NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 9, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 9, 2020

The Jets are reportedly close to acquiring Paul Stastny, Justin Williams retires, the Canadiens re-sign Josh Anderson, the Devils buy out Cory Schneider, and much more in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck cites sources claiming the Jets are working on a trade that would bring Paul Stastny back to Winnipeg. Stastny was briefly part of the Jets in 2017-18, helping them reach the Western Conference Final before signing with the Vegas Golden Knights as a free agent. It’s believed the Jets will take on his full $6.5 million salary-cap hit on the final year of his three-year contract, with the two clubs also swapping draft picks.

**UPDATE** TSN’s Darren Dreger reports Stastny to Winnipeg for a 2022 fourth rounder and defenseman Carl Dahlstrom

Vegas Golden Knights center Paul Stastny could return to the Winnipeg Jets (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bringing back Stastny could address the Jets’ need for a second-line center. That suggests sidelined center Bryan Little’s status for next season remains in doubt while putting to rest the trade speculation swirling about winger Patrik Laine.

It will also signal the Golden Knights are shedding salary to be busy in the free-agent market, which opens at noon ET today. The move could also be an indicator of the difficulty the Golden Knights are having trying to move goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in a cost-cutting deal.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes winger Justin Williams announced his retirement yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Williams and his family in his future endeavors. He spent 19 seasons in the NHL with the Hurricanes, Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings and Washington Capitals, winning the Stanley Cup with the Canes in 2006 and two Cups with the Kings in 2012 and 2014. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy during the latter run, earning the nickname “Mr. Game 7” by holding the record for most points (15) in Game 7 situations. In 1,264 games, Williams tallied 320 goals and 797 points. He also had 41 goals and 102 points in 162 playoff games.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Two days after acquiring winger Josh Anderson, the Canadiens re-signed him to a seven-year, $38.5-million contract. The annual average value is $5.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a hefty new contract for a 26-year-old winger who’s yet to suit up for the Canadiens,  has one good season (27 goals, 47 points in 2018-19) and missed most of last season to a shoulder injury that required surgery to repair.

General manager Marc Bergevin envisions the 6’3”, 222-pounder as a power forward. This will be seen as a worthwhile investment if Anderson has fully recovered from his surgery and plays up to expectation. Otherwise, it’ll provide additional fodder for Bergevin critics and turn up the pressure on Habs ownership to fire their GM.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils placed goaltender Cory Schneider on unconditional waivers yesterday for the purpose of buying out his contract. Schneider, 34, lost the starter’s job to Mackenzie Blackwood. He has two years left on his contract worth $6 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Schneider was among the NHL’s top goalies from 2013-14 to 2015-16. Injuries, however, hampered his performance in recent years. His buyout will count as $2 million annually against the Devils’ cap through 2023-24.

NJ.COM: The Devils also acquired defenseman Ryan Murray from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for a 2021 fifth-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray is a skilled defenseman plagued by injuries for most of his career. He has a year remaining on his contract worth $4.6 million. If he stays healthy he could be a worthwhile addition to the Devils’ blueline. They still have over $25 million in salary-cap space and could use some of it in the upcoming free-agent market.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets also traded defenseman Markus Nutivaara to the Florida Panthers for minor-league forward Cliff Pu. Nutivaara, 26, has two years remaining on his contract worth an annual average value of $2.7 million.

THE SCORE: The Jackets also placed center Alexander Wennberg on unconditional waivers for the purpose of a contract buyout. The 26-year-old has three years left on his contract worth $4.9 million AAV. For buyout purposes, however, he’ll be considered 25 as that’s what his age would’ve been during a normal regular season when the buyout period would be in June. That means his buyout will be calculated at one-third the remaining value, rather than two-thirds.

NHL.COM: The Jackets also re-signed goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks to a two-year, two-way contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The moves leave the Jackets with $14.2 million in cap space, more than enough to re-sign Pierre-Luc Dubois and perhaps leave enough for an addition or two via trade or free agency.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Long time Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford is heading to the free-agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crawford spent 13 seasons with the Blackhawks, 10 of those as their starting goalie. He backstopped them to two Stanley Cups (2013, 2015) but has been plagued by injuries over the past three seasons. Expect the Blackhawks to seek his replacement via trade or free agency.

SPORTSNET: The Ottawa Senators acquired defenseman Erik Gudbranson from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a 2021 fifth-round pick. He has a year remaining on his contract with an AAV of $4 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another short-term pickup by the Senators to take some pressure off their developing young defensemen. The Ducks, meanwhile, have $4.47 million in cap space and will get an additional $6.875 million in wiggle room should Ryan Kesler remain on long-term injury reserve.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Goaltender Tuukka Rask said he doesn’t want to play for anyone but the Bruins. Rask’s name recently surfaced in trade rumors, prompting GM Don Sweeney to claim the goalie is a “big part of the roster going forward.” Rask is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility.

TSN: The Dallas Stars lifted the interim tag from head coach Rick Bowness, who is expected to sign a new contract with the club.

SPORTSNET: The Stars also released a lengthy list of their injured players following the Stanley Cup playoffs. Among the notables was Jamie Benn (shoulder surgery before the schedule was paused), Tyler Seguin (knee, torn labrum), Ben Bishop (knee surgery in May), Roope Hintz (fractured ankle) and Anton Khudobin (arm surgery).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seguin received criticism for his offensive struggles during the postseason. This is yet another reminder that an NHL player failing to play up to expectations in playoff action is usually nursing an injury that would sideline athletes in other sports.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres are close to re-signing forward Zemgus Girgensons to a three-year contract worth around $2 million per season.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed forward Sam Lafferty to a two-year contract with an AAV of $750K.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens re-signed defenseman Noah Juulsen to a one-year, two-way contract.

 

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 9, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 9, 2019

Sharks eliminate the Avalanche and advance to the Western Conference Final, the Conference Finals schedules are released, plus updates on Brad Marchand, Antti Niemi, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski made a surprise return from injury to lead his club to a series-clinching 3-2 Game 7 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Pavelski scored the game-opening goal and set up his club’s second goal.  The Sharks will face the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference Final. This was Pavelski’s first game since suffering a concussion during Game 7 of his club’s previous series against the Vegas Golden Knights. 

San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski returned from injury to lead his club to a series-clinching Game 7 victory over the Colorado Avalanche (Photo via NHL Images)

The game wasn’t without controversy as a game-tying goal by the Avalanche in the second period was overturned as team captain Gabriel Landeskog was deemed offside during a line change. Colorado star Nathan MacKinnon sprained his right shoulder after colliding with the boards in the first period but returned to action later in the frame. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks got a big lift from Pavelski’s return in this game, but it was their depth that proved the deciding factor in this series. It could give them an advantage over the Blues in the conference final.

The Avs have nothing to hang their heads over. They upset the heavily-favored Calgary Flames and pushed the Sharks to the limit. Led by MacKinnon, Landeskog and Miko Rantanen, they’re a talented young team with a bright future. 

The NHL released its schedule for the Conference Finals. Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final between the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes starts tonight in Boston. The puck drops on the opening game of the Western Conference Final on Saturday night in San Jose. Both stats are 8 pm ET.

The top-27 spots for the 2019 NHL Draft are now set, with the final four still to be determined. 

NBC SPORTS: Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said the club will address Brad Marchand’s curt answers to the media in recent days. Marchand raised eyebrows with his taciturn attitude following his club’s elimination of the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some in the media are rather upset with Marchand, with a few calling for him to be fined. Perhaps a better response would be to just ignore Marchand and instead speak with his teammates. Besides, most player interviews are boring. They merely spout cliches about giving 110 percent, getting pucks deep, everybody playing their role, blah blah blah. They rarely offer anything insightful or interesting. 

CBS SPORTS: Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Markus Nutivarra suffered a muscle tear in his rib area. The injury occurred following an illegal hit by Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Canadiens backup goaltender Antti Niemi is expected to join Helsinki Jokerit in the KHL next season. Niemi is an unrestricted free agent this summer and won’t be re-signed by the Canadiens. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This likely signals the end of Niemi’s 11-season NHL career. He backstopped the Chicago Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup in 2010 and spent five seasons as the Sharks’ starting goaltender. His performance declined in recent years, relegating him to backup status as he bounced from the Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Canadiens since 2016-17. If his NHL playing days are over, the 35-year-old finishes with 242 wins in 464 games, with a career 2.57 goals-against average, a .912 save percentage and 36 shutouts. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 30, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 30, 2018

Game recaps, playoff standings updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak had a Gordie Howe hat trick in a 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning (Photo via NHL Images)

  NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins doubled up the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 to take over first place in the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference standings. Patrice Bergeron had three points and David Pastrnak a Gordie Howe hat trick (goal, assist, fight) for the Bruins (107 points), who sit one point up on the slumping Lightning, who’ve lost three in a row.

Sidney Crosby’s highlight-reel overtime goal gave the Pittsburgh Penguins a 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. Crosby rang a shot off the post and swatted in the midair rebound. The victory leaves the Penguins with 94 points, one up on the Columbus Blue Jackets for second place in the Metropolitan Division. The Devils (89 points) remain three up on the Florida Panthers for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

Speaking of the Panthers, they failed to gain ground on the Devils after dropping a 3-2 decision to the Ottawa Senators. Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored twice for the Senators, including the winner in overtime. Earlier in the day, the Senators recalled forward Colin White and  announced Chris Wideman suffered a season-ending hamstring injury.

Pierre-Luc Dubois tallied a hat trick and Sergei Bobrovsky kicked out 37 shots to give the Blue Jackets a 5-1 victory over the Calgary Flames. The Jackets (93 points) move to third place in the Metro Division, one up on the Philadelphia Flyers. Earlier in the day, the Blue Jackets announced the re-signing of defenseman Markus Nutivaara to a four-year, $10.8-million contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  A reasonable signing by the Blue Jackets. Nutivaara’s blossomed in his sophomore season, with 23 points in 60 games. He’s a very good puck-moving defenseman who’s provided an extra measure of mobility to the Jackets’ blueline, forming a solid third defense pairing with Ryan Murray. 

Jeff Carter’s hat trick powered the Los Angeles Kings to a 4-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. With 93 points, the Kings moved two points up on the Anaheim Ducks for third in the Pacific Division.

Zach Parise scored twice and Matt Dumba had four points to lead the Minnesota Wild to a 5-2 victory over the Dallas Stars. The Wild (96 points) hold a five-point lead over the St. Louis Blues for third in the Central Division.

The San Jose Sharks failed to clinch a playoff berth after falling 5-3 to the Nashville Predators. Filip Forsberg collected three assists and goaltender Juuse Saros made 39 saves for the Predators.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid netted his 41st goal of the season in a 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. With 103 points, McDavid sits six points up on Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov in the NHL scoring race. Kucherov has a game in hand.

The Detroit Red Wings snapped an 11-game road-losing skid by beat the Buffalo Sabres 6-3. Anthony Mantha and Dylan Larkin each had a goal and an assist for the Wings.

Emergency backup goaltender Scott Foster made seven saves to preserve a 6-2 win for the Chicago Blackhawks over the Winnipeg Jets. Fisher, an 36-year-old accountant who played four seasons with Western Michigan University, came into the game when Collin Delia (making his own NHL debut) left the game with cramps in the third period. Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook also played his 1,000th career NHL game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is now one of my favorite stories of this season. Foster won’t play another game in the NHL, but for one night and for several minutes, he got to live the dream. His post-game interview was fantastic.

 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price and winger Brendan Gallagher have declined invitations to join Team Canada at the upcoming World Championships. Price wants to spend time with his family while Gallagher wants to rest his banged-up body.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt Canadiens management are upset over Price and Gallagher skipping the Worlds this season. Price also had his own health issues to deal with this season, including a recent concussion that sidelined him for 13 games. Price played for Canada in the 2014 Olympics and 2016 World Cup of Hockey, while Gallagher skated for Canada at the Worlds in 2016.

 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery for Odelein.