NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 15, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 15, 2024

Recapping Sunday’s games, the latest on the Coyotes’ potential relocation to Salt Lake City, and updates on Kings captain Anze Kopitar, Islanders defenseman Noah Dobson, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: An overtime goal by Tomas Hertl completed a four-goal comeback as the Vegas Golden Knights rallied to defeat the Colorado Avalanche 4-3. William Karlsson scored twice (including his 30th of the season) for the playoff-bound Golden Knights (44-28-8). With 96 points, they’re one point behind the third-place Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division. Cale Makar had a goal and an assist for the 49-25-7 Avalanche, who sit eighth overall with 105 points.

Vegas Golden Knights forward William Karlsson (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche are stumbling toward the end of the season with a record of 3-5-2.

The Carolina Hurricanes doubled up the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2. Seth Jarvis tallied twice in the third period for the 55-22-7 Hurricanes (111 points) as they sit one point behind the league-leading New York Rangers in second place in the overall standings. Blackhawks rookie Frank Nazar scored his first NHL goal on his first shot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nazar signed his entry-level contract with the Blackhawks on Friday following the completion of his sophomore year with the NCAA’s Michigan Wolverines. He’s one of their top prospects and could become invaluable to the Blackhawks’ rebuilding program.

A three-goal third period lifted the St. Louis Blues to a 4-1 win over the Seattle Kraken. Jordan Kyrou broke a 1-1 tie with his 31st goal of the season and Nathan Walker had a goal and an assist. Jared McCann netted his 29th goal for the Kraken.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blues forward Jake Neighbours missed this game and is expected to be sidelined for his club’s final game of the season on Wednesday. He’s missed the last four games with an upper-body injury. The 22-year-old sophomore winger is tied for second with Pavel Buchenich among Blues scorers with 27 goals.

Calgary Flames forward Nazem Kadri scored twice in the third period to lift his club over the Arizona Coyotes 6-5. Andrei Kuzmenko had a goal and an assist for the Flames. Dylan Guenther tallied two goals for the Coyotes.


SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Coyotes, Elliotte Friedman reported Saturday that the NHL hopes to officially announce the sale of the club to Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith on Thursday or Friday.

Current Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo will have five years to prove he can build a new arena, and then he’ll be granted an expansion franchise. Friedman said Meruelo is determined to do that. He will bid for a parcel of land in a June 27 auction he intends to use for an arena and entertainment complex.

The Coyotes are expected to be sold to Smith for $1.2 billion with the league facilitating the sale.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Meruelo will receive $1 billion from the league for the sale of the Coyotes to Smith. The remaining $200 million will be retained by the league as a relocation fee and distributed equally among the 31 other NHL owners.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman convinced Meruelo to sell because of the indefinite timeline for a new arena. Meruelo agreed after the league gave him that five-year window to be granted an expansion franchise provided a new arena is built within that timeframe.

Meruelo will also retain ownership of the Coyotes’ AHL affiliate, the Tucson Roadrunners. He will negotiate to be an affiliate of the new team in Salt Lake City and will explore moving the Roadrunners to Tempe so it can play its games at Mullett Arena.

AZCENTRAL.COM: The Phoenix mayor’s office sent a letter to the Coyotes seeking a meeting with Meruelo regarding his proposed plan for a new arena and entertainment complex in northeast Phoenix.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Meruelo will remain part of the NHL Board of Governors in an observer role.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the last season for the Coyotes in Arizona barring any unforeseen issues. Whether there will be a Coyotes 2.0 depends on Meruelo winning the land auction in June and getting an arena built by 2029.

If the NHL does return to Arizona, and if the league also expands to Houston and Atlanta as rumored before the end of this decade, it will create an imbalance with the Western Conference having one more franchise than the Eastern Conference.

Could that finally bring about the return of the NHL to Quebec City? Does it mean a second franchise in Toronto? An expansion team in Cleveland? Let me know what you think in the comments section.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar is dealing with a nagging injury that forced him to miss Saturday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks. It remains to be seen if he’ll remain sidelined for the club’s final two regular-season games.

New York Islanders defenseman Noah Dobson missed Saturday’s game against the New York Islanders and Sunday’s practice with an upper-body injury suffered on Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens. It’s uncertain if he’ll rejoin his teammates for their final two regular-season games.

NHL.COM: Boston Bruins defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk was fined over $2,700.00 for unsportsmanlike conduct against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks signed winger Cutter Gauthier to a three-year entry-level contract. He’s expected to play in his club’s final regular-season game on Thursday. Gauthier completed his second season with the NCAA’s Boston College and led all American Division 1 collegians this season with 38 goals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Philadelphia Flyers selected Gauthier with the fifth overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. The Ducks acquired him in January after he refused to sign with the Flyers.

SPORTSNET: The Montreal Canadiens are expected to sign prospect Luke Tuch to an entry-level contract. The younger brother of Buffalo Sabres winger Alex Tuch, Luke completed his fourth year with Boston University.