NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 21, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 21, 2020

The latest return-to-play news plus updates on Joe Thornton, Braden Holtby, Anton Khudobin and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports Canadian NHL clubs could be affected if provincial borders close for non-essential travel. British Columbia premier John Horgan recently called upon the federal government to follow his provinces’ lead in discouraging inter-provincial travel.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadian teams are located in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and BC. The NHL is considering having an all-Canadian division for this season due to the pandemic as those clubs would have difficulty traveling across the Canada-US border with current restrictions in place. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday he won’t force the closure of provincial borders. However, if provinces decide to do it themselves, he would support it.

The NHL hopes to start the 2020-21 season on Jan. 1, but its push for the NHLPA to accept further salary cuts could close the negotiation window. Hornby cites a source telling Boston Hockey Now’s Joe Haggerty a mid-January return was more likely as the players could object to training camp during the Christmas holiday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr reportedly continue holding daily discussions. The salary issue upset the players and generated plenty of headlines, but both sides have not released public statements on the matter nor have they been sniping at each other through the media.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Joe Thornton (NHL Images).

Perhaps cooler heads are prevailing here or it’s the calm before another labor storm. Nevertheless, there’s a belief the two sides should be able to work through the salary issue. They’ll have to hammer out an agreement by Nov. 30 at the latest to maintain their Jan. 1 season-opening timeline.

An outbreak of COVID-19 among players for Davos of the Swiss League has sidelined Joe Thornton. “The whole team is in quarantine after five players, not known to include Thornton, tested positive the past few days,” writes Hornby. Thornton, who recently signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs, is playing for Davos while awaiting the start of the NHL season.

Speaking of Thornton, SPORTSNET’S Luke Fox reports Davos general manager Raeto Raffainer believes the 41-year-old center’s experience, hockey smarts and leadership will benefit the Leafs in whatever role they choose for him. Thornton has six points in his first six games with Davos.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Skating in a European pro league should give Thornton a competitive edge whenever the NHL starts up this season.

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Braden Holtby had some difficulty getting across the US border into Canada with his family’s two pet tortoises. It’s since been resolved after securing the necessary export papers from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Things kind of slowed to a crawl for a while there for Holtby. See, because he has tortoises and they crawl and, okay, I’ll stop now…

NHL.COM: Dallas Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin is expected to be ready for training camp following surgery last month to repair a nerve issue in his right arm.

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Bruce Garrioch recently reported Anders Nilsson is still plagued by concussion symptoms, putting his availability for the coming season into jeopardy. The 30-year-old goaltender’s been sidelined since suffering the injury on Dec. 16.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Former NHL winger Ken Schinkel passed away at age 87. He spent 12 seasons in the NHL from 1959-60 to 1972-73. His first six seasons were with the New York Rangers until selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1967 NHL expansion draft at age 35. He enjoyed his best NHL seasons with the Penguins, with three 45-plus point campaigns. Schinkel went on to coach the Penguins for parts of four seasons and held a variety of front-office roles with the club before joining the Hartford Whalers in 1989.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Schinkel’s family, friends and former teammates.

 










List of Notable NHL UFA Signings – October 9, 2020

List of Notable NHL UFA Signings – October 9, 2020

8:30 pm ET: St. Louis Blues sign Torey Krug to a seven-year, $45.5 million contract.

7 pm ET: Toronto Maple Leafs sign T.J. Brodie to a four-year contract ($5 million AAV).

4 pm to 5 pm ET: Calgary Flames sign Jacob Markstrom to a six-year, $36-million contract.

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3 pm to 4 pm ET: Anaheim Ducks sign Kevin Shattenkirk to a three-year contract ($3.9 million AAV)

Washington Capitals sign defenseman Justin Schultz to a two-year, $8 million contract.

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2 pm to 3 pm ET: Florida Panthers sign Alexander Wennberg to a one-year $2.25 million contract.

New York Rangers sign Jack Johnson to a one-year, $1-million contract.

Nashville Predators sign Mark Borowiecki to a two-year, $4-million contract.

In other contract news, the Ottawa Senators sign Matt Murray to a four-year contract with an annual average value of $6.25 million. The Senators acquired Murray, a restricted free agent, on Wednesday from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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1 pm to 2 pm ET: Vancouver Canucks sign Braden Holtby to a two-year deal ($4.3 million AAV)

Minnesota Wild sign goaltender Cam Talbot to a three-year, $11-million contract.

Dallas Stars sign Anton Khudobin to a three-year contract ($3.5 million AAV)

Edmonton Oilers sign center Kyle Turris to a two-year contract ($1.65 million AAV)

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12 pm to 1 pm ET:  Washington Capitals sign goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to a one-year, $1.5 million contract.

Toronto Maple Leafs sign winger Wayne Simmonds to a one-year, $1.5-million contract with a full no-movement clause.

Detroit Red Wings sign winger Bobby Ryan to a one-year, $1-million contract.

Winger Pat Maroon (two years, $900K AAV) and defenseman Luke Schenn (one year, $800K) are returning with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Florida Panthers sign defenseman Radko Gudas to a three-year contract ($2.5 million AAV).

In other news, the Tampa Bay Lightning placed winger Tyler Johnson on waivers. He has four years remaining on his contract with a $5 million annual cap hit and a full no-trade clause.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson will remain with the Arizona Coyotes. His deadline to be traded to either Boston or Vancouver came and went without a deal.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 9, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – October 9, 2020

The NHL’s free-agent market opens at noon ET today. Check out the latest speculation on Alex Pietrangelo, Taylor Hall, Torey Krug and many more in today’s rumor mill.

PIETRANGELO

St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo could head to market today (NHL Images).

  TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo was ready to go to market as of yesterday afternoon. He’s up to visiting with interested clubs that are willing to have him travel. It could take a couple of days until he reaches a decision on his destination and next contract. The Vegas Golden Knights, Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs could be among the interested parties.

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports it could take moving a high-profile Leaf or two, such as William Nylander or Frederik Andersen, to free up cap space to sign Pietrangelo. He feels general manager Kyle Dubas has hinted that’s not going to happen, giving Andersen a vote of confidence while staying out of the Matt Murray trade market.

PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi expects Pietrangelo will be too costly for the Philadelphia Flyers. He suggests more affordable options like Toronto’s Tyson Barrie, Boston’s Torey Krug or Calgary’s T.J. Brodie.

EKMAN-LARSSON

TSN: Darren Dreger said the Arizona Coyotes might not be able to meet the Friday trade deadline set by defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. He’ll only waive his no-movement clause for the Boston Bruins or Vancouver Canucks.

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston and Elliotte Friedman report the Canucks appear the more interested buyer for Ekman-Larsson.

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance and Rick Dhaliwal report the parameters of a deal with the Canucks would include “a draft pick of some magnitude, an inefficient contract from their bottom-six and a prospect.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: cites TSN’s Darren Dreger reporting the Bruins don’t like Arizona’s asking price. The Coyotes are believed to prefer the Bruins’ prospects over the Canucks.

HALL

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston and Elliotte Friedman report there’s some talk Coyotes winger Taylor Hall would consider a reunion with the Edmonton Oilers. It would be difficult to achieve that unless the Oilers shed some salary.

THE DENVER POST: Mike Chambers suggests Hall would be a perfect fit for the Colorado Avalanche’s second line. He’s open to a short-term deal, perhaps a one-year contract that could pave the way for a longer contract in free agency after next season.

THE ATHLETIC: With the Columbus Blue Jackets shedding salary yesterday, Aaron Portzline wonders if they might get into the bidding for Hall. Other options could include Florida’s Mike Hoffman or Evgenii Dadonov or Vancouver’s Tyler Toffoli.

MARKSTROM

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance and Rick Dhaliwal report the Vancouver Canucks remain confident of re-signing Jacob Markstrom despite persistent rumors linking the goaltender to the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Oilers are among the teams that could be interested in Markstorm if he goes to market today.

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston and Elliotte Friedman reported the Flames, Detroit Red Wings and Oilers (despite their salary-cap constraints) could pursue Markstrom.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples doesn’t see how the Oilers could afford Markstrom, who could seek $6 million annually on a long-term deal.

CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson believes Markstrom should be the Flames’ top target in the UFA market. He feels Markstrom could become the high-end goalie they’ve been missing since Miikka Kiprusoff retired.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks listed the Minnesota Wild as a possible destination for Markstrom if he goes to market.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Sarah McLellan also included Markstrom among possible Wild UFA targets. Other options could include Washington’s Braden Holtby and Chicago Corey Crawford.

FLEURY

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports the Vegas Golden Knights have put trading goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury on the side burner for now. His no-trade clause and $7 million annual average value makes him difficult to move.

HOLTBY

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby is garnering interest from the Oilers.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild could be interested in Holtby.

KRUG

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston and Elliotte Friedman report of increased chatter suggesting the Red Wings could pursue Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug. He was raised in a Detroit suburb and seeks long-term security. The Wings have the cap space to make a lucrative offer.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan reports Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman would like to address his blueline issues with one or two defenseman signings. It remains to be seen if he’ll pursue Krug. Yzerman said he expects to be “relatively conservative” in the free-agent market.

KHUDOBIN

TSN: Goaltender Anton Khudobin is heading to market after talks broke off with the Stars. The Flames could be interested, along with the Canucks if they fail to re-sign Jacob Markstrom or the Golden Knights if they can move Marc-Andre Fleury.

TOFFOLI AND TANEV

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance and Rick Dhaliwal report Canucks winger Tyler Toffoli and defenseman Chris Tanev are heading to market.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Toffoli tops Brian Witt’s list of possible free-agent targets for the San Jose Sharks.

BRODIE AND HAMONIC

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Flames renewed contract talks with defenseman T.J. Brodie. Dreger also believes Flames blueliner Travis Hamonic would sign with his hometown Winnipeg Jets but there’s not a lot of interest at the moment. The Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators and Oilers could be among Hamonic’s suitors.

BARRIE

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston and Elliotte Friedman reported the Oilers could have an interest in Maple Leafs defenseman Tyson Barrie as a short-term replacement for sidelined blueliner Oscar Klefbom.

GREISS

TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss could draw interest from the Canucks if they fail to re-sign Markstrom or Vegas if they trade Fleury.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks suggested Greiss or Cam Talbot could be a fit with the New Jersey Devils.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The opening hours of the free-agent period tend to be very busy with the best available players being quickly signed. However, it will be interesting to see how the flattened salary cap affects the market and the pace of the signings.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 3, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 3, 2020

The Stars hope to re-sign Anton Khudobin, the Wild are close to re-signing Carson Soucy, the Senators acquire Josh Brown from the Panthers, the Jets re-sign Laurent Brossoit, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Pierre LeBrun reports sources say the Dallas Stars hope to re-sign Anton Khudobin. The 34-year-old goaltender is due to become an unrestricted free agent on Oct. 9. General manager Jim Nill has reached out to Khudobin’s agent, Kent Hughes, expressing the club’s desire to re-sign him.

Dallas Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise the Stars hope to keep Khudobin in the fold following his heroics in the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs. LeBrun reports Hughes said his client is interested in staying.

The question, of course, is the cost. Khudobin’s completing a two-year contract worth an annual average value of $2.75 million. He could seek between $3.5 million and $4 million annually on a two- or three-year deal.

Cap Friendly indicates the Stars have over $15 million in cap space, but they must also re-sign restricted free agents Roope Hintz and Denis Gurianov. They could be keen to bring back pending UFA Corey Perry for another season. A new contract for Khudobin could be a tight fit, depending on how close to the salary cap ownership is willing to go.

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports the Minnesota Wild are closing in on re-signing defenseman Carson Soucy to a three-year contract at $2.75 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Soucy is completing a one-year deal worth $750K. Seravalli recently reported the pending UFA blueliner was attracting a lot of interest.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators yesterday acquired defenseman Josh Brown from the Florida Panthers in exchange for the Senators’ fourth-round pick (95th overall) in the 2020 NHL Draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like the Senators found their potential replacement for the departing Mark Borowiecki. The 6’5”, 217-pounder is a restricted free agent completing a two-year, $1.35-million contract.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets re-signed goaltender Laurent Brossoit to a one-year, $1.5-million contract.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs re-signed forward Denis Malgin to a one-year, $700K contract.

ESPN.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights revealed their metallic gold third jersey for 2020-21.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes named Ryan Jankowski as their new associate director of amateur scouting. He spent the last two years as the Buffalo Sabres director of amateur scouting.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Tim Smith, who performed as the Los Angeles Kings’ team mascot Bailey, was fired following allegations of sexual misconduct.

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Former Bruins winger Bobby Miller passed away yesterday at age 64. Miller spent his first four NHL seasons with the Bruins from 1977 to 1981, scoring 20 goals as a rookie in ’77-’78. He also spent two seasons with the Colorado Rockies and one with the Los Angeles Kings, finishing his NHL career with 75 goals and 194 points in 404 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Miller’s family, friends and former teammates.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 25, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 25, 2020

The Penguins trade Patric Hornqvist to the Panthers for Mike Matheson, the latest Stanley Cup Final news and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

TSN: After a day of uncertainty, the Pittsburgh Penguins finally traded winger Patric Hornqvist to the Florida Panthers for defenseman Mike Matheson. The Panthers also sent winger Colton Sceviour to the Penguins in the deal.

Pittsburgh Penguins trade Patric Hornqvist to the Florida Panthers (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’ S NOTE: This trade was originally reported on Wednesday but was held up due to Hornqvist’s no-trade clause and insurance concerns regarding his contract. It took a day to get those issues sorted.

The Penguins get younger by taking on the 26-year-old Matheson and 31-year-old Sceviour while the Panthers hope to benefit in the short term by the 33-year-old Hornqvist’s playoff experience and gritty style of play. Matheson struggled over the last two years but the Pens have had success taking on blueliners (like Justin Schultz and Trevor Daley) who improved once they came to Pittsburgh.

Hornqvist has three years left on his contract, Matheson six years and Sceviour one year. The Penguins don’t free up much cap space for 2020-21, swapping Hornqvist’s $5.3 million annual average value for Matheson ($4.875 million) and Sceviour ($1.2 million).

The Penguins might not be done dealing. They have a surplus of eight defensemen under NHL contracts and still have to re-sign goaltender Matt Murray or Tristan Jarry. That’s generating speculation one of those blueliners could be shopped in a cost-cutting deal.

NBC SPORTS: Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov’s consistency is among the driving factors in his club’s quest for the Stanley Cup. He’s the playoffs’ leading scorer with 30 points and has had eight multi-point games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kucherov’s performance puts him among the leading candidates for the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars face the Lightning tonight in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final and Game 5 on Saturday. That could put a considerable burden upon goaltender Anton Khudobin. With Ben Bishop still unfit to play, there are questions over what they’ll do between the pipes during the upcoming back-to-back stretch.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Khudobin normally backs up Bishop, but he’s played in most of the Stars’ games in this postseason. Youngster Jake Oettinger appeared in just over 36 minutes in two games, replacing Khudobin for the third period during the Stars 5-2 loss in Game 3 on Wednesday.

SPORTSNET: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is understandably proud of what the NHL accomplished with its return-to-play plan with two quarantine bubbles in Edmonton and Toronto. “It’s been nothing short of remarkable”, he said yesterday.

Bettman praised NHL chief content officer Steve Mayer and his staff of 150 people for their planning and staging of the event, as well as the governments of Alberta and Ontario and the Canadian government, and the collaborative efforts between the league and the NHLPA.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bettman’s pride is justified. The league silenced its critics by staging a safe environment for 24 teams in two NHL cities to compete for the 2020 Stanley Cup. However, he indicated the league’s intent is not to stage next season in a bubble environment. They hope to have fans in the arenas when it is safe to do so.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres signed center Curtis Lazar to a two-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $800K.

SPORTSNET: The Nashville Predators re-signed forward Yakov Trenin to a two-year, $1.45-million contract.

NHL.COM: The league revealed its offseason protocols for training at team facilities. The plan will be similar to Phase 2 of the NHL’s return-to-play plan.

The teams can open their training facilities if a minimum of five players request it commencing Oct. 15, though they can open them sooner at their discretion following the completion of the Stanley Cup Final. No more than 12 players will be allowed on the ice at one time, though more players may be present in the facility at the same time.

Local public health restrictions will be observed and mandatory testing for COVID-19 is required for players and training staff wishing to use the facility.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 13, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 13, 2020

In today’s NHL morning coffee headlines, the Stars are within a game of reaching the Stanley Cup Final, Lou Lamoriello is GM of the Year, an update on Brayden Point, and the Canadiens acquire Joel Edmundson from the Hurricanes.

NHL.COM: The Dallas Stars are one game away from the Stanley Cup Final after edging the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 to take a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Final. Anton Khudobin made 32 saves for the win while teammates Joe Pavelski and Jamie Benn were the goal scorers. Alec Martinez tallied for the Golden Knights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Khudobin flat out stole this game for the Stars, who were outshot 33-20 in this contest and outplayed for long stretches by the Golden Knights. He’s been Dallas’ most valuable player throughout this postseason and has to be considered among the leading candidates for the Conn Smythe Trophy.

New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello is this season’s winner of the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award. The off-season signings of Semyon Varlamov and Derrick Brassard, re-signings of Anders Lee, Anthony Beauvillier, Jordan Eberle and Brock Nelson, and acquisitions of Andy Greene and Jean-Gabriel Pageau were cited as factors in Lamoriello receiving the award.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lamoriello has his critics but there’s no question his moves ensured the Islanders remained a playoff club this season. His wheeling and dealing also got the Isles to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time since 1993.

The Tampa Bay Lightning could be without first-line center Brayden Point for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Islander. Point left Game 2 with an undisclosed injury and missed Game 3. He participated in practice yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t be surprised if Point is a game-day decision.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens yesterday acquired defenseman Joel Edmundson from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2020. Edmundson, 27, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on Oct. 9.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect the Habs will re-sign Edmundson, who earned $3.1 million on a one-year contract this season. They like his size and physical play on the left side of their blueline. This move leaves the Canadiens with 11 picks in this year’s draft.

If Edmundson is re-signed, it could set the stage for another move or two by the Habs. I have more on that in the rumors sections.