NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 19, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 19, 2019

The Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2019 is officially inducted, the three stars of the week, Cory Schneider on waivers, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The six newest members of the Hockey Hall of Fame were officially inducted on Monday night in Toronto. Entering the Hall are former NHL stars Sergei Zubov and Guy Carbonneau, Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford, hockey pioneers Hayley Wickenheiser and Vaclav Nedomansky, and Boston College coach Jerry York.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Class of 2019. I was touched by Wickenheiser’s induction speech in which she spoke of the difficulties and resistance she overcame as a girl playing hockey in the 1980s. She remains a role model for thousands of aspiring female hockey players.

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson collected two points in a 5-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks (Photo via NHL Images).

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson extended his points streak to seven games with two assists in a 5-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 15th goal of the season. Washington winger Garnet Hathaway could face supplemental discipline after being ejected for spitting on Ducks defenseman Erik Gudbranson following their on-ice scrap.

Antti Raanta turned in a 31-save shutout as the Arizona Coyotes downed the Los Angeles Kings 3-0. Conor Garland tallied his team-leading 10th goal of the season and added an assist.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, and Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle are the NHL stars for the week ending Nov.17, 2019.

NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils placed goaltender Cory Schneider on waivers and recalled Louis Domingue. Given his $6 million annual salary-cap hit on a contract that runs through 2021-22, it’s unlikely anyone will claim him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils will get very little salary-cap relief with this move. They’re painting this as a way for Schneider to see more playing time and regain his once-stellar form. He’s been hampered by injuries in recent years, taking a toll on his performance.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres winger Kyle Okposo has suffered his fourth concussion since joining the club in 2016 and his second in this calendar year. The club also announced Tage Thompson is sidelined three-to-five weeks with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report reminds us Okposo was hospitalized in 2017 due to post-concussion symptoms and reaction to medication. Given the frequency of his head trauma, it might be time to seriously consider retirement. Here’s hoping he makes a quick recovery from his latest injury.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens will be without two key forwards for a lengthy period. Jonathan Drouin underwent wrist surgery while Paul Byron will require knee surgery. Drouin’s agent claims his client will be sidelined eight weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens will feel their absence. Drouin was off to his best start since joining the Habs in 2017 with 15 points in 19 games. Byron, meanwhile, is among their best-skilled two-way forwards.

SPORTING NEWS: Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Calvert is sidelined indefinitely with an upper-body injury. He’s undergoing concussion protocol since being struck in the head by a shot from Vancouver’s Elias Pettersson on Saturday. He has not yet been diagnosed with a concussion.










NHL Injury Outlook Week 8: From Brodie to Bergeron

NHL Injury Outlook Week 8: From Brodie to Bergeron

 










The Most Difficult-to-Move Contracts in the NHL

The Most Difficult-to-Move Contracts in the NHL

 










NHL Rumor Mill – July 25, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – July 25, 2019

A look at 10 supposedly untradeable contracts in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Noting the recent Milan Lucic trade, Ken Campbell feels no NHL contract is truly “untradeable” anymore. Nevertheless, he provides a list of 10 players with seemingly unmoveable deals. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Remember, Campbell isn’t saying the following contracts can’t be traded. It would be difficult to move them, but a bit of creativity and a willing trade partner could make it happen. He also looked at contracts with four-or-more seasons remaining. That’s why Loui Eriksson isn’t on this list. 

Is Nashville Predators center Kyle Turris’ contract really untradeable? (Photo via NHL Images)

Nashville’s Kyle Turris, Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader, and Buffalo’s Kyle Okposo come in at 10 through eight on Campbell’s list. Turris has five years remaining on his contract worth $6-million annually. He lacks no-trade protection. Abdelkader, 32, has four years left with an annual average value of $4.25-million. Okposo has four years remaining ($6 million AAV) and has battled injuries and concussion-related illness in recent years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Turris could be the easiest to move if the Predators picked up part of his cap hit or took back a toxic contract in return. The 29-year-old center had a rough 2018-19 but played well for Canada at this year’s World Championships. He could be poised for a bounce-back performance, which could also make him enticing if the Preds want to move him. Abdelkader’s declining play and Okposo’s injury history are significant sticking points.

Arizona Coyotes center Nick Schmaltz and Minnesota’s Zach Parise and Ryan Suter fill positions seven through five. Schmaltz is starting a seven-year deal worth an AAV of $5.85 million and suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2018-19. Parise and Suter are aging veterans with six seasons remaining on their identical $98-million contracts with full no-movement clauses.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Including Schmaltz on this list could be premature. While Campbell notes he’s had only one good NHL season thus far, he did tally 14 points in 17 games with Arizona before his injury. With a strong recovery, he could quickly regain his offensive form and become a solid addition for the Coyotes. Parise and Suter, on the other hand, are now past their prime and age and injuries could take their toll. Parise turns 35 on July 28, Suter on Jan. 21.

The New York Islanders’ Andrew Ladd, Philadelphia’s Kevin Hayes, and Chicago’s Brent Seabrook fill spots four through two. Ladd was frequently sidelined by injuries, has a full no-trade clause this season and four years remaining on his deal with an AAV of $5.5 million. Hayes inked a seven-year, $49-million contract that Campbell doesn’t believe will age well. Seabrook has five years left ($6.875 million AAV) with a full no-movement clause to 2021-22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ladd’s injury history could be a killer here unless he becomes a permanent long-term injury reserve candidate. As we’ve seen, those contracts can be desirable for cap-strapped clubs. I agree with Campbell that Hayes’ deal could become burdensome during its latter years. Seabrook’s name surfaced in trade speculation last season but came to nothing. Moving his contract remains a daunting challenge.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber topped Campbell’s list. The 34-year-old has seven years left on his deal worth over $7.9 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weber’s contract was traded once before. It could be moved again. He’s still an effective top-pairing defenseman, making him valuable in the trade market. He also lacks no-trade protection.

The threat of salary-cap recapture is there if he retires, but it’s the Nashville Predators on the hook for the bulk of it, especially the latter years. If you’re a Predators fan, pray he doesn’t call it quits before 2025-26.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 21, 2019

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 21, 2019

With the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets eliminated from the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs, what could be in store for both clubs? Read on for the latest speculation in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup. 

WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE FLAMES?

ESPN.COM: Addressing the goaltending and finding a taker for winger James Neal’s contract could be among this summer’s priorities for the Calgary Flames following their first-round exit from the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

While starting goalie (and pending free agent) Mike Smith had a solid playoff performance he was inconsistent during the regular season. David Rittich was the better goalie during the regular season but was benched during the postseason. Jon Gillies, once considered a future starter, had a horrible season with their AHL farm team. Perhaps they’ll go shopping for a goalie this summer. 

Should the Calgary Flames attempt to trade James Neal this summer? (Photo via NHL Images)

Neal joined the Flames as an unrestricted free agent last summer and had the worst season of his career. He lacks no-trade protection but also has four years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $5.75 million. The Flames need to find another team with a contract they’re willing to swap. 

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Duhatschek also believes the Flames must figure out what to do with their goalie tandem, suggesting it’s possible Smith and Rittich could return next season, provided Smith is willing to accept an affordable short-term deal. He also agrees general manager Brad Treliving must try to find a way to shed Neal’s contract. 

Duhatschek believes Treliving should address his club’s surplus of defensemen, pointing to the rise this season of young blueliners Rasmus Andersson, Oliver Kylington, and Juuso Valimaki. With T.J. Brodie and Travis Hamonic a year away from UFA status, Duhatschek proposes listening to offers for Brodie. 

Pointing out the Flames nearly acquired Minnesota Wild winger Jason Zucker at this year’s trade deadline, Duhatschek wonders if Treliving will revisit those discussions this summer. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Brian Costello also feels the Flames should find a way to shed James Neal’s contract. He suggests a “bad-contract-for-bad-contract” swap with the Buffalo Sabres for winger Kyle Okposo, who has four years at $6 million per season left on his deal. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the Flames have over $69.3 million invested in 20 players for 2019-20. Smith is their noteworthy UFA while Tkachuk, Rittich, and Sam Bennett are the notable RFAs. If the salary cap reaches the projected $83 million, they’ll have around $14 million to re-sign everyone.

Tkachuk could eat up over half of that cap room with a $7-$8 million AAV. Smith might accept a one-year, bonus-laden deal with a $3-million base salary, Rittich could come in at no more than $2 million on a short-term deal. That won’t leave much for Bennett, who’s got arbitration rights and established himself as a versatile two-way forward. If they decide to move on from Smith and find another starter, they’ll definitely need to free up more cap room for his replacement. 

Shedding Neal’s contract is the obvious move but easier said than done. Buying him out would come with an affordable annual $1.916-million cap hit but would be on their books for eight years. Swapping him for another bad contract might land a slightly better player but won’t resolve their obvious cap issues. Perhaps they can bundle him with a good young player or a top prospect/first-round draft pick to a rebuilding club with lots of cap room, but I don’t see many takers for that contract.

Peddling Brodie would be an easier option. He’s a year away from UFA status, had an eight-team no-trade list, carries an affordable $4.65-million cap hit and would be enticing for clubs looking for a skilled top-four rearguard. Maybe Treliving can dangle him to the Wild for Zucker? Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts on that, Flames and Wild fans. 

WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE JETS?

ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan believes Jacob Trouba’s future with the Winnipeg Jets will come to a head this summer. He’s once again a restricted free agent with arbitration rights, only now he’s also a year away from UFA eligibility. Given the contentious history of contract negotiations between Trouba and Jets management, a trade appears likely. She also expects blueliner Tyler Myers will depart via the UFA market on July 1. 

After trading away two first-round picks as part of the deals for playoff rental centers Paul Stastny and Kevin Hayes at the last two trade deadlines, Kaplan believes the Jets must find a long-term solution to their second-line center needs. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll see more speculation over the Jets future from the Winnipeg media in the coming days. Most will likely repeat Kaplan’s points.

Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff probably wants to re-sign Trouba to a long-term contract but their negotiation history means the blueliner will likely hit the trade block in the days leading up to the NHL Draft weekend (June 21-22) in Vancouver. Trouba could be the perfect trade chip to address the Jets’ ongoing need for a reliable second-line center.

No offense to Bryan Little but he’s best suited for the third line role now. Stastny was a perfect fit but they couldn’t afford to retain him last summer and Hayes was a disappointment. Cap space, however, will be an issue.

The Jets have over $55.6 million committed to 12 players for next season. Young star forwards Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor are due for hefty raises and I doubt they’ll be signed to affordable short-term bridge deals.

It could cost between $14-$15 million combined to re-sign the pair. That’ll push the Jets’ cap payroll to nearly $70 million, leaving around $13 million should the cap hit $83 million. That won’t leave much to address their second-line center needs and re-sign or replace pending UFAs like Myers and Hayes and depth players like Branden Tanev, Ben Chiarot, and Andrew Copp.

Perhaps winger Nikolaj Ehlers ($6 million annually) could be shipped out to free up some additional cap space. A shoulder injury limited him to 62 games (and 37 points) this season and he’s been a disappointment in the postseason thus far. Nevertheless, his speed and offensive skills could be attractive to clubs lacking players of his abilities. An Edmonton pundit recently suggested Ehlers would be a good fit with the Oilers. Perhaps that’s something worth exploring. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 20, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 20, 2019

Game recaps, injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: After blowing a 2-0 lead, the St. Louis Blues picked up their 11th straight win by downing the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on an overtime goal by Ryan O’Reilly. Former Leafs center Tyler Bozak picked up two assists for the Blues. Leafs center Nazem Kadri left the game after the first period with a concussion

Ryan O’Reilly’s overtime goal gave the St. Louis Blues a 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo via NHL Images)

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray made 33 saves as his club held on for a 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. Evgeni Malkin extended his points streak to eight games while Sidney Crosby extended his streak to six games. The Penguins (71 points) moved ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets into third place in the Metropolitan Division. 

Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price made 31 saves as his team nipped the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 to snap a four-game winless skid. Tomas Tatar tallied the game-winner after the Habs blew a 2-0 lead. With the win, the Canadiens (71 points) move ahead of the Blue Jackets into the first wild-card spot.

The Jackets were playing without leading scorer Artemi Panarin, who was sidelined with the flu and not, as head coach John Tortorella insisted, being held out of the game pending a trade. “He shit his pants, he was puking, he did everything, so enough,” said Tortorella. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So you’re saying he’s really sick, Torts? 

Henrik Lundqvist kicked out 43 shots as the New York Rangers nipped the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1. The Hurricanes (68 points) remain one point out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

The Tampa Bay Lightning picked up their seventh straight victory by rolling over the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2. Lightning winger Alex Killorn picked up his 100th career goal while NHL scoring leader Nikita Kucherov (99 points) was held pointless. The Flyers (69 points) remain six points out of a playoff spot.  Lightning goal-scoring leader Brayden Point was scratched from this game for missing a team meeting. The Bolts also called up Jan Rutta to replace sidelined blueliner Victor Hedman, who’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury. 

A three-goal third-period outburst carried the Florida Panthers past the Buffalo Sabres 4-2, handing the latter their fourth defeat in their last five games. Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov led the way with three-point performances. Earlier in the day, the Sabres announced winger Kyle Okposo is sidelined with a concussion and there’s no timetable for his return. The Sabres (63 points) remain six points out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. 

Anaheim Ducks goalie Ryan Miller turned in a 31-save shutout performance backstopping his club to a 4-0 blanking of the Minnesota Wild, handing the latter their fifth straight loss. The Wild (60 points) are barely clinging to the final Western Conference wild-card spot while the Ducks are three points behind them. Earlier in the day, the Ducks placed winger Patrick Eaves on waivers for the purpose of sending him to their AHL affiliate in San Diego. 

Shootout goals by Alex Galchenyuk and Vinnie Hinostroza gave the Arizona Coyotes a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers, who were playing without captain Connor McDavid (flu). The Coyotes are now one point behind the Wild in the Western Conference playoff chase while the Oilers are six points back. 

Roman Josi scored two goals and Pekka Rinne made 36 saves as the Nashville Predators beat the Dallas Stars 5-3. 

TSN: The New York Islanders have recalled forward Andrew Ladd and defenseman Thomas Hickey from their AHL conditioning stints. 

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Dan Robson looks at the life and death of former NHL goaltender Ray Emery, who drowned while swimming last summer in Hamilton.