NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 21, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 21, 2022

The Oilers tie their series with the Flames while the Hurricanes take a 2-0 series lead over the Rangers. Recaps and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Calgary Flames 5-3 in Game 2 to tie their second-round series at a game apiece. Connor McDavid started the rally with a goal and finished the game with two points while Leon Draisaitl and Zach Hyman each had a goal and two assists. Johnny Gaudreau collected two assists for the Flames. The series shifts to Edmonton for Game 3 on Sunday.

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames’ solid defensive play of the regular season and their first-round series against the Dallas Stars has abandoned them thus far in this series, as they’ve given 11 goals in two games to the Flames. They got away with it in Game 1 with a wild 9-6 win but it cost them in this game against an Oilers club determined not to fall behind 2-0 heading back home to Edmonton.

A shorthanded goal by Brendan Smith was the game-winner as the Carolina Hurricanes blanked the New York Rangers 2-0 in Game 2 to take a 2-0 lead in their second-round series. Antti Raanta made 21 saves for the shutout while Sebastian Aho also tallied for the Hurricanes. The series heads to New York for Game 3 on Sunday afternoon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers are struggling against the Hurricanes’ suffocating defensive play. They’ve been held to just one goal thus far with their leading scorers (Mika Zibanejad, Adam Fox, Chris Kreider and Artemi Panarin) yet to make their mark in this series. If they don’t find a solution soon, they’ll be packing up their gear for the season by the middle of next week.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse and New Jersey Devils blueliner P.K. Subban are this year’s finalists for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy honoring players who show leadership on and off the ice and make a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars head coach Rick Bowness announced Friday he was stepping down from his role. The club also announced assistant coaches Derek Laxdal, John Stevens and Todd Nelson would not be returning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s talk Bowness isn’t done coaching in the NHL but could seek opportunities elsewhere. In his three seasons with the Stars, he guided them to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final and got them back into the playoffs this season after missing the cut in 2021. While the Stars were among the best defensive teams under his watch, they were also among the lowest-scoring. His replacement will likely put more emphasis on offense.

Speaking of coaches, Chicago Blackhawks beat reporter Jay Zawaski reports the club has reached out to former New York Islanders bench boss Barry Trotz. However, he’s likely not interested in coaching a rebuilding club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trotz has been interviewed by the Winnipeg Jets and Philadelphia Flyers thus far. The Blackhawks are among what’s believed to be six or seven clubs that have reached out to him.

TSN: Florida Panthers forward Mason Marchment (lower-body injury) is unlikely to be available for Games 3 and 4 of his club’s series with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He hasn’t played since Game 4 of their first-round series against the Washington Capitals on May 9.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marchment’s absence is among the reasons the Panthers find themselves down 2-0 in this series with the Lightning. He’s a valuable spark-plug player who netted 47 points in 54 games during the regular season.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander is joining Sweden for the remainder of the 2022 IIHF World Championship in Finland.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Joonas Korpisalo won’t be testing this summer’s unrestricted free agent market. On Friday, the 28-year-old goaltender signed a one-year, $1.3 million contract extension with the Blues Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a significant pay cut from the $3.4 million in actual salary ($2.8 million annual average value) he earned this season. Korpisalo lost the starter’s job to Elvis Merzlikins and struggled with injuries this season. Nevertheless, Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen praised his professionalism. He also has a good relationship with Merzlikins.

CBS SPORTS: Speaking of the Blue Jackets, pending free agent defenseman Dean Kukan intends to spend next season playing in Switzerland. The ZSC Lions are considered the front-runners for his services.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks assistant coach Scott Walker won’t be returning with the club next season.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 18, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 18, 2022

Check out the latest on the Leafs, Penguins and Predators in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON CAMPBELL, NYLANDER AND GIORDANO.

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reports Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas said his assistant GM will be meeting soon with Jack Campbell’s representatives for contract negotiations. The 30-year-old goaltender is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Campbell professed his love of playing for the Leafs and the city of Toronto but is leaving contract details up to his agent and Leafs management.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman doesn’t believe there have been many negotiations between those two sides. Nevertheless, I believe the Leafs will re-sign him given how thin this summer’s market will be for goaltenders. They know what they have in Campbell.

Koshan also reports William Nylander acknowledged his name frequently surfaces in Leafs trade rumors. However, he doesn’t want to be moved. Koshan pointed out that general manager Kyle Dubas has indicated he has little appetite for making big changes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nylander’s not going anywhere. He carries the more affordable contract among their foursome of top forwards plus he elevates his play in the postseason.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes there have been talks with defenseman Mark Giordano about bringing back the 39-year-old defenseman at a lower salary.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Giordano’s current AAV is $6.75 million. How much lower is he willing to go to finish his career in Toronto and for how long? Time will tell if they can get something done before the free-agent market opens on July 13.

MALKIN AND LETANG HOPE TO REMAIN WITH THE PENGUINS

TRIBLIVE.COM: Seth Rorabaugh reports the Pittsburgh Penguins’ long-time core of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang hope to remain together for a few more years. Crosby has three years remaining on his contract while Malkin and Letang are due to become UFAs in July.

Malkin said he’s leaving his contract business to his agent. He also dismissed a report out of Russia claiming he would return to his hometown of Magnitogorsk next season, stating he wants to stay in the NHL.

Letang declined to discuss his contract citing an agreement with GM Ron Hextall not to talk publicly about the matter.

Meanwhile, fellow UFA Bryan Rust said he felt he’s taken his play to a higher level than the salary he’s been earning the past few years. He indicated he’s seeking a fair and reasonable new deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Elliotte Friedman cited The Athletic’s Rob Rossi recently tweeting that the Penguins’ best offers to Malkin and Letang were three years and $15 million. Friedman said he’s heard the Penguins and the Malkin camp have discussed a three-year term to line up with Crosby’s contract but they’re far apart on salary. Letang, meanwhile, is apparently seeking a four-year deal for slightly less than his current $7.25 million annual average value.

As for Rust, it doesn’t look like he’s interested in a hometown discount. He earned $3.5 million annually on a four-year contract. He could seek around $5 million per season.

PREDATORS

THE ATHLETIC: Making a decision on Filip Forsberg’s future topped Adam Vingan’s recent list of offseason issues the Nashville Predators must address. The 28-year-old left winger is due to become a UFA in July. They must also decide if they’ll pick up the option year in head coach John Hynes’ contract and find a competent backup for starting goaltender Juuse Saros.

Vingan cited Evolving Hockey’s contract project model indicating Forsberg could get $8.5 million annually on an eight-year extension with the Predators or $9.5 million on a seven-year deal on the open market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Forsberg has stated his goal is to remain with the Predators. As I’ve noted before, the concern for GM David Poile is he already has two forwards earning $8 million annually in Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene. He might not be keen to have another in his lineup. We’ll find out by July 13 which direction Poile wants to go.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 9, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – October 9, 2021

What are the chances of the Ducks shopping John Gibson in the near future? Does Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev want a trade? What’s the latest on the Blackhawks and Canadiens? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: In his latest mailbag segment, Eric Stephens was asked about the chances of the Anaheim Ducks trading John Gibson in the near future. If this turns into another long season for the rebuilding Ducks (and it very well could be), Stephens suggested they investigate the goaltender’s value on the trade market.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (NHL Images).

At one time, Stephens said he was certain Gibson would be with the Ducks to start the 2022-23 season. “I’m not nearly as sure now.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gibson, 28, is entering the third season of an eight-year contract with an annual average value of $6.4 million and a 10-team no-trade list. His somewhat lukewarm response to the possibility of a lengthy rebuild sparked the questions to Stephen about the netminder’s long-term future in Anaheim. The Ducks could explore trade options by next summer if Gibson becomes unhappy over the pace of the rebuild.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports Alexandar Georgiev hopes to put last season’s disappointing performance behind him. The 25-year-old Ranger goalie was the subject of offseason trade speculation but he denied rumors claiming he asked to be traded. “The rumors were false, I don’t know where they came from,” he said. Georgiev is expected to be Igor Shesterkin’s backup this season.

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers expects the Chicago Blackhawks will place forward Alex Nylander on waivers. He cites a league source saying he’s heard the Arizona Coyotes might put in a claim if Nylander hits the waiver wire.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Powers pointed out the Blackhawks’ lack of waiver-exempt players limits how they can get cap compliant to start the season. He suggested they could put sidelined Wyatt Kalynuk and Caleb Jones on offseason long-term injury reserve and then put Andrew Shaw on LTIR to tap into his cap space. Regardless of how they do it, Powers said he still believes Nylander will go on waivers.

SPORTSNET: Eric Engels recently speculated the Montreal Canadiens could turn to waivers or trade to bolster their injury-depleted blueline. With Shea Weber expected to miss the season and Joel Edmundson sidelined to start the season, an injury to Jeff Petry or Ben Chiarot could derail the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That report was filed before we learned goaltender Carey Price had entered the league’s player assistance program. His absence is the biggest factor that could derail the Canadiens’ season. Perhaps it will also provide further motivation for the Habs to go shopping for another defenseman.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 23, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 23, 2021

The NHL finds no evidence Evander Kane bet on games, several players remain unvaccinated or partially vaccinated as training camps open plus the latest contract signings, injury updates & more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NO EVIDENCE KANE BET ON GAMES, SAYS NHL

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The NHL announced Wednesday it found no evidence San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane bet on league games. The accusation was leveled by Kane’s estranged wife Anna several weeks ago, prompting the league’s investigation.

San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane (NHL Images).

However, the NHL is now investigating “additional unrelated allegations involving potential wrongdoing by Mr. Kane” linked to a domestic violence restraining order filed by Anna on Tuesday. The Sharks released a statement yesterday indicating the 30-year-old winger has agreed not to participate in training camp until further notice.

LATEST NHL COVID-19 NEWS

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers defenseman Duncan Keith will miss the opening week of training camp. He’ll be in quarantine until Oct. 1 after traveling to the United States to get a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccination.

Meanwhile, Oilers general manager Ken Holland said winger Josh Archibald is the only unvaccinated player in training camp. If he remains that way for the coming season, he’ll need a 14-day quarantine to participate in road games in the United States. He will be suspended without pay during that period which won’t count against the club’s salary cap. Archibald could miss 30-plus games and forfeit $600k in wages.

Oilers goaltender Alex Stalock is expected to be sidelined for the entire season due to a heart condition (myocarditis) related to his bout with COVID-19 last November. Holland said there are no plans at this time to seek another veteran goalie.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman said winger Tyler Bertuzzi is the only player on his team to refuse the COVID-19 vaccine. He’ll be unable to travel to Canada under current border restrictions which require a 14-day quarantine for unvaccinated players traveling into the country. He could forfeit $400K of his salary based on those Canadian road games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holland and Yzerman indicated they aren’t going to force anyone to get vaccinated. The league’s COVID restrictions and the prospect of lost wages, however, could eventually convince Archibald and Bertuzzi to change their minds. Their stance has the potential to create a rift among teammates who could consider them a risk to their health and safety.

Most NHL players are well-conditioned athletes with good odds of avoiding the worst serious symptoms of COVID-19. Stalock’s situation, however, should serve as a warning that they’re not totally immune.

SPORTSNET: Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander is not yet fully vaccinated but will be when the season opens next month. “I had a couple of medical things that I had to take care of but I’ll be vaccinated by the beginning of the season.”

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Travis Hamonic was reportedly not in training camp and his absence isn’t injury-related. That led to speculation his absence was related to the league’s COVID protocols but GM Jim Benning said he’ll be in camp.

Benning also acknowledged winger Justin Bailey has tested positive for COVID-19 before crossing the Canada – US border. He’ll have to wait another 10 days before he can join his teammates in Vancouver.

Speaking of the Canucks, they signed winger Alex Chiasson to a professional tryout offer.

TVA SPORTS: Montreal Canadiens forward Jesse Ylonen has changed his mind and agreed to be vaccinated.

TSN: More than a dozen infectious disease and critical care doctors are calling on the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers to drop plans to stage games in full-capacity arenas this season. The province of Alberta is reeling through an unprecedented medical crisis amid the fourth wave of COVID-19.

The Oilers issued a statement indicating fans will require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to gain entry to Rogers Place. They will also insist fans wear masks when not eating or drinking.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Calgary Flames have a mandatory vaccine policy in place for fans attending their games this season.

NOTABLE CONTRACT SIGNINGS

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres signed defenseman Rasmus Dahlin to a three-year, $18 million contract. The annual average value is $6 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A fair signing for both sides. Dahlin gets a significant pay raise coming off his entry-level contract while the Sabres commit to a short-term bridge deal. His signing leaves Vancouver’s Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes and Ottawa’s Brady Tkachuk as the only remaining notable restricted free agents.

THE SCORE: The Los Angeles Kings signed goaltender Cal Petersen to a three-year contract extension with an annual average value of $5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Petersen is the heir apparent to long-time Kings starting goalie Jonathan Quick. He took over the starter’s role last season, appearing in 35 games to Quick’s 22. The latter is signed through 2022-23 with an annual cap hit of $5.8 million.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche signed right wing Logan O’Connor to a three-year, $3.15 million contract extension.

INJURY UPDATES

GOPHNX.com’s Craig Morgan reports Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel is sidelined two-three weeks with a foot injury suffered during offseason training.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews will miss the first part of the upcoming season recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning defenseman Cal Foote will be sidelined by a hand injury for the entire training camp and preseason as well as the first two-to-four weeks of the regular season.

IN OTHER NEWS…

TSN: The St. Louis Blues announced they’ve named Peter Chiarelli as their vice-president of hockey operations while Ken Hitchcock rejoins the club as a coaching consultant.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers confirmed their arena will be called the FLA Live Arena for this season. The club is looking for a new naming rights partner for 2022.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 15, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – September 15, 2021

Should the Golden Knights pursue Jack Eichel? Could the Leafs risk losing more key players next summer? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Steve Carp recently wondered whether the Golden Knights were among the clubs to re-engage with the Buffalo Sabres regarding their interest in Jack Eichel. He believes they should be in the mix for the Sabres captain.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Carp acknowledged the questions and uncertainty over which medical procedure Eichel could undergo for the herniated disc in his neck. Nevertheless, he feels the 24-year-old center is worth the risk. He’d become the bonafide No. 1 center the Golden Knights have lacked since Day 1. He’s also an elite star who’s still young and the chances of a full recovery from whatever procedure he undergoes are in his favor.

Acquiring Eichel would probably mean moving two players from the current roster to free up the cap space for his $10 million annual average value. It could result in getting a third or a fourth team involved to make the dollars fit. The Sabres will also insist on first-round draft picks and a top prospect such as Peyton Krebs as part of the deal.

Despite the expense, Carp feels Golden Knights owner Bill Foley could go for it if he believes Eichel can help the club win the Stanley Cup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres’ asking price from the Golden Knights earlier in the offseason was reportedly Krebs, winger Reilly Smith, defenseman Nicolas Hague and a first-round pick. Whether that still stands is unknown at this time.

I believe Eichel could be that final piece of the championship puzzle for the Golden Knights. Absorbing his cap hit could be difficult but not impossible to sort out.

The Golden Knights have surprised us with significant acquisitions such as trading for Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone and signing Alex Pietrangelo. It wouldn’t surprise me if they pursue Eichel during this season or next summer.

TORONTO SUN: Michael Traikos wonders how many more players the Maple Leafs could lose because of their limited salary-cap space. Zach Hyman and Frederik Andersen departed this summer as free agents. Morgan Rielly could follow them out the door next summer.

After that, who knows?”, asks Traikos. “Maybe it’s Ilya Mikheyev or Jack Campbell. Or someone even more important, like William Nylander.” He also pointed out it wasn’t just money and term or a chance to play alongside Connor McDavid that prompted Hyman to leave the Leafs. “After five years of post-season exits, it sounds like Hyman wanted out. Like he needed a change.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a fair question. How many other good players currently on the Leafs’ roster today won’t be there this time next year due to cap constraints? It’s also fair to wonder how many could get discouraged with the club’s direction if they once again come up short in the playoffs.

Those questions aren’t something the Leafs have to worry about right now. They’ve got a full season ahead of them. Nevertheless, those concerns will dog this club, especially if they slump at any point in the upcoming schedule. Another disappointing playoff exit could lead to big changes and not just on the roster.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 17, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 17, 2021

Juuse Saros and Kevin Fiala among four players to avoid arbitration, Alex Nedeljkovic remains eligible for the Calder Trophy plus an update on Jack Eichel in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (NHL Images).

  THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators and goaltender Juuse Saros agreed to a four-year, $20 million contract.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Winger Kevin Fiala inked a one-year deal worth $5.1 million with the Minnesota Wild.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks reached an agreement with winger Alex Nylander on a one-year deal worth just over $874K.

THE DENVER POST: Defenseman Dennis Gilbert signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Colorado Avalanche. He’ll earn $750K at the NHL level.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: By re-signing with their respective clubs the four avoided salary arbitration. Only two players – Calgary’s Nikita Zadorov and Philadelphia’s Travis Sanheim – are now slated for hearings, both on Aug. 26.

It’s unsurprising that the Predators invested that much in Saros. After all, he took over as their starting goalie from Pekka Rinne last season. Cap Friendly shows them carrying over $12 million in cap space with restricted free agent winger Eeli Tolvanen to sign.

Wild general manager Bill Guerin hoped to sign Fiala to a long-term deal but the two sides couldn’t find common ground. They’ll get another opportunity next summer when the winger once again becomes a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

How much the Wild can pay Fiala beyond this season depends on the cost of signing Calder Trophy winner Kirill Kaprizov. That’s when the buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter start biting deeply into their cap room.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: 2021 Calder Trophy Finalist Alex Nedeljkovic remains eligible for the award this season. That’s because he played less than 25 games last season, in fewer than six games in each of the previous two seasons and doesn’t turn 26 until January.

WGR 550: “Blueshirts Breakaway”, a New York Rangers-based podcast, attempted to pressure the Buffalo Sabres into trading Jack Eichel (preferably to the Rangers) with a billboard near KeyBank Center in Buffalo. The billboard, in Rangers colors, reads, “Aren’t trade requests a pain in the neck? #FreeJack”. It refers to Eichel’s well-publicized standoff with Sabres management and medical staff regarding treatment for a herniated disc in his neck.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Scene: A headshot of Jack Eichel. Narrator: “Blueshirts Breakaway got their wish but it wasn’t the result they expected.” The camera pulls back revealing Eichel wearing an Anaheim Ducks jersey. Cue end music and credits.