NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 25, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 25, 2019

Auston Matthews faces a disorderly conduct charge, Connor McDavid plays his first preseason game, plus updates on Josh Morrissey, Brock Boeser, Robin Lehner, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews is facing a charge of disorderly conduct over an incident in his hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona, on May 28.

Matthews and several friends allegedly attempted to get into a security guard’s car. When she confronted the group, Matthews is said to have pulled down his pants, bent over and “grabbed his butt cheeks” through his underwear. The guard claimed the group appeared to be intoxicated. A pre-trial conference is set for today in Scottsdale but Matthews doesn’t have to appear in person.

A disorderly conduct charge could jeopardize Auston Matthews’ chance of being named captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs issued a statement last night indicating they were aware of the situation. Neither they or Matthews will comment further.

The 22-year-old center was considered among the candidates for the Leafs’ captaincy. This incident could derail his chances. The allegations haven’t been proven in court but more than one Toronto pundit has taken Matthews to task over his behavior. 

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Leafs, they released goaltender Michal Neuvirth from his professional tryout offer.

NHL.COM: Connor McDavid made his preseason debut as the Edmonton Oilers fell 4-2 to the Coyotes. It was the Oilers’ captain’s first game since tearing a ligament in his left knee in the final game of the 2018-19 regular season in April.

TSN: Winnipeg Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey missed the third period of his club’s 2-0 loss to the Calgary Flames as a precautionary measure. Coach Paul Maurice said Morrissey was “tightening up”, adding his exit wasn’t related to blocking a shot earlier in the game.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins center Patrice Bergeron could return to action in the club’s final preseason contest on Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks. He’s recovering from a nagging groin injury.

VANCOUVER SUN: Canucks winger Brock Boeser and defenseman Oscar Fantenberg were placed in concussion protocol following Monday’s preseason contest against Ottawa. It’s uncertain how long they’ll be absent from the lineup.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks goaltender Robin Lehner left practice yesterday with an undisclosed health issue. No word on how long he could be out of the lineup. 

TSN: Former Edmonton Oilers coach Craig MacTavish was fired by the KHL”s Lokomotiv Yaroslavl after just eight games.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins hired Duane Sutter and Kevin Stevens as professional scout. Former NHL forward Jay McClement also joined their scouting department.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 17, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 17, 2019

The NHLPA won’t opt out of the current collective bargaining agreement, the Canucks re-sign Brock Boeser, the Flyers re-up Travis Konecny, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE SCORE: The National Hockey League Players Association announced it won’t exercise its option to reopen the collective bargaining agreement. The decision means the CBA will remain in effect until Sept. 15, 2022.

In a statement, PA executive director Donald Fehr said the players still have concerns about the current agreement. However, they are engaged in discussions with the league to address those issues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the league having already decided late last month not to exercise its own early opt-out, the PA obviously felt doing so would be counterproductive. Taking the early out would’ve given the PA some leverage as it would’ve set a target date of next September 15 to get a deal done. That tactic, however, risked derailing the current negotiations. It could’ve antagonized league commissioner Gary Bettman and the team owners into taking a more hardline approach.

The PA’s decision ensures labor peace for three more years but the two sides must still hammer out a new CBA or an extension of the current one. Given the positive tone and lack of rancor of the current discussions, perhaps a deal will be worked out by the end of this season.

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks last night re-signed Brock Boeser to a three-year contract with an annual average value of $5.875 million. The 22-year-old winger will make $4 million this season, US$6.125 million in 2020-21 and US$7.5 million in 2021-22.

The Vancouver Canucks re-signed winger Brock Boeser to a three-year deal (Photo via NHL Images).

The Canucks will have to tender a $7.5 million qualifying offer to Boeser at the end of his deal. However, they can avoid that by taking him to arbitration, meaning the qualifying offer would be reduced by 15 percent to $6.375 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Canucks sit above the $81.5-million salary cap by over $1.7 million. They could shed that by trading a salaried player or two or demoting them to the minors.

As for Boeser, he’s accepting less money now on a bridge deal but could be in line for a more lucrative long-term contract in three years. If he overcomes his early injury history and continues blossoming as a scoring winger, I doubt the Canucks will take him to arbitration at the end of this contract. Indeed, they could look at locking him up to an extension by the summer of 2021. 

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers yesterday re-signed Travis Konecny to a six-year, $33-million contract. The annual average value is $5.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a good deal for both sides. Konecny, 22, is coming off consecutive 24-goal campaign, earning himself the security of a profitable long-term deal. If he continues to improve, it’ll be a bargain for the Flyers.

NHL.COM: Jack Hughes scored twice in his first NHL preseason game, including the winner in overtime, to lead the New Jersey Devils to a 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins. Hughes was the first-overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. 

TSN: Mitch Marner’s agent Darren Ferris claimed the Toronto Maple Leafs winger received two different offer sheets this summer. He declined both because he wanted to stay with the Leafs. Marner recently re-signed a six-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One of those offers came from an Eastern Conference club. I’ll have more later this morning in the Rumors section.

TORONTO SUN: Leafs goaltender Michal Neuvirth has been slowed by what coach Mike Babcock called body soreness.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu scrimmaged with the club for the first time since tearing the ACL in his left knee in February. He’s hoping to return to action in a preseason game later this week.

THE DETROIT NEWS: An autopsy on former NHL forward Greg Johnson revealed he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head on July 7 at his home in Rochester, Michigan at age 47.

 

 










NHL Most Important Players: Toronto Maple Leafs

NHL Most Important Players: Toronto Maple Leafs

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 23, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 23, 2019

The latest contract signings, an update on the Calgary arena deal, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

TORONTO SUN: Former Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Michal Neuvirth told a Czech newspaper he’s accepted a professional tryout offer with the Maple Leafs. 

Goaltender Michal Neuvirth agreed to a PTO with the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like the Leafs are seeking an insurance policy in case Garret Sparks and Michael Hutchinson fail to measure up as backups for starting goalie Fredrik Andersen. Neuvirth’s a good goalie when healthy but he’s been plagued by injuries in recent years. 

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils avoided salary arbitration with Mirco Mueller. The 24-year-old defenseman agreed to a one-year, $1.4-million contract. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins avoided arbitration with winger Zach Aston-Reese, inking him to a two-year, $2-million deal. 

RDS.CA: Former Montreal Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec will play another season for HC Kometa Brno in the Czech Republic. 

THE ATHLETIC’s Joe Smith reports the Tampa Bay Lightning have reached a settlement with former defenseman Jake Dotchin regarding his grievance over his terminated contract with the club. 

CALGARY SUN: Former Flames star Theo Fleury headlines the 2019 Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame class. Kevin Lowe is also being inducted. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Fleury and Lowe for this well-deserved honor. 

THE SCORE: The city of Calgary officially announced an agreement with the Flames on a new arena project. The agreement was first reported last Friday. It goes before a city council vote on July 29. If approved, the three-year construction will begin in July 2021. 










Updated NHL Rumor Mill – January 8, 2019

Updated NHL Rumor Mill – January 8, 2019

Latest on the Sharks, Canucks, and Canadiens in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

COULD THE SHARKS BE IN THE GOALIE MARKET?

TSN: cited The Mercury New’s Paul Gackle citing the poor stats of San Jose Sharks goaltenders Martin Jones (.897 save percentage entering last night’s game against the LA Kings) and Aaron Dell (.890) and speculating they could get into the rental market for help. “Gackle points to Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard, Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth of the Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils starter Keith Kinkaid and Carolina Hurricanes netminder Petr Mrazek as potential options for the Sharks.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks could be forced to stick with their current tandem or seek help from within their system. Howard is the best of the bunch but the asking price is reportedly a first-round pick, something the Sharks don’t have in this year’s draft or next year’s. Elliott and Neuvirth are frequently sidelined by injuries. Concerns over Cory Schneider’s health could make the Devils reluctant to part with Kinkaid. Mrazek’s done a good job backing up Curtis McElhinney and the Hurricanes could be reluctant to part with him. 

Will the Vancouver Canucks re-sign or trade defenseman Alex Edler? (Photo via NHL Images)

CANUCKS FACE A DECISION WITH EDLER

VANCOUVER SUN:  With the trade deadline on the horizon, Ben Kuzma reports the Canucks will have to make a decision on pending free agent defenseman Alex Edler. They could re-sign him or ask him to waive his no-trade clause, try to move him for “a considerable draft pick or prospect”, and then attempt to bring him back as a free agent this summer. Contract discussions between the two sides haven’t begun yet. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Edler’s asking price could be the determining factor. The 32-year-old blueliner is in the final season of a six-year, $30-million contract. If he’s willing to accept a short-term deal for the same cap hit ($5 million per season) or a little less, they could re-sign him before the deadline to ensure an experienced veteran presence on their defense. 

CANADIENS WON’T TRADE ASSETS FOR QUICK FIXES

SPORTSNET: Eric Engels reports Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin doesn’t intend to be busy in the rental market leading up to the Feb. 25 trade deadline. He said he won’t part with future assets for a short-term addition. “Again, if there’s a young player available and there’s assets that need to go [to acquire that player], I get it. But I don’t think I’ll be in the rental business, ” said Bergevin. He also didn’t rule out shipping out some veterans to bring in futures. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Canadiens jockeying for a wild-card berth this season there’s speculation Bergevin could be a buyer at the trade deadline. Maybe he’d be interested in someone with some term on his contract, like LA Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin. However, if the asking price is a first-round pick or top prospect, it appears the Habs GM won’t be interested. 

A NOTE ON THE CHANGE IN TODAY’S RUMOR MILL.

Earlier today, I posted a summary of a piece by The Athletic’s Craig Custance listing 20 players who could be moved by the trade deadline. As always, I linked to the story, attempted to summarize his main points and provided my analysis. Unfortunately, some followers accused me of plagiarizing Custance or attempting to circumvent The Athletic’s paywall and provide their content to my readers for free. 

This was never my intention and I am sorry if that’s how it came across. I decided to remove the post and resubmit new material for today’s rumor roundup. I’ve also provided the link to Custance’s list if you wish to check it out. 

In my coverage of media-generated NHL trade speculation, I’ve always tried to be as accurate as possible. I cite the media source by name with a link to their work and a summary of their rumors followed by my own take. I have never attempted to pass off their work as my own and didn’t mean for my detailed summary of Custance’s list to be construed as bypassing a paywall.

If I make a mistake, even inadvertently, I feel it’s best to admit it and strive not to repeat it. My apologies to Custance, The Athletic, and its readers.  










NHL Rumor Mill – January 8, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – January 8, 2019

Latest on the Sharks, Canadiens, Canucks and more in today’s updated NHL rumor mill. 

COULD THE SHARKS GET INTO THE GOALIE MARKET? 

TSN: yesterday cited The Mercury News’ Paul Gackle speculating the San Jose Sharks could be forced to look for a rental goaltender. Starter Martin Jones (.897 save percentage) and backup Aaron Dell’s (.890) numbers aren’t that good this season. One option Gackle suggests is swapping Dell for an experienced netminder. Possible targets could include Detroit’s Jimmy Howard, Philadelphia’s Brian Elliott or Michal Neuvirth, New Jersey’s Keith Kinkaid, or Carolina’s Petr Mrazek. 

Could the San Jose Sharks consider acquiring a veteran netminder such as Detroit’s Jimmy Howard? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All of those suggested trade options are slated to become unrestricted free agents. Howard is the best of the bunch but the rumored asking price is a first-round draft pick, which the Sharks no longer have for 2019 or 2020.

Elliott and Neuvirth are oft-injured and likely won’t be very enticing. Given the concerns over Cory Schneider’s health, the Devils could retain Kinkaid. The Hurricanes could be reluctant to part with Mrazek, who’s been a good backup for Curtis McElhinney.

Unless the market for goalies improves, the Sharks could be forced to stick with their current tandem for the remainder of the season.

CANADIENS GM NOT SELLING THE FARM FOR QUICK FIXES

SPORTSNET: Eric Engels reports Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin doesn’t intend to give up assets for a short-term fix leading up to the trade deadline. “Again, if there’s a young player available and there’s assets that need to go [to acquire that player], I get it. But I don’t think I’ll be in the rental business,” said Bergevin. He also didn’t rule out moving out some veterans at the deadline for futures. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Canadiens jockeying for a wild-card berth, some followers feel Bergevin could become a buyer at the deadline. If he had the option of landing a quality player for, say, a third-round pick, I think he could consider it. He’s obviously not going to part with his promising prospects or a first- or second-rounder to do it.

The Canadiens need additional skilled blueline depth, but Bergevin’s unwillingness to part with significant assets could put him out of the market for someone such as the LA Kings’ Jake Muzzin.

WHAT WILL THE CANUCKS DO WITH EDLER?

VANCOUVER SUN: Ben Kuzma reports the Canucks must soon decide if they’re going to re-sign pending UFA defenseman Alex Edler or attempt to move him for “a considerable draft pick or prospect” at the trade deadline and try to bring him back this summer via free agency. Edler would have to agree to waive his no-trade clause. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Much could also depend on how much the 32-year-old Edler would want to re-sign with the Canucks. He’s completing a six-year, $30-milion contract. If he wants a short-term deal for a little less than his current rate, the Canucks might keep him to provide experience and leadership for their rebuilding club. 

THE ATHLETIC:  Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin, Ottawa Senators forwards Matt Duchene and Mark Stone, and New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes are among Craig Custance’s list of 20 players who could be moved by the Feb. 25 trade deadline. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier today, I posted a summary of Custance’s complete list, highlighting the key points he cited for each player and offering up my own brief summary of each. Unfortunately, some followers accused me of plagiarizing Custance or ripping off paid content and posting it for free. 

This was not my intention and I am sorry if this is how it came across. I’ve removed the post but I’ve left the link for those of you who might be interested in reading the full list.

In tracking media-generated NHL trade speculation, I always strive for accuracy. I name the source and provide a link to their work along with a brief overview of their main points followed by my own analysis. I’ve never attempted to pass off anyone else’s work as my own nor was I deliberately trying to circumvent The Athletic’s paywall to provide my readers with free access to their content.  

If I make a mistake, even inadvertent, I feel it’s best to own up to it and try to avoid repeating it in the future. My apologies to Custance, The Athletic, and their readers.