NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 12, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 12, 2020

The hockey world mourns the passing of Colby Cave, plus the latest on Dylan Larkin, Kevan Miller and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers forward Colby Cave passed away at age 25, four days following surgery to remove a colloid cyst that was causing pressure on his brain.

Colby Cave. 1994-2020. (Photo via NHL Images)

His passing sparked an outpouring of support and condolences throughout the hockey world. The Oilers and Cave’s former club, the Boston Bruins, offered their commiserations, as did the NHL, the AHL. and his junior club, the Swift Current Broncos. Wayne GretzkyErik Karlsson, and Torey Krug were among those who took to Twitter offering sympathy and support to Cave’s family.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was heartbreaking news. My sincere condolences to Cave’s family, friends, and family. By all accounts, he was an upstanding young man with a strong work ethic. It’s so sad when a young life is ended before it has truly begun.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning’s chances to atone for the dissatisfying end to their otherwise dominant 2018-19 campaign could be slipping away if this season is canceled because of the coronavirus.

Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh said it would be a huge disappointment. “For what our team has done this year, and how we’ve set ourselves up, the additions that we’ve made, where we were at that point in the season with just a handful of games left and trying to gear up for a long playoff run and a successful playoff run, you just hope and you pray that there’s some scenario out there where we can somehow finish.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s easy to say they’ll get another shot next season, but the Lightning might not be the same club by then. Limited salary-cap space means they’ll have to shed a player or two (Alex Killorn, perhaps?) in order to re-sign Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev. Unrestricted free agents like Patrick Maroon and Kevin Shattenkirk probably won’t be back. Those moves could adversely affect their overall chemistry and depth.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings center Dylan Larkin and his family donated 50,000 vinyl powder-free and nitrile gloves to the Detroit Medical Center and St Joseph Mercy Medical Group.

BOSTON GLOBE: Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller encountered some setbacks during his rehab of his twice-broken kneecap. An unrestricted free agent at the end of his season, his future with the Bruins is in doubt.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks forward Nikolay Goldobin has signed a two-year contract with CSKA Moscow of the KHL. He explained the Canucks didn’t want to re-sign him but hopes to return to the NHL in two-years time.

NHL Rumor Mill – March 6, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – March 6, 2020

The latest on the Leafs, Jets, and Canucks in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas told The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun the reason he didn’t adjust his roster at the trade deadline was in part because he didn’t see an opportunity to solve his club’s long-term needs on defense. Dubas received calls about defenseman Tyson Barrie, but Bob McKenzie reported the Leafs GM sought a right-handed blueliner as part of the return. Barrie remained with the Leafs and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubas could’ve resolved that issue much sooner if he hadn’t handcuffed himself by signing center John Tavares to a seven-year, $77-million contract. Even if next season’s salary cap jumps to $88 million, he still has over $77 million tied up in 16 players. That won’t leave much wiggle room to suitably address that need and fill out the rest of the roster.

Could a higher-than-expected salary cap for next season make it easier for the Toronto Maple Leafs to sign Alex Pietrangelo if he test the UFA market?

St. Louis Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo has come up as a possible target for the Leafs if he tests this summer’s market, but they can’t afford what’s likely to be at least a $9-million annual average value to sign him without first shedding considerable salary in the process. Sami Vatanen, Kevin Shattenkirk, Justin Schultz, Travis Hamonic, and Justin Braun would be more affordable, but it would still lead to a cap crunch.

Dubas could be forced to shop a forward to address that long-term blueline need. Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson, and Alexander Kerfoot often surfaced in this season’s rumor mill as trade candidates.


WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre believes the projected rise of the salary cap to between $84 million and $88 million will allow Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff to go shopping for talent this summer. The rise in the cap and the potential termination of Dustin Byfuglien‘s contract ($7.6 million AAV) could leave the Jets with $22 million to fill nine roster spaces. Four of those could be filled by re-signing Jack Roslovic, Mason Appleton, Jansen Harkins, and Sami Niku.

McIntyre recommends re-signing Dylan DeMelo and Nathan Beaulieu. He also proposes scouring the free-agent market for blueline depth, suggesting Calgary’s Travis Hamonic, Carolina’s Joel Edmundson, and Washington’s Brenden Dillon as options. McIntyre acknowledged that it could be mitigated if Ville Heinola and Dylan Samberg are ready for full-time duty next season. There could also be a need for depth at center and a new backup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cheveldayoff could make a splash or two via free agency, but that’s not a certainty. The Winnipeg Sun’s Paul Friesen points out the Jets GM usually isn’t a big spender in the off-season, preferring more cost-effective options. Maybe he changes his mind this summer, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he remains a bargain hunter.


THE ATHLETIC: Rick Dhaliwal recently sorted through the Vancouver Canucks’ free-agent scenarios for this summer. While they’d like to re-sign pending UFAs like Jacob Markstrom, Tyler Toffoli, and Chris Tanev, their limited salary-cap space could hamper those efforts. They have over $63 million invested in 15 players for 2020-21. Given Markstrom’s value as their starting goalie and Toffoli’s contributions to their forward lines, Tanev could be the odd man out unless they shed salary to retain him.

Dhaliwal also wondered if the Canucks will attempt to trade winger Loui Eriksson, bury him in the minors, attempt a mutual contract termination or buy out the remaining two years of his contract. Eriksson will be paid a $3 million bonus on July 1, after which he’ll only be owed $5 million in actual salary over the remainder of his deal. A rival club could be willing to take on Eriksson if the Canucks take on another bad contract or give up a draft pick.

Nikolay Goldobin could also be shopped this summer. Dhaliwal claims the Ottawa Senators showed some interest in the 24-year-old winger before the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dhaliwal’s report came out before the recent news the cap could rise as high as $88 million next season. That will make it easier for the Canucks to re-sign those key UFAs, but they must ensure they don’t eat up too much cap space going forward when Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes will be due for big raises next summer.

Trading Eriksson actually could be easier because of the higher salary cap. A budget-minded club like the Ottawa Senators looking to hit the cap minimum ($65 million?) could be amenable if the Canucks include a draft pick or a decent prospect.