NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 12, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 12, 2023

Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin on his chances of breaking Wayne Gretzky’s goal record, the Canucks sign Pius Suter, a new endorsement deal for Blackhawks rookie Connor Bedard, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin remains uncertain if he’ll eclipse Wayne Gretzky’s all-time NHL goals record of 894. The 37-year-old left winger has 822 goals and needs 73 to pass Gretzky.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

In an interview with MatchTV, Ovechkin admitted he’d like to break Gretzky’s record. “I still doubt that this is possible, but I will make every effort to get to this number.” Ovechkin also said that his summer training for the coming season is going well.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin has three seasons remaining on his contract with the Capitals. He’ll break the goals record by averaging just over 24 per season. He tallied 42 goals in 2022-23 despite missing nine games to injuries.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks signed center Pius Suter to a two-year contract with an average annual value of $1.6 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A nice affordable signing by the cap-strapped Canucks to boost their checking-line depth at center. Suter should help them improve their penalty-killing. He’s also taken a significant pay cut, down from the $3.25 million AAV he earned with the Detroit Red Wings.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Chicago Blackhawks rookie Connor Bedard signed an exclusive deal with Sherwood Hockey.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ian Kennedy reports sources saying Brian Burke will take a leadership role with the Professional Women’s Hockey League Players’ Association. Burke recently served as President of Hockey Operations with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

CHICAGO HOCKEY NOW: Anders Bjork signed a one-year contract with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs. He netted eight points in 13 games with the Chicago Blackhawks last season following a trade with the Buffalo Sabres.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins named Marty Lauzon as director of high performance.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 6, 2023

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 6, 2023

Check out the latest on Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alexis Lafreniere plus some free-agent forward options for the Sabres in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.


WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Jared Serre recently cited Evgeny Kuznetsov claiming reports that he’d requested a trade from the Capitals weren’t “entirely true”, claiming he’d heard about most of the rumors through the media.

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (NHL Images).

The Kuznetsov speculation started in March following a report that he’d requested a trade. A purported friend of the 31-year-old center claimed he was tired in Washington. NHL reporter Mike Vogel confirmed Kuznetsov’s trade request last month amid a report that the Nashville Predators had looked into acquiring him.

Kuznetsov claimed that 95 percent of the rumors were “superficial information” that wasn’t worth reading.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kuznetsov didn’t deny the trade request. He compared his situation with the Capitals to a marriage. “You constantly swear, back and forth, some moments happen, but you still have this love”.

Reports last month claimed the Capitals were aggressively shopping Kuznetsov this summer without success. It appears the trade discussions with the Predators fell through.

Kuznetsov’s $7.8 million annual cap hit through 2024-25 plus his inconsistent play likely dampened his trade value. It’s expected he’ll still be in the Capitals’ lineup when they open their season against Pittsburgh on Oct. 13.


THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Arthur Staple was asked what was taking so long for the New York Rangers to sign Alexis Lafreniere.

Staple doesn’t consider it unusual that a deal hasn’t been reached yet between the Rangers and the 21-year-old winger. He theorized that his camp could be hoping to get an offer sheet, or maybe the hold-up is over the length of Lafreniere’s next contract, or maybe it’s not a top priority for either side since he’s not going anywhere.

Asked why Lafreniere hasn’t been tendered an offer sheet, Staples suggests the signing team would be taking a huge bet on a young player who hasn’t yet proven that he can play top-six minutes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lafreniere is also coming off an entry-level contract and didn’t have arbitration rights. His only leverage is not reporting to the club until he’s got a deal that his camp considers suitable. Given his current situation, that’s not going to work in his favor.

Too many teams with limited salary-cap space is probably another factor. Only eight clubs have $5 million or more in cap room and some of them need it to re-sign their own remaining RFA players.

Lafreniere will likely agree to a short-term bridge deal of two or three years before training camp starts in September. Given the Rangers’ cap limitations, it will probably be a low-cost annual cap hit of around $2.5 million.


THE ATHLETIC: Matthew Fairburn recently suggested some free-agent options for the Buffalo Sabres if they wish to find a short-term replacement for sidelined winger Jack Quinn. He listed Tomas Tatar, Paul Stastny, Pius Suter, Zach Parise and Max Comtois.

Fairburn acknowledged the depth of talent is thin among the remainder of this summer’s free-agent class. If they can’t sign Tatar or Suter, he recommends they go the trade route or hope to find a suitable replacement from within their system.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No indication yet as to the Sabres’ intentions. There’s plenty of time for them to address this. They could evaluate their options during training camp before deciding if they need external help.

It’s believed Quinn’s injury puts the brakes on any efforts to trade Victor Olofsson, at least until Quinn returns to the lineup.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 8, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 8, 2023

Spencer Knight to take part in the Panthers development camp, “Spittin’ Chiclets” hosts criticize Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello, the latest free-agent signings and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Goaltender Spencer Knight’s road to returning to the Panthers next season will go through the club’s upcoming prospect development camp.

Knight, 22, missed the final months of the Panthers’ 2022-23 season after entering the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program. The three-year NHL veteran has been granted a special provision to take part in their prospect development camp to get in some on-ice work.

Florida Panthers goaltender Spencer Knight (NHL Images).

Expected to join the Panthers for training camp in September, Knight will have to compete for the backup goaltender spot with recently-signed Anthony Stolarz. His new three-year contract ($4.5 million average annual value) began on July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Knight was considered Panthers starter Sergei Bobrovsky’s successor but struggled last season before going into the player assistance program. While his contract suggests he’s got the backup job locked up, he’ll still have to outperform Stolarz in training camp and preseason play.

NEW YORK POST: “Spittin’ Chiclets” podcast hosts Paul Bissonnette and Ryan Whitney are not fans of the offseason moves made by New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello.

I think the Islanders are going to be f**king horrible,” said Whitney. Bissonnette, meanwhile, was critical of Lamoriello bringing back Semyon Varlamov, Scott Mayfield and Pierre Engvall on long-term contracts.

He has checked the f**k out,” said Bissonette of Lamoriello. “The Islanders are going to get relegated this season, that’s how bad they’re going to be.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: What say you, Islanders fans? Do you agree or disagree with BizNasty and Whitney? Let us know in the comments below.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The Seattle Kraken avoided arbitration with Will Borgen by signing the 26-year-old defenseman to a two-year, $5.4 million contract with an average annual value of $2.7 million. They also signed unrestricted free-agent forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare to a one-year, $775K contract.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins signed UFA forward Andreas Johnsson to a one-year, $800K contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins president of hockey ops Kyle Dubas knows Johnsson well. He played for the Toronto Maple Leafs for three seasons, two of those during Dubas’ tenure as their general manager.

Speaking of the Penguins, they signed UFA forward Vinnie Hinostroza to a one-year, $775K contract.

SPORTSNET: Adam Vingan looked at four of the best remaining bargain in this summer’s UFA market.

Winger Tomas Tatar topped the list following his 20-goal performance last season with the New Jersey Devils. He’s followed by former Detroit Red Wings forward Filip Zadina, whose contract was terminated earlier this week.

Center Pius Suter and defenseman Caleb Jones round out Vingan’s list.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Stanley Cup has been engraved with 52 names of the Vegas Golden Knights 2022-23 championship roster. Twenty-six are players with the rest being ownership, coaches, trainers and management.