NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 17, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 17, 2023

The Bruins’ David Krejci collects three points in his 1,000th NHL game, the three stars of the week are revealed and the Wild sign Matt Boldy to a contract extension. Details and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Boston Bruins center David Krejci celebrated his 1,000th career NHL game with a three-assist performance in a 6-0 drubbing of the Philadelphia Flyers. Jeremy Swayman had a 29-save shutout while David Pastrnak and Pavel Zacha each scored two goals as the league-leading Bruins (35-5-4) hold a 10-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes in the overall standings with 72 points. The Flyers dropped to 18-19-7 on the season.

Boston Bruins center David Krejci (NHL Images).

The New Jersey Devils picked up their seventh straight road win by downing the San Jose Sharks 4-3 on a shootout goal by Tomas Tatar. Jack Hughes scored with 10 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime and the shootout. With 61 points, the Devils (29-12-3) sit one point behind the Hurricanes in third place in the overall standings. James Reimer stopped 38 shots and Timo Meier had a goal and an assist for the Sharks as they fell to 13-23-9.

Dallas Stars goalie Jake Oettinger kicked out 27 shots to blank the Vegas Golden Knights 4-0. Jamie Benn scored what proved to be the game-winner as the Stars (26-12-7) move into a tie with the Winnipeg Jets with 59 points. The Jets hold first-overall in the Western Conference with a game in hand. With 58 points, the 28-15-2 Golden Knights slipped to third overall in the conference. They also lost defenseman Alec Martinez to an undisclosed injury.

The Colorado Avalanche got two goals and two assists from Nathan MacKinnon in a 6-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Cale Makar scored twice and collected an assist for the 22-17-3 Avalanche (47 points) as they moved to within four points of the Calgary Flames for the final Western Conference wild-card berth. The Red Wings’ record slipped to 18-17-7.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche also welcomed back winger Valeri Nichushkin after a nine-game absence with an ankle injury.

Speaking of the Flames, they dropped a 2-1 decision to the Nashville Predators. Juuse Saros stopped 38 shots, including 21 in the third period while Roman Josi and Juuso Parssinen scored for the Predators as they improved to 20-17-6 and sit five points back of the Flames, who slipped to 21-15-9 on the season.

Third-period goals by Nick Paul, Brandon Hagel and Victor Hedman lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Seattle Kraken by a score of 4-1, snapping the latter’s eight-game winning streak. With 57 points, the Lightning (28-13-1) moved to within two points of the Toronto Maple Leafs for second place in the Atlantic Division. The Kraken (26-13-4) remain two points back of the first-place Golden Knights in the Pacific Division.

New York Rangers goalie Jaroslav Halak made 24 saves in a 3-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Barclay Goodrow and Kaapo Kakko each had two points as the Rangers improved to 25-13-7 to sit four back of the Devils in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 57 points. The Blue Jackets (13-28-2) have dropped four of their last five contests.

The Washington Capitals overcame a 3-0 deficit to down the New York Islanders 4-3 on an overtime goal by Dmitry Orlov. The Capitals (24-16-6) hold a four-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins for the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with 54 points. The Islanders (23-18-4) are four points back of the Capitals with 50 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders weren’t happy that Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin went unpenalized for what they considered an illegal hit to the head of forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau in the second period. Pageau left the game briefly but did return to action. Meanwhile, Capitals forward Nic Dowd left the game in the first period with an apparent leg injury and didn’t return.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel’s overtime goal lifted his club over the Anaheim Ducks 4-3. Guentzel, Evgeni Malkin and Jason Zucker each had a goal and an assist for the Penguins (22-15-6), who hold the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference (50 points) with two games in hand over the Islanders. Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry each had two goals for the 12-27-5 Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins defenseman Jan Rutta was a late scratch with an upper-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

The St. Louis Blues collected their 2,000th franchise win by nipping the Ottawa Senators 2-1. Jake Neighbours and Noel Acciari scored for the Blues (22-20-3) as they also sit four points back of the Flames for the final Western wild-card spot. The Senators slipped to 19-21-3 and have dropped four of their last five games.

Florida Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk collected three assists in a 4-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Sergei Bobrovsky made 28 saves for the Panthers (21-20-4) as they sit four points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot with 46 points. The Sabres dropped to 21-19-2 and have lost four of their last five games.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Seattle Kraken goaltender Martin Jones, Detroit Red Wings forward Lucas Raymond and Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Jan. 15, 2023.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild yesterday announced the signing of winger Matt Boldy to a seven-year, $49 million contract extension. The average annual value of the contract, which begins in 2023-24, is $7 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boldy, 21, is in the final season of his entry-level contract. He wasted little time establishing himself as a promising playmaking winger, netting 39 points in 47 games as a rookie in 2021-22 and 29 points in 42 games this season.

The Wild obviously believes big things are in store for Boldy. This deal could turn into a long-term bargain if he meets those expectations. It will also have a more immediate effect on the club’s salary-cap payroll for 2023-24, leaving them with $9.3 million in cap space.

THE ATHLETIC: The Carolina Hurricanes reassigned goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov to the AHL’s Chicago Wolves.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Frederik Andersen’s recent return from injury meant they have to demote Kochetkov, who remains waiver-exempt this season.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks physician Dr. Bill Regan said there were two setbacks that stalled winger Tanner Pearson’s recovery from a hand injury that ended his season. He underwent two surgeries but the club didn’t reveal any details regarding the problems that arose during his rehabilitation due to patient privacy and confidentiality.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pearson’s situation raised questions and some criticism over the club’s handling of his treatment. The NHLPA is reportedly looking into the matter.

TORONTO STAR: Maple Leafs winger Nick Robertson has undergone season-ending shoulder surgery. His recovery is expected to take six months.

OTTAWA SUN: Potential owners of the Senators could have their first opportunity to review the club’s finances as early as Tuesday.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 6, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 6, 2022

Alex Ovechkin tallies another goal-scoring record, the Golden Knights take over first overall, commissioner Gary Bettman weighs in on the Bruins signing controversial prospect Mitchell Miller, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 787th career goal in his club’s 3-2 loss to the Arizona Coyotes. He moved past Gordie Howe to set the record for the most goals scored by one player on one NHL team. However, Washington blew a 2-0 lead as Arizona rallied for the win on two goals by Nick Ritchie. The Capitals dropped to 5-6-2 while the Coyotes improved to 4-6-1.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The injury-ravaged Capitals suffered another blow as defenseman Dmitry Orlov left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury. Earlier in the day, they claimed forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Vegas Golden Knights (11-2-0) took over sole possession of first place in the overall standings with 22 points as they held off the Montreal Canadiens 6-4. Reilly Smith scored two goals as the Golden Knights rode a four-goal third period to victory. Nick Suzuki tallied twice and Kirby Dach collected three assists for the Canadiens as their record falls to 5-6-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens winger Josh Anderson received a match penalty and could face supplemental discipline for boarding Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who was unhurt on the play.

Auston Matthews scored twice as the Toronto Maple Leafs held on for a 2-1 lead over the Boston Bruins (10-2-0), dropping the latter two points behind the Golden Knights in the overall standings and snapping their seven-game winning streak. Brad Marchand replied for the Bruins on a penalty shot for his 800th career point. Mitch Marner collected two assists for the Leafs as they raise their record to 6-4-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs goalie Ilya Samsonov left this game with a knee injury, leaving them with just one healthy goalie in third-stringer Erik Kallgren. Following the game, the Leafs signed Toronto Marlies netminder Keith Petruzzelli to a one-year, two-way NHL contract. Meanwhile, Bruins center David Krejci returned to the lineup after missing three games with an upper-body injury.

Colorado Avalanche stars Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar each had three assists to lead their club over the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-1 at Nokia Arena in Tampere, Finland, sweeping their two-game Global Series. The Avalanche elevated their record to 6-4-1 while the struggling Blue Jackets are 3-9-0 thus far.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blue Jackets winger Jakub Voracek missed this game with an upper-body injury and is considered day-to-day.

The Dallas Stars got a hat trick from captain Jamie Benn and a three-point performance from Jason Robertson to down the Edmonton Oilers 6-2. Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse scored for the Oilers (7-5-0) while the Stars rise to 8-3-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was another rough game for Oilers starting goaltender Jack Campbell, who acknowledged his performance thus far this season has been “pathetic”. Signed to a five-year, $25 million contract by the Oilers in July as a free agent, the 30-year-old Campbell has a bloated 4.20 goals-against average and a measly save percentage of .874. Backup Stuart Skinner could see more starts in the coming games. He’s among the league leaders with a sparkling .944 save percentage and a 2.10 GAA in five games.

New Jersey Devils winger Fabian Zetterlund scored twice, including the winner in overtime, in a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Flames. The Devils (9-3-0) have won seven straight games to sit second overall in the Eastern Conference with 18 points. Elias Lindholm and Nikita Zaitsev scored as the Flames (5-4-1) rallied from a 3-1 deficit to force overtime.

Nikita Kucherov had a goal and three assists to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Buffalo Sabres by a score of 5-3 to improve their record to 7-4-1. Brandon Hagel had a goal and two assists for the Lightning. Owen Power collected two assists for the Sabres as they drop to 7-5-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The banged-up Sabres blueline had to make do without star defenseman Rasmus Dahlin for this match. He’s listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck kicked out 30 shots to shut out the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0. Pierre-Luc Dubois and Josh Morrissey each had a goal and an assist as the Jets move to 7-3-1. The Blackhawks (5-5-2) had to turn to fifth-string goalie Dylan Wells after Arvid Soderblom left the game in the second period with an undisclosed injury.

The Detroit Red Wings got a 24-save shutout from Ville Husso in a 3-0 victory over the New York Islanders. Dominik Kubalik had a goal and an assist for the 6-3-2 Red Wings while the Islanders drop to 7-5-0. It was a costly win for the Wings as forward Filip Zadina left the game in the second period with an injured right leg.

A tie-breaking goal late in the third period by Brandon Tanev lifted the Seattle Kraken over the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2. Yanni Gourde had a goal and two assists as the Kraken rise to 7-4-2. Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel replied for the Penguins (4-6-2) as their winless skid extends to seven games.

The Los Angeles Kings got a tie-breaking goal by Gabriel Vilardi late in the third period to nip the Florida Panthers 5-4. Anze Kopitar and Viktor Arvidsson each had two points for the 7-6-1 Kings while Carter Verhaeghe scored twice for the 6-5-1 Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers winger Patric Hornqvist missed this game with an upper-body injury and is considered day-to-day.

Ottawa Senators forward Claude Giroux tallied his 300th career goal against the Philadelphia Flyers but his former club went on to win this game 2-1 on goals by Kevin Hayes and Zack MacEwen. Carter Hart made 31 saves for the Flyers (6-3-2) while the Senators’ record sits at 4-6-2.

A shootout goal by Matt Duchene gave the Nashville Predators (5-6-1) a 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks, dropping the latter’s record to 3-6-3. The Predators overcame a 3-0 deficit with Jordan Gross scoring his first two goals of his NHL career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blown leads continue to plague the Canucks this season and will be their downfall if they don’t address this issue soon.

The Anaheim Ducks improved their record to 4-7-1 by downing the San Jose Sharks 5-4 on a shootout goal by Adam Henrique. Trevor Zegras, Mason McTavish and Brett Leason each had two points and Antony Stolarz made 48 saves for the win. Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier each had a goal and two assists for the 3-8-3 Sharks.

COMMISSIONER BETTMAN WEIGHS IN ON BRUINS SIGNING MITCHELL MILLER

NHL.COM: Commissioner Gary Bettman said the league was not consulted by the Boston Bruins before they signed controversial prospect Mitchell Miller on Friday. Speaking at the 2022 NHL Global Series on Saturday at Tampere, Finland, Bettman stated that Miller is not eligible to play in the NHL.

What I understand and I’ve heard through the media anecdotally, what (Miller) did as a 14-year-old is reprehensible, unacceptable,” said Bettman. He indicated he’s spoken with Bruins president Cam Neely since the signing on Friday.

He’s not coming into the NHL, he’s not eligible at this point to come into the NHL”, said Bettman. “I can’t tell you that he’ll ever be eligible to come into the NHL.” He added that if Miller ever reached that point, the league will have to clear him and his eligibility based on first-hand information at the time.

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski reports the NHL Players Association said the league hasn’t informed them about any suspension for Miller or anything that would impact his eligibility. They added they require more information from the league regarding Bettman’s statements.

Wyshynski also reported a source claims Miller’s contract has been registered with the league and there was nothing official preventing the Bruins or any other club from signing him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think we’ve heard the end of this story. Suffice it to say that this has become yet another black eye for a league reeling from ongoing revelations of abusive behavior at various levels of the sport.

Miller’s defenders suggest he just “made a mistake”, claiming his physical and verbal bullying and racist behavior toward Isaiah Meyer-Crothers was an isolated incident by a teenager who didn’t know any better.

Meyer-Crothers’ parents, however, indicate their disabled son was tormented for years by Miller. They said he has never apologized to them for his actions and only reached out to their son on Snapchat about a week before he was signed by the Bruins.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 10, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 10, 2022

Surgery will sideline Max Pacioretty for six months, the Hurricanes re-sign Martin Necas, plus the latest on David Krejci, Jacob Trouba and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Max Pacioretty’s debut will the Carolina Hurricanes will be delayed as the 33-year-old winger will undergo surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon. He’s expected to be sidelined for six months. The Hurricanes acquired Pacioretty last month from the Vegas Golden Knights.

Carolina Hurricanes winger Max Pacioretty (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pacioretty’s recovery could stretch into February. The Hurricanes brought him in to offset the departure of winger Nino Niederreiter via free agency.

Pacioretty will return in time to help them during the final two months of the regular season and the playoffs. He is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

The Hurricanes also announced that they signed Martin Necas to a two-year, $6 million contract. The average annual value is $3 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A promising young forward, the 23-year-old Necas had completed his entry-level contract. An inconsistent performance last season resulted in his name frequently surfacing in trade rumors. The Hurricanes are willing to give him an opportunity to bounce back but another difficult season could turn him into a trade candidate with an affordable contract.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: David Krejci said his decision to return to the Bruins was not based on the club’s recent coaching change. He indicated he had decided to come back before the club replaced Bruce Cassidy as head coach with Jim Montgomery. Krejci explained the reason for returning to the Bruins was a desire to play with his old teammates again.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Krejci announced last summer that he was leaving the Bruins to finish his playing career in his native Czechia. He indicated that playing alongside old teammate David Pastrnak in this year’s World Championships was a turning point in his thinking about coming back to Boston for another season.

NEW YORK POST: Jacob Trouba’s natural leadership made him the consensus choice throughout the Rangers to become their first captain in four years. Chris Kreider, the club’s longest-serving active player, indicated on social media that all of his teammates believed Trouba had been their captain over the past two years without actually wearing the “C”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some players are just natural leaders. That appears to be the determining factor in Trouba being awarded the captaincy.

NHL.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers recently extended their ECHL affiliation with the Reading Royals. The agreement runs through 2023-24 with an option for a third season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 9, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 9, 2022

The Bruins sign Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Pavel Zacha, the Rangers will reportedly name Jacob Trouba as their new captain, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins were very busy on Monday as they announced centers Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci will be returning for 2022-23.

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron (NHL Images).

Bergeron, 37, signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract along with $2.5 million in performance bonuses. The 36-year-old Krejci inked a one-year, $1 million deal with $2 million in performance bonuses.

The Bruins also avoided arbitration with Pavel Zacha, signing the 25-year-old forward to a one-year, $3.5 million contract.

All three will be eligible for unrestricted free agent status next July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A tidy bit of work there by the Bruins. It was widely assumed that Bergeron and Krejci would be returning for the coming season. Zacha’s arbitration hearing was scheduled for Aug. 11.

Bergeron told reporters there was no chance he was going to play for another NHL team, dousing rumors suggesting his former agent Kent Hughes might attempt to sign him now that he was the general manager of the Montreal Canadiens. He indicated Hughes did not approach him, adding the Habs GM knew the Bruins were the only team he wanted to play for.

Puck Pedia indicates the trio’s base salaries push the Bruins above the $82.5 million salary cap by $2.2 million. They can garner cap relief by demoting players to the minors and/or placing sidelined players like Charlie McAvoy and/or Matt Grzelcyk on long-term injury reserve to start the season.

If Bergeron and Krejci achieve their performance bonuses they could carry over against the Bruins’ 2023-24 salary cap if the club remains over the cap at the end of the coming season.

Zacha’s signing opens up a second buyout window but they’ll have 48 hours from the final day of the arbitration period (Aug. 11) to do so. Puck Pedia indicates only players who were on the roster at the last trade deadline carrying an annual cap hit of at least $4 million can be bought out.

RDS.CA: cites ESPN’s Kevin Weekes’ report on Twitter claiming the New York Rangers will name Jacob Trouba as their new captain today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trouba would become the first Rangers captain since Ryan McDonagh in 2018. I felt alternate captain Chris Kreider was the favorite for the role in part because he’s the longest-serving active Ranger.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes reached an agreement on a new contract with forward Lawson Crouse ahead of his scheduled arbitration hearing scheduled for Monday. It’s a five-year, $21.5 million contract with an annual average value of $4.3 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crouse, 25, is coming off a career-best performance last season of 20 goals and 34 points in 65 games. After shedding contracts last summer, Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong has been signing current young veterans this year that he believes will be key players in the club’s future.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The Golden Knights signed forward Nicolas Roy to a five-year, $15 million contract. The average annual value is $3 million.

DAILY FACEOFF: A case that claimed Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a former Boston Ballet dancer has been withdrawn because it was confirmed she was not a minor at the time of the alleged relationship. Katz denied the claim, as did Sage Humphries, the dancer with whom he was allegedly involved.

NHL.COM: The Seattle Kraken named Dave Lowry as an assistant coach. Lowry was the Winnipeg Jets’ interim coach last season. He spent six seasons as an assistant coach with the Jets, Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 7, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 7, 2022

Should the Avalanche forget about bringing back Nazem Kadri? What are their options if they do? Should the Islanders trade Mathew Barzal to make room for Kadri? What’s the latest on Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

SHOULD THE AVS SIGN KADRI OR CONSIDER OTHER OPTIONS?

THE DENVER POST: Mark Kiszla doesn’t blame Nazem Kadri for wanting top dollar on the open market. However, he points out that Colorado Avalanche president of hockey operations Joe Sakic doesn’t have a reputation for overpaying talent.

Former Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

Kiszla suggests Kadri should fit in somewhere between Valeri Nichushkin’s $6.125 million annual cap hit and Gabriel Landeskog’s $7 million. He believes it would be foolish for the Avalanche to pay more than $26 million over four years for him. The Avs would also have to make a cost-cutting trade to fit him into their cap payroll for the coming season.

Sakic could opt instead to look outside the organization to replace Kadri. Former Avalanche center Paul Stastny remains available via free agency. Kiszla also suggested attempting to acquire Jonathan Toews from the Chicago Blackhawks sometime before next year’s trade deadline.

THE ATHLETIC: Peter Baugh also looked at possible options if the Avalanche can’t afford to bring back Kadri. Stastny, Sonny Milano and Evan Rodrigues remain on the open market plus he didn’t rule out going the rental player route at next year’s trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche would love to bring back Kadri and he’d love to return but the cost of doing so is simply too much. They can’t afford him unless they ship out someone like Samuel Girard to free up the cap space and that’s apparently not something they want to do. So, they’ll either have to go with a more affordable option via free agency or the trade market or look within the organization.

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks reports that “the usual suspects” claim Kadri still seeks a long-term deal starting around $9 million annually. He believes that explains why he remains unsigned. Meanwhile, there’s been ongoing speculation linking Kadri to the Islanders. Speaking of which…

SHOULD THE ISLANDERS TRADE BARZAL TO MAKE ROOM FOR KADRI?

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefan Rosner believes the Islanders must soon decide if Mathew Barzal remains part of their future before it’s too late. The 25-year-old center becomes a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer and will also be a year away from UFA eligibility.

Barzal has said he views his long-term future with the Islanders but Rosner reminds us that John Tavares said the same thing before he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He cited colleague Jimmy Murphy tweeting a hypothetical trade in which Barzal is traded to the Detroit Red Wings to clear cap space to sign Kadri.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello could surprise us by trading Barzal to the Wings or another club and use the $7 million savings for 2022-23 to sign Kadri. However, I don’t see that scenario happening. Lamoriello can find other ways to shed sufficient salary for Kadri such as shopping Anthony Beauvillier or packaging Josh Bailey with a draft pick or prospect.

Trading Barzal would be a rather extreme measure on Lamoriello’s part. Since he wouldn’t want to take back much salary in return, he’d be getting pennies on the dollar for a gifted playmaking center in his playing prime just to make room for a soon-to-be 32-year-old center seeking big bucks on a long-term deal.

UPDATE ON BERGERON AND KREJCI

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont reports Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci technically remain unsigned. However, the word around town is Bruins general manager Don Sweeney remains confident they’re done deals with the veteran centers to sign on for one year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speculation since June has Bergeron and/or Krejci already having agreed to one-year contracts while Sweeney takes the time to determine how to fit the duo within his limited cap space. If so, the Bruins GM is taking a page from the Lamoriello playbook as the Isles GM has done the same thing in the recent past.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 29, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 29, 2022

A look at the best remaining talent in the unrestricted free agent market in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox did a quick rundown of the best players still available in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market.

Fox doubts Nazem Kadri will be returning to the Colorado Avalanche unless the 31-year-old center accepts another discount. Paying him $7 million into his mid-30s is a luxury they can’t afford.

Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

Kadri is reportedly waiting for some interested teams to clear cap space for him. There are rumblings the New York Islanders could make a push to sign him. Fox pointed out the Calgary Flames have money to spend now and the Columbus Blue Jackets could use a playmaker for Johnny Gaudreau.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets had to ship Oliver Bjorkstand to the Seattle Kraken for next to nothing in a cost-cutting deal after signing winger Patrik Laine to his new contract. No room for Kadri in Columbus unless they can shed more salary.

Kadri rejected a trade to the Flames three years ago. Maybe he had a change of heart if they’re willing to meet his asking price but I wouldn’t hold my breath. The Islanders would also have to move out some salary. Perhaps they’d do that by shopping Anthony Beauvillier, who’s been a fixture in the rumor mill since last season.

Fox noted the Carolina Hurricanes, Seattle Kraken, Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators were linked earlier this month to John Klingberg. The Dallas Stars attempted to bring back the 29-year-old defenseman but those talks fell through. The Hurricanes, meanwhile, acquired Brent Burns from the San Jose Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Fox suggests, it appears Klingberg overplayed his hand, leading to his change of agents earlier this week. With the Stars having to re-sign rising stars Jason Robertson and Jake Oettinger, I don’t think there’s sufficient room for him to return to Dallas now.

Fox said the Red Wings speculation persists. The Senators, meanwhile, are rumored to be in the market for a top-four defenseman.

A report last month claimed Patrice Bergeron was returning to the Boston Bruins on a one-year contract. So far, however, there’s no confirmation from either side that this has happened. The Bruins are also in talks with David Krejci about a possible comeback.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins general manager Don Sweeney could be taking a page from the Lou Lamoriello playbook by waiting until the start of the season before officially announcing the deal for salary-cap reasons. Perhaps that decision is tied to getting a deal done for Krejci. Or maybe Bergeron just hasn’t made up his mind yet if he’ll return. Your guess is as good as mine but I think he’s coming back to the Bruins for one more season.

There’s a rumor linking Phil Kessel to the Edmonton Oilers. He’s coming off a 52-point performance last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel could be a worthwhile short-term addition to a playoff contender seeking an affordable depth scorer.

The Winnipeg Jets haven’t closed the door on bringing back Paul Stastny. There was also speculation linking him to the Flames.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stastny would be a more affordable option for the Flames than Kadri but he won’t produce at the same level as the former Avalanche center.

Fox wondered if veteran defenseman Anton Stralman might be a fit with the Montreal Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stralman would be a cost-effective signing for teams with limited cap space. However, the Canadiens are pressed against the $82.5 million cap. Stralman isn’t a fit there unless they dump some salary via trade or Carey Price and Paul Byron start the season on long-term injury reserve.

Sonny Milano has plenty of potential as a middle-six forward despite being cast off by the Columbus Blue Jackets and being cut loose by the Anaheim Ducks. Meanwhile, former Pittsburgh Penguins middle-six forward Evan Rodrigues drew some interest from the Vancouver Canucks, Flames, Red Wings and New Jersey Devils.

Veteran defenseman Calvin de Haan could be an economic second or third-pairing guy. He’ll have to be prepared to take a pay cut.