NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 18, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 18, 2017

Florida Panthers ship Jason Demers to the Arizona Coyotes for Jamie McGinn.

Panthers trade Demers to Coyotes plus updates on Joffrey Lupul, Nail Yakupov & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

ARIZONA SPORTS/SUN-SENTINEL.COM: The Florida Panthers traded defenseman Jason Demers to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for winger Jamie McGinn. The Panthers also retain over $562K of his $4.5 million annual salary-cap hit over the remaining four seasons of his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Demers was the subject of offseason trade speculation following reports he nixed a trade to the Vancouver Canucks for Erik Gudbranson. The Coyotes obviously weren’t on his eight-team no-trade list.

It’s a good move by the Coyotes, bolstering their veteran depth for the long term while addressing the short-term absence of promising Jakob Chychrun to a knee injury. McGinn, meanwhile, is expected to bring more gritty size and skill to the Panthers’ forward lines. A 22-goal scorer with the Buffalo Sabres and Anaheim Ducks in 2015-16, he hopes to rebound from a disappointing nine-goal effort last season with the Coyotes. 

Speaking of the Coyotes, they canceled their preseason opener because of poor ice conditions at the Gila River Arena.

TORONTO STAR: Sidelined Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul took to social media recently to suggest he didn’t fail his training camp physical. Responding to a comment on the subject on his Instagram account, Lupul said, ““Haha failed physical. They cheat, everyone lets them.” He later deleted the remark.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This will only stoke suspicions the Leafs are playing fast and loose with LTIR rules to free up cap space for other players. However, it appears to a murky issue, one the league apparently cannot prevent under the terms of the current collective bargaining agreement. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman remains day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

BSN DENVER: Having signed a one-year contract with the Colorado Avalanche, winger Nail Yakupov knows this is his last chance at redemption in the NHL. The first-overall selection in the 2012 NHL Draft, Yakupov has so far failed to play up to expectations as a scoring forward.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres forward Zemgus Girgensons is looking forward to a fresh start under new head coach Phil Housley.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Tyler Wong tallied a hat trick as the Vegas Golden Knights downed the Vancouver Canucks 9-4, picking up their first preseason win in franchise history. 

THE PROVINCE: Ed Willes has an in-depth report on the rise of hockey in China.


NHL Rumor Mill – June 19, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – June 19, 2017

Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee could be wheeling and dealing this week.

A look at several teams that could talk trade leading up to the expansion draft with the Vegas Golden Knights in your NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: James Mirtle reports Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee will attempt to use his salary-cap space to his advantage in his dealings with other NHL clubs. Some teams with limited salary-cap space could ask McPhee to take a bad contract off their hands by also including another asset. Mirtle hears the Tampa Bay Lightning could be contemplating this, perhaps by offering up defenseman Jason Garrison.

McPhee’s also stockpiling first-round draft picks and prospects in exchange for not selecting certain players left unprotected in the upcoming expansion draft. Mirtle speculates McPhee could load up on goaltenders thus setting the trade market for some of the better ones.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Eric Stephens reports the Anaheim Ducks left defensemen Sami Vatanen and Josh Manson unprotected in the upcoming expansion draft. “Ducks general manager Bob Murray is believed to have worked out a deal with the Golden Knights so that neither will be selected by them.” Stephens believes Murray could be forced to part with “possibly a good, young defensive prospect and a high-round draft pick.”

NEWSDAY: Arthur Staple reports there’s talk the New York Islanders “have already agreed to send Vegas their first-round pick, 15th overall, in this weekend’s NHL Draft” to steer the Golden Knights away from unprotected Isles such as “Brock Nelson, Ryan Strome and Calvin de Haan,” among perhaps others.


THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline reports the Blue Jackets “have reached a trade agreement to keep Vegas from poaching its defense or from nabbing two of its brightest young talents, right wing Josh Anderson and backup goaltender Joonas Korpisalo.” The Golden Knights have also reportedly agreed not to select defenseman Jack Johnson.  it’s believed the Jackets will part with their first-round pick (No. 24 overall) in this year’s NHL Draft “along with a prospect (not forwards Sonny Milano or Pierre-Luc Dubois).”

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Blackhawks left center Marcus Kruger and defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk unprotected in the expansion draft. TSN reported last month that “the Hawks and Knights might have a deal in place for the Knights to take both Kruger and van Riemsdyk in the expansion draft. League sources have said such a deal remains a possibility.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thanks to the expansion draft roster freeze, McPhee has the trade market solely to himself until 8 am ET on June 22. He’s going to work this to his advantage.

The Blackhawks, Blue Jackets, Islanders and Ducks are four clubs reportedly with deals in place with the Golden Knights. As Mirtle noted in his piece, the Lightning could join them. As we’ll see below, others could be keen to talk trade with McPhee.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo reports the Minnesota Wild “will continue trade talks with the Golden Knights to perhaps steer them off a specific unprotected player or get them to select an exposed player from another team and trade him to Minnesota.”  Defensemen Matt Dumba and Marco Scandella and center Eric Staal were left unprotected by the Wild in the upcoming expansion draft.

TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran speculates Toronto Maple Leafs winger Joffrey Lupul might be headed to Vegas. Lupul missed all last season to injury but was eligible to be exposed in the expansion draft. McGran suggests either Lupul is healthy enough to play next season or Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello has a deal with the Golden Knights in which they take the winger and his $5.25 million cap hit off the Leafs books and stay away from a high-end prospect, such as Brendan Leipsic or Kerby Rychel.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander reports it’s possible the Carolina Hurricanes could offer the Golden Knights a draft pick to select a goaltender, perhaps Eddie Lack, in the upcoming expansion draft. The Hurricanes left Lack and Cam Ward unprotected.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights also have a window to discuss contracts with pending unrestricted free agents. As we see below, there’s a couple they could be looking at talking to. 




NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 24, 2016

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 24, 2016

St. Louis Blues re-sign forward Alexander Steen.

St. Louis Blues re-sign forward Alexander Steen.

 Alexander Steen re-signs with Blues, plus updates on Rick Nash, P.K. Subban & more in your NHL morning headlines.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues re-signed forward Alexander Steen to a four-year, $23 million contract extension which begins in 2017-18. Steen will earn an annual average cap hit of $5.75 million, down slightly from the $5.8 million AAV of his current deal. He was eligible for unrestricted free agency next July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Having lost veteran leadership and experience when David Backes and Troy Brouwer departed via free agency this summer, the Blues obviously didn’t want to face the same risk with Steen. When healthy, the 32-year-old winger is a reliable scoring forward for the Blues. Given his age and injury history, this deal is perhaps a year too long.  Still, if he can remain as productive as he’s been through most of his career, it could prove worthwhile. 

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: With the Rangers loading up on forwards in the offseason, winger Rick Nash isn’t taking his roster spot for granted in the upcoming season. Nash was linked to St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk in this summer’s rumor mill. He was hampered by injury last season but refused to use that as an excuse for his low production.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nash’s $7.8 million annual cap hit through 2017-18 is a significant sticking point in any attempt to move him. Teams could prefer waiting to see how he performs this season before pursuing a trade. 

THE TENNESSEAN: P.K. Subban will miss the opening days of Nashville Predators training camp to an upper-body injury. He’s currently listed as day-to-day. 

THE GLOBE AND MAIL/SPORTSNET: James Mirtle and Elliotte Friedman commented on Toronto Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul failing his team physical. Lupul, who underwent sports hernia surgery last February, reportedly told teammates this summer he was ready to go for the upcoming season. Mirtle and Friedman compared this situation to that of Stephane Robidas last year, who missed all of last season to medical reasons despite claiming he felt great after coming off a broken leg.

Friedman wondered if Lupul might contest this, citing defenseman Jared Cowen’s upcoming grievance hearing. Judging by Lupul’s brief statement on Thursday, Mirtle suspects he might not challenge the decision. Both agree Lupul probably didn’t fit into the Leafs plans for the upcoming season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given Lupul’s lengthy injury history, it’s not surprising that he failed his team medical. As Mirtle points out, the Leafs can free up two roster spots from having Lupul and Robidas sit out. 

NBC SPORTS: Calgary Flames center Mikael Backlund is listed as day-to-day after suffering a concussion playing for Team Sweden at the World Cup of Hockey. 

OTTAWA SUN: Senators forward Curtis Lazar is sidelined with mononucleosis. 

TWINCITIES.COM:  Tomas Fleischmann failed his physical with the Minnesota Wild. He’s attending Wild training camp on a tryout basis. 

NEWS 1130:  Unrestricted free agent winger David Jones signed a professional tryout offer with the Anaheim Ducks. 

MLIVE.COM:  Daniel Cleary signed a minor-league contract with the Detroit Red Wings AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids. The Wings also signed defenseman Ryan Sproul to a two-year deal

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 23, 2016

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 23, 2016

Vlaidmir Tarasenko scores the game winner as Team Russia defeats Team Finland 3-0 at the World Cup of Hockey.

Vlaidmir Tarasenko scores the game winner as Team Russia defeats Team Finland 3-0 at the World Cup of Hockey.

 World Cup of Hockey scores plus updates on Evander Kane, Joffrey Lupul & more in your NHL morning headlines.

NHL.COM: Vladimir Tarasenko, Ivan Telegin and Evgeni Malkin scored and Sergei Bobrovsky made 21 saves as Team Russia blanked Team Finland 3-0 to advance to the World Cup of Hockey semifinal, where they’ll meet Team Canada on Saturday.  Russia’s victory eliminates the Finns and Team North America from further competition. Team Europe will face Team Sweden in the other semifinal matchup on Sunday.

Team USA’s attempt at a face-saving victory against Team Czech Republic fell short by a score of 4-3. Both clubs were already eliminated from advancing to the semifinal. Czech goalie Petr Mrazek made 36 saves and Milan Michalek scored twice in the Czech victory. 

USA TODAY:  USA coach John Tortorella wasn’t pleased at Phil Kessel’s subtle criticism on Twitter aimed at the team’s management for not selecting him to participate in the tournament. USA GM Dean Lombardi, meanwhile, defended his player selections.  “If you’re talking about Justin Abdelkader, Blake Wheeler, Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Kesler, David Backes, I’ll take those guys any day…Those guys have big-time heart and when I talk about caring, they’d be the nucleus of caring. They compete. They can play for me any day.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wasn’t lack of heart that hurt Team USA in the World Cup of Hockey, but lack of skill. Would they have been better with Kessel, Tyler Johnson, Justin Faulk, Bobby Ryan and Kyle Okposo? Maybe, maybe not, but if you’re going into an international tournament, it makes sense to bring your most-talented players. The Americans didn’t do that. 

NBC SPORTS:  New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault hopes to reduce 34-year-old goaltender Henrik Lundqvist’s workload this season to ensure he’s fresh for the playoffs. 

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres winger Evander Kane is shrugging off his off-ice legal problems as something that happens to athletes or high-profile people like himself. Kane face misdemeanor charges stemming from an incident in a Buffalo bar in June, plus he’s launched a counter-claim against a woman who filed a civil suit claiming he sexually assaulted her last December. “For me, it’s just trying to stay out of that kind of stuff, kind of picking my spots better,” said Kane.  He also said he’s maturing and focusing on the upcoming NHL season. 

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs winger Joffrey Lupul will start the upcoming season on injured reserve and faces an uncertain future. Having recently failed a team medical, his playing career appears in jeopardy. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some readers on this site questioned why it’s taken so long for Lupul to recover from last February’s sports-hernia surgery, insinuating the Leafs are trying to pull a fast one simply to get him off the roster and remove his $5.25 million cap hit from their books. Put away the tin foil hats, because the reality is Lupul’s long injury history is catching up with him. His body can only take so much punishment before he wears down to the point where he can no longer be an effective NHL player. 

ARIZONA SPORTS:  Coyotes center Dave Bolland failed his physical as expected and will begin the season on LTIR. He’s been battling a combination of injury issues. 

NEWSDAY’s Arthur Staple reports New York Islanders center Mikhail Grabovski isn’t cleared to skate due to concussion symptoms. 

CALGARY SUN:  Flames defenseman Ladislav Smid will miss the upcoming season due to ongoing neck issues. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: He’ll be on LTIR, meaning the Flames can go over the salary cap by $3.5 million if necessary for this season.

NBC SPORTS:  Former NHL defenseman Tomas Kaberle has officially retired as an active player. He last played in the NHL in 2012-13 and skated last season in the Czech Republic. In 15 NHL seasons, nearly 12 of those with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Kaberle tallied 563 points in 984 games. He was part of the Boston Bruins’ Stanley Cup championship team in 2011. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The announcement of the name of Las Vegas’ NHL franchise has been delayed again, possibly until November. 

ESPN.COM: Walter Bush, former USA Hockey president and primary founder of the Minnesota North Stars, has died at age 86. “Bush was enshrined into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 1980, the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2000, and the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2009. Awarded the Olympic Order in 2002, he managed the 1959 U.S. national team and 1964 U.S. Olympic team, serving on the U.S. Olympic Committee in 1963.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Bush’s family and friends. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 22, 2016

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 22, 2016

Nathan MacKinnon scores in overtime to give Team North America a 4-3 win over Team Sweden at the World Cup of Hockey .

Nathan MacKinnon scores in overtime to give Team North America a 4-3 win over Team Sweden at the World Cup of Hockey .

 World Cup of Hockey scores plus the latest on Phil Kessel, Roberto Luongo & more in your NHL morning headlines.

NHL.COM:  Nathan MacKinnon scored in overtime to give Team North America a thrilling 4-3 victory over Team Sweden in World Cup of Hockey preliminary round play. The Swedes had rallied back from a 3-1 deficit with Nicklas Backstrom’s third-period goal forcing the extra frame. Sweden has already clinched a berth in the semifinal. The North Americans can secure a berth if Team Finland defeats Team Russia today. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If this game was Team North America’s final one in this tournament, it was an exciting way to go out. For me, this was the best game of the tournament thus far. Lots of back-and-forth action, plenty of good scoring opportunities and two highlight-reel breakaway goals from MacKinnon and Johnny Gaudreau. 

Jonathan Toews scored twice and set up another and Logan Couture had a goal and an asset to lead Team Canada to a 4-1 win over Team Europe. The Canadians clinched top spot in Group A with a 3-0-0 record and await either Team North America or Team Russia in the semifinal. Team Europe is also in the semis, where they’ll face Team Sweden this weekend. 

ESPN.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins winger Phil Kessel denied that his sarcastic tweet following Team USA’s elimination from the World Cup of Hockey on Tuesday was aimed at the players. “Just sitting around the house tonight w my dog. Felt like I should be doing something important, but couldn’t put my finger on it,” tweeted Kessel at the time. Team USA players David Backes, Zach Parise and Derek Stepan said they hoped Kessel’s comments weren’t aimed at the Team USA players. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s obvious Kessel wasn’t addressing the players, but Team USA’s management for twice snubbing him. Kessel’s offseason wrist surgery prevented him from participating anyway, but the selections were made before he suffered the injury. I thought it was a subtle, worthwhile dig. 

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: A source claims Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo received medical clearance to play without limitations. The 37-year-old netminder was recovering from offseason hip surgery. He’s now expected to be ready to play in the Panthers’ season-opener and could even get in a couple of preseason games. 

THE WASHINGTON POST: The Capitals yesterday signed defenseman Dmitry Orlov to a one-year, $2.57 million contract. A disagreement over role and playing time, rather than contract terms, was reportedly behind the delay in getting Orlov re-signed. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals also have limited salary-cap space for the upcoming season, which also explains the terms of his current deal. If Orlov plays well this season in an expanded role, he’ll get a more lucrative, long-term contract from the Caps next summer. 

TSN:  Toronto Maple Leafs winger Joffrey Lupul reportedly failed his team medical last week and could start the upcoming season on long-term injured reserve. He underwent sports-hernia surgery in February. Lupul is expected to address the media today. 

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets winger David Clarkson failed his pre-training camp medical because of chronic lower-back pain. It’s unclear when, or if, Clarkson will play again. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  He’ll also likely start the season on LTIR. 

CALGARY SUN: The Flames have signed unrestricted free agent forward Lauri Korpikoski to a professional tryout offer. 

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Former Sabres defenseman Richie Dunn died yesterday at age 59. He spent nine of his 12 NHL seasons with the Sabres (1977-78 to 1988-89). He also spent two seasons with the Hartford Whalers and one with the Calgary Flames. In 483 NHL games, he tallied 176 points, along with 18 points in 36 playoff games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Dunn’s family and friends.