NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 7, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 7, 2020

Alexis Lafreniere tops the first-round selections in the 2020 Draft, the NHL and NHLPA target Jan. 1 as the start date for the 2020-21 season, the Capitals re-sign Brenden Dillon, the latest contract buyouts and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

Alexis Lafreniere was selected first overall by the New York Rangers in the 2020 NHL Draft (NHL.com).

  NHL.COM: The New York Rangers selected Alexis Lafreniere with the first-overall pick in the first round of the 2020 NHL Draft last night. The Los Angeles Kings selected Quinton Byfield with the second-overall pick while the Ottawa Senators selected Tim Stuetzle with the third-overall selection. Rounds two through seven will be held today starting at 11:30 am ET. (Stick tap to NBC Sports for the list below):

1. New York Rangers – Alexis Lafreniere, LW, Rimouski (QMJHL)
2. Los Angeles Kings – Quinton Byfield, C, Sudbury (OHL)
3. Ottawa Senators (from SJS) – Tim Stuetzle, C/LW, Mannheim (DEL)
4. Detroit Red Wings – Lucas Raymond, LW, Frolunda (SHL)
5. Ottawa Senators – Jake Sanderson, D, USNTDP (USHL)
6. Anaheim Ducks – Jamie Drysdale, D, Erie (OHL)
7. New Jersey Devils – Alexander Holtz, RW, Djurgardens (SHL)
8. Buffalo Sabres – Jack Quinn, RW, Ottawa (OHL)
9. Minnesota Wild – Marco Rossi, C, Ottawa (OHL)
10. Winnipeg Jets – Cole Perfetti, C, Saginaw (OHL)
11. Nashville Predators – Yaroslav Askarov, G, St. Petersburg (VHL)
12. Florida Panthers – Anton Lundell, C, HIFK (SM-liiga)
13. Carolina Hurricanes (from TOR) – Seth Jarvis, C, Portland (WHL)
14. Edmonton Oilers – Dylan Holloway, C/LW, Wisconsin (NCAA)
15. Toronto Maple Leafs (from PIT) – Rodion Amirov, LW, Ufa Salavat Yulayev (KHL)
16. Montreal Canadiens – Kaiden Guhle, D, Prince Albert (WHL)
17. Chicago Blackhawks – Lukas Reichel, LW, Eisbaren Berlin (DEL)
18. New Jersey Devils (from ARZ) – Dawson Mercer, C/RW, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
19. New York Rangers (from CGY) – Braden Schneider, D, Brandon (WHL)
20. New Jersey Devils (from VAN via TB) – Shakir Mukhamadullin, D, Ufa Salavat Yulayev (KHL)
21. Columbus Blue Jackets – Yegor Chinakhov, RW, Avangard Omsk (KHL)
22. Washington Capitals (from CGY via NYR via CAR) – Hendrix Lapierre, C, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
23. Philadelphia Flyers – Tyson Foerster, RW, Barrie (OHL)
24. Calgary Flames (from WSH) – Connor Zary, C, Kamloops (WHL)
25. Colorado Avalanche – Justin Barron, D, Halifax (QMJHL)
26. St. Louis Blues – Jake Neighbours, LW, Edmonton (WHL)
27. Anaheim Ducks (from BOS) – Jacob Perreault, RW, Sarnia (OHL)
28. Ottawa Senators (from NYI) – Ridly Greig, C, Brandon (WHL)
29. Vegas Golden Knights – Brendan Brisson, C, Chicago (USHL)
30. Dallas Stars – Mavrik Bourque, C, Shawinigan (QMJHL)
31. San Jose Sharks (from TB) – Ozzy Wiesblatt, RW, Prince Albert (WHL)

The NHL and NHLPA issued a joint statement targeting Jan. 1, 2021 for the start of the 2020-21 season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be great if the league and PA can safely start next season on New Year’s Day. Whether they can is another matter. COVID-19 will ultimately decide if that start date can be met. The priority is the safety of everyone involved in the games.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals re-signed defenseman Brenden Dillon to a four-year contract worth an annual average value of $3.9 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A good, affordable signing by the Capitals. They acquired Dillon before the trade deadline and he quickly fit in well on their blueline.

THE SCORE: Speaking of the Capitals, defenseman Michal Kempny will be sidelined six-to-eight months following surgery to repair an Achilles tendon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kempny will likely go on long-term injury reserve for 2020-21. It would give the Capitals $2.5 million in wiggle room if necessary to make other moves.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens placed defenseman Karl Alzner on unconditional waivers yesterday for the purpose of buying out the remaining two years of his contract. It will count as $3.9 million for 2020-21 against their cap hit, dropping to $1.9 million in 2021-22, and $833K per season for the final two years of the buyout

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Habs could’ve waited another year to buy out Alzner when it wouldn’t have counted as long against their cap. It’s believed they did this to allow the veteran blueliner an opportunity to try and sign with another NHL club.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings placed forward Justin Abdelkader on unconditional waivers yesterday for the purpose of buying out the final three years of his contract. It’ll count as $1.8 million against their cap in 2020-21, $2.3 million annually for the next two seasons, and $1.05 million for the final three years of the buyout.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers general manager Ken Holland decided not to tender qualifying offers to Andreas Athanasiou and Matt Benning. Both players will become unrestricted free agents on Friday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holland is catching flak from Oilers supporters because he gave up two second-round picks as part of the return to the Detroit Red Wings last February for Athanasiou. The Oilers GM was hoping the speedy winger could regain his 30-goal form but he managed just two points in 13 games in Edmonton. The cost of qualifying his rights was $3 million, which would’ve been too expensive for the cap-strapped Oilers.

SPORTSNET: The Vancouver Canucks re-signed winger Zack MacEwen to a two-year contract worth $825K per season.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 29, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 29, 2019

The Avalanche re-sign Mikko Rantanen and the Jets ink Kyle Connor. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche re-signed winger Mikko Rantanen to a six-year, $55.5-million contract. Cap Friendly indicates the annual average value is $9.25 million. 

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets re-signed winger Kyle Connor to a seven-year, $50-million deal with an AAV of $7.14 million

The Colorado Avalanche re-signed winger Mikko Rantanen to a six-year deal (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And with that, the last two notable restricted free agents are finally under contract. Both players missed training camp and preseason action but are expected to rejoin their respective clubs as the curtain rises this week on the 2019-20 regular season. It’ll be interesting to see what effect their absences will have upon their early-season performance.

As for the contracts, they’re worthwhile long-term deals for the two sides. Both players get long-term security. Rantanen becomes the highest-paid player on the Avalanche on a front-loaded deal paying him $12 million annually this season and next in real salary ($34 million over the first three seasons) while Connor becomes the second-highest paid forward on the Jets. 

The Avs and Jets each get an important young player under a contract that could turn out to be a long-term bargain. Rantanen is coming off back-to-back 80-point performances while the two-way Connor netted 30-plus goals in each of the last two seasons. The 22-year-olds are core players entering their playing prime with their best seasons still to come. What looks expensive today could look cost-effective in a few years. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins forwards Sidney Crosby and Bryan Rust suffered undisclosed injuries blocking shots in last night’s preseason loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Coach Mike Sullivan said both were being evaluated and more info could be available today. Speaking of the Sabres, Connor Sheary missed the game with a lower-body injury and remains day-to-day. 

VANCOUVER SUN: Canucks winger Brock Boeser and defenseman Oscar Fantenberg skated in practice with their teammates yesterday. Both have been sidelined by concussions since Monday. 

WASHINGTON POST: Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny (hamstring) remains doubtful for the club’s season opener on Wednesday against the St. Louis Blues. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL’s David Schoen reports Golden Knights winger Alex Tuch is week-to-week with an upper-body injury while Cody Eakin is day-to-day. 

THE SCORE: The Calgary Flames released Devante Smith-Pelly from his professional tryout offer. 

TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs placed blueliners Ben Harpur and Jordan Schmaltz on waivers for the purpose of sending them to the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 16, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 16, 2019

Golden Knights defeat the Coyotes in preseason play, the Bruins re-sign Charlie McAvoy, the Flames re-up Andrew Mangiapane, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Max Pacioretty tallied a hat trick as the Vegas Golden Knights downed the Arizona Coyotes 6-2 in the first game of the 2019 NHL preseason. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins yesterday re-signed defenseman Charlie McAvoy to a three-year contract with an annual average value of $4.9 million. 

Boston Bruins re-sign defenseman Charlie McAvoy (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a reasonable bridge deal for both sides. McAvoy blossomed into a top-pairing blueliner and will be in line for a significant raise at the end of this new contract. Indeed, he’s already guaranteed a qualifying offer of $7.3 million. Cap Friendly indicates that’s how much he’ll earn in actual salary in the final year of this deal. 

The Bruins, meanwhile, are able to fit him within their cap payroll. That should leave enough ($3.2 million) to re-signed Brandon Carlo without having to shed too much salary. 

Speaking of the Bruins, defenseman Kevan Miller (fractured kneecap) isn’t expected to be ready for the start of their season on Oct. 3. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the cost of re-signing Carlo pushes the Bruins over the $81.5-million cap, they can put Miller on long-term injury reserve to get some short-term cap relief. 

CALGARY SUN: The Flames re-signed winger Andrew Mangiapane to a one-year, two-way contract worth $715K.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames have over $6.3 million in salary-cap space with Matthew Tkachuk to re-sign. It’ll likely cost much more than that to get Tkachuk under contract, meaning a cost-cutting trade could be in the offing. 

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny seems unlikely to particpate in preseason play. He’s still recovering from surgery in April to repair a torn hamstring. 

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 28, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 28, 2019

The latest on Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor, Travis Hamonic, Jason Pominville, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE SCORE: Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice believes the pressure surrounding the contract negotiations of Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor will increase for those players and management as training camp approaches. Jets camp opens on Sept. 13. 

Winnipeg Jets wingers Patrik Laine (above) and Kyle Connor remain unsigned (Photo via NHL Images).

Acknowledging the unusually high number of restricted free agent stars still unsigned around the league, Maurice believes once one or two sign the others could quickly follow. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most of those RFAs are waiting to see who signs first. I anticipate a flurry of last-minute signings before mid-September. 

CALGARY SUN: Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic was unconcerned over his name popping up in this summer’s trade rumors. He spent his time preparing for the upcoming season and embracing family life. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hamonic rumors – and those surrounding T.J. Brodie – quieted after Juuso Valimaki suffered a serious knee injury during off-season training. Most of that speculation has less to do with Hamonic and more with Brodie. Regardless, it appears both blueliners will be staying in Calgary for the upcoming season. 

NHL.COM: Unrestricted free agent winger Jason Pominville, 36,  hopes to continue his NHL career but said he’s prepared that it could be over after 16 seasons. 

THE ATHLETIC: Washington Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny is progressing in his recovery from April’s season-ending hamstring surgery. He’s hoping to be ready for training camp but a return date remains uncertain. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Former Philadelphia Flyers Andrew MacDonald, Matt Read, and Michal Neuvirth are among several players heading to training camps on professional tryout offers. 

NEWSDAY: Scott Gomez has stepped down as an assistant coach with the New York Islanders. 

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild prospect Alexander Khovanov had surgery last Friday to remove a benign bone tumor from his leg.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Former NHL winger Darren McCarty credits medical marijuana with helping to save him from alcohol and drug addiction. He quit drinking four years ago, lost 60 pounds, is off most of his prescription medication and recently quit smoking cigarettes. 

SPORTSNET: Journeyman goaltender Mike McKenna has retired after stints with 15 NHL organizations and 22 professional teams. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 3, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 3, 2019

Game recaps, Stars clinch a playoff berth, Wild eliminated from postseason chase, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Nashville Predators (96 points) defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 to move into a tie with the Winnipeg Jets for first place in the Central Division. P.K. Subban had a goal and an assist and Ryan Johansen tallied the winning goal. 

Brad Marchand became the first Boston Bruin to reach 100 points since Joe Thornton in 2002-03. (Photo via NHL Images)

Brad Marchand became the first Boston Bruin to reach 100 points since Joe Thornton in 2002-03 as his club beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-2. Marchand’s teammate Jake DeBrusk scored twice and set up another. With the win, the Bruins (105 points) secured second place in the Atlantic Division. The Blue Jackets (94 points) slipped into a tie with the Montreal Canadiens for the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth. 

The Canadiens, meanwhile, kept their playoff hopes alive by overcoming a 2-1 deficit to double up the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2. The loss means the Lightning no longer have a shot at breaking the NHL single-season record of 62 wins set by the Detroit Red Wings in 1995-96

The Carolina Hurricanes (95 points) moved back into the first wild-card spot in the East by defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1. Dougie Hamilton scored two goals for the Hurricanes. The Leafs (99 points) have secured third place in the Atlantic. 

Tyler Bertuzzi became the first player in Detroit Red Wings history to tally three-or-more points in four straight games in a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Bertuzzi scored two goals and collected an assist while teammates Dylan Larkin had three assists and Anthony Mantha scored twice. Earlier in the day, the Red Wings formally announced head coach Jeff Blashill was re-signed to a two-year contract extension. The loss prevented the Penguins (97 points) from clinching a playoff position. They also played without defenseman Brian Dumoulin, who’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury.  

Despite defeating the Winnipeg Jets 5-1, the Minnesota Wild (83 points) was eliminated from the playoff race last night. Zach Parise scored two goals for the Wild. 

The Dalla Stars are heading to the playoffs for the first time since 2016 thanks to a 6-2 drubbing of the Philadelphia Flyers. Alexander Radulov led the way with two goals and two assists while Mats Zuccarello (one assist) returned to action after being sidelined for over a month with a broken arm. 

The Wild was eliminated because the Colorado Avalanche overcame a 2-0 deficit to thump the Edmonton Oilers 6-2. Alex Kerfoot scored twice for the Avalanche (88 points), who opened a four-point lead over the Arizona Coyotes for the final playoff berth in the Western Conference. 

Speaking of the Coyotes (84 points), their playoff hopes took a hit by falling 3-1 to the Los Angeles Kings. Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper left the game in the third period after taking a stick to the face. His status for their remaining two games remains in doubt. Kings defenseman Kurtis MacDermid missed the game with an upper-body injury

The Vancouver Canucks rallied from a 2-1 deficit to beat the San Jose Sharks 4-2. Tanner Pearson scored twice and Markus Granlund tallied the winning goal. The Sharks have won just once (1-8-1) in their last 10 games. 

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, and Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand are the NHL’s three stars for the month of March 2019.  St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington was named rookie of the month for the second straight month. 

NBC SPORTS: Washington Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn left hamstring and is expected to be sidelined four-to-six months. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 26, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 26, 2019

Game recaps, Lightning win their 59th game, Predators clinch a playoff berth, stars of the week, Capitals visit the White House, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning became the fourth team in NHL history to win 59 games in a season by erasing a 4-2 deficit to beat the Boston Bruins 5-4. Steven Stamkos scored two goals and Anthony Cirelli netted the game-winner with 53 seconds remaining in regulation. Earlier in the day, the Lightning revealed defenseman Dan Girardi (lower-body injury) is sidelined indefinitely

Four goals by John Tavares helped the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Florida Panthers 7-5 (Photo via NHL Images).

A four-goal performance by John Tavares powered the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 7-5 victory over the Florida Panthers. With 45 goals, Tavares sits second among the league leaders. Mitch Marner and Zach Hyman each had three points for the Leafs while Jonathan Huberdeau and Jayce Hawryluk each scored twice for the Panthers. The Leafs (96 points) are five behind the Boston Bruins for second in the Atlantic Division. 

Zach Sanford had a goal and an assist as the St. Louis Blues downed the Vegas Golden Knights 3-1, preventing the latter from clinching a postseason spot. With 90 points, the Blues sit two points behind the Nashville Predators for second in the Central Division. 

The Nashville Predators secured a playoff spot by blanking the Minnesota Wild 1-0. Juuse Saros made 29 saves for the shutout and Ryan Johansen tallied the only goal. With 92 points, the Predators sit two behind the Central Division-leading Winnipeg Jets. The Wild (79 points) remain two back of the Colorado Avalanche for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Speaking of the Jets, they dropped a 5-2 decision to the Dallas Stars. Tyler Seguin and Radek Faksa each scored twice for the Stars (84 points), who opened a three-point lead over the Avalanche for the first Western wild-card berth. 

The Pittsburgh Penguins (95 points) moved to within a point of first place in the Metropolitan Division by defeating the New York Rangers 5-2. Teddy Blueger tallied twice as the Penguins overcame a 2-0 deficit. Phil Kessel also collected two assists. Earlier in the day, the Rangers announced winger Jesper Fast (shoulder injury) will be sidelined for the remainder of the season. 

Jack Campbell had a 42-save shutout as the Los Angeles Kings upset the Calgary Flames 3-0. The Kings played without winger Ilya Kovalchuk, who remained back in Los Angeles to work with the club’s development and skills staff. GM Rob Blake said the decision was not based on Kovalchuk’s comments last week complaining about his declining ice time under coach Willie Desjardins.

Earlier in the day, Kings defenseman Drew Doughty created a pre-game stir by saying he has no respect for Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk, who clashed with Doughty in previous contests. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kovalchuk was going to be a healthy scratch during the Kings’ three-game road trip so apparently it was a mutual decision (based on his suggestion) to remain in Los Angeles. I’ll have more on Kovalchuk and the Kings later this morning in the Rumors section. 

The San Jose Sharks suffered their sixth straight defeat by falling 3-2 to the Detroit Red Wings. The loss leaves the Sharks six points behind the Flames for first place in the Pacific Division and the overall Western Conference standings.

New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider kicked out 45 shots backstopping his club to a 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Pavel Zacha had a goal and an assist. The Sabres have dropped 12 consecutive road games. 

Winnipeg Jets winger Kyle Connor, Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos, and Colorado Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending March 25, 2019.

The White House and President Trump yesterday welcomed the Washington Capitals to commemorate their 2018 Stanley Cup championship. Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny attended the event on crutches and is considered sidelined long-term with an injured left leg. 

NEWSDAY: New York Islanders coach Barry Trotz became the fourth coach in league history to reach 1,600 regular-season games during his club’s 2-0 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday.