NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 11, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 11, 2018

Red Wings re-sign Dylan Larkin plus updates on Henrik Zetterberg, Ryan Ellis, Brian Gionta and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: The Red Wings yesterday announced their re-signing of center Dylan Larkin to a five-year, $30.5-million contract. The annual average value is $6.1 million.

Detroit Red Wings re-signed center Dylan Larkin to a five-year contract (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Larkin’s getting a significant raise coming out of his entry-level contract. His bounce-back performance last season after struggling through his sophomore campaign convinced the Wings he’s worth this investment.

The Wings ensured their best forward is under contract long-term through most of his prime playing years for what could be considered reasonable dollars if he plays up to expectations over the term of this new deal.  He’ll also become eligible for unrestricted free agency at the end of this contract, putting him in line for an even bigger raise, from the Wings or someone else.

If last season is any indication, Larkin is poised to become one of the best two-way centers in the NHL. With Henrik Zetterberg’s career winding down, Larkin is the likely candidate to become the next Wings captain. He’s the foundation upon which their rebuild rests. 

THE DETROIT NEWS: Speaking of the Wings, general manager Ken Holland said the health of Henrik Zetterberg remains an unknown for the club. Holland said Zetterberg hasn’t been able to train this summer as he normally would because of his back. He said it’s something they’ll have to examine his status when training camp opens next month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Zetterberg doesn’t pass the team medical he could end up on long-term injured reserve to start the season. While his absence would give the Wings a measure of cap relief, it will also create a big hole at center that could prove difficult to fill, forcing them to lean more heavily on Larkin. 

TSN: Nashville Predators GM David Poile said his club has had “consistent and continual conversations” with defenseman Ryan Ellis, who is eligible for unrestricted free agent status next July.  Ellis is earning $2.5 million on his current deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ellis said he wants to retire with the Predators but it’s going to cost a lot of money to make that happen. It could cost the Predators over $7 million per season to keep him in the fold. As per Cap Friendly, they’ll have the salary-cap space to do so. However, it will still be an expensive investment, especially when they’ll have to face the same scenario next summer with Roman Josi. 

NHL.COM: Brian Gionta, 39, is acknowledging he may have played his final game in the NHL. If so, he’s prepared to walk away with no regrets. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gionta enjoyed a long and productive NHL career but it appears that his professional playing days are over. It appears he’s ready for the next stage, which could including coaching, scouting or management. 

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators yesterday signed free-agent forward Chase Balisy. 

SPORTSNET: Former Toronto Maple Leafs assistant GM Mark Hunter has returned to the OHL’s London Knights as general manager. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 3, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 3, 2018

Washington Capitals take a 2-1 lead in the Stanley Cup Final. Details and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov scored and Braden Holtby made 21 saves to give the Washington Capitals a 3-1 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 3 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final.  Jay Beagle also collected two assists. The win gives the Capitals a 2-1 series lead with Game 4 slated for Monday at 8 pm ET.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin led his club to a 3-1 win over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 3 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final (Photo via NHL Images).

 SPECTOR’S NOTE: Put simply, the Capitals’ best players rose to the occasion in this one while the Golden Knights’ best – except for goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury – did not.

Ovechkin played what I though was his best game of this series, scoring a goal, blocking shots and leading by example throughout this contest. The Capitals captain is definitely dialed in for this series. Kuznetsov showed no lingering effects from the upper-body injury (left wrist) suffered in the previous game. Apart from mishandling the puck behind his net resulting in Vegas’ only goal, Holtby played well in this one.

The Golden Knights, meanwhile, dropped back-to-back games for the first time in this postseason. Three of their leading playoff scorers (William Karlsson, Reilly Smith and James Neal) failed to register a shot and defenseman Shea Theodore had a horrible game. Overall, the Golden Knights’ game lacked  the energy we’ve come to expect from them. They’ll need a better effort in Game 4 to avoid a 3-1 series deficit heading back to Las Vegas. 

Winnipeg Jets center Paul Stastny is open to a possible return to the St. Louis Blues this summer. Stastny, who was dealt by the Blues to the Jets at the trade deadline, is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stastny has also said he’d be open to re-signing with the Jets, but I think he has a better chance of returning to St. Louis if the Blues are willing to bring him back. The Jets have several key players (notably Connor Hellebuyck, Jacob Trouba and Josh Morrissey) to re-sign this summer, and with Blake Wheeler, Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor due for new contracts next summer, they might not have enough salary-cap room for Stastny.

TORONTO SUN:  The New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings are interested in hiring former Toronto Maple Leafs assistant general manager Mark Hunter. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 23, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 23, 2018

Capitals and Lightning prepare for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final, Sharks and Evander Kane reportedly close to a long-term contract, and much more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

WASHINGTON POST: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin considers tonight’s Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning as “the biggest game in our life”. In 10 previous Game 7 scenarios during the Ovechkin era, the Capitals won just three of them.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: As the Lightning approach Game 7, they hope to rediscover the strong opening-period form of Game 5, where they scored twice and outshot the Capitals 13-4. “First period of Game 5, bottle that up and do it three times. We should be okay,” said head coach Jon Cooper.

Winger Evander Kane is close to signing a seven-year contract extension with the San Jose Sharks (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been a terrific series between these two clubs. With a trip to the Stanley Cup Final on the line, Game 7 could be the best of this series. 

NBC SPORTS: Various reports indicate the San Jose Sharks and pending free-agent winger Evander Kane are close to agreement on a seven-year contract worth $49 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While this deal reportedly isn’t finalized yet, it appears close to being completed. It’ll be a significant pay raise for the 26-year-old Kane, who’s completing a six-year, $31.5-million contract (stick tap to Cap Friendly). This deal would also ensure the draft pick the Sabres received in return will become a first-round selection.

Though Kane was plagued by personal issues in the past, he appears to have put that behind him. He meshed well with the Sharks following his trade from the Buffalo Sabres in late-February. Kane has four 20-goal seasons under his belt and his aggressive physical style made him a good fit in San Jose over the remainder of this season. 

Kane’s reported cap hit would push the Sharks’ cap payroll for next season to over $67 million. That could have an effect upon other possible re-signings, such as veteran center Joe Thornton, as well as any intention they have of being active in this summer’s unrestricted free-agent market. 

NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders formally introduced Lou Lamoriello as their president of hockey operations. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word from Lamoriello as to what’s in store for general manager Garth Snow or head coach Doug Weight. He also gave no indication as to his roster plans. Given he’s always been reticent, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Islanders captain (and pending free agent) John Tavares is reportedly pleased by Lamoriello’s hiring. Whether the move convinces him to re-sign with the Isles remains to be seen. 

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs and assistant general manager Mark Hunter have mutually agreed to part ways. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens re-signed backup goaltender Antti Niemi to a one-year, $950K contract. 

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks goaltender Ryan Miller underwent surgery last Friday to remove a bone fragment from his left wrist. Recovery time is expected to be six weeks. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW JOURNAL: Tickets for the first Stanley Cup Final game in Las Vegas are reportedly selling for as much as $10 grand on Stubhub. The average sales price on the site is over $1,100.00.