NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 21, 2023
A look at players who could reach significant milestones this season, the favorites to win the Selke Trophy following Patrice Bergeron’s retirement, the highest-scoring UFAs still available, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ian Kennedy looked at several NHL players who could reach significant career milestones in 2023-24. Among the notables:
Free agent Phil Kessel (992 points) and Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares (975 points) are within reach of 1,000 career regular-season points.
Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand could achieve 500 career regular-season assists, 1,000 career regular-season PIMs and 1,000 career regular-season games.
Marc-Andre Fleury of the Minnesota Wild needs just 15 more games to become the fourth goaltender in NHL history to play 1,000 career regular-season contests.
Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin can reach the 500-goal plateau. He currently has 471.
THE SCORE: Kayla Douglas recently sized up the favorites to win the Selke Trophy this season in the wake of Patrice Bergeron’s retirement. Among them are Vegas Golden Knights winger Mark Stone, Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar, Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner, Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov and New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier.
DAILY FACEOFF: The pickings are slim for scorers in what’s left of this summer’s unrestricted free-agent class. Nevertheless, a few familiar names remain, including Patrick Kane, Tomas Tatar, Phil Kessel, Zach Parise and Eric Staal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane is the biggest name on this list. If he wasn’t rehabbing from a hip resurfacing procedure in early June he would’ve been signed within hours of the free-agent market opening on July 1. The 34-year-old winger is expected to be ready to return to action in December and intends to sign with a team that gives him the best chance to win the Stanley Cup.
Tatar is coming off a respectable 20-goal, 48-point performance with the New Jersey Devils last season. He has been linked to the Penguins in the rumor mill. Parise tallied 21 goals last season at age 38. The New York Islanders are waiting to find out if Parise, who turned 39 on July 28, intends to return or retire.
Kessel said he has no plans for retirement but there’s no word if he’s any closer to landing with a new team. The same goes for the 38-year-old Staal.
DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Hall of Fame defenseman Slava Fetisov is auctioning some of his memorabilia with the proceeds going directly to a special fund to assist in the care of former Detroit Red Wings teammate Vladimir Konstantinov’s ongoing non-medical care.
Konstantinov’s career was ended by a debilitating brain injury suffered in 1997. The state of Michigan is still covering his health insurance but he and his family need help with his other therapy costs.
Czech hockey greats of the past and present gathered in Litvinov on Saturday for a charity hockey game honoring the memory of Petr Klima, who passed away in May at age 58. Boston’s David Pastrnak and Carolina’s Martin Necas were among the current NHL players who took part along with former stars such as Patrik Elias, Ziggy Palffy, and Robert Reichel.
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Former Sharks defenseman Ryan Merkley has signed with KHL club Kunlun Red Star.