NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 25, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 25, 2020

Stars of the week, Leafs re-sign Jake Muzzin, two Rangers injured in a car accident, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets snapped an eight-game winless skid with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Ottawa Senators. Nick Foligno scored two goals for the Jackets, while Connor Brown tallied twice for the Senators. Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins and center Riley Nash both left the game in the second period with injuries. No update was provided post-game on their status. With 76 points, the Jackets hold the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno scored twice in a 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators (Photo via NHL Images).

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz, New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad, and Calgary Flames left wing Andrew Mangiapane was the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Feb. 23, 2020.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin and forward Pavel Buchnevich were injured in a car accident in Brooklyn on Sunday night. Shesterkin suffered a non-displaced rib fracture and well be re-evaluated in two weeks. Buchnevich was shaken up and is listed as day-to-day. The accident occurred when their vehicle struck another that was doing an illegal U-turn.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thankfully, neither player was seriously hurt. Losing Shesterkin could be a blow to the Rangers’ playoff hopes. His stellar goaltending since his call-up in early January was largely responsible for the Blueshirts’ recent surge in the standings.

CALGARY SUN: Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau created a stir when he momentarily left the ice yesterday during practice, sparking speculation he might be getting traded. Turns out he was answering the call of nature. “I had to pee,” Gaudreau said.

NHL.COM: The Toronto Maple Leafs re-signed defenseman Jake Muzzin to a four-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $5.625 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lost in the hubbub of yesterday’s NHL trade deadline, this is a reasonable deal for the 31-year-old Muzzin. He’s a big, physical defenseman with good defensive skills averaging over 21 minutes per game. Given their blueline weaknesses, the Leafs couldn’t afford to lose their best defensive rearguard to free agency.

The Vegas Golden Knights re-signed defenseman Nick Holden to a two-year extension worth $1.7 million per season.

The Nashville Predators re-upped winger Rocco Grimaldi to a two-year, $4-million contract extension.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes may be without injured goalies Petr Mrazek and James Reimer, and defenseman Brett Pesce for an extended period. Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said he wasn’t sure how long they could be sidelined.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

TSN: Former NHL forward Scottie Upshall has announced his retirement. He spent 15 years in the NHL, scoring 138 goals and 285 points in 759 games with the Nashville Predators, Philadelphia Flyers, Phoenix Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers and St. Louis Blues.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 2, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 2, 2019

Game recaps, rookie and three stars of the month, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane scored twice and set up two others to lead his club to a 7-3 drubbing of the Buffalo Sabres. Kane also collected his 900th career NHL point while teammate Brandon Saad also scored twice and Cam Ward made 40 saves. 

Chicago Blackhawks winger and Buffalo native Patrick Kane tallied his 900th career NHL point in a 7-3 win over the Sabres (Photo via NHL Images)

Four unanswered third-period goals powered the Nashville Predators to a 4-1 victory over the Florida Panthers. Viktor Arvidsson scored two goals and Filip Forsberg collected three assists. 

Victor Hedman scored in a shootout as the Tampa Bay Lightning blanked the New York Islanders 1-0. Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 36 saves while Isles netminder Thomas Greiss kicked out 41 shots. 

Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust each scored twice as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Ottawa Senators 5-3. Nick Bjugstad, acquired earlier in the day by the Penguins in a trade with the Panthers, collected an assist. The Penguins also played without center Evgeni Malkin, who’ll miss at least two games with an upper-body injury

Evgeny Kuznetsov’s late third-period goal gave the Washington Capitals a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames, snapping the Capitals seven-game losing skid. The Capitals played without team captain Alex Ovechkin, who served a one-game suspension for his decision not to participate in the recent NHL All-Star Game. Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic left the game with a lower-body injury and will be re-evaluated today.  

Danny DeKeyser scored in overtime as the Detroit Red Wings edged the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2. During a pregame ceremony, the Wings honored Hall-of-Fame defenseman Red Kelly by retiring his No. 4

The Carolina Hurricanes downed the Vegas Golden Knights 5-2. Justin Faulk had a two-point performance, Petr Mrazek made 23 saves and winger Nino Niederreiter tallied his fifth goal in as many games since being traded to Carolina by the Minnesota Wild. Earlier in the day, the Golden Knights placed Nick Holden (undisclosed) on injured reserve

Tyler Seguin scored twice in the third period to give the Dallas Stars a 3-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild. 

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau, New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner, and Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane were the NHL’s three stars for the month of January 2019

Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart was named the NHL’s rookie of the month for January 2019. 

TSN: San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton has been playing hurt throughout this season. Coach Pete DeBoer said Thornton is close to getting fully healthy but isn’t there yet. 

LA PRESSE: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Noah Juulsen is sidelined indefinitely due to a medical condition related to his vision. His agent dismissed a recent report claiming the injury was career-threatening, adding his client hopes to return to action later this season. The Canadiens expect he’ll make a full recovery. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 21, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 21, 2018

Game recaps, analysis of latest trades, Canucks re-sign Gudbranson plus injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie factored in all of his club’s goals in a 5-4 overtime victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Barrie scored a goal and set up four others while Nathan MacKinnon’s game winner was also his 100th career NHL goal.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie had a five-point performance in a 5-4 win over the Vancouver Canucks (Photo via NHL Images).

Philadelphia Flyers winger Jakub Voracek scored the game-tying goal and the winner in overtime to lift his club to a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Flyers forward Travis Konecny missed the overtime period after suffering an apparent foot injury late in the third period. Earlier in the day, the Flyers announced forward Wayne Simmonds (upper-body injury) will be sidelined two-three weeks while backup goaltender Michal Neuvirth (lower body) is out four-to-five weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries are starting to pile up for the Flyers and could take a toll. The loss of Neuvirth and Brian Elliott forced them on Monday night to acquire netminder Petr Mrazek from the Detroit Red Wings. 

Third-period goals by Noel Acciari, Matt Grzelcyk and David Krejci carried the Boston Bruins to a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Earlier in the day, the Bruins acquired defenseman Nick Holden from the New York Rangers in exchange for defenceman Rob O’Gara and Boston’s third-round pick in the June draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An affordable rental move by the Bruins to bolster their blueline depth on the left side without giving up too much in return. I daresay this also means the Bruins are out of the market for Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh, though perhaps they’ll revisit that interest if McDonagh remains available this summer. Holden’s an unrestricted free agent this summer. If he plays well with the Bruins, perhaps they’ll consider re-signing him. 

The San Jose Sharks picked up their third straight win with a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues, handing the latter their fourth straight loss. Earlier in the day, the Sharks acquired forward Eric Fehr from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for a seventh-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks were expected to acquire some depth at center before the trade deadline. This move suggests GM Doug Wilson isn’t keen to pursue the big-ticket trade bait. Fehr spent most of this season in the minors and will be slotted into the role of the Sharks’ fourth-line center. 

Dion Phaneuf scored his third goal in four games with the Los Angeles Kings as they held off the Winnipeg Jets 4-3. Kings captain Anze Kopitar collected his 800th career NHL point.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen turned in a 40-save shutout performance to give his club a 1-0 win over the Florida Panthers. James van Riemsdyk tallied the only goal.

Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves as the Columbus Blue Jackets edged the New Jersey Devils 2-1. Devils winger Taylor Hall scored his 25th goal and extended his points streak to 12 games.

Brayden Point scored twice and Andrei Vasilevskiy kicked out 35 shots as the Tampa Bay Lightning doubled up the Washington Capitals 4-2.

Nashville Predators netminder Juuse Saros made 34 saves while defensemen Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi each collected two assists in a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings.

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks yesterday announced the re-signing of defenseman Erik Gudbranson to a three-year, $12-million contract extension. As per Cap Friendly, he’ll earn $4.5 million in total salary in 2018-19 and again in 2019-20, followed by $3 million in 2020-21.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks management value Gudbranson’s experience, physical play and leadership. His critics, however, believe he’s too slow and injury-prone to be an effective long-term asset. Time will tell if this deal is worthwhile. 

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. 

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe will under undergo season-ending shoulder surgery. 

SPORTSNET: Former NHL star Jarome Iginla recently took part in a practice session with the Boston Bruins’ AHL affiliate in Providence. This doesn’t mean the Bruins are interested in signing him. Any club thinking of signing him must do so before the Feb. 26 trade deadline. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Iginla also reportedly underwent hip surgery four months ago. That could in part explain why he wasn’t signed last summer. 

NBC SPORTS: Seattle will kick off a season-ticket drive on March 1 as part of the process in their attempt to land an NHL franchise. 


NHL Rumor Mill – August 11, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – August 11, 2017

How will the Chicago Blackhawks replace sidelined winger Marian Hossa?

Recent speculation regarding the Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers in your NHL rumor mill. 

NHL.COM: In his latest mailbag segment, Dan Rosen assumes the Chicago Blackhawks will use the salary-cap relief they’ll get by placing sidelined right wing Marian Hossa ($5.275 million annual salary) on long-term injured reserve to beef up their roster.

He expects they’ll wait until after the season begins to put Hossa on LTIR. That will provide them more cap flexibility during the season.

What moves GM Stan Bowman makes could depend upon how they start the season. Rosen speculates Bowman could look for rental players, perhaps on defense. If Hossa’s skin condition places his playing career in jeopardy, perhaps Bowman will consider adding players with term remaining on their contracts. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks currently sit just over the $75 million cap ceiling. However, they can easily get under that by demoting a lower-salaried depth player to the minors before the season opens. I agree with Rosen that Bowman will probably evaluate his team over the course of the season to determine the priorities to be addressed.

Defense is the biggest issue for the Hawks, as the depth drops sharply beyond Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook. There’s talk they could invite unrestricted free agent defenseman Cody Franson to training camp. If he plays well enough on a tryout basis, perhaps they could add him to an affordable one-year deal once Hossa is placed on LTIR. 

Rosen also replied a reader’s question over the possibility of the Detroit Red Wings landing New York Islanders center John Tavares via free agency next summer.  He thinks the odds are fair that the Wings will be in the market for him. However, it’ll take some work to free up sufficient salary-cap space to sign him and build a winning roster around him.

If Tavares hits the open market, Rosen doubts he’ll sign with a rebuilding club. He also believes Tavares will re-sign with the Islanders. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Tavares becomes an unrestricted free agent, and that’s by no means a certainty, I doubt he’ll head to Detroit. If the Wings were still a Stanley Cup contender as they were nearly a decade ago, it would be a different story. 

Regarding the New York Rangers, Rosen is leaning toward them trading for a center than a defenseman. He thinks they could shop blueliner Nick Holden to make room for young d-man Anthony DeAngelo.

Rosen feels Toronto’s Tyler Bozak would be a perfect third-line center for the Rangers but he wonders if the Leafs would want Holden, as well as what else they’d want in return. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt the Leafs are interested in swapping Bozak for Holden. I agree their defense still needs work but I don’t think Holden’s the answer. While Bozak’s a UFA next summer, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the Leafs re-signing him. 


NHL Rumor Roundup – July 26, 2017

NHL Rumor Roundup – July 26, 2017

It’s looking increasingly unlikely the Canadiens will bring back Andrei Markov.

Latest on the Rangers, Canadiens, Devils and Predators in your NHL rumor mill. 

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the New York Rangers “are expected to deal defenseman Nick Holden” to add depth at center if necessary. They also have until Thursday to decide if they’ll buy out veteran blueliner Marc Staal. While that move would free up over $3.6 million in salary-cap space for 2017-18, the Rangers would be carrying eight seasons of dead cap space. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can see the full breakdown of a possible Staal buyout at CapFriendly.com. I think they’ll hold off on that idea and see how Staal performs next season. If a buyout becomes necessary next summer, better to carry six years of dead cap space than eight. As for Holden, I believe the earliest he could be moved is in September when teams are evaluating their rosters in training camp and preseason play. 

LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Jean-Francois Chaumont speculates the Canadiens signing defenseman Mark Streit yesterday makes a return of Andrei Markov less likely. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Habs currently carry eight defensemen on one-way NHL contracts totally nearly $24 million. Still, they have over $8 million in salary-cap space. Markov seeks a two-year, $12 million contract and the Canadiens (and apparently, every other NHL club) won’t meet that demand. However, if he lowers his asking price, the Habs have the room to bring him back. 

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox reports New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall likes the moves his club made this summer and doesn’t think they’re finished. “We’ve got some good pieces. I don’t think they’re done by any means. I think there’s some things they’re still looking to do,” Hall said. Fox notes the Devils have roughly $19.42 million in salary-cap space with only restricted free agents Damon Severson and Stefan Noesen to re-sign. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils need help on defense and GM Ray Shero is reportedly keen to address that issue. Free agent options include Andrei Markov, Francois Beauchemin and Cody Franson. Shero might have better luck via the trade market in September, as he has some depth in prospects to offer up as trade bait to cap-strapped clubs looking to shed salary before the start of the season. 

THE TENNESSEAN: Adam Vingan reports Nashville Predators GM David Poile maintains he’s not touching his defense in the near future. The Preds carry eight defenseman for 2017-18 and Vingan speculates that provides the club with trade chips if an opportunity to improve the roster presents itself. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Poile seems especially unwilling to move top-four defensemen such as Roman Josi, P.K. Subban, Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm. 


NHL Rumor Mill – July 24, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – July 24, 2017

Will the New York Rangers buy out defenseman Marc Staal?

Updates on the Rangers, Red Wings and Golden Knights in your NHL rumor mill. 

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks wonders how the New York Rangers will address their third-pairing defense for 2017-18. With forward Jesper Fast starting the season on injured reserve, they could start the season carrying eight defensemen. He speculates over the futures of Marc Staal and Nick Holden, who both struggled through the second half of last season.

Buying out Staal in their 48-hour buyout window following the settlement of center Mika Zibanejad’s pending arbitration hearing would free up around $3.57 million in cap space for next season, but Brooks has doubts the Rangers will go that route. They could keep him for one more season in hopes he’ll have a healthy performance.  

Holden could be a trade candidate but moving him could prove difficult, especially with the Vegas Golden Knights attempting to peddle blueliners. Given the lack of depth in available centers, perhaps Holden could be converted into one. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zibanejad’s arbitration hearing is slated for July 25, but he’s likely to be re-signed before his hearing. It’ll be interesting to see if the Rangers buy out Staal within that 48-hour window, but I don’t think they’ll use that option. A buyout would count against the Rangers’  cap payroll for the next eight seasons. They could try moving one of their rearguards (such as Holden) in September during the training camp/preseason period. 

THE ATHLETIC: Craig Custance recently mused over how the Detroit Red Wings will address their salary-cap issues. They’ll eventually place sidelined forward Johan Franzen on long-term injured reserve, giving them around $900K in cap flexibility. However, that’s not enough to re-sign restricted free agent forward Andreas Athanasiou. Meanwhile, conversations are ongoing with unrestricted free agent winger Thomas Vanek, who spent most of last season in Detroit and has expressed interest in returning to the Wings.

Custance said the Wings don’t intend on buying anyone out, so that leaves a salary-dumping trade as an option. Trade candidates could include goaltender Petr Mrazek and forwards Gustav Nyquist and Riley Sheahan. They could also get some additional space by demoting a player to the minors. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the three, Nyquist would have the most trade value. He’s exceeded 40 points in each of the past four seasons. However, he carries a $4.75 million annual cap hit through 2018-19 and has a full no-trade clause. Last season’s horrible performances by Mrazek and Sheahan will adversely affect their value in the trade market.

NBC SPORTS: Cam Tucker cites a recent report in the Las Vegas Review Journal indicating Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee doesn’t seem in any hurry to trade a defenseman. “We’re at a manageable number right now,” said McPhee. “We’re pretty close to where we want to be and we’re comfortable with the roster we have.”

Once Nate Schmidt is re-signed, they’ll have 11 blueliners under contract. Five of them (Jason Garrison, Luca Sbisa, Clayton Stoner, Brayden McNabb and Derek Engelland) are eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer. Tucker speculates one of them could be peddled as a rental player to postseason contenders near next year’s trade deadline. McPhee’s made it clear he plans to retain Schmidt and Shea Theodore. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McPhee could move one or two defensemen in September, when teams are evaluating their rosters during training camp and preseason play. It’s obvious Schmidt and Theodore will be part of the Knights’ long-term plans.