NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 27, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 27, 2023

Connor McDavid tops the list of winners at the 2023 NHL Awards, the First and Second All-Star Teams and All-Rookie Teams are announced, the Bruins trade Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno to the Blackhawks and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Connor McDavid was the big winner at the 2023 NHL Awards. The Edmonton Oilers captain took home the Hart Memorial Trophy as the most valuable player to his team and the Ted Lindsay Award as the league’s most outstanding player as voted by fellow members of the NHL Players Association.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

McDavid had already won the Art Ross Trophy as this season’s leading scorer and the Maurice Richard Trophy as the top goal scorer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid is just the third player to win the Lindsay Award four times, joining Wayne Gretzky (five times) and Mario Lemieux (four times). He also joins Washington’s Alex Ovechkin (2007-08) as the only two players to win the Hart, Lindsay, Ross and Richard trophies in the same season.

The Boston Bruins had three trophy winners. Captain Patrice Bergeron won the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the top defensive forward for the second straight season and a record sixth time. Linus Ullmark won the Vezina Trophy as the top goaltender and Jim Montgomery was the winner of the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year.

Erik Karlsson of the San Jose Sharks won the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the top defenseman. It’s the third time he’s been honored with this award.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson joins Paul Coffey as the only two blueliners to go eight-plus years between Norris Trophy wins. Frequently mentioned in trade rumors, this could further boost his stock in the trade market. He led the Sharks and all defensemen with 101 points, becoming the first blueliner since Brian Leetch in 1991-92 to reach the 100-point plateau.

Seattle Kraken center Matty Beniers took home the Calder Memorial Trophy as the rookie of the year. He’s the first player in the club’s two-year history to win an NHL award. He led all rookies this season with 57 points in 80 games.

Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy as the league’s most gentlemanly player. It’s the second time he’s been honored with this award.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some folks denigrate this award but I think it’s worthwhile to honor players such as Kopitar who play with a high level of skill while taking few penalties. They should be singled out for their disciplined play in a physical sport like hockey.

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang was the winner of the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy honoring his perseverance and dedication to the game. He endure a stroke (the second of his career) and the death of his father yet finished the season with 41 points in 64 games.

Calgary Flames center Mikael Backlund won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for his charity work.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backlund’s future with the Flames remains uncertain after he was noncommital in April about signing a contract extension. He told reporters that he’s since spoken with new Flames general manager Craig Conroy as well as his agent but said the situation is out of his hands. “We’ll see what happens,” he said.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos took home the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award.

McDavid, Karlsson and Ullmark also joined Dallas Stars left winger Jason Robertson, Boston Bruins right winger David Pastrnak and New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox as this season’s First All-Star Team.

McDavid’s teammate Leon Draisaitl, Rangers left winger Artemi Panarin, Florida Panthers right wing Matthew Tkachuk, Bruins defenseman Hampus Lindholm and Colorado Avalanche blueliner Cale Makar and New York Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin are this season’s Second All-Star Team.

Beniers joins Stars forward Wyatt Johnston and Arizona Coyotes winger Mattias Macelli, Buffalo Sabres defenseman Owen Power and Ottawa Senators blueliner Jake Sanderson and Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner as the NHL’s 2022-23 All-Rookie Team.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW/NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Prior to the NHL Awards, the Bruins traded left wing Taylor Hall and the rights to forward Nick Foligno to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for defensemen Alec Regula and Ian Mitchell.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a salary dump by the cap-strapped Bruins, shipping out Hall’s $6 million average annual value through 2024-25 to the rebuilding Blackhawks. Reports indicate the Hawks were not on Hall’s 16-team no-trade list.

The move gives the Bruins over $10 million in cap room for 2023-24. That’s prompted speculation they’ll use some of it to re-sign winger Tyler Bertuzzi, who is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Adding Hall should provide the Blackhawks with an experienced linemate and mentor for Connor Bedard, who is expected to be their selection with the first-overall pick during the opening round of this year’s draft on Wednesday. Hall was chosen first overall by the Oilers in the 2010 draft. His cap hit also helps them reach the salary-cap minimum ($61.7 million) for 2023-24.

Foligno is slated to become a UFA on July 1. This move gives the Blackhawks a few days before that date to negotiate a potential contract with him.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: The Flyers attempt to trade defenseman Tony DeAngelo back to the Carolina Hurricanes has been held up because of a rule in the collective bargaining agreement regarding trades and salary retention.

The rule states that a team cannot reacquire a player whom they have retained salary from for a minimum of one year after the date of the transaction. The Hurricanes traded DeAngelo to the Flyers on July 8, 2022, meaning they’ll have to wait until July 8 of this year before the trade will be finalized.

The league is to meet with both clubs about this issue during the upcoming draft before reaching a decision.

TSN: Former St. Louis Blues forward Alex Steen has rejoined the club in their hockey operations department working with the club’s prospects. He spent 12 of his 15 NHL seasons with the Blues.

NASHVILLE HOCKEY NOW: The Predators announced they’ve hired former goaltender Pekka Rinne as their European development coach and scout.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks goalie coach Sudarshan “Sudsie” Maharaj has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He has been undergoing treatment and is scheduled for surgery. He anticipates returning to his role with the Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Maharaj for a quick and full recovery.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 19, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 19, 2023

Oddsmakers don’t favor the Golden Knights’ chances of repeating as Stanley Cup champs, Valeri Nichushkin is expected to rejoin the Avalanche, the latest notable draft news and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee headlines.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Oddsmakers aren’t bullish on the Golden Knights’ chances of repeating as Stanley Cup champions. Vegas Insider has the Colorado Avalanche as the favorite to win the Cup in 2024 while the Golden Knights have the sixth-best odds, tied with the Boston Bruins, New Jersey Devils, Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone raises the Stanley Cup (NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You don’t need oddsmakers to tell you how difficult it is in today’s NHL to repeat as Stanley Cup champions or for a defending champ to return to the Final.

Since 1990, only three teams – the Pittsburgh Penguins (1991 and 1992, 2016 and 2017), Detroit Red Wings (1997 and 1998) and Tampa Bay Lightning (2020 and 2021) repeated as Cup champions.

The Penguins and Red Wings faced off in the 2008 and 2009 Finals, with the Wings winning in 2008 and the Penguins the following season.

The Lightning reached the Final in three straight years (2020 to 2022), becoming the first team to do so since the Edmonton Oilers (1983 to 1985).

THE DENVER POST: Sources claim Valeri Nichushkin is expected to rejoin the Colorado Avalanche for 2023-24. The 28-year-old winger left the team before Game 3 of the Avalanche’s first-round series against the Seattle Kraken following an incident involving an intoxicated woman in his Seattle hotel room.

There was no criminal investigation of the incident and Nichushkin is not being investigated by the league. The winger has been out of sight since returning to Denver following the incident while the Avalanche have declined to comment.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nichushkin and the Avalanche will have to face questions from the media about this incident at some point before the start of next season. It remains to be seen how forthcoming they’ll be about this situation.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen admitted he’s received several calls from clubs wondering if he’s willing to trade his first-round pick (third overall) in the upcoming 2023 NHL Draft.

Kekalainen said none of the offers he’s received have convinced him to part with the pick. “I’m 99.9 percent sure that we won’t be trading the pick.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There were also reports last week of the Montreal Canadiens contacting the Anaheim Ducks (second overall) and San Jose Sharks (fourth overall) to gauge their willingness to trade their picks. Perhaps they were among those who contacted Kekalainen about his pick.

One of those clubs could be convinced to move their selection for the right price. Given how rarely those picks are traded, however, I’ll be surprised if any of them are moved between now and the opening round on June 28.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Russian prospect Matvei Michkov avoided meeting with NHL teams and didn’t meet with them after KHL games this season. A gifted offensive winger, the 18-year-old Michkov is considered among the top prospects in this year’s draft and could be among the top-five picks.

Kevin Allen writes that Michkov’s actions have prompted speculation that he’s trying to manipulate the selection process to get to a specific team.

Allen thinks he could be angling to be chosen by the Washington Capitals (eighth overall) for an opportunity to play with Russian superstar Alex Ovechkin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Michkov also didn’t attend the NHL Draft Combine earlier this month. His agent claims his client will be in attendance at the upcoming NHL Draft.

Rumored character issues plus his lengthy KHL contract could prompt some teams to skip on Michkov, possibly making him available to lower-seeded clubs in the first round.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery admitted he didn’t read his players well during their stunning first-round loss to the underdog Florida Panthers. After rewatching the games, Montgomery said he could tell that the Bruins weren’t anywhere close to playing with the same tempo as they did during their record-breaking regular season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Overconfidence plus injuries to some key players seemed to play a role in the Bruins’ demise against the determined Panthers. After setting the records for most wins (65) and points (135) in the regular season, Boston seemed to have Florida on the ropes after taking a commanding 3-1 series lead.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald disputed the notion that he believes in a salary hierarchy. This comes after he re-signed winger Jesper Bratt to an eight-year extension with an average annual value of $7.87 million, coming in just under center Jack Hughes’ $8 million AAV.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, Timo Meier’s AAV on his next contract could be higher than Hughes’ if he and the Devils agree to a new deal.