NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 5, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 5, 2022

Recaps of Tuesday’s preseason games, reaction to Mathew Barzal’s contract extension with the Islanders, Sidney Crosby relieved over the Penguins retaining Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

PRESEASON RECAPS

NHL.COM: Goaltender Adin Hill made 50 saves to backstop the Vegas Golden Knights to a 4-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Hill made 26 saves in the second period.

Anaheim Ducks forward Derek Grant scored and collected three assists to lead his club past the Los Angeles Kings 5-4.

The Ottawa Senators held off the Montreal Canadiens 5-4. Claude Giroux and Alex DeBrincat each had a goal and an assist. Nick Suzuki collected two assists for the Canadiens.

St. Louis Blues winger Pavel Buchnevich had a goal and an assist as his club doubled up the Minnesota Wild 4-2.

Buffalo Sabres center Tage Thompson had a “Gordie Howe hat trick” (goal, assist, fight) to down the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2. Hurricanes defenseman Dylan Coghlan left the game with a lower-body injury.

An overtime goal by Noah Dobson lifted the New York Islanders to a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Josh Bailey had a goal and two assists for the Isles.

New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (NHL Images).

The San Jose Sharks defeated Eisbaren Berlin 3-1 in the NHL Global Series Challenge in Berlin.

HEADLINES

NYI HOCKEY NOW: The New York Islanders signed Mathew Barzal on Tuesday to an eight-year, $73.2 million contract extension. Cap Friendly indicates the 25-year-old center’s new deal begins in 2023-24 and carries an average annual value of $9.15 million. It also comes with a 22-team no-trade list beginning in 2024-25.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a significant raise for Barzal, who is in the final season of a three-year deal with an AAV of $7 million. It ensures he’ll spend his playing prime with the Islanders.

Barzal was thrilled to be staying with the Islanders. “I love it here. I genuinely do,” he said, praising management, his teammates, the club’s new arena and the city as well. “There’s really no other place I’d rather be,” said Barzal.

His new contract raised concern over the effect it’ll have on the Islanders’ salary-cap payroll. Some observers feel they overpaid for his services.

The Islanders will feel the pinch in 2023-24. The salary cap is only rising by $1 million to $83.5 million and they already have $73.4 million invested in 17 players. However, the cap is projected to rise to $87.5 million in 2024-25 and $92 million by 2025-26. The Isles currently have $54.1 invested in 11 players for ’24-’25 and $36.6 million committed to seven players for ’25-’26. Barzal’s contract still takes a big chunk out of their cap payroll but it should be easier to carry it if the cap reaches or exceeds those forecasted levels.

Barzal’s new contract will also have an effect on comparable players such as Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer and carries a $6.1 million annual cap hit on his current deal.

ESPN.COM: Sidney Crosby is relieved the Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed long-time teammates and core players Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang during the summer. The Penguins captain admitted he was concerned one or both would test the free-agent market.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Scott Perunovich will undergo shoulder surgery and is expected to be sidelined for six months.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks released defenseman Danny DeKeyser from his professional tryout offer and placed goaltender Collin Delia on waivers.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: A strong training camp earned Canadiens prospect Owen Beck a three-year entry-level contract. The 18-year-old center was selected in the second round of the 2022 NHL Draft. He’s expected to be returned to his OHL team for this season.

TORONTO SUN: Long-time Boston Bruins scout Bob Tindall passed away in Toronto at age 86. Glen Murray, Don Sweeney, Andrew Raycroft and Kevyn Adams were among those he scouted who would be drafted by the Bruins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Tindall’s family, friends and the Bruins organization.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 22, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 22, 2022

Kyle Dubas faces an uncertain future as Leafs GM plus the latest on Auston Matthews David Pastrnak, Jason Robertson and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas will not be receiving a contract extension this season. Michael Traikos speculates the decision could be a wait-and-see approach by his bosses after the Leafs failed to advance beyond the first round of the playoffs. He also suggested it could be because Dubas didn’t bring in a true No.1 goaltender or upgrade the defense during the offseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubas downplayed the notion that this could be a make-or-break season for him, but there’s really no other way to look at it. For most of the past four seasons, the Leafs were among the top teams during the regular season but never staged a deep playoff run. Another early playoff exit (or worse) probably spells the end of Dubas’ tenure as Leafs general manager.

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas (NHL.com)

Speaking of the Leafs, Auston Matthews has two years remaining on his contract but that’s already sparking concern that he might depart Toronto as a free agent. Matthews told reporters he loves the city and considers it like home but won’t be entertaining any further questions about his contract. “There’s nothing that can be done for two more years,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: His critics will likely take him to task for not saying he would look forward to opening contract talks as soon as possible. However, he’s absolutely right that they can’t do anything about it now. The earliest Matthews and the Leafs can start contract extension discussions is July 1, 2023, so it’s pointless to badger him or Dubas about it during this season.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins GM Don Sweeney said he will continue to hold discussions with David Pastrnak’s representatives in hope of reaching an agreement on a contract extension. The 26-year-old right winger is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Pastrnak could start the coming season without an extension in place.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sweeney was asked if Pastrnak might sign a team-friendly deal as some claim Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci did at Pastrnak’s age. He indicated that those players signed for what was market value at the time. Rising salaries during the course of their contracts made them seem like bargains over time.

In other words, Pastrnak’s camp will seek market value that could exceed $9.5 million annually based on his performance in the upcoming season. That could explain why the two sides haven’t reached an agreement on an extension yet.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Jason Robertson is expected to miss the start of the Stars’ training camp today. The 23-year-old winger was their leading goal scorer last season but remains an unsigned restricted free agent. GM Jim Nill said negotiations have been ongoing and he’s hoping an agreement can be reached as soon as possible.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Stars have $6.3 million in cap space and could reportedly have $7-$8 million in salary-cap space for this season depending on their roster makeup. The Robertson camp could be angling for an expensive new deal but their client is coming off his entry-level contract.

Robertson’s only leverage is to refuse to report to training camp (and perhaps miss the start of the season) but that won’t do either side any good. The sooner Robertson’s in camp, the more effective he’ll be to their roster. The longer he holds out, the longer it’ll take for him to regain his form and that could hurt their production this season.

Speaking of the Stars, Ben Bishop’s front-office role will have to wait until next season. His career was ended by chronic knee injuries but he didn’t retire as he had a year remaining on his contract. The Stars traded that contract to the Buffalo Sabres in June to remove it from their books for this season. However, the league has informed the Stars it wouldn’t be appropriate for him to work for them while he’s still being paid by Buffalo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers raised the point that the NHL had no issue with permanently sidelined Chris Pronger working for their department of player safety while he was still under contract with the Arizona Coyotes.

Maybe the league realized its mistake with Pronger and didn’t want the Stars to repeat it with Bishop. Perhaps it’s a different story if a player is working for the department of player safety while still under contract with another club despite the potential for a conflict of interest.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres announced general manager Kevyn Adams has agreed to a multi-year contract extension. In a statement, team owner Terry Pegula praised Adams’ work over the past two seasons and believes the club is heading in the right direction.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Adams’ lack of management experience raised questions over his suitability for the job when he was hired two years ago. Over that time, however, he’s made some good selections in the draft (including promising defenseman Owen Power) and got a solid return from the Vegas Golden Knights (including Alex Tuch and Peyton Krebs) in the Jack Eichel trade. The Sabres also showed promising signs of improvement last season.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning center Brayden Point is “fully healthy” after recovering from a torn quad muscle suffered during the opening round of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Andrew Copp is still recovering from off-season abdominal surgery and won’t be available until the start of the regular season. The versatile 28-year-old forward signed a five-year contract with the Red Wings in July.

THE ATHLETIC: Nicolas Hague isn’t expected to join his Vegas Golden Knights teammates when training camp opens for them today. The 23-year-old defenseman is a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract. His agent, Murray Koontz, remains hopeful of getting a deal done with the Golden Knights but they’re not at that point yet.

CALGARY SUN: Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington (personal matter) and winger Andrew Mangiapane (undisclosed injury) will miss the start of training camp today.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: The Flames signed Adam Ruzicka to a two-year contract with an average annual value of $762K. It’s a two-way deal for this season and a one-way for 2023-24. Meanwhile, Brett Ritchie inked a one-year, $750K deal.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers restricted free agent Ryan McLeod remains without a contract but is expected to join his teammates for the start of training camp today. Management hopes to trade away some salary to clear up cap space to sign McLeod to a new deal.

The Oilers also announced defenseman Slater Koekkoek remains at home as he continues to work on improving his mental health.

DAILY FACEOFF: The New York Islanders signed UFAs Cory Schneider and Nikita Soshnikov and RFA Parker Wotherspoon to one-year contracts.










Zdeno Chara and P.K. Subban Announce Their Retirements

Zdeno Chara and P.K. Subban Announce Their Retirements

SPORTSNET: Zdeno Chara has signed a one-day contract with the Boston Bruins and has announced his retirement from the NHL after 24 seasons. P.K. Subban also announced he is retiring after 13 NHL seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This may be the first time that two former winners of the James Norris Memorial Trophy announced their retirements not just on the same day but within minutes of each other.

Zdeno Chara (right) and P.K. Subban (NHL.com).

Chara became one of the best defensemen of his era. Debuting with the New York Islanders in 1997-98, the 6’9”, 250-pounder blossomed into a star after being traded to the Ottawa Senators in 2001, spending four seasons with them. He was a First-Team All-Star and a Norris Finalist in 2003-04 and was named to the Second Team in 2005-06.

It’s fitting that Chara is retiring as a Bruins. Joining them in 2006-07, Chara truly came into his own as a great all-around defenseman and a respected leader during his 14 seasons in Boston. He led them to three Stanley Cup Finals and one championship (2011), won the Norris in 2008-09 and become a finalist four times. He was also named to the First All-Star Team twice and was a three-time member of the Second All-Star Team.

Chara spent the final two seasons with the Washington Capitals and the Islanders. He holds the record for most games played by an NHL defenseman with 1,680, finishing with 680 career points and 2,085 PIMs, along with 70 points in 200 career playoff games. Don’t be surprised if he’s elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame on the first ballot.

Subban made his NHL debut in 2009-10 with the Montreal Canadiens. He quickly established himself as a gifted puck-moving defenseman with a hard shot from the point and was named to the All-Rookie Team in 2010-11. He netted 115 goals and 467 points in 834 career games and 62 points in 96 playoff contests.

A flashy, entertaining player personable with reporters and popular with fans, Subban’s seven seasons with the Canadiens were his best. He won the Norris Trophy in 2012-13 and earned a place on the First All-Star Team. He was named again to the First Team two years later and was also a Norris finalist that season.

Traded to the Nashville Predators in 2016, Subban helped them reach the 2017 Stanley Cup Final. He was named to the Second All-Star Team in 2017-18 and was again a finalist for the Norris. In 2019, he was traded to the New Jersey Devils where he spent the remainder of his career. He was honored with the King Clancy Memorial Trophy last season for his charitable work.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 19, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 19, 2022

Sidney Crosby speaks about his future as well as his celebration of Nathan MacKinnon’s Stanley Cup win, Leafs GM Kyle Dubas faces a make-or-break season, the most and least expensive arenas to watch an NHL game, and more in today’s Morning Coffee Headlines.

YAHOO! SPORTS: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby recently spoke about how long he intends to continue playing during a recent appearance on the “32 Thoughts” podcast.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

I’m thinking about three more years, then seeing what happens from there,” said the 34-year-old Crosby. That’s also when his current contract expires in 2025. He wants to ensure he can continue playing at a high level, with good health being among the factors that will determine how long he’ll continue his NHL career.

Crosby also opened up about celebrating with long-time friend and fellow Cole Harbour, NS native Nathan MacKinnon at the latter’s Stanley Cup party this summer. “At least top five (drunkest there)”, he joked, adding that MacKinnon left the party two hours before he did. “I think I shut the ale house down that night,” said Crosby.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crosby has a well-deserved reputation as one of the fittest players in the NHL. Now in his mid-thirties, he’s no longer the dominant player of his youth but remains among the league’s elite stars.

Despite missing the opening weeks of last season due to offseason wrist surgery, the Penguins captain tied with linemate Jake Guentzel as the club’s leading scorer with 84 points in 69 games. If Crosby is still capable of that type of production by 2025 it’s probably a safe bet that he’ll continue playing beyond that season.

THE ATHLETIC: Kyle Dubas will soon become the longest-serving general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 25 years. However, it could also be his final season in the job if the Leafs once again fail to advance past the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. His contract expires at the end of this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As the article points out, the Leafs under Dubas have become one of the league’s best clubs during the regular season, twice setting franchise records for most points in a season (2017-18 and 2021-22). Nevertheless, the club’s ongoing postseason drought and Dubas’ reluctance to shake up his roster core have put him in what appears to be a difficult position with an uncertain future.

Dubas will probably earn a contract extension if the Leafs can at least get past the first round of the 2023 playoffs. Should they come up short again or miss the postseason, he won’t be back as GM.

TIME2PLAY: Rhiannon O’Donohue compiled a list of the most and least expensive arenas to watch an NHL game.

The New York Rangers top the list with the overall cost (factoring in ticket prices, food and drink and parking) being $188.26 USD or $247.99 Canadian based on 2021-22 numbers. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Vegas Golden Knights are second and third followed by the Seattle Kraken and Boston Bruins.

The Arizona Coyotes are the least expensive ($87.93 USD, $115.83 Cdn), followed by the Buffalo Sabres, Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers and Ottawa Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stick tap to Sportsnet’s Luke Fox for the link.

LE QUOTIDIEN: Antoine Roussel has been invited to the Philadelphia Flyers training camp on a professional tryout offer. The 32-year-old winger spent last season with the Arizona Coyotes.

CAP FRIENDLY: The New York Rangers have signed defenseman Matt Bartkowski to a professional tryout offer. He spent last season with the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Former New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk has rejoined the franchise in a player development role.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2022

Nazem Kadri spurned a more lucrative deal to sign with the Flames, the Senators signed Tyler Motte, the Blackhawks announced the date for Marian Hossa’s jersey retirement and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports Nazem Kadri is believed to have turned down an offer from a club earlier in this summer’s free-agent period that would’ve paid him $8.5 million per season. Kadri, 31, signed a seven-year deal last month with the Calgary Flames worth an average annual value of $7 million.

Calgary Flames center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

At the time, Kadri’s agent, Darren Ferris, told Flames general manager Brad Treliving that his client’s decision came down to three teams. LeBrun claims the New York Islanders were definitely interested in the former Colorado Avalanche center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to LeBrun, Kadri’s decision not to sign with the team making the bigger offer was because the fit “obviously wasn’t right for him.” He didn’t indicate which team made that offer.

LeBrun also believes that Kadri likely waited to see if Isles GM Lou Lamoriello could free up the necessary cap space to sign him.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators signed Tyler Motte to a one-year, $1.35 million contract. The 27-year-old checking-line forward split last season with the Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers, helping the latter reach the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A low-cost signing that provides more experienced depth to the Senators’ checking lines.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks announced they’ll retire Marian Hossa’s No. 81 during a ceremony on Nov. 20 prior to their game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the United Center.

Hossa will become the eighth player in franchise history to have his number retired. The Hall-of-Famer spent eight of his 19 NHL seasons with the Blackhawks, winning three Stanley Cups between 2010 and 2015.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hossa also briefly played for the Penguins in 2018, helping them reach that year’s Stanley Cup Final.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: It appears goaltender Andrew Hammond won’t be joining the Panthers on a professional tryout offer. He’s reportedly going to sign with KHL club Traktor Chelyabinsk though it hasn’t been confirmed yet. Hammond, 34, split last season with the Montreal Canadiens and New Jersey Devils.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Arizona Coyotes signed winger Alex Chiasson to a professional tryout offer. Former Boston Bruins forward Zach Senyshyn has accepted a PTO with the New Jersey Devils. The Columbus Blue Jackets signed Victor Rask to a PTO. The 29-year-old center split last season between the Minnesota Wild and Seattle Kraken.

Speaking of the Blue Jackets, THE ATHLETIC’s Aaron Portzline reported they’ve hired former NHL defenseman Roman Polak as a European-based scout.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets head equipment manager Tim Leroy is no longer with the club. He’d been in that role since their inaugural season in 2000.

TSN: Nathan Gerbe has retired as an NHL player after 11 seasons to join the Nashville Predators as their forward development coach. One of the NHL’s smallest players at 5’4”, Gerbe played 435 games with the Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets, scoring 63 goals and 151 points.

Speaking of the Predators, they’ve hired Ronda Engelhardt as a North American scout based out of Minnesota. She becomes their first female scout.

CALGARY SUN: Reports indicate the roof of the Saddledome is showing signs of deterioration with netting put up as a precaution. Meanwhile, a committee tasked with finding a replacement for the aging arena has reportedly made some progress.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A crumbling Saddledome could spur along negotiations to hammer out an agreement for a new arena.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 29, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 29, 2022

What’s the latest on J.T. Miller’s contract extension talks with the Canucks? Could a couple of Metro Division teams become his potential trade destinations? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Rick Dhaliwal and Thomas Drance recently provided an update on contract extension talks between the Vancouver Canucks and J.T. Miller. The 29-year-old center is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

The two sides discussed a contract extension earlier in the offseason but a big gap remains. Miller’s agent said there’s a good chance contract talks could be cut off if a deal isn’t in place by the start of the regular season.

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller (NHL Images).

Canucks management wants to retain Miller but they have to maintain salary-cap discipline. It appears both sides are in “wait-and-see” mode for the time being.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Rob Simpson reported the New York Islanders were among a handful of clubs reportedly interested in Miller during the 2022 NHL Draft last month in Montreal. Simpson cited four NHL general managers claiming at least two Metropolitan Division teams are interested in the Canucks center.

Simpson subsequently suggested the New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes as potential trade destinations for Miller.

Miller could skate on the wing for the Devils alongside Jack Hughes or Nico Hischier but still take faceoffs. He also suggested Devils defenseman Damon Severson as part of the return to bolster the Canucks right-side blueline depth.

As for the Hurricanes, Simpson suggested a return of a first-rounder, 23-year-old forward Martin Necas and potentially defenseman Brett Pesce or Ethan Bear.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner believes now is the time for the Islanders to acquire Miller. He thinks it’s risky for the Canucks to hang onto him during the season and risk losing him to injury. If he struggles this season, it would hurt his trade value.

The Islanders failed to bring in a scoring forward this summer to bolster their offense. Adding Miller now would give him time to adjust to his new teammates, providing the Isles with the scorer they need to contend for the Stanley Cup.

Rosner believes a deal for Miller will cost the Islanders a first-round pick and a right-side, right-shot defenseman. He suggested including Scott Mayfield but he wouldn’t fit the Canucks need for a young defenseman. They would have to include a sweetener such as Samuel Bolduc.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks could surprise us by moving Miller before training camp opens if they know there’s no way they can afford to re-sign him. Nevertheless, they don’t appear to be in any hurry to make that move. I doubt we’ll see Miller heading to a new club before training camp unless a rival club makes an offer along the lines of Simpson’s suggested return from the Hurricanes.

Speaking of the Hurricanes, I don’t see them pitching that offer of a first, Necas and Pesce or Bear. They made two significant additions already in Brent Burns and Max Pacioretty and recently signed Paul Stastny in part to offset Pacioretty’s absence with a torn Achilles.

The Devils added Ondrej Palat and Erik Haula to their forward lines this summer and I don’t believe they’ll part with Severson despite his UFA status next July. They’ll likely stick with their current roster and see how the season unfolds. Their biggest weakness remains between the pipes. Unless Vitek Vanecek or Mackenzie Blackwood steps up this season, they’ll likely be in the market for a goalie later this season.

As for the Islanders, I don’t think they can afford Miller now unless they’re willing to part with Noah Dobson, who would perfectly fit the Canucks need for a young right-shot defenseman. Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if the rumored deal the two clubs were discussing at the draft fell apart because the Canucks wanted Dobson.