NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 30, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 30, 2018

Kings and Doughty agree to a new contract, Jets ship Mason and Armia to Montreal, Capitals re-sign Kempny and promote  Reirden to head coach, Devils hire Fletcher & and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings announced Friday evening they’ve reached agreement on terms for a new contract with defenseman Drew Doughty. It will be an eight-year extension reportedly worth an annual average value of $11 million. Doughty, 28, is a four-time Norris Trophy finalist as the NHL’s top blueliner, winning the award in 2016. He has a year remaining on his current contract.

Los Angeles Kings re-sign defenseman Drew Doughty to an eight-year contract extension (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Doughty can’t officially sign his new contract until July 1, but this is essentially a done deal. Kings insider John Hoven reports it looks like his new contract contains the same movement clause as Anze Kopitar, meaning he’ll get a full no-movement clause in the first four years and a modified no-trade over the final four seasons. 

The new contract will make him the NHL’s highest-paid defenseman, exceeding Nashville’s P.K. Subban’s cap hit by $2 million annually, which is what he said he wanted back in November. The Kings had little choice but to pay big bucks to retain Doughty, who’s among the league’s elite defensemen and an irreplaceable core player. The problem for the Kings, however, is they’ll soon have a lot of money tied up in over-30 players. 


Doughty’s new contract will obviously become the comparable for Ottawa Senators’ captain Erik Karlsson, a two-time Norris winner and four-time finalist who’s a year away from becoming an unrestricted free agent.. Whether he gets that much from the Senators or someone else remains to be seen. 


SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like the Jets are clearing cap room to re-sign Paul Stastny. As for the Habs, Armia’s a decent depth addition but I wonder if the acquisition of Mason means he’s being flipped elsewhere or perhaps he’ll be Carey Price’s backup and recently re-signed Antti Niemi is being dealt or demoted. 

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: As expected, the Washington Capitals promoted assistant coach Todd Reirden.

WASHINGTON POST: The Capitals also re-signed defenseman Michal Kempny to a four-year, $10-million contract. The annual average value is $2.5 million. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a significant raise for Kempny, who’s coming off a one-year, $900K contract. Acquired in February from Chicago, Kempny became a big addition to the Capitals defense corps, eventually earning first-pairing minutes during their run to the Stanley Cup this spring. Cap Friendly indicates the Capitals now have over $69 million invested in 18 players. 

NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils hired former Minnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher as a senior adviser to GM Ray Shero. 




NHL Rumor Mill – June 26, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – June 26, 2018

John Tavares begins meeting with other clubs, plus updates on Max Pacioretty, Artemi Panarin, Jeff Skinner and more in your NHL rumor mill.

New York Islanders center John Tavares continues his discussions with rival clubs this week in Los Angeles (Photo via NHL.com)


NEWSDAY: Andrew Gross reports New York Islanders center John Tavares met with representatives from the Toronto Maple Leafs yesterday afternoon at his agent’s office in Los Angeles. “The San Jose Sharks have a meeting scheduled for Tuesday. By Wednesday, the Dallas Stars, Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins will also make their pitch. Other teams may still press to be scheduled,” said Gross, who notes the Islanders will also continue to negotiate with Tavares.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Nashville Predators and Vegas Golden Knights are among the clubs in a “holding pattern” waiting to see if Tavares will agree to meet with them. He speculates over the possibility of one of the teams currently in the mix asking Tavares if he’ll accept an “enormous short-term deal to see if he can win with a loaded roster before other players have to be rewarded.” Such a deal would allow him another opportunity for a major UFA payday.

THE ATHLETIC: If the Lightning are able to land Tavares, Pierre LeBrun believes they would have to trade out a significant player or two to clear sufficient cap space.

LeBrun’s colleague Arthur Staple reports the Isles are also attending to other contract business while their focus is on re-signing Tavares. They’re interested in re-signing UFA defenseman Calvin de Haan and are among 10 teams expressing interest in the blueliner. The Isles aren’t believed among the clubs looking at Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson.

They’ve also contacted the agent for St. Louis Blues goaltender Carter Hutton. Staple said they have little interest in trading for Detroit Red Wing goalie Jimmy Howard. Soon-to-be former Buffalo Sabres netminder Robin Lehner is too much of a wild card. Possible free-agent options could include Philadelphia’s Petr Mrazek or Colorado’s Jonathan Bernier.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like the wooing of Tavares could last up to Wednesday at least, though I wouldn’t be surprised if it stretches to Thursday or Friday if he doesn’t receive enough tempting offers. The fact the Islanders are still discussing contract with his reps indicates they’re still very much in the game and could be willing to match or exceed the best offers. They also have the advantage of being able to offer up an eight-year deal, whereas the others can only offer seven. Tavares could surprise us by taking a one- or two-year deal for a league maximum of $15.9-million per season but I think he’s seeking long-term security.

As for the Isles possible goalie options, I think they’ll push hard for Hutton. Bernier would be a better option than the wildly inconsistent Mrazek. 


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Montreal Canadiens went to left wing Max Pacioretty with a trade offer from the Los Angeles Kings sometime before the start of the second round of the recent 2018 NHL Draft. The offer included a contract extension, but Pacioretty reject it and instead changed agents on Saturday. Friedman still thinks Pacioretty wouldn’t mind playing for the Kings but would like to make up some of the money he left on the table on his current contract, which the Kings can’t afford right now.

There was also talk Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin was part of the proposed offer for Pacioretty but that was denied. The Canadiens are also believed to have interest in Carolina Hurricanes center Victor Rask.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m expecting Pacioretty will be traded soon. Perhaps it’ll be to the Kings, though that seems unlikely now. I can see the Sharks expressing interest if they lose out in the Tavares sweepstakes. 

The St. Louis Blues are believed to have interest in Buffalo Sabres’ center Ryan O’Reilly. Friedman believes the Blues might want to include forward Vladimir Sobotka as part of the package. He also thinks the San Jose Sharks could come calling on O’Reilly if they lose out in the bidding for John Tavares. The Sabres could be interested in Blues pending UFA goalie Carter Hutton.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The O’Reilly trade chatter seems to have cooled since the draft weekend. The Sabres have likely set a high asking price for the center that interested parties seem unwilling to meet right now. Perhaps that changes once the Tavares watch has ended. 

Carolina Hurricanes left wing Jeff Skinner, who has a full no-movement clause, has provided the club with a small list of preferred trade destinations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word on those destinations. The Pittsburgh Penguins are rumored to be trying to acquire him. 

The San Jose Sharks are believed close to contract extensions with center Logan Couture and winger Tomas Hertl.

If the Winnipeg Jets hope to re-sign Paul Stastny, Friedman feels they should try to move goaltender Steve Mason’s contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Friedman notes, they’ll have to include a draft pick or prospect as a sweetener if they hope to move that final year (at $4.1 million) of Mason’s contract. 

The Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks could be looking at Minnesota Wild restricted free agent forward Jason Zucker.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Wild under new management, Zucker could be dealt if the two sides are unable to reach agreement on a new contract. 


THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports the Columbus Blue Jackets have received plenty of offers for left wing Artemi Panarin, who last week indicated he wasn’t prepared to discuss a contract extension at this time. However, they intend to remain patient with him. There were rumblings Panarin preferred to play in a big market such as Los Angeles, New York or Florida but his agent said his client doesn’t have a list of destinations.

If the Jackets do trade Panarin, Portzline said they’ll want one or two established player who can impact the roster next season. “Likely, the only trade partners who would take part in a “today” trade are the franchises that believe they could sign him to a long-term deal. So far, none of the offers from those clubs could be deemed a “today” trade,” writes Portzline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s also important to remember Panarin last week told the Jackets he’d be willing to open contract discussions in the fall. Unless they get an offer from him that blows their socks off, they’ll likely hang onto him and see what they can work out contract-wise in the fall. 

TSN: Darren Dreger reports Boston Bruins pending UFA winger Rick Nash has drawn interest from five clubs.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: With the Chicago Blackhawks not offering a qualifying offer for winger (and Laval native) Anthony Duclair, Pat Hickey wonders if he could be “coming home” to join the Montreal Canadiens and play alongside good friend and former Coyotes teammate Max Domi.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hickey seems to be spit-balling here, as there’s no indication the Canadiens are interested. Still, one has to wonder if they’ll consider it. He’d be an affordable option on a one-year “show me” contract. 

BOSTON HERALD:  Steve Conroy reports Bruins backup goalie Anton Khudobin intends to test the UFA market. The two sides could circle back to each other.

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo report sources say Minnesota Wild GM Paul Fenton  recently requested updated no-trade lists from center Eric Staal, defenseman Jared Spurgeon and goaltender Devan Dubnyk. It’s believed this was merely a formality on Fenton’s part.




What Next For The Winnipeg Jets?

What Next For The Winnipeg Jets?

Despite being ousted in the 2018 Western Conference Final, the Winnipeg Jets appear to have a bright future. However, they also face some significant offseason decisions. Check out the latest in your NHL rumor mill.

ESPN.COM: Re-signing restricted free agents such as goaltender Connor Hellebuyck and defensemen Jacob Trouba and Josh Morrissey, as well as inking young winger Patrik Laine to a contract extension, are among Emily Kaplan’s offseason keys for the Winnipeg Jets.

Center Paul Stastny hasn’t rule out re-signing with the Winnipeg Jets, but it remains to be seen if they can afford to keep him (Photo via NHL Images)

Hellebucyk had a stellar season, becoming a finalist for the 2018 Vezina Trophy. Laine, who can be signed to an extension on July 1, could exceed Mark Scheifele’s $6.125 million annual average value. Trouba and Morrissey should be invaluable pieces of their blueline for years.

General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff likely also wants to retain RFAs such as Joel Armia, Adam Lowry, Joe Morrow and Brandon Tanev. He could also face some tough decisions regarding pending unrestricted free agents Paul Stastny and Toby Enstrom.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien noted the Jets will be challenged in the coming years by their Central Division rivals. They must continue to cultivate what O’Brien calls their “robust bounty of talented players.”

Re-signing Hellebuyck and Trouba this summer will be expensive, as will Laine and rookie Kyle Connor by next summer. Captain Blake Wheeler is also a year away from UFA status and could seek a significant raise, though he’ll be 33 when his next contract kicks in. O’Brien also wonders if Cheveldayoff might try moving backup goalie Steve Mason and his $4.1-million cap hit.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jason Bell reports center Paul Stastny, an unrestricted free agent on July 1, is open to returning with the Jets. “There is always a possibility. I have no regrets,” said Stastny. “Probably the best decision I ever made was this one. It made the game that much more fun again.” The Jets gave up a first-round pick and a prospect to the St. Louis Blues at the trade deadline to acquire Stastny, who waived his no-trade clause to go to Winnipeg. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin wonders if there’s any way the Jets can retain Stastny. If he wants to return, Cheveldayoff could find it difficult coming up with sufficient salary-cap room to re-sign him. Stastny could be in high demand in this summer’s UFA market. Unless Cheveldayoff gets creative, Larkin doubts the Jets GM will have enough cap room left to retain Stastny. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In a recent Featurd.io piece, I also explored the difficulty the Jets could face maintaining a contender.

They’ve never before dealt with the difficulty of maintaining a Stanley Cup contender. They’re about to find out how hard it can be. How Cheveldayoff manages this will determine how long the Jets’ championship window remains open. As long as those good young RFAs continue to improve, the Jets could maintain a deep roster for a while. At some point in the near future, however, salary-cap restrictions will be felt. 

Cap Friendly indicates the Jets have over $55 million invested in 15 players for 2018-19. Assuming the cap ceiling reaches $80 million as projected, Cheveldayoff will have around $25 million to work with. Most of that, however, will be taken up by re-signing Hellebuyck, Trouba, and Morrissey, as well as most of their depth RFAs. That means bidding farewell to Stastny and Enstrom this summer. 

Re-signing Laine, Connor and Wheeler will take big bites of their 2019-20 cap space. Defenseman Tyler Myers, who’s also a UFA next July, could become a cap casualty. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 7, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 7, 2018

Game recaps, injury updates and Jonathan Cheechoo retires in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: A five-point performance by Brad Marchand powered the Boston Bruins to 6-5 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Marchand tallied a hat trick, including the game winner in overtime. Bruins defenseman Torey Krug had four points, including two goals, as did Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha. Earlier in the day, the Bruins learned defenseman Charlie McAvoy will be sidelined at least four weeks with a sprained left knee. 

Taylor Hall extended his points streak to 26 games with two assists as the New Jersey Devils downed the Montreal Canadiens 6-4. Travis Zajac scored twice for the Devils, while Jacob de la Rose had two goals for the Canadiens. 

Patrick Laine scored all three goals as the Winnipeg Jets blanked the New York Rangers 3-0. (Photo via NHL Images)

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Steve Mason turned in a 31-save shutout in his first game since Jan. 9 as the Winnipeg Jets blanked the New York Rangers 3-0. Winger Patrik Laine had the natural hat trick, but center Mark Scheifele left the game in the second period with a possible collarbone injury

The Vegas Golden Knights suffered their fourth defeat in five games, falling 4-1 to the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Golden Knights also lost winger Reilly Smith to a possible upper-body injury. Artemi Panarin scored a goal and set up two others for the Jackets (73 points), who hold a two-point lead over the Florida Panthers for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Updates on Scheifele and Smith could come later today. 

Brayden Point’s overtime goal lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-4 victory over the Florida Panthers. Nick Bjugstad had a hat trick for the Panthers, while the Lightning’s Yanni Gourde tallied twice.

The Nashville Predators set a franchise record with their ninth consecutive victory as they blanked the Dallas Stars 2-0. Pekka Rinne made 26 saves for the shutout while Ryan Hartman and Nick Bonino scored the only goals. 

Four goals within 3:28 in the second period gave the Minnesota Wild a 6-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. The flurry set a franchise record for the fastest four goals. 

Jonathan Toews scored in overtime as the Chicago Blackhawks edged the Colorado Avalanche 2-1. The Avalanche collected a point to remain tied with the Los Angeles Kings (77 points) in the Western Conference wild-card race. The Kings hold the edge with one additional victory. Earlier in the day, the Blackhawks announced the signing of defenseman Erik Gustafsson to a two-year, $2.4-million contract extension. 

Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson had a 36-save shutout effort in a 4-0 win over the Washington Capitals. Rickard Rakell and Adam Henrique each had a goal and an assist. 

VANCOUVER SUN: Canucks rookie star Brock Boeser will miss the remainder of the regular season with a small fracture to his lower back. He’s expected to make a full recovery but it will take four-to-six weeks. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thankfully the injury wasn’t more serious. Boeser is a shoo-in as a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL rookie of the year. He has a bright future ahead of him. 

THE ATHLETIC: Don’t expect the St. Louis Blues to buy out the final season of defenseman Jay Bouwmeester’s contract. The blueliner will soon undergo season-ending hip surgery, sidelining him for up to six months. The buyout period is June 15-30. 

TORONTO STAR: NHL general managers are expected to discuss the league’s goaltender interference rule during their meetings later this month in Florida. Inconsistency over how the rule is interpreted and enforced has generated growing complaints among the players and coaches. 

NBC SPORTS: Former San Jose Sharks winger Jonathan Cheechoo has announced his retirement as a professional player after 17 seasons in the NHL, AHL and KHL. Cheechoo’s best season came in 2005-06, becoming the first (and only) Sharks player to tally 50 goals (56) and winning the Maurice Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goal scorer. In 501 NHL games (440 with the Sharks), he had 170 goals and 305 points, along with 16 goals and 35 points in 59 playoff contests. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cheechoo had four straight seasons with 23-or-more goals between 2003-04 and 2007-08, but he was never the same following double sports-hernia surgery. Best wishes to Cheechoo in his future endeavors. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 5, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 5, 2018

Game recaps, injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines

Filip Forsberg’s overtime goal gave the Nashville Predators a 4-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche (Photo via NHL Images)

  NHL.COM: The Nashville Predators tied a franchise record with their eighth straight win by edging the Colorado Avalanche 4-3. Filip Forsberg tallied the winner in overtime and teammate Ryan Ellis scored a goal and added two assists. The Preds (93 points) hold a four-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights for top spot in the Western Conference, one behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for first overall.

Evgenii Dadonov scored twice to lead the Florida Panthers to a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. The Panthers (70 points) have won six straight and sit one point out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, a former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student, hosted the school’s hockey team.  

Anaheim Ducks forwards Jakob Silfverberg and Corey Perry each scored twice in a 6-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Nick Schmaltz also tallied two goals for the Blackhawks. 

New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall extended his points streak to 18 games as his club dropped a 3-2 decision to the Vegas Golden Knights. Tomas Tatar scored his first goal for Vegas since being dealt to the Golden Knights last Monday by the Detroit Red Wings. 

A brawl between Minnesota Wild rookie Nick Seeler and Detroit Red Wings tough guy Luke Witkowski sparked the Wild to a 4-1 win. Minnesota winger Jason Zucker scored two goals. 

Patrik Laine scored twice and set up another as the Winnipeg Jets nipped the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2. Paul Stastny had his second two-point game in three contests since joining the Jets at the trade deadline. 

Sergei Bobrovsky made 33 saves and Artemi Panarin had two goals as the Columbus Blue Jackets doubled up the San Jose Sharks 4-2. The win vaulted the Jackets (71 points) over the Florida Panthers into the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Vancouver Canucks head coach Travis Green said winger Sven Baertschi has a separated shoulder and is likely finished for the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Baertschi also missed 11 games with a fractured jaw. Had he had a healthier season, he would’ve reached 20 goals and 40 points for the first time in his career. 

LA PRESSE: The Montreal Canadiens have remained silent so far regarding the condition of forward Max Pacioretty and defenseman Victor Mete. Both were injured during Friday’s 6-3 win over the New York Islanders.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS:  Jets goaltender Steve Mason is expected to rejoin the lineup today. He was sidelined on Jan. 12 with a concussion. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 20, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 20, 2018

Game recaps plus updates on Kevin Shattenkirk, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nino Niederreiter and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

Aaron Ekblad’s overtime goal lifted the Florida Panthers to a 4-3 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights (Photo via NHL Images).

 NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers spoiled the return of former coach Gerard Gallant by defeating the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3. It was Gallant’s first game at the BB&T Center since the Panthers fired him in November 2016. Aaron Ekblad scored the winner in overtime while teammate Aleksander Barkov collected three points. Before the game, the Panthers honored former owner H. Wayne Huizenga. 

Ryan Kesler’s third-period goal lifted the Anaheim Ducks to a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings, handing the latter their sixth consecutive defeat. Kings winger Dustin Brown received a $10,000.00 fine for cross-checking Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz during Thursday’s game between the two clubs. Penguins center Evgeni Malkin also received a $5000.00 fine for spearing Brown. 

Two goals by Max Pacioretty gave the Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals, snapping the Habs three-game losing skid. 

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Rangers defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk is sidelined indefinitely as he’ll undergo surgery on Monday to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. He had been playing with the injury since the start of the regular season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That would explain why Shattenkirk hasn’t played as well as expected in his first season with the Rangers. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Turns out Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is more seriously hurt than originally believed. He’ll be sidelined five-to-six weeks with cracked ribs suffered against the Golden Knights on Jan. 13.  

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets goaltender Steve Mason suffered his second concussion of the season after being struck with a high shot during a morning skate on Jan. 12.  

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild winger Nino Niederreiter (lower-body injury) will be sidelined until after the All-Star break. 

TSN: The Seattle Group pursuing an NHL franchise has registered 13 potential team names. They are the “Cougars, Eagles, Emeralds, Evergreens, Firebirds, Kraken, Rainiers, Renegades, Sea Lions, Seals, Sockeyes, Totems and Whales.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’d go with Rainiers or Totems as I think they best evoke the Pacific Northwest. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: “Red Fisher, the chronicler and the conscience of Montreal hockey whose career touched seven decades, died on Friday at age 91.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Fisher’s family, friends and former coworkers. He was my favorite hockey pundit and an inspiration. Fisher was unquestionably one of the finest reporters ever to cover the game of hockey. You can read examples of his work here