NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 11, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 11, 2022

Kris Letang returns to the Penguins following a stroke, the Leafs and Mitch Marner continue their streaks, the Lightning’s Steven Stamkos extends his points streak, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-1 as defenseman Kris Letang returned to their lineup for the first time since suffering a minor stroke 12 days ago. Letang was held pointless but played a team-leading 22:14 of ice time while Sidney Crosby scored two goals and collected an assist for the Penguins, who’ve won five straight and improved their record to 16-8-4. Peyton Krebs replied for the Sabres as they dropped to 12-14-2.

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres played without winger Jeff Skinner. He’s serving a three-game suspension for cross-checking Penguins winger Jake Guentzel in the face during their game on Friday.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner extended his franchise-record points streak to 22 games in a 5-4 overtime victory over the Calgary Flames. Marner scored the game-winner and collected an assist on one of William Nylander’s two goals as the latter reached a single-game personal best of five points. The Leafs (18-5-6) are unbeaten in their last 14 games (11-0-3). Noah Hanifin tallied twice for the Flames as they slipped to 13-11-4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs (42 points) are one point behind the league-leading Boston Bruins. Before the game, Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said forward Nick Robertson could miss six-to-eight weeks with a shoulder injury. He is not expected to undergo surgery.

Three unanswered third-period goals by Brayden Point, Mikhail Sergachev and Steven Stamkos lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Florida Panthers 4-1. Stamkos extended his points streak to 13 games while the Lightning boosted their record to 17-9-1. The Panthers dropped to 13-11-4.

Minnesota Wild goaltender Filip Gustavsson made 35 saves to shut out the Vancouver Canucks by a score of 3-0. Matt Boldy, Connor Dewar and Sam Steel were the goal scorers as Minnesota sits at 14-11-2. Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov was held scoreless, bringing his 14-game points streak to an end. The Canucks dropped to 12-13-3.

Detroit Red Wings forward David Perron scored in his 1,000th career NHL game but his club dropped a 3-2 decision to the Dallas Stars. Nils Lundkvist got the winner in overtime as the Stars improved to 16-7-5 while the Wings sit at 13-8-6.

The Carolina Hurricanes blanked the New York Islanders 3-0 on a 16-save shutout by Pyotr Kochetkov. Paul Stastny, Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Jordan Staal scored for the Hurricanes (15-6-6) while the Islanders are 17-12-0 on the season.

First-period goals by Anze Kopitar and Viktor Arvidsson 19 seconds apart enabled the Los Angeles Kings to double up the Montreal Canadiens 4-2 and improve their record to 15-11-4. Cole Caufield tallied his 16th goal of the season for the Canadiens (13-12-2) as they’ve dropped three of their last four contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Canadiens moved sidelined winger Brendan Gallagher to injured reserve. Winger Mike Hoffman returned to the Habs lineup after missing eight games with a lower-body injury.

The Ottawa Senators got third-period goals by Alex DeBrincat and Drake Batherson to hold off the Nashville Predators by a score of 3-2. The Senators improve to 11-14-2 while the Predators slide to 12-11-2.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: Former Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa still had more to say about former Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara claiming the Canucks were practicing passing around the Stanley Cup before Game 3 of the 2011 Cup Final between the two clubs. Chara made that claim recently on the “Games with Names” podcast.

Now a Hockey Night in Canada analyst, Bieksa previously told colleague Jeff Marek that the incident never happened nor did the Canucks contact the league to ask how many family members would be allowed on the ice when they won the Cup.

During Saturday’s HNiC telecast, Bieksa called Chara’s comments “one of the dumbest things we’ve ever heard.” He pointed to the fact that there was no record of this supposed incident despite the plethora of media coverage of that series.

Bieksa also noted that Chara seemed to walk back his comments during the podcast. He believed the former Bruins captain was showing a lack of respect toward the Canucks and their leaders at the time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bieska made a valid point about the lack of substantiation of Chara’s claims. So far, there’s been no response from the former Bruins star.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: Kraken defenseman Jamie Oleksiak received a three-game suspension by the NHL department of player safety for a hit to the head of Washington Capitals defenseman Alexander Alexeyev.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks goaltender Petr Mrazek hopes to return to the lineup on Tuesday to face the Capitals. He’s missed the last three games with a minor groin injury.

THE SCORE: The Edmonton Oilers will host the Calgary Flames at the 2023 Heritage Classic.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Former NHL player Chris Therien has released a book chronicling his life and career, including his struggle with alcoholism and his subsequent decade of sobriety.










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).










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 12, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 12, 2022

Evgeni Malkin to test UFA market while Penguins re-sign Rickard Rakell, Avs promote Joe Sakic and re-sign Valeri Nichushkin, Senators trade Matt Murray to the Leafs and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Darren Dreger broke the news yesterday that long-time Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin intends to test the free-agent market when it opens on Wednesday at noon ET. Colleague Pierre LeBrun reported there was a bit of progress in negotiations between Malkin and the Penguins but his decision to go to market reflects his frustration with the process.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins reportedly are offering Malkin a three-year term while he’d prefer a longer deal. I can’t say I blame him considering the Pens re-signed teammates Kris Letang and Bryan Rust to six-year contracts.

There’s still time for the two sides to reach an agreement and the Pens have the cap space to re-sign him. Nevertheless, Malkin could draw plenty of interest in the open market. Whether he’ll get a long-term deal remains to be seen.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins re-signed Rickard Rakell to a six-year deal worth an annual average value of $5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rakell was acquired from the Anaheim Ducks at the March trade deadline, netting 13 points in 19 regular-season games with the Penguins. The AAV is reasonable but the term is too long for a 29-year-old winger who last reached 30 goals in 2017-18.

Maybe Rakell will regain that form with the Penguins, but I think his chances of doing so would be better skating alongside Malkin. His linemates for next season could include an aging Jeff Carter and a frequently injured Jason Zucker.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche promoted general manager Joe Sakic to president of hockey operations. Assistant general manager Chris MacFarland takes over as the GM.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sakic will still be involved in the major decisions but MacFarland will handle the day-to-day work. The move was made in part because other clubs were expressing interest in hiring MacFarland as a general manager. This was a shrewd decision by the Avs to keep him in the fold.

Speaking of the Avalanche, they signed Valeri Nichushkin to an eight-year contract with an annual average value of $6.125 million. The 27-year-old winger was slated to become a UFA on Wednesday. Meanwhile, it appears winger Andre Burakovsky will be testing the free-agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bought out by the Dallas Stars in 2019, Nichushkin turned his career around in Colorado, enjoying a career-best 52-point regular season and netting nine goals and 15 points in 20 playoff games in their march to the Stanley Cup. It’s a major raise for Nichushkin on a deal that seems rather lengthy. However, it could work out for the Avs over the long term if he maintains that high level of two-way play.

OTTAWA SUN: The Ottawa Senators traded goaltender Matt Murray to the Toronto Maple Leafs along with a third-round pick in 2023 and a fourth-rounder in 2024 for future considerations. The Senators also retained 25 percent of the 28-year-old Murray’s $6.25 million annual cap hit through 2023-24.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As more than one pundit and fan pointed out on social media, this trade will either make Kyle Dubas look like a genius or ensure the coming season will be his last as Maple Leafs GM.

When healthy, Murray is a good goaltender who backstopped the Pittsburgh Penguins to two Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017. However, he’s been plagued by injuries in recent years that have sidelined him for lengthy periods of time and hampered his performance. Dubas now needs to find a reliable backup goaltender for Murray.

Senators GM Pierre Dorion is enjoying a fine off-season thus far. He acquired a proven 40-goal scorer last week in Alex DeBrincat and freed up a logjam in goal while shedding the bulk of Murray’s cap hit. He now has room to pursue some additional veteran depth via free agency or the trade market.

TSN: Speaking of the Senators, they’re working on trading winger Connor Brown and hired former Sens defenseman Wade Redden as a player development coach.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers have granted Evander Kane’s agent permission to speak with other clubs. However, they remain hopeful of working out an agreement on a new contract with the 30-year-old winger. It’s believed they offered Kane a three-year deal worth $4.75 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how Kane’s situation pans out. The uncertainty over the outcome of his contract termination grievance with the San Jose Sharks plus his well-documented personal baggage could scare off other clubs, making the Oilers perhaps his best option.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports St. Louis Blues winger David Perron could be heading to market. The Blues want to re-sign him but currently lack sufficient cap space to do so. Perron could command up to $6 million annually on the open market.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins are reportedly in negotiations with David Krejci for a potential return to Boston. The 36-year-old center spent last season playing Czechia.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO/CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks placed Henrik Borgstrom and Brett Connolly on unconditional waivers yesterday for the purpose of buying out their contracts. They’ll become UFAs on Wednesday. They’ve also brought back Derek King as an assistant coach following his solid stint as their interim bench boss in 2021-22.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Islanders defenseman Alexander Romanov has been offered a one-year contract by his former KHL club CSKA Moscow. He’s a restricted free agent who cannot be signed to an offer sheet. It’s believed this is an attempted leverage move by his agent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The KHL offer is for less than $1 million US. I doubt Isles GM Lou Lamoriello will be swayed by this tactic. There was concern over whether this offer meant Romanov would have difficulty returning to the United States. However, he and his wife are reportedly in Miami.

TSN: Washington Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov, Toronto Maple Leafs winger Ondrej Kase and Chicago Blackhawks forwards Dylan Strome and Dominik Kubalik were among a number of restricted free agents who did not receive qualifying offers by Monday’s 5 pm ET deadline. They are eligible to become unrestricted free agents on Wednesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Puck Pedia also has a list of RFAs who didn’t get qualifying offers. Some, like Samsonov, Kase, Strome and Kubalik would’ve cost more to qualify than their teams could afford because their actual salaries were higher than their annual cap hit. Some of them could’ve also received higher salaries through arbitration. These players could still sign with their current clubs but it would be for less than what they would’ve received through qualifying offers or arbitration.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Ben Bishop has returned to the Dallas Stars as a coach in an informal capacity.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks have parted ways with scouting director Doug Wilson Jr.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 4, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 4, 2022

The Lightning traded Ryan McDonagh to the Predators, the Jets officially hire Rick Bowness, an update on David Perron and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning traded defenseman Ryan McDonagh on Sunday to the Nashville Predators in exchange for defenseman Philippe Myers and forward Grant Mismash.

Tampa Bay Lightning traded defenseman Ryan McDonagh to the Nashville Predators (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois indicated this was a cost-cutting move. The cap-strapped club clears most of McDonagh’s $6.75 million annual average value through 2025-26 from their payroll. However, BriseBois took pains to point out this was a result of a flattened salary cap. He obviously didn’t want to move McDonagh, who played a key role in the club’s recent championship successes.

Cap Friendly indicates the Bolts are over $933K above the $82.5 million cap, though they can get $6.875 million in cap relief with permanently sidelined defenseman Brent Seabrook on their long-term injury reserve list. It might not be the only move they make in order to find sufficient space to re-sign or replace pending unrestricted free agents such as Ondrej Palat, Jan Rutta and Riley Nash.

BriseBois also dismissed speculation he would buy out Myers, saying they’ve really liked the blueliner since his junior days. He carries a $2.55 million cap hit for 2022-23.

McDonagh put on a brave face on the trade, saying he believes the Predators have the pieces to win a Stanley Cup and accepting the move as a business decision. However, McDonagh’s agent said his client was crushed about being traded just days after the Stanley Cup Final.

The deal leaves the Predators with $18.1 million in cap space with 18 players under contract through 2022-23. A new contract for pending UFA Filip Forsberg could eat up over $8 million of it.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets yesterday officially announced their hiring of Rick Bowness as their new head coach. Terms and details of his contract weren’t revealed but TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported it was for two years at $2.5 million per season.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues management is hopeful of getting pending UFA winger David Perron under contract. The 34-year-old winger is coming off a four-year deal with an annual average value of $4 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The article goes on to indicate the problem isn’t finding room for Perron’s new contract within their 2022-23 payroll. It’s how it could affect their 2023-24 payroll when Vladimir Tarasenko, Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas will be due for new contracts.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Edmonton Oilers’ Ken Holland, Calgary Flames’ Brad Treliving and Winnipeg Jets’ Kevin Cheveldayoff are among the general managers under the most pressure this offseason.

Holland must sort out his goaltending and try to re-sign Evander Kane. Treliving must re-sign free agent forwards Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane. Meanwhile, Cheveldayoff must decide if he’ll trade Blake Wheeler or Mark Scheifele and determine what to do with Pierre-Luc Dubois after he signaled his intent to test the 2024 UFA market.

MLIVE.COM: Improving the Detroit Red Wings’ team defense and solving the special teams is among the challenges facing new head coach Derek Lalonde.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 3, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 3, 2022

The Hurricanes hope to retain some key free agents, the possibility of some RFAs not receiving qualifying offers, plus updates on Jack Campbell and David Perron in today’s NHL rumor mill.

HURRICANES HOPE TO RETAIN TROCHECK, NIEDERREITER & DEANGELO

NHL.COM: Kurt Dusterberg reports Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell hopes to re-sign pending unrestricted free agent forwards Vincent Trocheck and Nino Niederreiter. Meanwhile, head coach Rod Brind’Amour hopes restricted free agent defenseman Tony DeAngelo also returns.

Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal indicated he’s not thinking about a contract extension this summer, preferring to play out the final season of his contract before determining his future. Waddell indicated they want Staal to play as long as he feels like doing so.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander reports DeAngelo would love to stay with the Hurricanes. He said he believes everyone in the organization knows that and believes they want him back, expressing appreciation for the trust they put in him following his troubled final season with the New York Rangers.

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo (NHL Images).

DeAngelo, 26, has arbitration rights and is a year away from becoming eligible for unrestricted free agent status. Waddell indicated there’s interest in signing him to a multi-year contract.

Alexander’s colleague Luck DeCock believes the Hurricanes need an upgrade in pure scoring skill. He suggested parting ways with forward Martin Necas, who regressed during this season and bringing in a scoring winger to replace him via trade or free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Waddell called signing Trocheck a priority. That increases the likelihood he won’t become available in this summer’s UFA market. It will depend on whether the two sides can reach an agreement before free agency begins on July 13.

Trocheck tends to be a streaky scorer but he would draw plenty of interest if he tests the market. Vancouver Hockey Now’s Rob Simpson daydreamed about Vancouver signing him but there’s no indication that’s the direction Canucks management intends to take.

DeAngelo made the most of his opportunity with the Hurricanes. While both sides are pleased with how this season turned out, arriving at a suitable deal could be a challenge.

Cap Friendly indicates the Hurricanes have $19.4 million in cap space with 14 players under contract next season. Parting ways with Necas won’t free up additional cap space as he’s a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract.

Trocheck earned an annual average value of $4.725 million while Niederreiter’s was $5.25 million. It could cost a combined $12 million to retain them. DeAngelo, meanwhile, could seek a return to the $4.8 million annually he was earning with the Rangers before agreeing to a one-year, $1 million contract with the Hurricanes for this season. Re-signing that trio won’t leave much room to add a scoring forward.

TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”

SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman suggested limited salary-cap space among NHL teams could lead to some of them not bothering to qualify the rights of some arbitration-eligible RFAs.

Some worth watching include Carolina’s Ethan Bear, Dallas’ Denis Gurianov, Pittsburgh’s Kasperi Kapanen, Chicago’s Dylan Strome and New Jersey’s Miles Wood and Pavel Zacha. He also noted there was speculation that Ondrej Kase could depart Toronto but believes talks are underway between the winger and the Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those players could bolster the depth of talent in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market. There’s no certainty, of course, that most or all of them will hit the open market. Still, it could be worthwhile as Friedman suggested to keep an eye on their respective contract negotiations.

Speaking of RFAs, Friedman believes the Leafs will qualify defenseman Rasmus Sandin’s rights. However, they have a logjam on the left side of their blueline. He pointed out that their cap situation doesn’t afford Sandin contract room.

Meanwhile, there haven’t been any contract talks between the Leafs and goaltender Jack Campbell for months and anything previously discussed is no longer relevant. His agent said there’s been no material contract conversation since the end of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect the Leafs will get something done with Campbell because there aren’t many suitable replacement options in this summer’s trade and UFA markets. The best free-agent options are Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper and Minnesota’s Marc-Andre Fleury and there’s no certainty either guy can be wooed to Toronto.

As for Sandin, he’ll obviously be more affordable to sign than Campbell. Given the priority given to the latter, however, they could end up shopping Sandin if they can’t free up sufficient cap dollars to re-sign him. However, I think Leafs management will try to free up cap room by trying to move out veterans like Petr Mrazek and Wayne Simmonds, though peddling either guy won’t be easy.

Friedman believes the New Jersey Devils and Ottawa Senators will be worth watching as they have their first-round picks in play for talent with a lot of team control.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, a player with more than a year remaining on their contract.

He also doesn’t expect St. Louis Blues winger David Perron will hit the open market on July 13.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 1, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 1, 2022

Check out the latest speculation on the Hurricanes and Blues offseason plans in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE HURRICANES?

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski noted the Carolina Hurricanes have several key free agents to deal with this summer. Forwards Nino Niederreiter, Vincent Trocheck and Max Domi and defensemen Ian Cole and Brendan Smith are due to become unrestricted free agents. Forward Martin Necas and blueliners Ethan Bear and Tony DeAngelo are restricted free agents.

Carolina Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck (NHL Images).

Wyshynski observed that Trocheck tends to be inconsistent. DeAngelo, meanwhile, led their defensemen with 51 points in 64 games after signing a one-year, $1 million contract.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander pointed out that Necas’ erratic third NHL season raises questions over where he fits into the Hurricanes’ plans. Bear, meanwhile, was a healthy scratch throughout this postseason.

Luke DeCock also weighed in on the difficult decisions facing Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell, with what to do with DeAngelo and Niederreiter topping the list. He felt Trocheck’s departure via free agency and cutting bait with Necas should be easier. DeCock also noted coach Rod Brind’Amour’s comment about the Hurricanes lacking elite goal scorers.

THE ATHLETIC: Sara Civian suggested Waddell explore the “elite goal scorer” market this summer. She pointed out the Hurricanes lacked a scorer in the top-20 this season despite being among the NHL’s best teams. Their scoring leader was Sebastian Aho, whose 81 points placed him 30th overall in the league.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Hurricanes have $19.375 million in cap space for 2022-23 with 14 players under contract. Not everyone among those key free agents will be back, especially if Waddell and team owner Tom Dundon decide to pursue a scoring forward this summer.

Maybe they’ll try to sign Colorado’s Nazem Kadri if they let Trocheck walk. Perhaps they’ll pursue Kevin Fiala if the Minnesota Wild decides to shop the pending RFA winger.

I think they’ll bring DeAngelo back after his bounce-back performance this season. Trading Necas could be a mistake but he could be packaged with a draft pick or prospect to land a more established scorer.

LATEST ON THE BLUES

STLTODAY.COM: Jim Thomas reports Blues GM Doug Armstrong doesn’t believe his roster needs major changes after falling in the second round to the Colorado Avalanche. With a number of key players under contract, he felt his team is in a good position for next season.

Armstrong acknowledged the salary cap will affect efforts to re-sign key UFAs David Perron, Ville Husso and Nick Leddy. Still, he believes there’s sufficient time to work things out. He also said he’s not worried about Vladimir Tarasenko returning next season despite last summer’s reports about a trade request. He praised the winger’s bounce-back performance this season.

THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford reported Perron said he’d love to be back with the Blues, though he declined to speak about his contract situation publicly. Armstrong also indicated he’d like to bring the 34-year-old winger back, citing his ability to still elevate his play despite his age.

Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly can sign a contract extension this summer. He said he absolutely wants to remain in St. Louis.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perron earned $4 million annually on his current contract and could return for the same cap hit on a two- or three-year deal. Leddy was a good fit with the Blues after joining them in a late-season trade. However, the 31-year-old defenseman will have to accept a pay cut from his $5.5 million to stick in St. Louis.

Husso made just $700k this season so he’s going to get a significant raise despite his postseason struggles. He could cash in on the free-agent market if he wants more playing time as a starter.

Tarasenko hasn’t publicly said he’s changed his mind about a trade but I’d say Armstrong’s comments are a strong indication he won’t be shopped this summer.