NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 15, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 15, 2018

Golden Knights take Game 2 of Western Conference Final, plus updates on the Lightning, Capitals and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Jonathan Marchessault scored twice to give the Vegas Golden Knights a 3-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets in Game 2 of the 2018 Western Conference Final. The series shifts to Las Vegas tied at a game apiece. Tomas Tatar picked up his first goal of the playoffs for the Golden Knights while Kyle Connor tallied the only goal for the Jets. Golden Knights forward David Perron was scratched from this game for unknown reasons. Game 3 will be on Wednesday at 9 pm ET.

Vegas Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault scored twice as his club downed the Winnipeg Jets 3-1 in Game 2 of the 2018 Western Conference Final (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a strong bounce-back effort for the Golden Knights. The Jets came close to scoring several times but the Golden Knights did a good job stymieing Winnipeg’s offense. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning are sticking with goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, who gave up 10 goals in the first two games of the Eastern Conference Final.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They really don’t have much choice. As columnist Martin Fennelly observed, “What, Louis Domingue is going to pull your fat from the fire?”

WASHINGTON POST: “Washington Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny was fined $2,419.35, the maximum allowable under the collective bargaining agreement, for cross-checking Tampa Bay’s Cedric Paquette in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals Sunday, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced Monday.”

NHL.COM: In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing states to legalize sports gambling, the NHL released a statement saying it would “review our current practices and policies and decide whether adjustments are needed, and if so, what those adjustments will look like.” The league also said the ruling “has no immediate impact on existing League rules relating to sports wagering, and particularly, wagering involving NHL games.”

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis is open to signing a contract extension with the club this summer. He has a year remaining on his current deal. Pending free agents Scott Hartnell and Alexei Emelin won’t be re-signed.

 

 











NHL Rumor Mill – May 11, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – May 11, 2018

Latest on the Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins in your NHL rumor mill.

Veteran winger Scott Hartnell is among a handful of unrestricted free agents unlikely to return next season with the Nashville Predators (Photo via NHL Images)

WHAT NEXT FOR THE PREDATORS?

ESPN.COM: In the wake of the Nashville Predators second-round exit from the 2018 playoffs, Emily Kaplan feels they’re in good shape going forward if they stay the course. She suggests they re-sign restricted free agents Ryan Hartman and Juuse Saros and recommends they keep getting younger, including keeping an eye on prospect defenseman Dante Fabbro.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $67.5 million invested in 19 players, the Preds have more than enough cap space to re-sign Hartman and Saros and still leave some room for additions if required. I don’t expect any significant roster changes by the Predators this summer. Unrestricted free agents Scott Hartnell, Mike Fisher, Alexei Emelin and Anders Lindback aren’t likely to be re-signed. 

They could avoid taking on an expensive, lengthy contract via free agency as they must ensure they have sufficient cap space to re-sign Ryan Ellis, Kevin Fiala and Colton Sissons by next summer. Pekka Rinne is also slated for UFA status next summer, but they could take a wait-and-see approach with the 35-year-old goaltender. 

LATEST PENGUINS SPECULATION

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Noting Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford’s intention to have promising winger Daniel Sprong in the lineup next season, Jason Mackey wonders who could be moved out to make room for the youngster. He speculates Carl Hagelin or Conor Sheary are the most likely trade candidates. Hagelin has a year remaining on his contract at a cap hit of $4 million, while Sheary is signed through 2019-20 at an annual average value of $3 million. Mackey considers moving Phil Kessel a less likely option.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While Kessel’s career-high 92-point season ensures his trade value is very high, those numbers are also good reason why the Penguins will keep him for another run at the Stanley Cup next year. I expect Hagelin or Sheary will be dealt this summer. 

UPDATE ON THE BRUINS

BOSTON HERALD: Steve Conroy reports Bruins GM Don Sweeney intends to explore very option to improve his club this summer. Given the salary cap, he acknowledged it’s unlikely they can re-sign all their unrestricted free agents. Conroy doubts Sweeney will overpay to retain bottom-six forwards such as Riley Nash or Tim Schaller. It sounds as though the Bruins GM is interested in re-signing backup goaltender Anton Khudobin. If the Bruins pass on re-signing Rick Nash, they’ll have to find a top-six winger. It’s unlikely Brian Gionta or Tommy Wingels will return. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Cap Friendly indicates the Bruins have over $65.3 million committed to 17 players with all their core players under contract for next season. There’s sufficient room to re-sign Khudobin, restricted free agents Sean Kuraly and Matt Grzelcyk and leave sufficient space for an addition or two via trade or free agency. Khudobin’s expressed interest in returning with the Bruins so don’t be surprised if he’s re-signed. I doubt the other UFAs will be back.

Sweeney must also ensure he’s got sufficient room beyond next season, as Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, Danton Heinen and Ryan Donato will be restricted free agents. 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 2, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 2, 2018

Game recaps, another milestone for Alex Ovechkin, stars of the month and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Washington Capitals clinched the Metropolitan Division crown with a 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Washington goalie Philipp Grubauer made 36 saves for the win. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin reached another milestone, playing in his 1,000th career NHL game. He was held off the score sheet in this contest. Teammate Jay Beagle left the game with an upper-body injury and is unavailable for Monday’s match against the St. Louis Blues. 

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin played in his 1,000th NHL game on Sunday in a 3-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins (Photo via NHL Images)

 SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 45 goals this season, Ovechkin also has three games left to reach 50 goals for the eighth time in his career. 

Third-period goals by Adam Henrique and Ryan Kesler set the stage for Ondrej Kase’s overtime winner as the Anaheim Ducks overcame a two-goal deficit to beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-3. Tyson Jost scored twice for Colorado. The win moved the Ducks (95 points) into third place in the Pacific Division, while the Avalanche (93 points) cling to a one-point lead over the St. Louis Blues for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Claude Giroux scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Philadelphia Flyers edged the Boston Bruins 4-3. With 94 points, the Flyers sit one point above the New Jersey Devils in the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth and within two points of second place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Devils (93 points), meanwhile, got third-period goals by Nico Hischier and Taylor Hall to beat the Montreal Canadiens 2-1. Sitting in the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot, the Devils widened their lead over the Florida Panthers by seven points, with the Panthers (77 games played) holding two games in hand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was a big win for the Devils, improving their chances of clinching their first playoff spot since 2012. The Panthers still have a chance to gain ground on New Jersey but their margin of error has narrowed. 

Filip Forsberg scored two goals to give the Nashville Predators a 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Bolts captain Steven Stamkos left the game with a lower-body injury. An update on his condition is expected today. The loss put the Lightning (108 points) two points behind the Bruins for second place in the Eastern Conference standings, while the Preds (113 points) widened their lead for top spot in the Western Conference over the Vegas Golden Knights by six points.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand and Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson are the NHL’s stars of the month for March 2018. Arizona Coyotes forward Clayton Keller was named rookie of the month

TSN: The NHL department of player safety fined Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Ian Cole $5,000.00 for a dangerous trip on Vancouver Canucks center Brandon Sutter during a recent game. 

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Victor Antipin is sidelined indefinitely after suffering multiple injuries resulting from a hit from behind by Nashville Predators winger Scott Hartnell on Saturday. Antipin has a concussion, a broken nose, facial lacerations and requires dental work. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hartnell received a five-minute boarding major and a game misconduct but won’t face supplemental discipline. “”It was unfortunate, and I feel really bad about it,” Hartnell said. That’s cold comfort for Antipin. 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 1, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 1, 2018

Saturday’s games saw an unusually high number of injuries. It’s no April Fool’s, it’s your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Jake DeBrusk scored twice and David Krejci collected three assists to lead the Boston Bruins (109 points) to  a 5-1 win over the Florida Panthers, handing the latter a potentially lethal blow to their playoff hopes. With the loss, the Panthers (86 points) sit five points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with five games left. The Bruins regained first place in the Eastern Conference but lost defenseman Brandon Carlo (ankle) and center Riley Nash (head) to injuries. They also learned winger Rick Nash, who’s been sidelined with a suspected concussion since March 17, is making progress toward returning to action.

The Devils, meanwhile, extended their lead over the Panthers by nipping the New York Islanders 4-3. Taylor Hall scored twice for New Jersey. Before the game, the Devils honored longtime broadcaster Stan Fischler, who is retiring at the end of this season to spend more time with his family.

The Pittsburgh Penguins (96 points) clinched a playoff berth for the 12th consecutive season by beating the Montreal Canadiens 5-2. The Penguins sit three points behind the Metropolitan Division-leading Washington Capitals. Pittsburgh winger Phil Kessel left the game in the third period with an undisclosed injury. An update on his status could be made today.

The Vegas Golden Knights (107 points) clinched a playoff berth and the Pacific Division title by defeating the San Jose Sharks 3-2. William Karlsson snapped a 2-2 tie in the third period with his 42nd goal of the season. Before the game, the Golden Knights raised a banner in memory of the 58 victims of the Oct. 1 Strip shooting. The team also announced it is retiring No. 58.

Second period goals by Josh Morrissey, Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Copp powered the Winnipeg Jets to a 3-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Jets also welcomed back defenseman Jacob Trouba, who missed the last two weeks with a concussion. Leafs defenseman Travis Dermott left the game in the first period after taking a shot off his left foot.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel collected five assists in a 7-4 win over the Nashville Predators (Photo via NHL Images).

 Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel collected five assists and teammate Sam Reinhart tallied a hat trick to lead their club to a 7-4 upset of the Nashville Predators. Sabres defenseman Viktor Antipin was stretchered from the game in the second period after being hit from behind by Predators winger Scott Hartnell, who received a five-minute boarding major and a game misconduct. Predators rookie Eeli Tovanen was held pointless in his NHL debut.

Alex Edler scored in overtime as the Vancouver Canucks squeaked past the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-4. The Jackets forced the extra frame with three goals in the final four minutes of the third period. The loss spoiled a strong game for Blue Jackets’ Artemi Panarin (four assists) and Seth Jones (one goal, three assists). Columbus sits in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 94 points.

The Dallas Stars (88 points) kept their playoff hopes alive with a 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild to move within four points of the St. Louis Blues for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. It was a costly loss for the Wild as defenseman Ryan Suter left the game late in the second period with what appeared to be a serious leg injury.

Antti Raanta turned in a 34-save shutout as the Arizona Coyotes blanked the Blues 6-0. Max Domi and Dylan Strome each collected three assists.

Henrik Lundqvist made 40 saves backstopping the New York Rangers to a 2-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes to officially eliminate the latter from playoff contention.

Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard made 31 saves to pick up his first shutout of the season as his club blanked the Ottawa Senators 2-0.

The Calgary Flames snapped a seven-game losing skid by edging the Edmonton Oilers 3-2. Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was a late scratch with a lower-body injury.

DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche received bad news yesterday, as goaltender Semyon Varlamov (lower-body injury) will miss the remainder of the regular-season while defenseman Erik Johnson is out at least six weeks with a fractured patella.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Losing their starting goaltender and top defenseman could be a serious blow for the Avalanche’s playoff hopes. They were able to cope with their absences to injuries earlier in the season and must do the same again if they’re to keep their postseason chances alive. They’re tied with the St. Louis Blues (92 points) but the Blues have the advantage with one more victory. Both clubs have four games remaining. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith is on the verge of setting the NHL record for shooting futility. He’s managed just one goal on 183 shots on goal in 79 games this season. 

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals winger T.J. Oshie is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 15, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 15, 2017

Game recaps, analysis of the Kings trading Cammalleri to Oilers, injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each scored twice as the Edmonton Oilers thumped the Vegas Golden Knights 8-2.

Henrik Sedin had a goal and an assist as the Vancouver Canucks overcame a 2-0 deficit to nip the Los Angeles Kings 3-2.

Earlier in the day, the Kings traded winger Mike Cammalleri to the Edmonton Oilers for forward Jussi Jokinen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cammalleri was losing ice time with the Kings as younger forwards such as Alex Iafallo and Adrian Kempe took on more prominent roles on their scoring lines. The Oilers need scoring depth at right wing and that’s where he’ll likely be slotted.  Jokinen, meanwhile, struggled with the Oilers and didn’t have the confidence of head coach Todd McLellan. The Kings hope he’ll provide experienced depth to their checking lines. 

Zach Werenski’s overtime goal gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Earlier in the day, sidelined Canadiens goaltender Carey Price assured the media his current lower-body injury isn’t related to the season-ending one he suffered in 2015-16, insisting it remains a minor issue. He’s been sidelined nearly two weeks. The Habs also claimed goaltender Antti Niemi off waivers from the Florida Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given Niemi’s poor performance this season, this move provoked criticism by Habs followers on Twitter. However, GM Marc Bergervin justified the decision, citing Price’s injury and uncertainty over how long backup Al Montoya might be sidelined by a concussion.

Call-up Charlie Lindgren’s playing well but Bergervin wanted a little more experienced behind him. Niemi played under Habs goalie coach Stephane Waite when both were with the Chicago Blackhawks, so perhaps Waite can help Niemi overcome his current difficulties in goal. 

Connor Hellebuyck made 33 saves while Adam Lowry scored and set up another to give the Winnipeg Jets a 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes, who set a league record by become the first team not to record a regulation win in its first 20 games of the season. Prior to the game, the Jets inducted former star Dale Hawerchuk into their Hall of Fame.

Earlier in the day, the Coyotes traded goaltender Louis Domingue to the Tampa Bay Lightning for goalie Michael Leighton and winger Tye McGinn.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The writing was on the wall for Domingue with the Coyotes when he struggled filling in for sidelined starter Antti Raanta, forcing the Coyotes to acquire Scott Wedgewood from the New Jersey Devils. He’ll become the Lightning’s third-string goalie. 

Devan Dubnyk picked up his third straight shutout and also collected an assist as the Minnesota Wild blanked the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0.

Sidney Crosby snapped an 11-game goalless skid and Conor Sheary scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Pittsburgh Penguins edged the Buffalo Sabres 5-4. Sam Reinhart had a three-point performance for the Sabres.

Kevin Fiala and Mattias Ekholm each had a goal and an assist to give the Nashville Predators a 6-3 win over the Washington Capitals. T.J. Oshie potted two goals for the Capitals. The loss spoiled the return of Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen, who missed 13 games with a left hand injury.  Earlier in the day, the Predators learned winger Scott Hartnell and defenseman Yannick Weber will be sidelined several weeks with lower-body injuries.

Aleksander Barkov and Vincent Trocheck’s shootout goals gave the Florida Panthers a 4-3 victory over the Dallas Stars. Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo made 40 saves and Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice for the Panthers. Jamie Benn tallied twice for the Stars.

NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils defenseman Mirco Mueller fractured his left clavicle during Sunday’s game against Chicago and will be sidelined indefinitely.

MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings forward Martin Frk could be sidelined for a week with a groin injury. 

TSN: Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion doesn’t expect winger Clarke MacArthur to play this season. MacArthur failed his team medical upon reporting to training camp in September and has since moved with his family to Florida. He’s been hampered by concussions in recent years.

SPORTSNET: The Toronto Maple Leafs called up forward Nikita Soshnikov and demoted forward Frederik Gauthier.

 











Analysis of Notable NHL Free Agent Signings – July 1, 2017

Analysis of Notable NHL Free Agent Signings – July 1, 2017

Joe Thornton re-signed a one-year deal with the San Jose Sharks on July 1, 2017.

As the opening day of the 2017 NHL free-agent market winds down, here’s a brief look at the day’s notable signings.

San Jose Sharks re-sign defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic (eight years, $7 million annual average value) and goaltender Martin Jones (six years, $5.75 million AAV). Both contracts kick in on July 1, 2018. The Sharks also sign center Joe Thornton (reportedly one-year deal and around $6.5 million).

Vlasic’s an elite NHL defenseman and his new contract puts him among such notables as Drew Doughty of the LA Kings and Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins. I’d say he belongs there. He’s a crucial part of the Sharks defense corps.

Jones’ new salary places him around fifteenth among the highest-paid goalies. If the 27-year-old returns to his solid form of 2015-16, this could prove a bargain for the Sharks over the long run.

Despite all the speculation linking Thornton to other clubs leading up to July 1, it wasn’t surprising that he re-signed with the Sharks. He was seeking a three-year deal but apparently was willing to accept a one-year deal for a full $6.5 million salary.

It’s been reported Thornton’s future in San Jose was tied to long-time Sharks teammate Patrick Marleau. Thornton’s signing could signal Marleau’s return.

Anaheim Ducks re-sign defenseman Cam Fowler (eight years, $6.5 million AAV) and goaltender Ryan Miller (two years, $2 million AAV).

Like Vlasic’s and Jones’ new contract, Fowler’s kicks in next July. Though he was the subject of frequent trade speculation last summer, it’s apparent the Ducks consider him the key cog of their blueline. Th 25-year-old’s new contract is comparable to that of St. Louis’ Alex Pietrangelo.

As for Miller, his days as an elite netminder are in the past. He’ll take on a backup/mentor role for starter John Gibson.

New York Rangers sign defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (four years, $6.65 million AAV). The biggest name in this summer’s UFA market lands where he was always expected to go. He finished among last season’s leading scorers among blueliners though he’s earned criticism for his defensive game.

The 28-year-old will be skating on the right side of the Blueshirts top pairing with Ryan McDonagh. He’s being overpaid for his services but the Rangers at least didn’t lock him up for too long.

Pittsburgh Penguins re-sign defenseman Justin Schultz (three years, $5.5 million AAV). Schultz rejuvenated his NHL career with the Penguins, playing a role in their consecutive championships in 2016 and 2017. Tallying a career-high 51 points last season, he was among the league’s highest-scoring blueliners. That ensured the Pens would keep the mobile rearguard in the fold and give him a healthy raise to boot.

Montreal Canadiens sign defenseman Karl Alzner (five years, $4.65 million AAV). The Canadiens land themselves a quality replacement for Alexei Emelin, who was plucked away by Vegas in the expansion draft. The 28-year-old Alzner is a durable, physical shutdown defender. The Habs got him for a reasonable deal.

Dallas Stars sign center Martin Hanzal (three years, $4.75 million AAV). The 6’6”, 226-pounder brings size and two-way skills at center for the Stars. However, he also has a long injury history and only two 40-point seasons on his resume. The salary’s a little pricey but the Stars didn’t saddle themselves with a lengthy term.

Carolina Hurricanes sign right wing Justin Williams (two years, $4.5 million AAV). Williams, 35, returns to the team where he won his first Stanley Cup in 2006. He gets a nice pay raise over the $3.25 million per season of his previous two-year deal. Despite his age, he remains a reliable second-line right wing. The rebuilding Canes should benefit from his skills and leadership.

Nashville Predators sign center Nick Bonino (four years, $4.1 million AAV) and left wing Scott Hartnell (one year, $1 million AAV). Bonino’s two championship seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins bolstered his free-agent value. The Pred needed two-way depth at center and willingly ponied up for him. This move likely means they’re out of the bidding for Avalanche center Matt Duchene.

The Predators also shipped Colin Wilson to the Colorado Avalanche to make room for Hartnell, who was recently bought out by Columbus. He’s returning to the club where his NHL career began. While the 35-year-old is in decline, he could be a worthwhile checking-line depth addition for the Preds.

Winnipeg Jets sign goaltender Steve Mason (two years, $4.1 million AAV) and defenseman Dmitry Kulikov (three years, $4.33 million AAV). Mason’s earning the same annual cap hit as he did on his previous three-year deal with the Philadelphia Flyers. The Jets needed an experienced goalie to carry the bulk of the workload until promising Connor Hellebuyck is ready for the full-time starter’s job. As with former Jets starter Ondrej Pavelec, however, consistency is an issue for Mason.

Kulikov, meanwhile, hopes to get his career back on track after a back injury hampered him during his brief tenure with the Buffalo Sabres. When healthy, he’s a mobile, big-minute defender. But if his back woes flare up again, this could become a costly error for the Jets.

Vancouver Canucks sign forward Sam Gagner (three years, $3.1 million AAV) and defenseman Michael Del Zotto (two years, $3 million AAV). Gagner’s 50-point bounce-back performance last season with the Blue Jackets earns him a big raise over his one-year, $650K deal in 2016-17. If he can maintain his usual 40-point production, he could provide a decent boost to the Canucks offense.

Del Zotto, meanwhile, takes a bit of a pay cut for two seasons in Vancouver. He’ll provide the retooling Canucks with experienced puck-moving depth, buying time to allow their younger rearguards to develop.

Tampa Bay Lightning sign defenseman Dan Girardi (two years, $3 million AAV) and winger Chris Kunitz (one year, $2 million). The Bolts get older, but perhaps not necessarily better. They sought an experienced top-four defenseman with a right-handed shot. However, the 33-year-old Girardi has a lot of miles on him and has lost a step or two. That’s one reason the Rangers bought him out.

Same goes for Kunitz, who’s also getting $1 million in bonus money. He helped the Penguins win three Stanley Cup titles since 2009 but saw his production decline over the past two years. Yzerman’s taking a couple of gambles here, but at least they’re affordable and only short term.

Toronto Maple Leafs sign defenseman Ron Hainsey (two years, $3 million AAV). Hainsey reached the playoffs last season for the first time in his career, helping the Pittsburgh Penguins win the Stanley Cup. The Leafs expect he’ll bring experienced depth to their defense corps, but it remains to be seen how much the 36-year-old has left in the tank.

Philadelphia Flyers sign goaltender Brian Elliott (two years, $2.75 million AAV). After washing out with the Calgary Flames last season, the 32-year-old Elliott will try to get his career as an NHL starter back on track with the Flyers. His deal is a reasonable one, but he’s unlikely to end the Flyers’ seemingly never-ending carousel of mediocre goaltending.

Florida Panther sign right wing Radim Vrbata (one year, bonus-laden contract, $2.5 million base salary). The 36-year-old Vrbata will replace now-departed winger Jaromir Jagr. He was the Coyotes’ leading scorer last season with 55 points and could be a decent short-term addition to the Panthers’ scoring lines.

Los Angeles Kings sign winger Mike Cammalleri (one year, $1 million AAV). After being bought out by the New Jersey Devils, Cammalleri returns to the city his NHL career began. The 35-year-old still has a decent scoring touch, but injuries in recent years have limited his effectiveness.

Chicago Blackhawks sign winger Patrick Sharp (one year, $800k AAV). The 35-year-old tallied 20 goals and 55 points in 2015-16 but injuries limited him to just 18 points last season. Having recovered from hip surgery, perhaps a return to Chicago, where he had his best seasons, can help him regain to form. It’s an affordable risk for the cap-strapped Blackhawks.