NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 9, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 9, 2022

Recaps of Saturday’s preseason games, the Flames extend coach Darryl Sutter’s contract, Kyle Okposo is the Sabres’ new captain, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

PRESEASON GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Nashville Predators defeated the San Jose Sharks 3-2 to sweep their two-game NHL Global Series in Prague, Czechia. Second-period goals by Filip Forsberg and Nino Niederreiter lifted the Predators past the Sharks while Kevin Lankinen made 31 saves for the win.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

Auston Matthews and William Nylander each scored twice while Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly each picked up three assists as the Toronto Maple Leafs rolled to a 5-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.

A hat trick by Vladislav Namestnikov carried the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-2 win over the Florida Panthers. Corey Perry collected three assists while Andrei Vasilevskiy turned aside 27 shots for the Lightning.

The Los Angeles Kings beat the Anaheim Ducks 6-3. Arthur Kaliyev led the way with a goal and two assists. Ducks netminder John Gibson left the game after the first period with an upper-body injury after taking a shot off his mask. An update on his condition is expected on Sunday.

Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello each had three-point performances to lead the Minnesota Wild over the Dallas Stars 5-1. Marc-Andre Fleury picked up the win by stopping 22 shots.

St. Louis Blues goalie Jordan Binnington made 24 saves to shut out the Chicago Blackhawks 6-0. Ivan Barbashev tallied twice for the Blues.

The Ottawa Senators swept their two-game Kraft Hockeyville series with the Montreal Canadiens with a 3-2 win thanks to an overtime goal by Drake Batherson. The Canadiens were winless in preseason play with an 0-6-2 record.

An overtime goal by Dylan Strome lifted the Washington Capitals over the Columbus Blue Jackets by a score of 4-3. Capitals goaltender Darcy Kuemper got the win with a 36-save effort while teammate John Carlson collected three assists.

The New Jersey Devils got two-point performances from Jack Hughes and Alexander Holtz to top the Boston Bruins 5-3. David Krejci picked up two assists for the Bruins.

A 28-save performance by Ilya Sorokin helped the New York Islanders defeat the New York Rangers 3-1. Josh Bailey had two assists for the Isles. Rangers winger Sammy Blais left the game in the first period and didn’t return but head coach Gerard Gallant said Blais “should be fine.”

The Vegas Golden Knights downed the Arizona Coyotes 5-1. Reilly Smith and Paul Cotter both had two assists on the night.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those were the final games of the 2022 preseason. The regular season opens on Tuesday, Oct. 11 with the Tampa Bay Lightning facing off against the New York Rangers while the Vegas Golden Knights visit the Los Angeles Kings.

HEADLINES

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: The Flames yesterday announced that head coach Darryl Sutter had agreed to a two-year contract extension that begins next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise there. The Flames made significant improvement after Sutter took over as head coach during the 2020-21 season. Management sees this team as a Stanley Cup contender and wants an experienced, steady hand behind the bench.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres named Kyle Okposo as their new team captain with Zemgus Girgensons and Rasmus Dahlin as their alternate captains. Okposo is the 20th captain in Sabres history and the first since Jack Eichel was stripped of the captaincy prior to trading him last November to the Vegas Golden Knights.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon is listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

DAILY FACEOFF: Calgary Flames defenseman Juuso Valimaki, Detroit Red Wings center Austin Czarnik and Pittsburgh Penguins blueliner Mark Friedman are among those placed on waivers on Saturday. Teams have until noon ET on Sunday to claim them.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The Canadiens claimed defenseman Jonathan Kovacevic off waivers Saturday from the Winnipeg Jets.

TSN: Andrea Skinner has stepped down as interim chair of Hockey Canada’s board of directors. The organization has been losing sponsors and support from provincial organizations over its mishandling of sexual assault allegations leveled against several players on Canada’s 2003 and 2018 World Junior teams.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Skinner’s departure is a start but there needs to be a complete overhaul of Hockey Canada’s leadership.










Colorado Avalanche Re-sign Nathan MacKinnon

Colorado Avalanche Re-sign Nathan MacKinnon

The Colorado Avalanche signed Nathan MacKinnon to an eight-year, $100.8 million contract extension. The 27-year-old center becomes the NHL’s highest-paid player with an average annual value of $12.6 million.

MacKinnon’s new contract starts in 2023-24. He’s currently entering the final season of his seven-year, $44.1 million deal with an average annual value of $6.3 million.

CAP FRIENDLY: indicates $85.34 million of MacKinnon’s actual salary will be in signing bonuses.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

His actual salary will be $16.5 million in the first two seasons, $16.05 million in 2025-26, $12.15 million in 2026-27, followed by $9.9 million per season for the remaining four years.

The deal also comes with a full no-movement clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacKinnon hinted last week that he and the Avalanche were close to a new contract. The ensuing speculation that he would become the league’s highest-paid player came to pass.

It’s unsurprising that MacKinnon’s getting such a hefty raise. His current contract carried a team-friendly cap hit, over the course of which he became one of the NHL’s elite stars.

Since 2017-18, MacKinnon’s exceeded 90 points three times and reached 88 points in 65 games last season. He’s been a beast in the playoffs, netting 25 points in 15 games in the 2020 postseason and 24 points in 20 games during last spring’s run to the Stanley Cup.

MacKinnon’s new contract will take a big bite out of the Avalanche’s salary-cap payroll. They now have $69.5 million invested in 13 players for 2023-24 with the cap projected to rise by just $1 million to $83.5 million. For 2024-25, it’s $62.5 million invested in 10 players.

The Avs have their core talent locked up over that period. However, it could make it difficult to surround them with the quality depth necessary to remain a Stanley Cup contender.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 19, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 19, 2022

Sidney Crosby speaks about his future as well as his celebration of Nathan MacKinnon’s Stanley Cup win, Leafs GM Kyle Dubas faces a make-or-break season, the most and least expensive arenas to watch an NHL game, and more in today’s Morning Coffee Headlines.

YAHOO! SPORTS: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby recently spoke about how long he intends to continue playing during a recent appearance on the “32 Thoughts” podcast.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

I’m thinking about three more years, then seeing what happens from there,” said the 34-year-old Crosby. That’s also when his current contract expires in 2025. He wants to ensure he can continue playing at a high level, with good health being among the factors that will determine how long he’ll continue his NHL career.

Crosby also opened up about celebrating with long-time friend and fellow Cole Harbour, NS native Nathan MacKinnon at the latter’s Stanley Cup party this summer. “At least top five (drunkest there)”, he joked, adding that MacKinnon left the party two hours before he did. “I think I shut the ale house down that night,” said Crosby.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crosby has a well-deserved reputation as one of the fittest players in the NHL. Now in his mid-thirties, he’s no longer the dominant player of his youth but remains among the league’s elite stars.

Despite missing the opening weeks of last season due to offseason wrist surgery, the Penguins captain tied with linemate Jake Guentzel as the club’s leading scorer with 84 points in 69 games. If Crosby is still capable of that type of production by 2025 it’s probably a safe bet that he’ll continue playing beyond that season.

THE ATHLETIC: Kyle Dubas will soon become the longest-serving general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 25 years. However, it could also be his final season in the job if the Leafs once again fail to advance past the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. His contract expires at the end of this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As the article points out, the Leafs under Dubas have become one of the league’s best clubs during the regular season, twice setting franchise records for most points in a season (2017-18 and 2021-22). Nevertheless, the club’s ongoing postseason drought and Dubas’ reluctance to shake up his roster core have put him in what appears to be a difficult position with an uncertain future.

Dubas will probably earn a contract extension if the Leafs can at least get past the first round of the 2023 playoffs. Should they come up short again or miss the postseason, he won’t be back as GM.

TIME2PLAY: Rhiannon O’Donohue compiled a list of the most and least expensive arenas to watch an NHL game.

The New York Rangers top the list with the overall cost (factoring in ticket prices, food and drink and parking) being $188.26 USD or $247.99 Canadian based on 2021-22 numbers. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Vegas Golden Knights are second and third followed by the Seattle Kraken and Boston Bruins.

The Arizona Coyotes are the least expensive ($87.93 USD, $115.83 Cdn), followed by the Buffalo Sabres, Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers and Ottawa Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stick tap to Sportsnet’s Luke Fox for the link.

LE QUOTIDIEN: Antoine Roussel has been invited to the Philadelphia Flyers training camp on a professional tryout offer. The 32-year-old winger spent last season with the Arizona Coyotes.

CAP FRIENDLY: The New York Rangers have signed defenseman Matt Bartkowski to a professional tryout offer. He spent last season with the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Former New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk has rejoined the franchise in a player development role.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 16, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 16, 2022

Nathan MacKinnon could be getting close to a new contract with the Avalanche, an update on Brad Marchand’s recovery from hip surgery, Canadiens top prospect Juraj Slafkovsky plays well in debut game during Prospects Challenge and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

SPORTSNET: Nathan MacKinnon is hoping to soon have a contract extension with the Colorado Avalanche. Speaking with Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman on their “32 Thoughts” podcast, the 27-year-old center said he assumed the deal would be in place on July 13, the first day when he was eligible to re-sign.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

While admitting it’s taken a little longer than he anticipated, MacKinnon believes the extension is “totally” on its way to completion. “It should be done shortly, I’m hoping,” he said. The long-time Avalanche superstar is earning a team-friendly average annual value of $6.3 million entering this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report suggests MacKinnon could become not just the highest-paid player in Avalanche history but also the highest-paid in the NHL. That honor is currently held by Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, whose AAV is $12.5 million through 2025-26.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Brad Marchand is hoping to return to action with the Bruins by late November, perhaps by the American Thanksgiving weekend. The 34-year-old winger underwent double hip surgery during the offseason. He’s set to begin skating on Friday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins will also be without defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk to start the season. McAvoy underwent shoulder surgery and is expected to return to the lineup by early December. Grzelcyk also had shoulder surgery and could be back by early November.

NHL.COM: Montreal Canadiens prospect Juraj Slafkovsky collected an assist and was named the second star in a 4-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres in the Prospects Challenge tournament on Thursday. The 18-year-old winger was the first-overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. He saw playing time at even strength and in special-team situations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Slafkovsky’s progress will be closely monitored by Montreal fans and pundits. The Canadiens are rebuilding and the young Slovakian winger is expected to be a key part of the process. Whether he starts this season with the Canadiens or their AHL affiliate in Laval depends on his performance during training camp, which opens next week.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said league revenue exceeded $5 billion for the first time despite disruptions earlier in the 2021-22 season due to COVID-19. With the NHL returning to a normal schedule for 2022-23, Daly is optimistic that continued revenue growth will lead to a significant increase in the salary cap sooner instead of later.

The salary cap increased by $1 million to $82.5 million for 2022-23. Daly expects it will rise again by $1 million for 2023-24 but suggested it could increase further if revenues grow enough.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The cap is growing slowly because the players’ share of revenue exceeded the owners’ during the COVID-shortened 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons. As a result, the players have to make whole the owners’ share through escrow, which affects the salary cap’s rate of increase.

It’ll be interesting to see how much the cap could rise for next season if revenue increases exceed expectations. Earlier this year, Daly suggested it would take until 2024-25 before we’d see a significant rise in the cap.

TORONTO SUN: Michael Traikos reports Daly also indicated the NHL and NHL Players Association are committed to an international tournament calendar that would see the league participate in the next three Winter Olympics and an additional three World Cup of Hockey tournaments.

The deputy commissioner admitted there are challenges associated with that calendar and no guarantees given Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. However, it’s not necessarily dependent on Russian participation.

TSN: The Los Angeles Kings signed defenseman Sean Durzi to a two-year contract with an AAV of $1.7 million. Durzi, 23, had 27 points in 64 games as a rookie last season. Earlier this week, the Kings also re-signed blueliner Mikey Anderson to a one-year deal.

THE ATHLETIC: Speaking of the Kings, Alex Turcotte won’t participate in the club’s rookie camp and could miss the start of their main training camp next week due to concussion-related symptoms suffered during the 2022 AHL Calder Cup playoffs. The 21-year-old center’s bid to become a full-time NHL player has been hampered by injuries.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Turcotte was the fifth-overall pick in the 2019 Draft and is considered among the Kings’ top prospects. He played eight games last season with the Kings and 27 with the AHL’s Ontario Reign.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators have invited forwards Derick Brassard and Michael Dal Cole to training camp on professional tryout offers.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Edmonton Oilers signed defenseman Jason Demers to a professional tryout offer.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: With goaltender Andrew Hammond deciding not to report to training camp on a PTO, the Panthers have brought in J-F Berube on a professional tryout offer.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets will unveil a statue of the late Dale Hawerchuk on Oct. 1 at True North Square. Hawerchuk was selected first overall by the Jets in the 1981 draft and spent nine of his 16 NHL seasons in Winnipeg. He won the Calder Trophy in 1982 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001. He passed away at age 57 from stomach cancer in 2020.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 21, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 21, 2022

Canada defeats Finland in overtime to win gold at the 2022 World Junior Championship, Nathan MacKinnon enjoys his day with the Stanley Cup in Halifax, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: An overtime goal by Columbus Blue Jackets center Kent Johnson lifted Canada over Finland 3-2 in the Gold Medal Game at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton. It’s Canada’s 19th tournament championship and its first since 2020.

Anaheim Ducks center Nathan McTavish (NHL Images).

Canada took a 2-0 lead in the game on goals by Joshua Roy (Montreal Canadiens) and William Dufour (New York Islanders) with Mason McTavish (Anaheim Ducks) collecting assists on both. McTavish also saved the game for Canada in overtime by blocking a shot at the goal line, setting the stage for Johnson’s game-winner.

Finland rallied to force the extra frame on goals by Aleksi Heimosalmi (Carolina Hurricanes) and Joakim Kemell (Nashville Predators). They take home the silver medal for its 17th top-three finish in tournament history.

In the consolation game earlier in the day, Sweden won the bronze medal with a 3-1 victory over Czechia. Minnesota Wild goaltender Jesper Wallstedt made 27 saves while teammates Fabian Lysell (Boston Bruins), Isak Rosen (Buffalo Sabres) and Linus Sjodin (Sabres) scored for Sweden.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McTavish was named the tournament’s most valuable player and the top forward. Wallstedt was named the top goaltender and Finland’s Kasper Puutio was the top defenseman. McTavish also topped The Hockey News‘ ranking of the tournament’s top-20 players.

TSN: Nathan MacKinnon celebrated his day with the Stanley Cup with a parade through downtown Halifax. The 26-year-old Colorado Avalanche superstar is a native of Cole Harbour, part of the Halifax municipality. It’s also the home of Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. MacKinnon spent two seasons with the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads before joining the Avalanche in 2013-14.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As MacKinnon observed in an interview, returning to Halifax with the Stanley Cup brings his playing career full circle. In his final season with the Mooseheads, he helped them win the QMJHL’s Presidents’ Cup and the Memorial Cup.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The Philadelphia Flyers rank at the bottom of The Athletic’s fan confidence level survey. The Flyers had the fourth-most entries (1,000) by fans upset over the team’s direction and management’s inability to deliver on its promise earlier this year of an “aggressive retool”. The Flyers received a D-minus ranking in roster building, cap management, drafting and development, trades, free agency and vision.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers’ only significant addition this summer was hiring John Tortorella as head coach.

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes extended its affiliation agreement with the ECHL’s Norfolk Admirals through the 2022-23 season.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 8, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 8, 2022

Looking ahead at the 2023 free-agent class in your NHL Rumor Mill.

SPORTSNET: Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, and Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak top Ryan Dixon’s recent listing of the top unrestricted free agents of 2023.

Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller, Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba, and St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko are next on Dixon’s list. The Pittsburgh Penguins’ Tristan Jarry is the notable goaltender in the group.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

Blues center Ryan O’Reilly, New Jersey Devils blueliner Damon Severson, Calgary Flames center Sean Monahan, Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin and Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews round out Dixon’s list.

THE SCORE: Sean O’Leary also put out a listing of his notable 2023 UFAs with most of the same names as Dixon’s. This was published before Jonathan Huberdeau’s signing with the Flames, which explains why he’s on that list.

Several notables on O’Leary’s list include Canucks center Bo Horvat and forwards Joe Pavelski of the Dallas Stars, Tyler Bertuzzi of the Detroit Red Wings, James van Riemsdyk of the Philadelphia Flyers and Max Pacioretty of the Carolina Hurricanes.

O’Leary’s defensemen include the Anaheim Ducks’ John Klingberg, the Penguins’ Brian Dumoulin, the New York Islanders Scott Mayfield, Florida Panthers’ Radko Gudas, Washington Capitals Dmitry Orlov and the Flames’ MacKenzie Weegar.

The noteworthy goaltenders include the Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov, the Los Angeles Kings Jonathan Quick, the Red Wings’ Alex Nedeljkovic, the Ottawa Senators’ Cam Talbot and the Montreal Canadiens’ Jake Allen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a slow day for trade and free-agent rumors as we endure the dog days of the NHL offseason. So it’s a good time to review these lists and offer up my two cents on which players will hit the open market next summer and which ones won’t.

I don’t see MacKinnon, Pastrnak, O’Reilly, Severson, Larkin, Horvat, Pavelski, Orlov and Weegar being available by next July. They’ll likely sign contract extensions with their current teams.

Jarry, Pacioretty, Bertuzzi, Dumoulin, Mayfield, Nedeljkovic, Talbot and Allen fall into the “maybe” category for me. Much will depend on their respective performances in the coming season, what they’ll seek on their next contracts, and whether their current clubs can afford to sign them.

I anticipate the remainder will become UFAs. There will still be enticing talent available such as Kane, Miller, Dumba, Tarasenko, Klingberg, and Quick for teams to pursue. Toews could sign with another club but I wouldn’t be surprised if he retires. Monahan’s hip surgeries could bring a premature end to his playing career.

O’Leary also published a list of next summer’s notable restricted free agents. His top forwards include the Senators’ Alex DeBrincat and Tim Stutzle, the Islanders’ Mathew Barzal, the Winnipeg Jets’ Pierre-Luc Dubois, the Canadiens’ Cole Caufield, the Stars’ Roope Hintz, the Ducks’ Trevor Zegras, the New York Rangers’ Alexis Lafreniere and the San Jose Sharks’ Timo Meier.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All but DeBrincat, Dubois and Meier will be re-signed. The trio will be a year away from UFA status next summer. They could hit the trade block if they’re unwilling to make a long-term commitment with their current clubs.

Notable RFA defensemen include the Rangers’ K’Andre Miller, the Edmonton Oilers’ Evan Bouchard, the Seattle Kraken’s Vince Dunn, the Hurricanes’ Ethan Bear, and the Ducks’ Jamie Drysdale.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All but Bear seem certain to be re-signed by their current teams. He struggled last season with the Hurricanes partly because of the effects of COVID-19. However, a healthy bounce-back performance this season could ensure a longer term for him in Carolina.

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ Ilya Samsonov, the Bruins’ Jeremy Swayman and the Panthers’ Spencer Knight are the top RFA goalies.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Samsonov has to make a good impression with the Leafs this season or he could be traded or cut loose next summer. Another solid performance by Swayman this season should ensure he receives a contract extension.

Knight’s situation, however, could be tricky. On the one hand, I expect the Panthers want to re-sign him. On the other, they’ve got Sergei Bobrovsky eating up valuable cap space and playing time. The Panthers can afford to re-sign Knight but maybe he’ll be open to an offer sheet. His situation will be worth monitoring.