NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 7, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 7, 2020

Alexis Lafreniere tops the first-round selections in the 2020 Draft, the NHL and NHLPA target Jan. 1 as the start date for the 2020-21 season, the Capitals re-sign Brenden Dillon, the latest contract buyouts and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

Alexis Lafreniere was selected first overall by the New York Rangers in the 2020 NHL Draft (NHL.com).

  NHL.COM: The New York Rangers selected Alexis Lafreniere with the first-overall pick in the first round of the 2020 NHL Draft last night. The Los Angeles Kings selected Quinton Byfield with the second-overall pick while the Ottawa Senators selected Tim Stuetzle with the third-overall selection. Rounds two through seven will be held today starting at 11:30 am ET. (Stick tap to NBC Sports for the list below):

1. New York Rangers – Alexis Lafreniere, LW, Rimouski (QMJHL)
2. Los Angeles Kings – Quinton Byfield, C, Sudbury (OHL)
3. Ottawa Senators (from SJS) – Tim Stuetzle, C/LW, Mannheim (DEL)
4. Detroit Red Wings – Lucas Raymond, LW, Frolunda (SHL)
5. Ottawa Senators – Jake Sanderson, D, USNTDP (USHL)
6. Anaheim Ducks – Jamie Drysdale, D, Erie (OHL)
7. New Jersey Devils – Alexander Holtz, RW, Djurgardens (SHL)
8. Buffalo Sabres – Jack Quinn, RW, Ottawa (OHL)
9. Minnesota Wild – Marco Rossi, C, Ottawa (OHL)
10. Winnipeg Jets – Cole Perfetti, C, Saginaw (OHL)
11. Nashville Predators – Yaroslav Askarov, G, St. Petersburg (VHL)
12. Florida Panthers – Anton Lundell, C, HIFK (SM-liiga)
13. Carolina Hurricanes (from TOR) – Seth Jarvis, C, Portland (WHL)
14. Edmonton Oilers – Dylan Holloway, C/LW, Wisconsin (NCAA)
15. Toronto Maple Leafs (from PIT) – Rodion Amirov, LW, Ufa Salavat Yulayev (KHL)
16. Montreal Canadiens – Kaiden Guhle, D, Prince Albert (WHL)
17. Chicago Blackhawks – Lukas Reichel, LW, Eisbaren Berlin (DEL)
18. New Jersey Devils (from ARZ) – Dawson Mercer, C/RW, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
19. New York Rangers (from CGY) – Braden Schneider, D, Brandon (WHL)
20. New Jersey Devils (from VAN via TB) – Shakir Mukhamadullin, D, Ufa Salavat Yulayev (KHL)
21. Columbus Blue Jackets – Yegor Chinakhov, RW, Avangard Omsk (KHL)
22. Washington Capitals (from CGY via NYR via CAR) – Hendrix Lapierre, C, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
23. Philadelphia Flyers – Tyson Foerster, RW, Barrie (OHL)
24. Calgary Flames (from WSH) – Connor Zary, C, Kamloops (WHL)
25. Colorado Avalanche – Justin Barron, D, Halifax (QMJHL)
26. St. Louis Blues – Jake Neighbours, LW, Edmonton (WHL)
27. Anaheim Ducks (from BOS) – Jacob Perreault, RW, Sarnia (OHL)
28. Ottawa Senators (from NYI) – Ridly Greig, C, Brandon (WHL)
29. Vegas Golden Knights – Brendan Brisson, C, Chicago (USHL)
30. Dallas Stars – Mavrik Bourque, C, Shawinigan (QMJHL)
31. San Jose Sharks (from TB) – Ozzy Wiesblatt, RW, Prince Albert (WHL)

The NHL and NHLPA issued a joint statement targeting Jan. 1, 2021 for the start of the 2020-21 season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be great if the league and PA can safely start next season on New Year’s Day. Whether they can is another matter. COVID-19 will ultimately decide if that start date can be met. The priority is the safety of everyone involved in the games.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals re-signed defenseman Brenden Dillon to a four-year contract worth an annual average value of $3.9 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A good, affordable signing by the Capitals. They acquired Dillon before the trade deadline and he quickly fit in well on their blueline.

THE SCORE: Speaking of the Capitals, defenseman Michal Kempny will be sidelined six-to-eight months following surgery to repair an Achilles tendon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kempny will likely go on long-term injury reserve for 2020-21. It would give the Capitals $2.5 million in wiggle room if necessary to make other moves.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens placed defenseman Karl Alzner on unconditional waivers yesterday for the purpose of buying out the remaining two years of his contract. It will count as $3.9 million for 2020-21 against their cap hit, dropping to $1.9 million in 2021-22, and $833K per season for the final two years of the buyout

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Habs could’ve waited another year to buy out Alzner when it wouldn’t have counted as long against their cap. It’s believed they did this to allow the veteran blueliner an opportunity to try and sign with another NHL club.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings placed forward Justin Abdelkader on unconditional waivers yesterday for the purpose of buying out the final three years of his contract. It’ll count as $1.8 million against their cap in 2020-21, $2.3 million annually for the next two seasons, and $1.05 million for the final three years of the buyout.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers general manager Ken Holland decided not to tender qualifying offers to Andreas Athanasiou and Matt Benning. Both players will become unrestricted free agents on Friday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holland is catching flak from Oilers supporters because he gave up two second-round picks as part of the return to the Detroit Red Wings last February for Athanasiou. The Oilers GM was hoping the speedy winger could regain his 30-goal form but he managed just two points in 13 games in Edmonton. The cost of qualifying his rights was $3 million, which would’ve been too expensive for the cap-strapped Oilers.

SPORTSNET: The Vancouver Canucks re-signed winger Zack MacEwen to a two-year contract worth $825K per season.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 15, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 15, 2019

Game recaps, Steven Stamkos ties a franchise record, Chris Kreider fined, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos tied Vincent Lecavalier’s franchise record for most goals (383) in a 5-4 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. League scoring leader Nikita Kucherov reached 115 points with a four-point performance as the Bolts overcame a 3-0 deficit, including four goals in the third period.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos tied the franchise record for most goals (383) in a 5-4 win over the Detroit Red Wings (Photo via NHL Images)

Arizona Coyotes forward Vinnie Hinostroza tallied his first career NHL hat trick as his club thumped the Anaheim Ducks 6-1. The Coyotes (77 points) widened their lead over the Wild for the final Western Conference wild-card spot. Darcy Kuemper made 36 saves for the Coyotes, who’ve won eight of their last 10 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Despite being wracked with injuries, the Coyotes have surged up the standings over the last two months. Exceeding expectations to clinch a playoff spot this season could provide this rebuilding club with a much-needed boost going forward. At the very least, it’s a feel-good story. 

The Dallas Stars’ 4-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild was overshadowed by Stars goalie Ben Bishop exiting the game in the second period with a lower-body injury. Bishop had set the franchise record for the longest shutout streak and was going for his fourth consecutive shutout prior to the injury. He’s listed as day-to-day and will be re-evaluated on Friday. With the win, the Stars (79 points) moved into third place in the Central Division while the Wild (74 points) slipped three points out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bishop was playing his way into the Vezina Trophy conversation. Hopefully, his injury isn’t too serious. 

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Casey DeSmith kicked out 26 shots to shut out the Buffalo Sabres 5-0. Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, and Nick Bjugstad each had two points as the Penguins (87 points) opened a four-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes for third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Anders Lee scored the game-winner late in the third period as the New York Islanders (89 points) edged the Montreal Canadiens 2-1. It was the Islanders’ fourth win in their last five games, putting them two points behind the Washington Capitals for first place in the Metropolitan. The Canadiens (81 points) remained tied with the Columbus Blue Jackets, who hold the final Eastern Conference playoff berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a must-win game for the Canadiens, who are struggling at the worst possible time, dropping six of their last 10 contests. With 11 games remaining in the schedule, the Habs have little room for error here. If the Blue Jackets get hot over the next three weeks, the Canadiens can forget about the playoffs.  

Speaking of the Capitals, they picked up their eighth victory in their last nine games by downing the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2. Brett Connolly led the way for the Capitals with two goals and an assist. The Flyers (76 points) remain five points behind the Blue Jackets and Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers have been hot of late, picking up points in seven of their last 10 games. However, this loss prevented them from narrowing the gap between them and the Blue Jackets for that final wild-card spot. 

Mark Scheifele had a goal and two assists to lead the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins, handing the latter their third straight defeat. The Jets (86 points) maintained their hold on top spot in the Central Division.

The Nashville Predators remains one point behind the Jets. Colton Sissons had a goal and an assist to give the Predators a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings.

Ottawa Senators goalie Anders Nilsson had a 35-save shutout performance backstopping his club to a 2-0 blanking of the St. Louis Blues. Christian Wolanin and Chris Tierney were the goal scorers and Senators prospects Erik Brannstrom and Max Veronneau looked good in their NHL debuts. The Blues (79 points) dropped down into the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Mike Hoffman had a goal and an assist as the Florida Panthers doubled up the San Jose Sharks 4-2, snapping the latter’s six-game winning streak. Earlier in the day, Sharks winger Evander Kane revealed his wife lost their child during pregnancy. He’s been out of the lineup since Feb. 26. Meanwhile, the Sharks announced defenseman Radim Simek requires surgery to repair torn ligaments in his right knee.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Kane and his wife for their loss. Truly heartbreaking news. 

NHL.COM: New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider was fined $5,000.00 for elbowing Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 23, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 23, 2019

Game recaps, Oilers fire GM Peter Chiarelli, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings was overshadowed by the club firing general manager Peter Chiarelli following the game. Assistant GM Keith Gretzky takes over for Chiarelli on an interim basis until a full-time replacement can be found. 

The Edmonton Oilers fired general manager Peter Chiarelli (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This had an air of inevitability about it. The Oilers have foundered since their promising 103-point performance two years ago. While Chiarelli drafted superstar Connor McDavid in 2015, that was a no-brainer because the Oilers won the draft lottery and McDavid was the best player available.

A string of bad decisions – signing Milan Lucic to an expensive long-term contract, trading two draft picks (one of whom became Mathew Barzal) to the New York Islanders for Griffin Reinhart, shipping Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils straight up for Adam Larsson, sending Jordan Eberle to the Isles for Ryan Strome, who was later dealt to the New York Rangers for Ryan Spooner – led to Chiarelli’s downfall.

Whoever takes over as Chiarelli’s full-time replacement must improve the defense, bring in a scoring winger for McDavid’s line and bolster their secondary scoring depth. That could mean shopping some promising youngsters (Jesse Puljujarvi, Kailer Yamamoto) and their 2019 first-round pick. 

Speaking of the Oilers, Spooner and Ty Rattie cleared waivers yesterday but will remain on the roster. 

Alexander Ovechkin and Tomas Hertl engaged in dueling hat tricks, with the latter potting the winner in overtime to give the San Jose Sharks a 7-6 victory over Ovechkin’s Washington Capitals. Sharks captain Joe Pavelski had a four-point game while Capitals winger T.J. Oshie collected three points. Washington’s losing skid is now at six games.

The Arizona Coyotes picked up their sixth win in their last eight games by edging the Ottawa Senators 3-2. Vinnie Hinostroza scored twice and added an assist. 

Shootout goals by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane gave the Chicago Blackhawks a 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders, snapping the latter’s five-game win streak. Toews also scored the game-tying goal. 

Mikael Backlund’s overtime goal gave the Calgary Flames a 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, extending the Flames’ points streak to nine games (8-0-1). 

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas said the club is engaged in a “healthy dialogue” on a contract extension for center Auston Matthews. The Leafs hope to get the extension completed as soon as possible to provide long-term salary-cap clarity. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the mutual decision between the Leafs and Mitch Marner to postpone contract discussions until the offseason, getting Matthews under contract before season’s end will give them a better idea of how much cap space they’ll have to re-sign Marner and their other notable free agents, as well as what’s available for other roster moves. I’m guessing Matthews could receive over $12 million per season. 

CBS SPORTS: The Vegas Golden Knights confirmed winger William Carrier is sidelined by an injury and not an illness as originally reported by the club. He’s already missed the team’s last seven games and there’s no timetable for his return. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: Former Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Cameron Gaunce had his 2017 Stanley Cup ring stolen from his home. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping they quickly catch the thieves and Gaunce’s property is returned. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 9, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 9, 2018

Game recaps, Ducks re-sign GM Murray, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COMTampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos had a four-point game (including two goals) to lead his club to a 7-1 drubbing of the Colorado Avalanche. Lightning winger Ondrej Palat also scored twice. Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov was pulled after giving up five goals on 23 shots.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos had a four-point performance in a 7-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche (Photo via NHL Images).

Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Elias Lindholm and rookie Oliver Kylington each collected two points in the Calgary Flames 5-2 victory over the Nashville Predators. With the win, the red-hot Flames (8-1-1 in their last 10) sit atop the Western Conference with 40 points. 

The Philadelphia Flyers overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Buffalo Sabres 6-2, handing the latter their fifth straight loss. Flyers captain Claude Giroux had a goal and three assists. Jack Eichel scored both Sabres goals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres seemed to stop playing after the first period. They certainly left goaltender Linus Ullmark to pretty much fend for himself. 

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored his league-leading 22nd goal to extend his points streak to 11 games as his club blanked the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-0. Capitals netminder Braden Holtby turned aside 28 shots for the shutout. 

Goalie Craig Anderson kicked out 35 shots and Ryan Dzingel scored in overtime as the Ottawa Senators nipped the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1. Earlier in the day, the Senators announced center Matt Duchene will be sidelined for weeks by a groin injury and winger Bobby Ryan (concussion) is out indefinitely. The Penguins skated without winger Patric Hornqvist, who’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury unrelated to his recent concussion.

The Boston Bruins ended a three-game losing skid with a 6-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Brad Marchand and Torey Krug each had three-point performances for the Bruins. Leafs forward Zach Hyman knocked Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy from the game with a late high hit, though he returned to the bench late in the third period.

The New York Islanders rallied from a 2-0 deficit to edge the Detroit Red Wings 3-2. Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall temporarily knocked Islanders captain Anders Lee from the game with a hard, questionable hit.

The New York Rangers blew a two-goal lead but downed the Florida Panthers 5-4 on a shootout goal by Kevin Hayes, snapping a three-game losing streak. Jonathan Huberdeau had a three-point outing for the Panthers. 

Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick made 29 saves in a 5-1 victory over the Vega Golden Knights. Nikita Scherbak, claimed off waivers by the Kings earlier in the week, scored his first goal of the season.

Rookie Lukas Radil’s first NHL goal turned into the game-winner as the San Jose Sharks downed the Arizona Coyotes 5-3. 

LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS: The Anaheim Ducks signed general manager Bob Murray to a two-year contract extension. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for any whispers that Murray might be replaced if the Ducks fail to reach the playoffs this season. He’s their longest-serving general manager, currently in his 11th year. During his tenure, they’ve reached the playoffs in all but two seasons.

Despite a plethora of injuries and a lack of scoring punch, the Ducks overcame a poor start to move into third place in the Pacific Division. Murray has attempted to address the offense by claiming Pontus Aberg off waivers and trading for Daniel Sprong. 

NHL.COM: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Xavier Ouellet cleared waivers and was sent to their AHL affiliate in Laval. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 23, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 23, 2018

Updates on Sean Couturier, Patrick Kane, Alex Galchenyuk and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers general manager Ron Hextall confirmed center Sean Couturier suffered a knee injury during a charity hockey tournament earlier this month in Quebec City. Couturier is expected to be sidelined for four weeks and will miss the bulk of the club’s preseason games in September. It’s the same knee he injured during the 2018 playoffs. Fortunately, he didn’t reinjure his MCL. 

Philadelphia Flyers confirm center Sean Couturier is sidelined four weeks with a knee injury. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While Couturier is expected to be back in time for the regular season, missing training camp and most preseason games could adversely affect his early-season play. It could also raise concerns over the strength of that knee over the course of 2018-19.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks Patrick Kane and Arizona Coyotes forward Vinnie Hinostroza will headline a game benefiting the Special Olympics in the Chicago Hockey Charity Classic on Saturday. Colorado Avalanche defenseman Ian Cole and Nashville Predators winger Ryan Hartman are also expected to participate.

NHL.COM: Alex Galchenyuk is excited about the Arizona Coyotes potential and looks forward to a fresh start. Galchenyuk was acquired in June from the Montreal Canadiens. He’s expected to be given the opportunity to prove himself at center, something he rarely got the chance to do in Montreal.

TSN: Forward Emerson Etem accepted a professional tryout offer with the Los Angeles Kings. A former first-round draft pick of the Anaheim Ducks, Etem spent last season split between the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners and the Swiss National League’s HC Lugano.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is probably Etem’s last chance to prove himself as an NHL player. The 26-year-old tallied 22 goals and 46 points in 173 NHL games with Anaheim, New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes fans have chosen Petey Pablo’s North Carolina rap anthem “Raise Up” as the club’s new goal song. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I like to think “Raise Up” got the “Face Off Hockey Show” bump after we encouraged our listeners to vote for this song. Anyway, congrats to Petey Pablo for this honor. “This one’s for North Carolina/C’mon and raise up!”


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 12, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 12, 2018

Game recaps from the opening night of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Sidney Crosby tallied a hat trick and Matt Murray had a 24-save shutout as the Pittsburgh Penguins crushed the Philadelphia Flyers 7-0 in Game 1 of their best-of-seven opening round series. With the Pens up 1-0 early in the first period, Murray made a timely save on the Flyers’ Scott Laughton that proved to be a game changer. 

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby tallied a hat trick in a 7-0 thrashing of the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 1 of their opening-round series (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Had Laughton capitalized on that opportunity perhaps the outcome of this contest would’ve been different. The Flyers never really came close to beating Murray after that. Philadelphia goaltender Brian Elliott gave up five goals on 19 shots before he was given the hook. Given the Flyers lack of reliable goalie depth, don’t be surprised if Elliott gets the start in Game 2

The city of Winnipeg is celebrating its first playoff victory since 1996 as the Jets edged the Minnesota Wild 3-2 to take a 1-0 lead in their opening-round series. Joe Morrow snapped a 2-2 tie with a third-period point shot as the Jets overcame a 2-1 deficit for the win. All but one goal came in the third period. Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine also scored for Winnipeg, while Matt Cullen and Zach Parise tallied for the Wild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the third period of this game is anything to go by, this will be a very entertaining series. Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk was outstanding, giving his club a chance to win despite being outshot 40-20. 

Marc-Andre Fleury made 30 saves and Shea Theodore scored the only goal as the Vegas Golden Knights got their first-ever playoff victory by edging the Los Angeles Kings 1-0. It was Fleury’s 63rd playoff win, tying him for 12th all-time with Curtis Joseph, and his 11th postseason shutout, moving him to 10th all-time. Kings netminder Jonathan Quick kicked out 27 shots. The Golden Knights lead the series 1-0. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could become a hard-fought series between two evenly-matched opponents. The goaltending was strong for both clubs. If this keeps up, goals will be difficult to come by in this match-up. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: After 10 NHL seasons, the pressure is on Lightning captain Steven Stamkos to deliver a Stanley Cup. 

THE ATHLETIC: Columbus Blue Jackets winger Thomas Vanek needs to carry over his solid regular-season play into the postseason.

THE ATHLETIC: Special teams could make the difference in the opening-round series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins. 

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche have faith in backup goaltender Jonathan Bernier, who replaces sidelined starter Semyon Varlamov in their upcoming series against the Nashville Predators. 

STLTODAY.COM: Jake Allen will return as the Blues’ starting goalie next season, but he acknowledges he must improve. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Allen’s inconsistent performance was a factor in the Blues failing to reach the postseason. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Changes could be coming to the Oilers’ coaching staff. 

THE ATHLETIC: Chicago Blackhawks forward Vinnie Hinostroza underwent sports-hernia surgery on Wednesday. He’s expected to make a full recovery and resume training next month. 

OTTAWA SUN: Chris Neil is returning to the Senators in the role of alumni ambassador.