NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 2, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 2, 2022

Hat trick performances for the Oilers’ Evander Kane and the Sharks’ Erik Karlsson, a four-point night for the Bruins’ Hampus Lindholm, plus evaluations of the 32 franchises, the Senators seek new ownership, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers got a hat trick from Evander Kane as well as a five-point performance from Leon Draisaitl to defeat the Nashville Predators 7-4. Connor McDavid scored twice (including his league-leading 11th goal of the season) and added two assists as the Oilers improved their record to 7-3-0. Filip Forsberg had a goal and two assists as the Predators fall to 3-6-1.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

Erik Karlsson’s first career NHL hat trick couldn’t prevent the San Jose Sharks from falling 6-5 in a shootout to the Anaheim Ducks. Karlsson’s third goal tied the game at 5 to force overtime and the shootout frame. Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry scored for the Ducks in the shootout as they raise their record to 3-6-1. Timo Meier also scored twice for the Sharks as they drop to 3-8-1.

An overtime goal by Hampus Lindholm capped a four-point night for the defenseman as the Boston Bruins overcame a 5-2 deficit to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-5. With a 9-1-0 record, the league-leading Bruins are off to their best start in franchise history. The Penguins, meanwhile, are winless (0-4-1) in their last five games and fall to 4-4-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a costly victory for the Bruins as goaltender Jeremy Swayman left the game in the third period with a possible left-knee injury while defenseman Derek Forbort suffered an upper-body injury in the first period.

The Tampa Bay Lightning downed the Ottawa Senators 4-3 on a third-period goal by Nikita Kucherov, who finished the night with three points. Brayden Point and Mikhail Sergachev each had a goal and an assist for the Lightning (6-4-0). The Senators (4-5-0) got goals from Claude Giroux, Mathieu Joseph and Dylan Gambrell. The latter was ejected for high-sticking Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak but he’s not expected to face supplemental discipline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning played without top defenseman Victor Hedman as he’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin made 19 saves to shut out the Philadelphia Flyers 1-0 on an overtime goal by Chris Kreider. Flyers netminder Carter Hart made 35 saves as the Flyers are 5-2-2 in their first nine games. The Rangers (6-3-2) played without Vitali Kravtsov as the 22-year-old winger will be sidelined for at least a week with an upper-body injury.

An overtime goal by Shea Theodore gave the Vegas Golden Knights a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals. Alex Pietrangelo had three assists while Jack Eichel had a goal and an assist for the Golden Knights as they sit on top of the Western Conference with a 9-2-0 record. Dylan Strome had two assists for the 5-4-2 Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Capitals announced winger Connor Brown underwent successful surgery to repair a torn ACL in his right knee. He’s expected to be out for six-to-eight months.

Minnesota Wild winger scored twice and Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside 34 shots in a 4-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Nick Suzuki scored for the Canadiens (5-5-0) while the Wild’s record improves to 5-4-1.

The New York Islanders boosted their record to 6-4-0 by defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 3-1. Brock Nelson had a goal and an assist while Ilya Sorokin made 21 saves for the win. Blackhawks goalie Alex Stalock left the game in the first period following a collision with Isles winger Casey Cizikas. The Hawks record sits at 4-4-2.

Dallas Stars center Roope Hintz scored twice and collected an assist in a 5-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Defenseman Miro Heiskanen got two assists for the Stars (6-3-1) as he returned to the lineup after being sidelined for three games with an upper-body injury. Kevin Fiala and Arthur Kaliyev replied for the Kings, who fell to 6-6-0.

Three unanswered third-period goals by Daniel Sprong, Yanni Gourde and Matty Beniers lifted the Seattle Kraken (5-4-2) to a 5-4 upset of the Calgary Flames. Joey Daccord stopped 36 shots for the win. Tyler Toffoli and Elias Lindholm each had two points for the 5-3-0 Flames.

The New Jersey Devils got two-point performances from Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes and Yegor Sharangobvich to drop the Vancouver Canucks 5-2. Jesper Bratt picked up an assist to extend his points streak to 10 games. The Canucks got two goals from Bo Horvat as they fall to 2-6-2 while the Devils are 7-3-0. Canucks defensemen Quinn Hughes and Riley Stillman were activated off injured reserve for this game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Devils announced winger Ondrej Palat would be sidelined indefinitely after undergoing groin surgery on Tuesday.

Arizona Coyotes goalie Karel Vejmelka stopped 41 shots to backstop his club over the Florida Panthers 3-1. Clayton Keller had a goal and an assist for the Coyotes (3-5-1) as they picked up their first win at Mullett Arena. Colin White replied for the Panthers, who fell to 5-4-1.

HEADLINES

SPORTICO: The average NHL franchise is valued at $1.01 billion USD.

The Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers are the NHL’s top-two clubs in franchise valuations entering 2022-23. The Leafs are valued at $2.12 billion while the Rangers come in at $2.01 billion. The Montreal Canadiens ($1.7 billion), Chicago Blackhawks ($1.44 billion) and Boston Bruins ($1.41 billion) round out the top five.

The Arizona Coyotes are the lowest-valued franchise at $465 million with the Florida Panthers the second-lowest at $595 million. The Columbus Blue Jackets ($600 million), Carolina Hurricanes ($615 million) and Buffalo Sabres ($636 million) complete the remaining bottom five clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise that five Original Six franchises dominate the franchise valuations given their respective markets and long histories in the league. I’m a bit surprised that the Hurricanes are among the bottom feeders given their improvement in recent years, sitting 13th overall in attendance last season. That’s likely due to their fan cost index being among the lowest in the league.

OTTAWA SUN: The Sportico report also indicated the Senators are going up for sale months after former owner Eugene Melnyk passed away. The current ownership has retained the services of a New York-based investment bank to facilitate the sale. League sources indicate the expectation is the franchise will remain in Ottawa.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The current Senators ownership has a memorandum of understanding with the city of Ottawa to build a new arena at LeBreton Flats near downtown. The Sun reports they have until next September to get a lease in place for the land. A new ownership group should help to ensure the project goes forward.

Some skeptics will suggest new ownership could still move the Senators. That’s unlikely to happen because such a move must have NHL approval. Contrary to popular belief, league commissioner Gary Bettman prefers to keep franchises in their current locations. It was his efforts that led to Melnyk buying the team nearly 20 years ago, ensuring they would remain in Ottawa.

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak and New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin are the NHL’s three stars for October 2022. Ottawa Senators center Shane Pinto was named the month’s top rookie.

TSN: John Lu reports Winnipeg Jets defenseman Logan Stanley will be sidelined for a couple of weeks with a slight fracture in his foot.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 30, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 30, 2022

The Canadiens rally to beat the Blues, the Oilers win the latest chapter of “The Battle of Alberta”, the Stars lose Jake Oettinger to injury, and Flyers center Sean Couturier is sidelined for months by back surgery. Details and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Montreal Canadiens overcame a 3-1 deficit to upset the St. Louis Blues 7-4. Christian Dvorak had a hat trick while Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield each collected three points for the Canadiens (5-4-0). Jordan Kyrou scored twice for the Blues, whose record falls to 3-4-0. Pavel Buchnevich returned to the Blues lineup after missing five games with a lower-body injury.

Montreal Canadiens center Christian Dvorak (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the most surprising outcome of the evening. A big comeback win against the Blues for the Canadiens, who would’ve folded like a cheap lawnchair at this point last season had they fallen behind 3-1 to the Blues or any other club. Habs rookie Juraj Slafkovsky tallied his first-ever NHL power-play goal in this contest while fellow rookie Jordan Harris collected two assists.

Connor McDavid had a goal and two assists and Zach Hyman scored twice to lift the Edmonton Oilers to a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames in the latest chapter of “The Battle of Alberta”. Stuart Skinner kicked out 40 shots to pick up the win for the Oilers, who improved to 6-3-0. Mikael Backlund and Brett Ritchie replied for the Flames (5-2-0).

The Florida Panthers got three-point performances from Aleksander Barkov, Matthew Tkachuk, Carter Verhaeghe and Brandon Montour as they dropped the Ottawa Senators 5-3. Verhaeghe tallied twice as the Panthers improved to 5-3-1. Senators goaltender Anton Forsberg made 53 saves as his club’s record fell to 4-4-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The score flattered the Senators, who would’ve lost by a more lopsided margin if not for Forsberg, who deserved better from his teammates as they wasted his performance in this one. He kept them in this game despite facing 47(!) shots through the first two periods. Yes, the Sens were playing without one of their top-four defensemen in Artem Zub, but they still should’ve put forth a better defensive effort.

Four straight third-period goals (two within 17 seconds by Scott Mayfield and Anthony Beauvillier) lifted the New York Islanders from a 3-1 deficit to hold off the Colorado Avalanche 5-4. The Isles were down 3-0 at one point in the second period until Noah Dobson got them on the scoreboard. Their record now sits at 5-4-0. Evan Rodrigues scored twice for the Avalanche as the defending champions fall to 4-4-1.

Three goals in a 2:07 span in the third period lifted the New York Rangers over the Dallas Stars 6-3 to snap a four-game winless skid. Vincent Trocheck scored twice and collected an assist while Mika Zibanejad had a goal and two assists for the Rangers (4-3-2). The Stars dropped to 5-3-1 but also lost starting goalie Jake Oettinger to a lower-body injury midway through the second period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oettinger will be reevaluated today. The Stars will be hoping his injury isn’t serious. He’s the league leader in goals-against average (1.40) while his .952 save percentage is second overall.

Kevin Fiala had a goal and an assist and Anze Kopitar picked up two helpers as the Los Angeles Kings doubled up the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2. John Tavares and Pierre Engvall scored for the slumping Leafs (4-4-1), who have lost three straight games. The Kings improved their record to 5-5-0.

A late goal by Nikita Kucherov carried the Tampa Bay Lightning over the San Jose Sharks 4-3. Brayden Point and Brandon Hagel each had two assists while Alex Killorn had a goal and an assist for the Lightning (5-4-0). Erik Karlsson tallied twice for the Sharks but their record now stands at 3-8-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson’s been among the few bright spots in an otherwise horrible start for the Sharks. He leads all NHL defensemen with six goals and 11 points.

An overtime goal by Brent Burns gave the Carolina Hurricanes a 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal had a goal and an assist in his 1,100th career game as his club improves to 5-2-1. Wade Allison and Nicolas Deslauriers each had a goal and an assist for the 5-2-1 Flyers. Hurricanes center Derek Stepan left this game with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers also announced Sean Couturier will be sidelined for three-four months due to back surgery while winger James van Riemsdyk will miss six weeks recovering from surgery to repair a broken finger. Couturier has now undergone two procedures on his back since February, raising concerns that his condition could prematurely end his career.

Washington Capitals goaltender Darcy Kuemper stopped 34 shots to shut out the Nashville Predators 3-0. Alex Ovechkin tallied the Capitals’ third goal. It was a costly win for the Capitals (5-4-0) as T.J. Oshie and John Carlson left the game with lower-body injuries in the first period. The Predators dropped to 3-5-1.

Three unanswered goals by Jordan Eberle, Morgan Geekie and Jaden Schwartz gave the Seattle Kraken a 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, extending the latter’s losing streak to four games. Jake Guentzel and Jason Zucker returned to the lineup with Guentzel tallying the only goal for the Penguins, who fall to 4-4-1 while the Kraken improve to 4-4-2.

The Buffalo Sabres got two goals each from Tage Thompson and Victor Olofsson as they overcame a 3-1 deficit to nip the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 in overtime. Olofsson opened and closed the scoring for the Sabres, who improve to 5-3-0. Blackhawks goalie Arvid Soderblom made 41 saves for the Blackhawks as their record sits at 4-3-1.

Detroit Red Wings forward Lucas Raymond scored his first two goals of the season and Ville Husso made 30 saves in a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild. Kirill Kaprizov tallied for the Wild (3-4-1) while the Wings improve to 4-2-2.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils placed winger Ondrej Palat on injured reserve with a lower-body injury retroactive to Oct. 24.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks are awaiting test results on Jamie Drysdale, who suffered an upper-body injury in Friday’s loss to the Vegas Golden Knights. Drysdale was hurt following a hit by Golden Knights’ forward William Carrier.

TSN: Devan Dubnyk yesterday officially announced his NHL retirement after 12 seasons and 542 games with the Edmonton Oilers, Nashville Predators, Arizona Coyotes, Minnesota Wild, San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche. He won 253 games with a career 2.61 goals-against average, a .914 save percentage and 33 shutouts. In 2014-15, he was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy and was named to the Second All-Star Team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubnyk spent nearly six seasons with the Wild, where he played his best hockey. He’s now working as an analyst for NHL Network. Best wishes to him in his post-playing career.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 26, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 26, 2022

Recaps of Tuesday’s games including the Golden Knight’s Phil Kessel setting the league’s Ironman record and the Wild’s Marc-Andre Fleury reaching a goaltending milestone, plus the latest on the Canadiens’ Carey Price and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Phil Kessel set the NHL’s Ironman record by playing his 990th consecutive game and scored his 400th career goal as the Vegas Golden Knights defeated the San Jose Sharks 4-2. Shea Theodore had a goal and an assist while Adin Hill made 29 saves for the win as the Golden Knights improved their record to 6-2-0 while the Sharks drop to 2-7-0.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Phil Kessel (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Kessel on setting a league record for consecutive games and reaching the 400-goal milestone.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 26 saves to backstop the Minnesota Wild over the Montreal Canadiens 3-1. It was Fleury’s 944th career game, moving him past Curtis Joseph into sixth place on the all-time games-played list for NHL goaltenders. Joel Eriksson Ek scored twice for the Wild as their record improves to 2-3-1 while the Canadiens fall to 3-4-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Habs winger Cole Caufield tallied his fifth goal in seven games.

New Jersey Devils winger Jesper Bratt scored twice and collected an assist as his club defeated the Detroit Red Wings 6-2, handing the latter their first regulation loss of the season. Jack Hughes, Dougie Hamilton and Ryan Graves each had two points for the Devils (4-3-0) while Dylan Larkin and Dominik Kubalik replied for the Red Wings (3-1-2).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Devils winger Ondrej Palat missed this game with a lower-body injury and is considered day-to-day.

Colorado Avalanche goalie Alexandar Georgiev kicked out 44 shots against his former club in a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers. Mikko Rantanen and Evan Rodrigues scored in the shootout as the Avs record moves up to 4-2-1. Adam Fox scored for the Rangers (3-2-2) in the third period to send the game into overtime and the shootout.

The Boston Bruins got goals from David Pastrnak, Taylor Hall and Patrice Bergeron to down the Dallas Stars 3-1. Linus Ullmark made 30 saves as the Bruins improve to 6-1-0 while the Stars fall to 4-2-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen missed this game with an undisclosed injury and is listed as day-to-day. Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo returned to action after missing four games with a concussion.

Calgary Flames center Nazem Kadri scored twice and added an assist while Jacob Markstrom stopped 32 shots in a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jonathan Huberdeau also scored for the Flames (5-1-0) while Evgeni Malkin replied for the Penguins (4-2-1).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins winger Jake Guentzel missed his third straight game with an upper-body injury while Jason Zucker is with a suspected right-hip injury suffered during their loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Oct. 24.

Jonathan Quick made 23 saves while Gabriel Vilardi had a goal and an assist as the Los Angeles Kings doubled up the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 to improve their record to 4-4-0. The Lightning (3-4-0) got goals from Nikita Kucherov and Brandon Hagel.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning appear to be feeling the effects of a long 2021-22 season and a shortened offseason after their third straight trip to the Stanley Cup Final.

Patrick Kane tallied his first goal of the season and added an assist as the Chicago Blackhawks upset the Florida Panthers 4-2. Alex Stalock stopped 29 shots for the 4-2-0 Blackhawks. Matthew Tkachuk was one of the goal scorers for the Panthers (4-2-1).

The Seattle Kraken improved their record to 3-3-2 by downing the Buffalo Sabres 5-1. Daniel Sprong had a goal and two assists while Martin Jones made 15 saves for the win. The Sabres’ Rasmus Dahlin saw his record-setting, season-opening goal streak for defenseman end at five games while his club’s record drops to 4-2-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer missed this game as he was placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.

Three-point performances by Shayne Gostibehere (two goals, one assist) and Clayton Keller (three assists) powered the Arizona Coyotes (2-4-0) over the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-3, dropping the latter’s record to 3-5-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine was held scoreless as he returned from injured reserve. Earlier in the day, the Jackets announced forward Justin Danforth will be sidelined for six months after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum.

HEADLINES

THE ATHLETIC: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price revealed his battle with alcoholism pushed him to seek help through the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program last fall.

The 35-year-old said it was the combination of coming so close to his goal of winning the Stanley Cup in 2021, followed by knee surgery and the realization that he’s in the latter stages of his career. “I was not a happy person, I wasn’t being a good father. I was drinking a lot,” he said.

Price also admitted the pressure to perform game in and game out was not easy to handle and became a weight on his mind.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price isn’t ready to retire and continues to explore treatment for his injured knee. What’s most important is his life and health beyond the rink. He recognized he had a problem and sought treatment voluntarily. Best wishes to Price in his ongoing sobriety.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Toronto Maple Leafs placed Jake Muzzin on long-term injury reserve due to a neck injury. It provides the Leafs with an additional $5.625 million of cap relief.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We don’t know how long Muzzin will be sidelined. If he’s out for the season they could use it to bolster their roster. If he’s not, they’ll have to ensure they’re cap compliant when he returns to action.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk will undergo surgery on Friday to repair a fractured finger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A tough break (no pun intended) for van Riemsdyk, who was off to a good start with five points in his first six games of this season.

THE ATHLETIC: The St. Louis Blues placed forward Pavel Buchnevich on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 16, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 16, 2022

The Devils believed they were a destination for Johnny Gaudreau, plus the latest on Ondrej Palat, Mitch Marner, Vladimir Tarasenko, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: New Jersey Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald believed Johnny Gaudreau was going to sign with his club before shocking the hockey world by joining the Columbus Blue Jackets. Gaudreau, who grew up in Carney’s Point, N.J., was reportedly looking to sign with a club closer to home.

Fitzgerald said he thought he’d really connected with Gaudreau and his wife during his conversation with them. He also cited a personal connection as his son played with Gaudreau at Boston College.

We put our best foot forward,” said Fitzgerald. “He chose to go to Columbus for the reasons he chose. He could have gone anywhere. We wish him all the best.” The Devils GM subsequently signed former Tampa Bay Lightning winger to a five-year, $30 million contract.

THE ATHLETIC: Speaking of Palat, he admitted to feeling sad over leaving the Lightning after 10 seasons. “I was kind of preparing myself there was a chance I was leaving Tampa,” he said. “But it’s a business and now when I signed with New Jersey, I’m not as sad.”

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ondrej Palat (NHL Images).

Palat admitted the past several weeks had been an emotional roller coaster, going from losing in the Stanley Cup Final to the Colorado Avalanche to free agency. However, he’s excited about bringing his experience to a promising team with younger talent.

TSN: Speaking of the Devils, they hired former Florida Panthers interim coach Andrew Brunette as an associate coach for Lindy Ruff.

SPORTSNET: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner admitted he endured flashbacks of being carjacked in May. He and his fiancee were unhurt in the incident but he said there were a couple of weeks where it came back to him whenever he was driving.

We were lucky enough to have people around that we can talk to and have these stories to tell and get feedback,” said Marner. “So, definitely mental health is something important to me and my family – and something that we really take serious.”

TORONTO SUN: Speaking of the Leafs, they signed forward Calle Jarnkrok to a four-year contract worth an average annual value of $2.1 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Leafs fans see Jarnkrok as a replacement for Alex Kerfoot should GM Kyle Dubas trade him during this summer or in the regular season. Kerfoot has been rumored as a cost-cutting trade candidate for some time.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues GM Doug Armstrong isn’t going down the trade-rumor rabbit hole with Vladimir Tarasenko like last summer. Despite Armstrong’s recent claim that the winger’s “trade demand” was no longer an issue, a report emerged during the 2022 NHL Draft indicating that Tarasenko hadn’t rescinded the request. “He’s under contract and I expect (to have) him,” said Armstrong.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tarasenko becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer. He carries a $7.5 million average annual value but will earn $5.5 million in actual salary. He also carries a full no-trade clause.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Mike Sielski doesn’t buy into the theory among Flyers fans that their club went downhill after team owner Ed Snider passed away and Ron Hextall became general manager followed by Chuck Fletcher. He believes the rot within the front office extends back to 2006, long before Snider’s death and before Hextall and Fletcher came along.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whatever the reason, there’s no denying the Flyers are a mess. Another poor performance by this club will mean the end of Fletcher’s tenure as general manager. However, the on-ice product won’t change much unless ownership charts a new, clearer direction and hires the right people to make it happen.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: On the topic of the Flyers, they signed former first-round pick Morgan Frost to a one-year, $800K contract.

TSN: The Nashville Predators signed forward Zach Sanford to a one-year, $850K contract.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche signed defenseman Brad Hunt to a one-year, $800K contract.










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.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 13, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 13, 2022

Johnny Gaudreau heads to the free-agent market, Evgeni Malkin re-signs with the Penguins, Evander Kane stays with the Oilers, Patrice Bergeron to return with the Bruins, the Wild trade Cam Talbot to the Senators, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Johnny Gaudreau has played his final game with the Flames. He reportedly rejected an offer worth over $10 million annually on an eight-year deal. Flames general manager Brad Treliving indicated the 28-year-old winger’s decision was based on family reasons and not money.

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a disappointing outcome for the Flames. Gaudreau’s decision could also affect the club’s efforts to re-sign restricted winger Matthew Tkachuk to a long-term deal. Gaudreau is now the top player available in the unrestricted free-agent market when it opens at noon ET today. He’s been linked to the Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Evgeni Malkin has agreed to a four-year, $24.4 million contract with the Penguins. The annual average value is $6.1 million and comes with a full no-movement clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Malkin was reportedly planning to test the market due to his frustration over negotiations with the Penguins. It appears his desire to stick with the only NHL team he’s ever played for led to his change of heart. The cap hit is identical to teammate Kris Letang’s but for two years less than Letang’s contract.

Speaking of the Penguins, they signed pending restricted free agent defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph to a two-year, one-way contract worth an annual average value of $825K.

SPORTSNET: Evander Kane is staying with the Edmonton Oilers after agreeing to a four-year, $20.5 million contract. The annual average value is $5.125 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers agreed to let Kane’s agent speak to other clubs but it appears whatever those teams were offering didn’t measure up to this deal. The 30-year-old winger had terrific chemistry with Edmonton superstar Connor McDavid last season. It’s a good bargain for the Oilers if Kane and McDavid continue playing well together.

Meanwhile, Kane is still waiting for his grievance to be heard over his contract termination last January by the San Jose Sharks. There’s no indication he and the Sharks are going to work out a settlement before then.

RDS.CA: Francois Gagnon reports Patrice Bergeron will be returning with the Boston Bruins. Details of the agreement are expected to be revealed later today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was concern among Bruins followers that Bergeron would retire, leaving the club without an established first-line center. It’ll be interesting to see what this new contract looks like.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators have acquired goaltender Cam Talbot from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for backup goalie Filip Gustavsson. Talbot, 35, has a year remaining on his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Talbot was reportedly unhappy over the Wild bringing back Marc-Andre Fleury on a two-year contract. Wild general manager Bill Guerin said he respected the veteran netminder but didn’t want this situation to become a distraction.

In the short term, Talbot should provide a much-needed boost to the Senators’ goaltending. Gustavsson, meanwhile, will serve in a backup role to Fleury.

TSN: Speaking of the Senators, they placed defenseman Michael Del Zotto on unconditional waivers yesterday for the purpose of buying out his contract. Del Zotto joined Philadelphia Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom, San Jose Sharks forward Rudolfs Balcers and New Jersey Devils forward Janne Kuokkanen on the contract buyout list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lindblom’s buyout isn’t going down well with Flyers followers. The 25-year-old winger became a fan favorite after overcoming a rare bone cancer in 2020. The move is seen as GM Chuck Fletcher’s attempt to clear cap space to pursue a big-ticket free agent such as Johnny Gaudreau.

THE ATHLETIC: Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ondrej Palat intends to test the market today. Speaking of the Lightning, TSN reports they’ve hired former Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill as an assistant coach.

TSN: The Los Angeles Kings signed defenseman Alexander Edler to a one-year contract worth $750K.

WGR550: The Buffalo Sabres are bringing back goaltender Malcolm Subban on a one-year, $850K contract.

NHL.COM: The Kraken re-signed forward Alexander True on a one-year, two-way contract.

TSN: Scotty Bowman is stepping down as senior hockey operations advisor for the Chicago Blackhawks.

NHL.COM: Duncan Keith officially announced his retirement yesterday as an NHL player after 17 seasons with the Blackhawks and Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I summarize the future Hall-of-Famer’s career on Saturday when news first broke of his impending retirement. Best wishes to Keith and his family in their future endeavors.