NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 9, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 9, 2020

The Jets are reportedly close to acquiring Paul Stastny, Justin Williams retires, the Canadiens re-sign Josh Anderson, the Devils buy out Cory Schneider, and much more in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck cites sources claiming the Jets are working on a trade that would bring Paul Stastny back to Winnipeg. Stastny was briefly part of the Jets in 2017-18, helping them reach the Western Conference Final before signing with the Vegas Golden Knights as a free agent. It’s believed the Jets will take on his full $6.5 million salary-cap hit on the final year of his three-year contract, with the two clubs also swapping draft picks.

**UPDATE** TSN’s Darren Dreger reports Stastny to Winnipeg for a 2022 fourth rounder and defenseman Carl Dahlstrom

Vegas Golden Knights center Paul Stastny could return to the Winnipeg Jets (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bringing back Stastny could address the Jets’ need for a second-line center. That suggests sidelined center Bryan Little’s status for next season remains in doubt while putting to rest the trade speculation swirling about winger Patrik Laine.

It will also signal the Golden Knights are shedding salary to be busy in the free-agent market, which opens at noon ET today. The move could also be an indicator of the difficulty the Golden Knights are having trying to move goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in a cost-cutting deal.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes winger Justin Williams announced his retirement yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Williams and his family in his future endeavors. He spent 19 seasons in the NHL with the Hurricanes, Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings and Washington Capitals, winning the Stanley Cup with the Canes in 2006 and two Cups with the Kings in 2012 and 2014. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy during the latter run, earning the nickname “Mr. Game 7” by holding the record for most points (15) in Game 7 situations. In 1,264 games, Williams tallied 320 goals and 797 points. He also had 41 goals and 102 points in 162 playoff games.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Two days after acquiring winger Josh Anderson, the Canadiens re-signed him to a seven-year, $38.5-million contract. The annual average value is $5.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a hefty new contract for a 26-year-old winger who’s yet to suit up for the Canadiens,  has one good season (27 goals, 47 points in 2018-19) and missed most of last season to a shoulder injury that required surgery to repair.

General manager Marc Bergevin envisions the 6’3”, 222-pounder as a power forward. This will be seen as a worthwhile investment if Anderson has fully recovered from his surgery and plays up to expectation. Otherwise, it’ll provide additional fodder for Bergevin critics and turn up the pressure on Habs ownership to fire their GM.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils placed goaltender Cory Schneider on unconditional waivers yesterday for the purpose of buying out his contract. Schneider, 34, lost the starter’s job to Mackenzie Blackwood. He has two years left on his contract worth $6 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Schneider was among the NHL’s top goalies from 2013-14 to 2015-16. Injuries, however, hampered his performance in recent years. His buyout will count as $2 million annually against the Devils’ cap through 2023-24.

NJ.COM: The Devils also acquired defenseman Ryan Murray from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for a 2021 fifth-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray is a skilled defenseman plagued by injuries for most of his career. He has a year remaining on his contract worth $4.6 million. If he stays healthy he could be a worthwhile addition to the Devils’ blueline. They still have over $25 million in salary-cap space and could use some of it in the upcoming free-agent market.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets also traded defenseman Markus Nutivaara to the Florida Panthers for minor-league forward Cliff Pu. Nutivaara, 26, has two years remaining on his contract worth an annual average value of $2.7 million.

THE SCORE: The Jackets also placed center Alexander Wennberg on unconditional waivers for the purpose of a contract buyout. The 26-year-old has three years left on his contract worth $4.9 million AAV. For buyout purposes, however, he’ll be considered 25 as that’s what his age would’ve been during a normal regular season when the buyout period would be in June. That means his buyout will be calculated at one-third the remaining value, rather than two-thirds.

NHL.COM: The Jackets also re-signed goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks to a two-year, two-way contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The moves leave the Jackets with $14.2 million in cap space, more than enough to re-sign Pierre-Luc Dubois and perhaps leave enough for an addition or two via trade or free agency.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Long time Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford is heading to the free-agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crawford spent 13 seasons with the Blackhawks, 10 of those as their starting goalie. He backstopped them to two Stanley Cups (2013, 2015) but has been plagued by injuries over the past three seasons. Expect the Blackhawks to seek his replacement via trade or free agency.

SPORTSNET: The Ottawa Senators acquired defenseman Erik Gudbranson from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a 2021 fifth-round pick. He has a year remaining on his contract with an AAV of $4 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another short-term pickup by the Senators to take some pressure off their developing young defensemen. The Ducks, meanwhile, have $4.47 million in cap space and will get an additional $6.875 million in wiggle room should Ryan Kesler remain on long-term injury reserve.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Goaltender Tuukka Rask said he doesn’t want to play for anyone but the Bruins. Rask’s name recently surfaced in trade rumors, prompting GM Don Sweeney to claim the goalie is a “big part of the roster going forward.” Rask is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility.

TSN: The Dallas Stars lifted the interim tag from head coach Rick Bowness, who is expected to sign a new contract with the club.

SPORTSNET: The Stars also released a lengthy list of their injured players following the Stanley Cup playoffs. Among the notables was Jamie Benn (shoulder surgery before the schedule was paused), Tyler Seguin (knee, torn labrum), Ben Bishop (knee surgery in May), Roope Hintz (fractured ankle) and Anton Khudobin (arm surgery).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seguin received criticism for his offensive struggles during the postseason. This is yet another reminder that an NHL player failing to play up to expectations in playoff action is usually nursing an injury that would sideline athletes in other sports.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres are close to re-signing forward Zemgus Girgensons to a three-year contract worth around $2 million per season.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed forward Sam Lafferty to a two-year contract with an AAV of $750K.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens re-signed defenseman Noah Juulsen to a one-year, two-way contract.

 

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 18, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 18, 2020

Vezina Trophy finalists announced, Caleb Jones admits testing positive for COVID-19, plus updates on David Pastrnak, Marc-Andre Fleury, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

2020 NHL AWARDS UPDATE

NHL.COM: The Winnipeg Jets’ Connor Hellebuyck, Boston Bruins’ Tuukka Rask, and Tampa Bay Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy are the finalist for the 2020 Vezina Trophy, awarded to the top goaltender as voted by NHL general managers.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck is among the finalists for the 2020 Vezina Trophy (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rask (2014) and Vasilevskiy (2019) won the Vezina before, while this is Hellebuyck’s second time as a finalist. Rask has the better stats of the three, but Hellebucyk led the league in shutouts (6) while carrying the Jets and their depth-depleted defense into the 2020 playoffs. That could be the determining factor in his favor.

LATEST TRAINING CAMP HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: David Pastrnak’s agent said his client is in quarantine after coming in contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. The Bruins winger tested negative for the coronavirus. That explains why he was held out of practice Thursday.

Pastrnak and teammate Ondrej Kase were following travel quarantine protocols after recently returning from the Czech Republic to attend training camp. The reason for Kase’s absence remains unknown.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers defenseman Caleb Jones admitted he tested positive for COVID-19 several weeks ago when he returned to Edmonton from his off-season home in Dallas. He had no symptoms and self-quarantined for two weeks. He’s fine now and skating in Oilers’ practices.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jones is the second player known to have had the virus but the first to voluntarily admit it. Last month, the Toronto Sun reported Maple Leafs center Austin Matthews tested positive for COVID-19 over a month ago. He acknowledged it earlier this week.

The NHL is preventing teams from revealing the health status of its players during the return-to-play plan. Absent players are being listed as “unfit to play” or “unfit to participate” with no explanation.

Speaking of the Oilers, they and the mayor of Edmonton issued statements yesterday insisting the storm damage caused to part of Rogers Place arena on Thursday won’t derail plans to host Western Conference teams in the upcoming playoff tournament.

NHL.COM: Marc-Andre Fleury participated in training camp on Friday with his Vegas Golden Knights teammates for the first time this week. The club claims Fleury missed the opening days for “maintenance”, while head coach Peter DeBoer said the goaltender’s absence was not related to COVID-19.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Defensemen Olli Maatta and Connor Murphy joined Corey Crawford on the list of Blackhawks players deemed “unfit to play”. Blueliner Calvin de Haan missed his third straight practice dealing with a family emergency.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning forward Cedric Paquette was listed as “unable to practice” on Friday. He was banged-up during practice on Wednesday.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Noah Juulsen is battling for a spot on the Canadiens roster after being sidelined since Nov. 19, 2018, with migraines related to head trauma. The 23-year-old defenseman got in some games with the Habs’ AHL farm team in Laval before the schedule was interrupted in March and claims he’s felt great since then.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For a while, there was concern Juulsen’s promising career could be over before it began. If he’s healthy he could be a valuable addition to the Canadiens blueline.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson declined to confirm a report by TSN’s Darren Dreger claiming interim coach Bob Boughner signed a contract extension to become their permanent head coach. Dreger also cited a report claiming former AHL coach Rocky Thompson would join the Sharks staff as an assistant coach. Wilson said there’s been no decision yet on the coaching staff.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe Wilson doesn’t like it when a reporter spoils his big reveal.

THE DENVER POST: Some promising news to report on former NHLer Kyle Quincey’s young son Axl. The 1-year-old appears on the road to recovery following his second brain surgery on June 9 to remove a tumor.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Axl and his family. Here’s hoping he makes a full recovery.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 12, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 12, 2019

The Hurricanes extend their franchise-record season-opening win streak while Dustin Byfuglien is no closer to a decision on his future. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes are off to their best start in franchise history, extending their season-opening win streak to five games by downing the New York Islanders 5-2. Andrei Svechnikov and Dougie Hamilton each had a goal and an assist. Islanders center Brock Nelson also tallied a goal and an assist.

Carolina Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov helped his club defeat the New York Islanders 5-2 on Friday (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Svechnikov (eight points) and Hamilton (seven) are the Hurricanes’ leading scorers entering this weekend.

Linus Ullmark made 41 saves and Casey Mittelstadt scored the winner in a shootout as the Buffalo Sabres edged the Florida Panthers 3-2. Kyle Okposo and Zemgus Girgensons each collected two assists for the Sabres, who extended their unbeaten streak to five games (4-0-1). The Panthers, meanwhile, drop to 1-2-1.

The Anaheim Ducks picked up their fourth win in five games by nipping the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1. Ryan Miller made 26 saves while Jakob Silfverberg and Cam Fowler were the goal scorers. Earlier in the day, the Jackets placed winger Josh Anderson (upper-body) on injured reserve retroactive to Oct. 5 and recalled left wing Markus Hannikainen.

IN OTHER NEWS…

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: There’s no update from the Jets or the agent for Dustin Byfuglien on when the defenseman will return to action. Byfuglien’s been on a leave of absence since early September mulling his future. The club suspended him solely for salary-cap purposes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets are giving Byfuglien all the time and space he needs. The longer he’s absent, however, the more speculation grows suggesting he’s leaning toward retirement.

CBS SPORTS: The New Jersey Devils placed defenseman Andy Greene (upper body) on injured reserve.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 18, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 18, 2019

Latest CBA news, updates on Patrik Laine and Mikko Rantanen, the Kings signed Ben Hutton and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: League commissioner Gary Bettman said he’s encouraged by the collective bargaining discussions with the NHL Players Association. He’s hopeful of securing labor peace beyond the 2022 expiration of the current agreement and isn’t ruling out an extension. Bettman also expressed his happiness that the players opted not to reopen the CBA, which would’ve moved up the expiration timeline to Sept. 15, 2020.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports negotiations are ongoing. If all goes well, he speculated a tentative CBA extension could be in place within the next two months. He also reports Bettman dismissed the notion that the league might lack the urgency to push ahead with CBA talks now that the players declined to exercise its early opt-out. He also waved off the idea that he’s thinking about his legacy and didn’t want another work stoppage clouding his final years as commissioner.

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski reports sources saying the NHLPA executive leadership favored reopening the CBA but they lacked sufficient support among the membership to do so, especially among the influential veterans in the 30-33 age bracket. The players were concerned taking the early opt-out would make the current amicable negotiations more contentious.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is please by the NHLPA’s decision not to re-open the CBA (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun also reported the team owners haven’t been part of the negotiations with the players, who felt continuing talks directly with Bettman and league VP Bill Daly remains the best path. He also said the league’s desire for labor peace is very real, more so than at any point in his coverage of the league over the past 25 years.

TSN: Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine raised eyebrows when he appeared to complain to a Finnish reporter that he’d be a top-line player on other clubs. He spent most of last season on the Jets’ second line with center Bryan Little. “There are top lines and then there is our line. But I play with the guys I’m told to play,” he said. The 21-year-old restricted free agent remains mired in a contract impasse with the Jets and is practicing with SC Bern in Switzerland.

THE SCORE: Jets captain Blake Wheeler said he didn’t have an issue with Laine’s remarks. “I would say those are all good things. You want guys that are hungry for more and not content with where he’s at,” said Wheeler, who praised the youngster’s skills and his contributions to the Jets’ power play.

Meanwhile, Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen is joining Laine with SC Bern. Like Laine, he’s yet to sign a new contract with his NHL club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Laine’s latest comments fueled speculation over his future with the Jets. I’ll have more this morning in the Rumors section.

SPORTSNET: The Los Angeles Kings signed former Vancouver Canucks defenseman Ben Hutton to a one-year, $1.5-million contract.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan took part in his first training-camp practice with the club. Traded to Chicago by the Carolina Hurricanes this summer, de Haan has been recovering from off-season shoulder surgery and a nagging groin injury.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Speaking of the Hurricanes, they signed defenseman Fredrik Claesson to a one-year, two-way contract worth $700K at the NHL level. With blueliner Trevor van Riemsdyk still recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, the move provides additional depth to the Hurricanes’ blue line.

THE SCORE: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Noah Juulsen will consult a specialist for a second opinion regarding his ongoing headache issues.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 5, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 5, 2019

Game recaps, hockey world lauds the late Ted Lindsay, stars of the week,  and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers scored three unanswered second-period goal to overcome a 3-1 deficit and defeat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3. The Oilers (65 points), who’ve won three straight games, are six points out of a Western Conference wild-card berth while the Sabres (68 points) have dropped eight of their last 10 and sit nine points out of a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Tyler Ennis tallied his first NHL hat trick in a 6-2 win over the Calgary Flames (Photo via NHL Images)

Speaking of the Oilers, winger Jesse Puljujarvi yesterday underwent successful hip surgery and is expected to be fully recovered in time for training camp in September. Meanwhile, Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe is expected to miss five-to-six weeks with an upper-body injury. 

Tyler Ennis tallied his first career NHL hat trick and Mitch Marner reached the 80-point plateau for the first time as the Toronto Maple Leafs snuffed out the Calgary Flames 6-2. Marner also had a three-point performance while teammate Zach Hyman scored twice. With 86 points, the Leafs sit one behind the Boston Bruins for second in the Atlantic Division. The Flames (89 points) remain atop the Western Conference standings. 

Tributes poured in yesterday celebrating the life and career of NHL Hall-of-Famer Ted Lindsay, who passed away yesterday at age 93. Lindsay was lauded by former players, coaches and executives for his remarkable career and his pioneering role in establishing a players’ union. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lindsay was also a generous man away from the arena. Among my favorite stories was having the Red Wings pay for forward Jim Korn’s law school tuition, and his refusal to attend his own Hall of Fame induction in 1966 because wives and families weren’t invited, a policy that changed the following year. 

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, Winnipeg Jets winger Blake Wheeler, and Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending March 3. 

JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Canadiens defenseman Noah Juulsen will not return this season as he continues to recover from a medical condition related to his vision. 

CBS BOSTON: Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury. 

NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier (upper body) is considered day-to-day. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes have recalled defenseman Jason Demers from his AHL conditioning stint. 

TSN: Several potential rule tweaks are being discussed at this week’s NHL general managers meetings in Florida. Among them could be addressing outdated fines, allowing a team on the power-play to decide which side of the ice to take the faceoff and whether players should wear their helmets during pre-game warmups. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 2, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 2, 2019

Game recaps, rookie and three stars of the month, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane scored twice and set up two others to lead his club to a 7-3 drubbing of the Buffalo Sabres. Kane also collected his 900th career NHL point while teammate Brandon Saad also scored twice and Cam Ward made 40 saves. 

Chicago Blackhawks winger and Buffalo native Patrick Kane tallied his 900th career NHL point in a 7-3 win over the Sabres (Photo via NHL Images)

Four unanswered third-period goals powered the Nashville Predators to a 4-1 victory over the Florida Panthers. Viktor Arvidsson scored two goals and Filip Forsberg collected three assists. 

Victor Hedman scored in a shootout as the Tampa Bay Lightning blanked the New York Islanders 1-0. Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 36 saves while Isles netminder Thomas Greiss kicked out 41 shots. 

Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust each scored twice as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Ottawa Senators 5-3. Nick Bjugstad, acquired earlier in the day by the Penguins in a trade with the Panthers, collected an assist. The Penguins also played without center Evgeni Malkin, who’ll miss at least two games with an upper-body injury

Evgeny Kuznetsov’s late third-period goal gave the Washington Capitals a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames, snapping the Capitals seven-game losing skid. The Capitals played without team captain Alex Ovechkin, who served a one-game suspension for his decision not to participate in the recent NHL All-Star Game. Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic left the game with a lower-body injury and will be re-evaluated today.  

Danny DeKeyser scored in overtime as the Detroit Red Wings edged the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2. During a pregame ceremony, the Wings honored Hall-of-Fame defenseman Red Kelly by retiring his No. 4

The Carolina Hurricanes downed the Vegas Golden Knights 5-2. Justin Faulk had a two-point performance, Petr Mrazek made 23 saves and winger Nino Niederreiter tallied his fifth goal in as many games since being traded to Carolina by the Minnesota Wild. Earlier in the day, the Golden Knights placed Nick Holden (undisclosed) on injured reserve

Tyler Seguin scored twice in the third period to give the Dallas Stars a 3-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild. 

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau, New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner, and Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane were the NHL’s three stars for the month of January 2019

Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart was named the NHL’s rookie of the month for January 2019. 

TSN: San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton has been playing hurt throughout this season. Coach Pete DeBoer said Thornton is close to getting fully healthy but isn’t there yet. 

LA PRESSE: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Noah Juulsen is sidelined indefinitely due to a medical condition related to his vision. His agent dismissed a recent report claiming the injury was career-threatening, adding his client hopes to return to action later this season. The Canadiens expect he’ll make a full recovery.