NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 16, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 16, 2023

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby weighs in on best-on-best international tournaments, Jack Hughes believes he can be a 100-point player for the Devils, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

SPORTSNET: Sidney Crosby would welcome the return of best-on-best international tournaments involving NHL stars. “Seeing all the other countries, you look at their lineups, I mean, it’s pretty tight,” said the Pittsburgh Penguins captain. He went on the praise what he called the “incredible” level of hockey in those tournaments.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

Talk of a World Cup of Hockey tournament in 2025 would provide Crosby with the chance to play alongside Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid for the first time on Team Canada. The 36-year-old center said he’d welcome the opportunity, joking that he’d be willing to skate on McDavid’s wing. “He can carry the mail. I’ll just find the opening.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The last best-on-best international tournament featuring NHL stars was the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. A similar competition is long overdue.

At their current levels of performance, Crosby and McDavid are locks for Canada’s roster in 2025. Whether they skate on the same line remains to be seen.

THE SCORE: cited Jack Hughes telling Sportsnet’s “32 Thoughts” podcast that he sees himself as a 100-point player for the New Jersey Devils. He came within one point of doing so last season, finishing with 99 in 78 games.

I’m a competitive person, so definitely a little like, ‘Damn’, you know?” said Hughes. “I wanted that because I’m competitive.” He said he believes he can reach the 100-point plateau if he maintains his current path and continues to work at it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avoiding injury will also play a significant role in the 5’11’, 175-pound Hughes’ quest to reach 100 points. The potential to reach that level was there during an injury-shortened 2021-22 when he had 56 points in 49 games.

SPORTSNET: The NHL Players’ Association released a statement yesterday saying they’d provided an update to the league on the investigation into Columbus Blue Jackets coach Mike Babcock requesting personal photos from his players’ phones. The PA provided no further comment on the matter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Babcock defended his actions by claiming he was trying to get to know his players better and had shown them his own family photos. Blue Jackets captain Boone Jenner and scoring star Johnny Gaudreau said they had no problem with it. Subsequent reports claim some younger players were uncomfortable with Babcock’s request.

The situation sparked some pundits to suggest that Babcock could lose his job over this or at least face a suspension from the league. So far, there’s no indication as to what the end result could be.

DAILY FACEOFF: The NHL has updated its rule book for the coming season. Among the changes are the mandated wearing of helmets during warmups to anyone who joined the league since 2019 as well as clarifications on puck-in-netting and line changes on delayed offsides.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: These are among the most noteworthy. Follow the link above for the complete list of changes.

TSN: It has now been confirmed that the 2023-24 NHL Trade Deadline is slated for 3 p.m. ET on Friday, March 8, 2024.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the second straight year that the trade deadline is on a Friday. I wish they would hold it on a Friday every year. It provides an extra level of buzz heading into Saturday which is almost always the busiest day of the week on the NHL calendar in terms of scheduled games.

NHL Rumor Mill – September 9, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – September 9, 2023

Patrick Kane in Detroit doesn’t make sense, the Senators and Canucks could be busy soon in the trade market, and the projected date of the 2024 trade deadline is revealed. Check out the latest in the NHL Rumor Mill.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Sam Stockton dismissed a report claiming Patrick Kane could sign with the Detroit Red Wings to play alongside Alex DeBrincat, his former linemate with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Free agent winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

Stockton duly noted the report by Chicago Daily Herald’s John Dietz, who cited a source close to Kane claiming the winger would sign with the Red Wings to be reunited with DeBrincat. He also noted Dietz added a qualifier that there would have to be mutual interest from the Red Wings for this to happen.

According to Stockton, any reunion of Kane and DeBrincat in Detroit would lean heavily on nostalgia. He pointed out that the New York Rangers bringing in Kane late last season failed to recreate the offensive chemistry the winger once had with Artemi Panarin during the latter’s tenure with the Blackhawks.

Kane’s health and age are also factors that would work against it. Stockton pointed out that TSN’s Chris Johnston indicated the future Hall-of-Famer wants to see which teams will be the best fit when he’s fully recovered from his June hip resurfacing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Prior to Dietz’s report, most in the media believed Kane’s preference would be signing with a club that would give him the best chance of winning the Stanley Cup this season. If that’s the case, the Red Wings won’t be on his radar unless they break out like the New Jersey Devils did last season.


SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman suggested the Ottawa Senators and Vancouver Canucks could be worth watching as the start of training camp on Sept. 21 draws near.

The Senators are pressed against the $83.5 million salary cap with restricted free agent center Shane Pinto to re-sign. Pinto, 22, is coming off his entry-level contract and carries little leverage. He’s also not eligible to receive an offer sheet as he’s on a 10.2 (c) contract, meaning he didn’t accrue a sufficient number of NHL games played to become eligible for Group 2 RFA status.

Meanwhile, the Canucks could be looking at clearing some cap room as winger Tanner Pearson is expected to be healthy for the coming season after missing most of 2022-23 with an injured hand. He carries an average annual value of $3.25 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how both clubs handle this. They could free up some space by placing some players on waivers or demoting them to their farm team. Dumping salary through trades is another option.

Senators forward Mathieu Joseph popped up in this summer’s rumor mill as a trade candidate. He has an AAV of $2.95 million and is under contract through 2025-26.

Moving Pearson and his cap hit could be difficult given he’s coming off a serious injury. Wingers Brock Boeser ($6.65 million AAV) and Conor Garland ($4.95 million) have been mentioned in the past as trade possibilities but I doubt the Canucks will try to move either guy in this situation.

Canucks defenseman Tyler Myers is another frequent subject of trade rumors but his $6 million cap hit for this season and his 10-team no-trade clause are big obstacles. There was speculation of a deal that would send him to the San Jose Sharks on Sept. 15 once his $5 million signing bonus was paid by the Canucks. We’ll find out soon enough if that’s the case.


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline is projected to be Friday, March 8, 2024.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mark your calendars, folks. You can turn this into a nice long weekend if you can get the time off from work or school.

Winning The NHL Trade Deadline Doesn’t Guarantee A Stanley Cup

Winning The NHL Trade Deadline Doesn’t Guarantee A Stanley Cup

​The NHL’s annual trade deadline, set this year at 3 pm ET on March 21, is always an exciting point on the league calendar for hockey fans.

Rumors always abound among the press and social media in the days leading up to the deadline over which notable players could be on the move, stoking excitement and expectation among the fans.

Most deals involve postseason contenders shipping draft picks and prospects to non-playoff clubs in exchange for pending free agents. Occasionally, a “hockey trade” involving a player-for-player swap breaks up the monotony. Sometimes, a multi-team deal takes place allowing a club with limited salary-cap space to acquire a high-salaried player by spreading his cap hit among three teams.

Once the deadline is passed and the dust settles, there follows a plethora of media assessments over which teams “won” and “lost” the deadline deals. The winners are usually the clubs that landed the best players and thus sufficiently improved their chances of winning the Stanley Cup

NHL history is replete with examples of teams acquiring key players before the trade deadline who helped them become Cup champions. The New York Islanders landing Butch Goring in 1980, the Pittsburgh Penguins dealing for Ron Francis in 1991, the Detroit Red Wings bringing in Larry Murphy in 1997, the Colorado Avalanche trading for Rob Blake in 2001 and the Los Angeles Kings taking on Jeff Carter in 2012 and Marian Gaborik in 2014 are several notable examples.

In most cases, however, the teams considered trade deadline “winners” don’t go on to win the Stanley Cup.

Boston Bruins winger Taylor Hall (NHL Images).

For example, the Boston Bruins were considered a winner at last year’s deadline for landing former Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall. So was the Toronto Maple Leafs after pulling off a clever three-team move to land forward Nick Foligno.

In the end, the Bruins only reached the second round of the 2021 playoffs while the Leafs were upset in the opening round. Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Lightning went on to win the Stanley Cup with their biggest move being the acquisition of depth defenseman David Savard.

In 2020, the Pittsburgh Penguins acquired Patrick Marleau while the Carolina Hurricanes landed Vincent Trocheck among three of their deadline moves. However, it was the Lightning who went on to win the Cup, thanks in part to adding depth forwards Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow. The Penguins, meanwhile, were bounced from the qualifying round while the Hurricanes came up short in the first round.

The 2019 trade deadline saw the Columbus Blue Jackets acquire Matt Duchene among several moves designed to turn the Jackets into a contender before Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky departed that summer as free agents. Those moves helped them win their first playoff round in franchise history but that’s as far as they got. The Vegas Golden Knights acquired winger Mark Stone from the Ottawa Senators and signed him to a long-term extension. While the Golden Knights got themselves a top-flight two-way talent, it hasn’t helped them win that elusive Cup.

This isn’t to lay the blame on the players acquired by the teams that “won” the deadline but failed to win the Cup. In most cases, they couldn’t be faulted for their new clubs’ inability to advance.

Acquiring a player at the trade deadline, even a very good or great one, can be a crap-shoot. Sometimes, the move pans out and sometimes it doesn’t. The player could be among the best on his new team but they fail to go all the way because of other roster issues that management failed to address or never foresaw.

That doesn’t mean a general manager shouldn’t avail himself of the opportunity to improve his roster at the trade deadline, even if it means sometimes overpaying in terms of draft picks and prospects for a short-term acquisition who could depart as a free agent in the offseason. Sometimes, it’s worth the gamble. It can also prove to be a worthwhile long-term acquisition if the player re-signs or still has term on his contract.

Trade-deadline moves can certainly help to improve an NHL roster be it for one playoff round or several. Those moves can even help a club remain among the Cup contenders for several years.

Nevertheless, one should never assume that the teams acquiring the best players at the deadline are assured of a Stanley Cup. Sometimes, it’s the team that makes the under-the-radar deals that wins the big mug. And sometimes, it’s the team that didn’t need to make any major moves because they already had the roster depth to become a champion.