NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 8, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 8, 2019

Blues eliminate Stars in Game 7 double-overtime win, Oilers introduce Ken Holland as their new GM, Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy gets a one-game suspension, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues are going to the Western Conference Final. Patrick Maroon scored in double-overtime for a 2-1 victory over the Dallas Stars to take their second-round series in seven games. Dallas goaltender Ben Bishop made a career-high 52 saves, while his teammates managed just four shots combined in the second and third periods. Vince Dunn opened the scoring for the Blues while Mats Zuccarello countered for the Stars.

St. Louis Blues winger Patrick Maroon scored the series-clinching goal in double-overtime against the Dallas Stars in Game 7 of their second-round series (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If you had suggested to me in early-January that the Blues, who were dead last in the league at one point, would be in the Western Conference Final I would’ve laughed out loud. Yet here they are. They were the better team in this game. It’s also fitting that Maroon, a St. Louis native, tallied the winning goal. 

If not for Bishop’s heroics between the Dallas pipes, this game never would’ve reached overtime. He deserved a better fate. The Stars were dominated throughout most of this contest but Bishop gave them a chance to steal a win in this one. 

NEW YORK POST: Because of the Stars elimination, the New York Rangers won’t see the 2019 second-round pick they received in the Zuccarello trade turn into a first-rounder. If Zuccarello re-signs with the Stars, the 2020 conditional third-round pick they also received in the deal would become a first-round pick.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers officially introduced Ken Holland yesterday as their new general manager and president of hockey operations. During the press conference, Holland said Ken Hitchcock would not return as head coach.

Many observers noted the change in the appearance of Oilers owner Daryl Katz. It was revealed he’s spent the past two years battling a life-threatening sinus infection. Katz has undergone three surgeries with one more to go but he’s over the worst and the prognosis for a long-term recovery looks good.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Katz on a full recovery. As for Holland, replacing Hitchcock will be among his priorities.

Reaction toward Holland’s hiring was mixed among Oilers followers. Some point to the long period of success he had with his former team, the Detroit Red Wings. Skeptics point to the club’s decline over the past decade. Given the mediocrity the Oilers have been mired in for nearly 15 years, it’s understandable that many of their fans aren’t getting their hopes up. 

NBC SPORTS: San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski (concussion) remains day-to-day and isn’t expected to participate in tonight’s Game 7 against the Colorado Avalanche.

Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy will be suspended from Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final for an illegal hit to the head of Columbus Blue Jackets winger Josh Anderson.

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks will not qualify the rights of defenseman Derrick Pouliot, who’ll become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pouliot’s defensive miscues turned him into a frequent healthy scratch this season. That won’t help his efforts to sign with a new NHL club this summer. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 27, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 27, 2018

Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2018 revealed, latest notable contract signings and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Goaltender Martin Brodeur, forward Martin O’Ree, right wing Willie O’Ree. Russian forward Alexander Yakushev, women’s hockey forward Jayna Hefford and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman were selected for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame. 

Goaltending great Martin Brodeur is among the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018 (Photo via NHL.com)

Brodeur holds several NHL goaltending records, including most victories and shutouts, and won three Stanley Cups with the New Jersey Devils. St. Louis is a two-time winner of the Art Ross Trophy and won a Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

O’Ree was the first black player in NHL history and became an inspiration for many aspiring black players. Yakushev was a high-scoring forward known to North American hockey fans for his play with the Soviet Union all-stars in the 1972 Summit Series. Hefford won four Olympic gold medals for Canada in women’s hockey.

Under Bettman’s watch, the NHL has broaden in popularity and become a more global sport. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the class of 2018. No surprise to me that Brodeur and St. Louis were inducted this year. The elections of O’Ree and Yakushev were long overdue, especially for the trailblazing O’Ree, who also had a long and productive career at the minor league level. Hefford was a pioneer of women’s hockey and a key reason behind Canada’s success in international competition.

Bettman has significantly contributed to improving the NHL product, expanding its popularity and increasing its revenues. However, his constant labor battles with the NHLPA (including three lockouts) and his reluctance to acknowledge the link between head trauma and CTE tarnish his legacy. Former players Nick Boynton and Dan Carcillo, who are suing the league for what they claim was its failure to warn them of the long-term effects of head trauma, weren’t pleased with Bettman’s induction into the Hall. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning re-signed forward J.T. Miller to a five-year contract worth $26.25 million. The annual average value is $5.25 million and the deal also includes a modified no-trade clause that kicks in next July 1. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller’s production has steadily increased over the past three years, rising from 43 and 56 points in 2015-16 and 2016-17 to a career-high 58 points split between the Lightning and New York Rangers this season. This deal locks up the 25-year-old through his playing prime. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed winger Bryan Rust to a four-year, $14-million contract. The 26-year-old’s new contract counts as $3.5 million per season against the salary cap. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The length of this deal raised a few eyebrows, as Rust was considered among the Penguins’ potential trade candidates following their second-round playoff elimination by the Washington Capitals. This signing leaves the Penguins with about $4.25-million in cap space.

OTTAWA CITIZEN: The Senators yesterday placed forward Alex Burrows on unconditional waivers for the purpose of buying out the final year of his contract. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Because Burrows was over 35 when he signed this contract, the Senators won’t receive any cap relief from this buyout. 

TSN: The Vancouver Canucks re-signed defenseman Derrick Pouliot to a one-year, $1.1-million contract 

TVA SPORTS’ Renaud Lavoie reports the Winnipeg Jets re-signed defenseman Joe Morrow to a one-year, $1 million contract. 

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild have hired Tom Kurvers as assistant general manager. 

LOS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights are suing StubHub “alleging the resale ticketing site owes the team almost $1.5 million in playoff ticket sales profits.”


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 26, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 26, 2018

List of notable players who didn’t receive qualifying offers and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NBC SPORTS: Washington Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly, Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Petr Mrazek, Chicago Blackhawks winger Anthony Duclair, Vancouver Canucks defenseman Derrick Pouliot and Los Angeles Kings forward Tobias Rieder were among the notable players who didn’t receive qualifying offers yesterday. 

Washington Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly was among several notable NHL players not to receive qualifying offers yesterday (Photo via NHL Images).

Others included Buffalo Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner, Colorado Avalanche winger Nail Yakupov and Pittsburgh Penguins forwards Riley Sheahan and Tom Kuhnhackl.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: These players can still sign with their current teams and some are believed still in contract discussions. Most, however, will become unrestricted free agents on July 1 and can sign with anyone on that date.

The Capitals not qualifying playoff hero Smith-Pelly raised some eyebrows. They’re reportedly still talking contract with him and it’s believed they made this move to avoid arbitration with the winger. It remains to be seen, however, if they’ll reach agreement on a new deal. 

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings agreed to a “two-year deal with Tyler Bertuzzi ($1.4 million cap hit) and a one-year contract with Martin Frk ($1.05 million cap hit).”

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes re-signed forward Phil Di Giuseppe to a one-year, $750K contract. 

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: The Penguins re-signed wingers Daniel Sprong and Dominik Simon to two-year contracts each worth $750K annually. 

NHL.COM: The Minnesota Wild agreed to terms with defenseman Ryan Murphy on a one-year, two-way deal worth $650K at the NHL level. 



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 4, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 4, 2017

Sabres signed Jack Eichel, Penguins & Canucks swing a trade and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Buffalo Sabres signed center Jack Eichel to an eight-year, $80-million contract extension. The new deal begins in 2018-19 and is worth an annual average value of $10 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise here, as it was rumored for months Eichel would get a long-term deal worth around $10 million annually. The second overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft, the 20-year-old center is considered the Sabres’ franchise player. 

Yes, it’s an expensive extension for a young player still on his entry-level contract but I doubt he’ll have any difficulty justifying that deal. Eichel has considerable upside and has yet to hit his playing prime. 

Following the signing, I saw some folks on Twitter criticizing the deal by noting Eichel hasn’t cracked 60 points in a season. That’s overlooking the fact he missed 21 games with a high-ankle sprain at the start of last season. He still finished with 57 points in 61 games, putting him close to a point-per-game pace. If he stays healthy this season, he should reach at least 80 points this season.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The NHL ruled the Chicago Blackhawks can place winger Marian Hossa on long-term injury reserve for this season. The veteran forward is sidelined with a skin condition related to his hockey gear. Once he’s placed on LTIR, the club can exceed this season’s $75 million cap ceiling to replace him up to his cap hit of $5.275 million.

The Blackhawks will today sign left wing Bryan Bickell to a one-day contract, allowing him to retire with the club. Bickell spent all but one season with the Hawks, winning two Stanley Cups. His career was ended by multiple sclerosis.

SPORTSNET: The league also ruled the Toronto Maple Leafs can placed sidelined winger Joffrey Lupul on LTIR. Lupul, who failed to pass his training-camp physical, also failed a second medical examination. His annual cap hit is $5.25 million.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The PIttsburgh Penguins traded defenseman Derrick Pouliot to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for  defenseman Andrey Pedan and a fourth-round pick in the 2018 draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move provides Pouliot an opportunity for a fresh start. He struggled to crack the Penguins roster and could have a better opportunity with the rebuilding Canucks. There was some expectation the Penguins might use Pouliot as a trade chip to bring in a third-line center but GM Jim Rutherford is willing to stick with Greg McKegg and Carter Rowney centering the bottom two lines.

AZCENTRAL.COM: The Arizona Coyotes won’t have a captain for this season, opting instead for three alternates. A source said defensemen Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Niklas Hjalmarsson would be named alternates, with centers Derek Stepan and Brad Richardson and blueliner Alex Goligoski in the running for the third spot. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bit of a surprise move by the Coyotes. It was anticipated Ekman-Larsson will take over the captaincy from now-retired winger Shane Doan. 

CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed gritty winger Tanner Glass to a one-year, $650K contract. 

NBC SPORTS: Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson received a four-game suspension for boarding St. Louis Blues forward Sammy Blais.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche claimed defenseman Patrik Nemeth off waivers from the Dallas Stars. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights plucked goaltender Malcolm Subban off waivers from the Boston Bruins. 


Latest on the Red Wings & Golden Knights – September 27, 2017

Latest on the Red Wings & Golden Knights – September 27, 2017

No progress yet on the Detroit Red Wings efforts to re-sign Andreas Athanasiou.

Updates on Andreas Athanasiou and Riley Sheahan plus the Golden Knights could shop a defenseman. The latest in your NHL rumor mill.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Helene St. James recently reported there’s been “nothing but silence” since Detroit Red Wings free-agent forward Andreas Athanasiou met with management over 10 days ago.

Athansiou received a one-year, $2.5 million contract offer from KHL team AK Bars Kazan. Wings GM Ken Holland said he wouldn’t negotiate against the KHL. He’s offered Athanasiou a one-year. $1.25 million contract or two years at $1.9 million per season.

It doesn’t appear as though he’ll accept the KHL offer and St. James said it’s unclear what his next move will be. St. James suggests it’s possible he could seek a trade. Given his limited NHL resume, the Wings are unlikely to do that.

THE ATHLETIC: Prashanth Iyer examines how Detroit Red Wings center Riley Sheahan’s poor performance last season is hurting his trade value. He notes Sheahan has come up in trade speculation, notably in a rumored deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins involving defenseman Derrick Pouliot, who has limited NHL experience.

The Wings’ priority is to shed salary to free up salary-cap room to re-sign Athanasiou, but the Wings can’t be certain they’ll get fair value for Sheahan. If there’s a deal to be made with the Pens, Iyer suggests the return should be Pouliot plus a second- or third-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I daresay the silence regarding Athanasiou could be tied to the Wings efforts to shed salary and free up sufficient cap space to re-sign him. If he was going to the KHL he would’ve done so by now.

As for the potential return for Sheahan, the Wings could find themselves in a “beggars can’t be choosers” scenario. His poor stats last season hurts his trade value and they must free up cap room to re-sign Athanasiou.

Unless Holland has another deal up his sleeve to address that issue, he could have little choice but to take whatever he can get to clear most of Sheahan’s cap hit from his books. 

SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen cites Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee saying he’s returning some calls from clubs interested in acquiring one of his 11 defensemen. Boylen suggests veteran Jason Garrison, who’s eligible next July for unrestricted free agency, could make a decent trade candidate. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For weeks there’s been anticipation McPhee could trade a blueliner so it’s unsurprising that he’s starting to talk with other clubs after evaluating his roster during training camp and preseason play. That move could occur in the coming days.

It remains to be seen, however, if it’ll involve the 32-year-old Garrison. He carries a $4.6 million cap hit and a no-trade clause, making him difficult to move. 


NHL Rumor Mill – September 23, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – September 23, 2017

Could Josh Anderson’s contract standoff with the Columbus Blue Jackets lead to a trade?

Updates on the Blue Jackets, Red Wings, Penguins and Islanders in your NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: In his recent “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Frediman expressed surprise that Columbus Blue Jackets winger Josh Anderson remains without a contract. It’s believed the Jackets seek a three-year deal to protect against Anderson’s upcoming salary arbitration eligibility but the two sides aren’t close to agreement on value. It’s thought the Colorado Avalanche sought Anderson as part of a return for center Matt Duchene but the Jackets refused.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets may have rejected including Anderson in a package deal for Duchene, but if this situation drags on, I wonder if they might reconsider. As the standoff continues, Anderson’s representatives have contacted Hockey Canada about the 2018 Winter Olympics. If he remains unsigned, he could be eligible to play for Canada’s Men’s Olympic Hockey team. 

Friedman speculates the longer it takes the Detroit Red Wings to re-sign winger Andreas Athanasiou, the more a trade between the Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins could be contingent on signing him. It’s believed the Penguins are eyeing Red Wings center Riley Sheahan and Friedman wonders if Pens defenseman Derrick Pouliot might be part of the deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Jason Mackey reports Pens general manager Jim Rutherford’s been impressed by centers “Teddy Blueger, Adam Johnson and Greg McKegg, along with potential fourth-line pivot, Jay McClement” during training camp thus far. Rutherford isn’t ruling out trading for a center perhaps it’s not the certainty it appeared to be a couple of weeks ago. 

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien recently suggested New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak could be a viable option for contenders seeking depth between the pipes. He feels the Isles have incentive to give Halak a chance for a fresh start this season, either to improve his trade value or if current starter Thomas Greiss struggles or becomes sidelined. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Halak needs a strong bounce-back performance to be enticing to other clubs seeking goaltending help. He played very well during last fall’s World Cup of Hockey but his play subsequently fell off during last season and wound up banished to the minors for a time.