NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 9, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 9, 2020

Golden Knights down the Stars to tie the Western Conference Final, the latest on Mathew Barzal and Kevin Shattenkirk, the dates for the draft and free agency are adjusted, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights blanked the Dallas Stars 3-0 to even the 2020 Western Conference Final at a game apiece. Robin Lehner turned in a 24-save shutout while Paul Stastny had a goal and an assist. Game 3 is Thursday, Sept. 10 at 8 pm ET.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights took control of the game in the second period with three goals as they outshot the Stars 19-7. If not for Dallas goalie Anton Khudobin it would’ve been a more lopsided result. The Stars made things worse for themselves by taking six penalties, resulting in William Karlsson’s power-play goal that put Vegas up 2-0.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders center Mathew Barzal has matured as a player during his club’s postseason run. He played a crucial role in eliminating the Philadelphia Flyers with two goals and four assists in that seven-game series.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barzal sits third among Islanders scorers with 14 points, but it’s his all-around play that’s garnering attention in this postseason.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk has nine points in this postseason, sitting second among Bolts blueliners behind Victor Hedman. Five of those points came in the last two games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shattenkirk downplayed his recent production but he’s been quite effective for the Lightning in these playoffs. All but one of those points came at even strength.

TSN: The 2020 NHL Draft is slated for Oct. 6-7. The free-agent market opens on Oct. 9 at noon ET.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s shaping up to be a busy, interesting October.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The Devils have hired Mark Recchi as an assistant coach.

SPORTSNET: Calgary’s Dampy Brar is the winner of the Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award, presented to the individual “who best utilizes hockey as a platform to help people build character and develop important life skills for a more positive family experience.” Brar, who played minor pro in the IHL and West Coach Hockey League, now coaches and mentors youth, and co-founded the APNA Hockey program.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 10, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – July 10, 2019

Update on Jake Gardiner, three teams that should go the offer-sheet route, and the latest Sabres speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

LATEST ON JAKE GARDINER

NBC SPORTS: Former Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner topped Scott Billeck’s list of five potential value unrestricted free agents. Wingers Justin Williams, Michael Ferland, Ryan Dzingel, and Patrick Maroon completed the list. 

Former Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner remains available in the UFA market (Photo via NHL Images).

Reports indicate Gardiner is seeking $7 million per season. Billeck suggests the 28-year-old rearguard is pricing himself out of range of cap-strapped teams (like the Winnipeg Jets) that could benefit from his services. He suggests the New Jersey Devils make a pitch. He and the recent acquisition of P.K. Subban would make the Devils’ blueline more formidable. 

YAHOO SPORTS: Justin Cuthbert wonders if the cooling UFA market might make it possible for the Leafs to bring back Gardiner at a reduced rate. It’s assumed the blueliner could accept less than market value to return to Toronto. Given the ongoing uncertainty over Mitch Marner’s new contract, Cuthbert feels the Leafs would have to shed salary via trade to sign Gardiner to a less-expensive contract. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There are teams, like the Devils, with sufficient cap space to sign Gardiner. Those who could use him, however, could be hoping to get him for much less than $7-million annually.

As for returning to the Leafs, I don’t see how that’s possible right now. General manager Kyle Dubas has done a fine job this summer making moves to bolster his roster and free up salary-cap room. The Marner situation, however, could make signing Gardiner a bridge too far. 

THREE TEAMS THAT SHOULD GO THE OFFER-SHEET ROUTE

THE SCORE: Josh Wegman suggests the Colorado Avalanche, New Jersey Devils, and Carolina Hurricanes should attempt to sign a top restricted free agent to an offer sheet. He points out the Avalanche and Devils have the cap space to sign Toronto’s Mitch Marner to an offer worth an annual average value of $12 million.

The addition of Marner could push the Avalanche into Stanley Cup contender status. Bringing Marner to the Devils could convince Taylor Hall to stay in New Jersey. Given their respective depth in young talent, the two clubs could afford to part with four first-round picks as compensation to the Leafs. 

Wegman admits there’s a low possibility of the Hurricanes signing a player to an offer sheet after matching one for Sebastian Aho from the Montreal Canadiens. However, he points out they have sufficient cap payroll room to target someone like Washington’s Jakub Vrana. They also have depth in draft picks to part with second- and third-round picks as compensation. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting suggestions by Wegman, though it remains to be seen if those three clubs will go that route. While Sakic signed an offer sheet as a player, he reportedly isn’t a fan of them as a general manager.

Sakic’s in an enviable cap position and could prefer not tying up too much of his long-term cap space. He also has to re-sign RFA Mikko Rantanen, who could cost over $9 million annually.

Cap Friendly indicates the Devils have over $20-million in cap room. However, they’re trying to re-sign Hall to a long-term deal. Nico Hischier will need a new contract next summer. GM Ray Shero likely wants to ensure he’s got sufficient room for both.

As for the Hurricanes, I don’t see them doing an offer sheet. But if they did, the Canadiens would be their likely target. That move could be two or three years down the road when one of the Habs younger players, like Max Domi and Jersperi Kotkaniemi, become RFAs. 

MORE MOVES AHEAD FOR THE SABRES?

THE BUFFALO NEWS: After shipping Alexander Nylander to Chicago for defenseman Henri Jokiharju, Lance Lysowski speculates the Sabres might not be done in the trade market. He points out the Sabres have around $6.6-million in salary-cap space and need scoring help. “With the free-agent market mostly picked over, the Sabres could theoretically trade from their defense corps to add a top-six forward, specifically a second-line center.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen is a frequent topic of trade chatter this off-season. This latest move should stoke that speculation. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 10, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 10, 2019

The salary arbitration hearing dates are released, the Sabres trade Alexander Nylander to the Blackhawks, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHLPA: The 2019 salary-arbitration schedule was released yesterday. 

St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington’s salary-arbitration hearing is set for July 20 (Photo via NHL Images).

July 20

Joel Armia

Jordan Binnington

Jason Dickinson

Alex Iafallo

Brock McGinn

Malcolm Subban *

July 21

Andrew Copp

July 22

Zach Aston-Reese

Christian Djoos

Ville Husso

MacKenzie Weegar

July 23

Evan Rodrigues 

July 24

Neal Pionk

Oskar Sundqvist

July 25

Connor Carrick

Jacob Trouba

July 26

Colton Sissons 

July 27

Sam Bennett

Chase DeLeo

July 28

Mirco Mueller

July 29

Pavel Buchnevich

David Rittich

July 30

Scott Laughton 

July 31

J.T. Compher

August 1

Remi Elie

Ryan Lomberg

Chandler Stephenson

August 2

Will Butcher

Charles Hudon

Linus Ullmark

August 3

Danton Heinen

Artturi Lehkonen 

August 4

Sheldon Dries

Joel Edmundson

Anton Forsberg

Rocco Grimaldi

Jake McCabe

Rinat Valiev 

NOTE: * indicates a settlement

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Scratch Boston Bruins winger Danton Heinen and Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Malcolm Subban from this list. Heinen signed a two-year deal with the Bruins worth an annual average value of $2.8 million. The Golden Knights signed Subban to a one-year, $850K contract. 

WGR 550/CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Buffalo Sabres yesterday traded forward Alexander Nylander to the Chicago Blackhawks for defenseman Henri Jokiharju.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nylander, the eighth overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, had a disappointing tenure with the Sabres, netting just six points in 19 games. Perhaps a fresh start with the Blackhawks can get his once-promising career on track.

Jokiharju, selected 29th overall in the 2017 draft, had a promising start with the Blackhawks but was returned to the minors midway through last season. His addition to an increasingly crowded Sabres blueline will stoke speculation that they’re planning to move another defenseman for a forward. 

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche signed head coach Jared Bednar to a two-year contract extension. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise here. Bednar’s done a fine job helping turn the Avalanche from a bottom-feeder into a rising power in the Western Conference.

SPORTSDAY: The Dallas Stars re-signed defensemen Gavin Bayreuther and Dillon Heatherington to one-year, two-way contracts.

SPORTSNET: Former Edmonton Oilers forward Ty Rattie has signed a one-year contract with KHL team Lokomotiv. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The NHL could shorten the free-agent interview period and move the start date for free agency up from July 1. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will require approval by the league and the NHL Players Association. The two sides are believed engaged in discussions regarding a new collective bargaining agreement. Perhaps shortening the interview period and tying the free-agency start date to the draft, as suggested in the article, will be part of the next CBA. 

THE TENNESSEAN: Former Nashville Predators captain Greg Johnson died Monday in his Michigan home. He was 48. An original member of the Predators, he played seven seasons in Nashville and was their captain from 2002-03 to 2005-06. Johnson also played with the Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Chicago Blackhawks, amassing 145 goals and 369 points in 785 career regular-season games. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Johnson’s family, friends, and former teammates. No cause of death was given. Johnson’s career ended in 2006 after an irregular heartbeat was detected during a physical examination. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 3, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 3, 2018

Nate Schmidt receives 20-game suspension, notable remaining UFAs and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt received a 20-game suspension for violating the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program, a charge he, his agent and the team denied yesterday. The league didn’t reveal what substance Schmidt tested positive for or when the test was conducted. His appeal was denied by an independent arbitrator.

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt has been suspended for violating the NHL’s PED program. (Photo via NHL Images)

In a statement yesterday, Schmidt professed his innocence, claiming he never knowingly ingested a banned substance. He said the trace amount was “consistent with environmental contamination that I could not possibly have prevented.”

Schmidt cited one expert who testified on his behalf claiming the amount of substance found in his system ” 7 billionths of a milligram/mL — as the equivalent of a pinch of salt in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.” Another who analyzed a sample of his hair concluded there was no evidence of intentional use. “The Vegas Golden Knights track players’ strength and performance metrics and my results have remained constant over the past year.”

The Golden Knights also released a statement supporting Schmidt, expressing their belief “that the presence of a trace of the banned substance was accidental and unintentional.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We don’t know the full details from the hearings or what Schmidt may have ingested. Going by his story, however, it appears the punishment received was unduly harsh and perhaps unjustified.  It’s worth noting the Golden Knights are standing by Schmidt. It’ll be interesting to see if the league or the PA will issue a statement. it doesn’t sound as though there’s another appeal option for Schmidt.

In the meantime, Schmidt’s absence will leave a significant gap on their blueline early in the coming season that could force the Golden Knights to address via trade, free agency or waivers. I’ll have more in my Rumors section later this morning.  

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Center Antoine Vermette, left wing Mike Cammalleri, right wing Lee Stempniak, defensemen Luca Sbisa and Cody Franson and goaltender Steve Mason are the notable veterans remaining in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market. Others include forwards Scott Hartnell and Daniel Winnik, blueliner Kevin Bieksa and goalie Kari Lehtonen. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A handful of these players could earn one-year deals via professional tryout offers. The rest face continuing their playing careers in Europe or retirement. 

TSN: Former Montreal Canadiens and Nashville Predators defenseman Alexei Emelin signed a three-year contract with KHL club Avangard Omsk.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): The Vancouver Canucks need a healthy Chris Tanev to return to form this season. 

 











NHL Blog Beat – July 7, 2015

GRANTLAND: Sean McIndoe assesses the winners and losers from NHL free agency.

Phil Kessel could score a lot of goals with the Penguins.

Phil Kessel could score a lot of goals with the Penguins.

PUCK DADDY: Ryan Lambert wonders how many goals Phil Kessel will score with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

PENSION PLAN PUPPETS: Debunking the Toronto Sun’s “Kessel hot dog” story.

THE CANNON: Examining who won the Brandon Saad trade.

WINGING IT IN MOTOWN: Why the Detroit Red Wings’ additions of Mike Green and Brad Richards is exciting and terrifying.

MILE HIGH HOCKEY: Ryan Murphy breaks down the Ryan O’Reilly trade from the Colorado Avalanche’s perspective.

DOBBER HOCKEY: Tom Collins lists the top-10 underrated NHL free agent signings.

SILVER SEVEN SENS: The Ottawa Senators’ history with arbitration.

HOCKEY IN SOCIETY: A review of Jordin Tootoo’s book “All the Way: My Life on Ice.”

GREATEST HOCKEY LEGENDS: The life and career of Ivan Hlinka.