NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 28, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 28, 2023

The Flames re-sign Mikael Backlund and name him their new captain while dealing with the tragic news about assistant GM Chris Snow, the latest on Patrick Kane, recaps of Wednesday’s preseason action and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed center Mikael Backlund to a two-year contract extension and named him their captain. The average annual value of his new deal is $4.5 million.

Calgary Flames center Mikael Backlund (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a significant move by the Flames. Backlund, 34, was slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. He was among a handful of players who seemed non-committal about signing contract extensions following a disappointing 2022-23 season for the club. This move could encourage notable pending UFAs such as Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin to consider inking new deals with the Flames.

At the same time, the Flames were dealing with the news that assistant general manager Chris Snow became unresponsive and went into cardiac arrest yesterday. His wife Kelsie announced on social media that paramedics were able to get his heart beating again but he suffered a catastrophic brain injury caused by lack of oxygen. He is not expected to regain consciousness.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Snow has been battling ALS since 2019 and survived three years longer than expected after being given a year to live. My sincere condolences to Snow’s family, friends and the Flames organization.

The Flames also announced yesterday that winger Jakob Pelletier will miss the start of the season as he recovers from shoulder surgery. He will be sidelined indefinitely.

TSN: The agency representing Patrick Kane released a video yesterday highlighting his conditioning routine as he recovers from an offseason hip resurfacing procedure.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A number of teams are reportedly interested in signing Kane once he’s ready to return to action later this season. This video was obviously released as a way to update those clubs on the medical status of their client.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Washington Capitals defenseman Joel Edmundson underwent surgery for a fractured hand suffered during a recent scrimmage. He will be sidelined for four-to-six weeks.

NEW YORK POST: An undisclosed injury has kept Islanders winger Kyle Palmieri sidelined through the first week of training camp. It’s uncertain if he’ll be ready to play when the season begins next month.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars winger Roope Hintz is dealing with an upper-body injury but isn’t expected to be out for long. Meanwhile, young forward Chase Wheatcroft’s training camp is over after suffering a fracture in Tuesday’s game against the Minnesota Wild.

TORONTO SUN: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman hinted the skills competition for the 2024 NHL All-Star Game in Toronto could be toned down.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, it’ll be less gimmicky compared to recent years. 


NHL.COM: Connor McDavid scored in overtime to lift the Edmonton Oilers over the Vancouver Canucks 2-1. Ryan-Nugent Hopkins also scored for the Oilers while Stuart Skinner made 21 saves. Quinn Hughes replied for the Canucks as Casey DeSmith stopped 27 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Canucks announced they will induct Roberto Luongo into their Ring of Honour on Dec. 14. The Hall-of-Fame goaltender spent nearly eight seasons with the Canucks from 2006-07 to 2013-14.

The Montreal Canadiens got goals from Juraj Slafkovsky and Cole Caufield to nip the Ottawa Senators 4-3. Caufield finished with a goal and an assist while teammate Nick Suzuki collected two assists.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens defenseman Mike Matheson was a late scratch with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day. Meanwhile, Senators center Josh Norris is getting closer to returning to action as he shed his yellow no-contact jersey and participated in full drills yesterday.

Max Domi scored his first goal of this preseason as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-2 at Joe Thornton Community Centre in St. Thomas as part of Kraft Hockeyville.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs pulled defenseman John Klingberg (muscle tightness) during the second period as a precautionary measure. Meanwhile, Leafs forward Dylan Gambrell is sidelined indefinitely after suffering a concussion in practice on Tuesday.

Three consecutive third-period goals lifted the Carolina Hurricanes to a 4-1 victory over the Florida Panthers. It was the first time head coach Rod Brind’Amour had to face his son Skyler in an NHL game.

The New York Islanders took a two-goal lead over the Philadelphia Flyers and held on for a 2-1 victory. Isles goalie Ilya Sorokin made 12 saves before giving way midway through the second period by Kenneth Appleby, who stopped 17 shots.

An overtime goal by Tyler Motte lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Nashville Predators 2-1.

The Vegas Golden Knights downed the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 on an overtime tally by Tyler Madden. Akil Thomas had a hat trick for the Golden Knights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Prior to the game, the Golden Knights announced that defenseman Zach Whitecloud is out indefinitely as he continues to receive treatment for an injury suffered on Monday against the Colorado Avalanche.

The Anaheim Ducks doubled up the San Jose Sharks 4-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a costly defeat for the Sharks as winger Filip Zadina and defenseman Radim Simek left the game with injuries.

A shootout goal by Andrew Mangiapane gave the Calgary Flames a 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Rookie goalie Dustin Wolf made 19 saves for the Flames while Jets netminder Connor Hellebuyck kicked out 18 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Winnipeg Jets forward Cole Perfetti exited this game in the second period after being hit in the head by Flames forward Martin Pospisil, who received a match penalty. The Jets held Perfetti out from the remainder of this game for precautionary reasons but is not in concussion protocol. Meanwhile, Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers remains sidelined by a neck injury.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 22, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 22, 2023

Marc-Andre Fleury ponders his future, sale of the Senators receives league approval, plus the latest on Logan Couture, Robin Lehner, Max Pacioretty and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Marc-Andre Fleury is entering his 20th NHL season but hasn’t decided yet if it will be his last. The 38-year-old Minnesota Wild goaltender is in the final season of his contract and said he’ll play out this campaign before evaluating if he’ll continue his playing career.

Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

Fleury has 544 career wins. He needs just eight more victories to pass Patrick Roy for second place on the all-time wins list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s hard to believe sometimes that Fleury’s been in the NHL this long. I told one of my social media followers that it seemed like I was watching him play in the QMJHL with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles yesterday. That was over 20 years ago.

OTTAWA SUN: The sale of the Ottawa Senators to billionaire Michael Andlauer finally received formal approval from the NHL Board of Governors yesterday. At $950 million dollars, it’s the highest price ever paid to purchase an NHL franchise.

Following the purchase, Andlauer released an open letter to Senators fans stating that his goal is to bring the Stanley Cup to Ottawa. He also sought to assure them about the club’s future under his ownership. “My partners and I may be the team owners on paper, but this team truly belongs to Ottawa-Gatineau,” he wrote. “I promise to take care of your team with the utmost respect, integrity and care both on and off the ice.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The late Eugene Melnyk deserves credit for rescuing the Senators nearly 20 years ago (with the help of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman) and keeping them in Ottawa at a time when the franchise was bankrupt and on the verge of relocation. Nevertheless, Melnyk’s mercurial style and front-office meddling generated uncertainty and concern among Senators fans over the quality of the on-ice product and the club’s future in Ottawa.

A new era has begun for the Senators. Andlauer was a minority owner of the Montreal Canadiens before purchasing the Sens. He knows the league, understands the business of hockey, and appears determined to bring stability to this franchise and a winning product on the ice. He still has to navigate toward the construction of a new downtown arena but the odds appear better under his stewardship than they were during the final years of Melnyk’s tenure.

Speaking of the Senators, center Josh Norris downplayed concern regarding a minor shoulder ailment that saw him start training camp with a yellow non-contact jersey. “I think they’re looking out for me and I totally get it,” said Norris, who missed all but eight games last season to shoulder surgery. He said he didn’t want to be in that jersey but acknowledged it was probably the best thing to take precautions and be ready for the start of the season.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: The rebuilding Sharks got bad news as team captain Logan Couture will miss the start of training camp. He’s listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury that he suffered during offseason training.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s no timeline for Couture’s return. It’s uncertain if he’ll be ready for the club’s season debut on Oct. 12.

DAILY FACEOFF: Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner remains sidelined indefinitely and will start the season on long-term injured reserve. He missed all of last season recovering from hip surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The reports also indicated that some wonder if Lehner will ever play again. He’s signed through 2024-25 with an average annual value of $5 million.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of uncertain injury recovery timelines, Capitals winger Max Pacioretty has “no concrete timetable yet” for when he’ll join his new club. The 34-year-old winger played only five games last season with the Carolina Hurricanes as he was twice sidelined by a torn right Achilles tendon. He signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Capitals this summer as a free agent.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams continues to work on getting young defensemen Rasmus Dahlin and Owen Power under contract extensions before the start of this season. The two sides appear to be closing in on deals following a week of intense negotiations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dahlin and Power are the linchpins of the rebuilding Sabres’ blueline. It’s not surprising that Adams hopes to sign the two defensemen to long-term contracts with average annual values that could become team-friendly over the course of their playing prime.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Speaking of the Sabres, promising forward Matt Savoie is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury suffered during a prospects tournament game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks opened training camp missing three of their young core players. Center Trevor Zegras and defenseman Jamie Drysdale are still without new contracts as negotiations continue with management. Meanwhile, forward Mason MacTavish was dealing with a muscle spasm.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacTavish could rejoin his teammates as early as today. It’s uncertain as to when Zegras and Drysdale will be under contract. Reports from earlier this week claimed there’s a “wide gap” between them and management over what their new deals will look like.

THE DENVER POST: Valeri Nichushkin has rejoined his Colorado Avalanche teammates for the first time since taking a leave of absence from the club during their first-round series against the Seattle Kraken in April. The 28-year-old winger was welcomed back by his teammates “with open arms”.

Nichushkin’s departure was the result of an incident in Seattle in which a team doctor found an intoxicated woman in the winger’s hotel room and called an ambulance, according to a police report. He was not disciplined over the incident by the team or the league and faced no charges over the incident.

I know you guys want to find something there, but it’s nothing really interesting,” Nichushkin told the media. “I think we should close it. It’s a new season right now. We have to focus on that.” He said that his extended absence from the Avs was due to a “family reason.”

CALGARY SUN: Oliver Kylington missed the start of Flames training camp without indicating when he’ll return to action. The 26-year-old defenseman missed all of last season to focus on his mental health. It was expected that he would rejoin his teammates this season after arriving in Calgary last week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kylington talked about his mental health during an interview this summer. He said he was looking forward to joining his Flames teammates this season. Here’s hoping he continues to get the help he needs to deal with this issue.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Sticking with the Flames, Nikita Zadorov has openly opposed his home country’s invasion of Ukraine. The Russian defenseman is the sole NHLer among his countrymen to speak out against the invasion. He said he’s aware of the consequences he might face but claimed there are “a lot of people who have the same view as me in Russia.”

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Islanders winger Oliver Wahlstrom skated with the Islanders for the first time since suffering a season-ending lower-body injury last December. Defenseman Alex Romanov also joined his teammates, dispelling concerns that he might miss the start of training camp rehabbing from offseason shoulder surgery.

TSN: Vancouver Canucks winger Ilya Mikheyev left training camp for personal reasons. He’s been sidelined since January with a knee injury and underwent surgery the following month.

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Chris Wideman is sidelined indefinitely with a back injury.


NHL Rumor Mill – September 21, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – September 21, 2023

Re-signing Steven Stamkos could be complicated for the Lightning, a trio of Islanders forwards face questions this season, and the Predators had goalie Yaroslav Askarov’s name in the trade market earlier this summer. Details in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Shayna Goldman, Joe Smith and Dom Luszczyszyn examined the complications facing the Tampa Bay Lightning in re-signing Steven Stamkos. The 33-year-old Lightning captain raised eyebrows yesterday when he expressed his disappointment over the lack of talks with management regarding a contract extension.

Stamkos is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. He’s in the final season of an eight-year contract with an average annual value of $8.5 million. He told reporters he’s “ready whenever” the club wants to engage in contract talks.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

The Lightning have a projected $75 million invested in 16 players for 2024-25. With the cap projected to rise by $4 million next season, they’ll have just over $12 million in cap space.

Evolving-Hockey’s projection for Stamkos’ next contract is a three-year deal with an AAV of $7.6 million. A comparable contract could be Anze Kopitar’s two-year extension ($7 million AAV) signed this summer with the Los Angeles Kings.

Stamkos is still performing on a level that justifies his current $8.5 million AAV. Luszczyszyn believes it doesn’t warrant the type of discount that the Lightning can fit within its cap structure.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I know this isn’t a trade or free-agent rumor but Stamkos’ contract situation will be worth monitoring this season in the wake of his comments yesterday.

He wants to finish his NHL playing career with the only team he’s ever skated for and they want to keep him. The devil, of course, is in the salary-cap details.

Stamkos accepted less than market value on his current contract with the Lightning. He benefited from living in Florida where there is no state tax. He’s fully aware of the club’s salary-cap limitations and could be receptive to accepting a pay cut to finish his career in Tampa Bay. How much of a cut he’ll accept, however, could be the sticking point.

Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois has said Stamkos will have to wait until the end of this season for contract talks to begin. I don’t think that’s going to lead to a situation where Stamkos demands a trade or BriseBois considers shopping him by the March 8 trade deadline.

Nevertheless, I wouldn’t be surprised if Stamkos’ name surfaces in the rumor mill leading up to deadline day, especially if the Lightning struggle to remain among the league’s elite clubs. Their roster corps has played a helluva lotta hockey since 2014-15, with four trips to the Stanley Cup Final (including two championships) and two appearances in the Eastern Conference Finals.

That wear and tear could catch up with them this season, especially considering how much their roster depth has been depleted in recent years by the high cost of retaining their best core players. If it does, some pundits could start mentioning Stamkos as a trade candidate.


THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz recently raised a list of one question for each New York Islanders player entering this season.

Among them was wondering whether Jean-Gabriel Pageau will finish this season with the Islanders. He frequently came up in trade rumors this season due to the club’s current glut of centers. If Bo Horvat remains at center, Pageau could be shopped for a goal-scoring winger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pageau, 30, carries a $5 million annual cap hit through 2025-26 along with a 16-team no-trade list. He won’t be easy to move with so many clubs pressed for cap space. Such a deal might take place by the trade deadline when some clubs have accrued sufficient cap space, provided they’re not on his no-trade list.

Winger Oliver Wahlstrom will be worth watching as he attempts to rebound from the knee injury that prematurely ended his 2022-23 campaign. If his impact this season is minimal. Kurz suggests he could be moved.

This season could be the last with the Islanders for Matt Martin. The 34-year-old grinding forward is in the final season of his contract.


THE TENNESSEAN (via YAHOO! SPORTS): Paul Skrbina reports Nashville Predators general manager Barry Trotz admitted he had Yaroslav Askarov’s name “out there” leading up to the 2023 NHL Draft in June.

If you’re trying to move up in the draft as far as I wanted to, that’s going to take your best prospect,” said Trotz. “I was going, ‘I got good goalies but I could use a young center man that could be dynamic.”

Trotz has starting goalie Juuse Saros under contract for two more seasons at a team-friendly $5 million AAV. Askarov, meanwhile, has at least another year to develop. Trotz intends to speak with Saros and his agent about the future.

There’s nothing to say that we can’t have Saros and Askarov,” said Trotz. “You don’t have to move one of those guys.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trotz took over from long-time Predators GM David Poile earlier this year. He’s already shown a willingness to make bold moves. Shopping Askarov in an attempt to move up to land a prospect center indicates that he’s willing to entertain all options.

Saros has also come up at times this year as a trade candidate. I don’t see the Predators moving him until Askarov’s ready. How much of a pay raise Saros will seek on his next contract will also determine Askarov’s future in Nashville.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 14, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 14, 2023

Matthew Tkachuk is ready to start the season, Josh Bailey bids farewell to the Islanders and their fans, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk has recovered from the fractured sternum suffered during the 2023 Stanley Cup Final and is looking forward to the start of training camp. “I am feeling great,” said Tkachuk.

Florida Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s good news for the Panthers, who will be starting the season with top two defensemen Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour sidelined by offseason shoulder surgeries. Tkachuk can’t help them defensively but the two-time 100-point winger and 2023 playoff hero will be a key cog in their offensive attack.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Former long-time Islanders winger Josh Bailey bid farewell to the club and its fans in a letter posted on The Players’ Tribune.

I want to thank not just this great fan base, but the people of Long Island as a whole,” wrote Bailey. He indicated that Long Island will always be home for himself and his family.

A first-round pick (ninth overall) by the Islanders in the 2008 NHL Draft, the 33-year-old Bailey spent 15 seasons with the club. He was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks in June, who bought out the final season of his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The recent decline in Bailey’s production led to his trade and contract buyout. The unrestricted free agent faces an uncertain future as he’s yet to land with another NHL club as training camp approaches.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The paint job on Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov’s new mask resembles that of former Leafs netminder Curtis Joseph.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Samsonov can channel prime “CuJo” the Leafs will be in good shape between the pipes this season.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of goaltending, the Devils brought back Keith Kinkaid on a one-year, two-way contract worth $775K at the NHL level.

ESPN.COM: The NHL is considering making changes to their digital ad boards following complaints from fans regarding technical glitches and other issues that were found distracting to ongoing play. The league considers the criticism as coming from a “vocal minority”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The ads haven’t bothered me but I have noticed some glitches at times. That’s to be expected from this type of technology and will likely be corrected over time. Some critics on social media want the ads to be removed. Judging by the league’s tone, that’s not going to happen.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes majority owner Alex Meruelo is looking to buy out the minority stake in the club from Andrew Barroway, who owns five percent of the club. Barroway took over majority ownership of the club in 2014 until Meruelo acquired the controlling interest in the club in 2019.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 12, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 12, 2023

Quinn Hughes named the Canucks’ new captain, the Avalanche hope Gabriel Landeskog can return for the 2024 playoffs, Zach Parise not returning to the Islanders to start the season, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks yesterday named Quinn Hughes as their new captain. He replaces Bo Horvat, who was traded in January to the New York Islanders. The 23-year-old defenseman is entering his sixth season with the Canucks and is the 15th captain in franchise history.

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hughes got the nod over such notable teammates as J.T. Miller and Elias Pettersson. The respect that he has from his teammates appears to have factored into this move by the club. Horvat spoke to Hughes on Sunday before the announcement was made and took to Instagram to praise the new captain.

THE ATHLETIC: Colorado Avalanche general manager Chris MacFarland is hoping that team captain Gabriel Landeskog can return to the lineup for the 2024 playoffs. The 30-year-old left winger will miss the 2023-24 regular season recovering from the knee injury that sidelined him for the entirety of last season.

There’s still so much to be gleaned from this,” said MacFarland. “It’s hard to put a timeline on it.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Landeskog underwent three surgeries on his knee in the previous two years. If he misses this season and the playoffs his playing career could be over.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello yesterday said that Zach Parise will not be returning to the club for the start of the season. The 39-year-old free-agent winger remains with his family in Minnesota. Lamoriello left the door open for a possible return later in the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Parise isn’t signing with another club nor is he retiring. He appears to be taking some more time to see if he wants to play one more NHL season.

DAILY FACEOFF: Speaking of the Islanders, Alexander Romanov could miss the start of training camp following offseason shoulder surgery. Lamoriello said the 23-year-old defenseman is progressing well and should return to the lineup soon.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens named Mike Matheson as an alternate captain. He replaces Joel Edmundson, who was traded to the Washington Capitals in July. The 29-year-old defenseman is thrilled by the news. “I grew up in Montreal, idolizing this team,” he said, calling it a “pinch-myself moment.”

DAILY FACEOFF: In other Canadiens news, Christian Dvorak has not been medically clear to start the coming season. The 27-year-old forward underwent season-ending knee surgery in March.

CAROLINA HOCKEY NOW: The Hurricanes signed forwards Kieffer Bellows and Jayden Halbgewachs to professional tryout offers.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers prospect Matvei Michkov has been loaned by SKA St. Petersburg to fellow KHL team HK Sochi. The 18-year-old winger played for Sochi last season, collecting 20 points in 27 games. He’d been unable to get playing time with SKA St. Peterburg.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Michkov was chosen seventh overall in this year’s draft by the Flyers. His early-season struggles with SKA St. Petersburg created a stir on social media with his critics already calling him a draft bust. However, it’s far too early to write him off.

Michkov’s under a KHL contract through 2025-26. He’s got plenty of time to sort out his game before he’s ready to join the Flyers. We’ll have a better grasp of his abilities by then.

NHL Rumor Mill – September 5, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – September 5, 2023

Why didn’t the Bruins trade a goalie this summer? Could they pursue Jets center Mark Scheifele? Could Tomas Tatar end up with the Islanders? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


98.5 THE SPORT HUB: Ty Anderson offered up his thoughts on the Boston Bruins with training camps opening later this month. Despite an offseason that saw the departures of key talent such as Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, he believes the Bruins could still be competitive in the Atlantic Division this season.

Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (NHL Images)

Regarding why the Bruins didn’t trade a goaltender to address their needs at center, Anderson pointed out that Linus Ullmark had a no-trade clause that required his consent to be dealt to half the league. There was some scuttlebutt claiming that a team offered up a fair market offer for Ullmark. However, it would’ve meant “a corresponding trade that never happened” as well as Ullmark waiving his NTC.

Anderson thinks the Bruins weren’t keen to move Jeremy Swayman. There was a rumor claiming the 24-year-old netminder wanted a trade in order to be closer to his parents in Alaska. That speculation was “bogus” as Swayman’s parents no longer live in Alaska.

If the Bruins end up being a fringe playoff club by the trade deadline, Anderson hopes that they go into sell mode. Of their eight pending unrestricted free agents, only Jake DeBrusk should be considered an automatic re-signing. He believes the rest (including Milan Lucic, James van Riemsdyk, and Matt Grzelcyk) should be shopped as their value at the trade deadline could be higher than in September.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some interesting tidbits regarding Ullmark and Swayman. The Bruins appear determined to ride their goalie tandem this season as they try to cope with the loss of their top two centers.

The trade rumors surrounding Ullmark and Swayman have died down in recent weeks. Still, they could resurface at some point this season if the Bruins can’t adjust to the absences of Bergeron and Krejci.

Given Swayman’s eligibility as a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer, they could be forced to choose between one or the other at some point. Much will depend on how both goalies perform this season.

I expect the Bruins will be sellers if they’re a borderline playoff club or out of postseason contention leading up to the trade deadline. As Anderson points out, the 2024 first-round pick they sent to the Detroit Red Wings last season for Tyler Bertuzzi is top-10 protected. A selloff of pending UFAs at the trade deadline, if they’re already out of contention, could ensure that they retain that pick, meaning the Wings get the 2025 pick.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy noted that the Bruins have been linked to Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele since Bergeron and then Krejic announced their retirements.

He cited Mark McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press suggesting Boston could make sense for the 30-year-old Scheifele, who is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. McIntyre wondered what the Bruins could offer up for the Jets, who would be interested in retooling their roster rather than rebuild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murphy questions if Scheifele would be a good fit with the Bruins given his reputation as difficult to coach. I have my doubts that the Bruins have sufficient depth in tradeable assets to make a competitive bid for him if he hits the trade block.

Even if they did land Scheifele, it remains to be seen if he would significantly improve the Bruins. It could work out well, providing them with the inside track to re-signing him. If not, they’ll end up squandering their precious few assets on a rental that didn’t work out.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Stefen Rosner noted there hasn’t been much news of late regarding Tomas Tatar. The 32-year-old winger is coming off a 48-point performance last season with the New Jersey Devils but remains available in this summer’s UFA market.

Rosner wonders if Tatar might already have a contract in hand with an NHL club but it hasn’t been officially announced yet. He points out that New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello has a reputation for such stealth signings during the offseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most of the Tatar speculation had him linked to the Pittsburgh Penguins. So far, however, there’s no indication yet that he’s close to signing with them.

We can’t dismiss the possibility of a club like the Isles having already signed him but not announcing it until training camp begins. With training camps opening on Sep. 21, we’ll find out soon enough.