NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 27, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 27, 2021

The Panthers re-sign Sam Bennett and trade Anton Stralman to the Coyotes, the Jets re-sign Paul Stastny and acquire Brenden Dillion from the Capitals, the Golden Knights close to re-signing Alec Martinez and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Florida Panthers were busy on Monday. They signed forward Sam Bennett to a four-year deal worth an annual average value of $4.4 million. The club also traded defensemen Anton Stralman and Vladislav Kolyachonok plus a second-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft in exchange for a seventh-round pick in 2023.

The Florida Panthers re-sign forward Sam Bennett to a four-year deal (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not surprising the Panthers re-signed Bennett. Slated to become a restricted free agent on July 28, the 25-year-old netted 15 points in his first 10 regular-season games after being acquired at the trade deadline from Calgary. He also had five points in as many playoff games. Bennett should be a key part of their top-two forward lines.

The Stralman trade was a straightforward salary dump by the Panthers. He had a year remaining on his contract worth an annual average value of $5.5 million. The 35-year-old blueliner reportedly had to be convinced to waive his modified no-trade to go to Arizona. He’ll likely become a bargaining chip at next season’s trade deadline if the rebuilding Coyotes are out of playoff contention by then.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets also had a busy day, re-signing center Paul Stastny to a one-year, $3.75 million contract and acquiring defenseman Brenden Dillon from the Washington Capitals in exchange for a second-round pick in 2022 and a second-rounder in 2023.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stastny isn’t the offensive talent he once was. Nevertheless, the 35-year-old should be an affordable short-term answer to their need for a second-line center while management seeks a long-term solution. Dillon will help address a glaring need for reliable stay-at-home depth on their blueline, though the cost of two second-rounders seems a little high.

The Capitals, meanwhile, freed up $3.9 million in annual cap space for the next three seasons. They now have over $12 million in cap room if they call up Martin Fehervary as expected for next season. That gives them some additional wiggle room to re-sign Alex Ovechkin and goaltender Ilya Samsonov.

LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights are reportedly close to signing Alec Martinez to a three-year contract extension. The 35-year-old defenseman would receive an annual cap hit close to $5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Martinez proved his worth to the Golden Knights this season, especially in the playoffs where he was their best all-around blueliner. The contract is a bit long for a shot-blocking rearguard of his age but that seems the price the Golden Knights are willing to pay to remain in Stanley Cup contention.

That signing could push them over the $81.5 million salary cap. They could make a cost-cutting trade before the start of next season involving Marc-Andre Fleury or Robin Lehner.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes expected to sign forward Dmitrij Jaskin to a one-year, $3.2 million contract. The 29-year-old spent seven seasons with the St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals before spending the past two seasons playing for the KHL’s Moscow Dynamo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes have been everyone’s favorite dumping ground for unwanted contracts this summer. General manager Bill Armstrong has been clearing up long-term cap space while restocking with draft picks and prospects.

Most of the contracts he’s taken on have only a year or two remaining, with most belonging to still-serviceable players who could become trade bait to playoff contenders later next season. He also did a great job shedding Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s hefty contract by shipping that off to Vancouver during the recent NHL draft.

THE SCORE: Several notable restricted free agents didn’t receive qualifying offers at yesterday’s deadline. Among them were Boston’s Nick Ritchie, Chicago’s Pius Suter, Edmonton’s Dominik Kahun and Anaheim’s Danton Heinen. They are eligible to become unrestricted free agents on July 28.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Just because they didn’t get qualifying offers doesn’t mean they can’t re-sign with their now-former teams. Sometimes teams don’t offer a QO because they want to sign those players to a more affordable contract. That’s what the Blackhawks did with Adam Gaudette, inking him to a one-year deal worth just over $997K.

TORONTO STAR: Defenseman Zach Bogosian won’t be back with the Maple Leafs. He’s likely headed to an American market via free agency on July 28.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers are expected to sign Patrik Nemeth when free agency opens tomorrow. The Colorado Avalanche allowed the pending UFA defenseman to speak with other teams.

TSN: The New Jersey Devils traded forward Nick Merkley to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for defenseman Christian Jaros. The Devils signed Jaros to a one-year, two-way contract.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers re-signed defenseman Sam Morin to a one-year, $750K contract.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan is expected to be named head coach of the United States’ Men’s hockey team for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 27, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 27, 2021

Recaps of Friday’s action features more scoring from Alex Ovechkin, a milestone game for Phil Kessel, the Blues remember beloved alumni Bob Plager, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Alex Ovechkin scored two goals and Ilya Samsonov made 24 saves as the Washington Capitals blanked the New Jersey Devils 4-0. With 48 points, the Capitals are tied with the New York Islanders and hold first place in the MassMutual East Division with a game in hand.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 17 goals, Ovechkin is just four behind Toronto’s Auston Matthews, who leads the goal-scoring race with 21. The Capitals captain now has 723 career goals, sitting eight behind Hall-of-Famer Marcel Dionne for fifth on the all-time list.

Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel scored in his 1,100th career game in a 5-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Christian Dvorak scored twice for the Coyotes (35 points), who sit two points back of the fourth-place St. Louis Blues in the Honda West Division. Kessel and Dvorak lead the Coyotes with 11 goals each.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes became the subject of trade speculation over the past couple of weeks. There’s talk general manager Bill Armstrong could become a seller by the trade deadline but he could have other plans as his club surges back into playoff contention.

Speaking of the Blues, they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Anaheim Ducks. Anaheim goaltender John Gibson returned from a five-game absence with a lower-body injury by making 33 saves as his club snapped a three-game losing skid. Ducks defenseman Jamie Drysdale left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury. Before the game, the Blues honored the memory of beloved alumni Bob Plager, who died earlier this week in a car accident that investigators believe was the result of Plager suffering a cardiac event.

A third-period goal by Paul Stastny enabled the Winnipeg Jets to held off the Calgary Flames 3-2. Stastny, Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor each had a goal and an assist. The Jets move into a tie with the Toronto Maple Leafs with 44 points but the Leafs hold first place in the Scotia North Divisions because they have a game in hand. The Flames (33 points) remain four behind the fourth-place Montreal Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like the Flames need more than bringing back Darryl Sutter as head coach to reverse their fortunes. They’ve dropped four straight after winning four of their first five games after Sutter took over behind the bench. General manager Brad Treliving could turn to the trade market in search of a season-saving deal.

SPORTSNET: The Canadian government has officially approved reducing the 14-day quarantine period for players acquired by Canadian teams from American clubs to seven days. The decision has the support of the five Canadian provinces with NHL teams.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This makes it easier for Canadian teams to make trades with American clubs before the April 12 trade deadline. It’s the same quarantine period as players must undergo when traded between American clubs.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer could be in line for a significant raise following this season. He leads the league in goals-against average (1.69) and shutouts (five) and among the leaders in save percentage (.931) and wins (20).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Grubauer could become a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, which will ensure he gets a big raise from the Avalanche or another club via this summer’s free-agent market. Cap Friendly indicates his current annual average value is $3.33 million. The Post’s Mike Chambers suggests Grubauer could double his money.

ESPN.COM: Buffalo Sabres interim head coach Don Granato and assistant coach Mike Ellis can return behind the bench after being cleared from the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. The pair were placed on the list just hours before the Sabres game on Thursday against Pittsburgh.

NHL.COM: Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Samuel Morin was fined $3, 017.24 by the league’s department of player safety for unsportsmanlike conduct against New York Rangers forward Brendan Lemieux.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 8, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 8, 2019

Penguins snap Islanders 10-game win streak, Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock picks up his 700th NHL victory, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The New York Islanders 10-game winning streak came to an end as they fell 4-3 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime. The Penguins rallied from a 3-0 deficit and picked up the win on Bryan Rust’s second goal of the night. Teammate Jared McCann enjoyed a three-point night. Penguins defenseman Kris Letang missed the game with a lower-body injury.

The Toronto Maple Leafs gave head coach Mike Babcock his 700th career victory by edging the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 in overtime. John Tavares scored the game-winning goal. Auston Matthews also tallied for the Leafs. Max Pacioretty scored for the Golden Knights. Earlier in the day, the Leafs placed Martin Marincin and Nic Petan on waivers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Babcock sits eighth on the all-time wins list for NHL coaches. He’s three wins behind Winnipeg’s Paul Maurice. 

Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson scored the tying and winning goals in a 5-4 overtime victory over the Florida Panthers. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored twice and added an assist while John Carlson had a three-point night. Aleksander Barkov and Evgenii Dadonov each had a goal and an assist for the Panthers. The Capitals (27 points) hold a three-point lead over the Boston Bruins for first place in the Eastern Conference.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon collected four points in a 9-4 win over the Nashville Predators but left the game with an upper-body injury (Photo via NHL Images).

The Colorado Avalanche tallied six goals within eight minutes in the second period to crush the Nashville Predators 9-4, snapping a five-game winless skid. Jonas Donskoi netted a hat trick while Nathan MacKinnon collected four points. MacKinnon left the game in the second period as a precautionary measure after suffering an upper-body injury. Earlier in the day, the Avs revealed starting goalie Philipp Grubauer would miss the next couple of games with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With first-line wingers Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog already sidelined, it’s understandable why the Avs are being cautious with MacKinnon. It could sink their season if they lose him to a lengthy period.  

The Philadelphia Flyers blew a 2-0 lead but downed the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 on an overtime tally by Sean Couturier. Goaltender Carey Price made 40 saves to carry the Habs into the extra frame. Earlier in the day, the Flyers learned defenseman Samuel Morin suffered a torn ACL in his right knee for the second time in 19 months during a conditioning stint with their AHL affiliate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  A former first-round pick (11th overall in 2013), Morin has struggled to establish himself as an NHL blueliner. A second consecutive injury to the same knee could jeopardize his playing career. 

The San Jose Sharks took a 6-2 lead and held on to defeat the Minnesota Wild 6-5. Sharks captain Logan Couture had a four-point performance while teammate Tomas Hertl picked up three points. Eric Staal had a three-point game for the Wild.

Patrick Kane scored and set up two others to lead the Chicago Blackhawks over the Vancouver Canucks 5-2. Corey Crawford turned aside 36 shots for the win and Dylan Strome collected three assists.

The Calgary Flames netted four unanswered goals to down the New Jersey Devils 5-2. Flames blueliner Noah Hanifin scored a goal and set up two others. Devils rookie Jack Hughes had a goal and an assist.

Henrik Lundqvist kicked out 45 shots as the New York Rangers doubled up the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2. Artemi Panarin and Pavel Buchnevich each collected a goal and an assist for the Blueshirts. The Hurricanes have lost three straight games.

Gustav Nyquist had a three-point performance as the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Arizona Coyotes 3-2. Joonas Korpisalo made 30 stops for the win.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s overtime goal gave the Ottawa Senators a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings.

HEADLINES

THE HOCKEY WRITERS: KHL President Dmitry Chernyshenko doesn’t see his league being in direct competition with the NHL. He believes there’s enough room for both leagues to thrive.

Chernyshenko also cited the difficult logistics of potential games between NHL and KHL clubs. He points out the KHL season is over 1 1/2 months before the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs. KHL players also begin their preseasons earlier than NHL players.

While the NHL has reached an agreement to start broadcasting games in Russia, the KHL broadcasts games to 34 different countries and has teams in six countries. The KHL is also in the process of perfecting puck- and player-tracking technology, giving them a potential edge in sports betting.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The KHL has had its ups and downs in its short history. Nevertheless, it has not only survived but is continuing to build its product. 

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets center Bryan Little is sidelined indefinitely after suffering a perforated eardrum and vertigo from being struck in the head by a slapshot from teammate Nikolaj Ehlers during Tuesday’s game against the Devils. Little required 25-30 stitches and spent the night in a neurological ward for examination.

SPORTSNET: The hits keep on coming for the Jets as Gabriel Bourque will be out at least four weeks with a lower-body injury.

NBC SPORTS: Dallas Stars winger Roope Hintz (undisclosed) will be sidelined for the next two weeks. Blueline John Klingberg (lower body) will miss the next two-to-four weeks.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues forward Alex Steen will miss at least a month with a high-ankle sprain.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk (lower body) will be sidelined for tonight’s game against the Detroit Red Wings.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers placed winger Tomas Jurco on waivers and assigned Colby Cave to their AHL affiliate.

 










NHL Rumor Mill – November 1, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – November 1, 2019

A review of TSN’s first trade-bait board of the season in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider, Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Martin Marincin, and Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi top Frank Seravalli’s first NHL trade-bait board of this season. Dallas Stars defenseman Julius Honka and Calgary Flames blueliner Travis Hamonic fill out the top-five spots.

New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider tops TSN’s first NHL trade-bait board of this season (Photo via NHL Images).

Kreider is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. With the Rangers still feeling its rebuilding pains, Seravalli wondered if the speedy winger might be a good fit with the St. Louis Blues now that Vladimir Tarasenko’s sidelined for five months.

Marincin could be moved as the Leafs clear salary-cap space for Zach Hyman’s return. Seravalli said Oilers general manager Ken Holland will be in Finland to check on Puljujarvi’s progress. The winger will be taking part in the Karjala Cup next weekend.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Rangers get an enticing offer I believe they’ll hang onto Kreider until February. The trade deadline is Feb. 24 and that means more suitors and better offers. Marincin could end up getting waived.

Puljujarvi is a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract. Holland can take his time and evaluate offers for the 21-year-old winger. If Puljujarvi isn’t re-signed by Dec. 1, he’ll be ineligible to play the remainder of this NHL season. Nevertheless, Holland could be content to let him play the season in Finland and try again to re-sign or trade him next summer.

Honka’s status is similar to Puljujarvi’s, except there might not be as much interest in the young blueliner. Seravalli wonders if the Flames uneven start might prompt GM Brad Treliving to shake things up. He also suggests Hamonic, an unrestricted free agent next summer, could finish the season in Calgary if the Flames get back on track.

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray, Leafs winger Nic Petan, Detroit Red Wings winger Andreas Athanasiou, New York Islanders winger Josh Ho-Sang and Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick fill spots six to 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray’s currently sidelined three-to-four weeks with a broken hand. The Leafs are reportedly trying to trade Petan. Given their need to make room for Hyman, they could be forced to put him on waivers if not takers are found in the trade market.

Athanasiou’s slow start and restricted free agent status next summer are behind the chatter about his future with the Wings. However, reports out of Detroit indicate they’re optimistic he’ll snap out of his scoring funk soon. The Islanders are trying to move Ho-Sang but so far there are no takers.

Quick’s poor start has prompted trade conjecture. His hefty contract, declining performance and injury history makes him a tough sell.

Flames rearguard T.J. Brodie, Nashville Predators center Kyle Turris, Philadelphia Flyers blueliner Samuel Morin, Winnipeg Jets forward Jack Roslovic, and New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall round out the bottom five.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Hamonic, Brodie’s a UFA next summer. Despite the Flames’ recent struggles, I doubt either blueliner hits the trade block this fall. That could change, however, if they’re still struggling in the New Year.

The Predators reportedly tried moving Turris during the summer. Signed through 2023-24 with a $6-million annual salary, he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

Morin’s struggled to crack the Flyers lineup. He might benefit from a change of scenery.

Roslovic frequently surfaces in the rumor mill as trade bait for a defenseman. GM Kevin Cheveldayoff’s shown no interest so far in making that move.

Hall is the biggest name potentially available in next summer’s UFA market. With the Devils stumbling from the gate there are growing questions over his future in New Jersey. As long as he remains unsigned he’ll be a fixture in this season’s rumor mill.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 4, 2019

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 4, 2019

Updates on the Oilers, Penguins, and Flyers in today’s Sunday NHL rumor roundup. 

OILERS

THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell explored what could be in store for Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland over the next seven months. If Holland decides to add a forward via free agency, Mitchell listed Derick Brassard and Thomas Vanek among the affordable remaining UFA options. 

Could Derick Brassard be a good fit with the Edmonton Oilers? (Photo via NHL Images)

Holland will have to figure out what to do with Jesse Puljujarvi, who’s threatened to stay in Europe if he’s not traded before the start of the season. Mitchell notes Holland has a history of extreme patience in such matters, as he outwaited Jiri Hudler nearly a decade ago during his tenure as GM of the Detroit Red Wings. 

If the Oilers become sellers at next year’s trade deadline, Mitchell speculated Holland could gauge the trade value of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Adam Larson, who are slated to become UFAs in 2021. If Holland becomes a buyer, perhaps he’ll pursue a forward like Florida’s Mike Hoffman or Ottawa’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holland’s had a busy, largely productive offseason, including shipping Milan Lucic to Calgary for James Neal. It’ll be interesting to see what else he could have in store over the coming season. Of course, much will depend upon the Oilers’ on-ice performance. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins notes the Oilers could still use some help at center. He reports they have some interest in UFA Derick Brassard but his camp is “far in excess ($4m) of what the Oilers are willing to pay.” He’s also heard the Montreal Canadiens could have some interest. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brassard’s not getting $4 million from the Oilers or anyone else this summer. 

PENGUINS

THE ATHLETIC: Josh Yohe recently reported of mutual interest between the Pittsburgh Penguins and defenseman Marcus Pettersson regarding a long-term contract. General manager Jim Rutherford said a deal will be completed soon but acknowledged he’ll have to do something to free up sufficient salary-cap space. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Penguins sit just over $157K above the $81.5-million salary cap. PIttsburgh fans would love to see defenseman Jack Johnson traded but that seems unlikely. Forwards Nick Bjugstad ($4.1-million annual average value) and Bryan Rust ($3.5 million AAV) frequently surfaced in this summer’s rumor mill. 

FLYERS

THE ATHLETIC: Charlie O’Connor recently observed the Philadelphia Flyers will have eight NHL-caliber defensemen on their blueline once restricted free agent Ivan Provorov is re-signed. They could end up moving one of them before the start of the season, leaving Samuel Morin or Robert Hagg expendable. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 28, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 28, 2019

Game recaps plus the latest on Ben Bishop, Mats Zuccarello, Paul Byron and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: David Pastrnak scored a hat trick and set up two other goals to lead the Boston Bruins to a 6-3 victory over the New York Rangers. The Bruins (103 points) sit five up on the Toronto Maple Leafs for second in the Atlantic Division. The Bruins roster depth was also bolstered by the return of defenseman Torey Krug and Marcus Johansson from injuries. 

David Pastrnak’s three-goal, five-point performance powered the Boston Bruins to a 6-3 victory over the New York Rangers (Photo via NHL Images)

The Philadelphia Flyers kept their wild-card hopes alive by edging the Leafs 5-4 on a shootout goal by Sean Couturier. Carter Hart made 38 saves for the Flyers while Auston Matthews had a goal and an assist for the Leafs. The Flyers (82 points) sit eight points behind the Montreal Canadiens, who hold the second wild-card spot. Flyers defenseman Samuel Morin made his season debut after being sidelined by a knee injury

Speaking of the Flyers, forward Jori Lehtera was reportedly sentenced to four months of conditional imprisonment in his native Finland for obtaining and possessing cocaine. The Flyers placed Lehtera on waivers in early-February and he last played for their AHL affiliate on March 1. He becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The decline in Lehtera’s play already narrowed his chances of landing with another NHL team after this season. This news likely slams that door. Here’s hoping he can get his life back on track.

The Dallas Stars (86 points) maintained their three-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche for the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference by nipping the Calgary Flames 2-1. It was a costly win for the Stars, as starting goalie Ben Bishop was once again sidelined with a lower-body injury. Bishop is listed as day-to-day and the club intends to call up a goaltender for tonight’s game against the Edmonton Oilers. 

Stars winger Mats Zuccarello required a couple of stitches over his right eye following a collision with teammate Joel L’Esperance during morning practice yesterday. Zuccarello was otherwise unharmed as he continues his recovery from a broken arm. 

The Avalanche, meanwhile, defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3. Nathan MacKinnon collected two points and Tyson Barrie set a franchise record for most goals (73) by a defenseman. The Avs (83 points) hold a two-point lead over the Arizona Coyotes for the second wild-card spot. 

THE SCORE: Agent JP Barry, who represents Montreal Canadiens forward Paul Byron, is questioning the unwritten rules about players settling scores by fighting. Byron suffered a concussion during a fight with Florida Panthers defenseman MacKenzie Weegar on Tuesday. Weegar missed two weeks with a concussion in January following a hit by Byron, who received a three-game suspension. Barry pointed out Byron gave up five inches and 50 pounds to Weegar.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  If Byron had a history of dirty play, was unrepentant over that hit on Weegar and received no supplemental discipline by the league, one could argue he got what he deserved. But that’s not the case. Hockey’s a rough game but that fight served no purpose at all.

CBS SPORTS: Edmonton Oilers winger Brad Malone was placed on waivers yesterday for the purpose of demoting him to their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks re-signed defenseman Carl Dahlstrom to a two-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $850K.