NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 20, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 20, 2022

All three of Wednesday’s games end in 4-3 scores plus the latest on Gabriel Landeskog, Aaron Ekblad, Jake Muzzin and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: An overtime goal by Neal Pionk lifted the Winnipeg Jets over the Colorado Avalanche 4-3. Pionk finished the night with two goals while Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves for the win. Mikko Rantanen scored twice for the Avalanche while Valeri Nichushkin had a two-point game.

Colorado Avalanche winger Gabriel Landeskog (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both clubs were without a key player in this contest. The Avalanche announced before this game that Gabriel Landeskog underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and will be sidelined for 12 weeks. The Avs captain had surgery last March on his knee and returned for the playoffs but it continued to bother him throughout the offseason and sidelined him through training camp and the start of this season.

Meanwhile, Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers was sidelined by an undisclosed injury and remains questionable for Thursday’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights. The club also announced that head coach Rick Bowness will return on Saturday from his bout with COVID-19.

St. Louis Blues defenseman Justin Faulk scored two goals, including the game-winner in overtime, to defeat the Seattle Kraken 4-3. Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko collected three assists while goalie Jordan Binnington got the win with a 32-save performance. Alex Wennberg and Oliver Bjorkstand each had two assists for the Kraken, who are 1-2-2 in their first five games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blues winger Pavel Buchnevich missed this game with a lower-body injury.

The Florida Panthers got two goals from Carter Verhaeghe as they held off the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 to hand the latter their first loss of the season. Aleksander Barkov, Matthew Tkachuk and Sam Bennett each collected two assists while Travis Konecny and James van Riemsdyk were among the Flyers’ goal scorers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers played this game without top defenseman Aaron Ekblad, who was placed on long-term injury reserve with a lower-body injury. There is no timetable for his return, which is bad news for the Panthers’ already thin blueline depth. Speaking of the Flyers, they claimed center Lukas Sedlak off waivers from the Colorado Avalanche.

HEADLINES

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs placed defenseman Jake Muzzin (neck) on injured reserve. Meanwhile, head coach Sheldon Keefe walked back his critical comments aimed at his elite players following their 4-2 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Monday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs lost two games of their first four games to teams they should easily defeat (Arizona, Montreal) and barely won the other two games. That has a number of their followers already on edge. Keefe’s clarification drew criticism from social media with some suggesting that it’s indicative of the Leafs’ fragility this early in the season.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana has entered the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program and will be out of the lineup for an indefinite period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Vrana gets the help he needs to resume his playing career and get his life back on track away from the arena.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals winger Connor Brown (lower body) has been placed on injured reserve.

NHL.COM: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Goaltender Jake Allen has returned to the Canadiens lineup. He missed Monday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins as his wife was giving birth to the couple’s third daughter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Allen family on their new arrival.

TWINCITIES.COM: Jordan Greenway makes his season debut with the Minnesota Wild. The 25-year-old winger underwent off-season shoulder surgery. He also underwent procedures to have a cyst removed from his ankle and to have his wisdom teeth removed.

SPORTSNET’s Elliotte Friedman reported New York Rangers forward Dryden Hunt and Vancouver Canucks winger Phillip Di Giuseppe were placed on waivers yesterday.

THE ATHLETIC: Former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser signed a PTO contract with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.

CALGARY SUN: The city of Calgary and the Flames organization have restarted formal talks on the construction of a new arena. Negotiations fell apart last year over cost overages weeks before construction was to start on a $650 million project.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wake me when you’ve got a deal. And yes, I believe they will hammer out a deal.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 2, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 2, 2022

Recapping notable news from Saturday’s preseason games, the Canadiens sign Jake Allen to a contract extension, the Jets unveil a statue of Dale Hawerchuk, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

PRESEASON HIGHLIGHTS AND NOTABLE HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Alex DeBrincat scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Ottawa Senators overcame a 4-2 deficit to defeat the Montreal Canadiens 5-4. Those goals were DeBrincat’s first with the Senators since being acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks in July.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen (NHL Images).

Speaking of the Canadiens, they signed Jake Allen to a two-year contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Allen is also getting a pay raise, going from an average annual value of $2.875 million to $3.85 million. He also gets a seven-team no-trade list for 2023-24 and a three-team no-trade for 2024-25.

Allen told reporters he’s happy to stay with the Canadiens and help them with their rebuilding program. He sees himself as a mentor to goalies Cayden Primeau and Sam Montembeault.

And speaking of the Senators, goaltender Cam Talbot missed this game with an undisclosed injury. He’s listed as day-to-day and isn’t expected to be sidelined for long.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets unveiled a statue honoring the late Hall-of-Famer Dale Hawerchuk prior to Saturday’s preseason game against the Edmonton Oilers. Hawerchuk was drafted by the original Jets in 1981 and spent nine seasons with the club, becoming one of the greatest players in franchise history. He died of stomach cancer in 2020.

Two goals by Brent Burns (including the game-winner) enabled the Carolina Hurricanes to nip the Florida Panthers 4-3. Burns was acquired from the San Jose Sharks in July.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Taylor Hall and Fabian Lysell suffered minor injuries during the Boston Bruins’ 4-0 preseason victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. They’re expected to be sidelined for only one or two days.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: As for the Flyers, their injury woes continue as goaltender Felix Sandstrom left the game with a lower-body injury. Starter Carter Hart is currently out with an injury but is expected to be ready for the Flyers’ season-opener on Oct. 13.

IN OTHER NEWS…

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins forwards Jeff Carter and Teddy Blueger remain listed as day-to-day with injuries suffered scrimmages last week.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Carolina Hurricanes signed Calvin de Haan to a one-year, one-way, $850K contract. The 31-year-old defenseman had been in camp on a professional tryout offer.

Nathan Beaulieu’s PTO with the Anaheim Ducks earned the 29-year-old blueliner a one-year, one-way deal worth $850K.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Kraken unveiled Buoy, a blue scraggly sea-troll as their new mascot.

NHL.COM: Dominik Zrim is among several new hirings by the San Jose Sharks. Zrim founded the website CapFriendly in 2015 and becomes the Sharks’ director of salary cap management/CBA compliance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations, Dominik, and good luck with your new job.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 20, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – September 20, 2022

The fallout from the Rangers shipping Nils Lundkvist to the Stars plus the latest on Jake Allen, Jesse Puljujarvi, Ethan Bear and Brett Ritchie in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

FALLOUT FROM THE LUNDKVIST TRADE

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks weighed in on the Rangers trading Nils Lundkvist yesterday to the Dallas Stars for a conditional first-rounder in 2023 and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2025.

Brooks feels Rangers general manager Chris Drury “has acquired a critical asset he can move for immediate help” at the March trade deadline. He suggests Drury will have potentially two first-rounders to play the rental market, or what Brooks calls “the Patrick Kane derby”.

New York Rangers traded defenseman Nils Lundkvist to the Dallas Stars on Sept. 19. (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks has suggested the Rangers should pursue Kane if the 33-year-old Chicago Blackhawks superstar becomes available by the trade deadline. Having that extra first-round pick could give Drury an advantage if he decides to get into the bidding. Something to keep an eye on depending on how the Rangers’ season shakes out.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Matthew DeFranks reports the Lundkvist deal is the first time Stars GM Jim Nill has traded a first-round pick for a player. He also thinks that move could affect efforts to free up salary-cap space.

Perhaps the first-rounder rids the Stars of Anton Khudobin? Perhaps the fourth-rounder entices a team to bite on Radek Faksa?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lundkvist could pan out for the Stars if the 22-year-old blossoms into a reliable puck-moving right-side defenseman. As for what else Nill could’ve used those picks for, maybe he’s working on something else that moves Khudobin or Faksa to clear the cap space necessary to re-sign restricted free agent Jason Robertson.

TEAMS CALLING ABOUT JAKE ALLEN

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico reports teams are continuing to ask Canadiens GM Kent Hughes about Jake Allen, who is in preliminary contract talks with the Habs. Given the interest in the 32-year-old goaltender, D’Amico’s source wonders if Hughes could be weighing the pros and cons of extending him.

D’Amico also reported Hughes continues working the phones in search of a defenseman. He’s reportedly willing to draw from his depth of forwards for trade bait. Mike Hoffman, Joel Armia and (to a lesser extent) Christian Dvorak are those who could be available.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As D’Amico also observed, it would be shocking if the Canadiens traded Allen now with Carey Price expected to miss the coming season. Maybe that’s a move that happens later in the season (perhaps by the March trade deadline?) if Allen decides to test next summer’s free-agent market.

UPDATES ON PULJUJARVI, BEAR AND RITCHIE

SPORTSNET: Mark Spector wonders if the Edmonton Oilers will move Jesse Puljujarvi if Jake Virtanen impresses during his professional tryout offer. The 24-year-old winger is earning $3 million this season. Spector doesn’t believe the Oilers can get anything of value for Puljujarvi and lack depth on right wing to deal for a draft pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how Oilers GM Ken Holland handles this. They must clear cap space if they’re to sign RFA forward Ryan McLeod and become cap compliant when the season begins. They could ice fewer players for the coming season but it would be better to either demote or trade someone.

Iain MacIntyre reports the Vancouver Canucks could have Ethan Bear on their radar in their search for a defenseman before the start of the coming season. The 25-year-old blueliner is on a one-year contract worth $2.2 million and becomes a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear struggled in his first season with the Hurricanes. He suffered a bout with COVID-19 that subsequently hampered his performance. If he’s no longer suffering any lingering ill effects, he could be a worthwhile pickup if available.

Eric Francis reported hearing the Flames are closing in on a one-year contract for Brett Ritchie.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 14, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – September 14, 2022

An update on Jason Robertson’s contract talks with the Stars plus the latest on the Canadiens and Oilers in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

LATEST ON JASON ROBERTSON

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Matthew DeFranks reports Stars general manager Jim Nill remains hopeful that Jason Robertson will be at training camp when it opens next week. Contract negotiations continue between Stars management and the 23-year-old restricted free agent winger.

Dallas Stars forward Jason Robertson (NHL Images)

Robertson is coming off his entry-level contract and a career-best 41 goals and 79 points in 74 games. Nill indicated he’s in constant communication with the winger’s representatives. The club has around $7.2 million in salary cap room depending on the final roster makeup.

DeFranks suggests that means a long-term contract is off the table, speculating Robertson could get an average annual value of $7 million on a three or four-year deal. The Stars can create more cap room for the coming season by carrying a smaller roster or trading players such as goaltender Anton Khudobin ($3.33 million) or forward Radek Faksa ($3.25 million).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The bridge deal seems the most likely option here. How much Robertson gets could depend on whether Nill can find a taker for Khudobin or Faksa.

Their respective AAVs aren’t that expensive. Nevertheless, it’ll be difficult finding a trade partner at this time of year when most clubs have limited cap room.

UPDATES ON THE CANADIENS AND OILERS

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie reporting Canadiens defenseman Joel Edmundson is garnering interest in the trade market as training camp approaches. Lavoie claimed there’s a lot of interest around the league for a blueliner like him.

Lavoie doubts Edmundson, 29, will be traded now but thinks the 6’5”, 229-pound rearguard is drawing some attractive offers and could garner more as the season progresses. He missed most of 2021-22 with a back injury but can bolster his trade stock with a healthy, productive season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Murphy suggested, it’d doubtful he’ll be moved before the 2023 trade deadline. Unless the Canadiens get a mind-blowing offer they’re not trading Edmundson now. They recently made him an alternate captain and value his experience and leadership among their young blueliners.

TSN’s John Lu took to Twitter reporting Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen admitted he’s “had communication” with management regarding a contract extension. However, he offered no further comment on the subject.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given Carey Price’s uncertain future and the ongoing development of Cayden Primeau, it’s unsurprising the Canadiens are interested in discussing a new contract with Allen. They’ll need some veteran stability in goal beyond this season if Price’s career is over and Primeau isn’t ready for prime time.

Lu’s colleague Ryan Rishaug tweeted on Monday that he thinks the Edmonton Oilers are waiting to hear an answer from winger Jake Virtanen regarding a professional tryout offer.

He also indicated they’re exploring all cost-cutting trade options for winger Jesse Puljujarvi. They can still start the coming season with what they have if they don’t move Puljujarvi but it could create salary-cap complications later in the season.

Rishaug doesn’t see Tyson Barrie as a trade candidate. He expects the Oilers will start this season with what they’ve got on their blueline and see how things go.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the one hand, avoiding arbitration with Puljujarvi by signing him in July to a one-year, $3 million contract provides cost certainty when attempting to trade him. It seems no team wanted to take on an unsigned restricted free agent with consistency issues with arbitration rights.

On the other hand, most teams have limited salary-cap space. Puljujarvi’s $3 million cap hit is a tight squeeze for many clubs right now.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 8, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – September 8, 2022

The Penguins may have received an offer from the Flyers for Jason Zucker earlier this summer, the Canadiens might not be done making moves, and an update on Jake Virtanen in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

WAS ZUCKER NEARLY TRADED TO THE FLYERS?

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dave Molinari reports a league source claims the Penguins got a trade offer for Jason Zucker this summer. The move would’ve allowed them to shed the 30-year-old’s $5.5 million average annual value from their salary-cap payroll for the coming season.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jason Zucker (NHL Images).

The trade proposal reportedly came from a Metropolitan Division rival. It would’ve involved packaging Zucker with a first-round draft pick for “well, basically nothing” in return.

Penguins general manager Ron Hextall is believed to have rejected the offer because he didn’t want to part with a first-rounder. The Penguins also aren’t prepared to give up on the oft-injured Zucker as a significant contributor.

Molinari indicates Hextall declined to respond to a request to confirm or dispute the information.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Sam Carchidi speculates the Flyers could be the team that had the interest in Zucker. He points out that general manager Chuck Fletcher is very familiar with the winger going back to their days with the Minnesota Wild. The first-rounder they would’ve gotten in the deal is much-needed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wonder when that pitch might’ve been made. Perhaps it would’ve been leading up to the opening round of the 2022 NHL Draft in July when the Penguins would’ve been looking to shed salary after re-signing Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin.

THE LATEST ON THE CANADIENS

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reports Canadiens GM Kent Hughes could turn to the trade market to help his club gain more salary-cap flexibility for the coming season. He acknowledged there hasn’t been much trade activity of late but could turn to waivers or “different things that we have forthcoming.”

It’s rumored the Canadiens were looking to make a cost-cutting trade before officially announcing Kirby Dach’s new contract. “We’ll revisit and we’re comfortable we can conclude a deal,” said Hughes. He indicated if they could’ve done another transaction they might not have had to go into offseason long-term injury reserve (LTIR), giving them more flexibility during the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hughes also observed that he’s continuing to work the phones and remains confident that something could get done. Murphy noted that the Habs GM was looking to move some salary for a defenseman or a package of draft picks and prospects.

While the Canadiens placed Carey Price and his $10.5 million cap hit on LTIR, Murphy indicates their limited cap wiggle room could hamper efforts to make in-season moves. Hughes could attempt to shed salary with a trade leading up to the start of the season next month.

The Canadiens GM could deal from his depth at forward. Recent rumors claim Mike Hoffman, Christian Dvorak and Joel Armia have been mentioned as trade candidates.

TVA SPORTS: cited ESPN’s Kevin Weekes yesterday saying the Canadiens are talking contract with Jake Allen. The 32-year-old goaltender is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. The goal of those discussions is to reach an agreement for more than one year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could add more fuel to the fire over Price’s long-term future. If his career is over, the Habs will want some veteran stability between the pipes.

UPDATE ON VIRTANEN

OILERS NATION: Zach Laing cites Vancouver Canucks insider Rick Dhaliwal claiming the Edmonton Oilers are among several teams believed to have an interest in Jake Virtanen, who spent last season in the KHL.

Virtanen, 26, played six seasons with the Canucks until 2021 but was placed on leave by the club in May 2021 after the right winger become the subject of a sexual assault investigation. His contract was bought out later that year. He was charged in January with one count of sexual assault but was found not guilty by a jury in July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers might no longer be among those interested clubs. They recently signed Justin Bailey to a professional tryout offer.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 13, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 13, 2022

Canadiens goalie Jake Allen surfaces in trade gossip, some left wing options for the Jets and possible trade partners for the Penguins in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

COULD THE CANADIENS TRADE JAKE ALLEN?

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites an NHL source claiming the Dallas Stars and Arizona Coyotes had inquired about Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen in the past. The source believes it would make sense for both clubs to revisit their previous interest once Carey Price’s situation becomes clearer.

The source told Murphy that the Stars could use Allen if Jake Oettinger hasn’t been signed by the time the season starts or if he stages a holdout during training camp. The Coyotes, meanwhile, need another goalie to back up Karel Vejmelka.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen (NHL Images).

Murphy’s colleague Marco D’Amico followed up by suggesting managing their salary cap, roster and other assets could explain why it might make sense for the Canadiens to move Allen before the season begins. Testing the trade waters on Allen would be wise, especially if Price is trending in the right direction health-wise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oettinger could stage a holdout during training camp or during the start of the season. However, I’ll be surprised if things reach that point. The Stars have the cap room to sign him and fellow rising star Jason Robertson to short-term contracts with the promise of more lucrative deals in the near future.

Allen surfaced as a possible trade option for the Vegas Golden Knights to replace sidelined starting goalie Robin Lehner. The Canadiens have Sam Montembeault also under contract for the coming season and he could be a more affordable backup for Price.

The Habs aren’t under any pressure right now to move Allen. They could be willing to part with him if Price has recovered from the complications arising from last year’s knee surgery that sidelined him for most of last season. On the other hand, they could prefer keeping the reliable Allen to ensure Price isn’t overworked.

If Price remains sidelined, some suggest the Canadiens trade Allen anyway, go with a tandem of Montembeault and Cayden Primeau, and tank the season to improve their odds of winning the draft lottery again. However, that can have a damaging effect on team morale, especially in a rebuilding club. It could also do irreparable harm to Primeau’s development.

JETS STILL NEED A LEFT WINGER

SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe recently reported the Winnipeg Jets could use a third-line left winger. Possible internal options to address that need include Jansen Harkins or Morgan Barron. If they wish to look outside the organization, trade options could include the Arizona Coyotes’ Lawson Crouse or the Edmonton Oilers’ Jesse Puljujarvi.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wiebe’s article appeared before the Coyotes signed Crouse to a five-year, $21.5 million contract on Aug. 8. Puljujarvi, meanwhile, agreed to a one-year, $3 million deal with the Oilers, fueling speculation that it could improve his trade value. However, there’s no certainty he’ll hit the trade block during the offseason.

THE ATHLETIC: Murat Ates also noted the Jets’ need for a third-line forward who can play top-six minutes in a pinch. Possible free-agent options include Sonny Milano, Evan Rodrigues, and Tyler Motte.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets have over $6 million in cap space for the coming season with 19 roster players under contract. General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff can draw upon his glut of defensemen to make a trade for a suitable third-line forward. However, I think he’ll have better luck addressing that need through free agency where some affordable options remain.

POSSIBLE PENGUINS TRADE PARTNERS

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: With the Penguins sitting over the $82.5 million salary cap by $1.4 million for the coming season, Dan Kingerski listed four teams that could become trade partners that could be willing to take on salary.

The Buffalo Sabres, Arizona Coyotes, Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks are all rebuilding clubs with considerable cap space for 2022-23. They could be willing to take on a salaried veteran if he’s packaged with a draft pick or prospect.

Kingerski listed Marcus Pettersson, Brian Dumoulin, Jason Zucker and Teddy Blueger as potential trade candidates. Kasperi Kapanen could be another despite signing a two-year deal worth $3.2 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Plenty of time remains for the Penguins to become cap compliant. My guess is they’ll draw from their blueline corps for a trade candidate, possibly shopping Pettersson or Dumoulin.