NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 14, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 14, 2022

The Hurricanes plan to start the season without Max Pacioretty, Sharks defenseman Nikolai Knyzhov sidelined for six months, making the case for Logan Thompson to replace Golden Knights starter Robin Lehner, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell won’t make any immediate moves to replace Max Pacioretty. Recently acquired in a trade from the Vegas Golden Knights, the 33-year-old winger is sidelined for six months after suffering a torn Achilles’ tendon during training.

Carolina Hurricanes winger Max Pacioretty (NHL Images).

Waddell admitted it’s an unexpected setback but believes the Hurricanes have sufficient depth to offset Pacioretty’s absence until his return later in the upcoming season. The winger is expected to be placed on long-term injury reserve.

The Hurricanes GM said he’s received calls from clubs looking to dump salary. He didn’t rule out such a move if it made sense for his team but he also pointed out that they will need that space when Pacioretty returns.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was some speculation that Waddell might attempt to buy out Jake Gardiner but he indicated that’s not going to happen. The blueliner missed 2021-22 recovering from hip surgery but he’s resumed training in hope of playing this coming season.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of players suffering a torn Achilles’ tendon, Sharks defenseman Nikolai Knyzhov will be sidelined for approximately six months after undergoing surgery on Aug. 10.

The 24-year-old defenseman was the Sharks’ rookie of the year in 2020-21 by earning a top-four spot alongside Erik Karlsson. However, he missed all of last season to groin injuries and a post-surgery infection.

DAILY FACEOFF: Mike McKenna makes the case for Logan Thompson to fill in for Vegas Golden Knights starter Robin Lehner, who is out for the coming season due to hip surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lehner’s injury prompted speculation that the Golden Knights would attempt to find a short-term replacement via trade or free agency. However, the pickings are slim in both markets. Potential trade partners could also squeeze them to part with a promising young asset as part of the return. My guess is they’ll start the season with Thompson as their starter and see how things unfold.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Golden Knights, they signed depth forward Jake Leschyshyn and Paul Cotter to three-year contracts. Leschyshyn’s deal is a one-way contract worth an annual average value of $766K while Cotter’s is a two-way deal in the first year and one-way in the second year earning $775K at the NHL level.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders prospect Aatu Raty is hoping to earn a roster spot with the parent club this season. He spent most of last season in Finland and briefly played for the Isles AHL affiliate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 19-year-old forward is among the leading scorers at the ongoing 2022 World Junior Championship in Alberta.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 10, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 10, 2022

Surgery will sideline Max Pacioretty for six months, the Hurricanes re-sign Martin Necas, plus the latest on David Krejci, Jacob Trouba and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Max Pacioretty’s debut will the Carolina Hurricanes will be delayed as the 33-year-old winger will undergo surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon. He’s expected to be sidelined for six months. The Hurricanes acquired Pacioretty last month from the Vegas Golden Knights.

Carolina Hurricanes winger Max Pacioretty (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pacioretty’s recovery could stretch into February. The Hurricanes brought him in to offset the departure of winger Nino Niederreiter via free agency.

Pacioretty will return in time to help them during the final two months of the regular season and the playoffs. He is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

The Hurricanes also announced that they signed Martin Necas to a two-year, $6 million contract. The average annual value is $3 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A promising young forward, the 23-year-old Necas had completed his entry-level contract. An inconsistent performance last season resulted in his name frequently surfacing in trade rumors. The Hurricanes are willing to give him an opportunity to bounce back but another difficult season could turn him into a trade candidate with an affordable contract.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: David Krejci said his decision to return to the Bruins was not based on the club’s recent coaching change. He indicated he had decided to come back before the club replaced Bruce Cassidy as head coach with Jim Montgomery. Krejci explained the reason for returning to the Bruins was a desire to play with his old teammates again.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Krejci announced last summer that he was leaving the Bruins to finish his playing career in his native Czechia. He indicated that playing alongside old teammate David Pastrnak in this year’s World Championships was a turning point in his thinking about coming back to Boston for another season.

NEW YORK POST: Jacob Trouba’s natural leadership made him the consensus choice throughout the Rangers to become their first captain in four years. Chris Kreider, the club’s longest-serving active player, indicated on social media that all of his teammates believed Trouba had been their captain over the past two years without actually wearing the “C”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some players are just natural leaders. That appears to be the determining factor in Trouba being awarded the captaincy.

NHL.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers recently extended their ECHL affiliation with the Reading Royals. The agreement runs through 2023-24 with an option for a third season.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 8, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 8, 2022

Looking ahead at the 2023 free-agent class in your NHL Rumor Mill.

SPORTSNET: Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, and Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak top Ryan Dixon’s recent listing of the top unrestricted free agents of 2023.

Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller, Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba, and St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko are next on Dixon’s list. The Pittsburgh Penguins’ Tristan Jarry is the notable goaltender in the group.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

Blues center Ryan O’Reilly, New Jersey Devils blueliner Damon Severson, Calgary Flames center Sean Monahan, Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin and Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews round out Dixon’s list.

THE SCORE: Sean O’Leary also put out a listing of his notable 2023 UFAs with most of the same names as Dixon’s. This was published before Jonathan Huberdeau’s signing with the Flames, which explains why he’s on that list.

Several notables on O’Leary’s list include Canucks center Bo Horvat and forwards Joe Pavelski of the Dallas Stars, Tyler Bertuzzi of the Detroit Red Wings, James van Riemsdyk of the Philadelphia Flyers and Max Pacioretty of the Carolina Hurricanes.

O’Leary’s defensemen include the Anaheim Ducks’ John Klingberg, the Penguins’ Brian Dumoulin, the New York Islanders Scott Mayfield, Florida Panthers’ Radko Gudas, Washington Capitals Dmitry Orlov and the Flames’ MacKenzie Weegar.

The noteworthy goaltenders include the Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov, the Los Angeles Kings Jonathan Quick, the Red Wings’ Alex Nedeljkovic, the Ottawa Senators’ Cam Talbot and the Montreal Canadiens’ Jake Allen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a slow day for trade and free-agent rumors as we endure the dog days of the NHL offseason. So it’s a good time to review these lists and offer up my two cents on which players will hit the open market next summer and which ones won’t.

I don’t see MacKinnon, Pastrnak, O’Reilly, Severson, Larkin, Horvat, Pavelski, Orlov and Weegar being available by next July. They’ll likely sign contract extensions with their current teams.

Jarry, Pacioretty, Bertuzzi, Dumoulin, Mayfield, Nedeljkovic, Talbot and Allen fall into the “maybe” category for me. Much will depend on their respective performances in the coming season, what they’ll seek on their next contracts, and whether their current clubs can afford to sign them.

I anticipate the remainder will become UFAs. There will still be enticing talent available such as Kane, Miller, Dumba, Tarasenko, Klingberg, and Quick for teams to pursue. Toews could sign with another club but I wouldn’t be surprised if he retires. Monahan’s hip surgeries could bring a premature end to his playing career.

O’Leary also published a list of next summer’s notable restricted free agents. His top forwards include the Senators’ Alex DeBrincat and Tim Stutzle, the Islanders’ Mathew Barzal, the Winnipeg Jets’ Pierre-Luc Dubois, the Canadiens’ Cole Caufield, the Stars’ Roope Hintz, the Ducks’ Trevor Zegras, the New York Rangers’ Alexis Lafreniere and the San Jose Sharks’ Timo Meier.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All but DeBrincat, Dubois and Meier will be re-signed. The trio will be a year away from UFA status next summer. They could hit the trade block if they’re unwilling to make a long-term commitment with their current clubs.

Notable RFA defensemen include the Rangers’ K’Andre Miller, the Edmonton Oilers’ Evan Bouchard, the Seattle Kraken’s Vince Dunn, the Hurricanes’ Ethan Bear, and the Ducks’ Jamie Drysdale.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All but Bear seem certain to be re-signed by their current teams. He struggled last season with the Hurricanes partly because of the effects of COVID-19. However, a healthy bounce-back performance this season could ensure a longer term for him in Carolina.

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ Ilya Samsonov, the Bruins’ Jeremy Swayman and the Panthers’ Spencer Knight are the top RFA goalies.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Samsonov has to make a good impression with the Leafs this season or he could be traded or cut loose next summer. Another solid performance by Swayman this season should ensure he receives a contract extension.

Knight’s situation, however, could be tricky. On the one hand, I expect the Panthers want to re-sign him. On the other, they’ve got Sergei Bobrovsky eating up valuable cap space and playing time. The Panthers can afford to re-sign Knight but maybe he’ll be open to an offer sheet. His situation will be worth monitoring.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 3, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 3, 2022

Max Pacioretty criticizes a lack of accountability on the Golden Knights while the Flames avoid arbitration with Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Former Vegas Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty criticized what he considered the club’s laid-back approach toward losing. The 33-year-old left winger was traded last month by the Golden Knights to the Carolina Hurricanes in a cost-cutting move.

Former Vegas Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty (NHL Images).

Speaking on the Raw Knuckles podcast with Chris Nilan and Tim Stapleton, Pacioretty talked about how there was no accountability with losing throughout the club when he joined the Golden Knights following a trade from the Montreal Canadiens in 2018. He indicated that was quite a change from what he was used to in Montreal where there was pressure to win.

Pacioretty pointed out that there were players on the Golden Knights who don’t know what it’s like because they haven’t played anywhere else. He felt that demands for accountability by a coach or management or elsewhere helped bring out the best in him, adding he thought that was missing for the Golden Knights last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pacioretty said he didn’t want to say there was a country club attitude on the Golden Knights. However, the perks the players seem to enjoy there (Pacioretty mentioned having their cars washed, organic food deliveries and going to play golf) combined with Las Vegas being a new NHL market in the Sun Belt could also be detrimental if they’re not answerable for poor performance.

Other factors, such as injuries to key players like Pacioretty, contributed to the Golden Knights missing the playoffs last season for the first time in their short history. Nevertheless, his comments about the club’s relaxed atmosphere could also explain the under-performance of some players last season. Making the playoffs in their first four seasons, including reaching the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural campaign, could also be a contributing factor, a case of too much too soon.

The Golden Knights hired former Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy in June. Perhaps he can bring the accountability that Pacioretty believes was lacking in Vegas.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: The Flames avoided salary arbitration with Andrew Mangiapane as the two sides agreed to a three-year, $17.4 million contract. The annual average value is $5.8 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a significant raise from the $2.425 million AAV that Mangiapane was earning on his previous contract. A career-best 35-goal season in a contract year will do that.

The 26-year-old winger has been trending toward that level of production over the previous two seasons. He had 17 goals in 68 games in 2019-20 and 18 goals in 56 games in 2020-21. If not for COVID-19 shortening those seasons, he would’ve probably reached 25 goals or more in each.

The Flames also avoided arbitration with defenseman Oliver Kylington as they agreed to a two-year, $5 million contract. The AAV is $2.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kylington is betting on himself after a career-best 31-point effort. He also gets a nice pay bump over the $750K he earned last season. The 25-year-old blueliner will be eligible for unrestricted free agent status in two years’ time. He could put himself in a good position for a much better payday by then if he reaches or exceeds the 30-point plateau again.

TSN: Nashville Predators forward Yakov Trenin had his arbitration hearing yesterday. He’s coming off a one-year, $725K contract, scoring a career-best 17 goals and 24 points. The two sides now await the ruling from the arbitrator.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Prior to 2020, a team and a player could still reach an agreement on a new contract prior to the arbiter’s decision. That’s no longer the case.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers avoided arbitration with rugged winger Zack MacEwen, agreeing to a one-year, $925K deal.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: After 40 years with the Oilers as a player, general manager, president of hockey operations and alternate governor, Kevin Lowe announced his retirement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Lowe and his family as they embark on the next stage of their lives outside the NHL spotlight.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 14, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 14, 2022

Analysis of some of the biggest signings and trades from the opening day of free agency, a look at two of the notable free agents still available and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: Johnny Gaudreau explained why he signed a seven-year, $68.25 million contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He said the experience of playing at Nationwide Arena and speaking with current and former Columbus Blue Jackets players were motivating factors behind his decision.

Former Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets on July 13. (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I analyzed Gaudreau’s new contract and those of the other noteworthy signings for Bleacher Report yesterday. His decision to go to Columbus generated considerable surprise on social media. It also left Calgary fans bewildered and upset after he rejected a more lucrative offer from the Flames to join the Jackets. Whatever the reason behind his decision, he makes the Blue Jackets a better team and should accelerate their rebuilding process.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Gaudreau was reportedly interested in signing with the Flyers but their limited salary-cap space meant they weren’t able to make room for him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers’ offseason moves haven’t sat well with their fans who’ve been quite critical on social media. It’ll be interesting to see what general manager Chuck Fletcher intends to do to improve his roster for next season.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA/VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights each made significant cost-cutting trades with the Carolina Hurricanes. The Sharks shipped defenseman Brent Burns to the Hurricanes while the Golden Knights sent them winger Max Pacioretty.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mike Grier, the Sharks’ new general manager, is wasting little time addressing his club’s need for an overhaul following several seasons of decline. The Golden Knights, meanwhile, got nothing in return for Pacioretty. They are paying the price for their pursuit of big-ticket talent over the past couple of years in pursuit of the Stanley Cup.

The Hurricanes, meanwhile, are going for it. Burns has three years left on his contract with the Sharks retaining 33 percent of his $8 million cap hit. Pacioretty is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. Both should provide a welcome boost of experience and offense to their lineup as they attempt to stage a run for the Stanley Cup in 2022-23.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche haven’t given up trying to bring back Nazem Kadri as their second-line center. The 31-year-old Kadri is the biggest name remaining among this year’s crop of unrestricted free agent talent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Avs with $3.9 million in cap space. They’ll have to shed some salary if they intend to bring back Kadri.

THE ATHLETIC: The Dallas Stars attempted to re-sign John Klingberg before the defenseman became an unrestricted free agent but weren’t able to reach an agreement. The door appears closed on a return after the club signed blueliner Colin Miller and added winger Mason Marchment.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Klingberg is the top defenseman still available in the UFA market. Speculation linked him to the Seattle Kraken but other clubs could get into the bidding.

OTTAWA SUN: Claude Giroux was all smiles as he met with local media after signing a three-year, $19.5 million contract with the Senators. Giroux makes his offseason home in Ottawa and said he was excited to be joining his hometown club. “They’ve got a lot of talented guys who like to work hard and compete,” said Giroux. “I just like the character of the team, and I’ll fit right in with them.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the Senators’ most significant UFA signing in years. Giroux was linked to the Sens for months but there was speculation the 34-year-old forward would prefer signing with a Cup contender. He should bring a welcome boost of experience and leadership to their roster.

TSN: The New Jersey Devils have reportedly signed former Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ondrej Palat to a five-year contract with an average annual value of $6 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils were in the market for a top-six winger. Palat is a solid two-way forward with considerable playoff experience. He’ll be a solid addition to the rebuilding Devils in their quest to become a playoff contender next season.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins made a noteworthy addition by acquiring Pavel Zacha from the Devils in exchange for Erik Haula. They’re also still in talks with Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci on one-year, bonus-laden contracts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A former first-round pick, Zacha struggled to play up to expectations in New Jersey. Perhaps the move to Boston will help the 25-year-old forward improve his game. As for Bergeron, there have been conflicting reports saying he’s going to return while others claim he’s still pondering his future.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Lightning wasted little time locking up three players eligible for restricted free agent status next summer. Defensemen Mikhail Sergachev and Erik Cernak and center Anthony Cirelli were all signed to lucrative long-term contract extensions.

SPORTSNET: The Anaheim Ducks signed former New York Rangers center Ryan Strome to a five-year, $25 million contract on Wednesday evening.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 29-year-old Strome will fill the Ducks’ second-line center position. This is a good move by the rebuilding club, bringing in some experienced depth to take some of the burden from rising star Trevor Zegas.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman spent just under $20 million via free agency yesterday to make his club more competitive next season. He added forwards David Perron, Andrew Copp and Dominik Kubalik and defensemen Ben Chiarot and Olli Maatta.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Red Wings have patiently rebuilt over the past three seasons. These veteran additions should help them take the next step toward playoff contention next season. Perron, Copp and Chiarot will bring veteran skill and leadership to the Wings roster.

DAILY FACEOFF: The New York Rangers traded defenseman Patrik Nemeth and two draft picks to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for defense prospect Ty Emberson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a straightforward salary dump by the Rangers, freeing up cap space to put toward re-signing RFA winger Kaapo Kakko.

SPORTSNET: The Calgary Flames brought back defenseman Nikita Zadorov on a two-year contract with an average annual value of $3.75 million.










Notable NHL Free Agent Signings and Trades – July 13, 2022

Notable NHL Free Agent Signings and Trades – July 13, 2022

The following is a list of notable NHL free-agent signings and trades during the opening day of free agency. This list will be updated throughout the day as details become available. I’ll also be doing live grades of today’s biggest signings on Bleacher Report.

Columbus Blue Jackets sign Johnny Gaudreau to a seven-year, $66.5 million contract.

Seattle Kraken sign defenseman Justin Schultz to a two-year, $6 million contract.

Vegas Golden Knights trade winger Max Pacioretty and defenseman Dylan Coghlan to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for future considerations.

Ottawa Senators trade winger Connor Brown to the Washington Capitals in exchange for a second-round pick in 2024.

San Jose Sharks sign center Nico Sturm to a three-year, $6 million contract.

Detroit Red Wings sign David Perron to a two-year, $9.5 million contract.

Detroit Red Wings sign Dominik Kubalik to a two-year, $5 million contract.

Seattle Kraken sign Andre Burakovsky to a five-year, $27.5 million contract.

Detroit Red Wings sign Ben Chiarot to a four-year, $19 million contract.

Pittsburgh Penguins sign Jan Rutta to a three-year, $8.25 million contract.

Florida Panthers sign Eric and Marc Staal to identical one-year, $750K contracts.

Colorado Avalanche sign winger Artturi Lehkonen to a five-year, $22.5 million contract.

Dallas Stars sign winger Mason Marchment to a four-year, $18 million contract.

Tampa Bay Lightning sign Ian Cole to a one-year, $3 million contract.

Washington Capitals sign Charlie Lindgren to a three-year, $3.3 million contract.

Columbus Blue Jackets sign Erik Gudbranson to a four-year, $16 million contract.

Tampa Bay Lightning sign Mikhail Sergachev to an eight-year, $68 million contract extension effective 2023-24.

The Lightning signed center Anthony Cirelli to an eight-year, $50 million contract extension effective 2023-24.

The Lightning signed defenseman Erik Cernak to an eight-year, $41.6 million contract extension effective 2023-24.

Washington Capitals sign goaltender Darcy Kuemper to a five-year, $26.26 million contract.

San Jose Sharks trade defenseman Brent Burns and center Lane Pederson to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for winger Steven Lorentz, goaltender Eetu Makiniemi and a conditional 2023 third-round pick. The Sharks also retain 33 percent of Burns’ $8 million annual average value through 2024-25.

New York Rangers sign center Vincent Trocheck to a seven-year, $39.38 million contract.

Detroit Red Wings sign forward Andrew Copp to a five-year, $28.13 million contract.

Vancouver Canucks sign winger Ilya Mikheyev to a four-year, $19 million contract.

Chicago Blackhawks sign forwards Max Domi and Andreas Athanasiou to one-year contracts worth $3 million apiece.

St. Louis Blues re-sign defenseman Nick Leddy to a four-year, $16 million contract.

Ottawa Senators sign forward Claude Giroux to a three-year contract with an annual cap hit of $6.5 million.

Edmonton Oilers signed goaltender Jack Campbell to a five-year contract with an annual salary-cap hit of $5 million (as per TSN’s Darren Dreger).

Buffalo Sabres re-sign restricted free agent winger Victor Olofsson to a two-year contract with an annual average value of $4.75 million.

Toronto Maple Leafs sign goaltender Ilya Samsonov to a one-year, $1.8 million deal (as per Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli).

New Jersey Devils trade winger Pavel Zacha to the Boston Bruins in exchange for Erik Haula (as per TSN’s Darren Dreger and Daily Faceoff).

Colorado Avalanche signed defenseman Josh Manson to a four-year contract with an annual average value of $4.5 million (as per TSN’s Pierre LeBrun).

St. Louis Blues sign forward Robert Thomas to an eight-year, $64 million contract extension (as per Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli).