NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 4, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 4, 2018

Penguins and Predators tie their second-round series at 2-2, Hall of Fame GM Bill Torrey passed away, Coyotes acquire Kruger from Hurricanes. Details and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Jake Guentzel scored twice and Matt Murray made 20 saves to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 3-1 victory over the Washington Capitals in Game 4 to tie their second-round series at two games apiece. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, who scored the winning goal in Game 3, was held without a shot in this contest. The series returns to Washington for Game 5 on Saturday.

Jake Guentzel scored twice to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-1 win over the Washington Capitals. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a better defensive effort by the Penguins, who didn’t give up nearly as many odd-man rushes as they had in the previous three games. Guentzel, meanwhile, leads all playoff scorers with 10 goals and 21 points. 

P.K. Subban scored the game winner as the Nashville Predators held off the Winnipeg Jets 2-1, tying their second-round series 2-2. Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne has a strong outing with 32 saves. Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine got his first goal of this series, which returns to Nashville for Game 5 on Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators also did a better job tightening up their defensive play, which had been uncharacteristically sloppy through the first three games of this series. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES/NBC SPORTS BOSTON : Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos’ lack of production could be cause for concern. Meanwhile, Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand and Jake DeBrusk skipped practice yesterday for “maintenance days” but are expected to be in the lineup tonight.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning’s depth has thus far compensated for Stamkos’ puzzling offensive difficulties. At some point, however, his sputtering production could become a factor. 

THE MERCURY NEWS / LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL:  San Jose Sharks forward Joonas Donskoi managed to play in Game 4 against the Vegas Golden Knights despite being hampered by a lower-body injury. He’s still not fully 100 percent approaching Game 5. As for the Golden Knights, head coach Gerard Gallant could tinker with his lineup for Game 5 after his club was shut out by the Sharks in the previous contest. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Arizona Coyotes yesterday acquired center Marcus Kruger and a third-round pick in this year’s draft from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for winger Jordan Martinook and a 2018 fourth-round pick. The Hurricanes are also retaining 10 percent of Kruger’s $3.083-million cap hit. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Remember, non-playoff clubs are allowed to make trades during the postseason. The Hurricanes acquired Kruger last summer from the Vegas Golden Knights but he spent most of the season buried in the minors. He’ll get a better opportunity to return to the NHL full time next season with the Coyotes, who are in need of experienced depth at center.

Martinook, meanwhile, is a versatile checking-line forward who can skate at center or left wing who carries an affordable $1.8-million cap hit. He should bring some much-needed grit to the Hurricanes’ lineup.

TSN: Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski underwent shoulder surgery on Thursday and will be sidelined up to six months. 

Former NHL player Jeff Parker, who died last year at age 53, “had Stage 3 chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), researchers at Boston University told The New York Times.” Parker was among over 100 players involved in a class-action lawsuit with the NHL claiming the league withheld information regarding the long-term effect of concussion injuries. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Former Blackhawks enforcer Dan Carcillo pledges to donate his brain for CTE research following his death. 

SPORTSNET: Former general manager Bill Torrey passed away on Wednesday evening at age 83. During his career, Torrey was GM of the Oakland Seals and New York Islanders and the first president of the Florida Panthers. Torrey built the Islanders into a dynasty, winning four consecutive Stanley Cups from 1980 to 1983. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1995. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Torrey’s family and friends. He did a masterful job building the Islanders into a championship powerhouse, drafting Denis Potvin, Bryan Trottier, Clark Gillies and Mike Bossy and acquiring Billy Smith and Butch Goring. They formed the core of their Cup dynasty. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 5, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 5, 2017

Ilya Kovalchuk will remain in the KHL next season.

Kovalchuk to stay in KHL, arbitration news, noteworthy contract signings & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

TSN: Left wing Ilya Kovalchuk won’t be returning to the NHL in 2017-18 after all. The New Jersey Devils, who own his NHL rights until July 1, 2018, unsuccessfully attempted to trade him to another club. Kovalchuk can return to the NHL next summer as an unrestricted free agent. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll have on Kovalchuk and the Devils later this morning in the Rumors section. 

STARTRIBUNE.COM/NBC SPORTS: Sources say Minnesota Wild winger Nino Niederreiter intends to file for player-elected arbitration. Detroit Red Wings forward Tomas Tatar could also do the same. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the deadline for player-elected arbitration is 5 pm ET today. The window for club-elected arbitration is 5:01 PM ET today to 5 pm ET on July 6. 

CSN ATLANTIC: The Washington Capitals re-signed forward Andre Burakovsky to a two-year, $6 million bridge contract. The annual average value is $3 million. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes yesterday acquired center Marcus Kruger from the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2018. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a salary dump by the Golden Knights, who acquired Kruger and his $3.083 million cap hit from the Chicago Blackhawks as part of a deal for selecting defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk in last month’s expansion draft. van Riemsdyk was subsequently shipped to the Hurricanes, who’ve now added experienced checking line depth at center in Kruger. 

NEW YORK POST: The New York Rangers signed unrestricted free agent center David Desharnais to a one-year, $1 million contract. 

BSN DENVER: The Colorado Avalanche signed UFA right wing Nail Yakupov to a one-year, $875K one-way contract. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could be the 2012 first overall pick’s last chance to salvage his once-promising NHL career. 

TSN: Vegas Golden Knights sign Oscar Lindberg to a two-year, $3.4 million contract. 


Updates on Duchene, Kovalchuk & Kruger – July 4, 2017

Updates on Duchene, Kovalchuk & Kruger – July 4, 2017

Are the Boston Bruins pursuing Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene?

Latest speculation on Matt Duchene, Ilya Kovalchuk and Marcus Kruger in your NHL rumor mill. 

CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty cites a recent report from Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch noting the Boston Bruins recently had talks with the Colorado Avalanche regarding center Matt Duchene. “Assumption is 20-year-old Brandon Carolo would be key piece leaving Boston,” wrote Portzline.

Haggerty notes Carlo was linked to Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog last season but the Bruins’ weren’t willing to part with the promising young blueliner.

He doesn’t believe the Bruins should risk mortgaging their future by sending Carlo to the Avs for Duchene. “If anything, Boston should be pushing a package that includes (Ryan) Spooner as a cheaper roster replacement for Duchene, and a prospect like Zboril who could be part of Colorado’s core group moving forward.”

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander reports it’s unlikely the Carolina Hurricanes will part with one of their good young defensemen to land someone “who has two years left and then he can walk away.” He points out that describes Duchene, whose contract ($6 million annual cap hit) runs through 2018-19. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can’t see the Bruins parting with Carlo for anyone. I also don’t see the Avs agreeing to accept a package like the one suggested by Haggerty. It’s believed they want an established young top-four defenseman, which explains why they’d likely want Carlo from the Bruins.

For some time, I felt the Hurricanes could be a good destination for Duchene because of their depth in young rearguards. Francis’ comments, however, spikes that notion.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: Andrew Gross reports the ongoing offseason plans of Devils GM Ray Shero could hinge upon whether Ilya Kovalchuk is ready to return to the NHL. It’s believed the Kovalchuk camp is working on a sign-and-trade situation where the Devils sign the left wing and then ship him to a new club. The Devils could peddle him for a top-four defenseman with a right-handed shot. 

Gross said the Columbus Blue Jackets and Chicago Blackhawks were reportedly interested in Kovalchuk. He also speculates the Montreal Canadiens could kick the tires after losing Alexander Radulov to free agency. It’s believed the winger prefers staying in the New York/New Jersey area, fueling speculation he could join the Rangers. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shero recently told NHL.com he doesn’t expect the Kovalchuk situation to drag on for long. We could see a resolution to this by the end of the week. The Jackets were very interested in him but that could depend upon what happens with their efforts to acquire Duchene from Colorado.

The Rangers have about $8.3 million in cap space and must re-sign RFA forwards Mike Zibanejad and Jesper Fast. They also don’t have any top-four right-handed defensemen to spare. The Blackhawks are bumping against the salary cap ceiling so I doubt they can afford him. 

CANES COUNTRY: cites NHL.com’s Brian Hedger fully expecting the Vegas Golden Knights to soon move recently-acquired center Marcus Kruger, though he’s unsure of the destination. The Athletic’s Craig Custance said he wouldn’t be surprised if he wound up with the Carolina Hurricanes. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If we take Hurricanes GM Ron Francis at his word, he won’t part with a good young defenseman for someone like Kruger, who’s signed through 2018-19.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 3, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 3, 2017

Joe Thornton officially signed with the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.

Thornton officially returns to Sharks, Blackhawks trade Kruger to Vegas & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

THE MERCURY NEWS: Joe Thornton officially returned with the San Jose Sharks, signing a one-year deal worth $8 million. The deal wasn’t finalized until Sunday due of his willingness to accept less money if the Sharks also brought back Patrick Marleau, who ultimately joined the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Thornton will receive $1.25 million up front as a signing bonus. He also gets a full no-movement clause. He reportedly received interest from 17 teams but decided to stay where he was happy.

It’s an expensive salary for a 38-year-old center whose production declined last season and also suffered a knee injury. However, it’s only for a year and doesn’t give the Sharks any long-term salary-cap issues. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: In a much-anticipated cost-cutting move, the Chicago Blackhawks dealt center Marcus Kruger to the Vegas Golden Knights for future considerations. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Prior to moving Kruger’s $3.083 million cap hit, the Hawks were over the $75 million cap ceiling by around $2.1 million.

PHILLY.COM: Flyers general manager Ron Hextall has no interest in bringing right wing Jaromir Jagr back for another spin with the club. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning winger Ryan Callahan said he’s fully recovered from his hip issues and feels no limitations. He was limited to only 18 games last season. 

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues found their replacement for departed enforcer Ryan Reaves, signing Chris Thorburn to a two-year, $1.8 million contract. 

CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed scrapper Luke Gazdic to a one-year, $650K contract. 

NBC SPORTS: The Anaheim Ducks signed defenseman Steve Oleksy to a two-year contract and center Derek Grant to a one-year deal. 


Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – July 2, 2017

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – July 2, 2017

Colorado Avalanche still holding firm on their asking price for Matt Duchene.

Latest on Matt Duchene, Marcus Kruger, Sami Vatanen and Jason Demers in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

BSN DENVER: Adrian Dater reports Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic declined to comment on the trade rumors swirling about center Matt Duchene. Current speculation has the Columbus Blue Jackets pursuing a deal for the 26-year-old Duchene. Sakic, however, is standing firm on his asking price, which includes a young, established top-four defenseman. 

NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis speculates New York Islanders GM Garth Snow has a bevy of draft picks to use when the proper trade arises. “That very well could be the Avalanche’s Matt Duchene, if Colorado comes down on the asking price after the free-agency dust settles.”

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Jason Mackey reports Penguins GM Jim Rutherford continues to shop around for a third-line center to replace Nick Bonino, who signed with the Nashville Predators yesterday as a free agent. He remains confident of landing a replacement through a trade.

Mackey suggested it was possible Rutherford was playing a game of chicken with the Avs over Matt Duchene. He also wondered if perhaps Rutherford might be trying to bring Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal back to Pittsburgh. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As the free-agent pool drains of notable talent in the coming days, the focus on Duchene will escalate in the rumor mill. This could drag on throughout the summer.

The Penguins currently have over $11 million in salary cap space and still must re-sign restricted free agents Brian Dumoulin and Conor Sheary, who are in line for significant raises and have arbitration rights this summer. If Rutherford is targeting a $6 million player such as Duchene or Staal, he’ll either have to get the Avs or Hurricanes to absorb part of the salary cap hit or shed some cap space to make room for that expensive contract. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee said he has nothing to report on a potential trade in which he acquired center Marcus Kruger from the Chicago Blackhawks. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston yesterday reported Kruger was due a $2 million signing bonus from the Blackhawks yesterday. The center was expected to be dealt after that bonus was paid. Perhaps that anticipated deal goes down later today. 

THE PROVINCE: Jason Botchford reports Florida Panthers defenseman Jason Demers reportedly nixed a deal that would’ve sent him and his $4.5 million annual cap hit to the Vancouver Canucks. It was believed the Canucks were offering up Erik Gudbranson in return. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks re-signed Gudbranson earlier this spring to a one-year, $3.5-million contract. Botchford reports the Panthers are quite keen to move Demers, who also carries an eight-team no-trade list. Perhaps the Panthers will find a different destination for him later this summer. 

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons reports word around the league is the Anaheim Ducks have taken defenseman Sami Vatanen off the trade block. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vatanen was originally believed available because of salary cap constraints and the need to protect other defensemen in the expansion draft. But after cutting a deal with Vegas and shedding some salary, the Ducks now have over $69 million invested in 21 players. So, there’s no urgency now to dump salary. 


NHL Rumor Mill – June 22, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – June 22, 2017

Could Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene get dealt to the New York Islanders by this weekend?

Latest on Matt Duchene, Jordan Eberle, Alex Galchenyuk, Marco Scandella & more in your NHL rumor mill.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the New York Islanders are in search of a top-six forward and “perhaps more.”  Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene could be among their targets. The Avs want to move him and are in need of blueline help and Dreger notes the Isles have a couple of defensemen in Calvin de Haan and Travis Hamonic that could be considered trade bait.

Edmonton Oilers right wing Jordan Eberle and Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk could also be of interest to the Isles.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s widely assumed the Islanders will make a big move or two very soon. It could come today or during the upcoming NHL Draft weekend. Duchene, Eberle or Galchenyuk could be joining the Isles with Hamonic possibly heading out. 

Pierre LeBrun speculates the Dallas Stars are shopping their first-round pick (third overall) in this year’s draft. They’re in win now mode and prefer a young NHL defenseman as part of a package. He thinks it’s a long shot for the Vegas Golden Knights to tempt the Stars by offering up left-shot defenseman Marc Methot. He believes it’ll have to take a big deal for the Stars to move their pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vegas is loading up on draft picks and the Hurricanes have three second-round picks. They could dangle one of them to the Golden Knights for van Riemsdyk. 

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo reports Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher said last night he could “absolutely” trade a defenseman before next week. “Teams looking for a top-four blue-liner include Tampa Bay, Toronto, Montreal, Buffalo, Calgary and Dallas. Fletcher said he’s open to making a trade for an immediate player or picks and prospects that allow him the flexibility to pursue free agents.”

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Pat Hickey reports the Canadiens are actively shopping for a top-four defenseman. He notes they unsuccessfully attempted to acquire blueliner Marco Scandella from the Wild prior to the expansion draft roster freeze on Saturday. The roster freeze is lifted at 8 am ET today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like Scandella is the likely trade candidate. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Canadiens revisit their interest in him, perhaps by dangling Galchenyuk as trade bait. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Mark Lazerus reports center Marcus Kruger remains with the Blackhawks but it remains to be seen for how long. Despite rumors in recent weeks sending him to the Vegas Golden Knights, it appears Marian Hossa’s decision not to play next season due to a skin allergy may have made the Hawks less desperate to move Kruger. The Blackhawks lost defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk to the Golden Knights in the expansion draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like van Riemsdyk (as noted above) could be heading to Carolina. While Hossa’s $5.25 million cap hit could come off their books via LTIR, that won’t occur until the second day of the 2017-18 season. The Hawks could be forced to get creative to keep Kruger and his $3.083 million cap hit. 

MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports the Detroit Red Wings decision to leave goaltender Petr Mrazek unprotected in the expansion draft indicates their preference for Jimmy Howard and Jared Coreau as their goalies for next season. “Now, they will continue trying to trade Mrazek. Few teams are in the market for a starting goalie — Arizona and Philadelphia are perhaps among the select group.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the lack of limited goaltending options in the trade and UFA market, the Wings might be able to find a taker for Mrazek. His inconsistency, however, could make it difficult to move him.