NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 3, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 3, 2022

The Panthers stage a four-goal third-period comeback, Kirill Kaprizov sets a Wild franchise record, Keith Yandle’s Ironman streak comes to an end and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Down 6-2 to the New Jersey Devils entering the third period, the Florida Panthers scored four unanswered goals and emerged with a 7-6 victory on Gustav Forsling’s overtime goal. Forsling and Aleksander Barkov each scored twice. Spencer Knight got the win as he replaced goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky in the third period. Yegor Sharangovich tallied a hat trick for the Devils. The Panthers became the second team to reach 100 points this season and hold a two-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes for first place in the Eastern Conference.

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov (NHL Images).

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov had a goal and an assist in his club’s 3-1 win over the Hurricanes to set a new franchise single-season record of 85 points (and counting). Marc-Andre Fleury kicked out 37 shots as the Wild have a three-point lead over the St. Louis Blues for second place in the Central Division with 89 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wild rookie Matt Boldy missed this game as he’s listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. He has 27 points in 35 games this season.

The Colorado Avalanche are on the verge of becoming the first team to clinch a playoff berth after downing the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2. Devon Toews snapped a 2-2 tie in the third period as the Avalanche hold a four-point lead over the Panthers for first overall in the league standings with 104 points. Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon each had two points while Darcy Kuemper stopped 38 shots. Jake Guentzel had two assists for the Penguins (92 points), who sit one point back of the second-place New York Rangers in the Metropolitan Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche center Nazem Kadri missed this game with an upper-body injury and could be sidelined for some time. He’s expected to be back for the playoffs which begin on May 2.

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said the club is optimistic over the status of winger Jason Zucker as they await further updates on his condition. Zucker’s been sidelined since Thursday after suffering an apparent leg injury against the Wild.

Tyler Seguin collected three assists and Joe Pavelski had a goal and an assist as the Dallas Stars held off the San Jose Sharks 5-4 to regain the second wild-card berth in the Western Conference with 81 points. Roope Hintz and Jason Robertson also each had two-point performances for the Stars. Sharks defenseman Mario Ferraro returned to the lineup after being sidelined for five weeks by a broken leg.

Los Angeles Kings forwards Anze Kopitar and Adrian Kempe each had a goal and an assist in a 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. With the win, the Kings (86 points) moved within three points of the first-place Calgary Flames in the Pacific Division. Connor Hellebuyck made 35 saves for the Jets (76 points), who slip five points behind the Stars in the race for the final Western wild-card berth.

Speaking of the Flames, they dropped a 6-4 decision to the St. Louis Blues. Justin Faulk had a goal and two assists while teammates Brayden Schenn, Robert Thomas and Brandon Saad each had two points for the Blues (86 points), who sit three points back of the second-place Wild in the Central Division. Johnny Gaudreau scored his 32nd goal of the season for the Flames, who announced before the game that center Sean Monahan will undergo season-ending surgery on his left hip. Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington also missed this game as he’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s the same procedure Monahan had done on his right hip last year. His performance seemed to suffer in the aftermath of that first surgery, making him the topic of trade speculation. He has a year remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $6.375 million.

Auston Matthews tallied his league-leading 51st goal of the season, Morgan Rielly a goal and two assists while Mitch Marner and Michael Bunting each collected two assists in a 6-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell made 29 saves as he returned to action after missing 10 games with a rib injury. The Leafs are tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning with 93 points but hold second place in the Atlantic Division with 44 wins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers defenseman Keith Yandle was a healthy scratch, bringing his NHL-record consecutive game streak to an end at 989. Flyers coach Mike Yeo faced criticism for benching Yandle given the club is eliminated from the playoffs and the blueliner only needed 11 more games to extend his record to 1,000 games.

Yeo explained it was part of the club’s decision to evaluate younger players for next season. Yandle took the decision in stride, saying management had spoken to him about the club’s plans over the final weeks of the regular season.

The Lightning, meanwhile, fell to the Montreal Canadiens 5-4 on a shootout goal by Nick Suzuki. Jake Allen made 37 saves for the Canadiens as they got the win in Martin St. Louis’ first game as head coach against his former club in Tampa Bay. Nikita Kucherov had a goal and two assists for the Lightning.

Boston Bruins center Erik Haula scored twice in a 5-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Brad Marchand had a goal and two assists for the Bruins (91 points) as they opened a seven-point lead over the Washington Capitals for the first wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

In other news, the NHL department of player safety suspended Arizona Coyotes forward Nick Ritchie for one game for slashing Anaheim Ducks defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 10, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 10, 2021

New deals for Igor Shesterkin and Carter Hart top yesterday’s notable contract signings and the contract standoff between Kirill Kaprizov and the Wild intensifies. Details on these and other stories in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers signed goaltender Igor Shesterkin to a four-year contract worth just over $5.66 million annually. It’s the largest second NHL contract signed by a goaltender.

New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a reasonable deal for both sides. The Rangers kept Shesterkin’s annual cap hit under $6 million and the 25-year-old goaltender qualifies for UFA status in four years times. He’s shown considerable promise as an elite netminder in his brief NHL career. This contract will look quite affordable if he reaches his full potential.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers signed goalie Carter Hart to a three-year contract worth an annual average value of $3.95 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hart might’ve earned himself a deal comparable to Shesterkin’s had it not been for his struggles last season. That worked in favor of the Flyers, inking the 23-year-old to a cost-effective bridge contract. He’ll be in line for a considerable raise in three years’ time if he regains his promising form from 2019-20.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: The Capitals re-signed netminder Ilya Samsonov to a one-year, $2 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Hart, Samsonov’s inconsistent performance last season hurt his efforts for a more lucrative deal. The 24-year-old also displayed some immaturity by testing positive twice for COVID-19 and getting scratched for disciplinary reasons late in the season for missing a team function.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports Kirill Kaprizov has a tentative agreement with KHL club CSKA Moscow for a one-year deal worth 8 figures in US dollars if a new deal with the Minnesota Wild doesn’t materialize.

The Wild initially sought a seven- or eight-year deal for the Calder Trophy winner. They’re willing to discuss a medium-range deal but the Kaprizov camp claims no offer has been made since April.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An interesting development in the contract standoff between Kaprizov and the Wild. I’ll have more in today’s Rumor Mill update.

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings and Jakub Vrana are reportedly far apart in contract negotiations as his Wednesday arbitration hearing approaches. Acquired from the Capitals at last season’s trade deadline, the 25-year-old winger seeks $5.7 million annually while the Red Wings are offering $3.65 million. He’s completing a two-year contract valued at $3.35 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The two sides could agree to something around $4.4 million before tomorrow’s arbitration hearing.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks signed Max Comtois, Max Jones and Joshua Mahura to new contracts. Comtois got a two-year, $4.075 million deal, Jones agreed to a three-year, $3.885 million contract, and Mahura a two-year, $1.5 million deal.

SPORTSNET: The New Jersey Devils re-signed winger Janne Kuokkanen to a two-year, $3.65 million contract.

TSN: The Tampa Bay Lightning inked forward Ross Colton to a two-year deal worth $1.125 million annually.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks signed defenseman Olli Juolevi to a one-year, $750K extension.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed blueliner Oliver Kylington to a one-year, two-way deal worth $750K at the NHL level.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Tampa Bay Lightning bench boss Jon Cooper was named head coach of Canada’s Men’s Olympic hockey team for the 2022 Beijing Games in February. His assistant coaches will be the New York Islanders’ Barry Trotz, the Vegas Golden Knights’ Peter DeBoer and the Boston Bruins’ Bruce Cassidy.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Former Blackhawks center and current radio analyst Troy Murray has been diagnosed with cancer. He intends to continue calling games while battling this disease.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Murray for a speedy and full recovery.

TRIBLIVE.COM: After 46 seasons in the broadcast booth, Mike Lange has called his last game for the Pittsburgh Penguins. The 73-year-old is stepping down from play-by-play duties, though he’ll continue to provide commentary and voiceover work for the club’s radio network.

Famous for his colorful style and signature catchphrases, Lange has been scaling back his broadcasting duties since 2017. In 2001, he received the Foster Hewitt Award for broadcasting from the Hockey Hall of Fame.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Listening to Penguins’ games will never be the same. Best wishes to Lange in his retirement.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 20, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 20, 2020

More details emerge for the 2020-21 season plus the latest in Ilya Kovalchuk, Braden Holtby, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: With the NHL and NHLPA reaching a tentative agreement for the 2020-21 season, the league’s focus shifts toward negotiations with the five provincial health authorities for the seven Canadian franchises.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly (NHL.com).

The league hopes those clubs will play this season in an all-Canadian division with each team hosting games in their own arenas. Darren Dreger reports NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly is directly involved in ongoing negotiations with the provinces.

Frank Seravalli reports the league has drafted strict protocols for road games. Players and team staff will be limited to the practice rink, game rink and hotel. No outside facilities, bars, restaurants or shops. All meals will be in the team hotel. No guests, no use of hotel fitness facilities, no housekeeping. There will also be assigned seats on chartered buses and planes, with in-flight catering where possible.

Ryan Rishaug reported last night the British Columbia government at this point remains unwilling to allow NHL teams to travel into the province for games. That might change as discussions continue.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli also indicated the NHL’s travel protocols continue to change based on input from the provincial health authorities. The league seems willing to do as much as possible to ensure the Canadian teams can stage their games in their own arenas.

Based on recent reports it appears the Vancouver Canucks could be the only club unable to start the season at home. That could change depending on the course of the league’s discussions with the province of British Columbia.

The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports a league executive said one solution could be having the Canucks play their games in Edmonton until the situation is resolved. That would make more sense than moving all seven into one Canadian hub city or having them play all their games in the United States.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the NHL has scheduled a conference call for its Board of Governors for noon ET today and for the general managers at 2 pm ET.

Mark your calendars, NHL fans. The 2021 free-agent market is slated to open on Wednesday, July 28, 2021.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word yet as to a tentative date for the 2021 trade deadline. It’s usually held 40 days before the last day of the regular season. If that calculation remains in place for this season, March 29 would be trade deadline day.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the opt-out deadline to participate in this season for players on last year’s non-playoff teams is Dec. 24, with Dec. 27 for the others. Group II free agents (RFAs) must be signed by Feb. 11 to be eligible to play this season. Players on one-year contracts can extend on March 12.

THE SCORE: The San Jose Sharks will be hosting training camp and start the regular season in Arizona owing to COVID-19 restrictions in California’s Santa Clara County.

RDS.CA: A report out of Russia indicates Ilya Kovalchuk could return to the KHL for the coming season. The 37-year-old Kovalchuk reportedly hasn’t found any takers in the NHL free-agent market. He played in the KHL from 2012 to 2018 with St. Petersburg SKA. The report suggests he’ll sign with Avangard Omsk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A once-dominant scorer, Kovalchuk struggled with the Los Angeles Kings upon his return to the NHL in 2018 and was bought out of his contract last fall. He showed flashes of his high-scoring form during a brief tenure with the Montreal Canadiens until traded to the Washington Capitals, where he was pretty much invisible during the Capitals’ disappointing performance in the 2020 playoffs.

SPORTSNET: After the design for his new mask was criticized as cultural appropriation, Vancouver Canucks goaltender Braden Holtby and his mask designer are collaborating with an Indigenous artist on a new design.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed defenseman Oliver Kylington to a one-year, two-way contract worth $787,500 at the NHL level.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Former Sabres defenseman Nathan Paetsch has retired after 17 professional seasons. Paetsch played the bulk of his career in the AHL with the Rochester Americans, Grand Rapids Griffins and Syracuse Crunch. He spent parts of five NHL seasons with the Sabres and Columbus Blue Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Paetsch in his future endeavors.










NHL Rumor Mill – December 9, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – December 9, 2020

In today’s NHL rumor mill, the Golden Knights are reportedly trying to trade Max Pacioretty plus the anticipation of increased activity in the trade and free-agent markets as the new season approaches.

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports the Vegas Golden Knights have “doubled down” in recent days and weeks in their efforts to trade Max Pacioretty. The 32-year-old winger has three years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $7 million. He led the Golden Knights last season with 32 goals.

Vegas Golden Knights reportedly shopping winger Max Pacioretty (NHL Images)

The Golden Knights are over the salary cap and attempted earlier in the offseason to shed some salary. Seravalli suggests moving Pacioretty would clear sufficient salary to become cap compliant and perhaps take a run at unrestricted free agents such as Mike Hoffman and former Golden Knight Erik Haula.

KUKLA’S KORNER: The Athletic’s Jesse Granger reports winger Jonathan Marchessault ($5 million AAV) and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury ($7 million) have also come up in Golden Knights’ trade chatter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For the first time in weeks we’ve finally got a juicy NHL trade rumor. The last trade was made on Oct. 12, when the Golden Knight shipped defenseman Nate Schmidt to the Vancouver Canucks in a cost-cutting deal.

The Golden Knights are above the $81.5 million salary cap by over $974K according to Cap Friendly. Moving Pacioretty would indeed free up sufficient space for the Golden Knights to perhaps add a more affordable scorer like Hoffman or a cost-effective center by bringing back Haula.

Pacioretty’s cap hit, age and his 10-team no-trade clause, however, could make finding a suitable trade partner difficult. So will the limited number of clubs with sufficient cap room to comfortably absorb his full $7 million AAV.

Fleury was thought to be a goner when the Golden Knights signed goalie Robin Lehner to a contract extension. GM Kelly McCrimmon denied that speculation but Granger said the Golden Knights are looking into the trade values of Fleury, Pacioretty and Marchessault. Fleury also has a 10-team no-trade list while Marchessault has an eight-team list.

Whether it’s Pacioretty, Fleury or Marchessault on the trade block, the Golden Knights won’t want much (if any) salary in return. Only a handful of teams (New Jersey, Los Angeles, Nashville, Detroit and Ottawa) can comfortably afford any of them. Those clubs might not be on the trio’s lists of preferred trade destinations.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports action is starting to pick up in the free-agent market. UFA winger Mikael Granlund hopes to situate his family and could make a decision in the next few days. So could other notables such as Mike Hoffman and Andreas Athanasiou.

He believes some teams could start talking with the Seattle Kraken to see what they can do about future salary-cap space if the cap remains flattened.

Chris Johnston suggests keeping an eye on the restricted free agent market following the Philadelphia Flyers yesterday signing defenseman Philippe Myers to a three-year contract. He cites Ethan Bear in Edmonton, Oliver Kylington in Calgary and Erik Cernak in Tampa Bay among the blueliners who could be affected by the Myers signing.