NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 10, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 10, 2022

Surgery will sideline Max Pacioretty for six months, the Hurricanes re-sign Martin Necas, plus the latest on David Krejci, Jacob Trouba and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Max Pacioretty’s debut will the Carolina Hurricanes will be delayed as the 33-year-old winger will undergo surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon. He’s expected to be sidelined for six months. The Hurricanes acquired Pacioretty last month from the Vegas Golden Knights.

Carolina Hurricanes winger Max Pacioretty (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pacioretty’s recovery could stretch into February. The Hurricanes brought him in to offset the departure of winger Nino Niederreiter via free agency.

Pacioretty will return in time to help them during the final two months of the regular season and the playoffs. He is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

The Hurricanes also announced that they signed Martin Necas to a two-year, $6 million contract. The average annual value is $3 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A promising young forward, the 23-year-old Necas had completed his entry-level contract. An inconsistent performance last season resulted in his name frequently surfacing in trade rumors. The Hurricanes are willing to give him an opportunity to bounce back but another difficult season could turn him into a trade candidate with an affordable contract.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: David Krejci said his decision to return to the Bruins was not based on the club’s recent coaching change. He indicated he had decided to come back before the club replaced Bruce Cassidy as head coach with Jim Montgomery. Krejci explained the reason for returning to the Bruins was a desire to play with his old teammates again.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Krejci announced last summer that he was leaving the Bruins to finish his playing career in his native Czechia. He indicated that playing alongside old teammate David Pastrnak in this year’s World Championships was a turning point in his thinking about coming back to Boston for another season.

NEW YORK POST: Jacob Trouba’s natural leadership made him the consensus choice throughout the Rangers to become their first captain in four years. Chris Kreider, the club’s longest-serving active player, indicated on social media that all of his teammates believed Trouba had been their captain over the past two years without actually wearing the “C”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some players are just natural leaders. That appears to be the determining factor in Trouba being awarded the captaincy.

NHL.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers recently extended their ECHL affiliation with the Reading Royals. The agreement runs through 2023-24 with an option for a third season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 5, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 5, 2022

The Flames sign Jonathan Huberdeau to the richest contract in franchise history, the Sharks re-sign Mario Ferraro, and the Devils avoid arbitration with Miles Wood. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: The Flames signed Jonathan Huberdeau to an eight-year, $84 million contract extension. The average annual value is $10.5 million and comes with a full no-movement clause in the first six seasons of the deal, followed by a modified no-trade in the final two years.

Calgary Flames winger Jonathan Huberdeau (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames have given Huberdeau the exact same contract that they offered Johnny Gaudreau before his departure to Columbus as a free agent. Both are talented playmaking wingers coming off career-best 115-point performances.

Since 2017-18, Huberdeau’s been among the league’s highest-scoring left wingers. His 415 points during that period are just six behind league leader Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins, three back of the New York Rangers’ Artemi Panarin and 10 up on Gaudreau.

The difference here is the Flames knew what they had in Gaudreau. He’d been with them for the past eight seasons. They understood his strengths and weaknesses. Huberdeau, on the other hand, is something of an unknown to them and that could make this contract more of a risk.

Huberdeau will be 30 when the deal kicks in for 2023-24 and turning 38 when it expires. That’s typically a period when a player’s production declines as age and the wear and tear of a long career begin to take its’ toll. There’s also the question of how his performance will be affected by skating with a new team after spending the past 10 seasons with the Panthers.

It will be money well spent for the Flames as long as Huberdeau adjusts well to his new teammates and maintains his high level of production throughout most of his contract. Otherwise, it’ll increasingly become a salary-cap nightmare that hampers their efforts to become a contender.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: The Sharks signed Mario Ferraro to a four-year contract. The 23-year-old defenseman will earn an annual average value of $3.25 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In just three years, Ferraro has become an invaluable member of the Sharks defense corps. He averaged 23 minutes of ice time per game in 2021-22 while his shorthanded ice time (2:38) ranked second on the club. Ferraro was also their leader in blocked shots (151) and among their leaders in hits.

Ferraro skated alongside Brent Burns on the Sharks’ top pairing last season. With Burns’ trade to Carolina, he’ll likely remain on the top pairing with Erik Karlsson as his defense partner.

DAILY FACEOFF: The New Jersey Devils avoided arbitration with winger Miles Wood as the two sides agreed to a one-year, $3.2 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wood missed all but three games last season due to hip surgery. He had 17 goals and 25 points in 55 games during the COVID-shortened 2020-21 campaign.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell expects to have forward Martin Necas under contract before training camp opens next month. The two sides are believed closing in on a deal. Waddell didn’t elaborate but it could be a two-year bridge deal worth about $3 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Necas, 23, is coming off his entry-level contract and lacks arbitration rights. He had a promising sophomore campaign in 2020-21 with 41 points in 53 games but managed 40 points in 78 games last season.

Rumors that he and head coach Rod Brind’Amour wasn’t on the same page prompted trade speculation. It appears the Hurricanes intend to retain him for the coming season.

THE SCORE: Michael Raffl has signed a two-year contract with Lausanne Hockey Club in Switzerland’s National League. The 33-year-old winger spent nine seasons in the NHL from 2013-14 to 2021-22 with the Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals and Dallas Stars.

TORONTO SUN: Rich Clune has retired after 16 professional seasons to join the Maple Leafs’ training department. Clune spent most of his career in the AHL but played five NHL seasons with the Leafs, Los Angeles Kings and Nashville Predators. He spent the past six seasons exclusively with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Clune in his new job.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 22, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 22, 2022

Are the Canucks listening to offers for J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser? What’s the latest on Johnny Gaudreau, Jack Campbell, Marc-Andre Fleury and Martin Necas? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON MILLER AND BOESER

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Vancouver Canucks are interested in listening to offers for J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser. Miller, 29, is coming off a career-best 99-point season and is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. Meanwhile, the 25-year-old Boeser is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller (NHL Images).

Dreger said there isn’t a Stanley Cup playoff team (including the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning) who wouldn’t consider Miller a good addition. The Canucks aren’t interested in draft picks as they need good young NHL players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin and president of hockey ops Jim Rutherford appear intent on putting their stamp on this team right away, perhaps by retooling with an eye on the shortest possible turnaround. They won’t want offers of castoffs or struggling young players for Miller or Boeser.

Miller will have the best value but Boeser will also draw interest despite his struggles last season as he dealt with injuries, COVID-19 and his father’s declining health. Rutherford has indicated they intend to qualify Boeser’s rights (at a cost of $7.5 million) rather than let him walk away as a UFA.

Those two aren’t the only Canucks who could be shopped this summer. The Province’s Ben Kuzma wondered if they’ll find trade partners for wingers Tanner Pearson and Conor Garland in cost-cutting moves. He pointed out that the Boston Bruins were interested last summer in Garland before the Arizona Coyotes shipped him to the Canucks.

UPDATES ON GAUDREAU, CAMPBELL, FLEURY AND MANSON

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reported the Calgary Flames already sent a contract offer to Johnny Gaudreau and there’s been ongoing dialogue between the two sides. He felt it won’t be about money if the 28-year-old left winger departs via free agency on July 13 as the Flames can offer up an extra year.

Chris Johnston reports the Toronto Maple Leafs seemingly haven’t reached out to Jack Campbell and Ilya Mikheyev. There have been ongoing discussions but no numbers offered up yet and no real negotiation. Mikheyev seeks between $4 million to $5 million annually while Campbell could go higher than that depending on the goalie market on July 13.

Darren Dreger said Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin would love to bring back goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to tandem with Cam Talbot for another season. Those talks haven’t started yet as the 37-year-old Fleury just returned from vacation with his family.

LeBrun also reported Colorado Avalanche defenseman Josh Manson is expected to hit the UFA market as they’ve got other key free agents such as Nazem Kadri, Valeri Nichushkin and Darcy Kuemper to deal with. Manson’s former club, the Anaheim Ducks, would like to speak to him when he hit the open market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Everything’s still in the talking stage for most of this summer’s notable unrestricted free agents. With three weeks until the market opens on July 13, there’s still plenty of time for those negotiations to intensify and work out a deal. Nevertheless, the closer we get to that date with those players still unsigned, the more speculation will grow over their respective futures.

COULD THE HURRICANES MOVE NECAS?

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports teams are calling the Carolina Hurricanes about Martin Necas. The promising 23-year-old forward is coming off his entry-level contract and had an inconsistent 40-point performance. LeBrun doesn’t know if the Hurricanes really want to move him but didn’t rule it out if they can get an offer of a good defenseman.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 17, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 17, 2022

What’s next for the Canadiens after trading Shea Weber to the Golden Knights? Should the Flyers shop Ivan Provorov or Travis Konecny this summer? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE CANADIENS FOLLOWING THE WEBER TRADE?

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Follow this link for my thoughts on the Montreal Canadiens shipping Shea Weber to the Vegas Golden Knights for Evgenii Dadonov on June 16.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan reports Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes is still listening to trade offers for Jeff Petry. The 34-year-old defenseman has three more seasons on his contract with an annual average value of $6.25 million.

RDS.CA: Hughes was asked about Petry during his video conference announcing the Weber trade on Thursday evening. “There is no imminent transaction,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen before the draft.”

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry (NHL Images).

Hughes also said he’s had several calls from rival general managers expressing interest in Josh Anderson. While admitting he’s always willing to listen to offers, he has no plans to trade the 28-year-old winger. Anderson’s signed through 2026-27 with an annual cap hit of $5.5 million.

SPORTSNET: Eric Engels reports the Canadiens still have over $80 million invested in 19 players for 2022-23 following the Weber trade with promising restricted free agents like Alexander Romanov and Rem Pitlick to sign. There’s little they can do to clear sufficient cap room to pursue big-ticket talent in this summer’s free-agent market.

Engels expects Petry will be traded but Hughes indicated he’s not going to part with futures to make it happen. Despite the interest in Anderson, there’s no urgency for the Canadiens GM to move him.

Hughes also indicated he likely won’t have clarity on Carey Price’s status until close to training camp or possibly afterward. He intends to proceed with his offseason business as though Price will be on his active roster.

Engels also speculated forwards Paul Byron and Jonathan Drouin could be moved this offseason. If they’re not, the Canadiens will gain extra cap flexibility next summer when they become unrestricted free agents.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s apparent Hughes intends to move Petry. There’s been recent speculation linking the blueliner to several clubs, including the Dallas Stars and Pittsburgh Penguins. Whether he ends up with those teams remains to be seen.

The Habs GM intends to be patient to find the right deal for Petry. Considering the moves he’s made thus far (Weber on Thursday, Tyler Toffoli, Ben Chiarot, Artturi Lehkonen and Brett Kulak before the trade deadline), the return must either fetch the Canadiens an affordable player who can help their roster or futures such as draft picks and prospects.

Anderson is the Canadiens’ best trade chip if Hughes is willing to move him. However, he’ll have to receive an offer that’s too good to refuse. I wouldn’t be surprised if Anderson’s still wearing a Habs jersey when the 2022-23 season begins.

Drouin and Byron could draw some interest but their respective injury histories could make them difficult to move. Then again, Hughes found a trade partner to take Weber’s hefty salary-cap hit off his hands. We shouldn’t dismiss the possibility of him finding a taker for either guy.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy recently suggested the Canadiens look into acquiring Martin Necas if he no longer fits into the Carolina Hurricanes’ plans. The 23-year-old forward became the subject of trade speculation after a disappointing season amid rumors of a possible rift with Hurricanes’ coach Rod Brind’Amour. He’s completing his entry-level contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It might not be a bad idea to look into Necas’ availability. However, the Hurricanes have some cap issues of their own to deal with.

Cap Friendly indicates they have $19.4 million in cap room and key players such as Vincent Trocheck, Nino Niederreiter and Tony DeAngelo are in need of new contracts. They probably won’t want to take back much salary unless the return is an affordable replacement for one of those three.

SHOULD THE FLYERS TRADE PROVOROV OR KONECNY?

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Prior to the Flyers’ reported signing of head coach John Tortorella, Sam Carchidi suggested it may be time for them to trade Ivan Provorov or Travis Konecny. He believes they should use either guy to pursue high draft picks and rising young players to restock their prospect pipeline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Carchidi did go on to say perhaps a coach like Tortorella could do a better job bringing out the best in players like Provorov and Konecny. I think that’s what the Flyers’ front office is counting on having gone out and hired “Torts”.

That doesn’t mean Provorov or Konecny wouldn’t be traded if the right offer was made in the coming weeks. However, it seems to me that Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher still believes this club can turn things around with the right guidance behind the bench.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 3, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 3, 2022

The Hurricanes hope to retain some key free agents, the possibility of some RFAs not receiving qualifying offers, plus updates on Jack Campbell and David Perron in today’s NHL rumor mill.

HURRICANES HOPE TO RETAIN TROCHECK, NIEDERREITER & DEANGELO

NHL.COM: Kurt Dusterberg reports Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell hopes to re-sign pending unrestricted free agent forwards Vincent Trocheck and Nino Niederreiter. Meanwhile, head coach Rod Brind’Amour hopes restricted free agent defenseman Tony DeAngelo also returns.

Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal indicated he’s not thinking about a contract extension this summer, preferring to play out the final season of his contract before determining his future. Waddell indicated they want Staal to play as long as he feels like doing so.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander reports DeAngelo would love to stay with the Hurricanes. He said he believes everyone in the organization knows that and believes they want him back, expressing appreciation for the trust they put in him following his troubled final season with the New York Rangers.

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo (NHL Images).

DeAngelo, 26, has arbitration rights and is a year away from becoming eligible for unrestricted free agent status. Waddell indicated there’s interest in signing him to a multi-year contract.

Alexander’s colleague Luck DeCock believes the Hurricanes need an upgrade in pure scoring skill. He suggested parting ways with forward Martin Necas, who regressed during this season and bringing in a scoring winger to replace him via trade or free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Waddell called signing Trocheck a priority. That increases the likelihood he won’t become available in this summer’s UFA market. It will depend on whether the two sides can reach an agreement before free agency begins on July 13.

Trocheck tends to be a streaky scorer but he would draw plenty of interest if he tests the market. Vancouver Hockey Now’s Rob Simpson daydreamed about Vancouver signing him but there’s no indication that’s the direction Canucks management intends to take.

DeAngelo made the most of his opportunity with the Hurricanes. While both sides are pleased with how this season turned out, arriving at a suitable deal could be a challenge.

Cap Friendly indicates the Hurricanes have $19.4 million in cap space with 14 players under contract next season. Parting ways with Necas won’t free up additional cap space as he’s a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract.

Trocheck earned an annual average value of $4.725 million while Niederreiter’s was $5.25 million. It could cost a combined $12 million to retain them. DeAngelo, meanwhile, could seek a return to the $4.8 million annually he was earning with the Rangers before agreeing to a one-year, $1 million contract with the Hurricanes for this season. Re-signing that trio won’t leave much room to add a scoring forward.

TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”

SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman suggested limited salary-cap space among NHL teams could lead to some of them not bothering to qualify the rights of some arbitration-eligible RFAs.

Some worth watching include Carolina’s Ethan Bear, Dallas’ Denis Gurianov, Pittsburgh’s Kasperi Kapanen, Chicago’s Dylan Strome and New Jersey’s Miles Wood and Pavel Zacha. He also noted there was speculation that Ondrej Kase could depart Toronto but believes talks are underway between the winger and the Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those players could bolster the depth of talent in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market. There’s no certainty, of course, that most or all of them will hit the open market. Still, it could be worthwhile as Friedman suggested to keep an eye on their respective contract negotiations.

Speaking of RFAs, Friedman believes the Leafs will qualify defenseman Rasmus Sandin’s rights. However, they have a logjam on the left side of their blueline. He pointed out that their cap situation doesn’t afford Sandin contract room.

Meanwhile, there haven’t been any contract talks between the Leafs and goaltender Jack Campbell for months and anything previously discussed is no longer relevant. His agent said there’s been no material contract conversation since the end of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect the Leafs will get something done with Campbell because there aren’t many suitable replacement options in this summer’s trade and UFA markets. The best free-agent options are Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper and Minnesota’s Marc-Andre Fleury and there’s no certainty either guy can be wooed to Toronto.

As for Sandin, he’ll obviously be more affordable to sign than Campbell. Given the priority given to the latter, however, they could end up shopping Sandin if they can’t free up sufficient cap dollars to re-sign him. However, I think Leafs management will try to free up cap room by trying to move out veterans like Petr Mrazek and Wayne Simmonds, though peddling either guy won’t be easy.

Friedman believes the New Jersey Devils and Ottawa Senators will be worth watching as they have their first-round picks in play for talent with a lot of team control.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, a player with more than a year remaining on their contract.

He also doesn’t expect St. Louis Blues winger David Perron will hit the open market on July 13.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 1, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 1, 2022

Check out the latest speculation on the Hurricanes and Blues offseason plans in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE HURRICANES?

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski noted the Carolina Hurricanes have several key free agents to deal with this summer. Forwards Nino Niederreiter, Vincent Trocheck and Max Domi and defensemen Ian Cole and Brendan Smith are due to become unrestricted free agents. Forward Martin Necas and blueliners Ethan Bear and Tony DeAngelo are restricted free agents.

Carolina Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck (NHL Images).

Wyshynski observed that Trocheck tends to be inconsistent. DeAngelo, meanwhile, led their defensemen with 51 points in 64 games after signing a one-year, $1 million contract.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander pointed out that Necas’ erratic third NHL season raises questions over where he fits into the Hurricanes’ plans. Bear, meanwhile, was a healthy scratch throughout this postseason.

Luke DeCock also weighed in on the difficult decisions facing Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell, with what to do with DeAngelo and Niederreiter topping the list. He felt Trocheck’s departure via free agency and cutting bait with Necas should be easier. DeCock also noted coach Rod Brind’Amour’s comment about the Hurricanes lacking elite goal scorers.

THE ATHLETIC: Sara Civian suggested Waddell explore the “elite goal scorer” market this summer. She pointed out the Hurricanes lacked a scorer in the top-20 this season despite being among the NHL’s best teams. Their scoring leader was Sebastian Aho, whose 81 points placed him 30th overall in the league.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Hurricanes have $19.375 million in cap space for 2022-23 with 14 players under contract. Not everyone among those key free agents will be back, especially if Waddell and team owner Tom Dundon decide to pursue a scoring forward this summer.

Maybe they’ll try to sign Colorado’s Nazem Kadri if they let Trocheck walk. Perhaps they’ll pursue Kevin Fiala if the Minnesota Wild decides to shop the pending RFA winger.

I think they’ll bring DeAngelo back after his bounce-back performance this season. Trading Necas could be a mistake but he could be packaged with a draft pick or prospect to land a more established scorer.

LATEST ON THE BLUES

STLTODAY.COM: Jim Thomas reports Blues GM Doug Armstrong doesn’t believe his roster needs major changes after falling in the second round to the Colorado Avalanche. With a number of key players under contract, he felt his team is in a good position for next season.

Armstrong acknowledged the salary cap will affect efforts to re-sign key UFAs David Perron, Ville Husso and Nick Leddy. Still, he believes there’s sufficient time to work things out. He also said he’s not worried about Vladimir Tarasenko returning next season despite last summer’s reports about a trade request. He praised the winger’s bounce-back performance this season.

THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford reported Perron said he’d love to be back with the Blues, though he declined to speak about his contract situation publicly. Armstrong also indicated he’d like to bring the 34-year-old winger back, citing his ability to still elevate his play despite his age.

Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly can sign a contract extension this summer. He said he absolutely wants to remain in St. Louis.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perron earned $4 million annually on his current contract and could return for the same cap hit on a two- or three-year deal. Leddy was a good fit with the Blues after joining them in a late-season trade. However, the 31-year-old defenseman will have to accept a pay cut from his $5.5 million to stick in St. Louis.

Husso made just $700k this season so he’s going to get a significant raise despite his postseason struggles. He could cash in on the free-agent market if he wants more playing time as a starter.

Tarasenko hasn’t publicly said he’s changed his mind about a trade but I’d say Armstrong’s comments are a strong indication he won’t be shopped this summer.