NHL Morning Coffee Headlines -May 10, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines -May 10, 2023

The Hurricanes take a commanding lead in their series with the Devils, the Stars tie their series with the Kraken and Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog to miss next season. Details and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes have a stranglehold on their second-round series with the New Jersey Devils following a 6-1 victory in Game 4 on Tuesday. Martin Necas scored two goals and Jordan Martinook collected three points as the Hurricanes hold a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Jack Hughes scored for the Devils. The Hurricanes can wrap things up on home ice in Game 5 on Thursday.

Carolina Hurricanes forward Jordan Martinook (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils got off to a fast start as Hughes opened the scoring less than two minutes into the game. However, the Hurricanes tied it before the end of the first period and romped to victory with a five-goal second period. The Devils just fell apart in that period and had no pushback in the third as they were completely dominated by the more experienced Hurricanes.

This was Martinook’s franchise-record fourth straight multi-point playoff game. He went scoreless during the Hurricanes’ first-round series with the New York Islanders. With nine points, Martinook moves past Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl for the most points in the second round of this year’s playoffs.

Hurricanes goaltender Antti Raanta skated with his teammates in practice yesterday but sat out Game 4 as he’s still recovering from an illness. Meanwhile, Devils defenseman Ryan Graves missed his second-straight game with an upper-body injury.

The Dallas Stars tied their series with the Seattle Kraken at two games apiece with a 6-3 win in Game 4. Max Domi scored twice and collected an assist while Joel Pavelski tallied his sixth goal in this series. Jaden Schwartz tallied two goals for the Kraken while goalie Philipp Grubauer got the hook after giving up five goals on 22 shots. Game 5 goes Thursday night in Dallas.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen was in the lineup and show no ill effects from taking a puck to the face in Game 3. Kraken winger Jared McCann returned to action after being sidelined by an upper-body injury in Game 4 of their first-round series with the Colorado Avalanche.

There was some controversy when Domi made it 3-0 in the second as the Kraken believed Grubauer had been interfered with by Jamie Benn. Their coach’s challenge, however, failed to overturn the goal.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Arizona Coyotes winger Clayton Keller, Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang and Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock are this season’s finalists for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.

Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, Dallas Stars winger Jason Robertson, Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov, New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes, Ottawa Senators winger Brady Tkachuk, Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin and Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson are among the 32 finalists for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog is expected to miss the entirety of the 2023-24 season. He undergoes surgery today (May 10) as he’ll undergo a cartilage transplant in his right knee. Landeskog hasn’t played since helping the Avalanche win the Stanley Cup last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: By the sound of things, there’s no certainty that Landeskog will fully recover to the point where he’ll be able to play hockey again. Here’s hoping the surgery goes well and he makes a full recovery.

THE DENVER POST: Avalanche general manager Chris MacFarland remains hopeful that Valeri Nichushkin will remain part of the club’s future. However, he offered no update as the winger’s status.

Nichushkin was sent back to Colorado for “personal reasons” following an incident in Seattle prior to Game 3 of their first-round series with the Kraken. A woman was found in his hotel room so intoxicated that a team doctor called an ambulance to take her to a hospital.

There is no criminal investigation involving the winger and he’s not facing discipline from the Avalanche. However, neither he nor the club are commenting on the situation.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud spoke with ESPN anchor Jon Anderson and accepted the latter’s apology after Anderson joked on air that the blueliner’s last name was a good name for toilet paper. Whitecloud was born in Manitoba and grew up in the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers winger Zach Hyman appears questionable for Game 4 tonight against the Golden Knights. He was not part of the club’s full practice yesterday after taking a shot off his right knee/thigh area in Game 3.

TORONTO STAR: Joseph Woll will get the start for the Maple Leafs in Game 4 tonight against the Florida Panthers. Ilya Samsonov remains sidelined with an upper-body injury suffered during Game 3 on Sunday. Matt Murray will serve as Woll’s backup. The Leafs face elimination tonight down 0-3 to the Panthers.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Season ticket sales are booming for the Blackhawks after they won the 2023 draft lottery. They’re expected to use that pick to select top prospect Connor Bedard during the first round of the draft on June 28. The Hawks sold $5.2 million worth of new season ticket packages within 12 hours of winning the lottery.

CALGARY SUN: Flames forward Tyler Toffoli was named captain of Team Canada in the upcoming IIHF World Championship.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Flames, MacKenzie Weegar said Mikael Backlund occasionally clashed with former head coach Darryl Sutter. Backlund is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility and was non-committal about signing a contract extension with the Flames during his end-of-season interview.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backlund might have a change of heart after Sutter was fired as head coach last week. It could depend on who takes over as general manager and who they hire as Sutter’s replacement.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers relieved assistant coaches Mike Kelly and Jim Midgley of their duties on Tuesday. The move comes days after head coach Gerard Gallant and the Rangers agreed to part ways.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 3, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 3, 2023

The Stars fall to the Kraken despite Joe Pavelski’s record-setting performance, the Panthers draw first blood against the Leafs, the Selke Trophy and Lady Byng Trophy finalists are announced, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Seattle Kraken blew a 4-2 lead to the Dallas Stars but emerged with a 5-4 overtime victory in Game 1 of their best-of-seven second-round series. Stars winger Joe Pavelski set an NHL record as the oldest player (38) to score four goals in a playoff game. Yanni Gourde tallied the game-winner and Jordan Eberle had a goal and an assist for the Kraken. Game 2 is Thursday in Dallas.

Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The previous record was held by Maurice “Rocket” Richard, who was 35 when he scored four goals in a playoff game in 1957. It was Pavelski’s first game since being sidelined by a concussion during Game 1 of the Stars’ first-round series against the Minnesota Wild.

Six goals were scored in the first period with the Kraken taking that early two-goal lead. I don’t think we’ll see another period like that as both teams become more familiar with each other as this series rolls along.

Kraken winger Jared McCann did not make the trip with his teammates to Dallas. He’s expected to miss both games there. The Kraken’s leading scorer in the regular season, McCann’s been sidelined by an undisclosed injury after being hit by Cale Makar in Game 4 of the Kraken’s first-round series with the Colorado Avalanche.

Speaking of blown two-goal leads and recovering to win, the Florida Panthers doubled up the Toronto Maple Leafs in the opening game of their second-round series. The Leafs overcame a 2-0 deficit with two second-period goals but Carter Verhaeghe tallied what proved to be the winning goal. Matthew Tkachuk collected three assists while Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 34 shots. Leafs rookie Matthew Knies netted his first-ever NHL goal. Game 2 is Thursday in Toronto.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers had little time to rest and recuperate from their first-round upset of the Boston Bruins. Nevertheless, they showed plenty of jump in this game while the Leafs at times seemed to struggle to get up to speed. I expect we’ll see a better effort from the latter in Game 2.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron, New Jersey Devils captain Nico Hischier and Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner are this year’s finalists for the Frank J. Selke Trophy as this season’s top defensive forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the 12th consecutive season that Bergeron has been a finalist for the Selke. He won it last season for a record-setting fifth time and could be the sentimental favorite given the uncertainty over whether he’ll return for another season. This is the first time Hischier and Marner have been finalists for this award.

New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes, Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar and Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point are finalists for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy awarded to the NHL’s most gentlemanly player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kopitar is a three-time finalist who won the award in 2015-16. This is the first time that Hughes and Point are been named as finalists.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy said he dealt with minor injuries and didn’t give himself sufficient recovery time. He believes that affected his play down the stretch and in their first-round series against the Leafs.

TSN.CA: Speaking of the Lightning, Victory Hedman dealt with a hip impingement suffered in Game 1 against the Leafs. Brayden Point suffered a rib cage cartilage fracture in that series. Defenseman Erik Cernak is making progress in his recovery from a concussion suffered in Game 1 as a result of an illegal hit to the head by the Leafs’ Michael Bunting. Winger Tanner Jeannot was in and out of the lineup with a high-ankle sprain.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark played coy over a report suggesting that he suffered from a debilitating injury that affected his movement during his club’s first-round series against the Florida Panthers. Asked several times if he was hurt in that series, he replied, “No. Yes and no.” He said he wasn’t going to clarify his status until he completed his end-of-season physical.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Speaking of the Bruins, Dmitry Orlov expressed interest in returning to the Washington Capitals but isn’t sure if that’s possible given their salary-cap constraints. The 32-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He spent his entire career with the Capitals until acquired by the Bruins before the March 3 trade deadline.

TSN: Darren Dreger reported there’s a chance Joel Quenneville could return to the NHL coaching ranks if he receives clearance from the league this summer.

Quenneville stepped down as head coach of the Florida Panthers in 2021 after specifics were revealed of how the Chicago Blackhawks mishandled allegations that player Kyle Beach was sexually abused by a member of their coaching staff in 2010. Quenn3ville was the head coach of the Blackhawks at that time.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild signed forward Marcus Johansson to a two-year, $4 million contract. He was eligible for UFA status on July 1.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals signed defenseman Alex Alexeyev to a two-year, $1.65 million contract extension. He was due to become a restricted free agent on July 1.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers signed defenseman Egor Zamula to a one-year, $775K contract.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings prospect Simon Edvinsson underwent surgery on his left shoulder on Monday. His recovery time is four-to-six months.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Former first-round draft pick Henrik Borgstrom has signed with HV71 of the Swedish Hockey League.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chosen 23rd overall by the Florida Panthers in 2016, the 25-year-old Borgstrom struggled to earn a regular roster spot in the NHL. He bounced between the big league and the minors with the Panthers, Chicago Blackhawks and the Capitals since 2017-18, netting 13 goals and 26 points in 111 NHL games.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 8, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 8, 2023

Sidney Crosby caps a five-goal comeback by the Penguins over the Blue Jackets, Cale Makar has a four-point night as the Avalanche shut out the Sharks, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby tallied in overtime as his club overcame a 4-0 deficit to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-4. Crosby finished with three points on the night, Evgeni Malkin had three assists and Jason Zucker scored two goals for the Penguins, who improved to 32-22-9 and hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 73 points. The Blue Jackets fell to 20-37-7 as goaltender Elvis Merzlikins left the game following the first period with an illness and was replaced by Michael Hutchinson.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crosby now sits second on the all-time list for regular-season overtime goals with 20, five behind Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin. Before the game, the Penguins recalled Alex Nylander and placed center Ryan Poehling (undisclosed) on long-term injury reserve.

The Colorado Avalanche blanked the San Jose Sharks 6-0 with Cale Makar and Valeri Nichushkin each scoring a goal and adding three assists. Alexandar Georgiev made 14 saves for the shutout as the Avalanche (35-21-6) hold third place in the Central Division with 76 points. San Jose defenseman Erik Karlsson received a 10-minute misconduct in the third period for throwing his helmet on the ice in reaction to being cut by a high stick by Alex Newhook that went uncalled by officials. The Sharks dropped to 19-34-12 on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Makar reached the 50-point mark for the third time in his career and for the second straight season. He’s also the third active defenseman to reach 50 points in fewer than 50 games multiple times in their career, following Karlsson and the Carolina Hurricanes’ Brent Burns. The Sharks, meanwhile, played without blueliner Radim Simek as he’s listed as week-to-week with recurring concussion symptoms.

Speaking of the Hurricanes, they nipped the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 on a shootout goal by Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Frederik Andersen (13 saves) got the win after Antti Raanta was sidelined in the first period by an undisclosed injury, lifting the Hurricanes to 42-12-8 as they sit second in the overall standings with 92 points. Jake Allen made 36 saves and Michael Pezzetta had a goal and an assist for the 26-33-5 Canadiens.

Third-period goals by Michael Bunting and Auston Matthews lifted the Toronto Maple Leafs over the New Jersey Devils by a score of 4-3. Mitch Marner and William Nylander each had two points for the Leafs (39-17-8) while Erik Haula and Ondrej Palat each had three points for the 41-16-6 Devils. With 88 points, the Devils are four back of the Hurricanes for third place in the overall standings with the Leafs just two points behind them.

The Tampa Bay Lightning snapped a five-game losing skid with a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Andrei Vasilevskiy kicked out 33 shots while Nikita Kucherov and Alex Killorn each had two goals and an assist for the Lightning (38-21-5) as they hold third place in the Atlantic Division with 81 points. Philadelphia defenseman Tony DeAngelo received a five-minute major and game misconduct for spearing Lightning winger Corey Perry in the groin. The Flyers fell to 24-29-11.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning played without Victor Hedman as the veteran defenseman is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

Third-period goals by Josh Bailey and Hudson Fasching lifted the New York Islanders over the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Bailey, Fasching and Casey Cizikas each finished with a goal and an assist as the Islanders improved to 33-25-8 and hold a one-point lead over the Penguins for the first Eastern wild-card berth with 74 points. The Sabres (32-27-4) have dropped four of their last five games and sit five points back of the Penguins with 68 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres seemed poised to break through into a wild-card berth less than two weeks ago but their momentum has stalled. They and the Penguins have the same number of games remaining (19) but the Sabres hold three games in hand over the Isles, who are six points ahead of them. If they don’t snap out of their funk soon, the Sabres will miss the playoffs for the 12th consecutive season.

The Florida Panthers, meanwhile, moved two points ahead of the Sabres and three back of the Penguins with a 2-1 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. Sergei Bobrovsky turned in a 31-save performance while Ryan Lomberg and Aleksander Barkov scored for the 32-27-6 Panthers. Shea Theodore replied for the Golden Knights (38-20-6) as they remain in first place in the Western Conference with 82 points by holding one more win over the Dallas Stars.

Seattle Kraken forward Jared McCann extended his team-leading goal total to 31 as his club downed the Anaheim Ducks 5-2. McCanna and rookie center Matty Beniers each finished with two points as the Kraken (37-21-6) sit in third place in the Pacific Division with 80 points. Trevor Zegras and Max Comtois replied for the 21-35-8 Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McCann, 26, has blossomed into a scorer since joining the Kraken in the 2021 expansion draft. He had 27 goals and 50 points in 74 games last season and now has 31 goals and 50 points in 61 games.

The Calgary Flames kept their playoff hopes alive with a 1-0 shootout win over the Minnesota Wild. Tyler Toffoli netted the game-winner while Jacob Markstrom made 40 saves for his first shutout of the season. With 71 points, the 29-23-13 Flames are four back of the Winnipeg Jets for the final Western Conference wild-card spot. The Wild (36-21-7) are two points behind the first-place Dallas Stars in the Central Division with 79 points.

A 40-save performance by Karel Vejmelka carried the Arizona Coyotes over the St. Louis Blues by a score of 6-2, snapping a three-game losing skid. Clayton Keller had a goal and two assists while Travis Boyd tallied two goals for the 22-32-10 Coyotes. Pavel Buchnevich scored both goals for the 27-31-5 Blues.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 9, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 9, 2022

The Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin tied for third on the all-time scoring list, the Leafs’ Auston Matthews widens his lead in the Richard Trophy race, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored twice to tie Jaromir Jagr for third place on the all-time goal list (766) as his club held off the Calgary Flames 5-4. With 36 goals, Ovechkin sits fourth in this season’s goal-scoring race. The Capitals hold the second wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference with 71 points, sitting two behind the Boston Bruins. Flames forward Elias Lindholm also scored two goals as his club remains atop the Pacific Division with 75 points.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

A hat trick by Auston Matthews powered the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 6-4 win over the Seattle Kraken. The Leafs blew a 3-1 lead and fell behind 4-3 before getting two goals from Matthews and one from Mitch Marner for the win. With 43 goals, Matthews holds a five-goal lead over the Edmonton Oilers’ Leon Draisaitl and the New York Rangers Chris Kreider. the Leafs (78 points) are two back of the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews is just seven goals from becoming the first Leaf to reach the 50-goal plateau since Dave Andreychuk in 1993-94. With 74 points, he’s just five points behind Edmonton’s Connor McDavid in the race for the Art Ross Trophy.

Patrick Kane netted a career-high six points (one goal and five assists) as his Chicago Blackhawks thumped the Anaheim Ducks 8-3. Dylan Strome had a hat trick plus an assist while Alex DeBrincat had a goal and three assists. Anaheim goalie John Gibson got the hook after giving up five goals in 13 shots in the first period. With 63 points, the Ducks remain four points behind the Dallas Stars for the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

The Arizona Coyotes tallied seven or more goals for the second straight game in a 9-2 dubbing of the Detroit Red Wings. Fresh off a seven-point performance in his previous game, Coyotes center Nick Schmaltz tallied two goals and added two assists in this contest while teammates Jakob Chychrun, Clayton Keller and Nick Ritchie each had three-point nights. The Coyotes have won three straight games for the first time this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyotes winger Phil Kessel skated in the opening shift to keep his NHL Ironman streak alive at 956 games, then flew back to Arizona on a flight chartered by team owner Alex Meruelo to attend the birth of his child. Meanwhile, Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana scored in his season debut following a long recovery from shoulder surgery.

Florida Panthers winger Anthony Duclair tied his career-high of 23 goals to help his club down the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3. Aleksander Barkov collected two assists as the Panthers move into a tie with the Carolina Hurricanes with 83 points, though the Hurricanes sit atop the Eastern Conference with a game in hand. Sidney Crosby and Bryan Rust each had a goal and an assist as the Penguins sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 77 points.

The Colorado Avalanche (87 points) failed to widen their lead over the Hurricanes and Panthers in the overall standings after falling 5-3 to the New Jersey Devils, who overcame a 3-0 deficit for the win. Jesper Bratt collected three assists for the Devils. Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar extended his points streak to 13 games with a goal and an assist. Devils head coach Lindy Ruff moved into sixth place on the all-time wins list among NHL bench bosses with 776. He’s 12 wins behind Hall-of-Famer Al Arbour.

Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele scored and set up three others to lead his club to a 7-4 upset of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Paul Stastny scored twice for the Jets, who had lost six of their last eight games. With 60 points, they’re seven points out of the final Western wild-card berth. The Lightning (80 points) remain three behind the Hurricanes and Panthers in the Eastern Conference.

The Minnesota Wild got two goals by Kevin Fiala and a three-point performance by Marcus Foligno to down the New York Rangers 5-2. Cam Talbot made 23 saves for the win as the Wild (69 points) moved within two points of the second-place St. Louis Blues in the Central Division. The Rangers (77 points) hold second place in the Metropolitan Division with a game in hand over the Penguins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wild winger Jordan Greenway collected an assist as he returned to the lineup after missing six games with an upper-body injury.

Speaking of the Blues, they suffered their fourth straight loss by falling 4-1 to the Ottawa Senators, who snapped a five-game losing skid. Tim Stutzle and Josh Norris led the way with a goal and two assists each while Brady Tkachuk scored his 19th goal of the season.

Two goals by Ryan Johansen and Roman Josi lifted the Nashville Predators over the Dallas Stars 2-1. John Klingberg tallied for the Stars to snap his 25-game goal-scoring drought. The Predators (68 points) moved one ahead of the Stars into the first Western wild-card spot.

Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart made a career-high 47 saves to backstop his club to a 2-1 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights. Justin Braun and Oskar Lindblom were the goal scorers for the Flyers while Evgenii Dadonov replied for the Golden Knights, who sit in third place in the Pacific Division with 68 points.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Kraken signed forward Jared McCann to a five-year, $25 million contract extension. McCann, 25, is their leading scorer with 21 goals and 33 points and is the first player in franchise history to re-sign with the club.

SPORTSNET: Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin returned to the ice yesterday by taking part in an optional skate. He’s been sidelined by a concussion and there’s still no timetable for his return to action.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes forward Antoine Roussel has been sidelined for six weeks with a lower-body injury.

TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets signed forward Justin Danforth to a two-year, $1.95 million contract extension. Meanwhile, the Anaheim Ducks claimed defenseman Andrej Sustr off waivers from the Tampa Bay Lightning.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 25, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 25, 2022

Zdeno Chara sets record for defensemen, Zach Parise reaches a scoring milestone, the Predators retire Pekka Rinne’s number, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The New York Islanders’ Zdeno Chara surpassed Chris Chelios for most games (1,652) by an NHL defenseman but his club dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to the San Jose Sharks. Isles winger Zach Parise also reached a personal milestone by tallying his 400th career NHL regular-season goal. Logan Couture netted the winning goal for the Sharks (52 points), who sit seven points behind the Edmonton Oilers for the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

New York Islanders defenseman Zdeno Chara (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Chara and Parise on their respective achievements in what could be their final NHL seasons. Both are now well past their playing prime and could face retirement following this season.

A shootout goal by Mikael Granlund gave the Nashville Predators a 2-1 victory over the Dallas Stars after they honored former goaltender Pekka Rinne by retiring his jersey No. 35 in a pre-game ceremony. Rinne’s successor, Juuse Saros, made 27 saves for the win as the Predators opened a six-point lead over the Oilers in the first Western wild-card berth with 64 points. The Stars (59 points) sit just behind the Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Winner of the Vezina Trophy in 2018 and a two-time All-Star, Rinne retired at the end of last season as the Predators’ all-time leader in games played (683), wins (369), save percentage (.921), goals-against average (2.43) and shutouts (60).

J.T. Miller scored twice and added two assists while Thatcher Demko made 29 saves as the Vancouver Canucks thumped the Calgary Flames 7-1, snapping the latter’s 10-game win streak. Elias Pettersson and Bo Horvat each tallied two goals as the Canucks (56 points) moved within three points of the Oilers. The Flames remain atop the Pacific Division with 66 points.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews scored twice to take over the NHL goal-scoring lead (36) in a 3-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild to snap a three-game losing skid. Petr Mrazek kicked out 29 shots while Mitch Marner collected two assists. With 70 points, the Leafs sit two points behind the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division. The Wild remain in third place in the Central with 65 points, one behind the St. Louis Blues. Leafs winger Ilya Mikheyev left the game early with a non-COVID-related illness.

The Boston Bruins got a two-goal performance by Jake DeBrusk, including the winning goal in overtime, to down the Seattle Kraken 3-2. Charlie McAvoy collected two assists while Linus Ullmark stopped 25 shots. Bruins winger Brad Marchand was held scoreless in his return from a six-game suspension. The Bruins hold the final Eastern Conference playoff spot with 64 points, one behind the Washington Capitals. The Kraken has dropped six straight games.

Speaking of the Capitals, they suffered a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the New York Rangers. Igor Shesterkin turned aside 36 shots for the Rangers while teammates Mika Zibanejad and Alexis Lafreniere each had a goal and an assist. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin netted his 32nd goal of the season. The Rangers sit in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 71 points, three behind the division-leading Carolina Hurricanes.

Patrik Laine scored a goal to extend his points streak to 11 games as his Columbus Blue Jackets upset the Florida Panthers 6-3. Oliver Bjorkstrand, Jakub Voracek and Jack Roslovic each collected two points for the Jackets while J-F Berube made 39 saves for the win. The Jackets have won four straight games and sit nine points behind the Bruins. The Panthers remain atop the Eastern Conference with 75 points.

Speaking of upsets, the New Jersey Devils rolled to a 6-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jesper Bratt, Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes each collected three points while Nico Daws turned in a 37-save performance for the Devils. The Penguins sit one point behind the Rangers in the Metro Division.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo will be sidelined for at least a month with an upper-body injury. It appears he injured his midsection during a game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeAngelo was enjoying a solid bounce-back performance with the Hurricanes. Skating for much of the season alongside Jaccob Slavin, he’s third among Hurricanes scorers with 40 points.

THE ATHLETIC: Daniel Kaplan reports Evander Kane described his professional prospects beyond this season as “uncertain” and his pending contract grievance with the San Jose Sharks as “unclear” in a recent court filing in his ongoing bankruptcy case.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL Players Association reportedly filed a grievance on Kane’s behalf three weeks ago over the Sharks terminating his contract. A date for a hearing has yet to be determined.

FOX 13 SEATTLE: The Kraken placed winger Jared McCann (upper body) on injured reserve. He’s their leading scorer with 21 goals and 33 points in 48 games.

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Michael Bunting was fined $2,000.00 by the department of player safety for diving/embellishment during a recent game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

TSN: The Dallas Stars claimed forward Martin Studenic off waivers from the New Jersey Devils.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 18, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 18, 2021

Carey Price, Vladimir Tarasenko, Gabriel Landeskog are among the notables to be left unprotected in the upcoming expansion draft, Miro Heiskanen among several players inking new contracts, and a roundup of yesterday’s notable trades in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NOTE: The NHL expansion draft roster freeze went into effect at 3 pm ET on Saturday. It will remain in effect until 1 pm EST on Thursday, July 22.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price has agreed to waive his no-movement for the upcoming NHL expansion draft. He made that decision to enable the Canadiens to protect backup goalie Jake Allen.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The gamble here for Price and the Canadiens is the Kraken could be put off by his contract, which has five years remaining at an annual average value of $10.5 million.

There are a couple of poison pills in this contract. If the Kraken select Price, they’ll have to pay him the $11 million signing bonus due in September. His no-movement clause would follow him to Seattle as he’s only waiving it in this instance for the expansion draft, not a trade. In other words, the Kraken would need his permission to trade or demote him.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche will expose Gabriel Landeskog in the expansion draft. The 28-year-old left-winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28. This allows the Kraken to exclusively negotiate with Landeskog and perhaps sign him to a new contract before the draft on Wednesday night. If he does, he would become the Kraken’s expansion draft selection from the Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s speculation Landeskog seeks a long-term deal worth between $9 million and $10 million annually. That would be a big contract for the Kraken to take on so early in their existence. They could, however, try to ink him to a multi-year deal worth around $7 million annually. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues are believed to have left winger Vladimir Tarasenko exposed in the expansion draft. They could also leave defenseman Vince Dunn unprotected.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues have been shopping both players. The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford reports a source said Tarasenko can’t believe he hasn’t been traded yet. Blues GM Doug Armstrong has told the winger’s camp that no teams are interested in him.

The source also said several teams have an interest in Tarasenko but Armstrong hasn’t found a suitable return. Another source told Rutherford there’s limited interest in the winger, who’s coming off three shoulder surgeries and carries a $7.5 million annual cap hit for the next two seasons.

SPORTSNET: cites Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reporting the Los Angeles Kings will expose goaltender Jonathan Quick in the expansion draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise here. The Kings want to protect Quick’s heir apparent Cal Petersen. The 35-year-old netminder has two years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $5.8 million.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Kraken are reportedly close to signing Chris Driedger. The 27-year-old goaltender is slated to become a UFA on July 28. His camp received permission from the Panthers to speak to other clubs. If the Kraken sign Driedger, he’ll count as their selection from the Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’ll be a big win for the Panthers as they won’t have to worry about losing another player from their expansion list. They had to protect goalie Sergei Bobrovsky because of his no-movement clause. Promising netminder Spencer Knight is exempt from this draft.

THE ATHLETIC: The Columbus Blue Jackets will expose Max Domi in the expansion draft. They’re betting Domi’s injured shoulder will deter the Kraken. He’s recovering from shoulder surgery and could miss the opening month or two of 2021-22.

NHL.COM: The Dallas Stars signed defenseman Miro Heiskanen to an eight-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $8.45 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a wise long-term investment by the Stars. Heiskanen, 21, is completing his entry-level contract but he’s earned this new deal.

Over the past three seasons, he’s become the Stars’ best all-around defenseman. He regularly leads them in ice time, plays in every situation, and was their leading scorer in the 2020 postseason during their run to the Stanley Cup Final. This kid is a future Norris Trophy contender. His new contract will look like a bargain in a few years.

In other signings yesterday, the New York Islanders re-signed defenseman Andy Greene to a one-year, $1 million contract, the Anaheim Ducks signed winger Alexander Volkov to a one-year, $925K contract extension, and the Tampa Bay Lightning inked defenseman Fredrik Claesson to a one-year, two-way contract.

Several trades were made yesterday, the biggest being the Nashville Predators shipping Ryan Ellis to the Philadelphia Flyers in a three-team deal. You can read my take here. Other deals of note:

The New York Rangers acquired forward Barclay Goodrow from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for their seventh-round pick in the 2022 draft. The Rangers also traded forward Brett Howden to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2022 draft (originally belonging to the Winnipeg Jets) and impending free-agent defenseman Nick DeSimone.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The first piece of the Lightning’s 2021 Stanley Cup championship roster has departed. Expect more cost-cutting moves by the Bolts in the coming days/weeks as they attempt to become cap compliant for next season.

The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired forward Jared McCann from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for prospect forward Filip Hallander and a seventh-round pick in 2023.

The Vancouver Canucks acquired forward Jason Dickinson from the Dallas Stars in exchange for their third-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft.

The Arizona Coyotes acquired winger Andrew Ladd, a second-round pick in the 2021 draft, a second-round pick in 2022 and a third-round pick in 2023 from the New York Islanders. The Coyotes also traded goaltender Adin Hill to the San Jose Sharks for goaltender Josef Korenar and a second-round pick in 2022.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move comes on the heels of the Islanders shipping Nick Leddy to the Detroit Red Wings on Friday. They have been trying to move Ladd’s contract for some time. He spent all of this season with their AHL affiliate. He has two seasons remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $5.5 million, giving the Isles some much-needed cap space for other moves, such as re-signing restricted free agents Anthony Beauvillier, Adam Pelech and Ilya Sorokin.

It’s interesting that there was nothing listed in the Ladd trade report of the Coyotes sending anything the other way to the Isles. Perhaps they’re getting “future considerations.”