THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports player agent Pat Brisson said his client, Patrick Kane, is taking a wait-and-see approach to this season. The 33-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).
Brisson didn’t put a timeline on it, adding the Blackhawks won’t push Kane one way or the other. LeBrun indicated the plan is for management and Kane’s camp to revisit this issue around December or January to see where they are.
LeBrun noted the similarities between Kane’s situation and that of Brisson client Claude Giroux, who was shipped to the Florida Panthers by the Philadelphia Flyers before last season’s trade deadline. Noting the emotional toll it took on Giroux, LeBrun wonders if there might be a mutual desire between Kane and an interested club in getting a deal done well ahead of the March 3 trade deadline.
Kane’s teammate Jonathan Toews is another Brisson client. His declining performance could affect his trade value but his leadership and playoff experience remain respected by contenders.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun also cited the $10.5 million cap hit of Kane and Toews as well as their full no-movement clauses. He thinks Kane could only approve two or three teams as trade destinations which will affect the type of return for the Blackhawks, though that could improve if they retain 50 percent of his cap hit. I daresay Toews would also have a small number of preferred destinations.
TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reported Wayne Simmonds was recalled by the Maple Leafs along with Nick Robertson and Victor Mete after Matt Murray was placed on long-term injury reserve. Simmonds is happy to be back after clearing waivers on Monday but didn’t report to their AHL affiliate.
The Leafs allowed Simmonds to work out with “a satellite group of players” at Scotiabank Arena while they sought a trade that he would accept. The veteran winger is hoping to stay with the team as he doesn’t want to leave a contender for a rebuilding club.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Simmonds carries an affordable $900K for this season but also has a 10-team no-trade clause.
MILANO ON WAIVERS
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico wonders if the Canadiens might attempt to claim Sonny Milano off waivers. The 26-year-old winger signed a one-year, $750K contract with the Washington Capitals and was placed on waivers yesterday for the purpose of sending him to their AHL affiliate in Hershey.
D’Amico suggests Milano could be a cheap, low-cost addition for the Canadiens. Prospect Juraj Slafkovsky looks like he could use some seasoning in the AHL while veterans Mike Hoffman and Evgenii Dadonov have failed to impress.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Canadiens pass on Milano another club might claim him now that he’s signed an affordable contract. We’ll find out later today.
Game recaps, the league finds no evidence to support anonymous allegations against Ian Cole, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Sidney Crosby had his second straight three-point game to lead his Pittsburgh Penguins to a 6-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tristan Jarry got the win with a 34-save performance while Jake Guentzel and Jeff Carter each had two points for the Penguins. Lightning forwards Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov each had two points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was also the second straight game that the Penguins scored six goals.
Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov turned aside 26 shots and Justin Holl snapped a 2-2 tie to nip the Ottawa Senators 3-2. Claude Giroux had a goal and an assist for the Senators. Samsonov got the start when Matt Murray suffered an adductor injury that will sideline him for four weeks. The Leafs recalled Erik Kallgren as Samsonov’s backup.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It didn’t take long for Murray to be sidelined again, bringing into question the decision by general manager Kyle Dubas to acquire the oft-injured netminder this summer. The Leafs had better pray Samsonov remains healthy and plays well given their limited cap space and lack of depth in quality goalies within their system.
The Los Angeles Kings tamed the Minnesota Wild 7-6 on a third-period goal by Adrian Kempe, who finished the night with two goals and an assist. Anze Kopitar collected three assists while Kevin Fiala notched three points against his former team. Mats Zuccarello had a goal and two assists for the Wild, who pulled goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury after he gave up four goals on 14 shots.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild overcame a 3-0 deficit and had tied the game at six before Kempe’s game-winning tally. It was a sloppy defensive contest for both clubs. Zuccarello didn’t mince words about his team’s performance. “Sometimes we play defense like we’re a f**king junior team. It’s the whole team. We have to sharpen up,” he said.
Vladimir Tarasenko scored two goals while Pavel Buchnevich and Brayden Schenn each had two points as the St. Louis Blues rolled to a 5-2 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Johnny Gaudreau collected an assist for the Jackets, who have dropped three straight to start the season.
The Calgary Flames got a three-point performance from defenseman Michael Stone and two points from Nazem Kadri as they held off the Edmonton Oilers 4-3. Connor McDavid scored a goal and Leon Draisaitl had two assists for the Oilers.
Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin had a goal and two assists to lead his club over the New Jersey Devils 5-2. Goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic turned aside 37 shots for the win. Devils captain Nico Hischier returned to the lineup after being sidelined by a hamstring injury during preseason play.
The Dallas Stars defeated the Nashville Predators by a score of 5-1. Roope Hintz had two goals and an assist, Jason Robertson a goal and two assists while netminder Jake Oettinger kicked out 29 shots.
Vegas Golden Knights winger Jonathan Marchessault tallied twice and Adin Hill made 31 saves to beat the Seattle Kraken 5-2. The Golden Knights have won three straight. Andre Burakovsky had two assists for the Kraken.
Boston Bruins winger A.J. Greer scored twice and set up another in a 6-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Charlie Coyle, Nick Foligno and Pavel Zacha each had a goal and an assist for the Bruins, who also lost defenseman Brandon Carlo in the first period to a possible head/concussion injury following a hit by Coyotes forward Liam O’Brien. Coyotes defenseman Conor Timmins left the game with an upper-body injury.
Defensemen Robin Salo and Scott Mayfield each scored twice and Anders Lee collected three assists as the New York Islanders crushed the Anaheim Ducks 7-1. Mathew Barzal, Anthony Beauvillier and Oliver Wahlstrom each had two points. Isles forward Cal Clutterbuck returned from injured reserve but Sebastian Aho went on IR with an upper-body injury.
The Philadelphia Flyers overcame a 2-0 deficit to upset the Vancouver Canucks 3-2. Travis Konecny scored the game-winner and assisted on Scott Laughton’s game-tying goal while Carter Hart made 28 saves for the win. Canucks defenseman Tucker Poolman left the game following the first period with an undisclosed injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers are 2-0-0 while the Canucks have lost their first two games. Canucks star J.T. Miller is frustrated by his performance, acknowledging he’s been on the ice for all eight goals scored against his team thus far. Speaking of the Flyers, they placed winger Owen Tippett on injured reserve with an upper-body injury.
Three unanswered second-period goals by Conor Sheary, Anthony Mantha and T.J. Oshie lifted the Washington Capitals over the Montreal Canadiens 3-1. Oshie finished with two points. Nick Suzuki scored for the Canadiens, who remain scoreless in 10 power-play opportunities thus far this season.
The Florida Panthers held off the Buffalo Sabres 4-3. Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and an assist while Aleksander Barkov chipped in two assists. Alex Tuch and Rasmus Dahlin each had a goal and an assist for the Sabres.
Two second-period goals by Sam Lafferty helped the Chicago Blackhawks overcome a 2-0 deficit to down the San Jose Sharks 5-2. The Sharks have dropped four straight games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Sharks honored former general manager Doug Wilson, who stepped away from the role last season for health reasons.
NHL.COM: The league announced Saturday it had concluded its investigation into anonymous allegations of sexual assault on social media made against Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ian Cole, finding no evidence to substantiate the allegations.
The league conducted two interviews with Cole as well as interviews with NHL club personnel and other individuals with potentially pertinent information. It conducted a detailed review of online and social media, public data, court records and law enforcement checks, as well as attempted to contact the source of the allegations.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reaction to this report on social media has been mixed, with some claiming the league didn’t go far enough with its investigation, expressing skepticism over the findings or insisting they turn this over to the police. That’s understandable given Kyle Beach’s allegations that he was sexually assaulted by a former Chicago Blackhawks video coach were so poorly handled.
However, I don’t see this as sweeping it under the table. The league took the allegation seriously and suspended Cole with pay while conducting what appears to have been a thorough investigation.
I’m not saying the anonymous source shouldn’t be listened to or believed but if they’re unwilling to speak to the league or the police then there’s not really much else that can be done. Cole, meanwhile, will be reinstated but this incident has tarnished his personal life and reputation.
THE ATHLETIC’S Peter Baugh reports there’s still no timeline for Gabriel Landeskog’s return to the Colorado Avalanche lineup. He remains sidelined with a lower-body injury.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets head coach Rick Bowness hopes to return behind the bench on Wednesday. He’s currently sidelined after testing positive for COVID-19.
SPORTSNET: The Washington Capitals are reportedly poised to sign free-agent winger Sonny Milano to a one-year, $750K contract.
Recaps of Thursday’s preseason action, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman weighs in on Hockey Canada scandal as more sponsors withdraw support for the organization, and more in today’s Morning Coffee Headlines.
PRESEASON GAME RECAPS
NHL.COM: Claude Giroux’s third-period goal stood as the game-winner as the Ottawa Senators held off the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 in the Kraft Hockeyville game in Gander, NL. Tim Stutzle led the way with a goal and two assists for the Senators.
Ottawa Senators forward Tim Stutzle (NHL Images).
The New York Islanders downed the New Jersey Devils 5-2. Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Raty and Noah Dobson each had a goal and an assist while Semyon Varlamov made 26 saves.
A third-period power-play goal by Brandon Montour lifted the Florida Panthers over the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2. Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 38 saves in a losing cause while defenseman Mikhail Sergachev left the game in the first period with an undisclosed injury.
The Columbus Blue Jackets thumped the St. Louis Blues 7-0. Andrew Peeke collected four assists while Daniil Tarasov turned in a 24-save shutout.
Mats Zuccarello, Marco Rossi and Sam Steel each had a goal and an assist to give the Minnesota Wild a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith scored twice and collected an assist in a 6-4 win against the Los Angeles Kings. Jack Eichel and Mark Stone each collected two assists. Kings defenseman Sean Durzi had a goal and two assists.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman weighed in on Hockey Canada’s ongoing scandal over its handling of sexual assault allegations involving players of Canada’s 2003 and 2018 World Junior teams and its refusal to implement a change in its leadership.
“I think the response from Hockey Canada certainly needs work”, said Bettman, who was in Gander for the game between the Senators and Canadiens. “I’m not sure I fully understand why they’re responding the way they are.”
Bettman said he was very disappointed at the current state of affairs with Hockey Canada. The league is conducting its own investigation into the situation. The commissioner wouldn’t speculate on what might happen to those junior players who could have been involved in the alleged sexual assaults who are now playing in the NHL. He indicated that will be determined once he’s received and read the final report.
THE GLOBE & MAIL: Hockey Canada continues to lose support from corporate sponsors. Esso, Canadian Tire, Sobeys and Chevrolet Canada joined Tim Hortons, Scotiabank and Telus in withdrawing support for men’s hockey for 2022-23, with Canadian Tire permanently taking away its support.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Hockey Nova Scotia joined Hockey Quebec and the Ontario Hockey Federation in formally suspending fees it pays to Hockey Canada. “Until our values at Hockey Nova Scotia are reflected by Hockey Canada’s senior leadership, we simply cannot support hockey’s national governing body,” the organization said in a statement.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hockey Manitoba has called for the resignation of Hockey Canada’s senior leadership but Hockey Canada still stubbornly refuses to heed those calls. It’s growing more costly for the organization and could lead to its total downfall and potential replacement with a new national governing body.
NHL.COM’s Dave McCarthy reports Anaheim Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said that Trevor Zegras is expected to join his teammates in a full practice on Friday. The 21-year-old center has been sidelined since suffering an injury during a preseason game on Monday.
WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov and winger T.J. Oshie are listed as day-to-day with injuries.
THE ATHLETIC: Montreal Canadiens winger Paul Byron could end up on long-term injury reserve due to an ongoing hip injury. The 33-year-old is in the final season of his contract with an average annual value of $3.4 million.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers released winger Jake Virtanen from his professional tryout offer.
They also announced former Oilers defenseman Steve Staios has been hired as a special advisor with a focus on prospect development. Staios was president and general manager of the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs, who won the OHL championship in 2022.
CALGARY SUN: The Flames released forwards Sonny Milano and Cody Eakin from their professional tryout offers.
Sean Couturier is sidelined again, Keith Yandle announces his retirement, updates on Dylan Larkin, Claude Giroux and Mark Stone, the Rangers trade Nils Lundkvist to the Stars, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: A week after declaring himself good to go following back surgery, Sean Couturier suffered what the Philadelphia Flyers call an “upper-body injury.” The 29-year-old center will be reevaluated during training camp and is considered week-to-week.
CROSSING BROAD: Anthony SanFilippo cited “multiple team sources” claiming Couturier suffered a herniated disc in his back during strength and conditioning drills last week. It’s believed he could miss at least 12 weeks but that’s considered an optimistic assessment.
Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier (NHL Images).
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman tweeted the Flyers and Couturier are seeking a second opinion to determine the exact nature of the injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This will be a serious blow to the Flyers’ hopes of rebounding from an awful 2021-22 campaign. Couturier is their top center, their best two-way forward and one of their leaders. His back injury and subsequent absence from the lineup last season contributed to their poor performance.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Forwards Antoine Roussel and Artem Anisimov will be attending Flyers training camp on professional tryout offers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Roussel recently confirmed his PTO with the Flyers. Anisimov is a 34-year-old center with 13 NHL seasons under his belt with the New York Rangers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Chicago Blackhawks and Ottawa Senators. Anisimov played in the KHL last season. He also spent four seasons playing for Flyers head coach John Tortorella during their days with the Rangers.
SPORTSNET: Keith Yandle announced his retirement on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast. The 36-year-old defenseman spent 16 seasons in the NHL with the Arizona Coyotes, New York Rangers, Florida Panthers and Philadelphia Flyers, amassing 619 points in 1,109 regular-season games. Yandle also holds the league’s “Ironman” record of 989 consecutive games played.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Yandle in his future endeavors.
SPORTSNET: Dylan Larkin recently told Elliotte Friedman on the “32 Thoughts” podcast that he’s discussing a contract extension with the Detroit Red Wings. The 26-year-old center is in the final season of his current deal with an average annual value of $6.1 million.
“I don’t really see myself playing for another team,” said the Red Wings captain. “It’s moving along. I can’t really tell you when or how (the deal gets resolved), but that’s where I want to be.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The rebuilding Wings consider Larkin a crucial member of their roster core. A Michigan native, he could seek a maximum eight-year contract with an AAV of $8 million.
OTTAWA SUN: The Senators named Claude Giroux as one of their alternate captains. The 34-year-old is the former captain of the Philadelphia Flyers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A logical decision by the Senators. Giroux’s experience as Flyers captain ensured he’d be part of their leadership group before he even stepped on the ice with them this season.
THE ATHLETIC: Jesse Granger reports Vegas Golden Knights head coach Bruce Cassidy said team captain Mark Stone is feeling good and is expected to be on the ice for their opening day of training camp. The medical team could put limits on his efforts but for now, he said he’s feeling great.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stone, 30, underwent a successful lumbar discectomy in May and was expected to make a full recovery. The Golden Knights captain was limited to just 37 games last season.
NHL.COM: The New York Rangers traded defenseman Nils Lundkvist to the Dallas Stars in exchange for a conditional first-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2025.
If the Stars’ own first-round pick in 2023 is among the top 10, the Rangers will instead receive Dallas’ 2024 first-rounder. That pick will be unprotected.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not a bad return for the Rangers for an unhappy blueliner chosen 28th overall in the 2018 draft with just 25 NHL games on his resume.
It’s not immediate help to the Blueshirts roster but that extra first-rounder could prove useful trade bait at the trade deadline if they pursue a quality rental player at the March trade deadline. Otherwise, it’ll provide them with an extra first-rounder next year or in 2024.
Lundkvist, 22, should provide additional right-side depth to the Stars blueline. He won’t replace the departed John Klingberg’s offense but could grow into the role of a top-four puck-moving rearguard.
CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed former Anaheim Ducks winger Sonny Milano to a professional tryout offer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That move has drawn criticism among some pundits, bloggers and Oilers fans. There are those who raised the point of Virtanen facing a civil suit after being found not guilty of sexual assault in a B.C. Court in July. Others point to his poor on-ice performance in recent years.
VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently reporting that oft-injured Golden Knights forward Nolan Patrick might not play this season with some wondering about his future as a player.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The second overall pick in the 2017 draft by the Flyers, Patrick has played just 25 NHL games because of nagging upper-body injuries, including migraines related to a possible concussion.
DAILY FACEOFF: Forward Kurtis Gabriel has retired after nine seasons in the NHL and AHL. He saw 51 games of NHL action with the Minnesota Wild, New Jersey Devils, San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks with five points and 153 PIMs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Gabriel in his future endeavors.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently linked Rodrigues to the Anaheim Ducks and Calgary Flames. Earlier in the month, the Edmonton Journal’s Kurt Leavins wondered if the Oilers might attempt to sign the veteran forward to a professional tryout offer but that was prior to their recent signing of Justin Bailey to a PTO.
Sonny Milano and P.K. Subban sit second and third on Ellis’ list. A skillful left winger, the 26-year-old Milano earned $1.7 million last season. Subban, 33, isn’t the star he once was but could still bring value to a team’s blueline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There hasn’t been much recent talk about where Milano could end up. He could return to the Ducks on a cheaper one-year contract.
Subban is the most recognizable name on Ellis’ list. The decline in his skills means his days of big-money contracts are over. Earlier this month, The Athletic’s Marc Antoine Godin dismissed the notion of a reunion between Subban and the Montreal Canadiens, suggesting the Habs instead look at Anton Stralman if they want to add a right-shot free agent defenseman.
Speaking of Stralman, he’s number 5 on Ellis’ list behind winger Tyler Motte.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been quiet in recent weeks regarding these two. Like most on this list, they could either end up signing one-year contracts on the eve of training camp or sign professional tryout offers in hopes of earning one-year deals before the start of the regular season.
Updates on the notable players remaining in the unrestricted free agent market plus some cost-cutting Bruins trade candidates in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski took a look at the status of several noteworthy players still available in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market.
Former New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban (NHL Images)
P.K. Subban’s agent, Don Meehan, recently told the Montreal Gazette that the 33-year-old defenseman is being selective on where he’ll play next. He said there were “expressions of interest” in his client but those clubs also had other things in play.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wyshynski believes Subban is ready to be a difference maker if the right fit can be found. He might not be interested in signing with a non-contender. Boston Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy believes the Bruins should look into signing Subban to a professional tryout offer. However, it’s still possible he inks an affordable one-year contract with a club before training camp opens.
Evan Rodrigues hasn’t signed a new contract but it appears he’s garnered plenty of interest. His agent, Darren Ferris, told Wyshynski that there are “a good seven or eight teams” he’s having discussions with about his client.
Some of those clubs have cap constraints, including his former team, the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Calgary Flames have also shown an interest.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hockey News’ Mike Stephens suggested the Seattle Kraken, Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators as potential destinations for Rodrigues. However, we don’t know if those clubs are among those talking to his agent.
Wyshynski expects Rodrigues will sign a one-year “show-me” contract and then try his luck for a more lucrative deal next summer.
Many observers felt last season was Keith Yandle’s last but the 35-year-old defenseman isn’t ruling out playing this season. His agent, Jerry Buckley, said he’s still talking to teams but his client wants to find the right fit if he’s to continue his NHL career.Buckley “highly doubted” Yandle will accept a PTO.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A PTO might be the only way for Yandle to continue his playing career if that’s what he wants to do. He’s the NHL’s reigning Ironman but his performance has declined in recent years.
No word on Joe Thornton’s plans. If his playing days are over, the 43-year-old forward reportedly could moving into a managerial role with the Spengler Cup Tournament.
Speaking of aging veterans, no word yet from 45-year-old defenseman Zdeno Chara regarding his intentions. He hasn’t announced his retirement but it’s assumed he’s played his final NHL game.
An NHL source claims “a lot of teams” are interested in Sonny Milano. So far, no one’s signed the former Anaheim Ducks winger.
Former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser is healthy and hoping to land with a new NHL club. Agent Matt Federico is confident his 32-year-old client will have a one-year, low-dollar deal in place before training camps open.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Matt Porter recently observed the Bruins are above the $82.5 million salary cap by $2.4 million. They can address this at the start of the season by placing sidelined stars Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy on long-term injury reserve. However, they must become cap compliant when those players are ready to return to the lineup.
It sounds like Nick Foligno ($3.8 million) will remain part of the main group this season. Defenseman Mike Reilly ($3 million) could be a trade candidate given the Bruins’ depth in left-shot blueliners. Winger Craig Smith ($3.1 million) could be shopped if a youngster such as Fabian Lysell or Jack Studnicka makes a push this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could be Smith who gets moved. There was a rumor last month claiming a team had made an offer for the 32-year-old winger but the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement.