NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 14, 2023
Recaps of Friday’s game, the Avalanche sign Devon Toews to a new contract, plus updates on Zach Werenski, Taylor Hall and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines
NHL.COM: Evgeni Malkin had a goal and three assists and Sidney Crosby tallied twice as the Pittsburgh Penguins blanked the Washington Capitals 4-0. Tristan Jarry made 19 saves (one of those on an Alex Ovechkin breakaway) for the shutout while Jake Guentzel picked up two assists. Charlie Lindgren stopped 31 shots for the Capitals as he filled in for Darcy Kuemper, whose wife gave birth to their first child (a boy) on Thursday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reilly Smith also scored his first goal with the Penguins. He was acquired from the Vegas Golden Knights in June.
Shootout goals by Nick Bjugstad and Nick Schmaltz lifted the Arizona Coyotes to a 4-3 upset of the New Jersey Devils. Schmaltz had a goal and an assist in regulation time, rookie Logan Cooley collected two assists in his first NHL game, and Karel Vejmelka kicked out 33 shots for the win. Jesper Bratt scored two goals and collected an assist and Jack Hughes had three assists for the Devils.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I know that it’s very early in the season but keep an eye on the Coyotes this season. They’re a promising club that’s made steady improvement over the past couple of years. The addition of Cooley this season could provide a welcome boost to their offense.
COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche yesterday signed Devon Toews to a seven-year contract extension with an average annual value of $7.25 million. The 29-year-old defenseman was slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toews partners with Cale Makar on the Avalanche’s top defense pairing so it’s not surprising that they’ve got him under wraps on a long-term deal. The Avalanche still consider themselves Stanley Cup contenders and need Toews patrolling their blueline to remain in that position.
The length of the deal could be a concern. It kicks in next season when Toews will be 30, heading into a period when he’ll reach an inevitable decline in his performance during the final half of that deal. Nevertheless, the Avalanche feel it’s worth it if his play on the front end of his contract keeps them in Cup contention.
Cap Friendly indicates the Avalanche have just $2.6 million in cap space for 2024-25 with 14 active roster players under contract. They could get $7 million in wiggle room if sidelined captain Gabriel Landeskog remains on long-term injury reserve. Otherwise, they’ll have to shed some salary to fill out the rest of the roster.
DAILY FACEOFF: The Columbus Blue Jackets placed defenseman Zach Werenski (quadriceps contusion) on injured reserve for one to two weeks. They also recalled blueliner David Jiricek.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The good news for the Jackets is Werenski won’t be sidelined for too long though they will miss his puck-moving abilities while he’s on the sidelines. Still, this will give them an opportunity to get the promising Jiricek into the lineup for a few games.
NHL.COM: Speaking of Werenski, Philadelphia Flyers forward Garnet Hathaway was fined $5,000.00 for kneeing the Blue Jackets defenseman on Thursday resulting in the latter’s injury.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Chicago Blackhawks winger Taylor Hall has been downgraded from being sidelined week-to-week with an upper-body injury suffered on Wednesday against the Boston Bruins to day-to-day. The 31-year-old winger was skating on his own following the club’s practice on Friday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall could return to the Blackhawks lineup at some point in the coming week.
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: The Sharks placed center Mikael Granlund on injured reserve after he reaggravated a lower-body injury during Thursday’s 4-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights. He’s expected to be out for at least a week.
THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Carson Soucey (knee injury) practiced with his teammates on Friday in a non-contact jersey and will travel with the club to face the Oilers in Edmonton on Saturday. Meanwhile, forward Teddy Blueger is out week-to-week with a bruised knee.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed forward Adam Erne to a one-year, $775K contract and placed defenseman Markus Niemelainen on waivers for the purpose of sending him to their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.
TSN: The Ottawa Senators have brought back former captain Daniel Alfredsson in a player development and coaching role.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Alfredsson was previously named as a senior advisor of hockey operations for the Senators in 2015 but left the position two years later as the two sides couldn’t agree on a new contract. This new job ensures he’ll have a more hands-on role with the club compared to his previous gig.
TSN: Former Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi hopes to return to NHL action in November. He’s been rehabbing from the double hip surgery he underwent in June.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Someone looking for affordable depth on the wing might take a chance on Puljujarvi at some point this season. He’s now an unrestricted free agent as he didn’t receive a qualifying offer from the Carolina Hurricanes, who acquired him from the Oilers in February.
ESPN.COM: The NHL has Mexico City in its sights among its short list of locations for future international games.