NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 12, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 12, 2023

Pierre-Luc Dubois believes he’s been misunderstood, Ed Belfour and Ken Hitchcock named to the Dallas Stars Hall of Fame, the Rangers re-sign K’Andre Miller, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines

NHL.COM: Pierre-Luc Dubois said he’s looking forward to the opportunity to fully be himself with the Los Angeles Kings. He was traded to the Kings on June 27 and signed an eight-year, $68 million contract with the club.

Dubois felt he’s been misunderstood at times stemming from his trade requests from the Jets and the Columbus Blue Jackets. He said he had “three unbelievable years in Columbus” and “three great years in Winnipeg,” the 25-year-old forward felt he was ready to move on and do what was right for him and his career. He believes he’ll get that opportunity with the Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubois’ departure from Columbus and Winnipeg stoked the opinion among fans and pundits that he puts himself above his team. Nevertheless, he has the right to do what he believes is best for himself over the remainder of his playing career.

This move to the Kings could work out quite well for Dubois and his new teammates, so his tenures in his last two NHL cities will become footnotes to his career. On the other hand, if things go sideways and he requests a trade it will only feed the perception of Dubois as a selfish player.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Ed Belfour and Ken Hitchcock will be enshrined this season into the Dallas Stars Hall of Fame. Belfour backstopped the Stars to the 1999 Stanley Cup with Hitchcock as their head coach. Belfour was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011 while Hitchcock will be inducted as a builder among the Class of 2023 in November.

New York Rangers defenseman K’Andre Miller (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s fair to say that the Stars wouldn’t have won the Stanley Cup without Belfour in goal and Hitchcock behind the bench.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers signed defenseman K’Andre Miller to a two-year contract with an average annual value of $3.872 million. Miller, 23, is completing his entry-level contract and coming off a career-best 43-point season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers’ limited cap space for 2023-24 combined with Miller’s lack of arbitration rights made this bridge deal possible. It’s an affordable contract for Miller, who is quickly becoming a key part of the Blueshirts’ defense corps.

Miller will be in line for a more substantial raise on his next contract when the salary cap will be significantly higher. By that point, the Rangers should be able to pay him a more lucrative salary.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The Canadiens signed forward Alex Newhook to a four-contract contract with an AAV of $2.9 million. Newhook, 22, was acquired from the Colorado Avalanche where he tallied 33 points in his rookie season (2021-22) and 30 points last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A speedy forward who can play center or wing, Newhook saw checking-line minutes on a deep Avalanche roster. He could be skating on the second line with the rebuilding Canadiens. It’s an equitable contract that could become a real bargain if Newhook exceeds expectations.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes signed Brendan Lemieux to a one-year, $800K contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes are adding more grit to their lineup after getting swept from the Eastern Conference Finals by the Florida Panthers. They signed winger Michael Bunting on July 1 to a three-year deal.

NASHVILLE HOCKEY NOW: The Predators signed winger Denis Gurianov to a one-year, $850K contract.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Arizona Coyotes signed defenseman Travis Dermott to a one-year, two-way contract worth $800K at the NHL level.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks hired Brent Thompson and David Rook as assistant coaches to head coach Greg Cronin. Thompson is the former head coach of the New York Islanders AHL affiliate in Bridgeport. Rook spent five years as the goaltending development coach with the Nashville Predators.

TSN: The Ottawa Senators have parted ways with assistant general manager Trent Mann. The move comes a day after Anthony LeBlanc resigned as president of business operations. These changes come as the club completes an ownership change led by billionaire Michael Andlauer.

NEW YORK POST: The Philadelphia Flyers have issued an apology after members of their social media team were heard making disparaging remarks about a reporter’s question to new Flyers forward Garnet Hathaway during a live stream on Twitter.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 15, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – June 15, 2023

How will the impending sale of the Senators affect their offseason plans? What’s the latest on the Canadiens? Could the Predators explore this summer’s trade market? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

LATEST ON THE SENATORS

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports speculation began over what changes Michael Andlauer could make to the Senators following news of his agreement in principle to purchase the club. Whatever he has in store must wait until the sale is officially completed, which could take several weeks or months.

Ottawa Senators winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).

That won’t affect the offseason plans of general manager Pierre Dorion and his staff as they prepare for the upcoming draft in Nashville (June 28-29) and the start of the free-agent period on July 1. Dorion must also consider possible trade options for restricted free-agent winger Alex DeBrincat.

DeBrincat lacks a no-trade clause but he and his agent provided the Senators with a list of preferred trade destinations. Garrioch reports the list includes his hometown Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Vegas Golden Knights and Dallas Stars. He pointed out that the Panthers and Golden Knights lack the salary-cap space to make a deal for DeBrincat so there would have to be some major juggling to do that.

Garrioch also indicated that DeBrincat will receive his $9 million qualifying offer from the Senators on June 25. Dorion will have until 5 pm Monday to determine if he’ll elect arbitration in the hope of getting a 15 percent discount on that qualifying offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s anticipated that the Senators will attempt to move DeBrincat prior to the first round (June 28) of this year’s draft. As Garrioch noted, this is the time to strike when the iron’s hot while general managers have the cap space and the willingness to spend in the trade market.

The Red Wings have plenty of cap space and need additional scoring. However, they could be seeking more of a power forward than a finesse player.

I doubt the Golden Knights and Panthers will get into the bidding. Nevertheless, their respective general managers have well-earned reputations for making significant moves.

Like the Golden Knights and Panthers, the Stars lack sufficient cap room. GM Jim Nill could be in the market for more affordable depth. Encouraged by the play of promising young players like Wyatt Johnston, he could also promote a youngster such as Mavrik Bourque.

UPDATE ON THE CANADIENS

THE ATHLETIC: Arpon Basu confirmed a Radio-Canada report claiming the Montreal Canadiens are attempting to move up in the 2023 first-round draft order. Currently holding the fifth-overall pick, they’ve attempted to swap picks with the fourth-overall San Jose Sharks and have contacted the Anaheim Ducks about the second-overall selection.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Basu observed that the cost of jumping to second overall would be astronomical but worth it to land a highly-touted prospect like Adam Fantilli. If this wasn’t Connor Bedard’s draft year, Fantilli would be the favorite to go first overall.

I don’t see the Habs prying that pick away from the Ducks but it doesn’t hurt to ask. The same goes for trying to get the Sharks’ pick.

Basu also reports the Canadiens will not buy out winger Mike Hoffman. The first contract buyout window for NHL teams opens today and runs until 5 pm ET on June 30. They are willing to retain half of Hoffman’s $4.5 million cap hit in a trade but that seems unlikely to happen given he didn’t produce enough to justify the cost.

The Canadiens won’t be tendering a qualifying offer to restricted free agent Denis Gurianov. However, they haven’t ruled out signing him as an unrestricted free agent to a one-year deal at a reduced rate.

They’re also interested in signing pending UFA center Sean Monahan to an affordable one-year deal to give him a chance to prove he can stay healthy and improve his value in next summer’s free-agent market.

PREDATORS EXPLORING THE TRADE MARKET

NASHVILLE HOCKEY NOW: Michael Gallagher reports Predators general manager Barry Trotz intends to go shopping for offensive-minded players in this summer’s trade market. He’s willing to spend as much of the club’s $15.5 million in projected cap space for 2023-24 as possible to achieve that aim.

Trotz doesn’t anticipate he’ll be a big player in this summer’s UFA market, describing it as “a little bit lean.” He also wants to add players “that fit our culture.” He’s pitched trade offers to clubs that are looking to shed salary.

Gallagher observed there are three teams (Montreal, Tampa Bay and Vancouver) with less than $1 million in cap space. He also noted there will be several others looking to move a player with a sizable cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens will garner $10.5 million in cap relief by placing all-but-retired sidelined goalie Carey Price on long-term injury reserve. Still, they’ll be open to moving out a veteran forward like Mike Hoffman to free up cap room.

Meanwhile, the Lightning will garner over $6.8 million in LTIR cap relief due to permanently sidelined defenseman Brent Seabrook.

It’s been well-documented the Canucks are actively trying to shed salary. They’re believed to be shopping Conor Garland but Trotz might have his eye on scoring winger Brock Boeser.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 27, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 27, 2023

Recaps of Sunday’s games, Barry Trotz to replace David Poile as Predators GM, Tanner Jeannot to the Lightning, Ivan Barbashev to the Golden Knights, Evgenii Dadonov to the Stars, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov tallied a hat trick (including the game-winner in overtime) to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2. The win propelled the Wild (33-21-6) into second place in the Central Division with 72 points, one point up on the Colorado Avalanche. Elvis Merzlikins stopped 41 shots as the Blues Jackets fell to 19-35-6 on the season.

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov (NHL Images).

A five-goal second period lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 7-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Brian Dumoulin each had a goal and an assist as the Penguins as they improved to 29-21-9 and hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 67 points. Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point also had a goal and an assist each for the 37-18-4 Lightning as they’ve dropped four of their last six and sit in third place in the Atlantic Division with 78 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kucherov reached 700 career points and sits fourth all-time among Lightning scorers with 701.

The Buffalo Sabres dumped the Washington Capitals 7-4 as Dylan Cozens tallied his first NHL hat trick while Tage Thompson netted his 40th goal of the season. The Sabres (31-23-4) sit one point back of the Penguins. Dylan Strome collected two points and Alex Ovechin scored his 33rd of the season for the Capitals as they’ve slipped to 29-27-6 and sit three points behind the Penguins and two points behind the Sabres.

New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 23 saves to shut out the Winnipeg Jets 4-0. Bo Horvat, Alexander Romanov, Brock Nelson and Adam Pelech were the goal scorers as the Islanders rose to 31-25-7 and hold the first Eastern wild-card spot with 69 points. The Jets (35-24-1) have dropped four straight games and fell into the first Western Conference wild-card berth with 71 points.

The New York Rangers got two goals and an assist from Vincent Trocheck in a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Igor Shesterkin turned aside 26 shots as the Rangers (34-17-9) snapped a four-game losing skid and sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 77 points. Phillip Danault collected two assists for the Kings as they fell to 33-20-8 and remain in second place in the Pacific Division with 74 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rangers defenseman K’Andre Miller was ejected in the first period for spitting on Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. Miller reached out to Doughty following the game claiming it wasn’t on purpose and he felt bad about it.

The Rangers also sat Ryan Carpenter and Braden Schneider for salary-cap purposes as they continue to work toward an expected trade for Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews scored two goals to defeat the Seattle Kraken 5-1. Mitch Marner had three assists while Ilya Samsonov kicked out 26 shots as the Leafs improved to 37-15-8 as they moved to within one point of the third overall New Jersey Devils with 82 points. Vince Dunn scored the only goal for the Kraken (32-21-6) as they dropped into the final Western wild-card berth with 70 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken were jockeying for first place in the Pacific Division not too long ago. They’ve dropped seven of their last 10 games which could prompt general manager Ron Francis into making a move before the March 3 trade deadline to bolster his roster.

The Nashville Predators got two goals by Roman Josi in a 6-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Josi finished with three points as did Matt Duchene and Tommy Novak as the Predators (29-22-6) sit six points behind the Kraken with 64 points. The Coyotes are 20-30-9 on the season.

HEADLINES

THE TENNESSEAN: A source said Nashville Predators general manager David Poile intends to retire at the end of this season. He’s been their GM since the club’s inception in 1997 and sits third all-time in wins (1,519) among NHL general managers. His replacement is expected to be Barry Trotz, who was the club’s first head coach during its first 15 seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It will be the end of an era for the Predators. Poile’s tenure was mostly a successful one, qualifying for the playoffs 15 times since their inaugural season in 1998-99. They reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2017 and won the Presidents’ Trophy in 2018. Since then, however, the Predators have been in a slow but steady decline. They risk missing the playoffs this season for the first time since 2014.

THE TENNESSEAN/TAMPA BAY TIMES: Speaking of the Predators, they traded forward Tanner Jeannot to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for a first-round pick in 2025, a second-round pick in 2024, a third, fourth and fifth-rounder in 2023 and defenseman Cal Foote.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s one helluva haul for Jeannot, a middle-six power forward who had 24 goals and 41 points as a rookie last season but slumped to five goals and 14 points in 56 games this season. The 25-year-old winger is a restricted free agent this summer.

The Lightning appear to have overpaid for Jeannot. However, Daily Faceoff’s Matt Larkin points out that they could see something awesome in him just like they did with Brandon Hagel, Nick Paul, Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow at previous trade deadlines. If he helps the Lightning return to the Stanley Cup Final it will be considered a wise investment, especially if they re-sign him to an affordable extension.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW/STLTODAY.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights acquired winger Ivan Barbashev from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for prospect Zach Dean.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A versatile forward who can play center or wing, Barbashev should provide a boost to the Golden Knights’ middle-six lines. Dean, 20, is a 2021 first-round pick who was ranked third among Vegas’ top prospects in The Athletic’s midseason prospect pool rankings.

The Golden Knights might not be done dealing as they still have over $7 million in projected deadline cap space. However, their lack of sufficient draft and prospect capital to use as trade bait could hamper efforts to acquire a more notable talent.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS/MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The Stars traded winger Denis Gurianov to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for winger Evgenii Dadonov. The Canadiens also retain half of Dadonov’s $5 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gurianov is a former 20-goal scorer who struggled over the last two seasons with the Stars. If he regains his form in Montreal, the rebuilding Canadiens could re-sign him or use him as a trade chip in the offseason.

Dadonov has only 18 points in 50 games but enjoyed a 20-goal, 43-point performance last season with Vegas. He could rediscover his scoring touch with the playoff-bound Stars.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW/NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks traded defenseman Jack Johnson to the Colorado Avalanche for blueliner Andreas Englund. Johnson played for the Avalanche last season and helped them win the Stanley Cup.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings forward Michael Rasmussen is sidelined indefinitely with an injured kneecap.

TSN: The Vancouver Canucks placed defenseman Ethan Bear (upper body) on injured reserve.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 25, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 25, 2022

Milestones reached by Alex Ovechkin, Phil Kessel, and Shane Pinto, the Canucks’ winless streak continues, the three stars of the week are revealed, Carey Price talks publicly about his future, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored what proved to be the winning goal in a 6-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Ovechkin moves past Gordie Howe into second place on the all-time game-winning goals list with 122. Goaltender Charlie Lindgren got the win with a 38-save performance while Devils netminder Mackenzie Blackwood got the hook after giving up five goals on 18 shots.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jaromir Jagr is the all-time leader in NHL game-winning goals with 135. The Capitals are 4-3-0 while the Devils drop to 3-3-0.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Phil Kessel tied the NHL’s Ironman record by appearing in his 989th consecutive game as his club downed the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1. Kessel also picked an assist on the Golden Knights’ game-opening goal. Chandler Stephenson and Michael Amadio scored in the third period to give Vegas the win.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel appeared to have scored his 400th career goal in this game but it was overturned as offside by a coach’s challenge. Leafs captain John Tavares briefly left the game after being struck in the leg by a shot but returned and finished the contest. The Golden Knights improved to 5-2-0 while the Leafs are 4-3-0.

Ottawa Senators center Shane Pinto set a franchise rookie record during a 4-2 victory over the Dallas Stars. Pinto scored to extend his goal streak to five games while teammate Brady Tkachuk scored and collected an assist. Stars forward Denis Gurianov was a healthy scratch. The Senators’ record is now 4-2-0 while the Stars are 4-1-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Senators backup Magnus Hellberg made 29 saves as starter Anton Forsberg sat out this game with an undisclosed injury. Before this game, they learned center Josh Norris could be sidelined for at least two weeks with an injured shoulder.

The Vancouver Canucks’ winless streak extended to 0-5-2 as they fell 3-2 to the Carolina Hurricanes(4-1-1). Third-period goals by Sebastian Aho and Jesper Fast snapped a 1-1 tie while J.T. Miller scored twice for the Canucks and teammate Thatcher Demko made 36 saves.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The score flatter the Canucks as they were dominated by the Hurricanes for most of this game. They managed just 16 shots on goal while Demko was peppered by the Canes. The loss capped a lousy day for the Canucks as they learned defenseman Quinn Hughes is week-to-week with a lower-body injury while winger Brock Boeser is day-to-day with an undisclosed ailment.

Leon Draisaitl had a goal and two assists to rally the Edmonton Oilers from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3. Evander Kane, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zach Hyman each had a goal and an assist for the Oilers while Penguins Rickard Rakell and Jason Zucker each had two points. The Oilers improved to 3-3-0 while the Penguins are 4-1-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers captain Connor McDavid left the game after crashing awkwardly into the Penguins’ net but would return to action.

Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck made 25 saves to shut out the St. Louis Blues 4-0, handing the latter their first loss of the season (3-1-0). Mark Scheifele tallied what proved to be the game-winning goal as his club improved to 3-3-0. Jets head coach Rick Bowness sat out this game as he’s still feeling the after-effects of his bout with COVID-19. 

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk and New Jersey Devils goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Oct. 23, 2022.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price said he has no plans to retire despite a career-threatening knee injury that is expected to sideline him for the entirety of this season.

The 35-year-old netminder admitted it’s been an emotional roller coaster to go from the 2021 Stanley Cup Final to where he is today. He acknowledged the possibility of undergoing another surgery but knows it has a 50 percent success rate and could come with risks to his quality of life away from the game. Price is signed through 2025-26 with an average annual value of $10.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price revealed the possibility of another surgery to The Athletic’s Arpon Basu but this is the first time he’s spoken publicly about it. He hasn’t given up hope of resuming his career but he seems fully aware that it could be a long shot.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Speaking of the Canadiens, rookie winger Juraj Slafkovsky is considered day-to-day after undergoing tests for an upper-body injury.

THE ATHLETIC: Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo is getting close to returning to the lineup after suffering the fifth concussion of his career during an Oct. 15th game against the Arizona Coyotes. He indicated that his vision went black in one of his eyes and he couldn’t follow the play following the hit so he went to the locker room where he was diagnosed with a concussion.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Carlo is aware of the risk of accumulating concussions but insists he still feels very good from a hockey aspect. Nevertheless, he’s reached a worrying level of concern with these injuries that could become career-threatening.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers center Filip Chytil will miss the next four games with a suspected concussion.

TSN: Tyler Ennis has signed with SC Bern of the Swiss National League. The 33-year-old forward scored 144 goals and 202 assists in 700 games over 13 NHL seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, Minnesota Wild, Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers and Ottawa Senators.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 8, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 8, 2022

The Lightning tie the Eastern Conference Finals at two games apiece, P.K. Subban wins the King Clancy Trophy, new contracts for the Blue Jackets’ Jack Roslovic and the Stars’ Denis Gurianov, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Eastern Conference Finals is now a best-of-three as the Tampa Bay Lightning downed the New York Rangers 4-1 to even the series at two games apiece. Ondrej Palat had a goal and two assists, Andrei Vasilevskiy made 34 saves and Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Pat Maroon also scored for the Lightning. Artemi Panarin replied for the Rangers. The series returns to New York for Game 5 on Thursday.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ondrej Palat (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a dominating performance by the Lightning, who have recovered their footing after dropping the first two games of this series. Their puck possession and defensive game have improved plus they’re doing a better job staying out of the penalty box.

The Rangers entered this game down one center with Ryan Strome still day-to-day with a lower-body injury. This lost another when Filip Chytil left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury following a hard hit from Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman. Rangers coach Gerard Gallant expects Chytil will be fine but is still awaiting further word on his condition.

New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban is this year’s winner of the King Clancy Trophy for his commitment to racial and social justice, underserved youth and COVID-19 relief. Subban is the first player in Devils history to win this award.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Subban for his well-deserved and long-overdue recognition of his off-ice contributions to his community. He was also active in charity work during his time with the Montreal Canadiens and Nashville Predators.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets signed Jack Roslovic to a two-year, $8 million contract. The 25-year-old center was slated to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The annual average value of Roslovic’s contract is $4 million, leaving the Blue Jackets with $22.8 million in cap space with 17 players under contract for 2022-23. He got off to a slow start to this season but steadily improved to finish with a career-best 22 goals and 45 points. Roslovic will eligible for unrestricted free agent status following this deal.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars inked Denis Gurianov to a one-year, $2.9 million contract. The 25-year-old winger will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars have $14.6 million in cap space with 17 players under contract next season.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Andrew Cogliano could miss the 2022 Stanley Cup Final. Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said the veteran forward is “out for now” with an injury similar to Nazem Kadri, who suffered a broken thumb in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. Bednar said the club isn’t really sure on the timeline of return for both players.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: Kraken goaltender Chris Driedger underwent successful surgery on Monday to repair a torn MCL suffered while playing for Canada in the 2022 IIHF World Championships. His estimated timeline of recovery is seven-to-nine months.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens hired Marie-Phillip Poulin as a player development consultant. It will be a part-time position over the next four years for the three-time Women’s Olympic gold medalist as she continues her playing career with the goal of pursuing her fourth Olympic gold at the 2026 Turin Games.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – September 26, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – September 26, 2021

Check out the latest on Mika Zibanejad plus some Dallas Stars speculation in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

NEW YORK POST: Mollie Walker recently reports Mika Zibanejad isn’t giving anything away about his contract extension talks with the Rangers or allowing it to get in the way of his preseason preparation. The 28-year-old center is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (NHL Images).

Walker speculates Zibanejad could be in line for a seven- or eight-year extension. It’s believed his camp’s initial ask is $10 million annually while Rangers management will likely look at something in the $7 million to $9 million range.

THE ATHLETIC: Rick Carpiniello wondered if Rangers general manager Chris Drury will play a game of chicken with Zibanejad if he can’t get him signed before the March trade deadline. There’s also the Rangers’ unstated wish to upgrade at center, including rumors of their interest in Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel. Carpiniello doesn’t believe the Blueshirts can afford two high-priced centers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zibanejad told reporters he’s happy in New York and likes the team’s direction. How long he remains part of it remains to be seen.

The Rangers will either commit to a long-term deal for Zibanejad or turn to the trade market or free agency next summer to replace him. It’s as simple as that.

Carpiniello’s correct in his assessment that they cannot afford to carry two expensive centers, especially with 2021 Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox becoming a restricted free agent at the same time. Talk of Zibanejad and a healthy Eichel on the Blueshirts was a pipe dream. It’s either one or the other. 

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Matthew DeFranks’ 10 questions facing the Dallas Stars this season included speculation over John Klingberg’s future with the club. The 27-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July after completing a seven-year contract with an annual average value of $4.25 million.

Considering how much several notable defensemen (including teammate Miro Heiskanen) received this summer, Klingberg could prove too expensive for the Stars. With Heiskanen earning $8.45 million annually, Esa Lindell making $5.8 million and Ryan Suter $3.65 million, re-signing Klingberg would give the Stars one of the most expensive bluelines in the league.

Turning to the trade deadline, DeFranks suggested players on expiring contracts like Klingberg, Joe Pavelski and Alexander Radulov could become trade bait if the Stars are out of playoff contention by then. If the Stars are close and they retain them past deadline day, they risk losing those players to free agency for nothing next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Stars with over $58 million invested in 14 players for 2022-23 with Klingberg, Pavelski, Radulov and Braden Holtby as their notable UFAs and forwards Denis Gurianov and 2021 Calder Trophy finalist Jason Robertson becoming restricted free agents.

Klingberg’s going to cost at least as much as Heiskanen, probably more. As DeFranks observed, they probably can’t afford to keep him. Pavelski and Radulov are aging and don’t have many productive seasons left while Holtby’s past his prime.

Gurianov has arbitration rights and will seek a substantial raise if he hits 20 goals and 40 points this season. Robertson will be coming off his entry-level contract but a strong sophomore season will result in a hefty raise for him as well.