NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2018

Henrik Zetterberg forced to retire plus updates on Corey Crawford, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Jake Dotchin and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: A degenerative back issue has forced Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg to retire. “Zetterberg steps away having played 1,082 games, and having produced 960 points. He has a Stanley Cup title from 2008, the same year he was named playoff MVP. ” He’s been dealing with back pain for several years, undergoing surgery in 2014 to repair an injured disc.

A nagging back injury has forced Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg to retire. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The announcement isn’t really a surprise as the Wings have been hinting for weeks that Zetterberg’s playing days could be over. That doesn’t diminish the sadness over the premature end of his career. It truly is the end of an era. Zetterberg was among the few links to the Wings’ last Stanley Cup championship a decade ago.

Selected 210 overall in the 1999 NHL entry draft, Zetterberg made an immediate impact upon joining the Wings in 2002-03, tallying 22 goals and 44 points in 79 games. A versatile forward who could play center or wing, he established himself among the league’s best two-way players,  Even in his final seasons while plagued with a bad back, Zetterberg was still one of the Wings’ best players, tallying 50-or-more points in each of the last four years. 

Zetterberg never won the Selke Trophy as the top defensive forward and was named a finalist only once, in 2007-08. Nevertheless, he became one of the NHL’s most respected players and was the natural choice to take over as the Wings captain following Nicklas Lidstrom’s retirement in 2012. His retirement leaves a huge leadership void for the rebuilding Wings that will be difficult to replace. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES:  Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford admitted he’s still recuperating from concussion symptoms suffered during last season. Though he’s made progress in his recovery, he said he’s not ready yet to come back and had no timetable for his return. Meanwhile, defenseman Connor Murphy will be sidelined up to eight weeks with a back injury while Brent Seabrook will miss a week with an abdominal injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks’ season hinges on a healthy Crawford between the pipes. They brought in Cam Ward this summer as insurance but he’s no longer considered an elite goaltender. Ward can buy them some time but they need Crawford  if they’re to contend for the playoffs. 

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators confirmed center Jean-Gabriel Pageau will be sidelined a minimum of six months after undergoing surgery to repair a torn Achilles’ tendon in his right leg.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Having watching franchise player Erik Karlsson traded away to San Jose on Thursday, Pageau’s injury is just salt in the wound for Senators fans. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning placed defenseman Jake Dotchin on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract for a material breach. Details weren’t disclosed but it’s believed they were unhappy over Dotchin’s conditioning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Joe Smith reports Dotchin and his agent intend to fight the Lightning’s attempt to terminate his contract. Cap Friendly indicates he’s in the final season of a two-year deal with an annual cap hit of $812,500. 

SPORTSNET: Vancouver Canucks forward Antoine Roussel will miss training camp owing to a concussion suffered during an informal scrimmage before his arrival in Vancouver.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens have invited winger Joel Ward to training camp on a professional tryout offer.



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 22, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 22, 2018

Latest on Sean Couturier and Josh Morrissey, Randy Lee steps down as Senators assistant GM and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

TVA SPORTS: Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier reinjured the medial collateral ligament of his right knee during a tournament in Quebec City two weekends ago. He originally injured the knee in practice during the 2018 playoffs. After meeting with Flyers doctors, Couturier isn’t expected to undergo surgery. However, it remains to be seen if he’ll be ready in time for the start of training camp next month.

Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier reportedly reinjured his right knee earlier this month. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Couturier enjoyed the best season of his NHL career before his injury, tallying 31 goals and 76 points.Though he returned to play with the Flyers after missing one game in their series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, he later told reporters he likely would’ve missed four weeks if the injury occurred during the regular season. That he doesn’t require surgery suggests he could be good to go for training camp.

OTTAWA SUN: Randy Lee has stepped down as assistant general manager of the Ottawa Senators. He’s awaiting “the outcome of court proceedings on two non-criminal harassment charges filed against him for an alleged incident in Buffalo in May.”

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Restricted free agent defenseman Josh Morrissey believes he’ll be under contract before training camp opens next month.  “Everyone’s confident it will be handled and done, definitely in time for the season,” Morrissey said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Plenty of time for Morrissey and the Jets to get a deal worked out. The only question is whether it’ll be an affordable bridge deal with the promise of a bigger pay raise in two or three years or a long-term contract. Given the Jets’ cap constraints next summer and with big stars such as Blake Wheeler and Patrik Laine to re-sign, perhaps they’ll go the bridge route to give the Jets some cap flexibility. 

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Jets, they signed  forward Nicolas Kerdiles to a one-year, two-way contract worth $650,000 at the NHL level.

USA TODAY: Former NHL forward Joe Murphy is reportedly homeless in Kenora, Ontario. The first-overall pick by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1986 NHL Draft, Murphy won a Stanley Cup with the Edmonton Oilers in 1990 and scored 233 goals and 528 points during his NHL career. He is the subject of a TSN documentary tonight.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sad to hear about Murphy’s current status. There are several organizations that provide assistance to former players in need. Here’s hoping they reach out to him if he’s unable to contact them for help. 

SPORTSNET: Defenseman Brandon Davidson reportedly rejected a professional tryout offer from the Edmonton Oilers. He’s more interested in landing a contract and could be close to getting one with another club.

CALGARY SUN:  The Calgary Flames inked winger Anthony Peluso to a one-year, two-way deal worth $650K in the NHL.

NHL.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets hired Jim Corsi as their goaltending development coach. Corsi spent 16 seasons as the Buffalo Sabres goalie coach and held the same role for three seasons with the St. Louis Blues. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights have officially named the Fort Wayne Komets as their ECHL affiliate. 

HOKEJPORTAL.SK: Former NHL forward Michal Handzus is expected to announce his retirement as a player on Friday. Handzus spent 15 seasons with the St. Louis Blues, Philadelphia Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks, winning a Stanley Cup in 2013 with the Blackhawks. Between 2014-15 to 2016-17, he played three seasons for Banska Bystrica. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stick tap to Alexander Wirdzek for the link. Best wishes to Handzus in his future endeavors. 


NHL Trade Tracker – June 23, 2017

NHL Trade Tracker – June 23, 2017

Chicago Blackhawks trade defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to the Arizona Coyotes.

Check in throughout the day for the latest NHL trades on the opening day of the 2017 NHL Draft. Analysis of the notable deals following the end of the first round tonight. 

The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired winger Ryan Reaves and a second-round pick in the 2017 draft from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for forward Oskar Sundqvist and a first-round pick (31st overall) in this year’s draft. 

The Philadelphia Flyers trade forward Brayden Schenn to the St. Louis Blues for center Jori Lehtera, a 2017 first-round pick and a 2018 conditional first rounder. 

The New York Rangers have traded center Derek Stepan and goaltender Antti Raanta to the Arizona Coyotes for defenseman Anthony Deangelo and the Coyotes first-round pick (seventh overall) in the 2017 NHL Draft

The Chicago Blackhawks have dealt Artemi Panarin, Tyler Motte and a sixth round pick in this year’s draft  to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for forward Brandon Saad, Anton Forsberg and a fifth-round pick in 2018.

The Chicago Blackhawks have traded defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for defensemen Connor Murphy and Laurent Dauphin. 


Latest on the Avalanche, Sabres & Hurricanes – March 6, 2017

Latest on the Avalanche, Sabres & Hurricanes – March 6, 2017

Could the St. Louis Blues be among this summer’s suitors for Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene?

The latest speculation involving the Colorado Avalanche, Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes in your NHL rumor mill. 

THE DENVER POST: Despite the lack of a significant move by the floundering Colorado Avalanche at the trade deadline, Terry Frei believes their roster makeover will kick into high gear in the offseason. He anticipates a core player will be dealt to upgrade their defense. The trade speculation that dogged top forwards Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog will persist into this summer, but Frei feels Avs GM Joe Sakic must continue to insist on a big return for either player. 

Frei’s colleague Mark Kiszla believes Sakic should be replaced as general manager before Duchene is traded. Indeed, he feels Sakic is the main problem affecting the Avs. Kiszla doesn’t believe the club is as bad as their record this season suggests. He feels they could benefit from a management chance. He lists Chicago Blackhawks assistant GM Norm McIver, Florida Panthers executive Dale Tallon and LA Kings executive Rob Blake as possible replacement. 

STLTODAY.COM: Jeremy Rutherford believes the St. Louis Blues were among the clubs with interest in Duchene. The asking price is high. Rutherford speculates it could cost the Blues defenseman Colton Parayko as part of the return. The Blues need to upgrade at center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sakic could find it difficult to move Duchene or Landeskog if rival clubs decide to look around for more affordable options in June. The expansion draft could see several teams putting some notable talent into the trade market. A stagnant salary cap could also affect Sakic’s efforts to swing a blockbuster. I don’t think the Avs will fire Sakic this year, but he’s definitely going to be under pressure to improve the roster before next season.

The Blues certainly could benefit from adding a center such as Duchene, but I think they’ll look elsewhere if the Avs maintain a high asking price. Given Duchene’s $6 million annual cap hit through 2018-19, the Blues would have to either move some salary to Colorado in the deal or stage a salary-dumping deal with another club. 

THE BUFFALO NEWS: John Vogl recently reported Sabres GM Tim Murray unsuccessfully attempted to move pending unrestricted free agents Dmitry Kulikov and Brian Gionta before the recent trade deadline. Murray received an offer for Gionta and asked the winger about it, but he wasn’t interested in waiving his modified no-trade clause.

The Sabres GM also declined offers for left wing Evander Kane, who has a year remaining on his contract. While the two sides can open contract extension talks in July, Murray said Kane must first address his off-ice issues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can see Murray taking a wait-and-see approach with Kane for next season. The winger is on pace to reach 30 goals this season. If he avoids trouble away from the ice and plays well next season, Murray could try to re-sign him before his eligibility for unrestricted free agency next July. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander recently reported the Carolina Hurricanes were among the teams linked to Colorado center Matt Duchene in trade rumors leading up to last week’s trade deadline. Teuvo Teravainen, Ryan Murphy and Lee Stempniak also came up on trade chatter. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murphy’s name surfaced several times earlier this season and he could be shopped this summer. Stempniak still has a season left on his contract. Interesting that Teravainen’s name surfaced, as the Canes acquired him last summer. He’s a restricted free agent this summer. His status could be worth keeping an eye on this summer. 

NHL Rumor Mill – November 26, 2016

NHL Rumor Mill – November 26, 2016

Should the New York Rangers pursue Calgary Flames defenseman Dougie Hamilton?

Should the New York Rangers pursue Calgary Flames defenseman Dougie Hamilton?

Lists of potential trade bait and trade suggestions in your NHL rumor mill. 

USA TODAY: Kevin Allen engages in some “Black Friday shopping” with some trade proposals. He suggests the New York Rangers pursue Calgary Flames defenseman Dougie Hamilton, though he speculates the Flames could ask for forward J.T. Miller in return. Despite the decline in Hamilton’s production and $5.75 million cap hit, Allen believes he could improve under a different system. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Allen acknowledges there would be some cap difficulties for the Rangers in taking on Hamilton’s salary. He also doubts the Rangers will part with Miller, who’s among their leading scorers this season. If the Rangers were to pursue Hamilton, I think that’s an offseason move. 

Allen also suggests Buffalo Sabres winger Evander Kane could provide the New York Islanders with an offensive spark. Noting the Sabres’ need for a defenseman, he suggests offering up Thomas Hickey or Calvin de Haan. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This would be a desperation move by the Isles. I doubt they go that route. Sure, Kane could improve if dealt to the Isles and skates alongside John Tavares. Then again, he could end up being a bust like Andrew Ladd. 

He also suggests the Boston Bruins pursue St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, ” If the Bruins believe they can persuade Shattenkirk to sign in Boston, it would be worth to overpay to acquire him”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll have to be a significant overpayment. The Blues see themselves as a championship contender this season. While they could lose Shattenkirk for nothing next summer, I think they’ll keep him for the remainder of this season. 

Allen recommends the Montreal Canadiens package a young player and a draft pick to the Arizona Coyotes for center Martin Hanzal. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Problem is, I don’t think the Canadiens have the young player that can tempt the Coyotes. They’re certainly not moving Alex Galchenyuk or Brendan Gallagher, and I don’t think they want to move young blueliner Nathan Beaulieu. 

He also wonders if the Detroit Red Wings might offer up one of their young forward prospects to the Carolina Hurricanes for 23-year-old defenseman Ryan Murphy. The Colorado Avalanche, Coyotes and Vancouver Canucks could also be interested in Murphy. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murphy could be an affordable gamble, but the Wings might prefer to part with a draft pick instead of a forward prospect. 

TSN: Pierre LeBrun lists (in no particular order) Buffalo Sabres left wing Evander Kane, Arizona Coyotes center Martin Hanzal, Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, Tampa Bay Lightning netminder Ben Bishop and Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman as players who could be moved at the March 1 trade deadline. 

LeBrun believes the Sabres would be open to moving Kane for a top-four defenseman. He feels the Coyotes will keep trying to re-sign Hanzal, but could shop him if he’s not under contract by March 1. He suggests the Montreal Canadiens could be among the suitors. 

LeBrun wonders if the Calgary Flames and Dallas Stars could inquire into Fleury’s availability. He also wonders if the Lightning will consider trading Bishop, a pending UFA, before the trade deadline or keep him for a possible run at a championship this spring. Wideman, who’s also eligible this summer for UFA status, is a top-four defenseman with a right-handed shot who still has some bite to his game. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s trade stock is down this season, so the Sabres probably won’t get that top-four defenseman. If the Coyotes put Hanzal on the block, it’s believed they want a good young player who can help them right away.

I think the Flames and Stars could look at Fleury again, though they’ll have to move one of their current goalies to make room for him. Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said he would evaluate his tandem over the course of this season.

Lightning GM Steve Yzerman’s suggested he’s comfortable with keeping Bishop for the entire season, even at the risk of losing him next summer to free agency.

Wideman could attract some interest by the trade deadline. I expect he’ll get moved by then. 

NHL Rumor Mill – November 23, 2016

NHL Rumor Mill – November 23, 2016

Trade rumors still dog Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

Trade rumors still dog Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

Latest on Marc-Andre Fleury, Evander Kane, Michael Stone & more in your NHL rumor mill. 

TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes the Pittsburgh Penguins could listen to offers for Marc-Andre Fleury at some point before the March 1 trade deadline. He feels there’s “not enough net” for two No.1 goalies and they don’t want to expose Matt Murray in the expansion draft. He notes Fleury has a no-movement clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier this season, Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said he was fine with keeping his tandem of Fleury and Murray intact for this season. Still, a lot can happen between now and March 1 to change that.

Rutherford could still stick with the duo for the season, but he’ll have to act quickly to move Fleury before the expansion draft. Otherwise, he could try to cut a side deal with the Vegas Golden Knights to ensure they don’t select Murray if forced to leave him unprotected. 

Bob McKenzie reports the Buffalo Sabres aren’t shopping left wing Evander Kane but they appear open to the idea if they get the right defenseman in return. McKenzie notes the Vancouver Canucks shut down talks with the Sabres last week and the New York Islanders kicked the tires but there’s nothing imminent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres apparently seek a top-four defenseman in return. Kane’s value, however, has plummeted in the trade market. He’s struggling to score, has some off-ice issues and carries a $5.25 million cap hit through 2017-18. Tough to get a quality blueliner for him right now. 

Darren Dreger reports the Toronto Maple Leafs are trying to move center Peter Holland, who’s been in and out of their lineup. GM Lou Lamoriello seeks a shutdown defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As host James Duthie noted, a lot of clubs seek a shutdown defenseman right now. Holland won’t be sufficient bait to land one. 

Dreger also reports at least three teams are interested in Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Ryan Murphy. The Hurricanes recently sent Murphy to their AHL affiliate on a conditioning stint to get some playing time and perhaps showcase him to interested GMs. Dreger said one of the clubs was a Western Conference team, but didn’t know if it was the Vancouver Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murphy might benefit from a change of scenery. He’s only 23, carries an affordable $787K cap hit and has a right-handed shot. 

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman also weighs in on the Canucks’ apparent interest in Kane, saying the assumption was the asking price by the Sabres would be low, but that’s not the case. He’s heard the Sabres are looking for speed up front and on the blueline. Friedman also doesn’t believe the Canucks will part with a top prospect unless it’s for a massive return, and doesn’t think the Sabres are too interested in anyone off the Canucks main roster except perhaps for defenseman Chris Tanev. 

Friedman also reports Colorado and Detroit are looking for defensemen, Calgary is open for business and Minnesota seeks a scorer. He also mentions Montreal looking for a defenseman and wouldn’t be surprised if they added a powerful forward or two, describing the Canadiens as “all in” this year. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin has pulled off some early-season deals in the past. However, I think he’ll have to wait until closer to the March 1 trade deadline to find what he needs this season. 

Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said over the weekend if he adds anything, it’ll be a winger. However, he wants to take some time and evaluate his young forwards. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun recently speculated Bowman might not be a heavy dealer at this year’s trade deadline compared to recent years. If those kids pan out as hoped, he’ll have little reason to go shopping. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL’s Jim Matheson recently posted the following on Twitter: “Coyotes offensive D Michael Stone is apparently available. UFA in July. Would Edm be interested? Big shot.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stone, 26, tallied a career-best 36 points last season with the Coyotes. Consistency, however, has been a issue and he’s been hampered by injury since last season. He’s got good size (6’3″, 210 pounds) and has a right-handed shot. If he is on the market, several clubs could look at him as a short-term investment this season.