NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 24, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 24, 2021

The first round of the 2021 draft is completed, Carey Price undergoes knee surgery, Sam Reinhart reportedly traded to the Panthers, Taylor Hall re-signs with Bruins, Zach Hyman heading to the Oilers, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Buffalo Sabres selected University of Michigan defenseman Owen Power with the first-overall selection in the first round of the 2021 NHL Draft. The Seattle Kraken selected Powers teammate, center Matthew Beniers, with the second-overall pick, and the Anaheim Ducks took center Mason McTavish of the OHL’s Peterborough Petes third overall.

The first round of the 2021 NHL Draft is complete (NHL.com).

Defenseman Luke Hughes of the USA U-18 National Team Development Program is joining his older brother Jack Hughes with the New Jersey Devils as the fourth overall pick. Center Kent Johnson, another University of Michigan player, was taken by the Columbus Blue Jackets with the fifth overall pick.

The remaining rounds (two through seven) will be held today starting at 11 am ET.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can see the full list of first-round selections by following the link above. I offer my sincere congratulations to all the players taken in this round except for the Montreal Canadiens’ selection with the 31st overall pick.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens made a controversial selection with defenseman Logan Mailloux of the OHL’s London Knights. Mailloux had withdrawn from this year’s draft after being fined for invasion of privacy and defamation in Sweden. He took a photo of himself and an 18-year-old woman engaged in a consensual sex act and shared that photo with his teammates without the woman’s consent.

The Canadiens issued a statement acknowledging the severity of Mailloux’s actions but also felt his decision to renounce himself from the draft was an acknowledgment of his poor behavior. They expressed their willingness to help him become a better person and player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens are trying to justify this by claiming he was the best available player at that stage in the draft from a hockey standpoint. They also reportedly took him that high because several teams intended on taking him in the second round before the Canadiens would select with the 63rd overall pick.

The young woman victimized by Mailloux hasn’t forgiven him because she doesn’t believe he’s genuinely remorseful for what he’s done. “I do not think Logan has understood the seriousness of his behavior,” she told The Athletic’s Katie Strang in an e-mail, adding all she wanted was a heartfelt apology. Multiple sources told The Athletic that Mailloux has portrayed her as vindicative during interviews with some NHL teams.

This is inexcusable by the Canadiens. An organization that prides itself on class and character has been stained by this decision. And shame on the teams that were still willing to select him later in the draft before the Canadiens did.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price underwent knee surgery on Friday in New York. His expected recovery period is 10-12 weeks and he’s expected to return in time for the start of the 2021-22 season. Price was also evaluated for a hip injury but it will not require surgery.

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins signed winger Taylor Hall to a four-year contract with an annual salary-cap hit of $6 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall was a good fit with the Bruins following his acquisition from the Buffalo Sabres at the April trade deadline. He was seeking some stability after playing for four teams in the past two years. Cap Friendly indicates he gets a no-movement clause throughout the deal and a modified no-trade clause starting in 2022-23.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres have reportedly traded center Sam Reinhart to the Florida Panthers. It’s believed the Sabres will receive prospect goaltender Devon Levi and the Panthers’ first-round pick in 2022.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The trade is expected to be officially announced later today during the remaining rounds of the draft. Reinhart is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’s one year away from UFA eligibility. That could explain why the Sabres got a prospect rather than a player as part of the return, though they did get a first-rounder as well.

Speaking of trades, several notable moves took place before the first round of the draft. They include the Columbus Blue Jackets trading Seth Jones to the Chicago Blackhawks, the Vancouver Canucks and Arizona Coyotes engaged in a multi-player swap involving Oliver Ekman-Larsson, the Sabres shipping defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen to the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers dealing Pavel Buchnevich to the St. Louis Blues. You can read my take on those deals by following this link.

TORONTO SUN: Zach Hyman’s days with the Maple Leafs are done. The pending UFA winger has verbally agreed to sign with the Edmonton Oilers. If a trade can be worked out between the two clubs before noon ET on July 28, Hyman will sign an eight-year contract with the Oilers. If not, it’ll be a seven-year deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs are seeking draft picks from the Oilers. If a trade cannot be worked out today those picks will have to be in future drafts. It’s expected Hyman’s new contract will be worth between $5 million and $5.5 million.

SPORTSNET: The Carolina Hurricanes traded defenseman Jake Bean to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for a second-round pick in this year’s draft.

SPECTOR’ S NOTE: That’s the second young defenseman the Blue Jackets added yesterday. They also got promising Adam Boqvist as part of the return from Chicago in the Seth Jones trade.

TSN: The New York Rangers yesterday placed defenseman Tony DeAngelo on unconditional waivers for the purpose of buying out his contract.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 23, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 23, 2021

The 2021 NHL Draft begins tonight, the league releases its 2021-22 schedule, Shea Weber’s career is likely over due to injuries, the Flyers send Shayne Gostisbehere to the Coyotes, the Hurricanes trade Alex Nedeljkovic to the Red Wings, plus much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.com: The first round of the 2021 NHL Draft gets underway at 8 pm ET tonight. Rounds two through seven will be held on Saturday. Like last year, it will be a virtual draft.

The 2021 NHL Draft begins on Friday, July 23. (NHL.com).

The Buffalo Sabres hold the first-overall pick. University of Michigan defenseman Owen Power is ranked this year’s top prospect but there’s no guarantee he’ll be selected by the Sabres. Power intends to return to university this fall but Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams said that won’t affect his club’s decision. The Seattle Kraken holds the second-overall selection with the Anaheim Ducks holds the third.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Check out my 2021 NHL mock draft of the first round for Bleacher Report. I predict Power will be selected by the Sabres.

The NHL also unveiled its 82-game schedule for 2021-22. The season will begin Tuesday, Oct. 12 with the Pittsburgh Penguins visiting the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning while the expansion Seattle Kraken plays their first-ever NHL game as they visit the Vegas Golden Knights. The Kraken’s first home game is Oct. 23 as they host the Vancouver Canucks

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said he doesn’t expect team captain Shea Weber to play next season, adding the defenseman’s career is probably over because of injuries he tried to play through in recent years.

Bergevin confirmed goaltender Carey Price is in New York having his knee and hip examined with the possibility his knee could require surgery with a possible recovery period of 6-8 weeks. He also said he expects winger Jonathan Drouin will return to the team for training camp in September. Drouin took a season-ending leave of absence in March to deal with a personal matter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergevin anticipates the league will allow him to place Weber ($7.8 million cap hit) on long-term injury reserve for 2021-22. That would provide the Canadiens GM the flexibility to exceed the $81.5 million salary cap by the equivalent of Weber’s cap hit if necessary.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes acquired defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere plus a 2022 second-round pick and a 2022 seventh-round pick from the Philadelphia Flyers without sending anything back in return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was purely a cost-cutting move by the Flyers to shed Gostisbehere’s $4.5 million annual cap hit. “Ghost Bear” struggled over the past two years and could benefit from a change of scenery.

This is the second deal involving the Coyotes where they acquired a player and draft picks without sending anything the other way. They recently swung a deal with the New York Islanders for Andrew Ladd and three picks. As with the Gostisbehere deal, it was done by the Isles to clear some cap room.

The Flyers and Islanders paid a price to get those contracts off their books by giving up those draft picks to the Coyotes. Gostisbehere remains a decent NHL player and is expected to be part of the Coyotes roster next season. Ladd’s spent most of the past two seasons in the minors and could do so again in 2021-22.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings acquired goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for goalie Jonathan Bernier and a third-round pick in this year’s draft. Nedeljkovic signed a two-year contract with the Wings worth an annual average value of $3 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move baffled most observers. Nedeljkovic is a promising young netminder and a Calder Trophy finalist this season. However, it appears the Hurricanes front office wasn’t that enamored with his overall performance. Rather than face a possible salary arbitration battle, they opted to trade him to the Wings.

It’s believed the Hurricanes will seek a suitable replacement via trade or free agency. Nevertheless, this could backfire on them if Nedeljkovic goes on to a solid NHL career with the Wings.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers signed forward Barclay Goodrow to a six-year contract worth an annual average value of $3.642 million. The deal also includes signing bonuses and a 15-team no-trade list. Goodrow was recently acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The cap hit is reasonable but the term seems long for a player of Goodrow’s caliber. The 28-year-old is a solid third-line forward but comparable players usually get three or four-year deals at most. Cap Friendly indicates he’ll receive $5 million in actual salary in 2023-24 and $5.1 million in 2024-25.

TSN: A former Chicago Blackhawks player described his alleged sexual assault by the club’s former video coach Bradley Aldrich in a recent court filing.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The attorney handling two negligence lawsuits against the Blackhawks said one of her clients was bullied by several Blackhawks teammates after he accused Aldrich of sexually assaulting him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman yesterday said he would cooperate with the internal investigation conducted by the legal team hired by the club. The Tribune reports he declined to comment on the specifics of the review or the events in 2010 citing the pending lawsuits.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames acquired forward Tyler Pitlick from the Seattle Kraken in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2022.

THE MERCURY NEWS: The San Jose Sharks re-signed Rudolfs Balcers to a two-year, $3.1 million contract.

CAP FRIENDLY: The Tampa Bay Lightning re-signed center Gemel Smith to a two-year, $1.5 million contract. The first year is a two-way deal with Smith earning $750K at the NHL level.

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche re-signed forward Kiefer Sherwood to a one-year deal.

NHLPA: Matt Calvert announced his retirement from the NHL after 10 seasons due to a career-ending injury. He played 566 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Colorado Avalanche, tallying 203 career points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Calvert in his future endeavors.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 21, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – July 21, 2021

The NHL expansion draft begins at 8 pm ET tonight. Check out the latest on Carey Price, Vladimir Tarasenko, Gabriel Landeskog, Jack Eichel and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST EXPANSION DRAFT SPECULATION

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports there’s an expectation the Seattle Kraken could make an 11th-hour pitch to the Montreal Canadiens to ask their price to not select Carey Price. LeBrun doubts Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin will pay it since he and Price agreed the latter would be exposed in the draft.

Will the Seattle Kraken select Carey Price in the expansion draft? (NHL Images)

Price, meanwhile, is slated to be examined in New York on Thursday regarding hip and knee ailments. Kraken GM Ron Francis has had a few conversations with Price’s agent.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports Francis has received the green light from Kraken ownership to select Price if they see fit despite the goalie’s health issues and expensive contract.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan examined Bergevin’s options to replace Price if he’s selected by the Kraken. Free-agent options could include Detroit’s Jonathan Bernier, Toronto’s Frederik Andersen and Boston’s Jaroslav Halak, who began his NHL career in Montreal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll learn officially after 8 pm ET tonight if the Kraken snap-up Price. Doing so would free up $10.5 million in cap space for Bergevin to seek a short-term replacement. Possible trade targets could include Arizona’s Darcy Kuemper and Columbus’ Elvis Merzlikins or Joonas Korpisalo.

PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi reports of rumors the Kraken could select St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko and flip him to the Philadelphia Flyers for winger Jakub Voracek and a draft pick. Other reports they could target the  Washington Capitals for center Evgeny Kuznetsov. The New York Rangers have also been mentioned because of Tarasenko’s friendship with Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would be very interesting to see if the Kraken would go that route with Tarasenko. They’ll have to get something worthwhile in the return to consider it.

Maybe they’d accept Voracek if they select James van Riemsdyk from the Flyers in the expansion draft. Despite Kuznetsov’s personal baggage, the Kraken could take the chance if they fail to land a quality center in the draft. Perhaps they could pry Pavel Kuchnevich and a draft pick or prospect from the Rangers.

Tarasenko isn’t the only player the Kraken could attempt to flip to another club soon after the draft. NBC Sports Adam Gretz also listed Calgary’s Mark Giordano, New Jersey’s P.K. Subban, Nashville’s Calle Jarnkrok, Anaheim’s Adam Henrique and Philadelphia’s Shayne Gostisbehere as possible trade candidates if selected by the Kraken.

Pierre LeBrun also reported Gabriel Landeskog’s camp had a conversation with the Kraken on Sunday but there’s been nothing further since. Unless things change, he doubts the Kraken will sign the Colorado Avalanche. Landeskog is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28.

Darren Dreger reports Francis has had a number of conversations with agent J.P. Barry, who represents pending UFAs Dougie Hamilton and Adam Larsson. They could be preliminary discussions. Francis’ window of exclusivity to negotiate with unprotected free agents expires at 10 am ET today.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Kraken are locked-in on Florida Panthers goalie Chris Driedger. He wondered if they’ll also attempt to add Frank Vatrano or if Driedger becomes their pick from the Panthers. They’re also interested in St. Louis Blues winger Jaden Schwartz. Do they add him now or select Vince Dunn and add the winger later?

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Kraken don’t sign Landeskog, Driedger, Schwartz, Hamilton or Larsson today they can continue contract discussions with them. It just means they’ll be jockeying with other clubs interested in their services as the start of free agency (July 28) draws nearer.

DAILY FACEOFF: Cam Lewis cited a recent report claiming the New Jersey Devils appear interested in moving P.K. Subban. They exposed him in the expansion draft but were also trying to find a taker for the former Norris Trophy winner. Lewis wondered if they can convince the Kraken to take on the final season of Subban’s contract. He carries a $9 million cap hit for 2021-22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps that will become one of those side deals we heard so much about leading up to today’s draft. It could take a significant sweetener to convince the Kraken to do that.

IN OTHER RUMORS…

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo reported the Minnesota Wild continues to have discussions with the Buffalo Sabres regarding Jack Eichel. However, the asking price for the 24-year-old center remains very high.

It’s believed Sabres GM Kevin Adams sought all futures from the Wild. That would mean top prospects Marco Rossi and Matt Boldy plus two first-round picks. Given Eichel’s $10 million annual average value, the Sabres would have to take back a significant salary from the Wild or find another club to act as a third-party broker.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Russo doesn’t see a clear path for the Wild to acquire Eichel unless the Sabres lower their prices. He’s previously reported GM Bill Guerin is reluctant to burn through his cap space or deplete his prospect pipeline.

Speaking of Eichel, The Buffalo News’ Lance Lysowski cited Elliotte Friedman saying the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and Calgary Flames are out of the bidding, at least for now. The Wild and Rangers are listed as possibilities.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov received a significant offer from KHL club CSKA Moscow. Guerin is aware of it but he believes they can bridge the cap in contract talks with the 2021 Calder Trophy winner.

LeBrun also reports the Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens are among the teams believed interested in Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets could lose defenseman Dylan DeMelo in the expansion draft. Canadiens captain Shea Weber could miss all of next season (and perhaps more) due to multiple lingering injuries.

Darren Dreger reports the Arizona Coyotes continue shopping Oliver Ekman-Larsson but his $8.25 million annual cap hit is a tough sell. Perhaps interest will pick up if a team loses a good defenseman in the expansion draft.

Meanwhile, there’s no progress in contract talks between the Coyotes and winger Conor Garland. Several clubs are keeping an eye on the restricted free agent’s situation.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 21, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 21, 2021

The Seattle Kraken expansion draft is tonight at 8 pm ET plus the latest on Vladimir Tarasenko, Phillip Danault, Ryan Ellis, Patrik Laine and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Seattle Kraken will finally have a full roster of players as they reveal their selections this evening in the 2021 NHL expansion draft. The names will be announced at Seattle’s Gas Works Park starting at 8 pm ET. Among the notable names available is Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin, St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko and Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano.

Seattle Kraken expansion draft is July 21. (NHL.com)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s speculation Price, Tarasenko and Giordano could be selected by the Kraken. I’ll have more on that in today’s Rumor Mill update. Ovechkin, however, is expected to re-sign with the Capitals following the expansion draft.

THE ATHLETIC: Speaking of Tarasenko, Jeremy Rutherford reports the surgeon who conducted the winger’s third shoulder surgery claims his patient’s left shoulder is “rock solid.”

Dr. Peter Millett said Tarasenko’s shoulder is “very stable and strong”, adding the winger told him it feels better now than it has for months. Millett is confident that Tarasenko is “100 percent ready for the upcoming season.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues spent several weeks attempting to trade Tarasenko before exposing him in the expansion draft. This news could make him more enticing to the Kraken or to clubs that expressed interest in the 29-year-old winger.

SPORTSNET: Eric Engels cited sources claiming it’s highly unlikely Phillip Danault returns with the Montreal Canadiens. The 28-year-old center is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28. Engels also indicated there’s no truth to a reported deal between Danault and the Kraken.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Danault has put his Montreal-area home up for sale. His solid defensive play during the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs should help him land a lucrative long-term deal elsewhere on July 28.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Speaking of the Canadiens, they named Jean-Francois Houle as head coach of their AHL affiliate in Laval. The son of former Canadien Rejean Houle, he has several years of coaching experience at the university, Junior-A and minor-league levels. In 2011-12, he won the Ron Lapointe Trophy as the QMJHL’s top coach.

TSN: Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ryan Ellis denied suffering a shoulder injury that required surgery this season. He said it was an injured knuckle that sidelined him for 20 games with the Nashville Predators. Ellis was traded to the Flyers on Saturday before the expansion draft roster freeze. He said he’s good to go for next season.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Patrik Laine is mulling the $7.5 million qualifying offer he received from the Blue Jackets. If he signs the one-year deal he’ll be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer. The move could allow time for the Jackets to negotiate a long-term extension with the 23-year-old winger.

TSN: Prospect Logan Mailloux has renounced himself from this weekend’s NHL Draft. He’s asking teams not to select him following a criminal charge while playing in Sweden last year. He was investigated after distributing a photo of himself and a woman engaged in a sexual act. The photo was taken without her consent.

Mailloux received a summary punishment by fine. The NHL responded that he remains draft-eligible.

NHL.COM: Defenseman Yannick Weber has retired from the NHL after 13 seasons. He intends to continue his playing career in Switzerland. Weber amassed 94 points in 499 games with the Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks, Nashville Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Weber in his future endeavors.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 20, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 20, 2021

Predators prospect Luke Prokop comes out as gay, Carey Price calls for increased recognition of the history of residential schools, the Kraken could be close to signing Chris Driedger, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators prospect Luke Prokop revealed yesterday he is gay, become the first player under an NHL contract to come out. “I am no longer scared to hide who I am,” wrote Prokop on Instagram. “Today I am proud to publicly tell everyone that I am gay.”

Nashville Predators prospect Luke Prokop.

Prokop, 19, is a defenseman with the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen. The Predators selected him in the third round (73rd overall) in the 2020 NHL Draft and signed him last December to a three-year entry-level contract.

The news was no surprise for the Predators. Prokop informed general manager David Poile of his sexuality over a year ago.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Prokop is receiving widespread support from the Predators and throughout the hockey community following his announcement yesterday. It took courage for this young man to come out. Hopefully, he’ll be an example and inspiration to other gay players.

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price believes more should be done to make Canadians aware of the history of residential schools. A growing number of unmarked graves continue to be discovered on the sites of some former residential schools throughout several provinces.

Price’s grandmother was a residential school survivor. His mother, Lynda Price, is chief of the Ulkatcho First Nation in Northern British Columbia.

I think we need to do a better job in the future of recognizing that this is a part of our history in Canada and it’s just not right,” said Price.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported yesterday the Seattle Kraken are closing in on a three-year, $10.5 million contract with Chris Driedger. The 27-year-old Florida Panthers goaltender is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28.

Under expansion draft rules, the Kraken have a brief window (July 18 to 21) to negotiate exclusively with free agents left unprotected in Wednesday’s expansion draft. If signed by the Kraken, he’ll be considered that club’s selection from the Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Driedger came into his own this season after several years of bouncing between the NHL and the minors. He outperformed Panthers starter Sergei Bobrovsky. With promising Spencer Knight now on their roster, they can’t afford to carry three goalies.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports the New York Rangers are close to signing a six-year contract extension with Barclay Goodrow. The Rangers acquired the 28-year-old forward last week from the Tampa Bay Lightning. It’s believed the annual average value of his new contract would be around $3.6 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not a bad pay raise for Goodrow, who’s completing a two-year, $1.85 million contract. That term is longer than most for a checking-line forward. They usually get deals between three-to-four years.

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski cites sources saying the NHL’s 2021-22 schedule will contain a break for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. It’s reportedly scheduled for Feb. 5-22, 2022.

The schedule is expected to be released on July 22 but could contain a caveat indicating NHL participation in the Olympics isn’t yet guaranteed.

The NHL is still working with the International Olympic Committee on issues that prevented the league from participating in the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers have hired Darryl Williams as an assistant coach. Williams worked with Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault in Vancouver and New York over nine seasons.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning extended their affiliation with the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears for the next two seasons.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets hired Mark Morrisson as the new head coach of their AHL affiliate. He spent the past four seasons as an assistant with the Anaheim Ducks.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 19, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 19, 2021

A look at the notable players available in the upcoming 2021 expansion draft and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The NHL released the player protection lists for the 30 teams participating in the upcoming NHL expansion draft. The Seattle Kraken will choose one player from each team on Wednesday, July 21 starting at 8 pm ET. The Vegas Golden Knights are exempt from this draft.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (NHL Images).

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, St. Lous Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko, Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog and Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton are among the notable names available in the draft.

Others include former Stanley Cup-winning goaltenders Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings, Matt Murray of the Ottawa Senators and Braden Holtby of the Vancouver Canucks.

Among the notable defensemen are Canadiens captain Shea Weber, the New Jersey Devils’ P.K. Subban, the Calgary Flames’ Mark Giordano and the Anaheim Ducks’ Kevin Shattenkirk.

Other noteworthy forwards include Nashville Predators centers Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene, Philadelphia Flyers wingers Jakub Voracek and James van Riemsdyk, New York Islanders forwards Jordan Eberle and Josh Bailey and Tampa Bay Lightning forwards Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat and Yanni Gourde.

Some of the pending unrestricted free agents available are Boston Bruins forwards Taylor Hall and David Krejci, St. Louis Blues winger Jaden Schwartz, Avalanche winger Brandon Saad, Canadiens center Phillip Danault and Toronto Maple Leafs winger Zach Hyman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An interesting collection of talent for the Kraken to draw upon in the expansion draft. There’s a roster freeze in place until Thursday at 1 pm ET, allowing Kraken management exclusive negotiating rights with the free agents left exposed in the draft.

Signing those free agents, however, isn’t a certainty. Some clubs left them exposed in order to protect other players with the intention of signing those players before free agency begins on July 28. That’s why there’s little concern among Washington fans over Ovechkin’s exposure in the draft. Some NHL insiders believe Ovechkin and the Capitals already have a deal in place and are waiting until after the expansion draft to announce it.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports sources said there are concerns about Price’s health that could deter the Kraken from selecting him. His availability for next season could be in question.

An MRI following the playoffs revealed a hip injury that might require surgery. Price is traveling to the United States for further examination and the results aren’t expected until Friday, two days following the expansion draft. He’s also dealing with a lingering knee injury.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Price is scheduled to see a doctor in New York regarding his knee. “The hope is that it’s not too serious,” said LeBrun. He noted the Habs goalie is getting his hip checked out but it’s the knee that could require surgery.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Kraken are seriously considering selecting Price. However, because they are supposed to get the full medical records of all exposed players, Price’s medical appointments following the expansion draft aren’t going over well. Other teams are upset, believing the Canadiens are using Price and Weber to make a mockery of the process.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The complaints about the health of Price and Weber are being raised because both played well during the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs. Both players, however, have a long history of playing through injuries, as most NHL players do during the postseason.

Weber’s injury concerns were reportedly raised following his postseason exit medical. I daresay the same thing happened with Price.

I’m not saying critics aren’t justified in their concerns over the timing. I’m suggesting there simply wasn’t sufficient time between the end of the Stanley Cup Final and the due date for submission of the player protection lists for Price to receive a full evaluation of his hip and knee.

Price waived his no-movement clause to allow the Canadiens to protect backup goalie Jake Allen. He has five years remaining on his contract with an annual salary-cap hit of $10.5 million, a full no-movement clause that would follow him to Seattle, and an $11 million signing bonus due in September.

The Kraken could still select Price despite the injury concerns and his contract. It would be a big loss for the Canadiens but it would free up $10.5 million to pursue a younger, affordable replacement via trade or free agency. It would also provide additional cap space to find a potential replacement for Danault if he hits the open market next week.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning opted to protect their blueline corps while making forwards such as Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat, and Yanni Gourde available.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning will lose a good forward to the Kraken. My guess is they choose Gourde. He’s a solid, versatile two-way player who can play all three forward positions.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Predators were the only club to protect five defenseman: Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm, Dante Fabbro, Philippe Myers and Alexandre Carrier.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s one reason why centers Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene are available. The other is Predators general manager David Poile hopes the Kraken selects one of them to get their $8 million annual cap hit off his books.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins goaltender Jaroslav Halak intends to test the free-agent market on July 28.

CBC SPORTS: Dolores Claman, who wrote the Hockey Night in Canada theme music in 1968, recently passed away at age 94.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For decades, that tune was like Canada’s second national anthem. My condolences to Claman’s family and friends.