NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 3, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 3, 2021

Recaps of Friday’s action, a growing concern as COVID-19 spreads through the Canucks roster, the Blackhawks and Panthers make a trade, plus updates on Tuukka Rask, Eric Staal and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Nathan MacKinnon scored two goals to lead the Colorado Avalanche over the St. Louis Blues by a score of 3-2. Avs goaltender Jonas Johansson made 25 saves for his first win of the season. David Perron had a goal and an assist for the Blues. The Avalanche moved into sole possession of first place in the Honda West Division with 52 points, holding a two-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights. The Blues, meanwhile, dropped to fifth place in the division with 38 points.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche are red hot of late, riding a 13-game points streak. As for the Blues, they continue to sputter offensively and are in real danger of tumbling out of the playoff race altogether.

The Arizona Coyotes (39 points) moved one point ahead of the Blues into fourth in the West with a 4-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Phil Kessel scored the winning goal and also picked up an assist as the Coyotes have won four of their last five contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel also leads the Coyotes with 15 goals and 28 points in 37 games. Their recent rise into playoff contention could take them out of the sellers’ category with the NHL’s April 12 trade deadline just over a week away.

A shootout goal by Jason Spezza gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Jack Campbell made 31 saves for the win as the Leafs sit atop the Scotia North Division with 51 points, four ahead of the Edmonton Oilers and the Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Campbell remains undefeated in eight games this season. He’s doing a fine job holding the fort in Frederik Andersen’s absence.

Connor McDavid snapped a 2-2 tie in the third period as the Oilers edged the Calgary Flames 3-2, moving ahead of the Jets into second place in the North with 23 wins on the season. Leon Draisaitl collected two assists for the Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames (35 points) have lost seven of their last nine games and sit sixth in the North, six points behind the fourth-place Montreal Canadiens who have five games in hand. The Flames are toast unless they stage a remarkable turnaround over the next six weeks and the Canadiens collapse down the stretch.

An overtime goal by Dmitry Orlov lifted the Washington Capitals over the New Jersey Devils 2-1. Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood made 38 saves to keep his club in this one. With 52 points, the Capitals opened a two-point lead over the New York Islanders for first place in the MassMutual East Division.

The San Jose Sharks kept their playoff hopes alive in the West Division by blanking the Los Angeles Kings 3-0. Martin Jones had a 30-save shutout, Brent Burns collected his 500th NHL assist and Rudolfs Balcers had a goal and two assists. With 36 points, the Sharks moved two points ahead of the Kings into sixth place in the division, two points behind the fifth-place Blues and three back of the fourth-place Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks were given up for dead a month ago but five wins in their last seven contests have moved them into contention for the fourth and final playoff spot in the West.

HEADLINES

THE PROVINCE: Seven Vancouver Canucks players and one coach are now on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list, with several of the cases involving the highly contagious Brazilian P.1 variant that has resulted in a surge of COVID cases in British Columbia. It’s expected more Canucks players could test positive when the league updates its protocol list later today.

SPORTSNET: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said there has been no consideration given to reducing the number of games the Canucks will play once they emerge from their current shutdown. The club is currently not expected to play again until next Thursday but that date could change as more players get added to the protocol list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Quinn Hughes, Alex Edler, Braden Holtby, Antoine Roussel and Zack MacEwen joined Adam Gaudette and Travis Hamonic on the list yesterday. If the league doesn’t intend to reduce the Canucks games that could mean extending the end of the regular season to accommodate those postponed games.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks yesterday acquired forward Vinnie Hinostroza from the Florida Panthers in exchange for minor-league Brad Morrison. Hinostroza began his NHL career with the Blackhawks in 2015-16 and was traded in 2018 to the Arizona Coyotes. He played nine games this season with the Panthers and is due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks add a depth player they’re familiar with as they jockey for a playoff spot in the Discover Central Division. Hinostroza carries a $1 million cap hit. This move is considered a salary dump by the Panthers, shedding Hinostroza’s $1 million cap hit to perhaps free up space to add a defenseman after Aaron Ekblad recently fractured his leg.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks forward Brandon Hagel was placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 list yesterday.

BOSTON GLOBE: Bruins starting goaltender Tuukka Rask’s status remains unclear as he continues to receive treatment for an upper-body injury that’s sidelined him for the past four games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s not good news for a Bruins club clinging to the final playoff spot in the MassMutual East Division. Third-stringer Dan Vladar could be sticking around a little longer.

SPORTSNET: Eric Staal will be making his debut with the Montreal Canadiens on April 5 against the Edmonton Oilers. The Canadiens acquired Staal last Friday in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres.

TSN: Winnipeg Jets defenseman Nathan Beaulieu underwent season-ending shoulder surgery on Thursday.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres forward Curtis Lazar is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

NHL.COM: The Ottawa Senators-Winnipeg Jets game scheduled for May 7 has been moved up to April 5.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 25, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 25, 2020

The Penguins trade Patric Hornqvist to the Panthers for Mike Matheson, the latest Stanley Cup Final news and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

TSN: After a day of uncertainty, the Pittsburgh Penguins finally traded winger Patric Hornqvist to the Florida Panthers for defenseman Mike Matheson. The Panthers also sent winger Colton Sceviour to the Penguins in the deal.

Pittsburgh Penguins trade Patric Hornqvist to the Florida Panthers (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’ S NOTE: This trade was originally reported on Wednesday but was held up due to Hornqvist’s no-trade clause and insurance concerns regarding his contract. It took a day to get those issues sorted.

The Penguins get younger by taking on the 26-year-old Matheson and 31-year-old Sceviour while the Panthers hope to benefit in the short term by the 33-year-old Hornqvist’s playoff experience and gritty style of play. Matheson struggled over the last two years but the Pens have had success taking on blueliners (like Justin Schultz and Trevor Daley) who improved once they came to Pittsburgh.

Hornqvist has three years left on his contract, Matheson six years and Sceviour one year. The Penguins don’t free up much cap space for 2020-21, swapping Hornqvist’s $5.3 million annual average value for Matheson ($4.875 million) and Sceviour ($1.2 million).

The Penguins might not be done dealing. They have a surplus of eight defensemen under NHL contracts and still have to re-sign goaltender Matt Murray or Tristan Jarry. That’s generating speculation one of those blueliners could be shopped in a cost-cutting deal.

NBC SPORTS: Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov’s consistency is among the driving factors in his club’s quest for the Stanley Cup. He’s the playoffs’ leading scorer with 30 points and has had eight multi-point games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kucherov’s performance puts him among the leading candidates for the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars face the Lightning tonight in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final and Game 5 on Saturday. That could put a considerable burden upon goaltender Anton Khudobin. With Ben Bishop still unfit to play, there are questions over what they’ll do between the pipes during the upcoming back-to-back stretch.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Khudobin normally backs up Bishop, but he’s played in most of the Stars’ games in this postseason. Youngster Jake Oettinger appeared in just over 36 minutes in two games, replacing Khudobin for the third period during the Stars 5-2 loss in Game 3 on Wednesday.

SPORTSNET: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is understandably proud of what the NHL accomplished with its return-to-play plan with two quarantine bubbles in Edmonton and Toronto. “It’s been nothing short of remarkable”, he said yesterday.

Bettman praised NHL chief content officer Steve Mayer and his staff of 150 people for their planning and staging of the event, as well as the governments of Alberta and Ontario and the Canadian government, and the collaborative efforts between the league and the NHLPA.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bettman’s pride is justified. The league silenced its critics by staging a safe environment for 24 teams in two NHL cities to compete for the 2020 Stanley Cup. However, he indicated the league’s intent is not to stage next season in a bubble environment. They hope to have fans in the arenas when it is safe to do so.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres signed center Curtis Lazar to a two-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $800K.

SPORTSNET: The Nashville Predators re-signed forward Yakov Trenin to a two-year, $1.45-million contract.

NHL.COM: The league revealed its offseason protocols for training at team facilities. The plan will be similar to Phase 2 of the NHL’s return-to-play plan.

The teams can open their training facilities if a minimum of five players request it commencing Oct. 15, though they can open them sooner at their discretion following the completion of the Stanley Cup Final. No more than 12 players will be allowed on the ice at one time, though more players may be present in the facility at the same time.

Local public health restrictions will be observed and mandatory testing for COVID-19 is required for players and training staff wishing to use the facility.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 30, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 30, 2019

Some fallout from the Penguins trading Phil Kessel to the Coyotes, Ryan Spooner, and Valeri Nichushkin to be bought out, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE SCORE: cites reports indicating Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford and Phil Kessel disagree over the latter’s trade demands. After shipping Kessel last night to the Arizona Coyotes, Rutherford claimed the winger asked to be traded several times. Kessel claims Rutherford is mistaken, adding Rutherford met with him once and told him he would never be a Penguin again.

Phil Kessel disagrees with Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford over his trade requests (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Regardless of who said what, the fact remains Kessel is now with the Coyotes and the Penguins got a decent return and freed up some valuable salary-cap space. 

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks yesterday placed forward Ryan Spooner on unconditional waivers to buy out his contract. “By buying Spooner out, the Canucks reduce his cap hit to $1.033 million for each of the next two seasons. The Rangers, who had retained 22.5 percent of his salary when they traded him to the Oilers, will have their cap hit reduced to $300,000.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like the Canucks are freeing up salary-cap room to make a significant signing when the unrestricted free agent market opens at noon ET tomorrow. It’s assumed they’re pursuing a defenseman like Tyler Myers or Jake Gardiner. 

SPORTSDAY: The Dallas Stars placed winger Valeri Nichushkin on unconditional waivers to buy out his contract. The move “allows the Stars to clear $2.25 million in cap space next season while adding $450,000 against the cap in 2020-21.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  The once-promising Nichushkin was never the same after suffering a knee injury in his sophomore season in 2014-15. This move will be seen as freeing up cap room to either re-sign pending UFA winger Mats Zuccarello or pursue Joe Pavelski in the free-agent market. 

TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs hired former Philadelphia Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol as an assistant coach. They also re-signed defenseman Martin Marincin to a one-year, $700K contract.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames re-signed forward Alan Quine to a one-year, two-way deal worth $735K at the NHL level.

 

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 15, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 15, 2017

Tampa Bay Lightning re-sign left wing Ondrej Palat to a five-year contract.

Latest contract signings and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning yesterday avoided salary arbitration with left wing Ondrej Palat by signing him to a five-year, $26.5 million contract. The Lightning also signed Michael Bournival to a one-year, two-way contract worth $650K.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Palat’s annual average salary is $5.3 million, which is slightly more than Tyler Johnson’s $5 million annual cap hit though the latter’s contract is for seven years.

It’s another affordable re-signing by Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman, who’s done a good job convincing most of his core players to accept less than market value to remain in Tampa Bay. The Bolts now have over $71 million invested in 22 players for 2017-18. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan believes it appears increasingly unlikely defenseman Andrei Markov will return to the Montreal Canadiens. 

THE DETROIT NEWS: A report out of Slovakia claims winger Tomas Tatar wants to stay with the Red Wings. His agent claims Tatar has “an excellent relationship” with Wings GM Ken Holland. The winger also thinks he should stop talking to the media about his contract negotiations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s always best not to reveal too much to the press about your contract talks. Tatar’s arbitration hearing is slated for July 20, so we’ll find out very soon just how great his relationship with Holland really is. 

TSN: Retired New York Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein signed a one-year deal with ZSC Lions in Zurich, Switzerland. Meanwhile, former NHL winger R.J. Umberger will attempt a comeback with the Dallas Stars this fall on a tryout basis. 

AZCENTRAL.COM: The Arizona Coyotes are discussing a one- or two-year deal with winger Anthony Duclair.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed winger Curtis Lazar to a two-year deal worth $950K annually.  

CSNNE.COM: The Boston Bruins re-signed goaltenders Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre to identical two-year, two-way contracts worth $650K at the NHL level. 

LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS: The Kings signed defenseman Kevin Gravel to a one-year, $650K contract and Paul LaDue to a one-year, two-way deal worth over $874K at the NHL level. 

FORBES.COM: Mike Ozanian calls a report of an offer to purchase the Carolina Hurricanes for around $500 million “fake news.” Businessman Chuck Greenberg is part of an ownership group based in Texas apparently interested in acquiring the Hurricanes and keeping them in Raleigh.

Ozanian said Greenberg has only submitted a non-binding letter of intent,  the proposed purchase price is nowhere near $500 million and Greenberg apparently isn’t even close to raising the cash to buy the club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This comes only a day after the news of Greenberg’s apparent interest in the Hurricanes. It’ll be interesting to see how this story develops in the coming days. 

 











Analysis of Notable NHL Trade Deadline Day Deals

Analysis of Notable NHL Trade Deadline Day Deals

A three-way trade involving defenseman Mark Streit was the highlight of a rather dull 2017 NHL trade deadline.

The NHL’s 2017 Trade Deadline is history and boy, was it ever a dud. Notables stars such as Kevin Shattenkirk and Ben Bishop were dealt before deadline day, leaving little available talent in the trade market.  Anyway, here’s my take on the day’s few noteworthy deals.

The Philadelphia Flyers trade defenseman Mark Streit to the Tampa Bay Lightning for center Valtteri Filppula and two picks in the 2017 NHL draft. The Lightning then flip Streit to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a fourth rounder in 2018.

Analysis: A rare three-way deal that sees Streit go from the Flyers to their long-time rival in Pittsburgh via Tampa Bay. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman deserves a round of applause for his creativity. He cleared Filppula’s $5 million cap hit  from his books for next season, giving his club more cap space to re-sign young forwards such as Jonathan Drouin, Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat. They also rid themselves of Filppula’s no-movement clause, allowing them to protect a younger player in the expansion draft. 

The Penguins win as well, adding an experienced puck-mover blueliner to their banged-up defense corps. As for the Flyers, Filppula could help take some pressure off center and team captain Claude Giroux in Philadelphia. He’s got another year remaining on his contract, but it remains to be seen if he’ll still be with the Flyers after this season. They could leave him exposed in the expansion draft if his no-movement clause is voided by accepting a trade to Philadelphia.

The Detroit Red Wings trade left wing Thomas Vanek to the Florida Panthers for defenseman Dylan McIlrath and a conditional third-round pick in 2017. The Wings also pick up half of Vanek’s $2.6 million cap hit.

Analysis: Panthers GM Dale Tallon sought a scoring forward to bolster his club’s sagging power play. Vanek, 33, enjoyed a bounce-back performance with the Wings this season, netting 38 points in 48 games, with 11 of those coming with the man advantage. Despite Vanek’s improvement, he still has a reputation for inconsistency and soft play in tough games. If he can help the Panthers clinch a playoff berth, anything after that is gravy. 

The Colorado Avalanche trade right winger Jarome Iginla to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a conditional draft pick in 2018.

Analysis: The Kings are among the league’s lowest-scoring clubs and could’ve used a scorer with more speed. Had this move taken place a year or two ago, when Iginla was still an effective scoring winger, it would’ve garnered more hype. Instead, this is seen almost as a pity move, as a once-great star gets his last chance to chase that elusive Stanley Cup championship. Kings coach Darryl Sutter coached Iginla during his glory years with the Calgary Flames. Maybe Sutter can help Iggy regain some of his offensive spark. Otherwise, this deal does nothing to help the Kings reach the postseason. 

The New Jersey Devils trade P-A Parenteau to the Nashville Predators for a sixth-round pick in 2017.

Analysis: The Predators were in the market for a top-nine forward. Parenteau put up decent numbers this season with the Devils (13 goals, 27 points in 59 games). If he adjusts quickly with his new club, he could provide a nice offensive boost for the Preds down the stretch and into the playoffs.

The Los Angeles Kings trade forward Dwight King to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018.

Analysis: The Habs need a scoring center but such commodities are rare and costly. GM Marc Bergevin opted instead to give his struggling roster more size, grit and character. Leading up to the deadline, Bergevin also acquired defenseman Brandon Davidson from the Edmonton Oilers, blueliner Jordie Benn from the Dallas Stars and forwards Steve Ott from the Detroit Red Wings and Andreas Martinsen from the Colorado Avalanche.  While the Habs will be bigger and tougher down the stretch, it remains to be seen if they’ll be any better.

Ottawa Senators trade Curtis Lazar and minor league defenseman Mike Kostka to the Calgary Flames in exchange for defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka and a second-round draft pick.

Analysis: Lazar, a former first-round pick (17th overall in 2013), struggled through three seasons with the Senators. He gets a chance at a fresh start with the rebuilding Flames, where he could be a good fit among young forwards such as Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Matthew Tkachuk and Sam Bennett.












List of NHL Trade Deadline Deals – March 1, 2017

List of NHL Trade Deadline Deals – March 1, 2017

Detroit Red Wings ship winger Thomas Vanek to the Florida Panthers.

The list of notable deals made leading up to today’s NHL trade deadline at 3 pm Eastern Time. I’ll have analysis of the day’s most notable trades tonight in my Soapbox

Winnipeg Jets trade winger Drew Stafford to the Boston Bruins in exchange for a conditional sixth round pick in 2017. 

Dallas Stars acquire minor-league defenseman Dillon Heatherington from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for left wing Lauri Korpikoski.

Philadelphia Flyers trade defenseman Mark Streit to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for center Valtteri Filppula, a fourth-round pick in the 2017 NHL draft and a conditional seventh-round pick in 2017.

The Lightning flip Streit to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a fourth-round draft pick in 2018. 

Pittsburgh Penguins trade forward Eric Fehr, minor-league defenseman Steve Oleksy and a 2017 fourth-round pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for defenseman Frank Corrado, 

Ottawa Senators trade forward Curtis Lazar and minor-league defenseman Mike Kostka to the Calgary Flames in exchange for defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka and a second-round pick.

New Jersey Devils trade winger P-A Parenteau to the Nashville Predators in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick in 2017. 

New Jersey Devils trade defenseman Kyle Quincey to the Columbus Blue Jackets for blueliner Dalton Prout. 

Montreal Canadiens trade winger Sven Andrighetto to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for left wing Andreas Martinsen.

Colorado Avalanche trade right wing Jarome Iginla to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018. The Avalanche also retained half of Iginla’s $5.33 million cap hit. 

Los Angeles Kings trade forward Dwight King to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018. 

Detroit Red Wings trade left wing Thomas Vanek to the Florida Panthers for defenseman Dylan McIlrath and a third-round pick in the 2017 NHL draft. The Wings also pick up half of Vanek’s $2.6 million cap hit. 

Vancouver Canucks trade winger Jannik Hansen to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for minor-league forward Nikolay Goldobin and a conditional fourth-round pick in the  2017 NHL Draft.

Detroit Red Wings trade forward Steve Ott to the Montreal Canadiens for a sixth-round pick in the 2018 draft.