NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 25, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 25, 2022

Remembering Hall-of-Famer Borje Salming, Patrick Marleau adjusts to retirement, the Hurricanes’ offense has short-circuited, plus the latest on Marc-Andre Fleury, Marco Rossi and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Hockey Hall-of-Famer and former Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Borje Salming passed away from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) on Thursday at age 71. He was diagnosed with the incurable disease in April but only revealed the diagnosis in August.

Toronto Maple Leafs Hall-of-Fame defenseman Borje Salming. (NHL.com).

Salming blazed a trail for European players to reach the NHL. Joining the Maple Leafs in 1973-74, the Swedish defenseman went on to play 16 seasons in Toronto, becoming their all-time points leader among blueliners (768).

He was a finalist for the Norris Trophy four times, named to the NHL First All-Star Team in 1976-77 and to the Second All-Star Team five times. He played one season with the Detroit Red Wings before returning to his native Sweden to finish his playing career.

Earlier this month, Salming returned to Toronto for the Hall-of-Fame weekend, where he received two standing ovations from Leafs fans.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Salming belongs with Bobby Orr, Denis Potvin, Larry Robinson and Brad Park among the top defensemen of the 1970s. He was the greatest blueliner in Leafs’ history and a true inspiration for European players hoping to join the NHL.

Salming was so beloved by Toronto fans that he received a standing ovation at Maple Leaf Garden during the 1976 Canada Cup tournament when he was introduced as part of Sweden’s starting lineup for a game against Team Canada.

THE ATHLETIC: Patrick Marleau revealed to Kevin Kurz that he had a difficult time adjusting to retirement when his 23-year NHL playing career came to an end in 2021. It even became difficult for him to watch the game on television as the reality that his career was over began to sink in before he officially announced his retirement in May 2022.

Marleau and his family have since relocated to Florida to help further the hockey career of his son, Landon. He also accepted an invitation from the San Jose Sharks to work with prospects at their development camp this past summer.

Marleau is now working as an assistant coach to head coach (and former NHL teammate) Shawn Heins in the under-16 AAA Florida Alliance program. He is also the head coach of the under-12 team, on which his son Jagger plays.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Marleau in his new career. Perhaps we’ll one day see him return to the NHL as a coach.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes are struggling to score this season, managing just 18 goals in his last nine games and a league-worst shooting percentage of 7.7.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes last season were ninth overall in goals-per-game average (3.38). This season, they’re 27th at 2.70. Losing top-line winger Teuvo Teravainen to injury is a contributing factor as is the absence of offseason acquisition of winger Max Pacioretty. Losing center Vincent Trocheck to free agency may be another factor. The eventual return of Teravainen and Pacioretty’s debut later this season should boost their production. They’ll need it if they hope to stage a serious run for the Stanley Cup next spring.

TSN: The Minnesota Wild have activated goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury off injured reserve ahead of this afternoon’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Speaking of the Leafs, Jordie Benn joins fellow defensemen Jake Muzzin, Morgan Rielly and TJ Brodie on the sidelines as he’s week-to-week with an upper-body injury. Don’t expect to see recently-acquired Conor Timmins in this game as the Leafs want to give him some time to get settled.

TWIN CITIES.COM: Speaking of the Wild, general manager Bill Guerin is considering his options for struggling rookie center Marco Rossi, who’s been held scoreless in 16 games and was a healthy scratch in the Wild’s last two contests. One of those options is sending him to their AHL affiliate in Iowa to regain his confidence and scoring touch.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rossi is a highly-touted young forward who was considered among this season’s potential candidates for the Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL rookie of the year. He won’t improve his play by sitting in the press box.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche forward Evan Rodrigues is to miss this afternoon’s game against the Nashville Predators as a precautionary measure. He suffered a lower-body injury during Wednesday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks.

OTTAWA SUN: More than 20 potential buyers have expressed interest in purchasing the Ottawa Senators. Among them are Michael Andlauer (owner of the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs), Rocco Tullio (owner of the OHL’s London Knights), Farmboy CEO Jeff York, Toronto Star co-owner Paul Rivett, and actor Ryan Reynolds.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A condition of the sale is the Senators cannot be relocated to another city. One reason why there’s so much interest is the potential to construct a new arena near downtown Ottawa. The report noted that the new venue could boost the franchise’s value, which was recently calculated at $655 million.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 29, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 29, 2022

The Sharks will retire Patrick Marleau’s number, an update on Kirill Kaprizov and Jake Gardiner is ready to return to action after injuries sidelined him last season. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Patrick Marleau will become the first player in San Jose Sharks history to have his number retire. His No. 12 will be raised to the rafters of the SAP Center in San Jose in a ceremony before the Sharks’ game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Feb. 25, 2023.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A well-deserved honor for Marleau. Selected second-overall by the Sharks in the 1997 NHL Draft, he holds the franchise records with 1,607 games played, 522 goals and 1,111 points during his 21 years with the club. He also holds the NHL record for most career games with 1,779.

THE ATHLETIC’s Michael Russo reports via Twitter that Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin remains confident that Kirill Kaprizov will return with the club before the coming season. He indicated it’s a delicate situation and he’d rather not comment on it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reports earlier this month claimed Kaprizov was under investigation in his native Russia over accusations that he purchased a fake military ID several years ago.

NHL.COM: Jake Gardiner is ready to return to action after missing all of last season recovering from hip and back surgeries. The 32-year-old defenseman has one year remaining on his contract. Hurricanes GM Don Waddell expects Gardiner will report to training camp in September.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers signed winger Kaapo Kakko to a two-year, $4.2 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Rangers followers were worried that Kakko might receive an offer sheet from a rival club that the cap-strapped Blueshirts couldn’t match. That he didn’t suggest the 21-year winger wasn’t interested in offers from other clubs or perhaps they didn’t think he was worth it.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators avoided salary arbitration with Mathieu Joseph, signing the forward to a four-year, $11.8 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators have $75.6 million invested in their salary-cap payroll for 2022-23 with winger Alex Formenton and defenseman Erik Brannstrom to sign.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens hired Stephane Robidas as an assistant coach.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: John MacLean is joining the New York Islanders as an assistant coach.

DAILY FACEOFF: Adidas will not return as the NHL’s jersey manufacturer after 2023-24.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 11, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 11, 2022

The Leafs, Hurricanes, Blues and Kings go up 3-2 in their respective series, the Canadiens win the 2022 NHL draft lottery, the Vezina Trophy finalists are announced, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Auston Matthews snapped a 3-3 tie to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5 of their first-round series. Toronto rallied from a 2-0 deficit and held a 3-2 lead until Ryan McDonagh tied it for Tampa Bay before Matthews netted the game-winner. William Nylander had a goal and two assists and John Tavares had a goal and an assist for the Leafs, who hold a 3-2 series lead over the Lightning as the series returns to Tampa Bay for Game 6.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was the most entertaining game of this series. The Lightning dominated the opening period but the Leafs rallied in part thanks to a motivating between-period speech by center Jason Spezza. Their biggest test comes on Thursday as they must finally get the monkey off their backs and win the franchise’s first playoff series since 2004.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko tallied a natural hat trick in the third period to lead his club to a 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild in Game 5 of their opening-round series. Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington picked up his second straight win by stopping 32 shots. Kirill Kaprizov scored both Wild goals. The series heads back to St. Louis on Thursday for Game 6 with the Blues holding a 3-2 lead.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues showed their mettle by overcoming a 2-1 series deficit to put themselves in the driver’s seat heading into Thursday’s contest. We’ll find out if the Wild can do the same to force a seventh and deciding game back home in Minnesota on Saturday.

The Carolina Hurricanes atoned for their undisciplined Game 4 loss against the Boston Bruins with a 5-1 victory in Game 5. Seth Jarvis scored two goals, Teuvo Teravainen, Vincent Trocheck and Tony DeAngelo each had three points and Antti Raanta made 33 saves for the win. Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy returned to the lineup after spending Game 4 in COVID protocol. The Hurricanes lead the series three games to two heading back to Boston for Game 6 on Thursday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins fell behind 2-0 in the first and spent the next two periods falling further behind as they tried to play catch-up. They need more from their secondary scorers such as Taylor Hall, Jake DeBrusk and Craig Smith or this series will be over on Thursday.

An overtime goal by Adrian Kempe lifted the Los Angeles Kings to a 5-4 win over the Edmonton Oilers in Game 5 of their series. The Oilers overcame a 4-2 deficit in the third period on two goals by Leon Draisaitl to force the extra frame. Kempe and Draisaitl each finished the night with two goals and an assist. The Kings hold a 3-2 series lead heading home to Los Angeles for Game 6 on Thursday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings are poised to pull off the first upset of the 2022 NHL playoffs unless the Oilers can win Game 6 and return home to Edmonton to take Game 7 on Saturday. The Oilers haven’t won a playoff series since 2017 so it’s gut-check time for Draisaitl, fellow superstar Connor McDavid and their teammates.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The Montreal Canadiens will select first overall in the 2022 NHL Draft after winning the draft lottery on Tuesday evening. The New Jersey Devils won the second-overall selection while the Arizona Coyotes will get the No. 3 pick. The draft will be held at the Bell Centre in Montreal on July 7-8.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Follow the link above for the full list of the draft order from selections 1 through 16. The remainder of the order will be determined by the outcomes of the four rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The top prospect in this year’s draft is Kingston Frontenacs center Shane Wright. However, Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes played coy over which player he’ll select on July 7, indicating he and his staff will continue to evaluate the prospects before making their final decision.

Winger Juraj Slafkovsky of TPS Finland and center Logan Cooley of the United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP) are also ranked among the top three in this year’s prospect pool.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens will conduct due diligence but they’ll likely take Wright, who was ranked this year’s top prospect throughout this season. While the 18-year-old center isn’t a generational talent, he’s drawn favorable comparisons to Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron. If Hughes chooses Wright, Canadiens fans will be thrilled if he becomes a multiple Selke Trophy winner.

Hughes’ son, Jack, is also among this year’s top-32 prospects. However, the Canadiens GM joked he wouldn’t be taking him with that selection.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks wound up with the sixth-overall selection. However, that pick goes to the Columbus Blue Jackets as part of the terms of last year’s Seth Jones trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could work in the Blackhawks’ favor. Had this year’s pick landed among the top two, the Blue Jackets would’ve received the Hawks’ first-rounder in the 2023 draft, which is considered to be deeper in talented prospects.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The Golden Knights wound up with the 16th overall pick but that selection goes to the Buffalo Sabres as part of last November’s Jack Eichel trade. The Sabres also own the ninth-overall pick.

NHL.COM: The Calgary Flames’ Jacob Markstrom, Nashville Predators’ Juuse Saros, and New York Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin are the 2022 finalists for the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: These three are certainly worthwhile candidates. Shesterkin is considered the favorite as he led all starters during the regular season with a 2.07 goals-against average and .935 save percentage.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Patrick Marleau officially announced his retirement as an NHL player on Tuesday. He spent 21 of his 23 seasons with the San Jose Sharks and holds the league record for most games played with 1,779. Marleau is also the Sharks’ all-time leader with 1,607 games played, 522 goals and 1,111 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Marleau and his family in their future endeavors.

NHL.COM: Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn was fined $5,000.00 by the department of player safety for a dangerous trip on Calgary Flames forward Trevor Lewis during Game 4 on Monday.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Golden Knights center Jack Eichel played the final six weeks of the regular season with a broken finger.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 8, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 8, 2022

The Avalanche take a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Predators while the Capitals, Penguins and Stars go up 2-1 in their respective first-round series. Check out the details plus the latest news in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche are on the verge of sweeping the Nashville Predators following a 7-3 victory in Game 3 of their best-of-seven opening-round series. Their win, however, was overshadowed by an eye injury suffered by goaltender Darcy Kuemper as he left the game late in the first period when the blade of Predators center Ryan Johansen accidentally poked through the protective cage of his mask.

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper (NHL Images).

Pavel Francouz replaced Kuemper and made 18 saves for the win. Gabriel Landeskog had two goals and set up two others while Cale Makar had three assists.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thankfully, it appears Kuemper’s injury wasn’t as serious as feared as Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said the netminder could potentially return for Game 4 on Monday in Nashville. He also absolved Johansen, calling the episode an accident.

Penalties proved costly for the Predators in this contest as the Avalanche went four-for-seven on the power play. Up three games to none, they can wrap up this series in Game 4.

Alex Ovechkin scored and collected an assist while goalie Ilya Samsonov made 29 saves for his first playoff win to defeat the Florida Panthers 6-1 and take a 2-1 lead in their first-round series. Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson, Anthony Mantha and Marcus Johansson each collected two points. Jonathan Huberdeau scored for the Panthers. Game 4 is Monday night in Washington.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Following the game, Samsonov admitted feeling emotional as Washington fans chanted his name. He also commended his teammates’ solid defensive play in this contest, which has been a significant factor in both Capitals’ wins in this series.

The Pittsburgh Penguins blew a 4-1 lead but recovered to down the New York Rangers 7-4 to take a two-game to one lead in their series. Three unanswered third-period goals by Danton Heinen, Jake Guentzel and Jeff Carter put the game away for Pittsburgh. Carter and Evan Rodrigues each tallied twice while Penguins third-string goaltender Louis Domingue stopped 32 shots. Rangers netminder Igor Shesterkin was pulled after giving up four goals on 15 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That game was certainly a wild ride for fans of both clubs. The power play made the difference for the Penguins, going two for three with the man advantage. The two clubs clash again in Game 4 on Monday in Pittsburgh.

Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski scored two goals, including the game-winner to lead his club over the Calgary Flames 4-2 to take a 2-1 lead in their first-round series. Jake Oettinger kicked out 39 shots for the win while Miro Heiskanen chipped in two assists. Flames forward Elias Lindholm netted his team-leading second goal of the series.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the second straight game Pavelski tallied the winning goal. At 37, he continues to defy Father Time while playing a key role as a top-line forward for the Stars. Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau had a great chance to tie the game 3-3 late in the third but Oettinger stopped his breakaway scoring chance.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Jordan Binnington could see his first start of this postseason as his St. Louis Blues face off against the Minnesota Wild this evening in Game 4 of their first-round series. Ville Husso was between the pipes for the Blues in the previous three games.

Blues defenseman Scott Perunovich could also make his debut in this series after being sidelined since January by a wrist injury. He would replace Torey Krug, who left Game 3 with an injured leg and is expected to miss some time.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes could shake things up for Game 4 today against the Boston Bruins. Derek Stepan could replace a sidelined Jordan Martinook while Max Domi or Martin Necas could take a seat in favor of Steven Lorentz.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Former Sharks forward Patrick Marleau will make an announcement on Tuesday regarding the future of his hockey career. The 42-year-old hasn’t played since the 2020-21 season and is the all-time NHL leader in games played with 1,779. He spent 21 of his 23 NHL seasons with the Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If I were a betting man I’d say Marleau will be officially announcing his retirement. If so, it’ll be interesting to find out if he intends in staying in the game in some capacity, perhaps in a front-office role with the Sharks.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks parted ways with five of their amateur scouts on Friday. Former NHL players Pat Conacher and Ted Hampson.

NJ.COM: Former NHL forward Jay Pandolfo was named the new head coach at Boston University. He played for BU in 1995, helping them win the national title before going on to a 15-year NHL career, including 13 seasons with the New Jersey Devils.

SPORTSNET: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said on Friday that Russian prospects will remain eligible for selection in the 2022 NHL Draft. It remains to be seen if Russia will be invited to participate in a potential World Cup of Hockey before the 2026 Winter Olympics. The NHL suspended business ties with Russia following its invasion of Ukraine in February.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 1, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 1, 2022

Alex Ovechkin becomes the all-time power-play goal leader, the Blues and Wild prepare to meet in the 2022 Winter Classic, plus the latest COVID updates and more in the first NHL morning coffee headlines of the New Year.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Alex Ovechkin became the NHL’s all-time power-play goal leader as his Washington Capitals defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-1. The Capitals captain tallied his 275 career power-play goal to pass Dave Andreychuk in what also proved to be the game-winner. Ovechkin added an empty netter to seal the win for the Capitals (47 points), who moved into first place in the overall standings.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 754 career goals, Ovechkin is now just 12 behind Jaromir Jagr for third place on the all-time goal list.

New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes scored twice, including the winner in overtime, in a 6-5 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Hughes finished with three points for the second straight game. Connor McDavid and Kailer Yamamoto each tallied twice for the Oilers (37 points), who moved one point ahead of the Colorado Avalanche into the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Mika Zibanejad’s shootout goal lifted the New York Rangers to a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Former Lightning forward Barclay Goodrow scored twice against his former club. Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos had a goal and an assist.

The Vegas Golden Knights picked up their 10th win in their last 12 games by dropping the Anaheim Ducks 3-1. The Golden Knights sit atop the Western Conference with 44 points and three ahead of the Ducks in the Pacific Division. Ducks goaltender John Gibson made 42 saves in a losing cause.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild are preparing to meet in the 2022 Winter Classic at Target Field commencing at 7 pm ET today. It’s the first Winter Classic to be staged in Minnesota and could be the coldest outdoor game in league history as temperatures could reach between minus-3 and minus-9 Fahrenheit. The Blues and Wild enter this game jockeying for first place in the Central Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could prove to be a more competitive game compared to some of the previous Winter Classics. The extreme cold, however, will affect the players’ performance and test the hardiness of the anticipated 40,000 fans in attendance.

COVID-19, meanwhile, continues to affect the regular-season schedule as the league postponed nine more games yesterday, bringing the total of deferred games to 90. Eight of those games were postponed due to current attendance restrictions in some Canadian cities.

SPORTSNET: NHL senior vice president Colin Campbell said the league will try to preserve as many full-capacity home games for Canadian teams as possible. All seven Canadian teams currently have reduced capacity due to recent provincial restrictions introduced to reduce the spread of the COVID Omicron variant.

A number of Canadian home games have been postponed. The league hopes to reschedule those contests as restrictions are eased or lifted over time.

Alberta and British Columbia joined Ontario in reducing its isolation requirements from 10 days to five for fully vaccinated people who test positive for COVID-19.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That means the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators will get players who test positive back sooner than the Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens, whose home provinces of Manitoba and Quebec still have mandatory 10-day self-isolation periods.

United States-based teams are also now under the five-day rule after the US Centers for Disease Control reduced their isolation requirements earlier in the week.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Jeff Carter, New Jersey Devils head coach Lindy Ruff and St. Louis Blues assistant coach Mike Van Ryn were among the latest to enter COVID protocol.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher (lower-body injury) is questionable for today’s game against the Florida Panthers.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin has been sidelined with an upper-body injury.

CBS SPORTS: Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Zach Bogosian missed yesterday’s game against the Rangers with a lower-body injury.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Patrick Marleau’s wife Christina said the second of the couple’s four sons was nearly kidnapped during a family trip earlier this week. An unnamed couple attempted to coax 11-year-old Brody into coming with them after he returned to the hotel pool to collect the sunglasses he’d left behind. A good samaritan family intervened and alerted hotel security.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thank goodness for the other family stepping in when they did. Christina also said she saw the woman who attempted to lure away Brody and informed him the police had been called, hotel security was watching her and she had to leave. The report didn’t indicate if that woman and her partner were detained.










Little Notable Talent Still Available in 2021 NHL Free Agent Market

Little Notable Talent Still Available in 2021 NHL Free Agent Market

Cap Friendly shows slim pickings for talent three weeks after the NHL annual free-agent market opened on July 28. As usual, most of the top players were quickly signed within hours of the market opening, with the remainder snapped up over the next several days.

Several recognizable names remain but almost all are now past their playing prime. With training camps set to open in a little over a month, those still available could end up accepting cheap one-year deals or professional tryout offers in hope of landing a contract.

Still, for teams seeking experienced depth at bargain-bin prices, several noteworthy options remain obtainable.

Tuukka Rask is among several notable players still available in the 2021 NHL free-agent market (NHL Images).

Goaltenders

Tuukka Rask is sidelined until the New Year recovering from off-season hip surgery. It’s believed he’s only interested in returning with the Boston Bruins, who could keep a spot open for him. The former Vezina Trophy winner could be worth pursuing later this season if he and the Bruins part ways before the trade deadline.

Devan Dubnyk is still waiting for a contract. The 35-year-old struggled as a backup last season with the San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche. Still, he could be worth the gamble on a PTO for teams with a young starter seeking an experienced mentor.

Henrik Lundqvist hinted he’d be up to a comeback if he receives medical clearance. Heart surgery sidelined him for all of last season. The 39-year-old “King Henrik” is no longer an elite netminder but could be a worthwhile backup if he gets a clean bill of health.

Defensemen

Zdeno Chara had a good performance last season as a third-pairing defensemen with the Washington Capitals. The 44-year-old future Hall-of-Famer is training in Slovakia and hasn’t made any decisions about this season. He’d bring plenty of experience and leadership to any blueline if he decides to return for one more year.

Jason Demers could be a worthwhile addition for teams seeking an experienced third-pairing right-shot defender. The same goes for Sami Vatanen though his long injury history hurts his value.

Erik Gustafsson’s puck-moving abilities could be useful for teams looking for a power-play specialist on the blue line. Erik Gudbranson’s toughness and leadership keep earning him work despite the decline in his defensive game.

Forwards

Zach Parise, Kyle Palmieri, Travis Zajac and Casey Cizikas are still available but speculation suggests they’ve already been signed by the New York Islanders. It’s believed Isles general manager Lou Lamoriello doesn’t want his rivals to know how much cap space he’s actually got left as rumors persist he’s shopping for a top-six forward.

Assuming those four are off the market, well-known but fading forwards such as Patrick Marleau, Eric Staal, Bobby Ryan and James Neal are available. Other noteworthy forwards among the 30-plus gang include Tyler Bozak, Artem Anisimov, Tyler Ennis, and Alex Chiasson.

Alex Galchenyuk heads the list of younger options in the mid-to-late twenties. There was talk the Toronto Maple Leafs could bring the 27-year-old forward back but it appears he’ll be seeking work elsewhere. Ryan Donato, Dominik Kahun, Riley Sheahan and Jimmy Vesey round out this group.