NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 18, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 18, 2021

Patrick Kane says he didn’t know anything about sexual assault allegations against the Blackhawks former video coach, the Canadiens will host the 2022 Draft, James Neal is among the latest PTO signings & more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks star Patrick Kane said he has participated in the investigation into allegations the club’s former video coach sexually assaulted two players in 2010. The 32-year-old winger denied having any knowledge about the incidents at the time.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s remarks run counter to those of former teammate Nick Boynton, who claimed everyone knew about the incidents during an interview with the lawyers hired by the Blackhawks to investigate the allegations. “I said talk to Torch (former assistant coach John Torchetti). I called out Brian Campbell, and said talk to Patrick Sharp and talk to Kaner (Patrick Kane),” he told TSN on July 29.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The NHL announced Friday the 2022 Draft will be held in Montreal at the Bell Centre on Thursday, July 7 and Friday, July 8. The 2020 Draft was originally scheduled to be held there but was instead conducted virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions. The first round will be on Thursday evening and rounds two through seven the following day.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Returning to a live venue should significantly reduce the amount of time it takes for teams to make their selections. The recent virtual drafts saw teams take an inordinate amount of time selecting prospects, with each round taking much longer to complete.

NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues announced the signing of wingers James Neal and Michael Frolik to professional tryout contracts.

TORONTO SUN: Nikita Gusev was invited to Maple Leafs training camp on a professional tryout offer.

TSN: The New Jersey Devils inked center Fredrik Gauthier to a PTO.

SPORTSNET: Zack Smith is hanging up his skates after 12 NHL seasons, all but one with the Ottawa Senators from 2008-09 to 2018-19. He spent last season with the Chicago Blackhawks. Smith, 33, tallied 98 goals and 204 points in 662 career regular-season games.

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

PHILLY.COM: Former NHL forward Lou Angotti passed away Thursday at age 83. He spent 10 seasons in the league from 1964-65 to 1973-74 with the New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues. Angotti was the Flyers’ first-ever captain. He had 103 goals and 289 points in 653 career NHL contests. He also went on to coach the Blues for two seasons (1973-74 to 1974-75) and the Penguins in 1983-84.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Angotti’s family, friends and former teammates.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 17, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 17, 2021

Gabriel Landeskog seeks a big payday, Islanders trade Nick Leddy to the Red Wings, plus the latest on Alex Edler, Erik Haula and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

YAHOO! SPORTS: cites St. Louis-based NHL insider Andy Strickland reporting Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog seeks a big raise on his next contract. Slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28, the 28-year-old left-winger could be asking for an annual average value of $9 million to $10 million on the open market.

Colorado Avalanche winger Gabriel Landeskog (NHL Images).

Landeskog is willing to give the Avalanche a hometown discount. However, they’ll have to come up from their offer of between $5 million to $6 million on an eight-year deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Strickland reported the Avalanche also made offers of four years ($6.5 million) and five years ($7 million). He indicated Landeskog would be interested in signing with the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vegas Golden Knights, Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Islanders if a deal cannot be worked out with the Avs.

As always, I don’t fault any player for seeking the best contract they can get as a free agent. Landeskog is a terrific first-line left-winger and a key part of the Avalanche roster.

However, I doubt Landeskog will find many offers between $9 million and $10 million with the salary cap remaining flat at $81.5 million next season. He certainly won’t get it from the clubs listed by Strickland. They’ve all got limited cap space and pending free agents of their own to deal with. They’d have to shed considerable cap space to sign him.

Landeskog earned $5.57 annually on a seven-year deal. If the Avs are offering five years at $7 million per he should jump on that. It’s a reasonable raise that keeps him on a potential Cup contender through the remaining years of his playing prime. The Avs also need room to re-sign Cale Makar and Philipp Grubauer.

THE DETROIT NEWS/NEW YORK POST: report the New York Islanders last night traded defenseman Nick Leddy to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for winger Richard Panik and a second-round draft pick (originally belonging to the Edmonton Oilers) in this year’s NHL draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings also retained half of Panik’s $2.75 million salary. He’s signed through 2022-23. Leddy has one year remaining on his deal worth $5.5 million.

This move provides some flexibility for the cap-strapped Islanders, freeing up over $4 million in payroll. It also provides the rebuilding Red Wings with an experienced puck-moving defenseman who can log top-four minutes.

The Detroit News’ Ted Kulfan speculates the Wings could pair Leddy with promising rookie Moritz Seider. They could also use him as a trade chip if they become sellers at next season’s trade deadline. His addition could also mean they don’t re-sign pending UFA Marc Staal.

THE PROVINCE: Alex Edler’s 15-season NHL career with the Vancouver Canucks could be coming to an end. The veteran defenseman is going to test the free-agent market on July 28. His agent indicated the 35-year-old has never tested the free-agent waters before and he might never get the chance to do so again.

TSN: cited a report by The Athletic’s Adam Vingan indicating the Nashville Predators and pending UFA Erik Haula are discussing a new contract. He’s coming off a one-year, $1.75 million deal.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes signed restricted free agent forward Morgan Geekie to a one-year, two-way contract with $750K at the NHL level.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers signed RFA forward Julien Gauthier to a one-year, two-way contract worth $775K at the NHL level.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former Laval Rocket coach Joel Bouchard denied any rift or animosity with the Canadiens. Bouchard recently joined the Anaheim Ducks as head coach of their AHL affiliate in San Diego. Bouchard insists he made the change because he wanted to try something different elsewhere.










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 Morning Coffee Headlines – February 19, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 19, 2020

Sidney Crosby has a four-point game, an update on Jay Bouwmeester, the Senators honor Chris Phillips, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby picked up four points in a 5-2 victory over the struggling Toronto Maple Leafs. Bryan Rust collected three points as the Penguins (80 points) moved into first place in the Metropolitan Division. Auston Matthews tallied his league-leading 43rd goal of the season for the Leafs (70 points), who cling to third place in the Atlantic Division. Penguins center Evgeni Malkin was a late scratch due to illness. Earlier in the day, the Penguins also revealed forward Zach Aston-Reese is week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby led his club to a 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not to take anything away from the Penguins’ dominant performance, but that was a pathetic effort by the Leafs in a must-win game. They’ve dropped six of their last nine and remain in danger of slipping out of a playoff spot.

St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington made 17 saves to shut out the New Jersey Devils 3-0, snapping his club’s five-game losing skid. It was their first victory since Jay Bouwmeester suffered a cardiac incident last week in Anaheim. Bouwmeester released a statement yesterday indicating he’s on the road to recovery. With 76 points, the Blues hold a two-point lead over the Dallas Stars for first place in the Western Conference. Devils’ Will Butcher and Nick Merkley left the game with injuries.

The Ottawa Senators honored former defenseman Chris Phillips by retiring his number and thumping the Buffalo Sabres 7-4. They tallied four goals in a 3:29 span in the first period and sealed the two with two third-period goals. Jean-Gabriel Pageau led the way with two goals and two assists while Artem Anisimov also scored twice. Brandon Montour scored twice for the Sabres, who remain eight points behind the Leafs in the Atlantic.

Travis Konecny had a three-point performance as the Philadelphia Flyers rolled to a 5-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, leaving the latter winless in their last six games. The Flyers (73 points) vaulted over the New York Islanders and the Blue Jackets into third in the Metropolitan Division.

Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho scored to extend his points streak to 10 games in a 4-1 win over Nashville Predators. The Hurricanes (72 points) hold the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, while the Predators (65 points) remain three points out of a Western Conference wild-card berth.

Blake Wheeler and Nikolaj Ehlers each had three points as the Winnipeg Jets beat the Los Angeles Kings 6-3. With 67 points, the Jets are one point out of a Western Conference wild-card spot.

The Montreal Canadiens blew a 3-1 lead to fall 4-3 to the lowly Detroit Red Wings, who swept their four-game regular-season series. Andreas Athanasiou scored twice for the Wings, handing the Habs their fifth straight defeat.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And with that, we can close the book on the Canadiens’ playoff hopes for 2020. Earlier in the day, they traded defenseman Marco Scandella to the St. Louis Blues for two draft picks. More moves are likely in store leading up to the Feb. 24 trade deadline. The Wings, meanwhile, won 15 games thus far this season. Four of those came against the Canadiens.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen received some good news when an MRI on his upper-body injury revealed no requirement for surgery. He’s expected to return before the end of the regular season.

TSN: Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser will be sidelined eight weeks with a rib cartilage fracture.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks already made a significant move to address Boeser’s absence by acquiring Tyler Toffoli earlier this week. They might not be done dealing.

CBC.CA: A shoulder injury will sidelined Edmonton Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom for the next two-to-three weeks.

SPORTSNET: The New York Rangers acquired minor-league winger Julien Gauthier from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for minor-league defenseman Joey Keane.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 13, 2019

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 13, 2019

Updates on the Devils, Oilers, and Penguins in today’s NHL Sunday rumor roundup.

FATE OF DEVILS’ HALL AND HYNES IN THE SPOTLIGHT

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the New Jersey Devils’ slow start has some observers wondering how patient they’ll be with Taylor Hall. The 27-year-old winger could become the big fish in next summer’s free-agent pond.

Friedman speculates rival general managers could start calling Devils GM Ray Shero about his plans if he can’t re-sign Hall. However, he feels it’s far too early for Shero to consider shopping the winger.

The New Jersey Devils’ early-season struggles is stoking speculation over Taylor Hall’s future (Photo via NHL Images).

Colleague Chris Johnston said there hasn’t been much contract talk lately between the two sides. He feels it’s an ongoing process but doesn’t dismiss the possibility of an extension being dependent upon the outcome of this season.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks suggests the Devils’ sluggish start could put head coach John Hynes on the hot seat. While Shero is a loyal and patient general manager, there’s a sense of urgency this season. Brooks thinks Scott Stevens might make a good replacement for Hynes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speculation over Hall’s future has been ongoing since the summer. The longer he goes unsigned the more conjecture will arise over his status with the Devils. I agree with Johnston that this season’s outcome could be a determining factor.

Given the Devils’ big off-season additions and Hall’s pending free-agent status, Hynes must quickly find a way to get his club on the winning side of the ledger or he’ll end up paying the price. A few wins in the Devils’ upcoming games will turn down much of that heat.

LATEST OILERS SPECULATION

Johnston reports Jesse Puljujarvi is comfortable with spending the season in Finland. The 21-year-old restricted free agent winger is waiting for the Edmonton Oilers to honor his trade request. The Oilers have until Dec. 1 to sign him or trade him to a club that will sign him. Otherwise, he’ll be ineligible for the rest of his NHL season.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins reports there’s some talk the Oilers could have interest in Carolina Hurricanes winger Julien Gauthier, who saw fourth-line duty against Columbus on Saturday. His waiver-exempt status could also make him an attractive trade option.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Should the Oilers continue playing well leading up to Dec. 1 they won’t be under any pressure to move Puljujarvi. If a suitable return isn’t found they’ll let him spend the season in Finland and try signing or trading him next summer.

Unless the Oilers are willing to offer up something worthwhile, Hurricanes GM Don Waddell has no reason to trade Gauthier. Like the Oilers, the Canes are off to a great start and Waddell’s not facing pressure to swing a deal right now.

NO SUITABLE DEALS YET FOR THE PENGUINS

Friedman reports Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford is willing to deal from his blueline depth for a forward. However, he hasn’t found anything worthwhile in the trade market. He’s not interested in moving his 2020 first-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rutherford will remain patient while Evgeni Malkin and Nick Bjugstad recover from their injuries. If there’s nothing suitable in the trade market he’s got little choice but to wait for his two sidelined centers to return.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 19, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 19, 2019

Game recaps, Lightning win Presidents’ Trophy, Steven Stamkos and Elias Pettersson have record-breaking nights, stars of the week, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: It was a record-breaking night for the Tampa Bay Lightning and team captain Steven Stamkos as they rolled to a 4-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. The Lightning (116 points) clinched the Presidents’ Trophy for the first time in franchise history, while Stamkos set a franchise record with his 384th career goal. The loss leaves the Coyotes (78 points) one point ahead of the Minnesota Wild for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference. 

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos tallied a franchise-record 384th goal in a 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes (Photo via NHL Images).

Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson collected an assist to set a franchise record for most points by a rookie (61) in his club’s 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Bo Horvat tallied the game-winner in overtime. The Blackhawks (74 points) gained a point to sit four behind the Coyotes. 

Kyle Connor had a goal and an assist as the Winnipeg Jets edged the Los Angeles Kings 3-2, officially eliminating the latter from playoff contention. With 90 points, the Jets hold a three-point lead over the Nashville Predators for the top spot in the Central Division. 

For the second straight game, the San Jose Sharks failed to clinch a playoff berth as they fell 7-3 to the Vegas Golden Knights. Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith each had four-point performances for Vegas. Sharks captain Joe Pavelski missed the game with a lower-body injury that could sideline him a little longer than day-to-day.

New York Islanders goaltender Thomas Greiss, Chicago Blackhawks winger Brendan Perlini, and Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending March 17. 

THE TENNESSEAN: The NHL and NHLPA have ended the indefinite suspension of Nashville Predators winger Austin Watson following treatment for an alcohol-abuse relapse. He’s expected to rejoin the club for today’s morning skate but no timetable has been set for his return to action. 

SPORTSNET: Toronto Maple Leafs center Frederik Gauthier will miss the next two games with a foot injury.