NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 13, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 13, 2021

The 2020-21 season begins today. Check out the notable NHL stories in today’s morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The league yesterday revealed 27 players on nine different teams tested positive for COVID-19 between Dec. 30 and Jan. 11. Seventeen of those players were with the Dallas Stars. Most were asymptomatic and all are currently recovering without complications.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Positive tests were bound to happen with the league returning to action under its current format. The high number of Stars players sidelined by the coronavirus is a stark reminder of how quickly it can spread. This probably won’t be the only incident of community spread on an NHL team over the course of this season.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Speaking of the Stars, they returned to practice yesterday for the first time since last Wednesday. Fifteen players were missing, including defensemen Miro Heiskanen, Esa Lindell and Jamie Oleksiak and forwards Radek Faksa and Joel Kiviranta, though the club didn’t reveal if their absence was due to COVID-19 protocols or injuries.

San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teams didn’t have to provide details of a player’s absence during training camp. They’re supposed to do so during the regular season.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks head coach Bob Boughner said Evander Kane will not sit out this season. The 29-year-old left-winger filed for bankruptcy on Jan. 9 with the petition containing a clause suggesting he could terminate his contract or opt-out of playing this season. However, Boughner confirmed Kane will be in the lineup for their season-opener on Thursday against the Arizona Coyotes. He doesn’t feel the winger’s financial woes will be a distraction.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s bankruptcy probably won’t be a distraction for the Sharks over the course of the season but it could be fodder for trash-talking aimed at the winger by his opponents.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle doesn’t appear to be part of the club’s plans when their season opens on Sunday. He recently skated with a second group of fringe players and wasn’t playing with a dedicated defense partner during Tuesday’s practice. It appears the club wants Yandle to waive his no-movement clause but the blueliner said he hasn’t been asked to do so.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An interesting development with the Panthers. If Yandle becomes a healthy scratch his streak of 866 consecutive games will come to an end. I’ll have more on Yandle in the Rumors section.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller and defenseman Jordie Benn missed practice yesterday. The club would neither confirm nor deny their absences are COVID-related. More details are expected today.

Meanwhile, the Canucks announced the signing of defenseman Travis Hamonic to a one-year, $1.25 million contract. The 30-year-old blueliner attended Canucks training camp on a professional tryout offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hamonic is the latest of several notable unrestricted free agents forced to accept short-term contracts for less than market value because of this season’s flattened salary cap. He’ll hope a strong performance with the Canucks this season will improve his chances of a better deal in this summer’s UFA market.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild signed winger Marcus Foligno to a three-year, $9.3 million contract extension beginning in 2021-22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Foligno is part of the Wild’s veteran leadership core. The annual average value of his new contract is $3.1 million. Cap Friendly indicates the deal doesn’t include no-trade protection.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks signed head coach Jeremy Colliton to a two-year contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Colliton hasn’t enjoyed the success of his predecessor but the Blackhawks aren’t the powerhouse they once were. Management evidently sees Colliton as a key part of their current transition period as they ease more youth into their lineup.

TSN: The Ottawa Senators and Carolina Hurricanes made a minor trade yesterday, with the Senators shipping defenseman Max Lajoie to the Hurricanes for forward Clark Bishop.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins will honor Willie O’Ree by retiring his No. 22 jersey to the rafters of the TD Garden during a Feb. 18 game against the New Jersey Devils. O’Ree was the first black player in NHL history, debuting with the Bruins on Jan. 18, 1958. He played a total of 45 games with the Bruins. O’Ree was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder in 2018.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A fitting, long-overdue tribute to a hockey trailblazer and one of the game’s finest ambassadors.










Dubois, Laine Enter NHL Training Camps Facing Uncertain Futures

Dubois, Laine Enter NHL Training Camps Facing Uncertain Futures

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 3, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 3, 2021

Mika Zibanejad and Victor Olofsson start training camp on the sidelines, Travis Hamonic signs PTO with the Canucks and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE SCORE: cites the New York Post’s Larry Brooks reporting Mika Zibanejad is listed as day-to-day and won’t be taking to the ice for the Rangers’ first practice session on Monday. No word as to what’s ailing the 27-year-old center.

New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad listed as day-to-day (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zibanejad is the Rangers’ first-line center. He tallied a career-high 41 goals and 75 points in 57 games last season.

CBS SPORTS: Buffalo Sabres winger Victor Olofsson exited practice yesterday with an apparent arm injury after crashing into the net during a one-on-one drill. No details this morning as to the 25-year-old Swede’s condition but he’s considered day-to-day.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres are also without captain Jack Eichel, who’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

TSN’S Rick Dhaliwal this morning tweeted former Calgary Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic will join the Vancouver Canucks in training camp on a professional tryout offer. Dhaliwal wonders how the Canucks will fit him in under their limited cap space if he makes the club. He also indicated they stopped calling the agent for free-agent defenseman Sami Vatanen two days ago.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hamonic would be a welcome addition to the Canucks’ blueline. Cap Friendly shows the Canucks sitting above the $81.5 million salary cap by just over $1.5 million. However, they could get some cap relief if winger Micheal Ferland’s ongoing post-concussion symptoms keep him on the sidelines to start the season.

Placing Ferland on long-term injury reserve to start the season would give the Canucks about $2 million in wiggle room, enough to ink Hamonic to a cost-effective one-year deal. They could also free up additional space if necessary by placing a player on waivers and putting him on their taxi squad.

OTTAWA SUN: Following Germany’s elimination Saturday from the 2021 World Junior Championships, winger Tim Stuetzle headed to Ottawa to join the Senators. He’ll join his new teammates following a week of quarantine and four negative COVID-19 tests.

The Senators will be playing without a captain again this season, but they named Thomas Chabot, Erik Gudbranson and Brady Tkachuk as their three alternates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stuetzle was dazzling at the WJC, showing the world why he was such a coveted prospect in this year’s draft. If he adjusts well to the NHL game, the Senators will have a potential superstar in their midst.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators brought back defenseman Yannick Weber on a professional tryout offer. Weber played with the Predators from 2016-17 to 2019-20 before becoming an unrestricted free agent.










NHL Rumor Mill – December 29, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – December 29, 2020

Check out the recent Bruins and Canadiens speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa last week reported a league source was uncertain if the Boston Bruins would bring back Zdeno Chara for another season. The source said it feels like they’re waiting to see if anything opens up in the trade market.

Has Zdeno Chara played his final game with the Boston Bruins? (NHL Images)

Shinzawa observed the Bruins have sufficient salary-cap space to bring back Chara, but there are concerns over the 43-year-old defenseman’s performance. His days of logging over 20 minutes per game may be over. The Bruins also want to see how former first-round picks Jakub Zboril and Urho Vaakanainen could complement Matt Grzelcyk, Jeremy Lauzon and John Moore.

Trading for a younger left-side defenseman could be the Bruins’ preference. However, they’ll have to part with assets and try to make the acquisition fit under the cap.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss recently reported Bruins team president Cam Neely last week observed some teams were pressed for cap space and will probably have to do something. He’s sure general manager Don Sweeney is still looking at tweaking or adding to the roster over the next couple of weeks.

Goss noted Sami Vatanen, Ron Hainsey and Travis Hamonic remain available in the free-agent market. He also pointed out the Bruins’ limited prospect pool and cap space could make it difficult to address their needs via trades.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty observes there are reports suggesting the Bruins could be looking at Ben Hutton. The unrestricted free agent had 16 points and plus-minus of plus-five in 65 games last season with the Los Angeles Kings. Haggerty feels the 27-year-old blueliners could be an affordable fit if Zboril, Vaakanainen or Lauzon aren’t ready for prime time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sweeney is catching flak from some Bruins fans for not making any moves in recent weeks. A lack of cap space and suitable options are the sticking points. Nevertheless, there are some intriguing short-term free-agent options that could be had for the right price.

As for Chara, he could return for one last hurrah with the Bruins. However, there’s a growing sense that he could sign elsewhere. His agent claimed last week he’s received inquiries from over 20 teams. The Bruins prefer Chara to play a third-pairing role but that might not be to the big blueliner’s liking.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Pat Hickey reports the Canadiens’ recent signings of veteran forwards Corey Perry and Michael Frolik pushed the club over the $81.5 million salary cap by $1.1 million. Some decisions will have to be made before the season starts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some players, perhaps even Perry and Frolik, could end up on the Canadiens’ taxi squad, enabling the Habs to be cap compliant when the season opens. Doing so, however, means they’ll have to pass through waivers where they could be claimed by other clubs. Some observers believe GM Marc Bergevin might not be done dealing. We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.










NHL Rumor Mill – December 23, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – December 23, 2020

Check out the latest on the Jets, Canadiens, Red Wings and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre reports the status of Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic are among the pressing matters facing the Winnipeg Jets as they prepare for the upcoming 2020-21 season.

What will the Winnipeg Jets do with winger Patrik Laine?(NHL Images)

Earlier this fall, Laine’s agent suggested a trade might be “mutually beneficial” for his client and the Jets. However, the winger remains with the Jets. He has a year remaining on his contract. McIntyre wonders if this will become a season-long distraction or if it’ll blow over quickly.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That depends on whether Laine can rediscover the chemistry he had with center Paul Stastny, who was reacquired by the Jets following a two-year stint with the Vegas Golden Knights.

Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff doesn’t have to rush into trading Laine, who’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer. He can afford to wait for the right offer if he decides to shop the talented winger.

Roslovic is a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract. His agent told McIntyre there’s been no progress in contract talks with the Jets. The 23-year-old forward has been the subject of trade speculation. Cheveldayoff has explored Roslovic’s trade value but hasn’t found a deal to his liking.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Roslovic seems more likely to be traded than Laine right now. Cheveldayoff could have better luck finding a suitable trade partner now that the start of the season has finally been announced. The Jets could use more depth on the blue line so I wouldn’t be surprised if Cheveldayoff seeks a defenseman in return.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Montreal Canadiens might not be done dealing following a busy offseason of player movement. He cites a source claiming Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin is still looking to improve his roster.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Canadiens with over $383K in cap space. If Bergevin is looking at improving his roster it could be a dollar-for-dollar swap or a deal in which he ships out a player for one with a more affordable cap hit.

Tomas Tatar ($4.8 million), Paul Byron ($3.4 million AAV through 2022-23) and Philip Danault ($3.083 million) have come up as potential trade candidates. Bergevin could be loath to move any of them but he does have a history of making bold moves.

MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman said he might make another move before the season begins. The Wings have over $9 million in salary-cap space for the coming season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Recent speculation linked the Wings with Tampa Bay Lightning forwards Tyler Johnson ($5 million AAV) or Alex Killorn ($4.45 million AAV) as the Bolts look to shed salary. A report out of Europe suggested the Lightning could acquire Henrik Zetterberg’s $6.083 million cap hit. A bad back put Zetterberg on permanent long-term injury reserve since 2018.

 










NHL Rumor Mill – December 21, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – December 21, 2020

A look at a recent update on the notable unrestricted free agents in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Emily Sadler recently published her updated list of the top remaining unrestricted free agents.

Mike Hoffman remains atop the list, with the Boston Bruins, Columbus Blue Jackets, Nashville Predators and New Jersey Devils among possible destinations.

Could Mike Hoffman soon have a new contract? (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports talks have heated up with Hoffman, with as many as six clubs involved. With the dates for training camp and the start of the season now official, Hoffman won’t be the only UFA whose contract discussed will intensify.

Sadler cited Fox Sports Midwest’s Andy Strickland earlier this month linking winger Mikael Granlund to the Predators, Blue Jackets and Carolina Hurricanes, among other clubs. She doubts there will be a reunion between the Predators and Granlund, who struggled during his brief tenure in Nashville.

Manitoba-born defenseman Travis Hamonic could be a fit with the Winnipeg Jets. The Vancouver Canucks and Philadelphia Flyers had had some interest in Hamonic. Sadler also notes his former team, the Calgary Flames, could use him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speculation persists linking Hamonic with the Canucks, but they’ll have to clear some cap space to do it. One way could be placing Micheal Ferland (head trauma) on long-term injury reserve as well as demoting someone like winger Sven Baertschi. The Flyers no longer seem interested while the Flames seem to be going with younger, more affordable blueliners.

Speculation persists of a possible reunion between center Erik Haula and the Vegas Golden Knights. Given their cap constraints, they’ll have to shed a salary to get under the salary cap and to sign him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The recent trade chatter about the Golden Knights shopping Max Pacioretty or Jonathan Marchessault was based on them cutting cap payroll and perhaps add an affordable forward like Haula.

Golden Knights owner Bill Foley denied Pacioretty was being shopped but we haven’t heard any denials about Marchessault’s trade status. I think the Golden Knights’ Stanley Cup hopes are better with those two in the lineup. They’ll have to consider other options if they want to bring back Haula.

Other notables on Sadler’s list include center Carl Soderberg, defenseman Sami Vatanen, forwards Andreas Athanasiou, Derick Brassard and Corey Perry and blueliner Zdeno Chara, as well as winger Matt Martin, defenseman Andy Greene and goaltender Cory Schneider, plus defenseman Ron Hainsey.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed Martin, Greene and Schneider already have deals with the New York Islanders that will be officially announced once center Mathew Barzal is re-signed.

Anthony Duclair, Ilya Kovalchuk and Melker Karlsson also appeared on Sadler’s list. Since its publication last week, Duclair signed with the Florida Panthers, Kovalchuk is reportedly signing with a KHL team while Karlsson is under contract with a Swedish team for the rest of this season.