NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 21, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 21, 2019

Game recaps, Ducks re-sign Jakob Silfverberg, Flyers Radko Gudas receives a two-game suspension, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Follow this link for my reaction to the Minnesota Wild trading Charlie Coyle to the Boston Bruins. 

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane scored twice, including the winner in overtime, to lead his club to a 5-4 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Kane’s point streak now sits at 19 games, the second-longest by an American-born player in NHL history. He also owns the record for the longest streak by an American player (26 games). Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou each scored twice for the Wings, who overcame a 4-1 deficit to force the extra frame.

With the win, the Blackhawks are tied with the Colorado Avalanche in points (61), but the Avs hold the final Western Conference wild-card spot because they hold a game in hand. 

Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane has extended his points streak to 19 games (Photo via NHL Images).

Speaking of the Avalanche, they vaulted into the final wild-card spot by crushing the Winnipeg Jets 7-1. Carl Soderberg and Tyson Jost each had a goal and two assists while Nathan MacKinnon tallied his 30th of the season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets (76 points) hold a one-point lead over the Nashville Predators for first in the Central Divison but they’ve won only four of their last 10 games. Last night’s humiliation could push general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff into swinging a big trade before Monday’s deadline. 

The Calgary Flames blew a 2-0 lead but third-period goals 29 seconds apart by Austin Czarnik and Johnny Gaudreau lifted them to a 4-2 victory over the New York Islanders. The Flames sit atop the Western Conference with 81 points. 

Shootout goals by Jake DeBrusk and David Backes gave the Boston Bruins a 3-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights, extending their winning streak to seven games. With 80 points, the Bruins hold a four-point lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs for second in the Atlantic Division. Golden Knights defenseman Colin Miller was a healthy scratch but coach Gerard Gallant said the move was related to Miller’s poor play in his previous game and tied to any potential trade. 

HEADLINES

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks have reached an agreement with winger Jakob Silfverberg on a five-year contract extension. The deal cannot be officially announced until after Monday’s NHL trade deadline due to salary-cap “tagging” rules. The deal is expected to be worth an annual average value of $5.25 million, a considerable raise over his current $3.75 million per season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to Elliott Teaford, the Ducks are currently sitting over $1 million above the $79 million salary cap. GM Bob Murray must either shed salary by the deadline or wait until March 1 to formally announce the deal, as that’s when teams get a 10 percent “tagging bump”. The “tagging rule” means a team cannot spend more on next season’s payroll than they’re spending on their current one.

As for Silfverberg, he’s a good two-way winger and a streaky scorer, who reached the 40-point plateau in each of the last two seasons. The raise seems a tad high but evidently, Murray values his skills and experience. 

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals have placed forward Devante Smith-Pelly on waivers. Initial reports had Dmitrij Jaskin’s hitting the waiver wire but management soon changed that to Smith-Pelly. It’s assumed the switch was made because a possible trade could be in the works. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes the Capitals tipped their hand with his move, speculating they could be working on a possible deal to acquire winger Carl Hagelin from the Los Angeles Kings. We’ll find out for certain later today. 

**UPDATE** The Capitals acquired Hagelin from the Kings in exchange for a third-round pick in 2019 and a conditional 2020 draft pick. Smith-Pelly, meanwhile, cleared waivers today, making room for Hagelin, who’ll provide speed and experience to the Capitals’ fourth line. 

NBC PHILADELPHIA: The NHL department of player safety handed a two-game suspension to Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas for a high-sticking infraction to the head of Tampa Bay Lighting winger Nikita Kucherov on Tuesday. Flyers blueliner Robert Hagg also received a $3,091 fine for interference on Lightning center Cedric Paquette. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league agreed with Gudas’ contention that the slash wasn’t excessively forceful or violent. To critics of the department of player safety, it’s another example of the league’s unwillingness to crack down forcefully on repeat offenders. 

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill shot down rumors Sabres coach Phil Housley might be fired because of the club’s recent collapse in the standings. Botterill said there won’t be a coaching change. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes re-signed defenseman Jordan Oesterle to a two-year contract extension with an annual average value of $1.4 million. 

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks claimed forward Micheal Haley off waivers from the Florida Panthers. 

CBS SPORTS: The Dallas Stars re-signed defenseman Joel Hanley to a two-year, two-way contract extension. 

THE TENNESSEAN: Former NHL winger Scott Hartnell has become a studio analyst for the NHL Network. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 2, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 2, 2018

Devils edge SC Bern, Shea Weber named Canadiens captain, Scott Hartnell and Radim Vrbata retire, Sam Gagner on waivers and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NJ.COM:  Taylor’s Hall’s overtime goal lifted the New Jersey Devils to a 3-2 victory over SC Bern during exhibition play in Switzerland yesterday.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens named defenseman Shea Weber as their 30th captain in franchise history.

Shea Weber named the new captain of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weber, the former captain of the Nashville Predators and one of the most respected players in the league, was the logical choice to replace former Habs captain Max Pacioretty. 

CALGARY SUN: Speaking of the Canadiens, they acquired defenseman Brett Kulak from the Calgary Flames in exchange for AHL blueliners Rinat Valiev and Matt Taormina. Kulak will report to the Habs’ AHL affiliate in Laval. They also offered rearguard Simon Despres a minor-league contract.

BOSTON HERALD: Bruins defenseman Torey Krug will be sidelined three-to-four weeks with an injured left ankle.

TSN: Winger Scott Hartnell retired after 17 NHL seasons. In 1,249 game, Hartnell tallied 327 goals and 707 points with the Nashville Predators, Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets, including nine 20-goal campaigns.

Radim Vrbata also announced his retirement after 16 NHL seasons. He had 284 goals and 623 points in 1,057 games with the Colorado Avalanche, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Arizona Coyotes, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vancouver Canucks and Florida Panthers. That included eight seasons with 40-or-more points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Hartnell and Vrbata in their future endeavors. 

SPORTSNET: The Vancouver Canucks placed forward Sam Gagner on waivers yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gagner is signed through 2019-20 with an annual salary-cap hit of $3.125 million. Don’t be surprised if he clears waivers today. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs traded defenseman Connor Carrick to the Dallas Stars for a conditional seventh-round draft pick in 2019.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers traded blueliner Jakub Jerabek to the St. Louis Blues for a conditional draft pick.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres acquired defenseman Jack Dougherty from the Nashville Predators in exchange for forward Nicholas Baptiste. They also announced forward Scott Wilson will be sidelined eight-to-10 weeks following surgery to repair a fractured ankle. 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 3, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 3, 2018

Nate Schmidt receives 20-game suspension, notable remaining UFAs and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt received a 20-game suspension for violating the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program, a charge he, his agent and the team denied yesterday. The league didn’t reveal what substance Schmidt tested positive for or when the test was conducted. His appeal was denied by an independent arbitrator.

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt has been suspended for violating the NHL’s PED program. (Photo via NHL Images)

In a statement yesterday, Schmidt professed his innocence, claiming he never knowingly ingested a banned substance. He said the trace amount was “consistent with environmental contamination that I could not possibly have prevented.”

Schmidt cited one expert who testified on his behalf claiming the amount of substance found in his system ” 7 billionths of a milligram/mL — as the equivalent of a pinch of salt in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.” Another who analyzed a sample of his hair concluded there was no evidence of intentional use. “The Vegas Golden Knights track players’ strength and performance metrics and my results have remained constant over the past year.”

The Golden Knights also released a statement supporting Schmidt, expressing their belief “that the presence of a trace of the banned substance was accidental and unintentional.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We don’t know the full details from the hearings or what Schmidt may have ingested. Going by his story, however, it appears the punishment received was unduly harsh and perhaps unjustified.  It’s worth noting the Golden Knights are standing by Schmidt. It’ll be interesting to see if the league or the PA will issue a statement. it doesn’t sound as though there’s another appeal option for Schmidt.

In the meantime, Schmidt’s absence will leave a significant gap on their blueline early in the coming season that could force the Golden Knights to address via trade, free agency or waivers. I’ll have more in my Rumors section later this morning.  

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Center Antoine Vermette, left wing Mike Cammalleri, right wing Lee Stempniak, defensemen Luca Sbisa and Cody Franson and goaltender Steve Mason are the notable veterans remaining in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market. Others include forwards Scott Hartnell and Daniel Winnik, blueliner Kevin Bieksa and goalie Kari Lehtonen. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A handful of these players could earn one-year deals via professional tryout offers. The rest face continuing their playing careers in Europe or retirement. 

TSN: Former Montreal Canadiens and Nashville Predators defenseman Alexei Emelin signed a three-year contract with KHL club Avangard Omsk.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): The Vancouver Canucks need a healthy Chris Tanev to return to form this season. 

 











NHL Rumor Mill – August 7, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – August 7, 2018

Another update on Max Pacioretty,  the latest on Canucks d-man Ben Hutton and proposed PTO targets for the Devils in your NHL Rumor Mill.

PACIORETTY UPDATE

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton believes the recent Jeff Skinner trade between the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes should lower expectations of a big return if the Montreal Canadiens move Max Pacioretty.

The Hurricanes shipped the 26-year-old Skinner, a three-time 30-goal scorer who’s due to become an unrestricted free agent next July, to the Sabres last week in exchange for a prospect forward (Cliff Pu) and three draft picks, none of which were first-round selections. That could set the stage for an equally underwhelming return for Pacioretty, a 29-year-old left wing who’s also a former 30-goal scorer eligible next summer for UFA status.

The recent Jeff Skinner trade could affect the trade value of Montreal Canadiens left wing Max Pacioretty. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s assumed the Canadiens seek a young scoring forward, preferably a center, in return for Pacioretty. They reportedly had a deal in place with the Los Angeles Kings during the 2018 NHL Draft but it apparently fell apart over lack of an agreement on a contract extension. Since then, there’s no indication Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin is any closer to dealing Pacioretty, though he reportedly wants to do so before the start of 2018-19.

Still, Bergevin faces slightly better odds of finding a decent return for his captain. Pacioretty’s lack of no-trade protection gives the Canadiens GM more trade options than the Hurricanes had with Skinner, whose full no-movement clause significantly hampered where they could trade him. 

TVA SPORTS: Renaud Lavoie reports there is no truth to rumors Pacioretty would skip training camp next month until the Canadiens trade him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whoever dreamed up that rumor should give their head a shake. Pacioretty is entering his contract year and intends to seek a big raise next summer. Staging a holdout to force a trade not only wouldn’t make any sense but would also be out of character on his part. 

NO TAKERS FOR HUTTON

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent piece examining the stock of several Vancouver Canucks players, JD Burke believes no other player on the club needs a change of scenery more than defenseman Ben Hutton. It’s apparent the blueliner has fallen out of favor with coach Travis Green and his stock has declined.

Burke said the Canucks have tried trading Hutton for a while but can’t find any takers. He does point out Hutton’s performance wasn’t as bad as it seemed, noting he and Chris Tanev had solid shutdown numbers where paired together. He adds the Canucks did a better job controlling the puck in 5-on-5 situations with Hutton on the ice.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like rival GMs aren’t impressed with Hutton’s shutdown and possession stats. Otherwise, the Canucks probably would’ve found a club willing to take him off their hands. 

TRYOUT OPTIONS FOR THE DEVILS

NJ.COM: Chris Ryan suggests right wings Kris Versteeg, Tommy Wingels and Nick Shore, defensemen Toby Enstrom, Brandon Davidson, Alexei Emelin and Jakub Jerabek, center Logan Shaw and left wings Daniel Winnik and Scott Hartnell as professional tryout offer (PTO) options for the New Jersey Devils. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see if the Devils invite any of these guys to training camp. I daresay several of those players could also become PTO candidates with other clubs  The exception could be Hartnell, who’s reportedly contemplating retirement. 

 











Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 5, 2018

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 5, 2018

Latest on the Golden Knights and another look at the remaining notable unrestricted free agents in your NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS?

LAS VEGAS SUN: In the wake of William Karlsson re-signing a one-year, $5.25-million contract with the Vegas Golden Knights, Jesse Granger reports defenseman Shea Theodore is their only remaining free agent. Theodore is coming off his entry-level deal and lacks arbitration rights. General manager George McPhee hopes to re-sign the young blueliner before the start of the season.

Vegas Golden Knights hope to re-sign defenseman Shea Theodore before the start of next season (Photo via NHL Images).

Granger also reports McPhee hinted at a possible move to bolster his forward lines. “We’re happy where we are,” said the Vegas GM. “If there’s an opportunity to upgrade at the forward position at any time over the next year we will.”

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Despite re-signing Karlsson to a one-year deal and with Theodore expected to re-sign, Ed Graney reports the Golden Knights aren’t any better on paper than they were in the 2018 Stanley Cup Final.

Graney raises some questions, wondering if they’re really convince Malcolm Subban is a capable long-term solution if starter Marc-Andre Fleury becomes sidelined again, if someone like Ryan Carpenter can steal a job, and if career performances by so many players last season could result in a natural regression in 2018-19.

He also wonders if the Golden Knights “would emerge from a handful of reported suitors” interested in Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights definitely defied expectations last season. While I think they’re still good enough to be a playoff contender in 2018-19, I doubt they’ll make a return trip to the Stanley Cup Final.

Unlike many of McPhee’s peers who might have interest in acquiring Erik Karlsson or a skilled forward, he’s carrying considerable depth in draft picks (stick tap to Cap Friendly) and promising young players that could be used as trade bait. Doing so, however, could mean including the promising Theodore in the package or giving up a top prospect such as Cody Glass or Nick Suzuki. 

SPORTSNET’S LIST OF NOTABLE REMAINING UFAs.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently updated his list of the NHL’s top-10 remaining unrestricted free agents. Topping the list is winger Rick Nash, though it remains uncertain if he’ll continue his career due to health and family concerns. Prior to the start of this summer’s UFA market, Nash told several teams (including the Columbus Blue Jackets) that he was sitting out the free-agent frenzy to contemplate his future. 

The remainder of Fox’s list includes defenseman Luca Sbisa (who at one point had reportedly been contacted by the Chicago Blackhawks), blueliner Tobias Enstrom, forward Mark Letestu, forward Mike Cammalleri (who got some interest from Avangard Omsk coach Bob Hartley in bringing him to the KHL), rearguard Alexei Emelin, goaltender Kari Lehtonen, center Nick Shore, winger Scott Hartnell (who recently conceded he could be headed toward retirement) and left wing Benoit Pouliot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Apart from Nash, most of the others on this list could face going through professional tryouts during training camp to land new contracts for next season. Some could end up continuing their playing careers overseas. Some, like Hartnell, could be retiring.

It’ll be interesting to see if the Blackhawks have ongoing interest in Sbisa as they still need help on the blueline. The KHL could be the oft-injured Cammalleri’s best option to continue his playing career. Lehtonen might still draw some interest from teams in need of experienced goaltending depth. However, he could be a late-September or early-October signing as clubs evaluate their goalies during training camp and preseason play. 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 7, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 7, 2018

Updates on the Capitals and Golden Knights plus the latest on Henrik Zetterberg, Scott Hartnell and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has a chance to make history in Game 5 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final (Photo via NHL Images).

 WASHINGTON POST: The Capitals are on the brink of capturing the Stanley Cup, which would make Alex Ovechkin the first Russian-born captain in league history to win hockey’s greatest prize. The Capitals currently lead the Stanley Cup Final three games to one over the Vegas Golden Knights. They can clinch tonight in Game 5 in Las Vegas.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: If the Capitals win the Cup, forward Devante Smith-Pelly indicated he’s made up his mind about a possible visit to the White House. “The things that [President Trump] spews are straight-up racist and sexist,” said Smith-Pelly. ““Some of the things he’s said are pretty gross. I’m not too into politics, so I don’t know all his other views, but his rhetoric I definitely don’t agree with.”

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knights center William Karlsson skipped yesterday’s optional practice but is expected to be in the lineup for Game 5 tonight. 

Forward William Carrier could return to the Golden Knights’ lineup for Game 5. 

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg confirms he’s preparing to play at least one more season. Zetterberg, 38, has three seasons remaining on his contract but injuries in recent years have hampered his performance. 

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators winger Scott Hartnell is training for another NHL season but he acknowledged he could also be facing retirement. The 36-year-old is due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and he isn’t expected to be re-signed by the Predators. 

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild cut ties with assistant coach John Anderson, replacing him with Dean Evason.