NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 15, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 15, 2020

Ted Lindsay Award nominees announced, exhibition and Stanley Cup qualifying round schedules revealed, plus the latest on Johnny Gaudreau, Shea Weber, Pierre-Luc Dubois, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHLPA.COM: Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, and New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin are the 2020 finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award, presented annually to the NHL’s most outstanding player as voted by the NHL Players Association membership.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon is among the finalists for the 2019-20 Ted Lindsay Award (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All are worthy finalists. They could also be in the running for the Hart Memorial Trophy. The finalists for that award will be announced on July 21.

NHL.COM: The league released its schedule of exhibition games and the Stanley Cup qualifiers schedule for Phase 4 of its return-to-play plan. All Western Conference games will be played at Rogers Place in Edmonton and all Eastern Conference games at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.

SPORTSNET: Johnny Gaudreau’s separation from his linemates and the main group during the opening two days of the Calgary Flames’ training camp is raising eyebrows. Flames coach Geoff Ward claimed the move was due to “circumstances that became apparent last week.” He declined to elaborate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The first-line winger continues to participate in the Flames’ practices with a smaller group, and Ward suggested he could be reunited with his linemates at some point. The NHL’s tight controls over the players’ medical status could cause imaginations to run wild over Gaudreau’s situation. If he were suffering COVID-19 symptoms, he wouldn’t be at practice. Perhaps he’s nursing a recent injury.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens captain Shea Weber was “unable to practice” yesterday but took to the ice afterward with assistant coach Luke Richardson for some individual work. Canadiens coach Claude Julien anticipates Weber will return to practice on Wednesday.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois missed practice yesterday with what is believed to be a minor issue. Because of the league’s return-to-play rules, the team didn’t provide details.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Colton Parayko returned to the ice yesterday with his teammates after missing the first day of training camp. Teammate Robert Bortuzzo remained absent. Both are believed to have recently tested positive for COVID-19. Blues coach Craig Berube expects Bortuzzo will return soon.

THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals forwards Lars Eller and Carl Hagelin intend to leave the protective bubble during the playoffs to be with their expectant wives. Eller’s wife is due to give birth on Aug. 8 while Hagelin’s spouse is due in September. Both players must isolate and test negative for four consecutive days before returning to the lineup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Players are allowed to leave and return to the host cities for family reasons.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan missed practice yesterday for a family emergency. Teammate Corey Crawford remains “unfit to play” for the second straight day.

WGR550.COM: Buffalo Sabres winger Michael Frolik has reportedly received a contract offer from KHL team Avangard Omsk. The 32-year-old is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks re-signed winger Troy Terry to a three-year, $4.35-million contract extension. Terry, 22, is completing his entry-level contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Terry is among several promising youngsters the Ducks hope to rebuild around over the next several years. He’s tallied eight goals and 28 points in 81 games over the past three seasons.

NHL.COM: The Vancouver Canucks signed prospect defenseman Jack Rathbone to an entry-level contract.

SPORTSLOGO.NET: cites The Athletic reporting the Ottawa Senators will be switching to a slightly modified version of the 2d Senator Head logo they wore from 1997 to 2007.










NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – Washington Capitals

NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – Washington Capitals

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 10, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 10, 2019

Sidney Crosby and Mitch Marner fall to injuries, Lightning sweep their two-game Global Series with the Sabres, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COMThe Pittsburgh Penguins nipped the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 in a shootout but lost captain Sidney Crosby to a lower-body injury in the third period. The Penguins overcame a 2-0 deficit to force overtime and the shootout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word yet as to the severity of Crosby’s injury. We could learn more later today.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner suffered an ankle injury during his club’s 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers (Photo via NHL Images)

The Philadelphia Flyers blew a 2-0 lead but went on to down the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on a shootout goal by Sean Couturier. Leafs forward Mitch Marner left the game early in the second period with an ankle injury and didn’t return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs coach Mike Babcock was uncertain over the status of Marner’s injury. An update could come today or tomorrow.

Patrick Maroon tallied two goals and Curtis McElhinney kicked out 40 shots as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-3 to sweep their two-game Global Series. The Sabres have dropped five straight games.

Nicklas Backstrom scored twice as the league-leading Washington Capitals picked up their sixth consecutive win by beating the Vegas Golden Knights 5-2.  John Carlson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Jakub Vrana each collected two points for Washington. Capitals winger Carl Hagelin missed the game with an upper-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

The St. Louis Blues picked up their seventh straight victory by downing the Calgary Flames 3-2 on an overtime goal by David Perron. Ryan O’Reilly and Alex Pietrangelo each had two-point nights for the Blues. Flames forward Elias Lindholm had his points streak end at nine games.

Cale Makar scored twice and Pavel Francouz made 39 stops as the Colorado Avalanche doubled up the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2. The Jackets have dropped six of their last seven games. Team captain Nick Foligno was tossed from the game for an elbow to the head of Avs’ forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, who left the game and didn’t return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word on how long Bellemare could be sidelined. The Avs are already missing Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog, Philipp Grubauer, and Colin Wilson. Defenseman Nikita Zadorov was the latest to join their ranks, listed as week-to-week following surgery to mend a broken jaw.

The New York Islanders extended their points streak to 12 games by edging the Florida Panthers 2-1. They’ve picked up wins in 11 of those contests. Thomas Greiss made 37 saves while Mathew Barzal had a goal and an assist. Winger Jordan Eberle returned to the lineup and prevented a Panthers’ goal with a game-turning goal-line save.

Ottawa Senators forwards Vladislav Namestnikov and Jean-Gabriel Pageau set a franchise record with second-period goals within four seconds of each other to upset the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1. The Hurricanes have dropped four straight contests. They also revealed center Erik Haula (knee injury) could be sidelined longer than anticipated.

Shea Weber scored two first-period goals and Carey Price made 31 saves as the Montreal Canadiens held on for a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings. The Canadiens have won five of their last seven games. Kings forward Trevor Lewis missed the game with a lower-body injury and will be reassessed on Monday.

The Minnesota Wild tallied three unanswered goals to squeak past the Arizona Coyotes 4-3. Kevin Fiala, Ryan Suter, and Jared Spurgeon had two points each. This was the fourth consecutive time the Coyotes blew a lead and went down to defeat.

Timo Meier scored in the seventh round of a shootout to give the San Jose Sharks a 2-1 victory over the Nashville Predators. Tomas Hertl scored the game-tying goal for the Sharks. Filip Forsberg tallied for the Predators.

SPORTSNET: New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal will be sidelined at least two weeks following surgery to address an infection in his ankle.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 17, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 17, 2019

The Capitals re-sign Carl Hagelin, the Ducks hire Dallas Eakins as their head coach, the latest on P.K. Subban, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NBC WASHINGTON: The Capitals yesterday re-signed winger Carl Hagelin to a four-year, $11-million contract extension. Hagelin, 30, was slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. 

Washington Capitals re-sign winger Carl Hagelin (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Acquired days before the February trade deadline, he proved to be a solid addition to the Capitals. Hagelin collected 14 points in 20 regular-season games and provided a welcome boost to their penalty kill. The contract term is a little long but the annual average value is an affordable $2.75 million. 

Cap Friendly indicates the Capitals now have just over $10.7 million in projected cap space for 2019-20. That complicates efforts to re-sign forwards Jakub Vrana, Brett Connolly, and Andre Burakovsky. I’ll have more on this later this morning in the rumors section. 

LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS: The Anaheim Ducks are expected to name Dallas Eakins as their new head coach as soon as today or Tuesday. A former head coach with the Edmonton Oilers, Eakins spent the past four seasons coaching the Ducks’ AHL affiliate in San Diego. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As the report indicates, Eakins was the favorite for the job all along. His work with their farm club earned him a return gig to the NHL. 

NBC SPORTS: Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban “cut a promo” with actor/former pro wrestling star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on the set of his HBO series “Ballers.” 

SPORTSNET: As discussions on a new collective bargaining agreement continue between the NHL and NHLPA, escrow remains the top concern for the players. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Escrow isn’t going anywhere and the players understand this. What they want is a system of calculation that doesn’t fluctuate as wildly and claws back as much from their salaries.

Adjustments, however, will affect the 50-50 split of hockey-related revenues between the team owners and the players. That will have to be addressed before a new agreement can be reached. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 15, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 15, 2019

The NHL buyout period begins today, Islanders re-sign Jordan Eberle, a list of Bruins injuries and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

The NHL buyout period begins today and runs to 5 PM ET on June 30. 

NEW YORK POST: The New York Islanders re-signed right wing Jordan Eberle to a five-year, $27.5-million contract extension. Eberle, 29, was slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. 

The New York Islanders re-signed winger Jordan Eberle (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eberle took a cut in pay from his expiring six-year, $36-million deal to stay with the Islanders. This was a surprise most observers didn’t expect him to be re-signed. At the very least, he was considered a lower priority than captain Anders Lee and Vezina Trophy finalist Robin Lehner.

Eberle may have accepted a pay cut but that contract term seems too long. It’ll be a worthwhile signing If he performs over the next five years at the same level he did down the stretch and in the postseason. Otherwise, it could become a salary-cap headache in the coming years. 

Newsday’s Mark Herrman believes Eberle’s decision to stay was “a sign of faith in general manager Lou Lamoriello, coach Barry Trotz and the future at Belmont Park.”  The winger and his family enjoy living and playing on Long Island. The future construction of a new arena at Belmont Park provides stability for the Islanders. That could become a factor in the Isles’ efforts to retain and attract quality talent. 

NHL.COM: A lengthy list of Boston Bruins players were nursing injuries during the Stanley Cup Final. Captain Zdeno Chara’s jaw was fractured in several places requiring plates, screws, and wires to repair. He’s looking at five-to-six weeks of recovery.

Brad Marchand played through groin, abdominal and wrist injuries. Patrice Bergeron played through a groin injury. David Pastrnak took a blow to his surgically repaired thumb.

Noel Acciari suffered a fractured sternum in the second round. Defenseman John Moore played 10 games despite fracturing his humerus on March 25. Blueliner Kevan Miller suffered a twice-fractured kneecap. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I remain amazed over how professional hockey players continue playing despite serious injuries that would sideline athletes in other sports. 

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports the Washington Capitals are still trying to re-sign pending UFA winger Carl Hagelin. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes re-signed defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin to a one-year contract. Cap Friendly indicates it’s a two-way contract worth $925K at the NHL level. 

SPORTSNET: The Tampa Bay Lightning re-signed blueline Cameron Gaunce to a one-year, two-way deal worth $700K 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens re-signed defenseman Gustav Olofsson to a one-year, two-way contract. 

LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Former Canadiens rearguard Michael Bournival announced his retirement after suffering multiple concussions during his playing career. “I’d rather stop there before it’s too late,” he said in an interview with TVA Nouvelles. 

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers have hired recently-retired winger Tanner Glass to work in their player personnel department. He spent this season playing in France and announced his retirement as an active player earlier this week.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres announced they’ve hired Mike Bales as their new goaltending coach and Don Granato as an assistant coach. Steve Smith will remain as an assistant but Davis Payne, Chris Hajt and Tom Ward were let go. 










NHL Rumor Mill – April 27, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – April 27, 2019

Will James Neal return with the Flames next season? Could the Capitals shop Matt Niskanen and Andre Burakovsky this summer? Should the Canucks pursue Jason Zucker or try to trade Brandon Sutter this summer?  Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WILL THE FLAMES MOVE NEAL AND TRADE BRODIE? 

CALGARY SUN: Despite the calls from Flames followers for the club to rid themselves of veteran winger James Neal, Wes Gilbertson recently reported there’s “little doubt” he’ll return with the club next season. He doesn’t believe Flames ownership will approve a contract buyout stretching through 2026-17 burning up nearly $2 million in annual salary-cap space. He also doesn’t see a market for a winger carrying an AAV of $5.75-million through 2022-23. Neal, meanwhile, wants to be a top-six forward and intends to train this summer toward returning to his 20-goal-per-season form. 

Don’t expect the Calgary Flames to trade or buy out James Neal’s contract this summer (Photo via NHL Images)

During a roundtable with Sun writers Danny Austin and Kristen Anderson on the Flames season and offseason plans, Gilbertson agreed with Anderson that GM Brad Treliving is unlikely to make sweeping roster changes. He believes Treliving must find a second-line right winger, suggesting perhaps revisiting the trade for Jason Zucker with the Minnesota Wild that fell through at the trade deadline. He also agreed with Austin that defenseman T.J. Brodie could be traded this summer. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames have over $69 million invested in 20 players, with RFAs Matthew Tkachuk and Sam Bennett to re-sign and goaltenders Mike Smith and David Rittich to re-sign or replace. Tkachuk’s next contract alone could absorb around $9 million of their salary-cap space. If they’re looking to shed salary, Brodie rather than Neal is a more likely trade candidate.

Neal lacks no-trade protection but the sharp decline in his production this season combined with the remaining years and the cap hit of his contract makes him a tough sell. He’ll likely return with the Flames next season. 

If Treliving intends to acquire Zucker ($5.5 million AAV) or another right winger, that move will have to be as close to a dollar-for-dollar swap as possible or doing a separate deal to shed the cap space necessary to take on that incoming winger’s contract. Those moves could involve Brodie or Michael Frolik, who was reportedly offered up to the Wild (along with a draft pick) for Zucker. 

WILL THE CAPITALS TRADE NISKANEN AND BURAKOVSKY THIS SUMMER?

THE WASHINGTON POST: In the wake of the Washington Capitals first-round playoff elimination, Isabelle Khurshudyan recently examined potential offseason moves in store for the roster. She points out the bonuses owed to Brooks Orpik, Jakub Vrana, and Jonas Siegenthaler ($1.15 million total) will count against next season’s salary-cap payroll. 

Khurshudyan speculates the addition of defenseman Nick Jensen in February could make veteran blueliner Matt Niskanen a salary-cap casualty. Trading Niskanen, who’s signed through 2020-21 with a $5.75-million annual salary-cap hit, would create flexibility this summer and next. 

The Capitals must also decide what to do with winger Andre Burakovsky, a restricted free agent who was also the subject of frequent trade speculation. Fellow RFAs Dmitrij Jaskin and Chandler Stephenson also face uncertain futures. Of their unrestricted free agents, Orpik and Devante Smith-Pelly are least likely to return. The Capitals probably want to re-sign forwards Brett Connolly and Carl Hagelin but probably can’t afford to keep both. With 22 goals and 46 points, Connolly has more upside. 

Khurshudyan considers re-signing Vrana the priority, using Vegas Golden Knights winger Alex Tuch ($4.75-million annual average value) as a “conservative comparable,” speculating his representatives could push for a bridge deal as a hedge that his production will continue to climb, ensuring a bigger future payday. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Capitals have over $72.6 million already invested in 17 players for 2019-20. Deduct that $1.15 million bonus overage from the projected $83 million salary cap for next season and they’ll have around $9 million to work with. Even if Vrana’s camp wants a bridge deal, he’s going to get a significant raise coming off his entry-level contract, perhaps around $4 million. Connolly made $1.5 million annually on his current contract and will likely seek around $4 million. That won’t leave much to fill in the rest of the lineup.

Somebody must be moved in a cost-cutting deal. Niskanen had a modified no-trade clause listing 10 teams he cannot be traded to, leaving a 20-team marketplace. Given his experience, puck-moving skills, ability to log big minutes and the market for right-shooting defensemen, the Capitals should be able to find a suitable destination for him and probably won’t have to absorb any of his salary-cap hit. However, they can’t afford to take any salary back so they’ll likely look at draft picks and prospects in return. 

Burakovsky’s days with the Capitals appear in doubt. GM Brian MacLellan resisted the temptation to move the 24-year-old winger this season in hopes he’d improve. While he did play better down the stretch, I don’t think he did enough to ensure a long-term future there. They could decide not to qualify Burakovsky’s rights in hopes of signing him at a lower salary but I think they’ll see what he might fetch in the trade market.

Orpik hasn’t made a decision about his future yet but there’s already speculation he might retire. Hagelin said he’d like to return but they might not have enough cap space to keep him. 

RECENT CANUCKS TRADE SPECULATION

THE ATHLETIC: During a mailbag segment earlier this month, JD Burke was asked about possible trade targets for the Canucks. He suggested making a pitch for Minnesota Wild winger Jason Zucker. Pointing to the near-deal that would’ve sent Zucker to the Calgary Flames at the trade deadline for Michael Frolik and a draft pick, he proposes the Canucks offer up Jake Virtanen. He also believes they should target the Edmonton Oilers, assuming they’ll once again screw up their GM search.

Asked which team the Canucks could trade center Brandon Sutter to this summer, he doubts there’s much of a market for the 30-year-old center, who’s signed through 2020-21 with a $4.35-million AAV and also carries a no-trade clause. He speculates the Edmonton Oilers might be interested, depending on who becomes their next GM. He also wonders if the Columbus Blue Jackets would be willing to swap Alexander Wennberg’s contract (signed through 2022-23, $4.9 million AAV) for Sutter’s, or if the New York Islanders might be interested.  

VANCOUVER SUN: Patrick Johnston recently listed Sutter, Virtanen, Nikolay Goldobin, Loui Eriksson, and Ben Hutton as potential Canucks trade candidates. Goldobin’s a restricted free agent who said he wants to stay in Vancouver but Johnston wondered if he’ll get the chance. Eriksson carries a $6 million AAV and was employed on the fourth line this season. He also carries a 15-team no-trade list but could be appealing to budget clubs looking to become cap compliant. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pundits and fans can make suggestions over what moves the Canucks should attempt to make but GM Jim Benning probably has other ideas. If Zucker’s available, the Wild could attempt to drive up his value by getting teams into a bidding war for his services. If so, forget about prying him out of Minnesota with Virtanen.

There could be a market for Sutter or Eriksson among cost-conscious clubs looking to reach the cap minimum. However, those teams will also want a sweetener included in the deal, like a decent draft pick or a good prospect.

The Canucks might not have to worry about re-signing Goldobin. He’s reportedly considering signing with a KHL team this summer.