NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 18, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 18, 2018

Latest on Sebastian Aho, Ryan Spooner, the Canucks’ hockey operations department and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes and Sebastian Aho has open contract extension talks. The 21-year-old forward is in the final season of his three-year entry-level contract. While he didn’t reveal details, Aho said he’s hopeful of signing a long-term deal.

Carolina Hurricanes talking contract extension with Sebastian Aho (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Following a solid 24-goal, 49-point NHL debut in 2016-17, Aho led the Hurricanes last season with 29 goals and 65 points. Should he reach or exceed those numbers in 2018-19, he could earn something akin to the five-year, $6.1-million deal recently signed by Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin. 

OTTAWA SUN: New York Rangers forward and Ottawa-area native Ryan Spooner recently participated in a ride-along with local police. He expressed interest in joining the police force when his playing career is over. Spooner earned praise and support from the Ottawa police and the NHLPA.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stick tap to “George” for the link. Thumbs up to Spooner for supporting law enforcement in his hometown. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton lists Detroit’s Jonathan Bernier, Carolina’s Petr Mrazek, New Jersey’s Keith Kinkaid, Nashville’s Jusse Saros and Colorado’s Philipp Grubauer as five backups who could play their way into starting jobs with their respective teams.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mrazek is the understudy for Scott Darling, who stumbled badly during his first season as an NHL starter. The others are backing up aging or injury-prone veterans. At least one of them should end up taking over a starter’s job this season. 

VANCOUVER SUN: Following the recent departure of Trevor Linden as Canucks president of hockey operations, general manager Jim Benning said not to expect any further changes in the hockey ops department. 

TORONTO SUN: John Bartlett has replaced Paul Romanuk as the Maple Leafs’ new TV play-by-play man on Sportsnet. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes will have a new a high-definition videoboard installed at Gila River Arena.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 25, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 25, 2018

Games recaps, Connor McDavid takes over the lead in the scoring race, Bruce Boudreau reaches a coaching milestone and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored twice to take over the lead in the NHL scoring race as his club nipped the Los Angeles Kings 3-2. McDavid now has 96 points, one ahead of Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov. The loss leaves the Kings with 89 points, sitting just outside of a the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid has taken over the lead in the NHL scoring race. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers may be eliminated from playoff contention, but McDavid is making a statement that he’s not about to quit on this season. His recent surge in the scoring race will provide more fodder for those who believe he’s a Hart Trophy candidate this season. 

The Colorado Avalanche edged the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 on an overtime goal by Gabriel Landeskog. Semyon Varlamov made 39 saves for the win. The Avs (90 points) moved into the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference while preventing the Golden Knights (101 points) from clinching a playoff spot. Vegas defenseman Deryk Engelland missed his second straight game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights are assured of a playoff berth but they have struggled a bit of late, dropping four of their last six contests. 

Minnesota Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau got his 500th career victory as his club defeated the Nashville Predators 4-1. Jason Zucker had a goal and an assist for the Wild, who limited the Predators to 20 shots. With 92 points, the Wild maintain their hold on third place in the Central Division.

The Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Detroit Red Wings 4-3, picking up their 13th straight home win and tying their franchise record with 45 wins. William Nylander and Nazem Kadri scored the tying and winning goals respectively in the third period for the Leafs (97 points), who sit third in the Atlantic Division.

The St. Louis Blues (89 points) climbed into the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference by edging the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1. Jake Allen turned aside 33 shots for the win as the Blues handed the Jackets their first loss in 11 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teetering on the brink of falling completely out of the playoff race over two weeks ago, the Blues are now one of the league’s hottest teams, winning five straight games and seven of their last ten. 

New Jersey Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid kicked out 35 shots to give his club a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. With the win, the Devils (86 points) sit three over the Florida Panthers for the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

The Panthers, meanwhile, kept their playoff hopes alive by scoring four unanswered third-period goals to double up the Arizona Coyotes 4-3. Vincent Trocheck scored twice for the Panthers (83 points). The Panthers were playing without goaltender Roberto Luongo, who missed the game with a minor upper-body injury.

Nicklas Backstrom collected four assists while Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson each scored twice as the Washington Capitals dumped the Montreal Canadiens 6-4. The Capitals (95 points) opened a five-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins for top spot in the Metropolitan Division.

Evander Kane scored twice as the San Jose Sharks downed the flickering Calgary Flames 5-1. With 95 points, the Sharks move to within six points of the Pacific Division-leading Golden Knights.

Cam Ward made 34 saves backstopping the Carolina Hurricanes to a 5-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators. It was the first game for Senators captain Erik Karlsson following the death of his unborn son.

A 31-save effort by Anton Forsberg gave the Chicago Blackhawks a 3-1 win over the New York Islanders, who are falling ever close to being eliminated from playoff contention.

Jimmy Vesey scored twice and set up another as the New York Rangers beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-1.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets are downplaying a scrap during practice between Blake Wheeler and Ben Chiarot as simply “boys being boys.”



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 30, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 30, 2017

Will the Florida Panthers bring back Jaromir Jagr?

Latest trade, free agent & buyout updates and former Oiler Dave Semenko passes away. Details in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon seems reluctant to bring back free-agent right winger Jaromir Jagr, who took to Twitter yesterday claiming no team has contacted him to discuss a contract. Tallon said he’s had cordial talks with Jagr’s agent on a regular basis.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed the Panthers prefer bringing  the 45-year-old Jagr back on a one-year deal worth less than the $5.5 million bonus-laden deal he had for 2016-17. If other clubs aren’t calling the future Hall of Famer, it’s likely because of his age and possible asking price. He could be waiting a few days until teams that lose out on this summer’s top free agents come calling. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes traded goaltender Eddie Lack, defenseman Ryan Murphy and a seventh-round pick in 2019 to the Calgary Flames in exchange for defense prospect Keegan Kanzig and a sixth-round pick in 2019. The Hurricanes will also retain half of Lack’s $2.75 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes clear their logjam in goal and now have Scott Darling and Cam Ward as their goalie tandem for 2017-18, while the Flames pick up a seasoned backup for recently-acquired starter Mike Smith. The Hurricanes were expected to move a defenseman when they acquired Trevor van Riemsdyk last week from the Vegas Golden Knights. Murphy was frequently mentioned as a trade candidate last season. 

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH/EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Columbus Blue Jackets are buying out left wing Scott Hartnell. The Edmonton Oilers placed winger Benoit Pouliot on waivers for the purpose of a contract buyout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets now have over $62 million invested in 21 players for 2017-18. That’s plenty of room to re-sign restricted free agents Josh Anderson and Alexander Wennberg and still leave enough room for a significant UFA signing or perhaps a trade acquisition (Ilya Kolvachuk, maybe?).

The Oilers, meanwhile, now have over $56 million committed to 21 players. Looks like they’re clearing space for restricted free agent Leon Draisaitl’s new deal and for a whopping new contract for Connor McDavid that will kick in next July. 

CALGARY HERALD: The Flames re-signed winger Kris Versteeg to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.

PHILLY.COM: The Flyers re-signed winger Jordan Weal to a two-year deal worth $1.75 million per season.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils re-upped backup goaltender Keith Kinkaid to a two-year, $2.5 million contract.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues re-signed forward Magnus Paajarvi to a one-year, one-way contract worth $800K.

SPORTSNET: Several NHL agents are apparently squabbling among themselves over the NHLPA leadership’s handling of such issues as escrow, Olympic participation and World Cup of Hockey revenue.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We take you live to NHL Headquarters for reaction. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Former Oilers enforcer Dave Semenko passed away yesterday at age 59 following a brief battle with cancer. Semenko played 575 NHL games, most of those with the Oilers, and was part of two Stanley Cup championship teams in Edmonton. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Semenko’s family, friends and former teammates. By all accounts, Semenko was a fine team player and a good man. Many of his former Oilers teammates were clearly shaken by his untimely passing. 


Updates on the Canucks, Hurricanes & Devils – April 15, 2017

Updates on the Canucks, Hurricanes & Devils – April 15, 2017

Could Ryan Miller return with the Vancouver Canucks?

More speculation about Ryan Miller’s future with the Vancouver Canucks, the Carolina Hurricanes could go goalie shopping and the New Jersey Devils face a decision with backup Keith Kinkaid.

VANCOUVER SUN: Ben Kuzma recently reported goaltender Ryan Miller will have significant conversations about his playing future with his agent and (Canucks GM) Jim Benning. Though 36-year-old Miller’s family lives in Los Angeles, he is open to the possibility of returning to the Canucks. They can offer a one- or two-year extension for more than he would get as a backup for one of the three California-based teams. Miller has enjoyed playing in Vancouver and has a good relationship with fellow Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s been some speculation this season suggesting Miller could re-sign with the Canucks. He’s completing a three-year, $18-million contract and won’t get that much again on the open market or from the Canucks. However, I can see them offering him a one- or two-year deal worth $3.5 – $4 million annually. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander recently reported Carolina Hurricanes GM Ron Francis could look to make a move to bolster their goaltending this summer. Francis noted some teams will be exposing goalies for the NHL expansion draft in June plus there’s some options possibly available via unrestricted free agency.  

Alexander pointed out the Hurricanes have 11 picks in the 2017 NHL draft, including seven in the first three rounds, giving Francis some assets to use as trade bait. He’ll also be looking to add a scoring forward or two plus he could shake things up among his fifth and sixth defensemen. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes finished 18th in goals-against per game this season (2.80) and must upgrade between the pipes. Cam Ward is past his prime and Eddie Lack hasn’t blossomed into a reliable starter. Free agent options could include Ben Bishop, Scott Darling, Steve Mason, Ryan Miller, Peter Budaj, Brian Elliott or Jonathan Bernier. Trade targets could include the New York Rangers’ Antti Raanta and the Washington Capitals’ Philipp Grubauer. 

NORTHJERSEY.COM: Andrew Gross reports the New Jersey Devils and backup Kevin Kinkaid have to weigh their options this summer. Kinkaid, 27, is eligible for unrestricted free agency completing a two-year, $1.45 million contract. If the NY Rangers lose backup Antti Raanta to the expansion draft, Gross speculated they could kick the tires on Kinkaid as Henrik Lundqvist’s understudy.