NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 12, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 12, 2018

Speculation over Steve Yzerman’s future plans, Bruins trade Adam McQuaid to the Rangers, an update on Sean Couturier and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Steve Yzerman’s decision to step down as general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning for family reasons has sparked speculation over his future plans. Yzerman, who lives in Detroit and spent years with the Red Wings as a player and in the front office, will spend the final season of his contract with the Lightning as a special adviser to new GM Julien BriseBois. However, there’s already speculation suggesting he could rejoin the Wings next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Much of that conjecture seems to be coming from disenchanted Red Wings followers unhappy over the direction of the once-great franchise under current GM Ken Holland. Perhaps the Wings ownership will try to woo back Yzerman if they can convince Holland, who recently  signed a two-year contract, to step aside next summer. A more reasonable scenario would see Yzerman return as an assistant GM in preparation of taking over for Holland in 2020. Then again, perhaps he’ll consider options closer to home that might not include the Wings. 

BOSTON HERALD: The Bruins yesterday traded defenseman Adam McQuaid to the New York Rangers in exchange for journeyman blueliner Steven Kampfer, a fourth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft and a conditional seventh-round selection.

Boston Bruins trade defenseman Adam McQuaid to the New York Rangers (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A physical shutdown defenseman, McQuaid was one of the few remaining links to the Bruins 2011 Stanley Cup championship team. The Cornwall, PEI native turns 32 in October and was bumped down the Bruins depth chart last season as youngsers such as Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo establish themselves as top-four rearguards. The move also frees up an additional $2.75 million to give the Bruins additional cap flexibility.

McQuaid will get more playing time with the rebuilding Rangers, who could benefit in the short term by his physical style, experience and leadership. 

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers center Sean Couturier continues to make progress in his recovery from an offseason knee injury, recently returning to the ice prior to the start of the club’s rookie camp. He’s expected to return to action before the start of the season on Oct. 4. 

THE SCORE: The Calgary Flames have invited forward Logan Shaw to training camp on a professional tryout offer. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: “Advertising rates for Montreal Canadiens games have plummeted due to audience fallout after the Habs’ lacklustre performance last season.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another hole in the myth that “real hockey markets” support their franchises regardless of on-ice performance. 

NBC SPORTS: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman “downplayed the significance of entering mediation with former players in a bid to settle a concussion lawsuit, saying Tuesday the league is simply following a judge’s order.”

THE ATHLETIC (SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED): With NHL owners happy for the most part with the current collective bargaining agreement, Pierre LeBrun suggests the players could determine if there will be another lockout. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  The league and the NHL Players Association have the opportunity to exercise their early opt-out in September 2019. The league gets first crack on Sept. 1 and the PA on Sept. 15. If one or the other takes that option the current CBA will expire on Sept. 15, 2020. Otherwise, the CBA will expire on Sept. 15, 2022.

Escrow and broadening what constitutes hockey-related revenue could be the two biggest issues for the players. If revenue continues to rise significantly as it did last season, perhaps the players will decide not to bring this CBA to a premature close, even if they remain unhappy over escrow clawbacks. 

 











Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – September 2, 2018

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – September 2, 2018

Updates on the Bruins and Flyers in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

COULD THE BRUINS BRING BACK SEGUIN?

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty recently took note of center Tyler Seguin’s stalled contract negotiations with the Dallas Stars. Seguin, who began his NHL career with the Boston Bruins, can become an unrestricted free agent next July. If he hits the open market, Haggerty doubts the Bruins would try to bring Seguin back, citing the high cost of signing him along with questions over his playoff performance and his play against tough opponents. Still, Haggerty suggests we should never say never.

Don’t expect the Boston Bruins to bring back Tyler Seguin if the Dallas Stars center becomes a UFA next July. (Photo via NHL Images)

Haggerty also wondered how much longer defenseman Adam McQuaid will remain a Bruin. With eight defensemen on the roster, it’s possible they could shop him “given his salary cap hit and the focus on D-men of the puck-moving variety.” On the other hand, “there’s a real danger in shipping out McQuaid considering how the B’s were pushed around by Tampa Bay in the playoffs.” Haggerty also suggested perhaps playing fewer games wouldn’t be a bad idea for McQuaid, given his age and injury history.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt we’ll see Seguin returning to the Bruins. Cap Friendly indicates they’ve got almost $63 million invested in 16 players. Assuming the salary cap climbs to $82 million for 2019-20, the Bruins will have roughly $19 million in cap space. A healthy chunk of that will be spent on re-signing restricted free agents Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, Danton Heinen and Ryan Donato. While all will be coming off entry-level contracts and lack arbitration rights, their performances this coming season could still put them in line for healthy raises. 

Meanwhile, McQuaid and Zdeno Chara will be unrestricted free agents. Barring a dramatic decline in Chara’s performance this season, he’ll be re-signed to another one-year contract. McQuaid could also be retained on an affordable short-term deal. Even if the Bruins part ways with those two, the cost of re-signing their key young RFAs means they won’t have sufficient cap space to pursue a high-ticket player such as Seguin. 

LATEST FLYERS TIDBITS

CHERRY HILL COURIER-POST: During a recent Q&A with Dave Isaac, Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall admitted he’s open to adding another player who was adept at penalty killing. “It would be a forward. We’d like to add a penalty-killing forward but to this point there’s been nothing there that’s made enough sense for us to move.” He suggested it would “probably be more of a lateral move on the market rather than a free agent.”

In a recent mailbag segment, Isaac was asked if there was any chance the Flyers might bring in a player on a professional tryout offer during training camp. “The Flyers explored that possibility but it sounds like they ultimately opted against it. At least for now.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like Hextall will keep an eye on the trade market this season for a forward who can help them kill penalties. That move could come closer to the trade deadline when non-contenders are looking to either dump salary or get something for pending free agents they don’t intend to re-sign. 

 











NHL Rumor Mill – July 17, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – July 17, 2018

Latest on the Boston Bruins plus updates on Artemi Panarin and Jacob Trouba in your NHL rumor mill.

A LOOK AT THE BRUINS’ DEFENSE AND GOALTENDING.

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont wonders what the Boston Bruins defense corps will look like next season with their recent addition of John Moore via free agency. He suggests Moore, being a left-hand shot, “all but eliminates him” from being Zdeno Chara’s partner on the top pairing, leaving Charlie McAvoy in that spot. If Moore moves to the second pairing with Brandon Carlo, that could bump high-salaried Torey Krug ($5.25 million annually) to the third pairing.

Could the addition of Jaroslav Halak eventually lead the Boston Bruins to consider trading Tuukka Rask? (Photo via NHL Images)

Rumors had Krug on the trade block this spring but Dupont points out the Bruins would miss his point production. If Krug stays put, Moore could drop to the third pairing, which was filled last season by Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller. Dupont suggests perhaps moving McQuaid ($2.75-million cap hit), thus giving the Bruins around $5.75 million in cap space for 2018-19, giving the Bruins seven defenders (with Matt Grzelcyk) to work with.

NBC SPORTS: Joe Haggerty believes the Bruins’ addition of Jaroslav Halak as their new backup could provide some much-needed competition for starting goaltender Tuukka Rask. He speculates it could also open the door to the Bruins’ trading Rask for the right offer to shed the latter’s $7 million annual cap hit through 2020-21.

Haggerty pointed out Rask struggled in last spring’s playoffs, raising questions about his performance in big games. “So why not start to explore what Rask could yield in a hockey trade, and even pull the trigger if the price is right given that Halak is there as a proven starting goaltender?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what moves the Bruins’ make regarding their defense corps. One of those eight will have to be dealt or demoted. Certainly Chara, Moore, McAvoy and Carlo aren’t going anywhere and they recently re-signed Grzelcyk to a two-year deal worth $1.4 million annually. Krug, McQuaid or perhaps Miller could become fodder for trade speculation, perhaps during training camp or preseason in September. 

It’s laughable to suggest Halak’s addition could give the Bruins a reason to trade Rask. Halak’s been plagued by injuries and inconsistency in recent years. Sure, he could help spark a little bit of competitiveness with Rask but he won’t steal away the starter’s job on a full-time basis. 

UPDATES ON PANARIN AND TROUBA.

SPORTSNET: Emily Sadler cites The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline reporting there was no contract progress between Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen and winger Artemi Panarin during yesterday’s meeting between the two in Paris.

Previous reported indicated the Jackets would like to re-sign Panarin, an unrestricted free agent next July, to a long-term contract extension but the winger is reluctant to discuss a deal at this time. His agent, Dan Milstein, said his client is unsure if he wants to commit to a long-term stay in Columbus. He also confirm Kekalainen has been testing the trade market. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kekalainen and Milstein reportedly both expect Panarin will be on the Jackets roster when the season opens in October. Nevertheless the winger will remain a fixture in this summer’s trade-rumor mill. The Jackets’ asking price is believed to be a good player who can help them immediately as well as assets that could help them for the future. 

WINNIPEG SUN: Ken Wiebe wonders if the Winnipeg Jets and defenseman Jacob Trouba can reach an agreement on a new contract before his arbitration hearing on July 20. Though Trouba and his agent sought a trade two years ago, the blueliner’s situation has changed since then as he’s now taken on a more prominent role as a right-side defenseman alongside Josh Morrissey. He also sees the second-most ice time among the Jets on a nightly basis.

As a skilled all-around defenseman, re-signing Trouba will prove expensive. Wiebe wonders if a six-year, $36-million deal will be enticing for the 24-year-old blueliner. If this goes to arbitration, he speculates the Jets could point to Columbus’ Seth Jones (six years, $5.4-million annually) as a comparable. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think it could cost closer to $7 million annually for the Jets to get Trouba signed to a long-term deal. There’s still time to get a new contract hammered out but the clock is ticking here with his arbitration hearing looming on Friday. If this goes to arbitration and Trouba gets less than he wants, it could stoke speculation that he’ll seek a trade.  

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 21, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 21, 2017

Game recaps, Wings sign Athanasiou, Gudbranson suspended & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

 NHL.COM: Alex Ovechkin netted his NHL record-setting 20th career overtime goal as the Washington Capitals edged the Detroit Red Wings 4-3. It was also Ovechkin’s league-leading 10th goal of the season. Tomas Tatar scored twice for the Red Wings. 

Patrik Laine scored twice, Blake Wheeler collected his 200th career NHL goal and coach Paul Maurice got his 600th career win as the Winnipeg Jets downed the Minnesota Wild 4-3. 

Conor Sheary’s late third-period goal lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-3 victory over the Florida Panthers. Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel each had a goal and an assist. Earlier in the period, Sheary accidentally collided with Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo, who left the game with a right-hand injury

Martin Jones turned in a 28-save shutout performance backstopping the San Jose Sharks to a 3-0 blanking of the New Jersey Devils. Earlier in the day, the Devils placed goaltender Cory Schneider (lower-body injury) on injured reserve but they hope he’ll only miss one game. 

Derek Grant scored twice and John Gibson made 49 saves to give the Anaheim Ducks a 6-2 win over the luckless Montreal Canadiens. It was a costly win for the Ducks as defenseman Cam Fowler left the game with an apparent right-knee injury

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks are already missing Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen from their blueline. Both, however, are expected to return soon. Remains to be seen how long Fowler will be sidelined. As for the Habs, same old story. Lots of shots with little to show for it and a suddenly mortal Carey Price unable to save them from their costly defensive breakdowns.

Derek Dorsett scored twice and set up another to lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. The Canucks were playing without defenseman Erik Gudbranson, who received a one-game suspension for boarding Boston Bruins forward Frankie Vatrano. 

DETROIT FREE PRESS: The Red Wings’ contract impasse with winger Andreas Athanasiou is over, as the two sides agreed to a one-year, $1.3875 million deal. The Wings, however, must clear sufficient salary-cap space to absorb that number before the deal can become official. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wings general manager Ken Holland said he’s got a bit of time to free up sufficient space before Athanasiou officially signs the contract and rejoins the club. A trade is likely, as well as demoting a player to the minor. I’ll have more on this later this morning in my Rumors section. 

BOSTON HERALD: Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid is expected to miss eight weeks with a broken right fibula. Paul Postma will replace McQuaid on the Boston blueline. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes’ rookie forward Clayton Keller leads all NHL rookies in goals (five) and is tied for second in points. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keller’s play is among the few brights spots in an otherwise miserable start for the winless Coyotes. Keep an eye on this kid. He has the talent to be an NHL star. Perhaps he’ll become the franchise player they need to build around. 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 16, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 16, 2017

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Kasperi Kapanen scores in double overtime against the Washington Capitals in Game 2 of their opening-round series.

Game recaps, injury updates, Matt Calvert gets one-game suspension & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Kasperi Kapanen scored the first two playoff goals of his NHL career, including the game winner in double overtime, as the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Washington Capitals 4-3.

The Leafs and Capitals return to Toronto for Game 3 of their best-of-seven opening-round series tied at a game apiece. It was a costly win for the Leafs, as veteran blueliner Roman Polak is done for the season with an injury to his right leg. 

Pekka Rinne turned in a 30-save performance for his second straight shutout backstopping the Nashville Predators to a 5-0 blanking of the Chicago Blackhawks. Rinne also collected two assists and center Ryan Johansen had a three-point night. The Predators hold a 2-0 series lead over the Blackhawks heading back to Nashville for Games 3 and 4. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m not surprised by the Preds leading the Blackhawks 2-0, but I find it remarkable that they’ve so far shut down one of this season’s highest-scoring teams. If the Hawks don’t find a way to solve Rinne and the Preds defense, this series could be over very quickly. 

Dion Phaneuf’s overtime goal gave the Ottawa Senators a 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins, tying their series at a game apiece. Phaneuf finished with a three-point night and Derick Brassard had a goal and an assist.

The Bruins injury-ravaged blueline took another hit as Adam McQuaid left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury. The Bruins could have sidelined center David Krejci and blueliner Coin Miller back in the lineup for Game 3

Ryan Getzlaf’s goal late in the third period lifted the Anaheim Ducks to a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames to take a 2-0 series lead. The Ducks took an early 2-0 lead but the Flames rallied to tie it on goals by Mikael Backlund and Sean Monahan. It’s the Flames 29th consecutive loss in Anaheim. Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen (upper-body injury) was scratched from this game. 

POST-GAZETTE.COM:  Columbus Blue Jackets forward Matt Calvert received a one-game suspension for cross-checking Pittsburgh Penguins forward Tom Kuhnhackel across the shoulders/neck, breaking his stick in the process. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once again, the NHL Department of Player Safety embarrasses itself with another toothless punishment. 

SPORTSNET: Nick Kypreos speculates Penguins goaltender Matt Murray (groin) could be sidelined for the remainder of their opening-round series against the Blue Jackets.

TSN.CA: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin (lower-body injury) will not be in the lineup for Game 3 of his club’s opening-round series against the New York Rangers. 












Updates on the Bruins, Sabres & Capitals – March 23, 2017

Updates on the Bruins, Sabres & Capitals – March 23, 2017

Can the Washington Capitals afford to re-sign T.J. Oshie this summer?

Possible off-season moves by the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres and wondering if the Washington Capitals can afford to re-sign T.J. Oshie. 

THE WASHINGTON POST: Isabelle Khurshudyan recently observed right wing T.J. Oshie’s been a perfect fit with the Washington Capitals. However, she wondered if they can afford to re-sign the 30-year-old, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. General manager Brian MacLellan has spoken to Oshie’s reps, but with 11 players with expiring contracts on the roster, it’s unlikely the winger will be re-signed before season’s end.

Given the expansion draft, it may be wiser for MacLellan to wait until after the draft to start re-signing any UFAs. Oshie’s current annual cap hit is $4.175 million and Khurshudyan speculates it could cost north of $6 million annually to re-sign him. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Khurshudyan also noted Oshie recently reached the 30-goal mark this season for the first time in his career, which will only ensure he gets a lucrative new deal this summer. Whether it’s with the Capitals or another NHL club remains to be seen. She cites Buffalo’s Kyle Okposo (seven years, $42 million) and Boston’s David Backes (five years, $30 million) as possible comparables.

The Caps also have to decide if they’re re-signing pending UFA defenseman Karl Alzner, plus they’ve also got to ink restricted free agents Evgeny Kuznetsov, Andre Burakovsky and Dmitry Orlov. They’ve got over $50 million tied up in 11 players. Expensive raises for Oshie, Kuznetsov and Alzner could cost up to $18 million combined. That won’t leave a lot to re-sign other key players and flesh out the roster depth.

I believe they want to keep Oshie, but that could require MacLellan getting creative. One way could be shedding Brooks Orpik’s $5.5 million annual cap hit. He lacks a no-trade clause and his contract runs through 2018-19. MacLellan, however, could be forced to add a sweetener in the deal in the form of a top prospect to tempt a club into taking on the remainder of Orpik’s contract.

ESPN.COM: Craig Custance recently examined how the Buffalo Sabres can take the next big step forward in their development. Looking at their roster, he wondered where the growth was coming from. He doubted the Sabres will find the necessary upgrade to their defense corps via free agency. “Perhaps there’s a trade to be made, but the Sabres aren’t deep enough at forward to move any of the significant pieces there without hurting the forward group,” writes Custance.  They also need to re-sign goaltender Robin Lehner to a new contract. Ultimately, he believes that improvement will have to come from within. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sabres GM Tim Murray was reportedly interested in defensemen such as Anaheim’s Cam Fowler and Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba last year. He’ll obviously scour the trade market again in search of blueline help, targeting clubs that could lose a decent-to-good defenseman in the expansion draft (Anaheim, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Vancouver). Whether he finds it, however, is another matter.

Left winger Evander Kane’s been the subject of frequent rumor speculation since last summer. While he’s played well this season, his off-ice issues remains a significant sticking point in any trade discussion.The Sabres could be reluctant to move him now.

Murray could chase Washington Capitals blueliner Kevin Shattenkirk via free agency. However, I don’t think the Sabres will be on his list of preferred destinations. 

 CSNNE.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Joe Haggerty speculated the Boston Bruins could lose either Adam McQuaid or Kevan Miller in the June expansion draft. He doubted unrestricted free agents Drew Stafford, John-Michael Liles and Dominic Moore will be back because of the salary cap and the Bruins trending toward youth. Depending on how things go over the remainder of the season, Haggerty suggested the Bruins could revisit trading winger Matt Beleskey to free up cap room to re-sign guys like David Pastrnak and Ryan Spooner. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Beleskey’s got three more seasons at an annual cap hit of $3.8 million and a modified no-trade remaining on his contract. Injuries contributed to the decline in his production this season. Still, the Bruins will likely find it difficult to move him  summer, especially if the salary cap fails to significantly increase for next season. They could leave Beleskey unprotected in the expansion draft in hopes the Vegas Golden Knights take him off their hands.