NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 18, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 18, 2019

An update on Mikko Rantanen, Mike Milbury offers up his opinion on analytics, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: (Stick tap to Shawn Lamba): Mikko Rantanen isn’t concerned over the lack of a new contract with the Colorado Avalanche. “Nothing’s wrong; there’s still one month until [training] camp starts,” said Rantanen. “I know what’s happening, but I’m not stressful. There are a lot of players who are in the same situation.”

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen remains confident of signing a new contract before training camp (Photo via NHL Images).

Rantanen, 22, is a restricted free agent coming off an entry-level contract. Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic said he’s looking forward to the young winger returning to Colorado.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As the dog days of the NHL offseason drag on, the unusually high number of top restricted free agents still unsigned dominates the slow news cycle. Most, if not all, of those RFAs (including Rantanen, Toronto’s Mitch Marner, Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point, and Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk) will probably be re-signed before training camps open next month.

THE BOSTON GLOBE: NBC hockey analyst Mike Milbury has no interest in using any of the analytic information from the league’s new Puck and Player Tracking system.

“I know they’re counting on it, but I’ve made my feelings known. No thanks. I mean, every move measured and calculated . . . what the [bleep] is the fun in that?! I guess I could be wrong, and there’ll be something in all of it that will catch my eye, but . . . ”

Milbury feels those numbers could be useful for player assessment. However, he doesn’t want them to bog down the broadcast or become a substitution for the trained eye. “How is a team adjusting its power play or forecheck . . . what are a player’s strengths? That, for me, is the fun of it. Now we’re going to be talking about equations based on that? Come on, really?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Milbury’s earned his fair share of criticism over the years for his coverage of the game. I daresay his remarks won’t go down well with the analytic community.

I believe analytics have a place in hockey and it could be worthwhile to share that information during the broadcasts if it’s done with the right balance. Bombard fans with too many numbers and it could detract from the overall coverage.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: As hockey analytics evolves, the Chicago Blackhawks are confident they’ll remain among the leaders in their assessment and usage of that data.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes signed college defenseman Chase Priskie to an entry-level contract. “At Quinnipiac, Priskie led Division I defensemen in goals (17), power-play goals (10) and game-winning goals (five) last season. He was a top-10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award in 2018-19.”