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 – April 10, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 10, 2021

Game recaps, the latest on Zach Werenski, Bobby Ryan and William Nylander, the Avalanche reacquire Patrik Nemeth, the Leafs deal for Riley Nash, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied career goal 727 in a 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Capitals defenseman Justin Schultz had a goal and two assists. Ovechkin is four goals shy of Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne for fifth on the NHL’s all-time goals list. The Capitals are tied with the New York Islanders with 56 points but hold first place in the MassMutual East Division on the basis of regulation wins (21).

The Islanders, meanwhile, dropped a 4-1 decision to the New York Rangers. Alexandar Georgiev made 31 saves for the win in his first start in 11 games while teammate Adam Fox’s point streak ended at 12 games. Blueshirts winger Artemi Panarin collected two assists.

PIttsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

Sidney Crosby scored and added two helpers to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins over the New Jersey Devils 6-4. Pittsburgh winger Bryan Rust scored two goals and chipped in an assist while Devils winger Miles Wood tallied twice. The Penguins have won seven of their last nine contests and sit two points behind the second-place Islanders.

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Jonas Johansson made 28 saves for his first career NHL shutout in a 2-0 blanking of the Anaheim Ducks. Valeri Nichushkin and Mikko Rantanen were the goal scorers as Colorado won their sixth game in their last seven outings. They canceled their practice earlier in the day after Bo Byram was placed on the NHL COVID-19 protocol list. The Avs sit atop the Honda West Division with 58 points.

A four-goal first period powered the Vegas Golden Knights to a 7-4 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Reilly Smith scored two goals for the Golden Knights, who remain four points back of the Avalanche in second place. Phil Kessel collected three assists for Arizona and took over sole possession of fifth place on the NHL’s Ironman list by skating in his 885th consecutive game. The Coyotes are in fourth place with 43 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel is quite durable for someone who is sometimes mocked because his physical appearance isn’t that of a prototypical NHL player. As the old saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover.

St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly tallied a hat trick in a 9-1 thumping of the Minnesota Wild. Jaden Schwartz scored twice while Justin Faulk and Sammy Blais each had a goal and two assists. The Blues moved within one point of the Coyotes while the Wild remain in third place with 50 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues made winger Mike Hoffman a healthy scratch for the second straight game. He’s among the top names being bandied about the NHL rumor mill and could be on the move before Monday’s trade deadline.

Brent Burns collected three assists and Martin Jones made 32 saves as the San Jose Sharks downed the Los Angeles Kings 5-2. The surging Sharks sit three back of the Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The race for that final playoff berth in the West is getting interesting. The Coyotes are trying to hang on, the Blues are battling to overcome a recent season-threatening losing skid while the Sharks are trying to keep their postseason hopes alive.

HEADLINES

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski will undergo season-ending sports hernia surgery next week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A difficult season for the Blue Jackets just got a lot worse with their best puck-moving defenseman on the shelf. This could be the last nail in the coffin for their playoff hopes.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings forward Bobby Ryan appears to be done for the season after suffering an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ryan was expected to draw some interest in the trade market leading up to Monday’s deadline. Nagging injuries have plagued the 34-year-old winger throughout this season.

ESPN: The Nashville Predators placed winger Filip Forsberg on injured reserve and announced winger Eeli Tolvanen (lower body) and defenseman Dante Fabbro (upper body) are week-to-week. Right wing Mathieu Olivier will be sidelined for four-to-six weeks with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators surged into playoff contention in recent weeks in the Discover Central Division. This latest rash of injuries could threaten their efforts to clinch a postseason berth.

TSN: Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning said many of his 21 players who tested positive for COVID-19 are feeling better. He expects his club will be able to complete its 56-game schedule, adding none of his players want to opt-out of the remainder of the season. Benning anticipates most of his players will be back on the ice once the team receives clearance to reopen its practice facility.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens prospect Cole Caufield is the 2021 winner of the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in US college hockey.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Caufield celebrated by scoring two goals in his pro debut as the Laval Rocket downed the Toronto Marlies 5-3 in AHL action on Friday.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs acquired center Riley Nash from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2022.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nash is sidelined for four-to-six weeks with a sprained knee. However, Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas can place him and his $2.75 million cap hit on long-term injury reserve, giving them the flexibility to perhaps make another move before Monday’s trade deadline. A clever move by Dubas, who’s done this sort of thing in the past to provide himself some much-needed cap relief. Nash will also join the Leafs for the playoffs.

TORONTO STAR: Speaking of the Leafs, winger William Nylander will be sidelined for a week on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list after coming in contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche reacquired defenseman Patrik Nemeth from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a 2022 fourth-round pick. Nemeth spent two seasons with the Avalanche (2017 to 2019). The Wings are also retaining half of his $3 million salary-cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche also have $5.4 million in cap wiggle room with Erik Johnson and Pavel Francouz on LTIR. GM Joe Sakic might not be done dealing as concern remains over the Avs’ goaltending depth.

NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils placed winger Nikita Gusev on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent if he clears at noon ET today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gusev had a promising NHL debut with 44 points in 66 games last season but struggled under head coach Lindy Ruff this season and has just five points in 20 games. The 27-year-old winger might regain his scoring touch with another club.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres claimed forward Drake Caggiula off waivers from the Arizona Coyotes.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 4, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – January 4, 2019

Latest on the Avalanche, Jets, and Maple Leafs in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

AVALANCHE MUST ADDRESS LACK OF SCORING DEPTH

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The Colorado Avalanche possess a lethal first line in Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Gabriel Landeskog, but Jared Clinton believes it’s masked the club’s lack of secondary scoring. which has contributed to their current 2-5-3 skid. He suggests it’s time to consider making some noise in the trade market.

Clinton wonders if now might be a good time to shop goaltender Semyon Varlamov and his expiring contract, or listen on blueliner Nikita Zadorov or shopping pending unrestricted free agent defenseman Patrick Nemeth. He also proposes entertaining the option of shopping one of their two first-round picks in the 2019 draft, one of which belonged to the Ottawa Senators and could become the first-overall pick. 

Should the Colorado Avalanche shop goalie Semyon Varlamov for a scoring forward? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wouldn’t hurt to see what Varlamov, Zadorov or Nemeth might fetch in the trade market, but I doubt any of those three can bring the type of return that would provide immediate help to their secondary scoring.

Varlamov is frequently injured and inconsistent, Zadorov (who’s currently sidelined with a lower-body injury) has struggled to establish himself as a reliable top-four blueliner. Nemeth is a third-pairing rearguard.

If general manager Joe Sakic seeks scoring punch, he’ll have to dangle one of those first-round picks. 

SUGGESTED JETS TRADE TARGETS

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre believes Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff should bolster his club’s depth at center and on the left side of the blueline. He points out Cheveldayoff made a big splash at last year’s trade deadline by acquiring rental center Paul Stastny, who played a significant role in the Jets’ march to the 2018 Western Conference Finals.

McIntyre’s suggested trade targets include Ottawa Senators center Matt Duchene, Minnesota Wild center Eric Staal, Los Angeles Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin, New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes, and St. Louis Blues rearguard Jay Bouwmeester.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Duchene and Muzzin are the best options on McIntyre’s list. The Senators are trying to re-sign Duchene but he could become available before the trade deadline if they cannot hammer out an agreement on a new contract. He’d also be the most expensive on McIntyre’s list to acquire. Muzzin, meanwhile, is under contract for one more season at an affordable $4 million cap hit. The Kings, however, will want a decent return, preferably a promising young player. 

Staal could be more affordable but the Wild could hang onto him if they’re still in playoff contention. He also has a 10-team no-trade list and could veto a move to Winnipeg. Like Duchene, Hayes is a pending UFA but the Rangers could still try to re-sign him.

Bouwmeester would be the most affordable of this bunch but at 35 he’s no longer a reliable top-four defenseman. The Jets would be better off looking elsewhere. 

LEAFS STILL SEEKING A GOALTENDER?

TORONTO STAR: Mark Zwolinski reports Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said yesterday following a 4-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild that his club might still be in the market for a goaltender. Starter Frederik Andersen and backup Garret Sparks are currently sidelined, resulting in GM Kyle Dubas’ recent acquisition of Michael Hutchinson from the Florida Panthers and calling up Kasimir Kaskisuo. They’d prefer returning Kaskisuo to the minors, which could put them in the market for another goalie with NHL experience. 

“I don’t know what’s going on, we were just talking about maybe finding another goalie,” said Leafs coach Mike Babcock. “We’d like (Kaskisuo) to get playing, we don’t want him to be sitting around. So maybe we’ve got to find another goalie and go from there.”










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 3, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 3, 2018

Hurricanes trade Jeff Skinner to the Sabres, Flames put Troy Brouwer on unconditional waivers plus the latest on William Karlsson and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes last night traded left wing Jeff Skinner to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for  a second-round draft pick in 2019, third- and sixth-round picks in 2020 and 20-year-old forward Cliff Pu.

The Carolina Hurricanes trade left wing Jeff Skinner to the Buffalo Sabres. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Very surprising in terms of destination and return. Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell told the News & Observer that Skinner, who has a full no-movement clause, gave them a limited number of potential trade destinations. The Sabres were high on the list for Skinner, a native of Markham, Ontario.

Recent speculation suggested the Hurricanes sought a scoring forward and perhaps a first-round pick for Skinner. They obviously couldn’t get that from the Sabres or other clubs on the winger’s list. As Waddell noted, the club felt it was best for him to move on after eight seasons in Carolina.

In other words, they wanted to get a deal done before training camp opened next month, rather than have the uncertainty over his status hanging over the club. Doing so, however, likely means they wound up accepting far less than they expected when they started talking to other clubs. 

Skinner’s departure leaves a glaring hole at left wing and hurts a team that was 23rd in goals for per game (2.74) last season. The Hurricanes didn’t get much of a return, though the additional prospects gives the Hurricanes some additional bargaining chips for other moves. Perhaps some of those assets to be packaged in a larger deal involving defenseman Justin Faulk, who’s also been a frequent subject of trade speculation this summer. 

As for the Sabres, they’ve landed a skilled 26-year-old scorer with three 30-plus goal seasons on his resume. Skinner should be a good fit skating alongside first-line center Jack Eichel and bolster their scoring punch.

He’s also due to become an unrestricted free agent next summer so it’ll be interesting to see how quickly Sabres GM Jason Botterill opens contract talks with the Skinner camp. Sabres GM Jason Botterill told The Buffalo News there’s been no contract discussions. Still, the fact Skinner wanted to come to Buffalo bodes well for their chances of getting him re-signed. 

CALGARY SUN: The Flames yesterday placed veteran winger Troy Brouwer on unconditional waivers for the purpose of buying out his contract. He has two years remaining on his contract worth an annual salary-cap hit of $4.5 million. The buyout will count as $1.5-million annually again the Flames salary-cap payroll for the next four years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brouwer struggled during his previous two seasons with the Flames, seeing fourth line and penalty-killing duties last season. I think he’ll land with another NHL club seeking experienced, affordable checking-line depth but he might have to go the tryout route when training camps open in mid-September. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: With William Karlsson’s salary arbitration hearing slated for Saturday, the center is reportedly seeking $6.5-million annually while the Golden Knights countered with $3.5-million per season. 

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings center Dylan Larkin said he’s confident he will have a new contract in place before training camp opens next month. The two sides are reportedly closing in on a long-term deal expected to be between five or six years in length.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche agreed to a one-year, $2.5-million contract with defenseman Patrik Nemeth. 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 2, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 2, 2018

Mark Stone and the Senators are far apart approaching arbitration, Coyotes to retire Shane Doan’s number, the latest notable contract signings and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren believes the Ottawa Senators must avoid going to arbitration with forward Mark Stone at all cost. The two sides are $4 million apart as Stone’s hearing approaches on Friday, with Stone seeking a one-year, $9-million contract and the Senators countering with $5 million.

If Stone gets an arbiter-awarded contract, he’ll join Erik Karlsson and Matt Duchene for eligibility next summer for unrestricted free agency. Warren believes the Senators must re-sign Stone as they cannot afford to risk losing their top forward in a year’s time.

With arbitration approaching, Mark Stone and the Ottawa Senators remain far apart. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Warren points out, Karlsson already has one skate out the door. If Stone’s future is uncertain, what incentive will Duchene have in re-signing with the Senators? 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes will retire former captain Shane Doan’s No. 19 on Feb. 24, 2019 versus the Winnipeg Jets. Doan began his NHL career with the original Jets and moved with the club when it relocated to Arizona in 1996. 

NBC SPORTS: The Philadelphia Flyers re-signed defenseman Robert Hagg to a two-year contract worth $2.3 million. 

BSN DENVER: Adrian Dater reports a source says the Colorado Avalanche will avoid arbitration with defenseman Patrik Nemeth and announce an agreement on a new contract. Nemeth’s hearing is slated for Saturday. 

CHAMPIONAT.COM: Former NHL winger Jannik Hansen will reportedly sign a one-year contract with CSKA Moscow. 

TORONTO SUN: Dominic Moore’s annual Smashfest table tennis tournament involving current and former NHL players has raised over $700K for research into rare cancers and concussions. For the fourth straight year, Anaheim Ducks winger Patrick Eaves was the tournament champion

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 17, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 17, 2017

Stars of the week plus updates on Erik Karlsson, Leon Draisaitl, Zach Parise & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Nikita Kucherov scored twice to power the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Kucherov now has seven goals this season, scoring in six straight games. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kucherov came into his own last season as a goal scorer. I expect he’ll be challenging for the Richard Trophy this season. 

Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Oct. 15. 

OTTAWA SUN: Senators captain Erik Karlsson makes his much-anticipated return to action tonight against the Vancouver Canucks. He’s been recovering from off-season foot surgery. 

EDMONTON SUN: The Oilers yesterday placed forward Leon Draisaitl (concussion-like symptoms) on injured reserve.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild winger Zach Parise left practice yesterday after suffering a setback in his attempt to return from an undisclosed injury.

TSN: The Winnipeg Jets placed forward Mathieu Perreault (lower body) on injured reserve. 

BSN DENVER: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Patrik Nemeth suffered a shoulder injury on Saturday and has returned to Denver for evaluation.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner is expected to start tonight’s game against the Washington Capitals on the fourth line. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The move will be a short-term one. Marner carries a team-worst plus-minus of minus-6 and this is to improve his defensive game. 

USA TODAY: Over five weeks after starting a 24-week chemotherapy program for colon cancer, NBC Sports hockey analyst Ed Olczyk is returning to the broadcast booth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Welcome back, Eddie, and continued best wishes for a swift recovery. 

MACLEAN’S: Hall of Famer Ken Dryden calls upon NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to do more to reduce concussion injuries and make the game safer for the players. Dryden examines the issue in detail in his new book “Game Change: The Life and Death of Steve Montador and the Future of Hockey.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For years, the league has been slow to recognize the seriousness of concussion-related injuries, especially with regards to life-altering brain trauma such as CTE. In recent years, it has taken steps to address concussion injuries but more work is still required to make the game safer. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights apologized for a series of tweets on its Twitter account deemed as sexist prior to the club’s recent game against Boston.