NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 16, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 16, 2022

The Leafs’ John Tavares tallies his 400th career goal, the Devils extend their win streak to 10 games, the latest on the sale of the Senators, the Hurricanes owner is sued for $184 million, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares tallied his 400th career NHL goal in a 5-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Matt Murray made 35 saves in his first game for the Leafs (9-5-3) since being sidelined following their season-opener on Oct. 12 while Michael Bunting scored twice. Sidney Crosby and Rickard Rakell scored for the Penguins as they fell to 6-7-3.

Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins forward Teddy Blueger was activated off injured reserve for this game.

The New Jersey Devils extended their winning streak to 10 games by downing the Montreal Canadiens 5-1. Jack Hughes led the way with two goals and an assist while Vitek Vanecek made 25 saves for the win as their record rose to 13-3-0. Evgenii Dadonov scored his first of the season for the 8-7-1 Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens announced before the game that Jonathan Drouin would miss four-to-six weeks with an upper-body injury while Joel Armia is also out with an upper-body injury. Meanwhile, Canadiens executive VP Jeff Gorton revealed they’re laying the groundwork on a contract extension for winger Cole Caufield.

An overtime goal by Alex Killorn lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-4 win over the Dallas Stars. Killorn also collected two assists for the Lightning (9-6-1) while teammate Steven Stamkos picked up his 500th career assist. Joe Pavelski, Jason Robertson and Miro Heiskanen each had two points for the 9-5-2 Stars.

Back-to-back third-period goals by Carter Verhaeghe gave the Florida Panthers a 5-2 victory against the Washington Capitals. The Panthers improved to 9-6-1 as Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 41 shots while Matthew Tkachuk collected three assists and Aleksander Barkov had a three-point night. John Carlson had two points for the Capitals (7-9-2) as they’ve lost seven of their last nine games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette returned behind the bench after being sidelined by a bout with COVID-19.

Nashville Predators center Matt Duchene collected his 700th career assist and scored the game-winning goal as his club held off the Minnesota Wild 2-1. Juuse Saros kicked out 32 shots for the Predators (7-8-1) while Frederick Gaudreau scored for the 7-7-2 Wild.

The San Jose Sharks (6-9-3) picked up their third straight win with four unanswered third-period goals to defeat the Vegas Golden Knights 5-2. Logan Couture, Erik Karlsson and Alexander Barabanov each had two points for the Sharks. Jack Eichel scored for the Golden Knights (13-4-0) to reach his 400th career point.

An overtime goal by Vladislav Gavrikov gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 5-4 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Boone Jenner scored twice for the Jackets as they move to a record of 5-9-1. Travis Konecny, Kevin Hayes and Noah Cates each had two points for the 7-6-3 Flyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The injuries continue to mount for the banged-up Blue Jackets. Goaltender Elvis Merzlikins left the game in the second period with an injured left leg while defenseman Jake Bean left with an undisclosed injury later in the period. Earlier in the day, the Flyers announced winger Wade Allison will miss at least three weeks with an oblique strain and a hip pointer.

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat had a goal and two assists as his club hung on to beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-4. Jeff Skinner tallied twice for the 7-9-3 Sabres, who’ve now dropped six straight games. The Canucks improved their record to 5-9-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Canucks announced center Jack Studnicka was being placed on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury. Meanwhile, the Sabres welcomed back defenseman Henri Jokiharju off injured reserve after missing 11 games with a facial fracture.

The Anaheim Ducks nipped the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 on an overtime goal by Ryan Strome. Trevor Zegras and Cam Fowler each collected two assists while John Gibson made 31 saves for the Ducks (5-10-1). Rookie Jonatan Berggren tallied his first career NHL goal for the 7-5-4 Red Wings.

HEADLINES

OTTAWA SUN: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly indicated there’s been “a fair level of interest” in the Senators since the club was put up for sale by its current ownership. He said several groups have come forward expressing interest in buying the franchise.

A condition of the purchase is the Senators must remain in Ottawa. Daly didn’t give a timeline for the completion of the sale but cautioned it wouldn’t be quick.

Sources told the Sun that Toronto-based businessman Paul Rivett is trying to put together a wealthy group of investors to buy the club. Meanwhile, Andre Desmarais of Montreal-based Power Corp is teaming up with former Pittsburgh Penguins minority owners Jeffrey and Michael Kimel to partner on a deal to purchase the Senators and build a new arena.

Other potential buyers could include Toronto billionaire Michael Andlauer, who owns the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs. Oshawa Generals owner Rocco Tullio could also be in the mix.

THE ATHLETIC: Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon is being sued for at least $184 million by the Alliance for American Football. The suit alleges Dundon tanked the startup when there were financial alternatives. Dundon, meanwhile, is suing the AAF’s founder, Charlie Ebersol, for $70 million alleging he was misled over the financial start of the AAF.

DAILY FACEOFF: The NHL’s bi-annual general managers’ meetings discussed whether to ask the NHL Players’ Association about making the wearing of cut-resistant gear mandatory. This comes days after Edmonton Oilers winger Evander Kane suffered a gruesome wrist injury when he was accidentally slashed by the skate blade of Tampa Bay Lightning forward Pat Maroon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league cannot unilaterally impose that ruling on the players. As per the collective bargaining agreement, they need the PA’s concurrence.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins have hired former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to conduct an independent review of their player-vetting process. This comes following the club’s ill-advised signing of Mitchell Miller to an entry-level contract. They’re now attempting to get out of that deal after learning of Mitchell’s bullying and physical assault of a disabled Black classmate as a teenager.

NHL.COM: Ottawa Senators forward Mathieu Joseph was fined $5,000.00 for high-sticking New York Islanders defenseman Sebastian Aho on Monday.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 25, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 25, 2022

The World Cup of Hockey is expected to return in 2024, the salary cap could significantly rise after 2023-24, Phil Kessel signs with the Golden Knights, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed the league and the NHL Players Association are moving forward with plans to stage the World Cup of Hockey in 2024. The intent is to hold the tournament during a 17-day window in February 2024 featuring at least eight nations with games played in North America and Europe.

Daly indicated the plan is to play a preliminary round pool in Europe and a preliminary round in North America, with the semifinals and the final held in a North American city.

There is uncertainty over Russia’s participation in the tournament. The NHL has suspended all business operations with that country over its invasion of Ukraine. That’s in alignment with the International Ice Hockey Federation suspending Russia from all international tournaments until further notice.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL’s decision not to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics due to COVID-19 concerns pretty much guaranteed a World Cup of Hockey for 2024 thanks to the extension to the collective bargaining agreement. The NHL is also expected to participate in the 2026 Olympics.

It’s interesting that the league is willing to shutter its operations in midseason for a World Cup. One of the main reasons why they stayed out of the 2018 Olympics was the supposed unhappiness among team owners over “lost revenue” from a two-week pause in February for the Olympics every four years. It’s a different story for a league-run international tournament where they get the bulk of the revenue.

ESPN.COM: Speaking of Russian players, Daly said the league isn’t anticipating that they’ll have any difficulty obtaining work visas for the coming season. Russian players reapplying for visas encountered some difficulties earlier this season. Minnesota Wild star Kirill Kaprizov was twice denied entry to the United States before successfully returning earlier this month.

Several European players played without work visas last season after the NHL worked out an exemption with the U.S. Government due to the pandemic.

SPORTSNET: Daly also believes the NHL salary cap will significantly increase following the 2023-24 season. That will be a year earlier than previous forecasts. He said revenue projections for the coming season are very solid. The salary cap rose by just $1 million to $82.5 million for 2022-23

Vegas Golden Knights sign winger Phil Kessel (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The cap was artificially set at $81.5 million for the past two seasons due to revenue losses caused by the pandemic. It is to rise by $1 million again in 2023-24 and was supposed to rise by another $1 million in 2024-25 until the players paid back their share of hockey-related revenue through escrow.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The Golden Knights signed Phil Kessel to a one-year, $1.5 million contract. The 34-year-old winger played the past three seasons with the Arizona Coyotes, netting 44 assists and 52 points last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights needed some offensive depth among their top-six wingers after trading away Max Pacioretty and Evgenii Dadonov this summer in cost-cutting moves. Kessel could end up skating alongside first-line center Jack Eichel. He also needs just eight more games to set the NHL’s Ironman record, currently held by Keith Yandle with 980 games.

NHL.COM: Timo Meier said he hasn’t held contract extension talks yet with San Jose Sharks general manager Mike Grier. The 25-year-old winger is a year away from restricted free agent status.

Meier said he’s focused on preparing for the upcoming season. He looks forward to meeting with Grier and new Sharks head coach David Quinn when he returns to San Jose for training camp next month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Re-signing Meier should be Grier’s priority if he’s retooling the roster rather than rebuilding it. The winger enjoyed a career-best performance last season with 35 goals and 76 points in 77 games.

Meier’s earning an annual average value of $6 million but his actual salary is $10 million. That’s what it will cost the Sharks to qualify his rights next summer unless the two sides can reach an agreement on a new contract at an AAV below $10 million before then.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Alexandre Texier will not be joining the Blue Jackets for the coming season as per the advice of the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program. He will not be paid his $1.525 million NHL salary for 2022-23 and it won’t count against the club’s salary cap. Texier will be permitted to sign a one-year contract with a European team for this season.

Texier was granted an indefinite leave of absence from the Blue Jackets last March after being sidelined by a fractured finger in January. In a statement, he indicated that he’s experienced personal issues and challenges that require him to be close to his family. He expressed his appreciation to the Blue Jackets and their fans for their support and empathy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Texier receives the help he needs and can maintain his playing career either in the NHL or in Europe.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders defenseman Sebastian Aho was arrested on Aug. 13 in Sweden for drunk driving and had his license suspended as a result. Aho blew .03 on the breathalyzer, putting him over the .02 limit. He was fined 40,000 Swedish Krona.

The incident occurred at 10:30 am after Aho and his wife had visited friends the night before. His agent, Claude Lemieux, said his client was surprised he was still over the limit by the next morning and is very sorry about the mistake.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 29, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 29, 2022

Are the Penguins in danger of losing Malkin and Letang to free agency? What’s the latest on the Lightning? Could a couple of Golden Knights become offer sheet targets?

ARE MALKIN AND LETANG EDGING CLOSER TO FREE AGENCY?

THE SCORE: Josh Wegman cites The Athletic’s Josh Yohe reporting sources claiming the Pittsburgh Penguins haven’t had regular contract talks with Evgeni Malkin since mid-May. A number of agents and several people within the Penguins organization believe the 35-year-old center won’t be returning. He’s due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images).

Yohe also reported the Penguins offered Kris Letang a three-year deal. However, the 35-year-old defenseman wants a five-year contract worth over $8 million annually. Like Malkin, he’s due to become a UFA on July 13.

Malkin was reportedly willing to accept a pay cut from his current $9.5 million annual average value. Letang, meanwhile, seeks a raise over his current $7.25 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A recent report indicated management intends to turn its focus toward Malkin once they’ve sorted out Letang’s situation. That could explain the lack of discussions.

Letang could be pricing himself out of Pittsburgh. What he’s asking for is two years too long for the annual salary he’s seeking. Perhaps the Penguins would agree to $8 million annually for three years. If that’s not acceptable to Letang he could test the market but I don’t see many teams lining up to meet his asking price.

Re-signing both players will bite deeply into the Penguins’ $23.2 million in salary-cap space for 2022-23. Yohe indicated a defenseman such as Marcus Pettersson, John Marino or Brian Dumoulin could become a cost-cutting candidate. One assumes they’d move one of them after signing Malkin and Letang. No sense doing so if one or both end up departing via free agency.

LATEST ON THE LIGHTNING

THE ATHLETIC: Joe Smith reports Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois indicated during his post-Stanley Cup Final press conference that he’s hopeful of re-signing Ondrej Palat, Nick Paul and Jan Rutta. The trio is slated to become UFAs on July 13.

The Lightning, however, once again has limited salary-cap space. To retain at least Palat and Paul would mean shopping a salaried player to free up sufficient dollars.

Smith believes they have several players with value in the trade market. One of them is Alex Killorn, who has a year remaining on his contract with an annual cap hit of $4.45 million and a 16-team no-trade clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The one advantage the Lightning have, apart from their championship pedigree, is the lack of a state tax in Florida. That makes it possible for them to sign players for less than market value because their dollars will go further in that state.

Paul was traded by the Senators because he reportedly spurned a four-year, $10 million contract offer. He could seek something between $3.5 and $4 million annually. Palat was earning $5.3 million annually on his current contract. He could get as much if not more on the open market, but maybe the 31-year-old winger will accept a little less to stay put.

Killorn was a frequent subject of trade speculation whenever the issue of the Lightning needing to free up cap room comes up. This time, however, it could become a reality. The 32-year-old winger only managed four points in the postseason but enjoyed a career-high 25 goals and 59 points in the regular season.

COULD TWO GOLDEN KNIGHTS BECOME OFFER SHEET TARGETS?

THE ATHLETIC: Jesse Granger speculated over whether Nicolas Roy or Nicolas Hague will be targeted for offer sheets by rival clubs. Both players are restricted free agents with the Vegas Golden Knights.

Roy is coming off a career-best 15 goals and 39 points in 2021-22. The 25-year-old forward was on a two-year deal earning $750k annually. Hague, 23, had 14 points in 52 games. The defenseman is coming off his entry-level contract and lacks arbitration rights.

The Golden Knights lack salary-cap space at this time to sign both players after shipping out Evgenii Dadonov to Montreal earlier this month. Another cost-cutting move could be on the horizon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hockey News’ Ryan Kennedy recently reported at least two Eastern Conference clubs had “serious interest” in Hague. That could force the Golden Knights to make that cost-cutting move before he becomes eligible to receive an offer sheet on July 13.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 26, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 26, 2022

An update on Zdeno Chara, Bruins finalize contract extension for GM Don Sweeney, Alex Ovechkin scored in pro soccer debut, the latest on Ondrej Palat and Andre Burakovsky, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Zdeno Chara’s agent said his client intends to make a decision about his NHL future in September. The 45-year-old defenseman is an unrestricted free agent after spending last season with the New York Islanders, setting the league record for most career games by a defenseman with 1,680. He had 14 points and was a plus-8 in 72 games with the Isles.

New York Islanders defenseman Zdeno Chara (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chara is no longer the perennial Norris Trophy candidate he was during his playing prime. Still, it wouldn’t be surprising if a club signs him to an affordable one-year contract as a third-pairing blueliner if he decides to return for one more season. His preference would likely be to skate for an Eastern Conference club.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: cites the Worcester Telegram & Gazette’s Joe McDonald reporting the Bruins have finalized the contract extension for general manager Don Sweeney.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m sure the Bruins fans who are regular commenters to this site will have some interesting takes on this news. The deal hasn’t been officially announced yet though that could be coming at some point this week. I’ll post the details when they appear.

Under Sweeney’s management, the Bruins reached the playoffs in each of the last six seasons, reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2019 and winning the Presidents’ Trophy in 2020. However, the club has declined over the past two seasons, raising questions about his efforts to maintain a contender. The recent firing of head coach Bruce Cassidy raised eyebrows around the league and the ire of Bruins fans.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: It turns out Alex Ovechkin is also a scorer in professional soccer. Signed to a one-game contract with FC Moscow Dynamo, the Capitals captain scored a goal against FC Amkal in a Russian Premier League friendly.

YAHOO! SPORTS: Ondrej Palat’s performance in the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs could help him cash in as an unrestricted free agent next month. Coming off a 49-point performance in 77 regular-season games, Palat leads the Lightning with 11 postseason goals and three game winners.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Palat is completing a five-year contract with an annual average value of $5.3 million. If he and the Lightning fail to reach an agreement on a new deal, he’s bound to draw plenty of interest from contenders looking for a clutch player like him. He leads all active players with 12 playoff game-winners.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said winger Andre Burakovsky (hand injury) remains day-to-day but didn’t rule him out for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Sunday night in Tampa Bay.

PUCK PEDIA (via KUKLA’s KORNER): listed several upcoming key NHL offseason dates, starting with the first contract buyout window opening on July 1 and closing on July 12. July 11 is the deadline for teams to issue qualifying offers to restricted free agents. July 12 is also the deadline for teams to sign their pending unrestricted free agents to eight-year contracts. July 17 is the deadline for players to file for arbitration, which starts on July 27.

SIRIUSXMNHL host Jonathan Davis reports the Vegas Golden Knights have hired Sean Burke as their director of goaltending. Burke held that position with the Montreal Canadiens.

TWINCITIES.COM: The NHL is experiencing significant growth among female and young fans. 37 percent of its fans are female, a growth of 26 percent in that demographic since 2016. Nearly 40 percent of its fans are under 50.

NHL.COM: The Chicago Wolves defeated the Springfield Thunderbirds 4-0 in Game 5 of the Calder Cup Finals, winning the series in five games to become champions of the American Hockey League. The Wolves are the affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes while the Falcons are affiliated with the St. Louis Blues. Wolves winger Josh Leivo was awarded the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the playoffs’ most valuable player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this was the first time the Calder Cup has been awarded since 2019. Congratulations to the Wolves on their championship run this season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 16, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 16, 2022

The Avalanche take Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, highlights of Commissioner Gary Bettman’s annual state of the league press conference, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Andre Burakovsky’s overtime goal gave the Colorado Avalanche a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final.

Colorado Avalanche forward Andre Burakovsky (NHL Images).

Gabriel Landeskog and Valeri Nichushkin each had a goal and an assist while Mikko Rantanen collected two assists for the Avalanche, who took a 3-1 lead into the second period. Nick Paul, Ondrej Palat and Mikhail Sergachev replied for the Lightning, who rallied to tie the game and force overtime.

Game 2 will be on Saturday, June 19, at 8 pm ET in Denver.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’re in store for a very entertaining, fast-paced series if Game 1 is any indication. The Avalanche dominated the play in the first period and much of the third, while the Lightning once again showed their poise and experience by overcoming that early deficit in the second period. Penalty killing was crucial for the Avs as they successfully killed off three shorthanded situations.

The Lightning’s Brayden Point made his long-expected return to the lineup from a lower-body injury suffered in the first round. Avalanche center Nazem Kadri remains sidelined with a thumb injury with no timetable for his return.

NHL.COM: Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the league generated record revenues projected to exceed $5.2 billion as it continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. He anticipates more significant increases to the salary cap within the next two-three years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per the NHL-NHLPA Memorandum of Understanding from 2020, the salary cap will increase by $1 million annually until the players have paid back their overage of hockey-related revenue still owed to the owners for 2019-20 and 2020-21.

THE ATHLETIC: Bettman indicated the 2022-23 season will return to a normal calendar schedule beginning on Oct. 11.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league doesn’t believe at this point that there need to be changes made to the long-term injury reserve system. It had been discussed during the general managers’ meeting in March with an idea of a playoff salary cap.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That came about over complaints of teams garnering a salary-cap advantage by placing a player on long-term injury reserve, using the cap relief to add players for the postseason, only to see the LTIR player return to action in the playoffs.

The insinuation was that some teams may be attempting to circumvent the cap by leaving players on LTIR when they may be healthy enough to return to action. However, the league hasn’t found any instance where this was the case.

Daly also said the league has begun its investigation of a sexual assault lawsuit filed against Hockey Canada and the Canadian Hockey League (CHL). The suit alleges eight players, including some members of Canada’s 2018 World Junior team, sexually assaulted a young woman in 2018.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some of the players on that team are now in the NHL. It has yet to be determined whether any of them were among those who assaulted the woman.

NHL.COM: Daly said the league is “very optimistic” that it will be able to stage a World Cup of Hockey tournament in February 2024. Discussions between the NHL, NHL Players’ Association and the International Ice Hockey Federation are ongoing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I like the idea of a World Cup of Hockey in February rather than September as in previous years. After all, if the league was prepared to shuttered the season for two weeks to accommodate Olympic participation, they can do it for a World Cup.

Unlike the Olympics, the league and the players would reap the financial benefits from a World Cup. The players would be in midseason game shape, making for a better tournament and drawing more potential fans to the game.

DAILY FACEOFF: Daly indicated the players on the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning have been informed that the winner of this year’s Stanley Cup Final will not be allowed to take the Cup to Russia or Belarus in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Three Lightning players – Nikita Kucherov, Mikhail Sergachev and Andrei Vasilevskiy – are from Russia while Valeri Nichushkin is the only Russian-born Avalanche player. There are no Belarussians on either club.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Daly also said the arbitration on Evander Kane’s contract termination grievance with the San Jose Sharks may not be resolved until July 13, which is the start of the NHL’s free agent period. The arbitrator assigned to the case isn’t available to conduct the hearing until next month.

Kane is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13. If his case remains unresolved by then, it’s not expected to prevent him from signing another contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will have significant implications for the Sharks. They will have $7 million in salary-cap limbo until such time as Kane’s case is resolved.

It could also affect Kane’s efforts to sign with another club. Interested parties could prefer to await the outcome of his hearing before making offers to him.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: There won’t be any changes in how NHL teams report injuries. It was assumed the league’s partnership with gambling outlets would lead to more specific information being released on player injuries other than “upper-body” or “lower-body.”

OTTAWA SUN: It’s expected the NHL Board of Governors will be informed today that it is business as usual for the Senators since the passing of team owner Eugene Melnyk in March. The club continues to be run by a board of directors and a professional management group while Melnyk’s daughters do their due diligence on the franchise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, the club isn’t being sold and it won’t be relocated to another city.

Speaking of the Senators, they signed center Dylan Gambrell to a one-year, $950K contract extension.

TSN: The agent for Johnny Gaudreau denied a report claiming his client had reached an agreement on a long-term extension with the Calgary Flames. “There is no truth to it,” said Lewis Gross.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed negotiations are ongoing between the Flames and the Gaudreau camp. Both sides agreed at the start of this season that they would keep those discussions out of the media.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets signed goaltender Daniil Tarasov to a three-year contract extension worth a total of $3.15 million.










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.