NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 7, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 7, 2018

Game recaps plus updates on Roberto Luongo, James van Riemsdyk, Steve Mason and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews tallied a hat trick, including the game-tying and winning goals, to lead his club to a 5-4 overtime win over the St. Louis Blues.  Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice for the Blues.

Jonathan Toews’ hat trick led the Chicago Blackhawks to a 5-4 OT win over the St. Louis Blues. (Photo via NHL Images)

Tyler Seguin scored twice and set up two others as the Dallas Stars drubbed the Winnipeg Jets 5-1. Stars captain Jamie Benn also scored twice and collected an assist while Alex Radulov enjoyed a three-point night.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Games like this one will make Seguin’s new eight-year, $78.8-million contract starting next season worthwhile for the Stars. 

The Florida Panthers fell 2-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in a shootout. Starting goaltender Roberto Luongo left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury after teammate Frankie Vatrano fell on Luongo’s right leg during a goalmouth scramble. “I don’t know how serious (the injury is)”, said Panthers coach Bob Boughner. “Hopefully, that’s not going to be a long-term thing. They’re going to reassess it and I’ll know more tomorrow.”

Johnny Gaudreau, Mark Giordano and Elias Lindholm each had a goal and two assists as the Calgary Flames downed the Vancouver Canucks 7-4. Canucks rookie Elias Pettersson scored twice and set up another, giving him five points in his first two NHL contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pettersson has the makings of the Canucks’ next big Swedish star, following in the footsteps of Markus Naslund and the Sedin twins. 

Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac each scored twice to give the New Jersey Devils a 5-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers at the 2018 NHL Global Series in Gothenburg, Sweden. Earlier in the day, the Oilers activated defenseman Kris Russell from injured reserved and sent Ethan Bear to their AHL affiliate. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One game does not a season make, but the Oilers’ season opener looked pretty much like most of their games in 2017-18. Goaltender Cam Talbot was shaky while their defense struggled against the Devils’ aggressive forechecking. 

Montreal Canadiens forward Paul Byron scored two goals and an assist while Carey Price kicked out 21 shots in a 5-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Sophomore defenseman Thomas Chabot scored twice and added an assist while goalie Craig Anderson made 34 stops as the Ottawa Senators upset the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thanks to a combination of speed, promising youngsters and solid veteran goaltender, the rebuilding Canadiens and Senators look surprisingly good thus far. The playoffs still remain a long shot for both clubs and there’s still a long season ahead of them, but they’re serving early notice they won’t be pushovers.

Colin Wilson scored twice and Semyon Varlamov turned aside 35 shots to give the Colorado Avalanche a 5-2 over the Philadelphia Flyers, who also lost winger James van Riemsdyk in the first period to a lower-body injury. “I don’t know the extent of it, so we’ve got to wait until we get back,” said Flyers coach Dave Hasktol. “We’re at the end of a long trip here, so we’ll get home and figure out where everything is at.”

The Nashville Predators edged the New York Islanders 4-3 thanks to two goals from winger Viktor Arvidsson. Martin Barzal had a goal and an assist for the Isles.

John Gibson turned in a 41-save shutout performance and Max Comtois netted the only goal to give the Anaheim Ducks a 1-0 win over the Arizona Coyotes.

Buffalo Sabres goaltender Carter Hutton made 43 saves backstopping his team to a 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers. Winger Conor Sheary scored twice for the Sabres.

Max Pacioretty’s game-tying goal set the stage for Erik Haula’s shootout winner as the Vegas Golden Knights nipped the Minnesota Wild 2-1.

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports veteran NHL goaltender Steve Mason might be ready to retire. He’s dealt with several injuries (concussion, knee) in recent years and recently turned down a contract from an NHL club seeking a backup netminder. 

Former NHL winger Daniel Winnik signed a one-year contract with Swiss club Geneva-Servette.

 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 6, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 6, 2018

Latest on Joe Thornton, James Neal, Darnell Nurse, Richard Panik and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: Coming off his second straight knee surgery, San Jose Sharks veteran center Joe Thornton said he’s healthy and feels good. He adds he’s looking forward to the start of the coming season. Despite his age (39), he still feels he can dictate the play.

Despite two knee surgeries, San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton believes he can still be an effective contributor. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thornton had a slow start last season after coming off his first knee surgery but looked like he was rounding back into form when he was sidelined again. Having more time to recover this time around could help him have a better beginning this time around. 

CALGARY SUN: James Neal hopes to establish himself as the Flames’ new first-line right wing. He joined the club as a free agent this summer on a five-year, $28.75-million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The job is there for the taking. Michael Frolik and Elias Lindholm are the other notable Flames’ right wingers but neither is a natural sniper like Neal. 

EDMONTON SUN: Defenseman Darnell Nurse said he won’t attend Oilers’ training camp without a new contract. The restricted free agent is coming off a three-year entry-level deal. Given the Oilers’ limited salary-cap space, Nurse is likely to get a two-year bridge deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Oilers fans might freak out over Nurse’s statement but it’s really the proper thing to do. He shouldn’t attend training camp if he isn’t under contract. That being said, there’s still plenty of time for the two sides to get a deal hammered out before camp opens next week. I’ll be surprised if there isn’t an agreement in place by then. 

KUKLA’S KORNER: cites TMZ reporting Arizona Coyotes forward Richard Panik pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal trespass stemming from an incident on April 8 when he drunkenly refused to leave the entrance to a Scottsdale sports bar. He avoided jail time by cutting a plea deal involving the completion of a court-ordered diversion program.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Veteran goaltender Steve Mason is still hoping to land with an NHL team this season. In June, Mason was traded by the Winnipeg Jets to the Montreal Canadiens, who bought out the remainder of his contract.

THE SCORE: Veteran defenseman Cody Franson signed a two-year contract with the KHL’s Avangard Omsk.

TORONTO SUN: In an interview with TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas said he isn’t in any rush to name a new team captain to start the upcoming season.

TSN: The NHL is in discussions to settle various lawsuits filed by former players alleging the league lied to them over the dangers of repeated head trauma and concussions. 

SPORTSNET: The investment group seeking to bring an NHL franchise to Seattle “has announced a new set of local investors including Seattle Sounders majority owner Adrian Hanauer and members of the Ackerley family that previously owned the Seattle SuperSonics.”

CBC.CA: Former NHL forward Ab McDonald has passed away at age 82. Starting in 1957-58, He spent nearly 15 seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues, winning three Stanley Cups with the Canadiens and one with the Chicago Blackhawks. He also spent two seasons with the Winnipeg Jets in the WHA. McDonald was the first captain of the Penguins and also of the Jets. 

 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to their families and friends. 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 3, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 3, 2018

Nate Schmidt receives 20-game suspension, notable remaining UFAs and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt received a 20-game suspension for violating the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program, a charge he, his agent and the team denied yesterday. The league didn’t reveal what substance Schmidt tested positive for or when the test was conducted. His appeal was denied by an independent arbitrator.

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt has been suspended for violating the NHL’s PED program. (Photo via NHL Images)

In a statement yesterday, Schmidt professed his innocence, claiming he never knowingly ingested a banned substance. He said the trace amount was “consistent with environmental contamination that I could not possibly have prevented.”

Schmidt cited one expert who testified on his behalf claiming the amount of substance found in his system ” 7 billionths of a milligram/mL — as the equivalent of a pinch of salt in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.” Another who analyzed a sample of his hair concluded there was no evidence of intentional use. “The Vegas Golden Knights track players’ strength and performance metrics and my results have remained constant over the past year.”

The Golden Knights also released a statement supporting Schmidt, expressing their belief “that the presence of a trace of the banned substance was accidental and unintentional.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We don’t know the full details from the hearings or what Schmidt may have ingested. Going by his story, however, it appears the punishment received was unduly harsh and perhaps unjustified.  It’s worth noting the Golden Knights are standing by Schmidt. It’ll be interesting to see if the league or the PA will issue a statement. it doesn’t sound as though there’s another appeal option for Schmidt.

In the meantime, Schmidt’s absence will leave a significant gap on their blueline early in the coming season that could force the Golden Knights to address via trade, free agency or waivers. I’ll have more in my Rumors section later this morning.  

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Center Antoine Vermette, left wing Mike Cammalleri, right wing Lee Stempniak, defensemen Luca Sbisa and Cody Franson and goaltender Steve Mason are the notable veterans remaining in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market. Others include forwards Scott Hartnell and Daniel Winnik, blueliner Kevin Bieksa and goalie Kari Lehtonen. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A handful of these players could earn one-year deals via professional tryout offers. The rest face continuing their playing careers in Europe or retirement. 

TSN: Former Montreal Canadiens and Nashville Predators defenseman Alexei Emelin signed a three-year contract with KHL club Avangard Omsk.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): The Vancouver Canucks need a healthy Chris Tanev to return to form this season. 

 











Slim Pickings Remain in 2018 NHL UFA Market

Slim Pickings Remain in 2018 NHL UFA Market

A week into the 2018 NHL free-agent market, not much talent remains for teams attempting to bolster their lineups. Here’s a brief look at the notable names still available as of July 7, 2018.

Left wing Patrick Maroon is the best player still available in this summer’s UFA market (Photo via NHL Images).

Patrick Maroon. The best remaining scorer in the bunch. A big-bodied (6’3”, 225 lbs) left winger coming off back-to-back 40-plus point seasons. The St. Louis Blues are reportedly interested in his services.

Kari Lehtonen. The 34-year-old Lehtonen posted a respectable 2.56 goals-against average and .912 save percentage last season in a backup role with the Dallas Stars. He could be a mentor for a rising young starter.

Dan Hamhuis. Though Hamhuis’ best days are behind him,  the 35-year-old defenseman still tallied 24 points while skating over 20 minutes per game with the Stars. He could be a solid depth addition for a playoff contender.

Toby Enstrom. Injuries have frequently sidelined the 33-year-old Enstrom, hampering his effectiveness as a puck-moving blueliner. His experience, however, could be helpful to a rebuilding club.

Brooks Orpik. The shutdown blueliner helped the Washington Capitals win the Stanley Cup this spring. Traded to Colorado and bought out, the Capitals are reportedly interested in bringing him back for one more year.

Steve Mason. The 30-year-old struggled with injury and inconsistency as the Winnipeg Jets’ backup last season. Those factors could hurt Mason’s efforts to land with another NHL club.

Luca Sbisa. Missed all but 30 games to injury last season but was solid in the playoffs for the Vegas Golden Knights. Sbisa could be a good depth addition to a blueline in need of a physical rearguard.

Antoine Vermette. The 35-year-old’s 20-goal, 40-point seasons are well in the past. However, he could provide depth for clubs in need of a veteran checking-line center.

Alexei Emelin. A physical defenseman, Emelin could provide some experienced grit as a third-pairing blueliner.

Ondrej Pavelec. The 30-year-old netminder sported a decent .910 save percentage serving as Henrik Lundqvist’s understudy with the New York Rangers.

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 1, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 1, 2018

Sharks re-sign Logan Couture, James van Riemsdyk heading to Philadelphia, Mike Green returns with the Red Wings. Details and more on the early news of the NHL’s opening day of free agency in your morning coffee headlines.

**Follow this link to check out the listing of today’s notables UFA signings**

NBC SPORTS: Reports indicated the San Jose Sharks and center Logan Couture have finalized an eight-year, $64-million contract extension that he’ll officially sign today. The annual average value is $8 million.

Logan Couture and the San Jose Sharks have reportedly agreed to an eight-year contract extension (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Couture has a year remaining on his current contract worth an AAV of $6 million. It’s a big pay bump for Couture,  who’s exceeded 50 points in six of of his 10 NHL seasons. He’s among the Sharks core players but will also be 30-year-old when this new contract kicks in. That cap hit could become troublesome over the final four years of his deal as his performance begins to decline. 

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: James van Riemsdyk is reportedly returning to the Philadelphia Flyers, as sources claim he’s signed a five-year, $35-million contract. The annual salary-cap hit is $7 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: van Riemsdyk began his NHL career with the Flyers, playing three seasons with them before being deal to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2012 for Luke Schenn. Cap Friendly indicates the Flyers have over $57 million invested in 17 players, so adding JvR pushes their cap payroll to over $64 million.

The Flyers still have plenty of room for other additions, but one wonders if this move suggests Wayne Simmonds, who has a year left on his contract and is recovering from offseason surgery, might get dealt this summer. The Flyers can afford to re-sign Simmonds but his name has surfaced in trade rumors in recent weeks. 

THE DETROIT NEWS: Defenseman Mike Green is expected to forego unrestricted free agency and sign a two-year, $10.75-million ($5.375 million AAV) with the Red Wings. The Wings are also reportedly signing former Colorado Avalanche goaltender Jonathan Bernier to a three-year deal worth $3 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Green is accepting slightly less money than his previous annual cap hit ($6 million) to stay in Detroit. He was considered the best defenseman potentially available via free agency after John Carlson re-signed with the Washington Capitals last week. The depth in quality UFA defenseman has significantly thinned with Carlson and Green off the market. 

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Vegas Golden Knights have re-signed winger Ryan Reaves to a two-year deal worth $2.775 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holy overpayment, Batman! That’s a big raise for a fourth-line grit player. Reaves definitely capitalized on his solid playoff performance this spring but it remains to be seen if he can maintain that form. At least it’s a short-term deal and the Golden Knights have the cap space to afford this. 

The Montreal Canadiens yesterday placed goaltender Steve Mason on unconditional waivers for the purpose of a contract buyout. They acquired Mason from the Winnipeg Jets in a deal that also brought them forward Joel Armia and two draft picks.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild placed forward Tyler Ennis on unconditional waivers for buyout purposes.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Dallas Stars reportedly have an agreement with former Boston Bruins goaltender Anton Khudobin on a two-year deal. Meanwhile, former Stars forward Antoine Roussel is reportedly close to a four-year deal with the Vancouver Canucks worth just over $3 million annually while the Minnesota Wild are expected to sign former Stars defenseman Greg Pateryn.

NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils re-signed goaltender Eddie Lack to a one-year, $650K contract.

 

 











NHL Rumor Mill Update – June 30, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill Update – June 30, 2018

With the NHL free-agent market opening on July 1, here’s the latest updates on several notable pending UFAs.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports defenseman Mike Green is expected to re-sign with the Detroit Red Wings. It’s believed to be a two-year deal. Bob McKenzie reports it’s worth an annual average value of $5.373 million. The Wings are also expected to sign goaltender Jonathan Bernier. Former Wings forward Thomas Vanek is considering a return to Detroit.

Mike Green will reportedly re-sign a two-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The UFA market for quality defensemen will be even thinner with Green gone. As for Bernier, Sportsnet’s John Shannon reports his new contract will be for three years, while The Athletic’s Craig Custance said it’ll be worth an AAV of $3 million. 

The Montreal Canadiens have placed recently acquired goaltender Steve Mason on unconditional waivers for the purpose of a contract buyout. The Habs brought in Mason, along with forward Joel Armia, along with a seventh-round pick in 2019 and a fourth-round pick in 2020, from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for minor league blueliner Simon Bourque.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The buyout will count as $1.366 million annually through 2019-20 against the Habs cap, leaving them with a projected $17.2 million in salary-cap space. 

THE ATHLETIC’s Michael Russo reports the Minnesota Wild have placed forward Tyler Ennis on unconditional waivers for buyout purposes. The Wild will gain an additional $2.43 million in cap space for 2018-19.

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports the Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames are among the clubs pursuing center Derek Ryan. 

THE ATHLETIC’s Craig Custance reports the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers have been connected to former LA Kings winger Tobias Rieder. Sportsnet 650’s Rick Dhaliwal reports Rieder’s closing in on a deal but it’s not expected to be with the Canucks. 

SPORTSNET 650’s Rick Dhaliwal reports the Vancouver Canucks are considered the front-runners for former Washington Capitals center Jay Beagle. Sources say his new contract could be for three years with an AAV of $2.5 million. The Canucks were also in contact with former NY Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan.