NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 16, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 16, 2021

The Avalanche trade Ryan Graves to the Devils, the Panthers buy out Keith Yandle, Ben Bishop agrees to waive NMC for the expansion draft, Leafs give Zach Hyman permission to speak to other clubs, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE DENVER POST/NORTHJERSEY.COM: The Colorado Avalanche last night traded defenseman Ryan Graves to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for forward Mikhail Maltsev and a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL draft.

The Colorado Avalanche trade Ryan Graves to the New Jersey Devils (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche risked losing Graves to the Seattle Kraken for nothing in next week’s expansion draft. They get a promising young forward in Maltsev and replace the second-round pick they shipped to the New York Islanders last fall for Devon Toews. The move also gives the Avs some much-needed salary-cap relief, replacing Graves’ $3.21 million annual average value with Maltsev’s $925K for 2021-22.

Graves, 26, established himself as a quality top-four defenseman during his tenure with the Avalanche. The 6’5”, 220-pounder brings a good mix of size, physical play and a solid defensive game to the Devils’ blueline.

NBC SPORTS: The Florida Panthers have bought out the remaining two years of Keith Yandle’s contract. The 34-year-old defenseman had an annual average value of $6.35 million. The first year of the buyout will count as $2.34 million against the Panthers’ cap for 2021-22, jumping to $5.3 million for 2022-23, and dropping to $1.24 million annually for the final two seasons.

They also re-signed winger Anthony Duclair to a three-year, $9 million contract and defenseman Gustav Forsling to a three-year, $7.98 million deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Things were coming to a head between Yandle and the Panthers this season. He was nearly a healthy scratch to start the season, which would’ve threatened his Ironman consecutive games streak. He was scratched from three postseason games. This move freed up immediate cap room to address other needs.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars goaltender Ben Bishop agreed to waive his no-movement clause for the upcoming expansion draft. That will allow the Stars to protect goalie Anton Khudobin as promising Jake Oettinger is exempt from the draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bishop missed all of this season recovering from a knee injury. His lengthy injury history likely means the Kraken will pass on selecting him in next week’s draft.

THE SCORE: cited TSN’s Darren Dreger reporting the Toronto Maple Leafs are allowing Zach Hyman to speak with other teams. The 29-year-old left-winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s a chance the Leafs could match the best offer but that appears slim. I’ll have more on Hyman in today’s Rumor Mill.

TSN: Darren Dreger speculates Shea Weber’s situation could end in a dispute between the NHL and NHLPA if the league doesn’t allow the Canadiens to put the 35-year-old defenseman on long-term injury reserve. Weber’s career is in jeopardy from the effects of multiple injuries suffered over the past four seasons. He’s reportedly expected to miss the entire 2021-22 season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Everyone is waiting for clarity on this before deciding what to do next. Weber is reportedly getting a second medical opinion. Dreger indicated the timing of this situation is what’s clouding the issue with the expansion draft coming up.

THE SCORE: Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins said Matiss Kivlenieks died a hero during the memorial service for his late teammate. Kivlenieks died at age 24 from chest trauma from a fireworks mortar blast. The tube tilted and started firing toward a hot tub. Merzlikins and his pregnant wife were nearby. He said the young goaltender sacrificed his life to protect others

SPECTOR’S NOTE: RIP Matiss, your last save was your biggest.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed winger Brett Ritchie to a one-year, $900K contract.

THE MERCURY NEWS: The San Jose Sharks re-signed center Dylan Gambrell to a one-year, $1.1 million contract.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 13, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 13, 2021

Highlights from the recent general managers meeting, the Stanley Cup gets damaged during the Lightning’s boat parade, the latest on a possible buyout for Tony DeAngelo and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Tom Gulitti reports league commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly briefed the general managers yesterday on the guidelines for 2021-22 and other issues. Among the highlights:

The league is hoping for an 82-game regular-season schedule in 2021-22 beginning in October and ending in April with fully vaccinated players returning to pre-COVID conditions. It’s also hoped the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs will begin next April and conclude in June.

The league is working on two schedule formats, one of them including possible Olympic participation in 2022, pending the result of ongoing discussions between the NHLPA and the International Olympic Committee.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports resolution on Olympic participation next season must be reached by July 23.

Teams will return to the previous divisional format with each club playing all the others at least twice.

The Arizona Coyotes will move to the Central Division to make room in the Pacific Division for the expansion Seattle Kraken.

The general managers focussed on the officiating standard for the cross-checking penalty. It’s expected to continue during a meeting of the league’s competition committee today. So far, no rule change is planned.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping things can return to normal for next season.

ESPN.COM: The Stanley Cup is heading to Montreal for repairs after the bowl was dented during the Tampa Bay Lightning’s boat parade yesterday celebrating their second straight championship.

New York Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some folks on social media are chastising the Lightning for damaging the Cup. However, this sort of thing isn’t new. The Cup has a long history of getting banged up during exuberant celebrations by previous winners. The damage could have been accidental.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers aren’t expected to buy out exiled defenseman Tony DeAngelo until after the July 21 expansion draft.

Speaking of the Rangers, they’ve promoted Gord Murphy as an assistant coach and added Mike Kelly as an assistant. Murphy and Gallant have worked with new Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant in the past.

SPORTSNET: The police investigation into the death of Matiss Kivlenieks death has been submitted to a county prosecutor for review. The 24-year-old Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender died of chest trauma from an errant fireworks blast on July 4. The incident is still being treated as an accident and the police have not requested charges be laid.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: An attorney representing a former Blackhawks player who alleges he was sexually assaulted by the club’s former video coach in 2010 is open to the possibility of participating in the club’s review of the accusations. However, it would have to be under the right conditions. They want to know more about the parameters of the investigation and want the opportunity to conduct their own interview of key former and current team executives.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs hired former Carolina Hurricanes assistant coach Dean Chynoweth as an assistant coach.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins hired four new scouts and a coach for their minor league affiliate. Brett Hextall, son of Penguins GM Ron Hextall, will work as an integrated development coach. He’ll work with prospects at the AHL level.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames hired Mitch Love as head coach of their AHL affiliate in Stockton. Love spent the past three seasons as the bench boss of the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov’s KHL coaching career has been put on hold after he didn’t submit to doping tests. Markov failed to notify the Russian Anti-Doping Agency of his retirement as a player, meaning he’s still considered an active player. He’d joined HC Vityaz as an assistant coach. Because he didn’t get tested, however, he’s been suspended for a year and a half. “I didn’t know, nobody told me,” said Markov.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 6, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 6, 2021

The Canadiens avoid being swept from the Stanley Cup Final, Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks dies in a fireworks accident, Wild re-sign Nick Bjugstad and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Montreal Canadiens staved off elimination from the Stanley Cup Final with a 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 4 on Monday night.

Montreal Canadiens winger Josh Anderson (NHL Images).

Josh Anderson opened the scoring in the first period and tallied the game-winner in overtime. Alexander Romanov scored his first of the playoffs for the Canadiens while Carey Price made 32 saves for the win. Barclay Goodrow and Pat Maroon replied for the Lightning.

The series returns to Tampa Bay for Game 5 on Wednesday night with the Lightning holding a 3-1 lead.

TSN: The Canadiens made some lineup changes for Game 4. Jesperi Kotkaniemi was replaced by Jake Evans as their third-line center while Romanov and Brett Kulak replaced Erik Gustafsson and Jon Merrill on their third defense pairing. Anderson moved to the Canadiens’ second line alongside Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield.

Lightning winger Alex Killorn missed his third straight game of this series. He remains day-to-day with a leg injury suffered in Game 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning controlled most of the play in this game. Head coach Jon Cooper lamented several near misses for his club, including several shots clanging off the goalposts.

That doesn’t detract from what was a big win by the Canadiens. Price and his penalty killers were outstanding as they shut down five Lightning power-play opportunities, including a double-minor on Habs captain Shea Weber that stretched from late in the third period into the early minutes of overtime. Price was particularly strong during the opening minutes of the game, shutting down the Lightning as they pushed to open the scoring.

NHL.COM: Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks died on July 4 at age 24. It was initially reported that he suffered an apparent head injury during a fall, but an initial autopsy revealed he suffered a percussive injury from a fireworks explosion that led to major damage to his heart and lungs.

The incident took place at the Novi, Michigan home of former Detroit Red Wings goalie Manny Legace. Kivlenieks’ death is being investigated as accidental and no charges are under consideration at this time.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets fans gathered at a popular bar near NationWide Arena to mourn Kivlenieks’ passing. It included an 80-second moment of silence in honor of the netminder, who wore No. 80 with the Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My sincere condolences to Kivlenieks’ family, friends, teammates and the Jackets organization and fans. This was a tragic ending to a young life and career that held so much promise.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild signed Nick Bjugstad to a one-year, $900K contract. The 28-year-old center was slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28. He excelled in a depth role with the Wild this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bjugstad’s taking a big pay cut to stay in Minnesota. Cap Friendly indicates he was coming off a six-year deal worth an annual average value of $4.1 million. That reflects how much his role has changed since signing that deal with the Florida Panthers in 2014.

The signing puts only a slight dent into the Wild’s projected salary-cap space for next season. They have over $15.9 million remaining with restricted free agent stars Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala to re-sign.

NHL.COM: Swedish prospect forward William Eklund received the E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence. The award, presented by NHL Central Scouting, goes to the candidate who best displays a commitment to excellence through strength of character, competitiveness and athleticism. Previous winners include Philadelphia Flyers forward Travis Konecny and New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eklund overcame an emergency appendectomy and a positive COVID-19 test to become this year’s top European skater as ranked by NHL Central Scouting. He’s projected to go in the top five of this year’s NHL Draft.

THE BOSTON GLOBE: The AHL’s Providence Bruins will be seeking a new head coach as Jay Leach has joined the NHL’s Seattle Kraken as an assistant coach.