NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 20, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 20, 2022

The latest on the Avalanche and Lightning heading into Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Stars have reportedly hired Pete DeBoer as their new head coach, and an update on top prospect Shane Wright in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE DENVER POST: Sidelined winger Andre Burakovsky did not accompany the Colorado Avalanche as they traveled to Tampa Bay on Sunday for Games 3 and 4 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final. Burakovsky suffered a hand injury during Game 2 and was being evaluated on Sunday. He’s expected to rejoin his teammates on Monday.

Colorado Avalanche winger Andre Burakovsky (NHL Images).

Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said sidelined center Nazem Kadri (thumb injury) traveled with the team on Sunday. He’s skating again and practicing puckhandling and shooting but Bednar isn’t sure if he’ll play in the upcoming two games.

NHL.COM: Fourteen years after winning the Stanley Cup in 2008 as a rookie with the Detroit Red Wings, center Darren Helm is relishing this opportunity to win it again with the Avalanche. If he does, he’ll become the fourth player in NHL history to go at least 14 years between championships.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The Tampa Bay Lightning are hoping to once again overcome an 0-2 deficit in a playoff series. They have an opportunity to shake things up at home for the next two games. However, they’re facing a much tougher opponent in this Stanley Cup Final than they did against the Dallas Stars in 2020 and the Montreal Canadiens last year.

TORONTO SUN: Michael Traikos wonders if the wear and tear of three straight trips to the Stanley Cup Final might be taking its toll on the Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fatigue could be an issue for the Lightning. However, the real problem is that the Avalanche are the most formidable opponent they’ve faced since beginning their march as consecutive Cup champions in 2020.

The Avs are faster and possess impressive depth on their forward lines and blueline. They’ve adjusted to the absence of sidelined key players like Kadri and Samuel Girard without missing a beat. They lack a superstar goaltender but their tandem of Darcy Kuemper and Pavel Francouz has been solid throughout this postseason.

It would be foolish to write the Lightning off. They’ve shown a remarkable ability to bounce back from adversity. Nevertheless, they must win Game 3 tonight or risk being swept away by the Avalanche in Game 4.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Matthew DeFranks cited a Sportsnet report claiming the Stars have hired Pete DeBoer as their new head coach. He’s coaching the Florida Panthers (2008-2011), New Jersey Devils (2011-2015), San Jose Sharks (2015-2020) and Vegas Golden Knights (2020-2022).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Neither the Stars nor general manager Jim Nill has confirmed the hiring, though that could come later today. DeFranks anticipates DeBoer would focus on increasing their shots (especially from the point) while still maintaining a solid defense.

SPORTSNET: Projected top prospect Shane Wright believes he can make an immediate impact in the NHL next season. He intends to put in a lot of work this offseason and in training camp to step in right away and make a difference.

The Montreal Canadiens hold the first-overall pick in this year’s draft. Wright recently met with the Canadiens brass and would love to suit up for the historic franchise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wright isn’t considered a generational superstar but has drawn favorable comparisons to Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron and New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad. Even if he doesn’t reach the big league next season, he’s still projected to be a future NHL star.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 30, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 30, 2021

Alex Ovechkin looks forward to chasing Wayne Gretzky’s goal record, the Blue Jackets sign Zach Werenski to a long-term contract extension, and the Blues sign Brandon Saad. Get the details plus other notable trades and signings in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Alex Ovechkin said the opportunity to pursue Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goal record factored into his recent signing of a five-year contract with the Capitals. Ovechkin, 35, has 730 career goals and needs 165 more to break Gretzky’s record. To do it, he needs to average 33 goals per season.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The all-time goal-scoring record is the most reachable of Gretzky’s significant offensive achievements. Nevertheless, it’ll a daunting challenge for Ovechkin, who turns 36 in September.

Ovechkin’s still among the league’s elite scorers, tallying 24 goals in 45 games last season and 48 in 68 games in 2019-20. If not for the pandemic (and a half-season lost to a lockout in 2012-13), he’d be much closer to Gretzky’s record by now. However, he’s also at an age when his production will begin to decline.

The Capitals captain is currently sixth on the all-time list. A 37-goal performance this season would vault him over Marcel Dionne (731), Brett Hull (741) and Jaromir Jagr (766) into third overall, 34 behind Gordie Howe (801).

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets signed defenseman Zach Werenski to a six-year, $57.5 million contract extension. The annual average value is $9.583 million and takes effect in 2022-23.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets consider Werenski among the NHL’s top defensemen over the past five seasons and are paying him accordingly. He’s tallied 189 points in 335 career games. Starting in 2022-23, he’ll be the third highest-paid defenseman in the league with a higher annual cap hit than Colorado Avalanche blueliner Cale Makar’s $9 million and just ahead of former defense partner Seth Jones’ $9.5 million AAV with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Werenski’s a skilled puck-moving defenseman but I don’t consider him worth more than Makar, a Calder Trophy winner in 2019-20 who was a Norris Trophy finalist last season. But after enduring a steady parade of talent departing Columbus via trades and free agency in recent years, the Jackets had to pay the price to keep Werenski in the fold.

His new contract lacks no-trade protection in 2022-23 and a full no-movement clause in 2023-24 through 2026-27, dropping to a modified no-trade in the final season.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues signed winger Brandon Saad to a five-year, $22.5 million contract. The annual average value is $4.5 million. The deal also comes with a full no-trade clause in the first four years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Saad took a pay cut from the $6 million AAV he earned over six seasons on his previous contract. He joins a club undergoing a retooling of its roster since winning the Stanley Cup two years ago. He fills the vacant left wing spot on the Blues’ first line following the departure of free agent Jaden Schwartz to Seattle on Wednesday.

NEW YORK POST/LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights trade winger Ryan Reaves to the New York Rangers in exchange for a 2022 third-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers acquired enforcer Reaves in yet another move to bolster their toughness. The Golden Knights, meanwhile, made this move to free up salary-cap space by shedding his $1.75 million cap hit.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning signed winger Corey Perry to a two-year, $2 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perry said he wanted to return to the Montreal Canadiens for another season. The opportunity to play two seasons with the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion, however, was too good to pass up.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Zach Werenski wasn’t the only defenseman the Blue Jackets signed yesterday, inking Jake Bean to a three-year deal worth an annual cap hit of $2.33 million. The Jackets acquire the 23-year-old blueliner from the Carolina Hurricanes last week.

MLIVE.COM: Long-time Detroit Red Wings forward Darren Helm signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Colorado Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Helm and Valtteri Filppula were the last remaining active members of the Wings last Stanley Cup championship in 2008 still with the team last season. Filppula is also an unrestricted free agent and isn’t expected to be brought back.

SPORTSNET: The Montreal Canadiens signed forward Mathiew Perreault to a one-year, $950K contract.