NHL Rumor Mill – June 3, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 3, 2022

The Hurricanes hope to retain some key free agents, the possibility of some RFAs not receiving qualifying offers, plus updates on Jack Campbell and David Perron in today’s NHL rumor mill.

HURRICANES HOPE TO RETAIN TROCHECK, NIEDERREITER & DEANGELO

NHL.COM: Kurt Dusterberg reports Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell hopes to re-sign pending unrestricted free agent forwards Vincent Trocheck and Nino Niederreiter. Meanwhile, head coach Rod Brind’Amour hopes restricted free agent defenseman Tony DeAngelo also returns.

Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal indicated he’s not thinking about a contract extension this summer, preferring to play out the final season of his contract before determining his future. Waddell indicated they want Staal to play as long as he feels like doing so.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander reports DeAngelo would love to stay with the Hurricanes. He said he believes everyone in the organization knows that and believes they want him back, expressing appreciation for the trust they put in him following his troubled final season with the New York Rangers.

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo (NHL Images).

DeAngelo, 26, has arbitration rights and is a year away from becoming eligible for unrestricted free agent status. Waddell indicated there’s interest in signing him to a multi-year contract.

Alexander’s colleague Luck DeCock believes the Hurricanes need an upgrade in pure scoring skill. He suggested parting ways with forward Martin Necas, who regressed during this season and bringing in a scoring winger to replace him via trade or free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Waddell called signing Trocheck a priority. That increases the likelihood he won’t become available in this summer’s UFA market. It will depend on whether the two sides can reach an agreement before free agency begins on July 13.

Trocheck tends to be a streaky scorer but he would draw plenty of interest if he tests the market. Vancouver Hockey Now’s Rob Simpson daydreamed about Vancouver signing him but there’s no indication that’s the direction Canucks management intends to take.

DeAngelo made the most of his opportunity with the Hurricanes. While both sides are pleased with how this season turned out, arriving at a suitable deal could be a challenge.

Cap Friendly indicates the Hurricanes have $19.4 million in cap space with 14 players under contract next season. Parting ways with Necas won’t free up additional cap space as he’s a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract.

Trocheck earned an annual average value of $4.725 million while Niederreiter’s was $5.25 million. It could cost a combined $12 million to retain them. DeAngelo, meanwhile, could seek a return to the $4.8 million annually he was earning with the Rangers before agreeing to a one-year, $1 million contract with the Hurricanes for this season. Re-signing that trio won’t leave much room to add a scoring forward.

TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”

SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman suggested limited salary-cap space among NHL teams could lead to some of them not bothering to qualify the rights of some arbitration-eligible RFAs.

Some worth watching include Carolina’s Ethan Bear, Dallas’ Denis Gurianov, Pittsburgh’s Kasperi Kapanen, Chicago’s Dylan Strome and New Jersey’s Miles Wood and Pavel Zacha. He also noted there was speculation that Ondrej Kase could depart Toronto but believes talks are underway between the winger and the Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those players could bolster the depth of talent in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market. There’s no certainty, of course, that most or all of them will hit the open market. Still, it could be worthwhile as Friedman suggested to keep an eye on their respective contract negotiations.

Speaking of RFAs, Friedman believes the Leafs will qualify defenseman Rasmus Sandin’s rights. However, they have a logjam on the left side of their blueline. He pointed out that their cap situation doesn’t afford Sandin contract room.

Meanwhile, there haven’t been any contract talks between the Leafs and goaltender Jack Campbell for months and anything previously discussed is no longer relevant. His agent said there’s been no material contract conversation since the end of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect the Leafs will get something done with Campbell because there aren’t many suitable replacement options in this summer’s trade and UFA markets. The best free-agent options are Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper and Minnesota’s Marc-Andre Fleury and there’s no certainty either guy can be wooed to Toronto.

As for Sandin, he’ll obviously be more affordable to sign than Campbell. Given the priority given to the latter, however, they could end up shopping Sandin if they can’t free up sufficient cap dollars to re-sign him. However, I think Leafs management will try to free up cap room by trying to move out veterans like Petr Mrazek and Wayne Simmonds, though peddling either guy won’t be easy.

Friedman believes the New Jersey Devils and Ottawa Senators will be worth watching as they have their first-round picks in play for talent with a lot of team control.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, a player with more than a year remaining on their contract.

He also doesn’t expect St. Louis Blues winger David Perron will hit the open market on July 13.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 3, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 3, 2022

The Avalanche takes a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals, Darryl Sutter wins the Jack Adams Award plus updates on the Rangers, Lightning and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche took a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals by blanking the Edmonton Oilers 4-0 in Game 2 on Thursday. Pavel Francouz turned in a 24-save shutout while Nazem Kadri collected three assists as the Avalanche blew the game open with three goals in a 2:04-minute span in the second period. Mikko Rantanen and Artturi Lehkonen each had a goal and an assist. The next two games are in Edmonton with Game 3 on Saturday.

Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers are in big trouble as they head home for what will be the most crucial stretch of this series. After a sloppy 8-6 loss in Game 1, their offense was smothered by the Avalanche’s checking and Francouz’s goaltending in Game 2. They’re still having difficulty coping with the Avs’ speed, depth, and puck possession. If the Oilers don’t find solutions soon, this series will end in Edmonton by Game 4 on Monday.

THE DENVER POST: Speaking of Kadri, not only is he enjoying a postseason worthy of MVP recognition but he’s also turning Muslim kids in Denver into hockey fans.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kadri’s performance in this postseason has been outstanding thus far. If his efforts are inspiring kids who share his faith to take up the game, it’s a welcome boost to the sport’s popularity and diversity.

SPORTSNET: Oilers winger Kailer Yamamoto left Game 2 with an upper-body injury. It may have been the result of an open-ice hit by Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word yet if he’ll miss the upcoming games in Edmonton.

Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter is this year’s winner of the Jack Adams Award. In his first full season behind the Flames bench, he guided them to first place in the Pacific Division with 111 points. Sutter was a finalist for the award in 2004 during his first stint coaching the Flames.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise Sutter took home the award. The Flames made significant improvement, entering this season considered at best a wild-card contender after missing the playoffs during the COVID-shortened 2020-21 campaign.

NEW YORK POST: Filip Chytil’s performance in this postseason could address the Rangers’ concerns over their second-line center position following this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s been speculation for months suggesting the Rangers could either overpay to re-sign pending UFA Ryan Strome or seek a replacement via this summer’s trade or free-agent markets. It will save them a lot of time and money if they feel Chytil’s improved effort in this postseason will carry forward into next season and beyond.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Injuries to several players are testing the Lightning’s depth. Center Brayden Point remains sidelined with a lower-body injury. Meanwhile, Brandon Hagel remains hampered by a left-leg injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There are probably other Lightning players’ nursing injuries considering their shot-blocking defensive style.

NHL.COM: Carolina Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal intends to ride out the final season of his contract before deciding on his future. He’s signed through 2022-23 and becomes a UFA next summer.

ESPN.COM: Hurricanes winger Seth Jarvis suffered an apparent concussion following a hit by Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba in Game 7 of their second-round series. He also faces dental work from a hit earlier in the series. Meanwhile, goalie Antti Raanta suffered a sprained MCL in that game that would’ve sidelined him six-to-eight weeks had the Hurricanes not been eliminated.

TSN: Jake Gardiner has received medical clearance to resume his playing career. The 31-year-old Hurricanes defenseman spent the entire season on long-term injury reserve following hip and back surgeries in September.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars winger Alexander Radulov could be returning to the KHL next season. Ak Bars Kazan teased a possible Radulov signing with a video on Twitter featurning the 35-year-old forward. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Tempe City Council voted 5-2 to enter negotiations with the Arizona Coyotes and its developer on plans for a new arena and entertainment district.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman spoke remotely at the public meeting, promising the new arena would host an All-Star Game and the NHL Draft if built. He also said the Coyotes would not be allowed to relocate for 30 years.

THE PROVINCE: Former NHL player Gino Odjick will be inducted on June 9 into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame. He spent 12 seasons in the NHL, nearly eight of those with the Vancouver Canucks.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 17, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 17, 2022

The Avalanche clinch the top seed in the Western Conference, the Flames, Blues and Bruins secure playoff berths, Kirill Kaprizov sets a new Wild scoring record, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche secured the top seed in the Western Conference with 116 points by defeating the Carolina Hurricanes 7-4. Nathan MacKinnon and J.T. Compher each scored twice while rookie forward Ben Meyers scored in his first NHL game. Jordan Staal scored twice for Carolina but left the game with an undisclosed injury following a hit by Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar. Hurricanes goaltender Frederic Andersen left the game in the third period with an apparent injury to his left leg. The Hurricanes remain in first place in the Metropolitan Division with 104 points.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

Calgary Flames forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk each had two goals and two assists in a 9-1 drubbing of the Arizona Coyotes. Elias Lindholm had a goal and three assists for the Flames, who sit in first place in the Pacific Division with 101 points. They clinched a playoff berth earlier in the day following the Edmonton Oilers’ win over the Vegas Golden Knights.

Speaking of the Oilers, they blanked the Golden Knights 4-0 with Mike Smith kicking out 39 shots for his second shutout in as many games. Kris Russell, Cody Ceci, Warren Foegele and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the goal scorers as the Oilers sit in second place in the Pacific Division with 94 points. The Golden Knights (87 points) sit four points out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

After blowing leads of 4-1 and 5-3, the St. Louis Blues bested the Minnesota Wild 6-5 on an overtime goal by Brayden Schenn to clinch a playoff berth. Schenn and teammate Pavel Buchnevich each had a goal and two assists as the Blues hold second place in the Central Division with 100 points. Minnesota center Ryan Hartman scored twice and collected an assist while teammate Kirill Kaprizov tallied his 43rd goal to set a single-season franchise record. The Wild are one point back of the Blues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blues defenseman Nick Leddy left the game after taking a stick near one of his eyes. He’ll be undergoing further evaluation. Meanwhile, Wild forward Tyson Jost suffered a lower-body injury and will miss today’s game against the San Jose Sharks.

The Boston Bruins secured a playoff berth by holding off the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 thanks to early first-period goals by Trent Frederic and Erik Haula and a 23-save effort by goaltender Jeremy Swayman. With 97 points, they hold the first wild-card position in the Eastern Conference. Danton Heinen replied for the Penguins, who sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 97 points. Earlier in the day, they announced goalie Tristan Jarry is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins have already clinched a playoff berth so Jarry’s absence won’t hurt them in that regard. However, this could be a problem if he’s still sidelined when the playoffs open in early May.

New York Rangers netminder Igor Shesterkin made 20 saves to shut out the Detroit Red Wings 4-0. Alexis Lafreniere put the game out of reach with two third-period goals. The Rangers are tied with the Hurricanes with 104 points but the former holds first in the Metro division with 42 regulation wins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rangers winger Kaapo Kakko left this game in the first period with a lower-body injury. It was only his fourth match since missing 31 games with a wrist injury. On Friday, the club revealed winger Tyler Motte will be sidelined for at least the remainder of the regular season with an upper-body injury.

An overtime goal by Mark Giordano gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a 5-4 win over the Ottawa Senators. Giordano finished the game with a goal and two assists while Mitch Marner scored twice for the Leafs (104 points) as they tied a franchise record with their 49th win of the season. They hold a four-point lead over the third-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators played without Colin White as the 25-year-old center was placed in COVID protocol yesterday.

The Lightning, meanwhile, got four-point performances from Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman to down the Winnipeg Jets 7-4. Kyle Connor tallied his 43rd goal of the season for the Jets, who sit 10 points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets aren’t eliminated yet from the postseason chase but they’re on the brink.

Meanwhile, the Dallas Stars (91 points) maintained their grip on that final Western wild-card position by nipping the San Jose Sharks 2-1. Tyler Seguin and Michael Raffl scored for the Stars while Jake Oettinger made 23 saves for the win.

Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi scored his 20th goal of the season as his club held off the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3. Juuse Saros picked up the win by stopping 28 shots while Mikael Granlund had a goal and an assist. The Predators are tied with the Stars but they hold the first wild-card spot with 35 regulation wins.

The Los Angeles Kings strengthened their hold on third place in the Pacific Division with a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Dustin Brown and Phillip Danault scored first-period goals and Jonathan Quick made 21 stops as the Kings sit three points ahead of the Golden Knights with 90 points and are four back of the Oilers.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin netted his 47th goal in an 8-4 thrashing of the Montreal Canadiens. Anthony Mantha and Dmitry Orlov each had four-point performances as the Capitals hold the final Eastern wild-card spot with 94 points. Canadiens center Nick Suzuki reached the 20-goal plateau for the first time in his career while Ryan Poehling tallied twice.

The Seattle Kraken got a shootout goal from Ryan Donato to defeat the New Jersey Devils 4-3. Kraken rookie Matty Beniers scored his first NHL goal in his second game while Philipp Grubauer made 23 saves for the win.

Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin had a goal and an assist while teammate Kyle Okposo netted his 20th goal of the season in a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 11, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 11, 2022

More scoring milestones were reached by Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, Jordan Staal collected his first hat trick in years, the Wild stage a six-goal comeback against the Kings, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Sidney Crosby scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Pittsburgh Penguins nipped the Nashville Predators 3-2. With three points, Crosby reached the 1,400th career-point plateau in his 1,100th career NHL game. Rickard Rakell collected three assists for the Penguins, who sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 94 points. The Predators, meanwhile, hold the first Western Conference wild-card spot with 87 points.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins center Evgeni Malkin could face supplemental discipline after cross-checking Predators defenseman Mark Borowiecki in the mouth. Malkin received a double minor as Borowiecki left the game after losing several teeth.

The Washington Capitals got unanswered third-period goals from Lars Eller and Alex Ovechkin to double up the Boston Bruins 4-2. Ovechkin’s goal was his 45th of the season and was his 100th career goal in the month of April, tying Wayne Gretzky for the most career months with 100-plus goals. With 90 points, the Capitals hold the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference and sit five points behind the Bruins.

Carolina Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal tallied his first hat trick since April 18, 2012, to lead his club to a 5-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. With the win, the Hurricanes hold a two-point lead over the New York Rangers for first place in the Metropolitan Division with 102 points. The Ducks, meanwhile, were officially eliminated from playoff contention.

The Minnesota Wild scored six unanswered goals to overcome a three-goal deficit to defeat the Los Angeles Kings 6-3. Jared Spurgeon and Matt Boldy each had a goal and an assist while Kirill Kaprizov scored his 42nd goal to tie the franchise single-season record. The Wild are tied with the St. Louis Blues with 94 points but the Wild hold second place in the Central Division with a game in hand. The Kings, meanwhile, cling to third place in the Pacific Division with 86 points, two up on the Vegas Golden Knights.

A 28-save performance by Brian Elliott enabled the Tampa Bay Lightning to shut out the Buffalo Sabres 5-0. Ondrej Palat had a goal and an assist as the Lightning moved back into third place in the Atlantic Division with 96 points, one ahead of the Bruins.

Dallas Stars forward Jason Robertson scored two goals in a 6-4 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Roope Hintz collected three points for the Stars (86 points), who sit one point behind the Predators in the final Western wild-card spot. Patrick Kane and Kirby Dach each had two points for the Blackhawks.

The Winnipeg Jets kept their faint wild-card hopes alive by holding off the Ottawa Senators 4-3. Nikolaj Ehlers had a goal and two assists while Kyle Connor, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Paul Stastny each had a goal and an assist. Brady Tkachuk scored twice and chipped in an assist for the Senators. With 79 points, the Jets are seven points behind the Stars.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a costly win for the Jets as center Mark Scheifele left the game near the end of the second period following a high hit from Senators forward Parker Kelly. He will not play in tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Kraken signed top prospect Matty Beniers to a three-year entry-level contract. Beniers, 19, was their first-round pick (second overall) in the 2021 NHL Draft.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Speaking of teams signing prospects, the Flyers inked Bobby Brinks to an entry-level deal. The 20-year-old right winger helped Denver defeat Minnesota State on Saturday to win the NCAA championship.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins signed winger Oskar Steen to a two-year, one-way contract worth an annual average value of $800K.