NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 24, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 24, 2022

The aftermath of the Matthew Tkachuk trade plus the latest contract signings and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

SPORTSNET: Eric Francis reports Matthew Tkachuk explained his refusal to sign a long-term contract with the Calgary Flames. At the time, the 24-year-old winger was a restricted free agent who was a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility.

Calgary Flames traded winger Matthew Tkachuk to the Florida Panthers on July 22. (NHL Images).

Tkachuk indicated he knew when he inked his previous contract in 2019 that there was a chance that it would be time to leave when the deal was over. He said there wasn’t any single reason behind his decision.

He explained that he wanted to re-evaluate where he was at that point in his career. The winger stated that he didn’t know what his choice would be until after he spoke with several teams.

His decision forced the club to trade him on Friday night to the Florida Panthers in a multi-player deal that sent winger Jonathan Huberdeau and defenseman MacKenzie Weegar to the Flames. He agreed to an eight-year deal worth $9.5 million per season with the Panthers.

Tkachuk indicated it wasn’t an easy decision, dismissing speculation that he was motivated by the recent departure of former linemate Johnny Gaudreau to the Columbus Blue Jackets. He said he was sad to be leaving Calgary, insisting that he enjoyed living and playing there. He explained why he choose the Panthers, saying he was drawn to their competitiveness and their prospects for success in the future.

CALGARY SUN: Flames general manager Brad Treliving said the offer he received from the Florida Panthers for Matthew Tkachuk was the best deal available “by a long shot.”

Treliving made the trade after Tkachuk informed the Flames that he wasn’t interested in signing a long-term contract. Huberdeau and Weegar are slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer.

The Flames GM said it was important for everyone to take a breather after everything that’s happened before moving on to the next round of challenges. That includes attempting to re-sign Huberdeau and Weegar.

Treliving also he was “pissed off” about the media narrative that suggests Calgary isn’t a good place to live and play for NHL players. He praised the community and defended his club, insisting that it will be competing every year to be a Stanley Cup contender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tkachuk was a restricted free agent and within his rights under the rules of the collective bargaining agreement to determine where he wanted to play. Informing the Flames that he wouldn’t sign beyond the coming season gave him considerable leverage to force a trade wherever he wanted to go.

Treliving got the best deal he could under the circumstances. In the short term, it should keep the Flames competitive for 2022-23 despite the absence of Gaudreau. Whether it works out over the long term depends on whether Huberdeau and Weegar are willing to sign contract extensions.

NHL.COM: The Los Angeles Kings signed forwards Gabriel Vilardi and Jaret Anderson-Dolan to contract extensions. Vilardi’s is a one-year, one-way deal worth an annual average value of $825K. Anderson-Dolan’s is a one-year, two-way deal worth $750K at the NHL level.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins signed center Jack Studnicka to a two-year, two-way contract extension with an average annual salary of $762,500 at the NHL level.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars signed defenseman Will Butcher to a one-year, two-way deal worth an AAV of $750K.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks recently announced new initiatives to help educate the public about the cultures of Native peoples.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 23, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 23, 2022

The Flames trade Matthew Tkachuk to the Panthers in a blockbuster deal, the Blue Jackets re-sign Patrik Laine and trade Oliver Bjorkstrand to the Kraken and Pierre-Luc Dubois signs a one-year deal with the Jets. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

CALGARY SUN/FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: In a blockbuster overnight trade, the Calgary Flames traded winger Matthew Tkachuk and a conditional 2025 fourth-round pick to the Florida Panthers in exchange for winger Jonathan Huberdeau, defenseman MacKenzie Weegar, forward Cole Schwindt and a conditional first-round pick in 2025.

Calgary Flames trade winger Matthew Tkachuk to the Florida Panthers (NHL Images).

The Panthers also signed Tkachuk to an eight-year contract with an average annual value of $9.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I must confess to being surprised by this move. I didn’t expect the Panthers to give up Huberdeau nor did I believe the Flames would acquire two players slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer.

Nevertheless, I admire the willingness of Panthers general manager Bill Zito and Flames GM Brad Treliving for making what’s become a rarity in today’s salary cap world: a major, honest-to-goodness hockey trade.

Zito is getting an impact player in Tkachuk. The 24-year-old winger is a big, elite, agitating forward entering the prime of his career and is five years younger than Huberdeau. He’s coming off a career-best 42-goal, 104-point performance last season.

The Panthers GM also ensured that he got Tkachuk under contract throughout his playing prime. This deal signals the Panthers’ intention to remain among the league’s best teams for a long time.

Tkachuk’s new contract leaves the Panthers sitting $4 million over the $82.5 million salary cap. Florida Hockey Now’s George Richards indicates they’ll free up $3 million by placing winger Anthony Duclair on long-term injury reserve as he continues to recover from an offseason Achilles tendon injury.

Richards also noted that the Panthers are still sitting over the cap by $1 million. They’ll have to shed another salary to become cap compliant when the 2022-23 season opens in October.

Tkachuk recently informed Treliving that he wasn’t going to sign a long-term deal with Calgary. Having lost Johnny Gaudreau to the Columbus Blue Jackets via free agency last week, he couldn’t repeat that mistake with Tkachuk.

The Flames GM got a terrific return from the Panthers. Huberdeau, 29, is coming off a career-best 115-point campaign, tying Gaudreau for second overall among last season’s leading scorers. He’s a gifted playmaker who’s tallied 61-or-more points in each of the last five seasons.

Weegar, 28, has blossomed over the past two years into a mobile top-four defenseman. He had 36 points in 54 games during the COVID-shortened 2020-21 season and 44 points in 80 contests last season.

The 21-year-old Schwindt made his NHL debut last season in three games with the Panthers. A physical, two-way forward who can play center or wing, he had 40 points in 72 games with the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers last season. Treliving also gets himself a lottery-protected first-round pick in 2025. Not a bad haul for Tkachuk.

Treliving isn’t out of the woods yet. He must get Huberdeau and Weegar re-signed or risk suffering the same fate next summer as he did this year with Gaudreau. Still, he’s got enough time and cap space to get something done.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets agreed to a four-year contract with Patrik Laine. The deal is worth an average annual cap hit of $8.7 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Laine is a skilled scoring forward with an impressive shot. However, his production suffered following a career-best 44-goal performance with the Winnipeg Jets in 2017-18.

Laine was limited to second-line duty during his final seasons with the Jets. He struggled to adjust following his trade in 2021 to the Blue Jackets and had to deal with injuries and the death of his father last season.

Nevertheless, Laine was a point-per-game player last season, tallying 56 points in as many games. He could regain his 40-goal form if he meshes well with the recently-acquired Johnny Gaudreau on the Jackets’ top line.

This is an expensive gamble by the Blues Jacket but it could pay off handsomely. Laine and Gaudreau could form a dangerous one-two scoring punch that accelerates the club’s rebuild, putting them squarely among next season’s playoff contenders.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH/THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Blues Jackets traded winger Oliver Bjorkstrand to the Seattle Kraken in exchange for a 2023 third-round pick (via the Flames) and a 2023 fourth-rounder (via the Jets).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a cost-cutting measure by the Blue Jackets. They were above the $82.5 million salary cap by over $6 million after signing Laine.

This move sheds Bjorkstrand’s $5.4 million, leaving the Jackets roughly $900K over the cap. Another move will be necessary before the start of the season to become cap compliant but that could be accomplished by demoting a player to the minors.

This was a savvy move by Kraken GM Ron Francis. He bolstered his club’s scoring punch and all it cost him was a couple of extra mid-level draft picks.

Bjorkstrand should be a fine acquisition for the Kraken. A skillful scoring forward, the 27-year-old winger tallied a career-best 28 goals and 57 points in 80 games with the Blue Jackets last season. He will bring some much-needed depth among their top-six forwards and is under contract through 2025-26.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets signed Pierre-Luc Dubois to a one-year, $6 million contract after he accepted their qualifying offer on Friday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise here given the 24-year-old center’s intention to test the UFA market in 2024. Dubois will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer. He remains a prime trade candidate this summer and has been linked to the Montreal Canadiens.

TSN: The Anaheim Ducks signed three players to contract extensions, including defenseman Urho Vaakanainen. Cap Friendly indicates it’s a two-year deal worth $850K per season.

SPORTSNET: Halifax police are opening an investigation into an alleged group sexual assault said to have taken place in 2003 involving members of Canada’s world junior hockey team.

News of the investigation emerged after Hockey Canada revealed in a statement that it learned of the allegations after being contacted by TSN reporter Rick Westhead. The organization contacted Halifax police and informed Sports Canada.

NHL.COM: The league released a statement saying it is looking into the allegations and will respond accordingly.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Many of the players on that 2003 team went on to NHL careers.

This is the second report of group sexual assault involving members of Canada’s world junior team. The first involved the 2018 squad. The investigation into that has been re-opened after it was revealed Hockey Canada used funding from player registration fees as a slush fund for “uninsured liabilities” such as sexual assault.

The 2018 incident wasn’t a one-off by a bunch of bad apples. This latest report suggests there’s a systemic problem within Hockey Canada that’s gone unchecked for years. Change should and must be made immediately at every level right now to address this cancer within its system.


NHL Rumor Mill – July 22, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 22, 2022

Another list of possible trade destinations for Matthew Tkachuk plus the Blue Jackets are trying to clear cap space for Patrik Laine. Check out the details in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: Mike Johnston included the Florida Panthers, New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators on his list of potential trade destinations for Matthew Tkachuk.

Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk (NHL Images).

The 24-year-old restricted free agent winger is expected to be traded soon after informing the Calgary Flames that he wouldn’t sign a long-term contract with them. Meanwhile, the date for the Flames’ club-filed arbitration hearing with Tkachuk is scheduled for Aug. 11.

Johnston noted that Tkachuk reportedly submitted a list of five or six teams with whom he’d be willing to sign a long-term contract. It’s uncertain which teams are on that list. Johnston also included the St. Louis Blues, Vegas Golden Knights, New Jersey Devils, Nashville Predators, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings and New York Islanders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I already addressed whether the Blues, Golden Knights, Devils, Predators, Stars, Red Wings and Islanders could acquire Tkachuk in the July 21 rumor mill and with The Hockey News. I’ll add that the Predators signing Nino Niederreiter yesterday to a two-year, $8 million contract suggests general manager David Poile isn’t pursuing a big fish like Tkachuk.

Detroit Hockey Now’s Kevin Allen poured cold water on the idea of the Red Wings acquiring Tkachuk. He believes the Flames won’t be interested in Tyler Bertuzzi (a UFA in 2023) as part of the return while Wings GM Steve Yzerman won’t part with promising youngsters like Lucas Raymond and Simon Edvinsson.

Florida Hockey Now’s George Richards believes the Panthers’ limited cap space makes it difficult for them to land Tkachuk. While Richards suggested that could be accomplished by trading Jonathan Huberdeau and perhaps MacKenzie Weegar to the Flames, he doesn’t expect the Flames are interested in players a year away from UFA eligibility.

Larry Brooks of the New York Post shoots down the Rangers as a destination. “They have neither the cap space nor the means to create it,” he writes. “Wishing it so doesn’t make it achievable.”

The Ottawa Senators have the cap space and the depth in young players and prospects to entice the Flames. Matthew might love the idea of playing alongside younger brother Brady in Ottawa through 2028 when the latter becomes an unrestricted free agent.

However, the Senators already acquired a 40-goal scorer in Alex DeBrincat. Their focus now is on adding a top-four defenseman.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty believes the Bruins aren’t really in any position to make a blockbuster move to acquire Tkachuk. The only logical scenario would be a one-for-one swap with David Pastrnak going to Calgary but sources say the Flames wouldn’t be interested in that kind of deal unless Pastrnak signed a contract extension. He also pointed out the Bruins already have two top-six left wingers in Brad Marchand and Taylor Hall.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see the Bruins calling the Flames about Tkachuk. They’re already engaged in extension talks with Pastrnak and reportedly still talking contracts with Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy considers it extremely unlikely that the Montreal Canadiens will be among the suitors for Tkachuk. Lack of cap space and the Flames’ anticipated high asking price take them out of the equation.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not to mention the Canadiens probably aren’t on Tkachuk’s wish list.


THE ATHLETIC’S Aaron Portzline tweeted yesterday that Columbus Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine has until 5 pm ET on July 22 to accept his qualifying offer. If he does, the Jackets can still sign him to a contract extension but they’d have to wait until Jan. 1 to do so.

The Blue Jackets are actively trying to shed salary to make room for Laine’s new contract in the aftermath of signing Johnny Gaudreau last week. If the winger doesn’t accept the qualifying offer, his agent and the Jackets can continue to negotiate a long-term deal, allowing the club more time to shed salary

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I touched on the Blue Jackets’ need to clear cap space for Laine earlier this week with The Hockey News. My guess is they’ll try moving veteran winger Gustav Nyquist and his $5.5 million cap hit.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 22, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 22, 2022

The list of arbitration dates is released, the Penguins re-sign Kasperi Kapanen, the Predators sign Nino Niederreiter and the Sharks name David Quinn as head coach. Get the details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHLPA.COM: The list of salary arbitration hearing dates has been released:

July 27
Isac Lundestrom (Anaheim Ducks)

July 29
Jesse Puljujarvi (Edmonton Oilers)

July 30
Matthew Phillips (Calgary Flames)

August 1
Mathieu Joseph (Ottawa Senators)
Steven Lorentz (San Jose Sharks)

August 2
Yakov Trenin (Nashville Predators)

August 3
Jesper Bratt (New Jersey Devils)

August 5
Andrew Mangiapane (Calgary Flames)

August 6
Miles Wood (New Jersey Devils)

August 7
Kailer Yamamoto (Edmonton Oilers)

August 8
Ethan Bear (Carolina Hurricanes)
Lawson Crouse (Arizona Coyotes)
Zack MacEwen (Philadelphia Flyers)

August 9
Maxime Lajoie (Carolina Hurricanes)

August 10
Keegan Kolesar (Vegas Golden Knights)
Oliver Kylington (Calgary Flames)

August 11
Mason Appleton (Winnipeg Jets)
Morgan Geekie (Seattle Kraken)
Tyce Thompson (New Jersey Devils)
Matthew Tkachuk (Calgary Flames)
Jake Walman (Detroit Red Wings)
Pavel Zacha (Boston Bruins)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tkachuk’s hearing being held on the final day of the arbitration schedule provides the Flames with some time to work out a trade for the restricted free agent. He recently informed them that he wasn’t interested in signing a long-term contract, sparking reports claiming a trade was imminent.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen (NHL Images).

Clubs with an interest in Tkachuk will want assurances he’ll sign a long-term deal with them. Depending on when he’s traded, the Aug. 11 arbitration date could give his new team some wiggle room to hash out the details of a new contract with him.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins avoided salary arbitration with Kasperi Kapanen by signing the restricted free agent winger to a two-year contract with an average annual value of $3.2 million. Kapanen, 26, was slated for an arbitration hearing on July 30.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kapanen’s getting the same AAV as he was on his previous contract. This signing puzzled some Penguins followers given the winger’s disappointing performance last season and the frequency he surfaced in the rumor mill.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators signed winger Nino Niederreiter to a two-year, $8 million contract. The average annual value is $4 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators needed secondary scoring depth. Niederreiter, 29, has tallied 20-plus goals six times in his 11-season NHL career. He took a pay cut to go to Nashville down from $5.25 million per season on his previous deal.

This move should put to rest recent speculation suggesting Predators general manager David Poile would pursue a big-ticket scorer such as Matthew Tkachuk via trade or center Nazem Kadri through free agency. With $4 million in cap space and 21 players under contract for 2022-23, it appears that Poile has made his significant roster additions for this summer.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: The Sharks have hired David Quinn as their new head coach. Quinn was head coach of the New York Rangers from 2018-19 to 2020-21.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: J.T. Miller’s agent reveals there haven’t been any contract talks with the Canucks since the 2022 NHL Draft two weeks ago.

Brian Bartlett said previous discussions were amicable but the two sides aren’t particularly close to a deal, nor does he believe a trade is imminent. He said his client likes playing in Vancouver and is open to signing a contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks management could be taking a breather after a busy two weeks involving the draft and free agency. With Miller under contract for the coming season, both sides have plenty of time to continue contract talks.

PHILADELPHIA HOCKEY NOW: Carter Hart’s attorney said his client was not involved in the sex scandal involving players from Canada’s 2018 world junior team. A woman has accused eight players from that team of sexually assaulting her during a Hockey Canada gala and golf tournament in 2018.

TSN: The Winnipeg Jets named Brad Lauer and Marty Johnston as assistant coaches.

NHL Rumor Mill – July 21, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 21, 2022

What are some possible trade destinations for Matthew Tkachuk? What’s the latest on Patrick Kane, Nazem Kadri and Samuel Girard? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: In the wake of yesterday’s report regarding Matthew Tkachuk’s decision not to sign a long-term extension with the Calgary Flames, Hailey Salvian and Sean Gentille examined several possible trade destinations. It’s based in part on a list of teams with whom he would agree to sign a contract extension.

Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk (NHL Images).

The St. Louis Blues are often mentioned as the top destination for Tkachuk because he grew up in St. Louis and his family still lives there. Others include the Nashville Predators, Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, Vegas Golden Knights and Dallas Stars.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Salvian and Gentille examined the pros and cons of each club. I’m going to offer up my brief take on each.

Before I begin, I believe the Flames aren’t looking to rebuild. They’ll seek a return that helps them remain a playoff contender in the coming season as well as for several seasons afterward. They’ll want at least one good young NHL player as part of a package deal that could also include a first-round pick and/or a top prospect.

Cap space is also important. Tkachuk will command over $9 million annually on his next contract. Some of the aforementioned teams lack the cap room to pull it off unless they’re sending a couple of salaried players to the Flames or making a cost-cutting move with another club to free up sufficient space to re-sign him.

The Blues are bumping against the $82.5 million cap. It could cost them winger Jordan Kyrou as part of the return. And no, I don’t see the Flames accepting Vladimir Tarasenko, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He’s also older (30) and might not waive his no-trade clause.

After re-signing Filip Forsberg, the Predators have three forwards each earning at least $8 million annually on long-term deals. General manager David Poile could be reluctant to add a fourth. I don’t think they have a suitable young player to tempt the Flames. Sophomore Philip Tomasino has potential but he’s yet to fully display it.

The Red Wings have the cap space and plenty of promising youngsters to entice the Flames. However, I don’t see Wings GM Steve Yzerman parting with Lucas Raymond and he’s definitely not giving up Calder Trophy winner Moritz Seider. I also don’t consider Jakub Vrana or Tyler Bertuzzi (a UFA next summer) as centerpiece players for the Flames.

Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello needs a scoring winger to skate alongside playmaking center Mathew Barzal. However, the Flames could ask for Barzal in return. NYI Hockey Now’s Stefen Rosner points out the Isles lack prospect depth. He also shot down the notion of the Flames having an interest in forwards such as Anthony Beauvillier or Kieffer Bellows.

The Vegas Golden Knights love to make blockbuster moves. However, they’re over the cap already and I don’t see the Flames having any interest in William Karlsson or Jonathan Marchessault as part of the return. They recently had to move Max Pacioretty and Evgenii Dadonov in cost-cutting deals to remain cap compliant.

If the Stars want Tkachuk, they must part with rising star Jason Robertson. They also have $11 million in cap space with restricted free agent goaltender Jake Oettinger to re-sign. They need offense but I think GM Jim Nill will stick with the more affordable Robertson.

I think the Devils are the best fit. Winger Jesper Bratt could be a good return though he recently filed for salary arbitration. If he’s willing to accept a long-term deal from the Flames, there could be a deal there. The Flames would probably have an interest in a prospect such as Luke Hughes, Simon Nemec or Alexander Holtz as part of the return.


TSN’s Darren Dreger tweeted he’s checked into recent trade speculation regarding Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane. He said the winger’s camp remains undecided on his future so everything at this point is speculative.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater reports former Avalanche center Nazem Kadri has offers on the table from several clubs but they’re either teams he doesn’t want to play for due to location, they lack contender status or both. Maybe a team or two that he wouldn’t mind playing for and would like to have him lacks the cap space to sign him.

Dater believes Kadri would love to return with the Avalanche but doesn’t think their offer is what the center hoped for. He puts the odds of Kadri returning to Colorado at 30-70 or maybe 20-80.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve heard that Kadri was waiting for teams that had an interest in him to clear cap space to sign him. Whatever’s behind the holdup in signing him, it appears he might have to accept less than he hoped to get. He’ll still receive more than the $4.5 million AAV of his previous contract, but it probably won’t be anywhere near the $8 million per season that some observers predicted he’d get.

Dater also tweeted he’s not hearing that the Avs are shopping Samuel Girard. “Things can always change but I believe he’s staying.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Girard and his $5 million AAV came up as a trade option if the Avs wanted to shed salary to make room for Kadri.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 21, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 21, 2022

Matthew Tkachuk expected to be traded after telling the Flames he won’t sign a long-term extension. Check out the latest plus updates on J.T. Miller, Alex Ovechkin, Carey Price and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

SPORTSNET: The Calgary Flames are expected to trade Matthew Tkachuk “imminently” after he informed management that he doesn’t intend to sign a long-term extension. On Monday, the Flames filed for club-elected salary arbitration to make the 24-year-old winger ineligible to receive an offer sheet from a rival club.

Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk (NHL Images).

The move buys the Flames some time to work out either a sign-and-trade deal or trading Tkachuk’s rights to another club. Arbitration hearings begin July 27 and run through Aug. 11 but a date for his hearing has not yet been set.

Tkachuk will become the second major star to leave the Flames this summer. Johnny Gaudreau last week stunned the hockey world by signing with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As a restricted free agent, Tkachuk lacks no-trade protection. However, The Athletic reported he has provided the Flames with a list of preferred trade destinations with whom he would agree to a long-term extension.

A source told The Athletic those teams included the St. Louis Blues, Vegas Golden Knights, Nashville Predators, Dallas Stars, New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers. However, Sportsnet’s Eric Francis reports the “alleged list” is not accurate.

The Calgary Sun’s Wes Gilbertson believes would-be suitors will seek permission from the Flames to speak with Tkachuk’s agent about a new contract before any trade is finalized. I’ll have more on possible trade destinations for Tkachuk in the Rumor Mill.

TSN: The agent for J.T. Miller believes there’s a realistic path toward a contract extension for his client with the Vancouver Canucks. The 29-year-old center earns an average annual value of $5.2 million on his current deal. He’s slated to become a UFA next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller’s free-agent status in 2023 and the Canucks rebuilding process made him the frequent subject of ongoing trade speculation. I daresay that path is a pay raise worth between $8 million and $9 million per season due to his career-best 99-point performance last season. Whether that’s a path the Canucks wish to go down remains to be seen.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: The Capitals have no concerns about Alex Ovechkin and Dmitry Orlov being allowed to return from Russia to rejoin the club in the coming season. Russian law dictates men between the ages of 18-27 must serve one year in the military. Ovechkin is 37 and Orlov 31.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those concerns arose due to Philadelphia Flyers prospect Ivan Fedotov being detained and deployed to a Russian naval base while Minnesota Wild star Kirill Kaprizov faces allegations of draft dodging. However, other Russian players of military age, such as the New York Islanders’ Alexander Romanov and the Vancouver Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev, are back in North America to begin training for the upcoming season.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former Canadiens goaltending coach Stephane Waite expects Carey Price will be ready to return to the net for 2022-23. The 34-year-old netminder continues to receive treatment to address complications arising from last summer’s knee surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll believe it when I see Price suited up for the Canadiens’ season-opener on Oct. 12.

SPORTSNET: Hockey Canada said in a statement that its National Equity Fund will “no longer be used to settle sexual assault claims,” effectively immediately. An investigation by The Globe & Mail revealed those funds came from revenue from hockey registration fees.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Well, that’s a relief…yes, I’m being sarcastic. The fact that the people running Hockey Canada thought it was a good idea to settle sexual assault claims by using funds drawn from money that parents paid to put their kids in hockey says all we need to know about their character and competence.

Speaking of Hockey Canada, their executives along with the president of the Canadian Hockey League will be back in Ottawa next week to answer questions from members of parliament over the organization’s handling of a sexual assault allegation involving eight members of Canada’s 2018 world junior team and the out-of-court settlement earlier this year. Public outrage over the investigation and settlement prompted the investigation to be reopened.

TSN: Anaheim Ducks forward Maxime Comtois is the latest member of Canada’s 2018 world junior team to issue a statement denying involvement in that alleged sexual assault of a young woman in 2018.

THE TENNESSEAN: The agent for Nashville Predators defenseman Dante Fabbro said his client was not involved in that incident and knew nothing about it. He added that Fabbro fully complied with the initial investigation and will continue doing so in any forthcoming investigations.

CBC EDMONTON: Oilers owner Daryl Katz has been accused in a civil suit of paying $75,000 to a teenage ballet dancer for her “sexual favors.” The unproven allegations are in response to a sexual abuse lawsuit filed against a dance teacher and his wife.

Katz’s lawyer said his client never engaged in a sexual relationship with the young woman and intends to vigorously defend his reputation against the “baseless and scurrilous” claims in the lawsuit. He said the money Katz arranged to be sent to her was funding for a film project, calling the allegation “a distraction and a shakedown.”

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Former Bruins defenseman John Gruden has been named as their new assistant coach. He spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach with the New York Islanders.