NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 26, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 26, 2021

Tuukka Rask on when he expects to return to action, former Rangers GM Jeff Gorton talks about his firing, the Flyers sign Derick Brassard, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Tuukka Rask said his recovery from offseason hip surgery is going well and he’s hoping to return to action around Christmastime or January.

Tuukka Rask could return to the Boston Bruins by midseason (NHL Images).

Rask also stated he’s only interested in playing for the Bruins. While not engaged in ongoing contract talks with general manager Don Sweeney, the unrestricted free agent goaltender said the two had good discussions and he believes they’re on the same page. He also said money won’t be an issue, saying he’ll be a cheap goaltender for them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins are expected to start the season with Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman as their goaltending tandem. If Rask returns by midseason, Swayman can be sent to the minors as Cap Friendly indicates he’s exempt from waivers.

The performance of Ullmark and Swayman could complicate Rask’s potential return if they’re both playing well. Nevertheless, his comments suggest he’s going to be in the club’s plans at some point in the coming season. He’ll have to be an affordable signing as they’ve got $1.089 million in cap space without adding Swayman’s $925K.

NEW YORK POST: Former Rangers GM Jeff Gorton said he was surprised that the fallout from the Tom Wilson-Artemi Panarin brawl last season included his dismissal and that of team president John Davidson. “I didn’t know it was going to turn into that, it surprised me that it turned into what it turned into,” he told the “Cam & Stick” podcast.

Gorton also spoke about the statement the team released following that incident condemning the NHL department of player safety for only fining Wilson instead of suspending him. “You might have seen it the first time I did,” he said, adding it was crafted and released by the team’s PR staff. Gorton also said he, Davidson and now-former head coach David Quinn regularly discussed improving the club’s toughness over time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers’ reaction to Wilson’s manhandling of Panarin and the light punishment he received seems to have been driven by team owner James Dolan. He cited the club’s lack of toughness during the official announcement of the firings of Gorton and Davidson in May. It also accounts for shipping Pavel Buchnevich to St. Louis for Sammy Blais and the acquisition, and signing of rugged forward Ryan Reaves.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers signed forward Derick Brassard to a one-year, $825K contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Brassard addition leaves the Flyers with just over $381K in cap space for the coming season.

WGR 550: Defenseman Robert Hagg is skating in Buffalo and settling in after being traded to the Sabres last month by the Flyers as part of the Rasmus Ristolainen deal.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Former Jets forward Mason Appleton is very excited about being part of the Seattle Kraken’s inaugural roster. He spent three seasons with the Jets before being selected by the Kraken in last month’s expansion draft.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed forwards Glenn Gawdin and Justin Kirkland to one year, two-way contracts.

 










Rangers Fire Davidson and Gorton

Rangers Fire Davidson and Gorton

The New York Rangers fired team president John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton. Chris Drury has taken over for Davidson and Gorton but it’s uncertain if that’s on an interim basis.

Former New York Rangers GM Jeff Gorton (left) and former team president John Davidson (NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gorton had been general manager since July 2015 while Davidson became president in May 2019. Under those two, the Rangers had engaged in a rebuilding program, bringing in younger players.

Reports indicate this move is unrelated to the Rangers issuing a statement yesterday regarding the incident involving Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson on Monday. Davidson and Gorton apparently sought to distance themselves from that statement.

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks cited sources saying a difference of opinion had emerged between those two and Rangers CEO James Dolan. Davidson and Gorton were taking a patient, long-term view while Dolan apparently wants the club to take the next step in the process. It’s also reported Dolan was unhappy with the Rangers’ performance this season, particularly after their two recent back-to-back shutout losses to the rival Islanders.

That “next step in the process” could mean Drury goes shopping in this summer’s trade and/or free-agent market. Perhaps veterans with a year remaining on their contracts, such as Mika Zibanejad or Ryan Strome, get peddled in the offseason. Maybe Drury attempts a blockbuster move by offering up some promising prospects and/or young players for a young impact star.

It’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for current Rangers coach David Quinn. While he kept his job there’s no certainty he’ll be back next season. Drury could prefer to bring in a more experienced NHL bench boss or could be directed by Dolan to do so.










Rick Nash Trade Tree Continues to Sprout Roots for Rangers

Rick Nash Trade Tree Continues to Sprout Roots for Rangers

 










NHL Rumor Mill – March 9, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – March 9, 2019

Latest on Taylor Hall and Artemi Panarin in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

DEVILS GM DENIED HALL TRADE RUMOR.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Pierre LeBrun reported New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero said there was never any consideration of moving left wing Taylor Hall at the trade deadline. Hall is a year away from eligibility for unrestricted free agency. Shero said he was asked about trading Hall by someone in the media two weeks before the deadline, adding there was “zero percent” chance of that happening. He also told LeBrun he hasn’t started contract negotiations yet with the Hall camp, suggesting those talks could start this summer. 

Taylor Hall’s future with the New Jersey Devils could become a hot topic in this summer’s rumor mill (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall, winner of the 2018 Hart Trophy, would be among the biggest names in the 2020 UFA market. The reason his name popped up before the trade deadline was based on the assumption Shero might consider shopping him if he felt there was little chance of the winger re-signing with the Devils. 

Once the initial frenzy of signings in this summer’s free-agent market has passed, we’ll likely hear growing speculation over Hall’s future in New Jersey. The longer he goes without a contract extension after this July, the more he’ll feature prominently in the rumor mill. 

WILL RANGERS PURSUE PANARIN THIS SUMMER?

LeBrun also reported New York Rangers GM Jeff Gorton seeks a player who will help his club’s rebuild, rather than restrict it. He said he’s not going to promise any big signings to speed things up but admitted if such a player became available he’d look into it.

LeBrun believes someone like Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin would fit the bill, though he acknowledged Gorton will never say it. It’s believed the Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, New York Islanders, and Florida Panthers are among Panarin’s list of preferred destinations. At 27, Panarin is the right age to provide immediate help as well as over the long term. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panarin will be the best forward available in this summer’s UFA market and won’t lack for suitors. With over $61 million invested in 17 players, the Rangers have the cap space to make a competitive bid for the latest left winger. So do the Kings, Islanders, and Panthers. There could be quite a bidding war for his services leading up to July 1.