NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 23, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 23, 2022

Ryan Ellis could miss the start of the Flyers’ season, the Islanders re-sign Noah Dobson, Alexander Romanov and Kieffer Bellows, an update on David Pastrnak and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ryan Ellis could miss the start of the coming season. A “multilayered issue” involving the “complex of the whole pelvic region” limited him to just four games last season.

If you’re asking me right now, I doubt it,” said Flyers head coach John Tortorella when asked if Ellis will be ready to play. They start their season on Oct. 13 against the New Jersey Devils but Tortorella didn’t think the 31-year-old defenseman will be ready when they open training camp on Sept. 21.

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ryan Ellis (NHL Images).

Tortorella indicated he’s had several conversations with Ellis. He said it’s been an “up and down process” for the blueliner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ellis was acquired from the Nashville Predators last summer and was expected to skate on the right side of the Flyers’ first defense pairing alongside Ivan Provorov. His absence last season was a key factor in the club missing the 2022 playoffs.

Cap Friendly shows Ellis is signed through 2026-27 with an average annual value of $6.25 million. They’re above the $82.5 million cap by $2.53 million but will get cap relief by placing Ellis on long-term injury reserve to start the season.

This also explains why the Flyers signed Tony DeAngelo to a two-year contract last month. We’ll have to wait and see if general manager Chuck Fletcher has any other moves planned before the coming season. That could depend on how long Ellis is sidelined.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: The New York Islanders announced new contracts for restricted free agents Noah Dobson, Alexander Romanov and Kieffer Bellows.

Dobson, 22, got a three-year deal with an AAV of $4 million. The 22-year-old Romanov also got a three-year deal. His annual cap hit is $2.5 million. Bellows, 24, got a one-year, $1.2 million contract.

The trio will be restricted free agents at the end of their respective contracts. These deals leave the Islanders with $3.485 million in cap space for the upcoming season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wasn’t surprised by what Romanov and Bellows got. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently suggested that Dobson’s new contract would be a high dollar amount but it’s actually quite reasonable for a young defenseman coming off a 51-point performance.

Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello explained that he wanted to see a bit more from Dobson before committing to a long-term deal. In other words, a more lucrative contract awaits the young rearguard at the end of his current deal if he builds on last season’s breakout effort.

SPORTSNET: Lamoriello also defended what was considered to be a quiet offseason on his part. Earlier this summer, he had promised to be as active as possible to bolster the Islanders’ offense. They were linked to free agents Johnny Gaudreau and Nazem Kadri but both forwards were signed elsewhere. Lamoriello was rumored to be interested in acquiring J.T. Miller but the Vancouver Canucks aren’t in a rush to move the 29-year-old center.

Regarding trades, Lamoriello explained he wouldn’t have received in return what he would’ve had to give up to make his club a better team. He’ll continue to explore the late-summer trade market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s doubtful Lamoriello will find a return that will significantly improve his club’s offense heading into this season. He’s going to bet on new head coach Lane Lambert finding a way to improve the Isles’ production with the current core players. I expect young wingers Anthony Beauvillier and Oliver Wahlstrom will be placed in roles where they’ll get more opportunities to score.

The Islanders have a projected $16 million in trade deadline cap space for the coming season. Barring any other moves, Lamoriello could have sufficient cap room to add a rental scorer by late February if his club is in playoff contention.

NEWSDAY’s Andrew Gross reported Lamoriello said he’s had no contract talks with UFA defensemen Zdeno Chara and Andy Greene. They are not currently under consideration for defense roles with the Isles.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: David Pastrnak’s contract extension talks with the Bruins are currently on hold but the 26-year-old winger isn’t concerned.

In an interview with Czechia media outlet Blesk, Pastrnak acknowledged Bruins GM Don Sweeney had a lot on his plate this summer negotiating new one-year contracts for Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. Pastrnak has a year remaining on his contract and is focused now on physically preparing for the upcoming season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sweeney will probably sit down with Pastrnak and/or his agent at some point during training camp to continue their negotiations.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 7, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 7, 2021

The Panthers snap the Hurricanes’ winning streak, the Coyotes finally get a win, Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello reaches a milestone, the Blackhawks fire coach Jeremy Colliton and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes’ season-opening win streak ended at nine games as they fell to the Florida Panthers 5-2. Anthony Duclair led the way with two goals and two assists while Spencer Knight made 29 saves for the win. The Panthers played without captain Aleksander Barkov, who’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Hurricanes goalie Frederik Andersen was pulled after giving up four goals on 15 shots in the first period but returned in the second after backup Antti Raanta suffered an upper-body injury following a collision with Panthers forward Ryan Lomberg. The Panthers are now the only team unbeaten in regulation (10-0-1) this season.

Florida Panthers winger Anthony Duclair (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lomberg received a five-minute major and a game misconduct but I felt he shouldn’t have been penalized. He was in a puck race with Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo when Raanta came out of his net between the faceoff circles to play the puck. Lomberg had nowhere to go and inadvertently crashed into Raanta. I don’t feel there was a deliberate attempt to injure on his part.

The Arizona Coyotes overcame a 3-1 deficit to pick up their first win of the season (1-10-1) with a 5-4 victory over the Seattle Kraken. Lawson Crouse scored the winning goal just 13 seconds after the Kraken’s Mark Giordano tied the game late in the third period. Crouse had two goals on the night while teammate Shayne Gostisbehere collected three assists. Scott Wedgewood (27 saves) picked up the win replacing Karel Vejmelka after the latter gave up two goals on two shots within the first minute of the opening period.

A 24-save shutout by Ilya Sorokin carried the New York Islanders over the Winnipeg Jets 2-0. Anders Lee and Brock Nelson were the goal scorers. It was the 1, 500th career win for Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello, moving him just six wins behind Glen Sather for second place on the all-time list. Nashville Predators GM David Poile is the leader with 1, 558 wins.

Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom made 22 saves to pick up his league-leading fourth shutout of the season in a 6-0 rout of the New York Rangers. The Flames (7-1-3) have points in 10 consecutive games. Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and three assists while Johnny Gaudreau scored twice and set up another goal.

Mitch Marner collected four points (one goal, three assists), Auston Matthews and John Tavares each scored two goals and Jack Campbell kicked out 42 shots to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 5-2 win over the Boston Bruins. Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak replied for the Bruins. The Leafs have won five straight games.

The Minnesota Wild overcame a 4-2 deficit to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4 on a shootout goal by Nick Bjugstad. Jared Spurgeon and Ryan Hartman tallied for the Wild to tie the game with the latter’s goal coming with just 2.2 seconds remaining. Kasperi Kapanen netted a hat trick for the Penguins while Bryan Rust add two assists in his first game since missing seven games to injury.

Three-point performances by Brayden Point (three assists) and Ondrej Palat (one goal, two assists) powered the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Ottawa Senators 5-3. Brady Tkachuk scored in his first game as the Senators’ new captain. After a slow start to the season, the Lightning are 6-3-2.

The Columbus Blue Jackets extended their record to 7-3-0 by doubling up the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 on three unanswered third-period goals by Alexandre Texier, Cole Sillinger and Oliver Bjorkstrand. Andre Burakovsky scored twice for the Avalanche, whose record drops to 4-5-1.

Martin Jones made 31 saves as the Philadelphia Flyers held off the Washington Capitals 2-1. Derick Brassard and Sean Couturier scored in the second period for the Flyers while Brett Leason netted the Capitals’ only goal. The Flyers are 6-2-2 in their opening 10 games.

Robin Lehner made 36 saves as the Vegas Golden Knights overcame a 2-0 deficit to down the Montreal Canadiens 5-2. Chandler Stephenson and Alex Pietrangelo each had a goal and an assist for the Golden Knights. The Canadiens are now 3-10-0 on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadens dominated Vegas in the first period, outshooting them 20-1. If not for Lehner this could’ve been a blowout win for the Habs. Instead, they came out of that period with a 2-0 lead and collapsed in the second after the Golden Knights got their first goal.

The Detroit Red Wings snapped a four-game losing skid with a 4-3 overtime win over the Buffalo Sabres. Rookie defenseman Moritz Seider got the winner, netting his first career NHL goal. Tyler Bertuzzi scored twice and added two helpers while rookie winger Lucas Raymond had three assists.

A shootout goal by Damon Severson gave the New Jersey Devils a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks, giving them their first win in four games. Devils goalie Jonathan Bernier made 25 saves for the win.

The Chicago Blackhawks yesterday fired head coach Jeremy Colliton after the club lurched to a 1-9-2 start to this season. Rockford IceHogs coach Derek King was named as Colliton’s replacement on an interim basis.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks had to do something to try and shake things up following this dreadful start to the season. Their poor performance is not entirely Colliton’s fault. As The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus observed, Colliton was the fall guy for management’s poor roster planning and shifting priorities. This is ultimately on former general manager Stan Bowman.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 1, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 1, 2020

The latest on Pierre-Luc Dubois and Cory Schneider, the updated salary-arbitration list and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Michael Arace recently reported contract talks between the Blue Jackets and Pierre-Luc Dubois have stalled. The 22-year-old center is a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract.

Columbus Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images)

Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen, however, isn’t concerned by the lack of progress in contract talks with the Dubois camp. “It’s funny how everyone’s worried about RFAs, because I’m not worried at all,” he said on Tuesday. “They get done when they get done.” He pointed out contract talks for defenseman Zach Werenski weren’t settled until right before training camp last year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kekalainen has every reason to be unconcerned. Dubois lacks arbitration rights plus there’s uncertainty over what league revenue will look like over the next couple of years. Those factors alone give the Jackets GM the hammer in contract talks.

The Jackets have over $12 million in cap space so there’s plenty of room for Dubois’ next contract. I think Kekalainen will attempt to get Dubois under a short-term bridge contract with the promise of a bigger payday down the road.

NHL.COM: New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello said Friday he’s considering signing Cory Schneider. The goaltender had his contract bought out by the New Jersey Devils, making him an unrestricted free agent. “There’s a good sort of chance of that transpiring,” said Lamoriello.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported on Oct. 12 the Isles were finalizing a one-year, $700K deal with Schneider. Lamoriello gives nothing away, of course, but LeBrun is a well-respected, well-sourced NHL insider. He probably got that info from someone close to the Isles’ front office or the Schneider camp.

I suspect the Islanders’ limited cap space explains why this hasn’t been finalized yet. They’ve got $8.9 million remaining but Lamoriello must also re-sign RFAs Mathew Barzal and Ryan Pulock. Once that’s sorted out, the Schneider contract will be probably be finalized.

NHLPA.COM: Only six players of the 26 who filed for arbitration this year are slated for hearings. Carolina’s Warren Foegele’s is on Nov. 4, the New York Rangers’ Ryan Strome on Nov. 5, the Rangers’ Brendan Lemieux and the Islanders’ Ryan Pulock are on Nov. 6, Ottawa’s Christian Jaros is on Nov. 7, and Florida’s MacKenzie Weegar is on Nov. 8.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Only one – Detroit’s Tyler Bertuzzi – went before an arbiter. There’s a good chance the rest could be settled before their respective hearings.

THE SCORE: Ontario premier Doug Ford said Saturday his government is engaging with the Ontario Hockey League on a safe return-to-play plan for this season that must be confirmed by health experts. “To date no decisions have been made. I would like to see the OHL return as normal as possible with bodychecking.”

Ford’s remarks contradict comments made by Ontario sports minister Lisa MacLeod on Friday. She stated “prolonged or deliberate contract while playing sports is not permitted” to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wonder if Premier Ford got a phone call from NHL headquarters regarding MacLeod’s comments. The OHL is one of the NHL’s main development leagues. They would probably frown upon their promising prospects being forced to play an entire season without bodychecking.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 13, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 13, 2020

In today’s NHL morning coffee headlines, the Stars are within a game of reaching the Stanley Cup Final, Lou Lamoriello is GM of the Year, an update on Brayden Point, and the Canadiens acquire Joel Edmundson from the Hurricanes.

NHL.COM: The Dallas Stars are one game away from the Stanley Cup Final after edging the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 to take a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Final. Anton Khudobin made 32 saves for the win while teammates Joe Pavelski and Jamie Benn were the goal scorers. Alec Martinez tallied for the Golden Knights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Khudobin flat out stole this game for the Stars, who were outshot 33-20 in this contest and outplayed for long stretches by the Golden Knights. He’s been Dallas’ most valuable player throughout this postseason and has to be considered among the leading candidates for the Conn Smythe Trophy.

New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello is this season’s winner of the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award. The off-season signings of Semyon Varlamov and Derrick Brassard, re-signings of Anders Lee, Anthony Beauvillier, Jordan Eberle and Brock Nelson, and acquisitions of Andy Greene and Jean-Gabriel Pageau were cited as factors in Lamoriello receiving the award.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lamoriello has his critics but there’s no question his moves ensured the Islanders remained a playoff club this season. His wheeling and dealing also got the Isles to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time since 1993.

The Tampa Bay Lightning could be without first-line center Brayden Point for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Islander. Point left Game 2 with an undisclosed injury and missed Game 3. He participated in practice yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t be surprised if Point is a game-day decision.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens yesterday acquired defenseman Joel Edmundson from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2020. Edmundson, 27, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on Oct. 9.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect the Habs will re-sign Edmundson, who earned $3.1 million on a one-year contract this season. They like his size and physical play on the left side of their blueline. This move leaves the Canadiens with 11 picks in this year’s draft.

If Edmundson is re-signed, it could set the stage for another move or two by the Habs. I have more on that in the rumors sections.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 2, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – May 2, 2020

Check out recent speculation on the Canadiens, Sharks, and Devils in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD MANTHA BECOME A CANADIENS’ OFFER-SHEET TARGET?

TVA SPORTS: Jean-Charles Lajoie suggested Detroit Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha would be an intriguing offer-sheet target for the Montreal Canadiens. He feels they would benefit from having a sniper such as Mantha at right wing. He also pointed to the winger’s tumultuous relationship with Detroit coach Jeff Blashill. While Lajoie feels Blashill might not be back behind the Wings’ bench next season, Mantha might be willing to entertain an offer sheet.

Could the Montreal Canadiens try to sign Detroit Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha to an offer sheet? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe Mantha would listen to an offer from the Canadiens, but it’ll have to be a significant one to pry him away from the Wings. They have over $46 million invested in 11 players. Unless it’s a mind-blowing offer, they can easily match it. 

Lajoie also noted Columbus’ Pierre-Luc Dubois and the New York Islanders’ Mathew Barzal could be interesting options. He thinks the Blue Jackets would match almost any offer for Dubois, but the Isles might be less inclined to do so for Barzal because their GM is Lou Lamoriello.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blue Jackets will match an offer for Dubois. As for Lamoriello, he’s already bluntly stated he’ll do the same for Barzal. Don’t expect to see either guy wearing a Habs sweater next season. 

COULD THE SHARKS BE UFA BUYERS?

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Brian Witt believes the San Jose Sharks could benefit if the salary cap remains around $81.5 million for 2020-21. Several teams will enter the off-season with less than $1 million in cap space, while half the league will have more than $3 million. The Sharks could have between $8 million and $15 million available.

Some of that will be used to re-sign some pending free agents, but Witt feels their notable ones (Joe Thornton, Kevin Labanc) could be affordable re-signings. That would leave sufficient room for some prominent free agents.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Sharks have over $66 million invested in 13 players. All of their core players except for Thornton are under contract for next season. As Witt indicated, Thornton and Labanc should be affordable signings.

General manager Doug Wilson has a history of pulling off surprising moves, so we shouldn’t dismiss the possibility he’ll land a noteworthy free agent, especially if a flat cap makes other clubs reluctant to invest in the UFA market. However, he might be reluctant to pursue a big-ticket player when he’s already got over $41 million tied up in just six players. 

LATEST ON THE DEVILS

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment, Corey Masisak was asked if there was any chance the New Jersey Devils could make a move for St. Louis Blues defenseman Vince Dunn following their re-signing of Marco Scandella. While Dunn could be a good fit, Masisak is skeptical about the Blues moving him. He also speculated they could ask for Kyle Palmieri or Nikita Gusev, or perhaps a promising player like Ty Smith or Nolan Foote in return. 

Masisak doubts the Devils could entice whoever wins this year’s draft lottery to part with the first-overall pick by offering up their three first-rounders.