NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 25, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 25, 2023

The Predators trade Ryan Johansen to the Avalanche, the Kings ship Sean Durzi to the Coyotes, the Hurricanes re-sign Jordan Staal, a major trade between the Flyers and Blues is in limbo and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW/NASHVILLE HOCKEY NOW: The Nashville Predators yesterday traded center Ryan Johansen to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for the rights to forward Alex Galchenyuk.

The Predators retained 50 percent of Johansen’s $8 million average annual value (AAV) through 2024-25. That leaves them with just one retained salary slot remaining on their salary-cap payroll as they’re also retaining $250K annually on Mattias Ekholm’s contract.

Nashville Predators trade Ryan Johansen to the Colorado Avalanche (NHL Images).

​SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a bold move by both clubs. The Avalanche envision Johansen as their second-line center for the next two seasons, which could mean the departure of J.T. Compher via the unrestricted free-agent market on July 1. The Predators free up $4 million in cap space for the next two years to put toward other moves.

Colorado Hockey Now’s Evan Rawal believes there is some risk here for the Avalanche. Johansen isn’t renowned for his speed which raises concern over how well he’ll fit within their up-tempo system, especially after coming off a season-ending cut to his ankle.

It’s unclear where the well-traveled Galchenyuk fits into the Predators’ plans. If they sign the 29-year-old forward he’ll likely end up in the minors. They could also use him as a trade chip or simply let him depart as a UFA on Saturday.

The Predators’ goal was to free up cap space and get younger and faster. Galcheyuk won’t help them with the latter but they can find a player who can with their new-found cap space.

LA HOCKEY NOW: The Los Angeles Kings traded defenseman Sean Durzi to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for a 2024 second-round pick that originally belonged to the Montreal Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reports indicate Durzi was traded in part to free up salary-cap space (in this case, $1.7 million) and to make room for budding young blueliner Brandt Clarke. This move is also sparking speculation that the Kings are clearing cap room for another move, perhaps the addition of a certain Winnipeg Jets center. I’ll have more in the Rumor Mill.

The Coyotes, meanwhile, bolster their depth on the right side of the blueline. Durzi, 24, is a skilled defenseman who can skate on the right or left side of the blueline. A gritty puck-moving rearguard, he had 38 points in 72 games last season with the Kings. His youth and skills should fit in well with the rebuilding Coyotes.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Carolina Hurricanes have signed captain Jordan Staal to a four-year contract extension with an AAV of $2.9 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staal, 34, indicated at the end of this season that he wanted to finish his career with the Hurricanes. Acquired from Pittsburgh in 2012, he’s their longest-serving active player.

The cap hit is a considerable drop from the $6 million annually of his previous contract though at this stage of his career isn’t a surprise. The length of the deal, however, raises some eyebrows when one remembers that Staal turns 35 in September and his performance will inevitably decline. However, it’s not a plus-35 contract so the Hurricanes won’t be penalized if he retires before it expires.

THE ATHLETIC: Charlie O’Connor and Jeremy Rutherford report the Philadelphia Flyers were close on Saturday to trading Kevin Hayes to the St. Louis Blues in a multiplayer deal but it’s now in limbo after one of the players in the deal refused to waive their no-trade clause.

The trade would’ve sent Hayes and defenseman Travis Sanheim to the Blues with the Flyers retaining “a significant amount” of Haye’s $7.14 million AAV over the next three years, perhaps up to half of it. In return, the Blues would send a defenseman plus one of their three 2023 first-round picks to the Flyers.

Sanheim is about to start an eight-year, $50 million contract with a full no-trade clause. However, that deal doesn’t go into effect until July 1. The Flyers are rebuilding and the 27-year-old’s age and looming new contract would no longer make him an ideal fit.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Lou Korac reports Torey Krug is believed to be the player tying up this deal. The 32-year-old blueliner has three years remaining on his contract with an AAV of $6.5 million and a full no-trade clause (NTC).

Korac indicates multiple sources say Justin Faulk, Colton Parayko and Nick Leddy were not approached by the Blues to waive their NTCs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It remains to be seen if this trade can be salvaged. There’s talk it could end up being just Hayes heading to St. Louis with 50 percent salary retained.

THE ATHLETIC: Speaking of the Flyers, they’re reportedly closing in on a trade to send Tony DeAngelo back to the Carolina Hurricanes. The deal could be completed on Sunday.

The Flyers previous management acquired DeAngelo from the Hurricanes last summer for three draft picks and signed him to a two-year contract with an AAV of $5 million. Reports indicate they will ship him to the Hurricanes with 50 percent of salary retained in return for a late-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeAngelo turned out to be a poor fit within head coach John Tortorella’s system. With the Flyers rebuilding under new general manager Daniel Briere, they apparently just want to wash their hands of DeAngelo and get him off their roster.

DAILY FACEOFF: The St. Louis Blues did make one notable move on Saturday by re-signing defenseman Scott Perunovich to a one-year, $775K contract.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes are close to re-signing goaltender Connor Ingram to a three-year contract with an AAV believed to be $1.95 million.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 16, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 16, 2023

A record-setting performance for Coyotes goalie Connor Ingram, Bally Sports financial woes could affect 12 NHL teams and Alex Ovechkin mourns his father’s death. Details on these and other stories in today’s Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: A record-setting shutout performance by Connor Ingram carried the Arizona Coyotes to a 1-0 upset of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Ingram’s 47 saves were the most by a goalie in his first NHL shutout in league history. Nick Schmaltz and Clayton Keller scored in the shootout for the 19-28-8 Coyotes. Steven Stamkos replied in the shootout for the Lightning (35-16-3) as they dropped into third place in the Atlantic Division with 73 points.

Arizona Coyotes goaltender Connor Ingram (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning played without defenseman Erik Cernak as he’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

The Toronto Maple Leafs downed the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2. William Nylander scored his 30th goal of the season and collected two points while Auston Matthews scored the winning goal in his return to action after missing five games with a sprained knee. With the win, the 33-14-8 Leafs vaulted over the Lightning into second place in the Atlantic Division with 74 points. The Blackhawks dropped to 16-32-5.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Blackhawks placed captain Jonathan Toews on injured reserve. He’s been sidelined for five games by a non-COVID-related illness.

New York Rangers forwards Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad each scored two goals and collected an assist in a 6-4 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. The Rangers (32-14-8) have won six straight and sit three points behind the second-place New Jersey Devils in the Metropolitan Division with 72 points. Elias Pettersson and Andrei Kuzmenko each had two points for the Canucks as they fell to 21-30-4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and forward Curtis Lazar left this game with lower-body injuries. In his post-game interview, head coach Rick Tocchet said the severity of Ekman-Larsson’s injury was unknown but Lazar’s might not be serious.

The Colorado Avalanche got a 41-save performance from Alexandar Georgiev to hold off the Minnesota Wild by a score of 3-2. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist as the Avalanche improved to 29-19-5 and remain third in the Central Division with 63 points. Kirill Kaprizov netted his 31st goal of the season for the Wild (28-21-5) as they’ve dropped five of their last six games and slipped out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 61 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche defenseman Josh Manson returned to the lineup after missing 31 games with a lower-body injury. Wild blueliner Calen Addison was a healthy scratch from this contest.

Shootout goals by David Perron and Pius Suter lifted the Detroit Red Wings to a 5-4 upset of the Edmonton Oilers. Dylan Larkin and Robby Fabbri each had a goal and an assist while Ville Husso turned aside 41 shots for the Red Wings (25-20-8) as they sit four points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 58 points. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored twice and Connor McDavid collected two assists for the 30-19-6 Oilers as they hold the first Western Conference wild-card berth with 66 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Red Wings’ call-up Jakub Vrana was a healthy scratch from this game while defenseman Jake Walman remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

The Buffalo Sabres snapped a four-game losing skid by downing the Anaheim Ducks 7-3. Seven Sabres, including Rasmus Dahlin, Dylan Cozens and Alex Tuch, collected two points each as they improved to 27-22-4 to sit four points out of the final Eastern wild-card berth with 58 points. Cam Fowler tallied twice for the Ducks as they dropped to 17-32-6 on the season.


ESPN.COM: The owner of Bally Sports regional networks skipped $140 million in interest payments due Wednesday, starting a 30-day grace period that could be the prelude to a bankruptcy filing.

Bally is owned by Diamond Sports Group, a subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. It provides regional coverage to 12 NHL teams.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those 12 NHL teams are the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues, Minnesota Wild, Detroit Red Wings, Columbus Blue Jackets, Nashville Predators, Carolina Hurricanes, Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers.

The Athletic’s Michael Russo tweeted yesterday that the NHL Board of Governors held an impromptu conference call to discuss the situation. No word yet from the league regarding the outcome of those talks.

This isn’t expected to affect regional coverage for the remainder of this season as the rights for those games were already paid before the start of the season. However, it will be a problem for next season and beyond if the league is left scrambling to find a replacement for Bally.

This won’t affect the salary cap for 2023-24 as that’s based on hockey-related revenue earned this season. However, it could have a substantial impact on the cap for 2024-25.

The salary cap is projected to increase by just $1 million for next season as the players still have to pay back the remainder of their escrow debt to the owners arising from the shortened seasons due to the pandemic. There is speculation suggesting the league and NHLPA perhaps reaching an agreement to increase it by up to five percent.

For 2024-25, the salary cap is forecast to jump to between $3.5 million and $4 million, rising to between $87.5 million and $88 million for 2024-25. It is also projected to rise by $4 million in 2025-26 to $92 million. However, the potential hit to hockey-related revenue from losing Bally’s regional coverage could adversely affect those projections.

TSN: The Los Angeles Kings signed defenseman Mikey Anderson to an eight-year, $33-million contract extension on Wednesday. The average annual value will be $4.125 million starting in 2023-24.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a reasonable cap hit for Anderson, who is on a one-year, $1 million contract this season and was slated to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer.

The 23-year-old defenseman is earning first-pairing minutes alongside Kings blueline stalwart Drew Doughty. He can move the puck, play a solid physical game in his own zone, and leads the Kings in short-handed ice time per game (2:26) this season.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin announced the death of his father Mikhail on Wednesday. He was 71 years old. Ovechkin will be away from the Capitals for an undetermined period of time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Ovechkin and his family.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 26, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 26, 2021

The Canucks crush the Senators, last week’s three stars are announced, the latest on Pierre-Luc Dubois and David Pastrnak, plus injury/illness updates and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Brandon Sutter tallied his first career NHL hat trick and Thatcher Demko made 35 saves as the Vancouver Canucks thrashed the Ottawa Senators 7-1. Bo Horvat collected two assists while Tanner Pearson had a goal and an assist. The Senators have dropped five straight games.

Vancouver Canucks center Brandon Sutter (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A big win for the Canucks as their recent struggles were cause for concern among their followers. The two clubs meet again on Wednesday and finish their three-game series on Thursday.

Montreal Canadiens winger Tyler Toffoli, Dallas Stars center Joe Pavelski and Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Jan. 24.

TSN: Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen refuted any notion that last year’s contract negotiations with Pierre-Luc Dubois led to the 22-year-old center being traded on Saturday to the Winnipeg Jets.

Dubois suggested in a recent interview that those discussions led in part to his trade request. “That’s just flat out not true at all and he knows that, so I don’t know why he would say that or even insinuate something like that, because it’s not true,” said Kekalainen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The real reason for Dubois’ trade request will be a hot topic for some time. Some believe it was his relationship with Jackets coach John Tortorella but Dubois has denied this.

There are also lots of guessing behind the trade request of Patrik Laine, who the Jackets swapped for Dubois. Some condemn Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, head coach Paul Maurice and Jets leaders Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele for creating a supposed toxic atmosphere that drove Laine away. Others blame the winger’s perceived lackadaisical approach.

CBS SPORTS: David Pastrnak could return to action with the Boston Bruins as soon as Saturday. The 24-year-old winger has been sidelined by offseason hip surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s good news for a Bruins’ offense that has been inconsistent without their leading goal scorer.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat and defenseman Adam Boqvist were added to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list on Monday. There’s no confirmation either player has tested positive for the coronavirus.

THE SCORE: The NHL postponed Tuesday’s games between the Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning. It’s the fourth consecutive Hurricanes game to be postponed. The club currently has five players on the COVID-19 protocol list with three confirmed to have tested positive. The league has released new dates for each of the postponed contests.

TSN: Edmonton Oilers winger Tyler Ennis and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Greg Pateryn were placed on waivers Monday. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Mitchel Stephens is sidelined indefinitely with a lower-body injury while defenseman Erik Cernak is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins center Evan Rodrigues is sidelined indefinitely with an apparent lower-body injury suffering during a collision with New York Rangers forward Filip Chytil on Sunday.

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Former Coyotes GM John Chayka has been suspended to the end of 2021 by the NHL for conduct detrimental to the league and the game. The suspension is reportedly due to Chayka’s departure from the Coyotes last summer.

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators goaltender Connor Ingram will be away from the club for an indefinite period as he voluntarily entered the league’s player assistance program.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Goaltender Scott Darling has signed a professional tryout offer with the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate in Rockford, Illinois. Darling spent three seasons with the Blackhawks from 2014-15 to 2016-17, helping them win the Stanley Cup in 2015.