NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 29, 2023
The Bruins’ plan to fill their top-two center roles this season, front office changes for the Sabres and Capitals, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery is very confident that Pavel Zacha and Charlie Coyle can fill the club’s top-two center positions. Those roles became areas of concern following the recent retirements of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci.
Montgomery believes Zacha is ready to handle the first-line center role, saying the 26-year-old still has a high ceiling after his career-best performance (21 goals, 57 points) last season.
The Bruins were rumored to be interested in Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm and Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele earlier in the offseason. One NHL source claimed they would circle back on Lindholm if he became available before the start of this season.
They were also said to be prepared to move Linus Ullmark. However, it appears the asking price for the desired center was too high and the return too low for Ullmark.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins probably have no choice but to go with Zacha and Coyle to start this season. It’s believed they lack sufficient trade capital to outbid other clubs that could have an interest in Lindholm. That probably holds true as well for Scheifele.
BUFFALO HOCKEY NOW: Terry Pegula has taken over as the Sabres team president. Pegula Sports & Entertainment, which also owns the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, is being dissolved and separating resources, with each club focusing on their respective efforts.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: The Washington Capitals also made some front-office changes, naming general manager Brian MacLellan as president of hockey operations. They also promoted Chris Patrick to assistant general manager.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers suggest this move lays the groundwork for Patrick to eventually take over as general manager, allowing MacLellan to focus solely on his role as hockey ops president.
NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers formally announced they’ve signed forwards Sam Gagner and Brandon Sutter to professional tryout agreements.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise here. It was previously reported in the Edmonton media that Gagner and Sutter would get professional tryout offers.
COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of PTOs, the Avalanche signed former Dallas Stars forward Joel Kiviranta.
TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs added some size to their blueline yesterday, signing former Simon Benoit to a one-year, $775K contract. The 6’3”, 203-pound defenseman spent the past three seasons with the Anaheim Ducks.