cup are now politely requesting the Washington Capitals no longer do “keg stands” with the trophy. While the Capitals have treated the Cup with respect and reverence, there is concern that a player might inadvertently get hurt or the trophy could get damaged. 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 31, 2016



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 31, 2016

San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau (right) celebrates his goal against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Game recaps, Islanders put Halak on waivers & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.com: Patrick Marleau had a two-point performance (one goal, one assist) and rookie backup goaltender Aaron Dell made 21 saves for his first NHL shutout to give the San Jose Sharks a 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.

Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic was struck in the face by a Shayne Gostisbehere slapshot in the final seconds of the third period.  Flyers goalie Steve Mason injured his right hand in the first period. Neither injury is thought to be serious. 

Jay McClement’s third-period goal stood as the winner while Cam Ward made 27 saves as the Carolina Hurricanes edged the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2. The ‘Hawks also lost center Marcus Kruger in the second period to an upper-body injury and it’s expected he’ll be sidelined for a while. Blackhawks blueliner Brian Campbell was a healthy scratch, bringing his consecutive games-played steak of 423 to an end. 

Loui Eriksson had a goal and an assist while Henrik Sedin scored in overtime to give the Vancouver Canucks a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks, who are 0-7 in OT this season. 

Filip Forsberg and Mike Ribeiro each collected two points while rookie goalie Juuse Saros picked up his first NHL shutout as the Nashville Predators blanked the St. Louis Blues 4-0. 

The New York Islanders yesterday placed goaltender Jaroslav Halak on waivers. If he clears by noon ET today, he could be demoted to the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders were riding a three-goalie system of Halak, Thomas Greiss and J-F Berube this season. It appears the front office is tired of Halak’s inconsistency. He carries a $4.5 million cap hit, and if demoted the Isles will get $950K of cap relief. I’ll have more on the Halak situation later this morning in the Rumors section. 

STARTRIBUNE.COM:  The Columbus Blue Jackets will face off tonight against the Minnesota Wild. The Jackets are riding a 14-game winning streak while the Wild have won 12 straight. It’s the first time in NHL history that two teams with win streaks of at least 12 games will face each other. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is my game of the night, folks. The league’s two hottest teams facing off with lengthy winning streaks on the line. 

SPORTSNET: Gare Joyce with a fascinating read on the evolution of Brendan Shanahan from NHL player to becoming one of the league’s most influential executives and architect of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ rebuilding program.

POST-GAZETTE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz could be playing himself into the 2017 All-Star Game. He’s tied for first “among Metropolitan Division defensemen in goals (7). Fourth in assists (16). Third in points (23). Tied for second in plus/minus (plus-22). Second in Corsi For Per 60 minutes of ice time (CF60 of 61.8). Third in Shots Against Per 60 (SA60 of 28.42). Tied for first in Scoring Chances Per 60 (SCA60 of 8.28).”

NBC SPORTS: Given the current uncertainty over NHL participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics, the league is working on two schedules for 2017-18. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps I’m grasping at straws, but this signals that the league and the NHLPA aren’t done trying to work out an arrangement for Olympic participation next season in exchange for extending the current collective bargaining agreement by three years to 2025. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers activated defenseman Mark Fayne off injured reserve and assigned him to their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield. 










NHL Rumor Mill – December 30, 2016



NHL Rumor Mill – December 30, 2016

Did the NY Islanders have interest in Colorado Avalanche star Matt Duchene?

Latest on Matt Duchene, Ondrej Pavelec and Mark Fayne plus an update on the Buffalo Sabres in your NHL rumor mill. 

EDMONTON SUN: Jim Matheson reports the New York Islanders looked into acquiring Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene earlier this season, but the asking price was too high. He presumes the Avs were looking at “Matt Barzal, Anthony Beauvillier and Travis Hamonic.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Avs decide to move Duchene, they will set a high asking price. Trading a player of his caliber usually doesn’t happen in-season. 

 If the Oilers aren’t comfortable with backups Jonas Gustavsson or Laurent Brossoit before the March 1 trade deadline, Matheson suggests they inquire about former Winnipeg Jets starter Ondrej Pavelec, who’s currently toiling for the Jets’ AHL affiliate, as a rental backup. Pavelec is an unrestricted free agent in July. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not a bad suggestion, but if the Jets remain in playoff contention, they could hang onto Pavelec as insurance down the stretch. 

With the New Jersey Devils scrambling on defense, Matheson wonders if they might take back Oilers blueliner Mark Fayne. With a year remaining on Fayne’s contract worth $3.625 million, he doubts that’s possible.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Doubt it. While the Devils have over $8.8 million in cap space for this season and over $20 million for 2017-18, Fayne’s declining play and cap hit makes it unlikely they’ll want him back. 

FANRAG.COM: Chris Nichols cited a recent appearance by NHL insider Pierre LeBrun on Montreal’s TSN 690 where he discussed the plight of the Buffalo Sabres. While LeBrun still believes Sabres winger Evander Kane could be had for the right price, the club won’t just give him away. He believes the Sabres would like to acquire help on the blueline. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Sabres are still willing to trade Kane, I suspect that move will have to wait until the offseason. Interested clubs will want to see how well he performs over the remainder of this season. Even then, the Sabres could find it difficult acquiring a defenseman to help their blueline. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 29, 2016



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 29, 2016

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko scores in overtime against the Dallas Stars.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko scores in overtime against the Dallas Stars.

Game recaps, stars of the week, injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Vladimir Tarasenko’s overtime goal lifted the St. Louis Blues to a 4-3 win over the Dallas Stars. Jamie Oleksiak scored twice for the Stars. 

Thomas Hickey scored in overtime to give the New York Islanders a 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames. The Islanders lost defenseman Adam Pelech to an upper-body injury

Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson, New Jersey Devils left wing Mike Cammalleri and San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending November 27. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal is sidelined indefinitely with concussion symptoms.

TSN:  Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alex Edler (finger surgery) will miss the next four-to-six weeks.  

THE DETROIT NEWS:  Red Wings Brendan Smith (sprained knee) and Tyler Bertuzzi (high ankle spain) are both sidelined for one month. Tomas Jurco will return to action from a back injury for the first time since April. 

THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. 

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Florida Panthers general manager Tom Rowe cited the club’s inconsistent play this season and philosophical differences as the reasons behind the surprise firing on Sunday of now-former head coach Gerard Gallant. Rowe was named interim coach for the remainder of the season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gallant’s firing received universal condemnation from hockey pundits yesterday, who saw the move as a respected old-school coach losing out to front-office disciples of analytics. You can bet whoever takes over for Rowe next summer as the Panthers bench boss must be a big believer in advanced stats. 

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Center Jack Eichel could make his season debut tonight against the Ottawa Senators. Eichel was sidelined by a high-ankle sprain on the eve of the season opener. 

ARIZONA SPORTS:  News of Radim Vrbata’s demise appears greatly exaggerated. He’s regained his scoring touch this season with the Coyotes, leading the club with 14 points in 20 games. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That puts Vrbata close to a 60-point pace for this season. He netted only 27 points in 2015-16 with the Vancouver Canucks. 

THE MERCURY NEWS:  San Jose Sharks winger Mikkel Boedker is trying to work through one of the worst slumps of his NHL career. He’s managed only two points in 22 games and was benched in the third period during the Sharks’ recent game against Anaheim. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks signed Boedker last summer to a four-year, $16 million contract. So far, he’s been an expensive bust. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL:  The Oilers placed defenseman Mark Fayne on waivers. 

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH:  The Blue Jackets last night traded  defenseman Cody Goloubef to the Colorado Avalanche for defenseman Ryan Stanton. Both players are currently in the minors.