NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 23, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 23, 2023

The Coyotes defeat the Kings in the first game of the Global Series in Australia, the Halifax Mooseheads retire Nathan MacKinnon’s number, plus the latest on Elias Pettersson, Alex DeBrincat and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: A highlight-reel goal by Logan Cooley proved to be the game-winner as the Arizona Coyotes defeated the Los Angeles Kings 5-3 in the first game of the NHL’s preseason Global Series at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the first NHL game ever played in the Southern Hemisphere. The Coyotes and Kings will face off again in the second game in Melbourne on Sunday. Click the above link to see Cooley’s spinarama goal. I realize it’s only preseason play but it was still an impressive display of skill by the young center.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

Colorado Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon had his No. 22 retired by the Halifax Mooseheads on Friday prior to their home opener against the Charlottetown Islanders. The Halifax native played two seasons for the QMJHL club, leading them to the Memorial Cup in 2013 before being chosen first overall in the 2013 NHL Draft by the Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A fitting tribute to one of the greatest players in Nova Scotia hockey history. The Mooseheads, meanwhile, dropped a 3-1 decision to the Islanders.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson isn’t concerned about his contract situation as he focuses on the upcoming season. He felt it would be the media that would turn it into a distraction but not for him. “I’m happy now but I just want to focus on the season.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pettersson, 24, is slated to become a restricted free agent next July with arbitration rights. He and the Canucks have plenty of time to work out an agreement. They’re under no risk of losing him to free agency.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings forward Alex DeBrincat is looking forward to regaining his 40-goal form with his new club. Coming off a 41-goal performance in 2021-22 with the Chicago Blackhawks, his production dropped to 27 goals last season with the Ottawa Senators. “I think last year I gave up a lot of chances, maybe got lazy on it or whatever it may be, hit a post, stuff like that.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Traded to the Red Wings by the Senators in July, DeBrincat quickly signed a four-year contract with them. Perhaps playing for his hometown club will help him rediscover his scoring touch.

TSN: Evgeny Kuznetsov remains with the Washington Capitals despite offseason trade rumors that dogged the 31-year-old center. The talented but inconsistent Kuznetsov claims he’s happy to be staying in Washington and hopes for a bounce-back season under new head coach Spencer Carbery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A productive Kuznetsov will be crucial to the Capitals’ playoff hopes this season. It was rumored he requested a trade toward the end of last season. There was also talk that the Capitals let other clubs know that he was available but they either got no takers or any suitable offers. His $7.8 million cap hit through 2024-25 would’ve likely been a deal breaker given Kuznetsov’s erratic play last season.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers missed practice yesterday due to neck spasms and isn’t expected to return today. His condition is not considered a long-term issue.

CBS SPORTS: Florida Panthers winger Carter Verhaeghe is listed as day-to-day with muscle tightness. He’s not expected to be sidelined for long.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: Devils head coach Lindy Ruff exercised his option year for the coming season. He and general manager Tom Fitzgerald are currently working on an extension.

OTTAWA SUN: Hours after taking over as the new owner of the Senators, Michael Andlauer brought back team founder Cyril Leeder as chief executive offers and president. Those are the same roles he previously held with the club until he was fired by former owner Eugene Melnyk in 2017.

Andlauer is also expected to find a role within the organization for former Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson.

DAILY FACEOFF: The New York Rangers signed defenseman Adam Clendening to a professional tryout offer.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Long-time Canadiens team doctor David Mulder is retiring after 60 years. Dr. Dan Deckelbaum will be the new head physician, with Dr. Mulder receiving emeritus status, allowing him to continue in an advisory role.

NHL Rumor Mill – September 2, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – September 2, 2023

Elias Lindholm is open to staying with the Flames, the latest on Evgeny Kuznetsov and Anthony Mantha, and updates on Max Comtois and Tyler Ennis in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson reports Elias Lindholm is willing to stick with the Flames. The 28-year-old center told Sweden’s Hockeysverige.se that his agent and the club are handling the contract extension negotiations. He said there is a lot the two sides have to agree on.

Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm (NHL Images).

After that, it’s up to the agent and Calgary to sort out the rest, “ said Lindholm. “Then, we’ll see if it works out or not.”

Lindholm noted that he has a year remaining on his current contract after which he’s eligible to become an unrestricted free agent. “Nothing strange about that,” he said. “We will see what happens.”

Gilbertson believes the Flames can’t afford to let Lindholm depart next summer as a UFA. He believes the two-way center will be traded before then if they fail to hammer out an extension.

Flames general manager Craig Conroy has made it clear that he wants to get Lindholm under contract. It’s rumored the center could seek an average annual value of $9 million. Comparables could be the New York Islanders’ Bo Horvat and the Los Angeles Kings’ Pierre-Luc Dubois. Both are earning AAVs of $8.5 million but Lindholm was a Selke Finalist in 2021-22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lindholm would draw plenty of interest if the Flames shop him before the March trade deadline. The Boston Bruins have been frequently mentioned as a possible suitor. For now, however, it’s a positive sign for the Flames that Lindholm is willing to sign with them provided they can work out a mutually beneficial deal.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Adam Proteau believes Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov will be on the hot seat this season. The 31-year-old center is coming off a disappointing performance in 2022-23, making him the subject of trade chatter following reports he requested a trade last March, something he hasn’t rescinded.

Kuznetsov is signed through 2024-25 with an AAV of $7.8 million and a 10-team no-trade clause. That gives him cost certainty for certain teams. Given his current low value in the trade market, Proteau believes the only way Kuznetsov gets moved this season is if he plays well.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Then again, an improved effort by Kuznetsov could make him more valuable to the Capitals playoff hopes this season. It’ll be interesting to see how his situation unfolds.

Capitals winger Anthony Mantha is also coming off a lousy 2022-23 campaign. He carries an AAV of $5.7 million, lacks no-trade protection and is eligible next summer for UFA status. Proteau suggests he might be an attractive rental option if his performance improves.


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports Tyler Ennis might get a professional tryout offer (PTO) from a Western-based club. The former NHL forward is also mulling offers from Switzerland, where he played last season.

BPM SPORTS RADIO: Marc-Olivier Beaudoin reports being told that former Anaheim Ducks winger Maxime Comtois could get a PTO from the Vegas Golden Knights.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 26, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 26, 2023

Check out the latest on William Nylander, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Andre Burakovsky, Alex Galchenyuk and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving said his club continues its contract negotiations with William Nylander. “He’s a terrific player and he’s a star,” said Treliving. “You want to keep your good players. We have time.”

Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander (NHL Images).

Hornby also reported the two sides remain $1 million apart. The Leafs prefer signing him for around $9 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nylander recently said that he prefers to continue playing in Toronto. Whether his camp can overcome that $1 million gulf on his next contract remains to be seen. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals head coach Spencer Carbery said Evgeny Kuznetsov remains an important player for the club despite his struggles last season. “What he’s capable of when he’s on his game is world-class and that’s my challenge to help identify parts of his game, things I can help him with, put him in positions to have success.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals reportedly attempted to trade Kuznetsov, who is believed to have requested a trade late last season despite his public denials. His inconsistent play and his $7.8 million annual cap hit through 2024-25 have likely hurt his value in the trade market.

A better performance by Kuznetsov this season could improve his trade stock. On the other hand, it could also ensure he remains with the Capitals if they’re in the playoff hunt this season.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Kraken hopes that Andre Burakovsky regains his scoring form following his recovery from a groin injury that prematurely ended his 2022-23 campaign. The 28-year-old winger was leading the Kraken with 39 points in 49 games before he was sidelined.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They missed Burakovsky’s offense during their first postseason in their short franchise history. He could help them maintain their place as a playoff club this season.

DAILY FACEOFF: Alex Galchenyuk has signed a two-year contract with KHL club SKA St. Petersburg. The 29-year-old winger had signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Coyotes in July but that deal was terminated following his arrest for a run-in with local police.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could signal the end of Galchenyuk’s NHL career after 654 games and 354 points with the Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins, Minnesota Wild, Ottawa Senators, Colorado Avalanche, Toronto Maple Leafs and two stints with the Coyotes. His career was already in decline before the incident in July.

Never say never, though. A strong effort in the KHL could act as a springboard for an NHL contract in two years times.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets announced a new partnership with the ECHL’s Norfolk Admirals. It’s the first time they’ve had an ECHL affiliate since 2020-21.

NHL Rumor Mill – August 24, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – August 24, 2023

A look at some of the Metropolitan Division teams plus some PTO options for the Penguins in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: Earlier this week, Ryan Dixon looked at the biggest questions facing each team in the Metropolitan Division. Some of them involve possible trade scenarios.

The Carolina Hurricanes, for example, must decide if they’re willing to go through this season without a contract extension for Brett Pesce. They could flip him for a scoring forward but Dixon thinks they could ride it out with the 28-year-old defenseman given their status as a Stanley Cup contender.

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was speculation earlier this summer that the Hurricanes were willing to consider trading Pesce if they couldn’t get him under contract before the start of this season. Their offseason additions of Dmitry Orlov and Tony DeAngelo served to fuel those rumors. If they don’t find a suitable trade offer, however, they could stick with Pesce for the coming season.

Dixon also wondered whether the New Jersey Devils will take a run at landing a reliable starting goaltender such as the Winnipeg Jets’ Connor Hellebuyck. He also mentioned the possibility of the Boston Bruins moving one of their goalies in pursuit of a center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils were linked to Hellebuyck in the rumor mill through late June and early July. It’s said that they weren’t willing to meet the 30-year-old goalie’s $9 million average annual value on a new contract beyond this season. As for the Bruins, they’re sticking with Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman. They see having a solid goalie tandem as their best bet to reach the playoffs this season.

If center Sean Couturier is fully healthy, Dixon mused over what his future might be and if it would be with the Philadelphia Flyers. The 30-year-old former Selke Trophy winner was sidelined by a back injury since Dec. 2021 but is expected to be in training camp next month. Perhaps the Flyers put Couturier on the trade block if he regains his form though his hefty contract could make that an impossibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Couturier’s contract is a major obstacle in the path toward a trade. He carries an AAV of $7.75 million through 2029-30 with a full no-movement clause.

Finally, Dixon pondered the fates of Washington Capitals forwards Evgeny Kuznetsov and Anthony Mantha. He wondered if a trade of one or both forwards was possible given their miserable performances last season. He suggested the prospect of moving Kuznetsov if the Capitals were willing to retain part of his $7.8 million AAV through 2024-25.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If there were any chance of moving either guy it would’ve happened by now. The Nashville Predators were reportedly interested in Kuznetsov before free agency started on July 1 but that seems to have waned following their signing of center Ryan O’Reilly.


PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski recently suggested several players the Penguins should consider as possible targets for professional tryout offers.

One name of note is former Edmonton Oilers and Carolina Hurricanes winger Jesse Puljujarvi, suggesting the opportunity to play with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin might be a selling point. Other targets include defensemen Mark Pysyk and Slater Koekkoek.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Puljujarvi is recovering from offseason hip surgery and is expected to be unavailable until later this fall. Kingerski noted that Koekkoek stepped away from the game last season to deal with unbearable anxiety. He hasn’t announced if he’s ready to resume his career.

Pysyk might be the best bet on his list. He missed last season recovering from a torn Achilles but could be ready to return to action for 2023-24.

NHL Rumor Mill – August 23, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – August 23, 2023

Should the Devils pursue Connor Hellebuyck? Are the Capitals any closer to moving Evgeny Kuznetsov and Anthony Mantha? What are the Canadiens’ trade options for Casey DeSmith? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


NHL NETWORK: Mike Rupp believes the New Jersey Devils should attempt to acquire Connor Hellebuyck. The 30-year-old Winnipeg Jets goaltender appears reluctant to sign a contract extension and could seek $9 million annually on his next deal given his strong play over the past five years.

Rupp doesn’t know if the Devils would be interested in signing Hellebuyck to an expensive long-term extension. However, he has this season left on his contract and Rupp thinks the Devils would be a good fit if Hellebuyck wants to win the Stanley Cup.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (NHL Images).

Rumors have linked Hellebuyck to the Devils. Rupp believes they have the players and pieces to make an offer to the Jets, noting that goaltending is an X factor for New Jersey. Perhaps spending the season with the Devils would make Hellebuyck more receptive to staying on a slightly more affordable contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hellebuyck seems like a perfect fit for the Devils and there was talk earlier this summer claiming they had inquired into his availability. The cost of signing him to an extension was said to be the deal breaker.

The Jets thus far haven’t found a suitable offer for Hellebuyck. It appears they’ll start the season with him in the lineup and see how things go. If they’re out of playoff contention by the trade deadline perhaps a deal with the Devils or another playoff contender can be had.

Meanwhile, the Devils appear willing to enter this season with the tandem of Vitek Vanecek and Akira Schmid between the pipes. Whether they’ll stick with them for the playoffs remains to be seen.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Sammi Silber reports recent trade speculation regarding Evgeny Kuznetsov and Anthony Mantha suggests both players will remain with the Washington Capitals for the time being.

Silber cited a report earlier this month from Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli indicating Kuznetsov and Mantha remain trade chips for the Capitals. However, it seems unlikely either player will be moved.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Nashville Predators looked into acquiring Kuznetsov before the free-agent market opened on July 1. However, that interest appears to have cooled in part because of their addition of Ryan O’Reilly. There’s been no indication that Mantha has drawn any serious attention in this summer’s trade market.

Kuznetsov and Mantha are coming off down seasons and both carry expensive cap hits in a summer when most teams have limited cap space. The only way their trade value improves is if the Capitals agree to retain half of their respective cap hits. Otherwise, it’ll take improvement in their performance during the coming regular season to make them more enticing in the trade market.


MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marc Dumont recently looked at possible trade destinations for Casey DeSmith. Acquired earlier this month from the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Canadiens could attempt to flip the 32-year-old backup and his $1.8 million cap hit to another club before the start of the season.

Dumont suggested the Boston Bruins if they end up trading Linus Ullmark or Jeremy Swayman for a center. The Anaheim Ducks could be another option if they trade John Gibson. The St. Louis Blues and Tampa Bay Lightning are possibilities if their current backups struggle. Others could be the San Jose Sharks and Columbus Blue Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins will be sticking with their current goalie tandem for the coming season. There doesn’t appear to be a market for Gibson given his $6.4 million cap hit. Barring injuries, those other clubs are likely to start the season with their current goalies and see how things shake out.

NHL Rumor Mill – August 22, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – August 22, 2023

Could the Leafs’ William Nylander be a fit with the Ducks? What’s the latest on the Predators? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


NHL NETWORK: Mike Rupp believes Maple Leafs winger William Nylander could price himself out of Toronto. He suggests the Anaheim Ducks might be a good fit.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander (NHL Images).

Nylander, 27, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. Rupp thinks his tenure with the Leafs is coming to an end, perhaps before the end of the coming season.

The Leafs must also re-sign Auston Matthews. Rupp believes they’ll get that deal done but there won’t be enough long-term cap space to retain Nylander, who tallied 40 goals last season.

Rupp would be interested to see Nylander get an opportunity where he could be “the man” somewhere. He noted the Leafs haven’t picked high in the draft in quite some time. Rupp noted the Ducks already have a boatload of young talent and suggested they use some of their picks as trade bait.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind that Rupp is merely suggesting that Nylander would be a great fit with the Ducks. He’s not saying those two clubs are discussing a trade. Nevertheless, it’s something interesting to muse about as the offseason dog days drag on.

Rupp envisioned Nylander at left wing on the Ducks’ top line alongside Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry. Nylander has spent more time in Toronto at right wing but he can also skate on the left side. If he meshed well with Zegras and Terry, the Ducks would have a potent first line that could accelerate the club’s rebuilding process.

With $16.6 million in cap space, the Ducks could afford to take on Nylander’s $6.9 million cap hit for this season. With over $39 million in projected cap space for 2024-25, they can afford to pony up the $10 million annually that Nylander reportedly prefers on his next contract.

As for a return, core Ducks like Zegras and Terry as well as up-and-comers Mason McTavish and Jamie Drysdale are off-limits. So are top prospects like Leo Carlsson, Pavel Mintyukov and Lukas Dostal but they might part with Owen Zellweger, Sasha Pastujov or Nathan Gaucher.

The Ducks have all their picks for the next three drafts along with an extra second-rounder and two extra third-rounders in the 2024 draft. They would likely package some of those extra 2024 picks in a deal for Nylander but they’ll also have to include a first.

So what say you, Leafs and Ducks fans? Does Nylander to Anaheim make sense? And what do you think the trade would look like? Let me know in the comments below.


NASHVILLE HOCKEY NOW: In a recent mailbag segment, Michael Gallagher was asked which trade might make sense for the Predators given their $7.9 million cap space for the coming season.

Gallagher noted the Predators have been linked to Leafs winger William Nylander, Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov and Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce.

Of the three, he considers Kuznetsov the most likely given the Predators pushed hard to acquire him before the start of free agency on July 1 and remain high on him. The only problem with taking him on is it would push Cody Glass down to the third line unless head coach Andrew Brunette wants to move him to the wing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators might still have an interest in Kuznetsov but I think that has waned over the summer. If they really wanted him they likely would’ve acquired him by now. Maybe they wanted the Capitals to retain part of his $7.8 million cap hit through 2024-25 or perhaps the Predators are on his 10-team no-trade list. Whatever the reason, the deal didn’t happen and doesn’t seem likely to be resurrected.

Gallagher believes the current Predators roster is what we’ll see when training camp opens next month. If they make an addition it could be an affordable free agent such as Max Comtois or Jay O’Brien.