NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 29, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 29, 2019

Cam Ward retires with the Hurricanes, the Islanders re-sign Anthony Beauvillier, plus the latest on Zach Werenski, Andrei Markov, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Cam Ward yesterday signed a one-day contract with the Carolina Hurricanes and officially announced his retirement.

The 35-year-old goaltender spent all but one of his 14 NHL seasons with the Hurricanes, backstopping them to the Stanley Cup in 2006 and earning the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.  “He holds franchise records for career regular-season games (668), wins (318) winning percentage (.557), shutouts (27) and saves (17,261).”

Goaltender Cam Ward retires after 14 NHL seasons (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ward was the Hurricanes’ franchise goalie for most of his tenure in Carolina. From 2006-07 to 2011-12 he won 30-or-more games five times.

Unfortunately, he spent the bulk of his time playing on some bad Hurricanes clubs. Mounting injuries also affected his performance as his career went on. Had he been healthier and played on better teams throughout his career, perhaps he would’ve received more serious consideration as a Vezina Trophy candidate

SPORTSNET: The New York Islanders signed forward Anthony Beauvillier to a two-year contract. Financial terms weren’t disclosed but Cap Friendly reports the contract is worth $4.2 million with an annual average value of $2.1 million. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Beauvillier is coming off an entry-level contract. After netting 21 goals and 36 points in 71 games in 2017-18, his production slid last season to 18 goals and 28 points in 82 contests last season. The versatile forward also saw a drop in his penalty-killing time. That decline likely accounts for the modest raise. 

NBC SPORTS: San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane called out racism in hockey after a fan told him to “stick to basketball” in a recent Instagram comment. Kane claims another fan shouts a similar remark during a playoff game in Colorado last spring. 

THE SCORE: Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen expressed concern over the possibility Zach Werenski’s contract negotiations could carry over into training camp. “When it goes to training camp time, it takes away from that preparation. It takes away from the team. That’s what I’m concerned about.”

TSN: Andrei Markov has hired player agent Allan Walsh as he eyes a return to the NHL. The 40-year-old defenseman played his entire NHL career with the Montreal Canadiens but spent the past two seasons in the KHL. Markov would prefer returning to the Canadiens. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It remains to be seen if the Habs share his interest in a reunion. I’ll have more on Markov in the Rumors section. 

WGR550.COM: A neck injury will sidelined Buffalo Sabres defenseman Matt Hunwick for the entire 2019-20 season. He will be placed on long-term injury reserve.

TORONTO SUN: Hockey analysts Nick Kypreos and Doug MacLean are leaving Sportsnet.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I didn’t always agree with Kypreos and MacLean but they are well-connected and respected within the broadcasting community. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them landing with other networks in Canada or the United States. 

BARRIE TODAY: Former Montreal Canadiens forward Paul Meger passed away at age 90. Meger won a Stanley Cup with the Canadiens in 1953. His NHL career was cut short by a head injury after just five seasons. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Meger family and friends. 

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 10, 2018

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 10, 2018

Contract buyout candidates plus updates on Milan Lucic, Ilya Kovalchuk and Ian Cole in your Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

Could Dallas Stars center Jason Spezza become a buyout candidate? (Photo via NHL Images)


SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen recently listed Ottawa Senators winger Marian Gaborik, Philadelphia Flyers forward Jori Lehtera, Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Scott Darling, Dallas Stars center Jason Spezza, Minnesota Wild winger Tyler Ennis, San Jose Sharks defenseman Paul Martin, Calgary Flames right wing Troy Brouwer, and Columbus Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky as this year’s top-eight buyout candidates.

NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz lists Brouwer, PIttsburgh Penguins defenseman Matt Hunwick and Buffalo Sabres left wing Matt Moulson as “costly, but might be worth it” buyout candidates. He feels Lehtera and Ennis are definitely worth buying out but suggests Spezza might be worth retaining for the final year of his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The contract buyout period runs from June 15-30. Check out Cap Friendly for their buyout calculator.

Players with one year remaining on their contracts, such as Spezza, Lehtera, Ennis and Martin, are more likely to be bought out than those with two or more years remaining on their deals. For example, The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz reports being told there’s a “strong possibility” the Sharks buy out Martin later this month. 

Even then, that’s not a certainty. In April, Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said he doesn’t plan to buy out Lehtera though he doesn’t rule out changing his mind.  Boylen also reminds us players must be medically cleared before being eligible for buyouts. If Gaborik hasn’t fully recovered from recent back surgery, he’ll be ineligible for a buyout this month. 

I don’t expect the Hurricanes will buy out Darling this summer, as they’re likely to give him another shot at proving himself as a reliable starting goaltender. Dubinsky battled with injuries and personal issues this season, but given the Blue Jackets’ depth issues at center, I believe he’ll return with them in 2018-19. If the Penguins need more cap room to bring in depth elsewhere in the lineup, I can see them buying out the final two years of Hunwick’s contract. 


EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples is “somewhat optimistic” another NHL team will want to trade for Edmonton Oilers left wing Milan Lucic and his $6-million annual average value through 2022-23. Despite the troubling decline in Lucic’s offensive stats last season, Staples suggests we shouldn’t underestimate how some NHL GMs value size, toughness and past reputation. Lucic also has a full no-movement clause but there’s a belief he could be open to being dealt.

Staples colleague Jim Matheson believes there isn’t a rush on the Oilers part to move Lucic. “The only conceivable way the Oilers could trade Lucic today would be to take on somebody’s onerous long-term contract back, and maybe toss in a draft pick or prospect to sweeten the pot,” said Matheson, who feels there’s no real upside to trading him. He noted the Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks tried hard to sign Lucic in 2016 and wondered if they might still be interested in him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anything’s possible, of course, but I share Matheson’s doubts about the Oilers finding a trade partner to take on those remaining five years of Lucic’s contract. There was some speculation of a Lucic for Andrew Shaw swap with Montreal, but I think the Oilers would have to absorb part of Lucic’s cap hit to make it palatable for the Canadiens. Even then, the remaining years of his contract could be a deal breaker.


THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline recently reported Columbus Blue Jackets pending UFA defenseman Ian Cole is open to re-signing if he gets “the right offer” from the Jackets. Cole was acquired in February from the Pittsburgh Penguins in a three-way deal involving the Ottawa Senators and is completing a three-year deal worth an annual average value of $2.1 million. “He quickly became a stalwart for the Blue Jackets, joining David Savard on the No. 2 pair and the top penalty-kill unit,” writes Porzline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Blue Jackets have over $61.6 million invested in 19 players. Boone Jenner, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Ryan Murray are their restricted free agents and will all seek raises this summer. The Jackets aren’t expected to re-sign Jack Johnson and Thomas Vanek but could bring back Cole and Mark Letestu if their salary demands are realistic. They must also keep sufficient long-term cap space open for Artemi Panarin, Zach Werenski and Sergei Bobrovsky, who will become free agents next summer. 



Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – February 18, 2018

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – February 18, 2018

Latest on Erik Karlsson, Mike Hoffman, Mike Green, Chris Tanev and more in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

Is it possible the Ottawa Senators could move Erik Karlsson by the Feb. 26 trade deadline? (Photo via NHL Images)


SPORTSNET: Nick Kypreos said he keeps hearing that we shouldn’t be surprised if Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson is traded in the next nine days. While the Sens have sent the message out that Karlsson’s unavailable, a rival GM told Kypreos if they’re not prepared to make him the highest-paid player, why not explore his value in the trade market near the deadline when he still has a year left on his contract?

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anything’s possible and we probably shouldn’t totally dismiss the notion of Karlsson getting moved by the deadline. However, it’s that high asking price that makes such a move very difficult at this time of year.

Yes, I’m sure there are teams that would love to have Karlsson on their rosters for two playoff runs and first dibs at re-signing him. Acquiring him at the deadline, however, could mean a contender gives up one or two significant players in return, which could adversely affect their roster chemistry. Unless the Sens are willing to accept a package of picks and prospects as well as either take back some salary or retain part of Karlsson’s $6.5-million annual salary cap hit, that deal might not be possible at the trade deadline. 

Elliotte Friedman reports it’s believed the Winnipeg Jets inquired about Senators winger Mike Hoffman. However, it’s a difficult deal to do as the Jets are on his “no-trade” list plus the Sens have set a high asking price. He believes both clubs have moved on.

Friedman also reports there are teams (including the Toronto Maple Leafs) who’ve inquired about the availability of sidelined Vancouver Canucks defenseman Christopher Tanev. However, the Canucks have said it’ll take a special offer to do this.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m guessing that would mean a first-round draft pick and a top prospect. 

Chris Johnston reports the Nashville Predators are in the market for a top-six winger, but they could opt instead to bring in top prospect Eeli Tolvanen once his KHL season is over.

Kypreos reports the Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Ian Cole was the subject of trade speculation earlier in the season but it no longer appears he’s available. The Penguins instead have let other clubs know defenseman Matt Hunwick could be available. Shedding his salary could make it easier for them to add a third-line forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins GM Jim Rutherford recently said he’s “all-in” when it comes to bolstering his roster at the trade deadline. Doing so, however, means dumping some salary to free up cap space to bring in another player. TribLive.com’s Jonathan Bombulie believes it could mean moving Hunwick and perhaps a winger to pursue in a big fish such as Buffalo’s Evander Kane or Ottawa’s Derick Brassard, It’ll be interesting to see what Rutherford does over the next week. 

Friedman said it’s believed the Columbus Blue Jackets looked into the availability of former Jackets Derick Brassard (Ottawa) and Artem Anisimov (Chicago Blackhawks). The word is the Blackhawks intend to keep Anisimov.


MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports a source claims Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Green has agreed to waive his no-trade clause if a deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning can be arranged. He said the two teams have had ongoing discussions. The Wings would like the Lightning’s first-round pick in the 2018 draft. Failing that, they could look for a second-round pick plus a young player capable of stepping into their lineup next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The interest in Green also suggests the Lightning could be moving away from their rumored interest in New York Rangers blueliner Ryan McDonagh.

Khan also reports the Toronto Maple Leafs have spoken to the Wings about center Luke Glendening, as they’re seeking a fourth-line “shutdown guy”. The Wings’ asking price is said to be a decent draft pick or one of the Leafs good young prospects, such as winger Kasperi Kapanen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe the Leafs might consider offering up little-used forward Josh Leivo, who reportedly requested a trade several weeks ago. 

The Wings made a failed effort to move veteran goaltender Jimmy Howard to the New York Islanders, who declined to part with a high draft pick. The improved play of Isles goalies Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss could curtail further talks. They also offered Howard or Petr Mrazek to the Philadelphia Flyers, who lost starter Brian Elliott for several weeks to core muscle surgery. However, the Flyers indicated they’re not interested.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring a significant change in the fortunes of the Isles or Flyers, the Red Wings might not find any takers for Mrazek or Howard. 


ARIZONA SPORTS: Craig Morgan reports teams have inquired about Arizona Coyotes forward Max Domi and GM John Chayka is willing to listen to offers. However, Chayka claims he’s had “no active discussions” about trading the 22-year-old forward. Domi, meanwhile, said he’s trying not to pay attention to the trade chatter and insists he wants to remain with the Coyotes. Chayka also said people expecting the Coyotes to make a big splash at the trade deadline are going to be disappointed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s not going to stop the trade speculation, especially if Chayka is willing to listen to offers. The latest claims the Vancouver Canucks expressed interest in Domi and Tobias Rieder, but the Coyotes asking price is high. 


NHL Rumor Mill – February 17, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – February 17, 2018

The Blues and Senators could be talking trade, updated TSN trade bait list, the latest on the Bruins and more in your NHL rumor mill.

The St. Louis Blues are reportedly interested in Ottawa Senators winger Mike Hoffman (above) and teammate Derick Brassard (Photo via NHL Images).


SPORTNET: Josh Beneteau cite’s NHL.com’s Lou Korac reporting a source claiming the St. Louis Blues and Ottawa Senators are engaged in strong trade discussions regarding Senators forwards Mike Hoffman and Derick Brassard. If a deal is done, the Blues would acquire one or the other but not both. A potential package from the Blues to the Sens could include forwards Vladimir Sobotka, Patrick Berglund and Robby Fabbri.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blues general manager Doug Armstrong has indicated he’s seeking “hockey trades” rather than rentals. In other words, he wants players with term remaining on their contracts rather than pending UFAs who could bolt this summer. Hoffman or Brassard would fit the bill and could help bolster the Blues’ offense. 

I can understand the Senators interest in Fabbri, but his back-to-back knee injuries are a concern. Frequent reports out of Ottawa claimed the Senators wanted to get younger, but taking on the 30-year-old Sobotka and the 29-year-old Berglund flies in the face of that plan. The only reason I can see why the Senators would want those two is they carry reasonably affordable contracts


TSN: Frank Seravalli added four new names to his 40-name trade-bait list in Ottawa Senators center Derick Brassard (fourth), teammate Bobby Ryan (39th), Arizona Coyotes forward Max Domi (11th) and Anaheim Ducks center Antoine Vermette (26th). Brassard could be an attractive option in a market thin on quality centers. The Coyotes aren’t actively shopping Domi but “as many as 20 teams” are believed to have investigated his availability.

He also dropped Vegas Golden Knights forwards James Neal and David Perron as they seem likely to stay put at the deadline. Defenseman Dion Phaneuf was also dropped following his trade this week from Ottawa to Los Angeles, while it’s unlikely the Buffalo Sabres will trade forward Sam Reinhart.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ottawa pundits have consistently expressed the view that Brassard might not be available, but that could change if the Sens get a significant offer for him (see above). Unless the Sens are willing to pick up a big chunk of Ryan’s $7.25 million annual cap hit or take back a toxic contract in return, I doubt he’ll be moved.

Given Domi’s struggles this season I don’t think the Coyotes will move him while his value is low. He’s a restricted free agent this summer lacking arbitration rights so they’re not under any pressure to trade him. If the Ducks become sellers they could test Vermette’s trade value before the Feb. 26 deadline.


NBC SPORTS BOSTON/THE BOSTON GLOBE: Joe Haggerty cites a reports by the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson saying he’s heard the New York Rangers would want young Boston Bruns forward Jake DeBrusk included in any potential deal involving Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh. Haggerty also believes the Blueshirts would want defenseman Brandon Carlo and a first-round pick included in the deal.

The Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont also noted Matheson’s report, adding rumors have also linked the Bruins to Edmonton Oilers left wing Patrick Maroon and Vancouver Canucks forward Thomas Vanek.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Haggerty cautions Bruins GM Don Sweeney to tread carefully in the trade market and not do anything to significantly alter a Bruins’ roster that’s challenging for the Presidents’ Trophy. Removing multiple players to add someone like McDonagh could adversely affect team chemistry. Sweeney could make a bold move at the deadline, but with his club playing very well over the past three months, there’s really very little reason for him to do so. If he adds, it could be for an affordable depth forward.


WGR 550: TSN’s Darren Dreger said Friday he thinks the Buffalo Sabres could move veteran defenseman Josh Gorges at the trade deadline. He’s in the final season of his contract the Sabres are willing to absorb half of his $3.9-million cap hit. He speculates the St. Louis Blues could seek a depth defenseman and believes the Winnipeg Jets have kicked the tires.




NHL Rumor Mill – December 20, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – December 20, 2017

The holiday trade freeze is in effect but the rumors persist. Check out the latest on the Islanders, Penguins and Senators in your NHL rumor mill. 


FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites the reaction of TSN’s Darren Dreger regarding the news of the New York Islanders’ winning bid to construct a new arena at Belmont Park and its effect upon efforts to re-sign John Tavares. Dreger believes “the future of this organization in terms of their home was pretty high on the list of his (Tavares) criteria.” He feels this news “bodes well for Tavares potentially staying there long term.”

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien notes hockey analysts Jeremy Roenick and Keith Jones “feel a lot better about Tavares re-signing with the Islanders after recent developments.” He points out the chemistry between Tavares and linemates Josh Bailey and Anders Lee this season could also convince the Isles captain to stay put. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I also believe the arena news and the Isles on-ice performance this season could sway Tavares into re-signing a long-term deal. Yes, it’ll be expensive, probably eight years and over $11 million per season, but I don’t think term and salary are a sticking point for either side. 


TRIBLIVE.COM: Jason Bombulie reports Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said one reason he acquired defenseman Jamie Oleksiak yesterday from the Dallas Stars was the ability it gives him to make other deals. “If we were to move a defenseman going forward, I don’t get locked into having to get a defenseman back,” Rutherford said. “I have more flexibility now. If the right forward’s available, we can do it that way also.”

THE ATHLETIC: If Rutherford decides to shop a defenseman, Josh Yohe speculates it could be Ian Cole (a recent healthy scratch), Matt Hunwick or Chad Ruhwedel. The acquisition of Oleksiak give the Pens eight legitimate NHL defensemen. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite the early-season addition of Riley Sheahan, the Penguins still haven’t suitably addressed last summer’s departure of third-line center Nick Bonino via free agency. They need to find a skilled two-way center with skills comparable to Bonino. That move, however, likely won’t come until perhaps mid-January at the earliest. Cole was frequently mentioned as a potential trade candidate but Rutherford might have to package him with a draft pick or prospect to find that center for his third line. 


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports it’s well documented Senators GM Pierre Dorion was working the phones over the last 10 days in search of help for his struggling roster. With the holiday trade freeze in place, Dorion can continue talking to other GMs but he won’t be able to make a move until the freeze ends on Dec. 28 at 12:01 AM ET. However, he could wait until January to see where his club sits in the standings by that point before making a move.

It’s believed if Dorion makes a move he’ll want to bring in younger talent. “There’s interest in several of the club’s top players including winger Mike Hoffman, defenceman Cody Ceci, centre Jean-Gabriel Pageau and centre Derick Brassard,” said Garrioch. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Senators don’t show any significant improvement over the next couple of weeks it could be time to go into sell mode. Most of the recent buzz suggests Hoffman could attract the most interest in the trade market. 


Notable NHL Free Agent Signings – July 1, 2017

Notable NHL Free Agent Signings – July 1, 2017

New York Rangers sign Kevin Shattenkirk to a four-year contract.

The NHL free-agent period opened at noon ET today. Here’s a look at the day’s notable signings thus far. Analysis of the most noteworthy signings will follow later today in my Soapbox section.

Pittsburgh Penguins re-sign defenseman Justin Schultz to a three-year contract worth $5.5 million per season. 

San Jose Sharks have reportedly re-signed center Joe Thornton to a one-year, $6.5 million contract. 

Tampa Bay Lightning sign winger Chris Kunitz to a one-year, $2 million contract. 

Anaheim Ducks signed goaltender Ryan Miller to a two-year deal worth $2 million annually. 

Los Angeles Kings sign winger Mike Cammalleri to a one-year, bonus-laden contract with a $1 million base salary. 

Anaheim Ducks re-sign defenseman Cam Fowler to an eight-year, $52-million contract extension. The deal kicks in on July 1, 2018. 

San Jose Sharks re-signed defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic to an eight-year, $56 million contract extension and re-up goaltender Martin Jones to a six-year, $34.5 million extension.  Both deals commence on July 1, 2018. 

Pittsburgh Penguins sign goaltender Antti Niemi to a one-year, $750K contract. 

Buffalo Sabres sign goaltender Chad Johnson to a one-year, $2.5 million contract. 

Carolina Hurricanes sign winger Justin Williams to a two-year, $9 million contract.  

Pittsburgh Penguins sign defenseman Matt Hunwick to a three-year, $6.75 million contract. 

Winnipeg Jets sign goaltender Steve Mason to a two-year deal worth $4.1 million per season. 

Buffalo Sabres signed winger Benoit Pouliot to a one-year, $1.15 million contract. 

The Tampa Bay Lightning signed defenseman Dan Girardi to a two-year deal worth $3 million per season. 

The Detroit Red Wings signed defenseman Trevor Daley to a three-year, $9.5 million contract. 

TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports defenseman Dmitry Kulikov is heading to the Winnipeg Jets. Three years, $4.33 million AAV.

Center Brian Boyle is reportedly heading to the New Jersey Devils on a two-year deal. (Update: It’s two years, $5.5 million)

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports the Toronto Maple Leafs are signing defenseman Ron Hainsey to a two-year deal. (Update: $3 million per season. )

TSN’S Darren Dreger reports center Nick Bonino is joining the Nashville Predators. Four years, $4.1 million AAV.

NBC SPORTS cites a report from NHL Network’s Kevin Weekes saying the New York Rangers signed defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to a four-year deal worth $6.9 million per season.  TSN’s Frank Seravalli, however, reports Shattenkirk’s agent calls this premature, claiming his client is still considering his options. 

TSN contributor Aaron Ward reports hearing  the Montreal Canadiens have agreed to a five-year contract with defenseman Karl Alzner worth roughly $4.5 million annually. (Update: It’s a five-year, $23-million contract. $4.6 million AAV).

SPORTSNET’s Elliotte Friedman reports it looks like the Vancouver Canucks will sign forward Sam Gagner (three years, $3.15 million per). Defenseman Michael Del Zotto (two years, $3 million) goaltender Anders Nilsson (two years, $2.5 million AAV) and forward Alex Burmistrov are also expected to join the Canucks. 

 Winger Patrick Sharp is rejoining the Chicago Blackhawks. It’s reportedly a one-year, $1 million contract. ($800K base salary, $200K in bonuses).

Center Martin Hanzal is expected to join the Dallas Stars. (Update: Three years, $4.75 million annually). 

Goaltender Jonathan Bernier is joining the Colorado Avalanche. (Update: Two years, $2.75 million per season)

Goalie Ondrej Pavelec is heading to the New York Rangers. (Update: One year, $1.3 million).