NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 16, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 16, 2020

A plan to resume the season could be coming soon, the latest on this year’s draft, P.K. Subban believes he’s still among the top defensemen, Ales Hemsky retires, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


TVA SPORTS: Renaud Lavoie reports a source claims the NHL and NHL Players’ Association could have a plan in place next week to determine what the remainder of the 2019-20 schedule will look like. Several issues must be worked out with the Canadian and American governments regarding travel, work vias, and self-quarantining. Decisions must also be reached determining the four hub cities and the type of playoff format. An NHL Board of Governors meeting is set tor Monday, which could shed more light on this plan.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars owner Tom Gaglardi believes “there’s a very high likelihood” the NHL will stage its postseason at some point this summer. “I expect we will play the season. I think we’re down to logistics, said Gaglardi. “I keep saying it, people that talk to me are tired of hearing it, but it really comes down to being able to test, effectively test on a timely basis. If we can test, I think the season is going to happen.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving also hinted this week that a decision on a return-to-play schedule could be coming soon. Whenever it does, we’ll get more details on how those other issues will be addressed. The host cities will be decided by local and state/provincial officials. Toronto mayor John Tory cautioned pro sports (even without fans) might not return to his city until this fall. That would take Toronto out of the running as a host city. 

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch scolds some NHL general managers for their resistance toward staging the 2020 Draft in June before the presumption of this season. The proposed draft lottery format based on points percentage, the risk of the draft lottery winner going on to win the Stanley Cup, the inability to trade established NHL players, and the possibility of non-contending Chicago Blackhawks and Montreal Canadiens being able to participate in an expanded playoff format are among their concerns.

New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Garrioch believes those general managers are missing a golden opportunity to capitalize on the lack of live sports for big programming ratings by holding the draft in June.

I disagree.

As The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson observed, the NFL got big ratings last month for its draft because more sports fans follow US college football than follow junior, college, and European hockey, which is where NHL prospects come from.

The possibility of a blockbuster trade involving established NHL stars generates as much excitement during the draft as the coverage of the opening round. Without those trades, many fans will probably tune out following the first round. 


NJ.COM: Despite a lousy performance this season, New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban still believes he’s among the NHL best defensemen. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Subban’s play has declined since 2017-18, prompting some to suggest that his best seasons are behind him, as well as stoking criticism that he’s putting more focus on his interests outside hockey. The 31-year-old’s confidence in his abilities remains unshakable, but he’ll need a strong performance next season to silence his doubters. 

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets winger Patrik Laine and goaltender Connor Hellebuyck are among the NHL stars taking part in an upcoming Fortnite tournament for charity. Others include Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon, Carolina’s Sebastian Aho, Ottawa’s Thomas Chabot, Toronto’s Mitch Marner, and Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno is regularly checking in with his teammates on their mental health. 

SPORTSNET: The minimum wage class-action lawsuit against the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) has been settled for $30 million. It brings to an end a six-year standoff with former players over whether “WHL, OHL, and QMJHL players are “employees” or “student-athletes.” 

TSN: The Washington Capitals extended its affiliation with the AHL’s Hershey Bears. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Former NHL winger Ales Hemsky announced his retirement. He spent nearly 11 of his 15 NHL seasons with the Edmonton Oilers, followed by stops with the Ottawa Senators, Dallas Stars, and Montreal Canadiens, amassing 174 goals and 572 points in 845 NHL games. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A slick playmaker, Hemsky’s best seasons were with the Oilers, which included two 70-plus point performances. He probably would’ve had more if not for injuries. Best of luck to him in his future endeavors. 

Stars Sign Alexander Radulov

Stars Sign Alexander Radulov

Dallas Stars sign right wing Alexander Radulov to a five-year deal.

The Dallas Stars signed right wing Alexander Radulov to a five-year, $31.25 million contract. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Radulov’s annual salary-cap hit is worth $6.25 million. That’s up slightly from the $5.75 million he earned on a one-year deal with the Montreal Canadiens last season.

Radulov, who turns 31 on July 5, returned to the NHL in 2016-17 after a four-year absence, netting 54 points to finish second among Habs’ scorers. He was also their leading scorer (seven points) during the Canadiens’ brief appearance in the 2017 playoffs.

For months, speculation claimed Radulov sought a seven-year contract from the Canadiens for between $6- $7 million per season. Habs GM Marc Bergevin hinted yesterday that Radulov’s agent sought a significant deal but didn’t elaborate. We’ll likely learn soon enough how those demands were to the contract he signed today with the Stars.

It’s expected Radulov will skate on the Stars top line alongside Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, where his playmaking skills could make that line even more offensively powerful. As a result, the Stars into a consistent powerhouse in the Western Conference and justify that expensive annual salary.

Radulov’s contract, however, pushes the Stars payroll to over $70 million for 2017-18. That leaves around $4 million to re-sign Radek Faksa, Jamie Oleksiak and Brett Ritchie. 

The Canadiens will miss Radulov’s offense. They already moved to address his departure, inking oft-injured former Stars right wing Ales Hemsky to a one-year, $1-million contract. At this stage in Hemsky’s career, however, he’s unlikely to suitably replace Radulov’s contributions.

This also likely means right wing Alex Galchenyuk, subject of recent trade chatter, will be retained by the Canadiens. 


NHL Rumor Mill – March 24, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – March 24, 2017

Should the New Jersey Devils shop Cory Schneider this summer?

Players in need of a change of scenery plus the latest on the Stars in your NHL rumor mill. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin lists New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider, forwardsDaniel and Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks, Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog and Semyon Varlamov of the Colorado Avalanche, Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk and Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson as several players who could benefit from a change of scenery. He suggested they could be more beneficial to their clubs as trade bait this summer.

Larkin suggests the rebuilding Devils risk wasting the remaining best seasons of the 31-year-old Schneider, recommending he could be more beneficial to a club such as the Dallas Stars.  Moving the Sedins could help the retooling Canucks add more draft picks and prospects for the 2017 draft and could put them in good position for the first-overall pick in 2018.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier this year, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks also suggested the Devils consider moving Schneider while his value remains high. As Larkin notes, by the time the Devils are ready to become a perennial playoff contender, Schneider will be past his prime. He could fetch the Devils either a skilled defenseman or a scoring forward. The Stars would certainly be interested if they can move Kari Lehtonen and/or Antti Niemi. So would the Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche,  Philadelphia Flyers, Winnipeg Jets and perhaps the Calgary Flames.

As for the Sedins, I defer to ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun. “Good luck trying to move their combined $14 million in salary (each Sedin makes $7 million).”

Duchene and Landeskog would attract considerable interest in the trade market. Varlamov wouldn’t have as many suitors but Larkin feels his market isn’t non-existent, suggesting Dallas and the Philadelphia Flyers as two clubs in need of help between the pipes.

Faulk could be used to bring the Hurricanes a scoring forward such as Duchene. Moving Johnson could bring the Lightning a top-four defenseman and allow them to re-sign Jonathan Drouin and Ondrej Palat.  The Bolts also have a possible replacement for Johnson in young Brayden Point.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was plenty of interest in Duchene and Landeskog before this year’s trade deadline. Once Avs GM Joe Sakic lowers his ridiculously high asking prices (good young defenseman or goaltender, first-round pick, top prospect and perhaps more), he won’t have any problem moving either guy.  Sakic should still get a good return, though obviously not one as high as what he sought before the deadline. Varlamov’s lengthy injury history and $5.9 million annual cap hit through 2018-19 makes him almost impossible to move this summer.

Faulk had an off-year in 2016-17 but remains a well-regarded blueliner. The Hurricanes depth in rising young defensemen could make him expendable, especially if GM Ron Francis wants to add more scoring punch. Faulk was linked to the Avalanche in the recent trade chatter regarding Duchene. 

Johnson’s name surfaced in the rumor mill prior to the trade deadline and I wouldn’t be surprised if he pops up again in trade chatter once the playoffs end in June. It remains to be seen, however, if Lightning GM Steve Yzerman moves Johnson or shops someone else.  

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: In a recent live chat. Mike Heika speculated the Dallas Stars could bring back 33-year-old winger Ales Hemsky on a one- or two-year deal for a considerable lower price than his current $4 million annual cap hit. He doesn’t think they’ll re-sign winger Jiri Hudler. Heika also believes they’ll find a way to move defenseman Patrik Nemeth and doesn’t expect veteran winger Patrick Sharp will return. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 1, 2016

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 1, 2016

Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk was named one of the NHL's three stars for the week ending Oct. 30.

Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk was named one of the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Oct. 30.

Stars of the week, notable demotions, recalls, injury updates & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM:  Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson, Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk and Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending October 30, 2016.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: A plea agreement will see the harassment and trespassing charges against Buffalo Sabres left wing Evander Kane dismissed, provided he remains out of trouble for the next six months.

THE HOCKEY NEWS:  The NHL intends to restrict All-Star Game participants to “bona fide players.” That could mean no repeat of a marginal player being selected via fan voting, such as what happened with enforcer John Scott last year. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Scott situation had a happy ending for the league. However, I see the sense in restricting this sort of thing from happening again. Just because the Scott story ended well doesn’t mean another scenario involving a player who is clearly not All-Star caliber couldn’t become an embarrassment for the league. 

THE MERCURY NEWS:  Despite being pointless in his last seven games, Mikkel Boedker will continue to skate on the San Jose Sharks’ top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. 

TWINCITIES.COM: Injuries and limited salary-cap space prevented the Minnesota Wild from icing a full lineup for practice yesterday. 

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS:  Stars winger Ales Hemsky is sidelined five-to-six months following hip surgery.

BOSTON HERALD: Bruins forward David Backes (day-to-day, elbow surgery) will miss the club’s upcoming road trip to Florida. 

THE GLOBE & MAIL’s James Mirtle reports the Toronto Maple Leafs placed defenseman Matt Hunwick on injured reserve. 

NBC SPORTS:  The injury-riddled Los Angeles Kings recalled defenseman Rob Scuderi. 

NJ.COM: Promising center Pavel Zacha is expected to remain with the New Jersey Devils beyond the nine-game deadline for returning him to his junior club. 

ARIZONA SPORTS:  The Coyotes assigned forward Christian Dvorak to their AHL affiliate in Tucson. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens sent defenseman Mikhail Sergachev back to his OHL club in Windsor. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes placed forward Martin Frk on waivers for the purpose of demotion to the minors. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Check out the 10 best costumes worn by NHL players this Halloween.