Patrick Marleau returns to the Sharks in a coaching and front-office role, Kyle Dubas outlines his offseason plans for the Penguins, the Devils re-sign Erik Haula and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Patrick Marleau is returning to the Sharks as a player development coach and hockey operations advisor. The club’s all-time leader in games played, goals and points as well as their first jersey retiree, Marleau played 21 of his 23 NHL seasons with the Sharks, announcing his retirement as a player in May 2022.
Patrick Marleau rejoins the San Jose Sharks (NHL.com).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report indicates that Marleau, who’s lived in Florida since his retirement, will be based in San Jose. He will help develop the on-ice skills of Sharks players and those of the Barracudas, their AHL affiliate.
Dubas said he’s not going to get into signing expensive free-agent forwards this summer. However, he hopes to weaponize his $20 million in cap space by targeting cap-strapped teams looking to shed salary to be cap compliant for next season. He could be interested in players currently on short-term contracts with those clubs.
Don’t expect any contract buyouts for aging veterans such as Mikael Granlund. Dubas is also hoping for some of his younger players, such as Pierre-Olivier Joseph, to take on more prominent roles next season.
Dubas indicated that he’s reluctant to part with his 2023 first-round pick (14th overall) unless the return includes an impactful young player. He hopes to remake the Penguins’ bottom-six forwards. He must find a suitable replacement for goaltender Tristan Jarry if the latter departs via free agency on July 1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubas is not engaging in a roster rebuild. The plan is to retool around aging core players like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Dubas signs one or two affordable free-agent forwards to address that need to bolster his checking lines. As for cap-strapped clubs that he might target in the trade market, the Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles and Tampa Bay Lightning are possible candidates.
NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: The Devils signed Erik Haula on Friday to a three-year, $9.4 million contract extension. He’ll have full no-trade protection in the first two seasons followed by a six-team no-trade in the final season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Haula’s new contract is worth an average annual value of $3.15 million. The 32-year-old forward was a good fit this season with the Devils, tallying 41 points in 80 games.
SPORTSNET: NHL Players Association executive director Marty Walsh said the overwhelming majority of NHL players support the LGBTQ-plus community. Walsh’s comments followed the NHL’s announcement on Thursday curtailing the wearing of special tribute jerseys during warmups after a handful of players opted out of doing so during this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly was among the first players to express his ongoing support for the LGBTQ-plus community.
“With issues like that, and with movements like that, I’ll support them, no matter what, whether we wear jerseys or not,” said Rielly. “That support is not going away.”
THE PROVINCE: Gino Odjick likely suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in his latter years. The popular Vancouver Canucks enforcer passed away in January at age 52. In the weeks before Odjick’s death, doctors performed a series of tests that suggest it was highly likely he suffered from CTE.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The only definitive way to determine if someone has CTE is a physical examination of their brain after death.
WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Monumental Sports & Entertainment (MSE) has spoken with Virginia officials about moving the Capitals and the NBA’s Wizards to Arlington’s Crystal City neighborhood. The discussions were said to be “preliminary and exploratory”.
Both teams have been in the Capital One Arena, located in Washington’s Chinatown neighborhood, since 1997. It is owned by Monumental Sports & Entertainment.
Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark scores in his 30th win of the season, the Sharks retire Patrick Marleau’s number, the Jets acquire Nino Niederreiter, the Blues claim Kasperi Kapanen off waivers, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark celebrated his 30th win of the season by scoring an empty-net goal in a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Ullmark had 26 saves while Hampus Lindholm and Brad Marchand also scored for the 45-8-5 Bruins, who opened a nine-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes for first place in the overall standings with 95 points. Brock Boeser scored for Vancouver as they dropped to 23-31-5 on the season. Canucks defenseman Ethan Bear left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury.
Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (NHL Images)
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Canucks acquired winger Vitali Kravtsov from the New York Rangers in exchange for winger Will Lockwood and a seventh-round pick in 2026. The 23-year-old Kravtsov was the ninth overall pick in the 2018 draft but struggled to establish himself with the Rangers. He becomes an affordable reclamation project for the rebuilding Canucks. The Rangers, meanwhile, shed some cap space ($875K) for perhaps another move at the March 3 trade deadline.
Speaking of the Hurricanes, their five-game winning streak ended after dropping a 3-2 decision to the Anaheim Ducks. John Gibson kicked out 51 shots while Trevor Zegras and Ryan Strome each collected two assists for the 19-34-7 Ducks. Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Jesper Fast replied for the Hurricanes (39-11-8) as they sit second in the overall standings with 86 points.
As for the Rangers, their winless skid stretched for four games (0-3-1) after falling 6-3 to the Washington Capitals. Evgeny Kuznetsov scored twice and collected two assists while T.J. Oshie also tallied twice for the 29-26-6 Capitals as they sit one point out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 64 points. Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad each had two points for 33-17-9 Rangers as they sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 75 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren left the game in the first period with an injured left shoulder following a hit into the boards by Oshie. Earlier in the day, they also placed forward Jake Leschyshyn on waivers in what’s expected to be a cost-cutting move for the upcoming trade deadline.
The Pittsburgh Penguins reclaimed that final Eastern wild-card spot with a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on an overtime goal by Bryan Rust to snap their four-game losing skid. Rust, Evgeni Malkin and Marcus Pettersson each had a goal and an assist as the Penguins (65 points) improved to 28-21-9. Jordan Binnington made 45 saves for the Blues as they fell to 26-28-5.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Blues claimed winger Kasperi Kapanen off waivers from the Penguins. The 26-year-old winger did not play in this game. The Blues did the Penguins a favor as this move cleared Kapanen’s $3.2 million cap hit through 2023-24 off their books, providing some cap flexibility to perhaps make a move before the trade deadline.
A four-point performance by Connor McDavid couldn’t prevent the Edmonton Oilers from falling 6-5 to the Columbus Blue Jackets. McDavid scored twice and set up two other goals as his Oilers overcame a 4-0 deficit to tie the game but Columbus rallied with two more goals and held on for the win. Jack Roslovic also had two goals and two assists as the Blue Jackets improved to 19-35-5. The Oilers (32-20-8) sit third in the Pacific Division with 72 points.
New Jersey Devils goalie Akira Schmid made 23 saves for his first NHL shutout in a 7-0 drubbing of the Philadelphia Flyers. Jonas Siegenthaler had a goal and two assists while Dawson Mercer scored to extend his goal streak to six games for the Devils (39-15-5) as they sit three points back of the Hurricanes with 83 points. The 23-28-10 Flyers played without winger Travis Konecny (upper body) as he was placed on injured reserve.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk didn’t play in this game. Head coach John Tortorella claimed he was “a little banged-up.” The 33-year-old van Riemsdyk is expected to be moved by the March 3 trade deadline.
The Dallas Stars ended a five-game losing streak by nipping the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 on shootout goals by Jason Robertson and Roope Hintz, who also tallied the game-tying goal with 38 seconds remaining in regulation. Jake Oettinger stopped 41 shots for the 31-16-12 Stars as they hold a three-point lead over the Winnipeg Jets for first place in the Central Division with 74 points. Jack Eichel netted his 20th goal of the season for the Golden Knights (35-18-6) as they sit atop the Western Conference standings with 76 points.
Tampa Bay Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy made 45 saves to blank the Detroit Red Wings 3-0. Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov and Alex Killorn were the goal scorers as the Lightning improved to 37-17-4 and sit two points behind the second-place Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division with 78 points. Detroit (28-22-8) sits one point out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 64 points. Red Wings forward Michael Rasmussen left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury.
The Colorado Avalanche beat the Calgary Flames 4-1. Mikko Rantanen scored for the fourth straight game while Alexandar Georgiev made 28 saves as the Avalanche (33-19-5) moved past the Winnipeg Jets into second place in the Central Division with 71 points. Tyler Toffoli scored his 25th goal of the season as his Flames fell to 27-21-12 and four points out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot with 66 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche also acquired minor-league goaltender Keith Kinkaid from the Bruins in exchange for forward Shane Bowers. Bringing in Kinkaid could be an insurance move as Pavel Francouz remains sidelined with a lower-body injury.
The Ottawa Senators swept their season series with the Montreal Canadiens with a 5-2 win. Derick Brassard had a goal and an assist while Mads Sogaard stopped 30 shots as the Senators improved to 28-26-4 to sit five points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot with 60 points. Nick Suzuki tallied his 20th goal of the season for the 25-30-4 Canadiens.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens also announced defenseman Arber Xhekaj will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery. Center Kirby Dach is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury while forward Joel Armia is day-to-day with an upper respiratory infection.
Chicago Blackhawks goalie Petr Mrazek turned aside 45 shots in a 4-3 win over the San Jose Sharks on a shootout goal by Philipp Kurashev. The Blackhawks improved to 21-32-5 while San Jose sank to 18-30-12. Before the game, the Sharks retired Patrick Marleau’s No. 12 in a pregame ceremony.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marleau is the Sharks’ all-time leader with 1,607 games played, 522 goals and 1,111 points. He’s also second in assists with 589. Marleau is the first player in franchise history to have his number retired.
IN OTHER NEWS…
WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets acquired winger Nino Niederreiter from the Nashville Predators in exchange for a 2024 second-round pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A nice pickup by the Jets to bolster their scoring depth. The 30-year-old Niederreiter is a big-bodied winger who is on pace (18 goals) to reach the 20-goal plateau for the sixth time in his career. He’s not a rental player as he carries a $4 million annual cap hit through 2023-24. The Jets might not be done making moves as Cap Friendly shows they’ve got over $5.4 million in projected trade deadline cap space.
SPORTSNET: The Buffalo Sabres placed winger Alex Tuch on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could be a big blow to the Sabres’ playoff hopes. Tuch is second in scoring with 28 goals and 62 points. This could prompt management to shop for a replacement if he’s sidelined for a long period.
TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs will send a second-round pick in 2025 to the Arizona Coyotes to complete last February’s trade that sent forward Nick Ritchie to the Coyotes in exchange for defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin and forward Ryan Dzingel.
Connor McDavid and the Oilers humiliate the Penguins, the Bruins acquire Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway from the Capitals, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines
NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored two goals and collected two assists in a 7-2 drubbing of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Leon Draisaitl scored to extend his goal streak to six games as the Oilers (32-19-9) vaulted into second place in the Pacific Division with 72 points. Kris Letang tallied both Penguins goals as his club dropped its fourth straight game as they fell to 27-21-9 (63 points) to sit one point out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.
Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid now has a career-high 46 goals to lead the goal-scoring race. Teammate Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a goal and an assist to reach 600 career points. As for the Penguins, this high-profile match-up was a disaster, prompting their hometown crowd to vent their unhappiness with general manager Ron Hextall with chants of “Fire Hextall!”
The Penguins’ loss was good news for the Detroit Red Wings as they leaped into the final Eastern wild-card berth by downing the New York Rangers 4-1. Andrew Copp led the way with a goal and two assists against his former team while Ville Husso made 30 saves for the 28-21-8 Red Wings (64 points). Vincent Trocheck replied for the Rangers (33-16-9) as they remain in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 75 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers sat out Vitali Kravtsov and Jake Leschyshyn from this game, prompting speculation they could be close to acquiring Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane. I’ll have more about that later today in the Rumors section.
Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk scored the game-winner with 1:38 remaining in the third period for a 6-5 victory over the Seattle Kraken. David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Krejci each had a goal and an assist for the league-leading Bruins (44-8-5), who’ve won five straight and hold a nine-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes in the overall standings with 93 points. Matty Beniers, Vince Dunn and Jamie Oleksiak each had a goal and an assist for the 32-20-6 Kraken as they dropped into the first Western Conference wild-card berth with 70 points.
The Vegas Golden Knights overcame a 3-1 deficit to burn the Calgary Flames 4-3 on an overtime goal by Alex Pietrangelo. Jack Eichel had a goal and an assist as the Golden Knights improved to 35-18-5 to hold a three-point lead over the Oilers for first place in the Pacific Division with 75 points. Mikael Backlund and Jakob Pelletier each had a goal and an assist for the Flames (27-20-12) as they sit one point behind the Colorado Avalanche for the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 66 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Golden Knights center Nicolas Roy missed this game as he’s listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
An overtime goal by Dawson Mercer lifted the New Jersey Devils over the Los Angeles Kings by a score of 4-3. Mercer finished the night with two goals and an assist while Nico Hischier sent the game to overtime with 39 seconds remaining in the third period. The Devils improved to 38-15-5 and sit in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 81 points, three back of the first-place Carolina Hurricanes. Anze Kopitar, Kevin Fiala and Sean Durzi each had two points for the Kings (32-19-8) as they sit in third place with 72 points in the Pacific Division.
The Buffalo Sabres upset the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-5 on an overtime goal by Ilya Lyubushkin. Tage Thompson had his fourth hat trick of the season for the Sabres as they improved to 29-23-4 (62 points) to sit two points out of the final Eastern wild-card berth. Brayden Point had a goal and three assists for the Lightning (36-17-4) as they sit two points behind the second-place Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division with 76 points.
Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 30 saves to shut out the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-0. Brandon Duhaime and Kirill Kaprizov scored for the Wild (32-21-5) as they sit in third place in the Central Division with 69 points, two back of the second-place Winnipeg Jets. The Blues Jackets sank to 18-35-5 on the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Wild placed defenseman Jonas Brodin (lower-body) on injured reserve.
The Nashville Predators got two-goal performances from Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter in a 6-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Matt Duchene collected three assists as the Predators improved to 28-22-6 (62 points) to sit five points out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth. The Sharks dropped to 18-30-11.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators got some bad news before the game as they announced that center Ryan Johansen underwent emergency surgery on his right leg on Wednesday after being cut by a skate blade during Tuesday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks. He’ll be sidelined for 12 weeks.
Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson kicked out 41 shots in a 4-2 upset of the Washington Capitals. Troy Terry scored as he came off injured reserved after being sidelined since Feb. 6 as the Ducks (18-34-7) ended a six-game losing skid. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was held scoreless as his club dropped its sixth straight game and sit two points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot with a record of 28-26-6 (62 points).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks placed center Adam Henrique on injured reserve before this game.
The Vancouver Canucks downed the St. Louis Blues 3-2 on an overtime goal by Elias Pettersson, who finished the game with three points. J.T. Miller scored his 20th goal of the season for the 23-30-5 Canucks. Jordan Binnington made 38 saves for the Blues as they fell to 26-28-4. Pavel Buchnevich and Brandon Saad were activated off injured reserve for this game
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues are 0-3-1 in the four games since trading Ryan O’Reilly to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Blues head coach Craig Berube criticized his top players following this game, accusing them of not caring about the team.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins acquired defenseman Dmitry Orlov and forward Garnet Hathaway from the Washington Capitals in a three-team trade involving the Minnesota Wild.
The Capitals receive forward Craig Smith, a 2023 first-round pick, a 2025 second-round pick and a 2024 third-round pick. The Capitals also retain 25 percent ($2.5 million) of Orlov’s $5.1 million annual cap hit. The Wild retained 25 percent ($1.2 million) of the remainder of Orlov’s cap hit after the Bruins sent them a 2023 fifth-rounder and prospect Andrei Svetlakov. The Bruins pick up the remaining $1.2 million of Orlov’s cap hit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins general manager Don Sweeney continues his impressive streak of making significant moves before the trade deadline to bolster his roster for the playoffs. Orlov will provide an experienced physical shutdown presence to the left side of the Bruins’ defense corps while Hathaway will bring additional grit and depth to their checking lines.
This move might not seem as significant as Sweeney’s previous acquisitions of Taylor Hall and Hampus Lindholm. Nevertheless, the additions of Orlov and Hathaway make the Bruins a tougher team. That’s crucial for the postseason when the games get more physical. It’s also bad news for whoever faces them in the 2023 playoffs.
Orlov and Hathaway are slated to become unrestricted free agents this summer. Capitals GM Brian MacLellan explained he made this move to “acquire draft capital, infuse youth and restock the system”. It’s also a clear sign that MacLellan doesn’t believe his club can win if they reach the playoffs. This may not be the start of a rebuild for the Capitals but it’s at least the start of a roster retool that could continue during the offseason.
This is the second time in as many weeks that Wild GM Bill Guerin has used his cap space to be a third-party trade broker, having done the same in last week’s Ryan O’Reilly deal. He can only make this type of move once more as teams are only allowed to have three retained salaries on their books.
Cap Friendly indicates the Wild have $11.5 million in projected trade deadline cap space so Guerin might not be done as a third-party broker. He could also make a move that directly benefits his roster for the remainder of this season.
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The Canadiens claimed forward Chris Tierney off waivers yesterday from the Florida Panthers. They also announced that center Kirby Dach’s non-COVID-related illness symptoms were in fact related to a lower-body injury.
OTTAWA SUN: Former Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson indicated he’d like to meet with whoever becomes the club’s new owner to discuss a potential front-office job.
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Former San Jose Sharks captain Patrick Marleau is in discussions with the club about rejoining the organization in a front-office role.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.