NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 3, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 3, 2023

The Ducks finally re-sign Trevor Zegras, notable injury and waiver updates, and recaps of Monday’s preseason action in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The contract standoff between the Anaheim Ducks and center Trevor Zegras ended Monday with an agreement on a three-year contract worth an average annual value of $5.75 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The dollars were the sticking point in negotiations resulting in Zegras missing nearly two weeks of training camp and preseason play. It was reported the Ducks offered between $3 million and $4 million annually.

Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras (NHL Images).

Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek ended up paying more but it’s still a team-friendly amount. This deal also sets an artificial cap ceiling for Verbeek to wield when he goes into contract talks with promising youngsters such as Mason McTavish and Leo Carlsson.

As The Athletic’s Eric Stephens and Pierre LeBrun observed, this contract gives Zegras a runway to elevate his game and establish himself as a true franchise player for the Ducks. If he does, he’ll be poised to command a much more lucrative deal as he’ll have arbitration rights when this contract expires in 2026.

Verbeek’s next order of business is signing restricted free agent Jamie Drysdale. With Zegras under contract, perhaps a new deal for the 21-year-old defenseman will be announced before the end of this week.

THE MERCURY NEWS: San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn said Logan Couture (lower-body injury) is improving but he remains questionable for the club’s season opener next week. The 34-year-old center isn’t expected to resume skating until the end of this week at the earliest.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers center Filip Chytil remains sidelined with an upper-body injury. He remains day-to-day but head coach Peter Laviolette isn’t sure if Chytil will be ready for their season opener.

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Conor Timmins is listed as week-to-week with a “significant lower-body injury”, according to head coach Sheldon Keefe.

NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said defenseman Josh Manson (oblique) is expected to be ready for opening night. However, goaltender Pavel Francouz remains sidelined and won’t be in the lineup for the start of the season.


NHL.COM: Ottawa Senators goaltender Joonas Korpisalo turned in a 40-save performance to shut out the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 at Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, NS.

New Jersey Devils winger Jesper Bratt tallied a hat trick and collected an assist as his club held off the New York Islanders 6-5. Mathew Barzal had two goals and an assist for the Islanders.

The Philadelphia Flyers picked up a 3-1 win over the Boston Bruins. Flyers winger Cam Atkinson picked up his first goal of the preseason.

St. Louis Blues defenseman Torey Krug got an assist in his first game of this preseason in a 5-3 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Jackets goalie Jet Greaves turned aside 36 shots for the win.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Krug was returning from a foot injury suffered before the start of training camp.

The Montreal Canadiens overcame a 4-2 deficit to nip the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4. Josh Anderson sent the game into overtime where Nick Suzuki netted the game winner. John Tavares scored twice for the Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens forwards Joel Armia and Alex Newhook and defenseman Gustav Lindstrom all missed this game with upper-body injuries. They’re listed as day-to-day.

Calgary Flames forward Matt Coronato scored the winning goal and picked up two assists in a 5-4 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. David Gustafsson tallied twice for the Jets.

Connor McDavid scored the go-ahead goal and Xavier Bourgault tallied twice as the Edmonton Oilers downed the Seattle Kraken 4-1. Former Oiler Kailer Yamamoto replied for the Kraken.


PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins claimed forward Jansen Harkins off waivers from the Winnipeg Jets.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Nashville Predators claimed forward Samuel Fagemo off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings.

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Victor Mete, Florida Panthers blueliner Lucas Carlsson and Arizona Coyotes forward Jan Jenik were the notables among 29 players placed on waivers on Monday.

THE SCORE: The Senators placed defensemen Jacob Bernard-Docker and Jacob Larsson along with forwards Egor Sokolov and Matthew Highmore on waivers. Bernard-Docker was chosen 26th overall by the Senators in the 2018 draft.

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings could start the season with three goaltenders to avoid the risk of losing Alex Lyon to waivers. Ville Husso and free-agent signing James Reimer are expected to be the Wings’ goalie tandem.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 30, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 30, 2023

The Wild re-sign Mats Zuccarello and Marcus Foligno, updates on Cale Makar and Jake Guentzel, recaps of preseason play and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild signed forwards Mats Zuccarello and Marcus Foligno to contract extensions on Friday. Zucarrello, 36, agreed to a two-year contract with an average annual value of $4.125 million while the 32-year-old Foligno inked a four-year deal with an AAV of $4 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both players were slated to become unrestricted free agents next July. Zuccarello accepted a pay cut from his current AAV of $6 million while Foligno got a raise from his current $3.1 million AAV.

Minnesota Wild winger Mats Zuccarello (NHL Images).

The Wild didn’t overpay to keep these two in the fold. Zuccarello remains productive with 67 points last season but there is a risk that his performance will decline given his age. It can also be argued that Foligno’s play will deteriorate given his physical game. Nevertheless, Wild management evidently believes they need their leadership and experience beyond this season.

THE ATHLETIC: Joe Smith reports Wild general manager Bill Guerin indicated forward Ryan Hartman will be next to have his contract extended. The two sides are in talks and Guerin claimed things are “heading that way.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hartman, 29, is eligible for UFA status next July. His current AAV is $1.7 million.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar practiced for the first time since training camp opened last week. He’s been dealing with a lower-body issue but remains confident he’ll be ready for the start of the season next month. Makar is hoping to play in one of the Avs’ three remaining preseason games.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins winger Jake Guentzel has returned to practice in a non-contact capacity. He is rehabbing from his Aug. 2 ankle surgery. He’s not expected to return to action until Oct. 24.

THE PROVINCE: The Columbus Blue Jackets claimed goaltender Spencer Martin off waivers from the Vancouver Canucks.

NEW YORK POST: Friday’s preseason game between the Rangers and Islanders at UBS Arena was postponed due to heavy rains causing flooding with a state of emergency declared in New York. The game will take place on Saturday at 7 pm.


NHL.COM: Vladimir Tarasenko scored his first goal with the Ottawa Senators in a 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of the Senators, they named Steve Staios as their new president of hockey operations on Friday. Staios has a long history with Senators owner Michael Andlauer as he served under Andlauer as president and general manager of the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs from 2016 to 2022.

The Philadelphia Flyers got shootout goals by Bobby Brink and Morgan Frost to nip the Boston Bruins 4-3. Brink had a goal and an assist in regulation while David Pastrnak scored twice for the Bruins.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson left in the second period with an upper-body injury and didn’t return as his club dropped a 4-3 decision to the Los Angeles Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word if Gibson was held out for precautionary reasons or if the injury was serious. The Ducks could release an update today.

The Toronto Maple Leafs got goals from Matthew Knies and Mikko Kokkonen as they held off the Montreal Canadiens 2-1. Josh Anderson replied for the Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs played without John Klingberg as the defenseman is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

Three unanswered goals by Nicolas Hague, Brendan Bisson and William Karlsson rallied the Vegas Golden Knights to a 3-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, Golden Knights coach Bruce Cassidy ruled out defenseman Zach Whitecloud with an undisclosed injury. No decision has been made as to whether he’ll be in their season opener next month.

An overtime goal by Brad Malone gave the Edmonton Oilers a 2-1 win against the Calgary Flames. Jack Campbell got the win with a 34-save performance.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Jonas Johansson kicked out 42 shots in a 4-0 shutout of the split-squad Carolina Hurricanes. Anthony Cirelli tallied twice for the Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It seems like Johansson is trying to send a message to management that he can fill the void while starter Andrei Vasilevskiy spends the next eight to ten weeks recovering from back surgery.

The Lightning also played without center Logan Brown and defenseman Roman Schmidt as both are sidelined indefinitely by injuries.

The other Hurricanes squad didn’t fare any better as they dropped a 4-2 decision to the Florida Panthers.

NHL Rumor Mill – September 27, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – September 27, 2023

Check out the latest on Patrick Kane, Trevor Zegras, Mikael Backlund, Shane Pinto and more in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TSN: Darren Dreger reports Patrick Kane is doing well as he continues to rehab in Toronto from his June hip resurfacing procedure. The 34-year-old unrestricted free-agent winger and his representatives remain committed to his four-to-six-month recovery period.

Kane’s agent Pat Brisson is getting calls from multiple teams seeking updated medical information on his client. However, it could be mid-to-late October at the earliest before he can begin interviews with select teams.

Chris Johnston pointed out that limited salary cap space will be an issue for many of the clubs interested in signing Kane and there aren’t many mechanisms available to help them clear sufficient cap space. They can’t sign him to a 35-plus contract because he’s ineligible to receive one.

Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes have been suggested as possible suitors. A wild rumor making the rounds earlier this month claimed the Toronto Maple Leafs would be interested but that was based on comments made by TSN’s Dave Poulin that were misinterpreted by several rumor sites.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports there doesn’t seem to be much movement in contract talks between the Anaheim Ducks and Trevor Zegras. TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie recently reported the Ducks were offering the restricted free-agent center between $3 million and $4 million annually.

Friedman believes there was a time when the two sides were willing to agree to a three-year deal. If so, he thinks that AAV has to be higher. Zegras isn’t arbitration-eligible now but he will be on his next contract so it defies logic that he would get an AAV below $4 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zegras is the rebuilding Ducks’ most skilled forward and their most marketable star. He’s a foundation piece going forward. It makes no sense to low-ball him.

The Ducks hold all the leverage right now with Zegras coming off his entry-level contract. I’m not suggesting they should overpay the 22-year-old center but they have to be reasonable or risk alienating their franchise player.

Perhaps Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek’s first pitch to the Zegras camp was between $3 million and $4 million. I’d expect a high initial offer while the player’s representatives and then the two sides negotiate toward something in the middle.

It’s not like the Ducks are pressed for cap space. They’ve currently got $17.5 million available for this season. For 2024-25, they’ve got just $44.2 million invested in 11 active roster players. They can afford to sign Zegras to a short-term deal with a reasonable average annual value.

Zegras is going to demand much more on his arbitration-eligible contract and he’ll get it one way or another if he develops as projected. He could also decide that he only wants a short-term deal to take him up to UFA eligibility.


TSN: Chris Johnston reports contract extension talks have started between Calgary Flames management and Mikael Backlund. The 34-year-old center was noncommital about a new deal following last season’s disappointing performance by the Flames. However, the positive environment brought about by new head coach Ryan Huska has made Backlund consider committing to a new contract.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman predicts Backlund will get a three-year deal with an AAV of $5.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps that also has some effect on potential extension talks with center Elias Lindholm and defenseman Noah Hanifin. Like Backlund, they’re slated to become UFAs next July but they have indicated a recent willingness to discuss new contracts with management.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Ottawa Senators are trying to free up some salary-cap space to re-sign 22-year-old center Shane Pinto. He believes the restricted free agent could accept a two-year deal worth $2.5 million per season. LeBrun mentioned that Senators forward Mathieu Joseph has been in the rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman indicates the Philadelphia Flyers have an interest in Joseph but they won’t make it easy. He claims they’d want a high-level prospect or the 2024 first-round pick sent by Detroit in the Alex DeBrincat trade. The Senators, however, aren’t willing to do that at this point. Friedman also wondered if the San Jose Sharks might be interested.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Senators GM Pierre Dorion signing Vladimir Tarasenko in July before getting Pinto under contract has become a big headache right now. It’s not doing Pinto any good as he’s already missed a week of training camp. This could end up costing the Senators a lot more than cap space the longer this drags out.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 26, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 26, 2023

A roundup of Monday’s preseason action, the Blue Jackets hire Mark Recchi as an assistant coach, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Calgary Flames and Seattle Kraken picked up wins in their split-squad matchups. One Flames squad got a 3-2 shootout victory while the other Kraken squad picked up a 5-3 victory.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames also lost forward Jakob Pelletier in their 5-3 defeat when he left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury after being boarded by the Kraken’s Marian Studenic, who received a five-minute major and a game misconduct. Pelletier was helped from the ice and will be evaluated today.

SEATTLE TIMES: Coachella Valley Firebirds assistant coach Jessica Campbell was behind the Kraken bench as part of the coaching staff in their 3-2 loss to the Flames.

She is the first female to coach full-time in the AHL. In this game, she became the second woman to be part of the coaching staff for an NHL contest.

Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) coach Kori Cheverie was the first as she made a guest coaching stint behind the bench for the Pittsburgh Penguins in Montreal on Sunday.

Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier (NHL Images).

In split-squad action, the New Jersey Devils doubled up the Montreal Canadiens 4-2 with Jack Hughes leading the way with a goal and two assists while Jesper Bratt collected three assists in a 6-0 drubbing of the Philadelphia Flyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sean Couturier played his first game in over 21 months following two back surgeries. While he didn’t collect any points, the 30-year-old center won 10 of 18 faceoffs and logged over 18 minutes of ice time.

Flyers winger Cam Atkinson was expected to play in this contest but was scratched due to soreness from a lower-body injury.

The Florida Panthers also won both of their split-squad games. Oliver Ekman-Larsson picked up three assists in a 5-0 victory over the Nashville Predators while Sam Bennett had a goal and two assists in their 5-2 win over the other Predators squad.

Jakob Chychrun scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Ottawa Senators nipped the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Laurent Brossoit kicked out 26 shots to shut out the Edmonton Oilers 5-0.

Ryan Johansen scored in his debut with the Colorado Avalanche in a 3-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud left the game with an upper-body injury in the first period. He will be reevaluated today.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets hired Mark Recchi as an assistant coach as he’ll work with their forwards and coordinate their power play. The Hall-of-Famer spent six seasons as an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Western Hockey League (WHL) has suspended Wenatchee Wild head coach Kevin Constantine pending an investigation into alleged violations of league rules. Constantine was a head coach with the San Jose Sharks, Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils from 1993 to 2002.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – September 24, 2023

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – September 24, 2023

Could the Hurricanes land Patrick Kane? Is a new contract coming for the Flames’ Mikael Backlund? Will the Canucks shed more contracts? Who could be a cost-cutting candidate for the Senators? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.


SPORTSNET: That’s the question Ryan Dixon asked among his biggest questions for each team this season in the Metropolitan Division.

Patrick Kane is still rehabbing from an offseason hip resurfacing procedure. Dixon believes the Hurricanes are in no danger of missing the playoffs but felt they could use another offensive player to get them over the postseason hump.

Free agent winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dixon noted the Hurricanes’ experiment with Max Pacioretty last season failed when he was sidelined for all but five games by a twice-torn Achilles.

During the summer, Kane’s agent said his client was expected to be ready to return to action by December. By that point, he’s supposedly going to weigh offers from clubs that he believes will give him the best shot at winning the Stanley Cup.

The Hurricanes could be among that group as they’re considered among the Cup favorites. Finding the cap dollars, however, could be difficult as they’re entering the season with just over $920K in cap space.


CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson reports there are rumblings of contract extension discussions heating up between the Flames and Mikael Backlund. The 34-year-old center is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

We’ll see what happens,” said Backlund on Saturday. “It’s pretty quiet right now, but we will see what happens. We haven’t made a decision yet.”

Gilbertson cited reports from earlier in the week suggesting Backlund is open to re-signing with the Flames. He also indicated that his teammates believe he should be wearing the captaincy. He noted that the Flames intend on naming a new captain before their season opener on Oct. 11.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Gilbertson pointed out, that date for naming their next captain could also be the deadline for getting a new contract done for Backlund if he is to wear the “C”.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: In the wake of the Vancouver Canucks trading Tanner Pearson to the Montreal Canadiens, Jeff Paterson reported Canucks hockey ops president Jim Rutherford indicated his club is “probably a contract or two away” from unraveling their salary-cap issues.

Rutherford didn’t single out any specific contracts but Paterson believed he was referring to Tyler Myers, Brock Boeser and Conor Garland. Myers is on an expiring deal with an average annual value of $5 million, Boeser has two years remaining with an AAV of $6.65 million while Garland has three years left at $4.95 million AAV.

Paterson pointed out that Myers, Boeser and Garland have floated repeatedly in the rumor mill. However, Rutherford blames the flattened salary cap for the Canucks’ difficulty in shedding unwanted contracts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Myers could still come off the Canucks’ books before the end of this season. All but $1 million of his $6 million AAV was paid out in a signing bonus. That could make him enticing for budget-conscious clubs seeking an experienced playoff rental defenseman.

If the Canucks still intend to move Boeser and/or Garland, they might have better luck next summer. That’s when the salary cap is projected to rise by at least $4 million.


SPORTSNET: Limited salary-cap space is complicating the Ottawa Senators’ efforts to sign restricted free-agent center Shane Pinto. They’d prefer not to part with the 22-year-old center, especially with Josh Norris starting training camp wearing a non-contact jersey.

They’ll have to trade somebody else to make room for Pinto. Mathieu Joseph keeps popping up as a trade candidate. The 26-year-old winger carries an annual cap hit of $2.95 million through 2025-26. They might have to include a sweetener in the deal to make it work.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The article also cited Elliotte Friedman saying the Philadelphia Flyers “have been buzzing around the situation.” It was rumored they (and the Boston Bruins) were interested in Pinto. Perhaps the rebuilding Flyers would take Joseph off the Senators’ hands if he comes with a pick or a prospect.

NHL Rumor Mill – September 23, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – September 23, 2023

Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim talks about being mentioned in summer trade chatter, the Bruins hope to re-sign Jake DeBrusk and the latest on Avalanche blueliner Devon Toews in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall reports Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim was mentioned in a late-June trade rumor that involved discussions between the Flyers and St. Louis Blues regarding Blues rearguard Torey Krug.

The deal never got off the ground as Krug used his no-trade clause to block it. Four days later, Sanheim’s eight-year contract with a full no-trade clause went into effect.

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim (NHL Images).

Sanheim revealed it was a stressful time. “It sucks,” he said. “It’s not a position you want to be in, but it’s a business and I understand it, I understand where the team’s at.” He added that he’s happy to be staying in Philadelphia, saying it was the reason he signed an extension for eight years in 2022.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sanheim’s full no-trade clause ensures he controls his future with the Flyers over the next four seasons. After that, the clause becomes a 12-team no-trade list.

Sanheim could be encouraged by Flyers management to waive the clause if he was willing to go to a club of his choosing. That’s assuming things go sour with the Flyers over the next four seasons and he’s no longer happy playing for them. As long as he wants to stay in Philadelphia, however, I’d say he’s not at risk of getting traded anytime soon.


98.5 THE SPORTS HUB: Ty Anderson reports Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney is hopeful of re-signing Jake DeBrusk. The 26-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

We’re going to have communication with Jake and his representative (and) we’d like to know if Jake indeed does want to be here,” said Sweeney. While he’s not going to say anything publicly about the status of contract talks, the Bruins GM made it clear that his club would like to retain DeBrusk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeBrusk was frequently the subject of trade rumors prior to signing his current contract in March 2022. He silenced that conjecture last season with a career-best 50-point performance in 64 games and would’ve scored more had he not been sidelined for four weeks by injuries suffered during the 2023 Winter Classic.

DeBrusk recently told reporters that he hopes to re-sign with the Bruins but added that it takes two to tango in contract talks. It certainly sounds like Sweeney is willing to dance.


THE SCORE: cited Colorado Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews telling Mile High Sports’ Aarif Deen that he wants to remain with the club for the remainder of his career. Toews, 29, is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Toews told Deen that he’d rather not have contract extension talks drag on into the coming season. He’s earning an average annual value of $4.1 million on his current contract but his solid play could make the case for him to double his money on his next deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche only have $10 million in projected cap space with 13 players under contract for next season. If Gabriel Landeskog’s ongoing knee injury ends his career they will keep him on long-term injury reserve. That will give them the cap flexibility to re-sign Toews. Otherwise, they’ll have to shed salary to keep him.