NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 15, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 15, 2022

The Rangers need their young forwards to step up in 2022-23, Marc Staal looking forward to playing for a contender in Florida, Avalanche season tickets are popular again, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers’ success in the coming season could depend upon young forwards such as Kaapo Kakko, Alexis Lafreniere and Filip Chytil to build upon their promising performance in the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs. They’ll also need Vitali Kravtsov to prove he’s worthy of top-six/top-nine minutes in the NHL.

New York Rangers winger Alexis Lafreniere (NHL Images)

Those youngsters will be expected to fill the gaps in their forward lines after Andrew Copp, Frank Vatrano and Tyler Motte departed via free agency this summer. The current roster accounted for 223 of the club’s 250 goals last season. That would’ve ranked 26th among last season’s teams.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of those 223 goals, 103 came from Chris Kreider (52), Mika Zibanejad (29) and Artemi Panarin (22). The Rangers definitely need more production from those youngsters going forward.

Lafreniere seems the best bet for a breakout season. He had 19 goals in 2021-22, showing promising signs of blossoming into the scorer he was projected to become when the Rangers chose him first overall in the 2020 draft.

Injuries limited Kakko to just seven goals in 43 games last season. Chytil had eight in 67 contests, missing 12 games to injury and being scratched from six others. They could improve if they can stay healthy this season. Kravtsov played in the KHL last season so we don’t know if he’s truly ready to become an NHL regular.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Marc Staal is excited to be joining a Stanley Cup contender after signing with the Panthers last month. The 35-year-old defenseman spent the past five seasons with rebuilding clubs like the Rangers and Detroit Red Wings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staal saw just three games of postseason action over that period as the Rangers fell to the Carolina Hurricanes in the qualifying round of the 2020 playoffs. He inked a one-year, $750K contract on July 13 with the Panthers.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche’s Stanley Cup run has had a positive effect on their season ticket sales. They’ve already reached their cutoff/capacity limit for the coming season which is thought to be around 13,500. There’s now a waiting list for season tickets.

LAS VEGAS SUN: Nolan Patrick is expected to begin the coming season on long-term injury reserve. The 23-year-old Golden Knights forward is still dealing with an upper-body injury that limited him to just 25 games last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The second-overall pick by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2017, Patrick battled migraine issues earlier in his career that cost him the entire 2019-20 season. It’s uncertain if his current injury is related to that.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Detroit Red Wings prospect Simon Edvinsson is enjoying a solid performance for Sweden at the ongoing 2022 World Junior Championship. Chosen sixth overall by the Wings in 2021, the 6-foot-six, 203-pound defenseman signed his entry-level contract in April. He’s expected to make his NHL debut this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Edvinsson plays up to his potential, he and current Calder Memorial Trophy winner Moritz Seider will give the Wings two of the best young defensemen in the league. They could become the foundation of a future Stanley Cup champion in Detroit.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 27, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 27, 2022

Could the Canucks make a significant move like trading J.T. Miller? Will the Flyers commence a rebuild by trading Claude Giroux? What’s the latest on Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Evander Kane? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE CANUCKS AFTER MANAGEMENT MOVES?

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli and Scott Burnside discussed what could be next for the Vancouver Canucks after hiring Patrik Allvin as their new general manager and Emilie Castonguay as assistant GM. They believe the top priority is figuring out what to do with J.T. Miller. The 28-year-old center leads the Canucks with 40 points and is signed through 2022-23 with an annual cap hit of $5.25 million.

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller (NHL Images).

Seravalli reports the Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Minnesota Wild and New York Rangers (Miller’s former team) have expressed interest. While Miller has enjoyed his time in Vancouver, he could be open to returning to an American team.

Burnside felt an extension with Miller might be possible if he wants to be part of the Canucks’ process over the next four or five years. If not, that extra year on his current contract could fetch a first-round pick, a high-end prospect and a mix of later-round picks.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers’ preference is to re-sign second-line center Ryan Strome but Miller could be a potential replacement. The Canucks asking price is said to be astronomical but Brooks believes it could drop as the trade deadline approaches if the Canucks fall completely out of the playoff race by then.

Brooks envisions Miller playing right wing with Mika Zibanejad or Strome during this season and taking over as second-line center next season if Strome departs as a free agent. He also wondered if the Canucks will take a serious offseason run at acquiring Rangers winger Alexis Lafreniere, who was a client of Canucks assistant GM Castonguay when she was a player agent.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss believes the Bruins should pursue Miller despite the steep asking price as he would fill their need for a reliable second-line center. He doesn’t feel they should dangle top prospect Fabian Lysell but shouldn’t be afraid to dangle any of their other prospects while they’re in “win-now” mode.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Miller speculation has resurfaced because the Canucks finally have their new management team in place. The assumption is they could trade him because Rutherford will make the decisions on trades involving their core players based on his reputation as a wheeler dealer.

Miller could be shopped if the Canucks fall out of contention by the trade deadline. However, Rutherford indicated he’ll provide input but Allvin will handle the day-to-day operations and will be the key decision-maker. While they could get a solid return for Miller before the trade deadline, the Canucks can also wait until the offseason to peddle him if he doesn’t fit into their long-range plans.

If the Canucks do put Miller on the trade block by the deadline, I believe the Rangers would be better positioned to acquire him than the Bruins, Flames or Wild. They have plenty of salary-cap space and a lot of promising young talent to draw upon for trade bait.

FLYERS LEAVE GIROUX’S FUTURE IN HIS HANDS

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Giana Han reports Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher will be having discussions with Claude Giroux to determine their 34-year-old captain’s future with the club. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and holds a full no-movement clause. Fletcher intends to leave the decision up to Giroux whether he’ll waive it to accept a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Giroux will reportedly be discussing his future with his agent next month, perhaps as early as next weekend’s All-Star Game.

Fletcher also indicated he’s looking to aggressively retool his roster rather than engage in a rebuild. The Flyers GM is not sure what moves he’ll make by the trade deadline but indicated “everything’s on the table.” He believes his club needs two or three players to complement the strong core he believes they have when they’re healthy. Despite the injury woes, he felt the club hasn’t played up to expectations and needs more top-end talent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some might scoff at Fletcher’s unwillingness to stage a rebuild but he can also look at other teams that have successfully retooled and enjoyed a quick turnaround in their fortunes. The Nashville Predators are the most notable recent example. They weren’t considered a playoff contender entering this season but are among the top teams in the Western Conference. Whether Fletcher can achieve similar results remains to be seen.

LATEST ON THE PENGUINS AND OILERS

THE SCORE: cites The Athletic’s Josh Yohe reporting Evgeni Malkin is willing to accept a pay cut to remain with the Pittsburgh Penguins. His agents have reportedly spoken with Penguins management about a new contract. Malkin’s current cap hit is $9.5 million but he would be pleased with a multi-year deal earning less than teammate Sidney Crosby ($8.7 million AAV).

Kris Letang, meanwhile, believes he’s playing well enough to earn a raise over his $7.25 million annual average value. Yohe reports the Penguins are willing to sign him to a short-term deal with the possibility of a raise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word on how short-term those deals could be, how much of a pay cut Malkin will accept and how much of a raise Letang is seeking. Crosby is signed through 2024-25. Those two could prefer three-year deals so they can finish their careers as Penguins with their captain.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites TSN’s Ryan Rishaug reporting there’s a strong sense the Oilers will sign free-agent winger Evander Kane. He’s been skating for over a week in Vancouver and could be ready for games as early as this weekend depending on the outcome of the league’s investigation into whether he violated AHL COVID protocols. ESPN’s Kevin Weekes cites sources saying it’s down to two teams for Kane but the Oilers appear the likeliest destination.










NHL Rumor Mill – December 10, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – December 10, 2021

Should the Rangers attempt to acquire Patrick Kane? Is it time for the Bruins to move on from Patrice Bergeron? Will the Blackhawks find a market for Marc-Andre Fleury? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks asks if the Rangers should attempt to acquire Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane if they could get a third team involved to make the salary-cap dollars work. Kane, 33, has a year remaining on his contract with a $10.5 million annual cap hit.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

Would you get Kane if it cost you Kaapo Kakko (but not Alexis Lafreniere), Nils Lundkvist (or Zac Jones or Matthew Robertson but not Braden Schneider), Vitali Kravtsov (but not Will Cuyelle or Brennan Othmann) and a 2022 first-rounder?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s an interesting flight of fancy by Brooks, who envisions Kane being on a “Super Line” with old teammate Artemi Panarin and center Ryan Strome through next season to bring the Stanley Cup to Broadway for the first time since 1994. He reminds us that former Rangers general managers Emile Francis, Neil Smith and Glen Sather used to make blockbuster deals like this in pursuit of the Stanley Cup.

The Blackhawks, however, have yet to name a full-time replacement for departed GM Stan Bowman. Moving Kane, who has a full no-movement clause, might not be something they’re willing to consider leading up to the March trade deadline. Besides, a deal of that magnitude might have to take place in the offseason when teams have more cap dollars to work with and a willingness to spend.

So what do you think, dear readers? Should the Rangers go all-in and try to pry Kane away from the Blackhawks on deadline day? Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty cites NHL analyst Mike Milbury suggesting the Bruins need to move on from captain Patrice Bergeron during a recent appearance on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show”.

Milbury believes they should consider shopping aging assets like Bergeron (and perhaps even Brad Marchand) and rebuild their bare prospect cupboard if they’re not going to push into the playoffs this season.

Bergeron is due to become a UFA next summer. If he wants to go anywhere, Milbury believes it’ll be to a Stanley Cup contender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think the Bruins front office intends to peddle Bergeron or Marchand or any of their core players this season even if they should be in danger of missing the playoffs by the March trade deadline. They’ll let Bergeron decide what he wants to do once his contract expires.

They’ll try to re-sign him, of course, but that might not be a slam dunk. Much will depend on what type of deal he’ll want and the direction of the Bruins in the coming years. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if he finishes his career as a Bruin.

ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan reports Blackhawks interim general manager Kyle Davidson and his staff are still evaluating their club and haven’t yet decided on their plan for the team. That includes goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

After talking with some league sources, Kaplan believes the Blackhawks could be open to any trade proposals for Fleury. However, the 36-year-old goaltender has a 10-team no-trade clause. There are also family considerations after he moved them to Chicago following his trade last summer by the Vegas Golden Knights.

It’s also uncertain what the market for Fleury will be. They were only able to get a second-round pick for Robin Lehner two years ago because the goalie market was more limited than they thought. Kaplan said two sources speculated Fleury could be a good fit with the Edmonton Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury got off to a rocky start with the Blackhawks but since early November he’s regained the form that garnered him the Vezina Trophy last season. He was 6-2-0 heading into last night’s game against Montreal with a 1.74 GAA and .944 SP during that period. He picked up a 2-0 shutout against the Canadiens for his 500th career win.

The Blackhawks could get at least a first-round pick for Fleury if he maintains his current level of performance. There should be some playoff contenders keen to bolster their goaltending leading up to the March 21 trade deadline. Whether the Oilers will be among them remains to be seen. That could depend upon Mike Smith’s health over the course of the season.










10 NHL Rookies To Watch This Month

10 NHL Rookies To Watch This Month

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 29, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 29, 2021

Recaps from another busy night of action and more in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Patrice Bergeron scored two goals as the Boston Bruins defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1 to sweep their two-game series. The Bruins have now won four in a row. Boston defenseman Matt Grzelcyk was forced to leave the game with a lower-body injury.

New York Rangers winger Alexis Lafreniere (NHL Images).

2020 first overall pick Alexis Lafreniere’s first career NHL goal came in overtime as the New York Rangers snapped their five-game winless skid by downing the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Artemi Panarin had a goal and an assist for the Rangers while Sabres winger Sam Reinhart also had a goal and an assist.

The Philadelphia Flyers swept their two-game series with the New Jersey Devils with a 3-1 victory. Goaltender Carter Hart made 33 saves for the win while teammate Claude Giroux netted his first goal of the season.

John Carlson scored the game-winner as the Washington Capitals overcame a 3-0 deficit to beat the New York Islanders 6-3. Conor Sheary scored twice and Zdeno Chara tallied his first goal with the Capitals as they extended their points streak to eight games. Islanders captain Anders Lee played his 500th career NHL game while teammate Josh Bailey (872 games) tied Clark Gillies for fourth on the Islanders all-time list.

The Carolina Hurricanes nipped the Tampa Bay Lightning 1-0 on an overtime goal by Martin Necas. It was the Hurricanes’ first game since Jan. 18 after several players wound up on the club’s COVID-19 protocol list.

A shootout goal by Alexandre Texier lifted the Columbus Blue Jackets over the Florida Panthers 3-2, snapping the latter’s three-game win streak. Max Domi and Mikko Koivu each tallied their first goals with the Jackets.

The Montreal Canadiens remain unbeaten in regulation (5-0-2) after doubling up the Calgary Flames 4-2 in their first home game of the season. Tyler Toffoli tallied a shorthanded goal while Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Jonathan Drouin each had two assists.

A three-goal first period powered the Minnesota Wild over the Los Angeles Kings 5-3. Marcus Johansson had a goal and an assist while teammate Kevin Fiala was ejected for boarding Kings defenseman Matt Roy, who left the game and was still being evaluated by the game’s end. Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Drew Doughty each had two points for the Kings.

The Dallas Stars are 4-0-0 to start the season after defeating the Detroit Red Wings 7-3. Goaltender Jake Oettinger made 20 saves for his first career NHL victory. Miro Heiskanen and Denis Gurianov each had three-point performances for the Stars. Wings goalie Jonathan Bernier left the game in the second period following a collision with teammate Anthony Mantha.

Philipp Grubauer’s 21-save shutout performance backstopped the Colorado Avalanche over the San Jose Sharks 3-0. Nazem Kadri scored twice for the Avalanche.

The Arizona Coyotes nipped the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 thanks to a two-goal performance by Christian Dvorak.

Braden Holtby turned aside 36 shots to give the Vancouver Canucks a 4-1 victory over the slumping Ottawa Senators to sweep their three-game series. Brock Boeser scored twice and set up another for the Canucks. The Senators have dropped seven straight games.

Auston Matthews snapped a 3-3 tie with a power-play goal as the Toronto Maple Leafs held on for a 4-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Jason Spezza had a goal and an assist for the Leafs while Leon Draisaitl scored twice for the Oilers. The Leafs have won four straight games.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights game against the St. Louis Blues was postponed due to some recent positive COVID-19 tests within the organization. Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo was added to their COVID-19 protocol list.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks signed defenseman Madison Bowey to a one-year, two-way contract.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Former Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard officially announced his retirement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reports of Howard’s retirement plans circulated last week. He spent his entire NHL career with the Wings. Best of luck to him and his family in their future endeavors.










Plenty of Candidates in Early NHL Calder Trophy Odds

Plenty of Candidates in Early NHL Calder Trophy Odds