NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 28, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 28, 2019

The latest on Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor, Travis Hamonic, Jason Pominville, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE SCORE: Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice believes the pressure surrounding the contract negotiations of Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor will increase for those players and management as training camp approaches. Jets camp opens on Sept. 13. 

Winnipeg Jets wingers Patrik Laine (above) and Kyle Connor remain unsigned (Photo via NHL Images).

Acknowledging the unusually high number of restricted free agent stars still unsigned around the league, Maurice believes once one or two sign the others could quickly follow. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most of those RFAs are waiting to see who signs first. I anticipate a flurry of last-minute signings before mid-September. 

CALGARY SUN: Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic was unconcerned over his name popping up in this summer’s trade rumors. He spent his time preparing for the upcoming season and embracing family life. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hamonic rumors – and those surrounding T.J. Brodie – quieted after Juuso Valimaki suffered a serious knee injury during off-season training. Most of that speculation has less to do with Hamonic and more with Brodie. Regardless, it appears both blueliners will be staying in Calgary for the upcoming season. 

NHL.COM: Unrestricted free agent winger Jason Pominville, 36,  hopes to continue his NHL career but said he’s prepared that it could be over after 16 seasons. 

THE ATHLETIC: Washington Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny is progressing in his recovery from April’s season-ending hamstring surgery. He’s hoping to be ready for training camp but a return date remains uncertain. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Former Philadelphia Flyers Andrew MacDonald, Matt Read, and Michal Neuvirth are among several players heading to training camps on professional tryout offers. 

NEWSDAY: Scott Gomez has stepped down as an assistant coach with the New York Islanders. 

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild prospect Alexander Khovanov had surgery last Friday to remove a benign bone tumor from his leg.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Former NHL winger Darren McCarty credits medical marijuana with helping to save him from alcohol and drug addiction. He quit drinking four years ago, lost 60 pounds, is off most of his prescription medication and recently quit smoking cigarettes. 

SPORTSNET: Journeyman goaltender Mike McKenna has retired after stints with 15 NHL organizations and 22 professional teams. 










NHL Rumor Mill – August 7, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – August 7, 2018

Another update on Max Pacioretty,  the latest on Canucks d-man Ben Hutton and proposed PTO targets for the Devils in your NHL Rumor Mill.

PACIORETTY UPDATE

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton believes the recent Jeff Skinner trade between the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes should lower expectations of a big return if the Montreal Canadiens move Max Pacioretty.

The Hurricanes shipped the 26-year-old Skinner, a three-time 30-goal scorer who’s due to become an unrestricted free agent next July, to the Sabres last week in exchange for a prospect forward (Cliff Pu) and three draft picks, none of which were first-round selections. That could set the stage for an equally underwhelming return for Pacioretty, a 29-year-old left wing who’s also a former 30-goal scorer eligible next summer for UFA status.

The recent Jeff Skinner trade could affect the trade value of Montreal Canadiens left wing Max Pacioretty. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s assumed the Canadiens seek a young scoring forward, preferably a center, in return for Pacioretty. They reportedly had a deal in place with the Los Angeles Kings during the 2018 NHL Draft but it apparently fell apart over lack of an agreement on a contract extension. Since then, there’s no indication Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin is any closer to dealing Pacioretty, though he reportedly wants to do so before the start of 2018-19.

Still, Bergevin faces slightly better odds of finding a decent return for his captain. Pacioretty’s lack of no-trade protection gives the Canadiens GM more trade options than the Hurricanes had with Skinner, whose full no-movement clause significantly hampered where they could trade him. 

TVA SPORTS: Renaud Lavoie reports there is no truth to rumors Pacioretty would skip training camp next month until the Canadiens trade him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whoever dreamed up that rumor should give their head a shake. Pacioretty is entering his contract year and intends to seek a big raise next summer. Staging a holdout to force a trade not only wouldn’t make any sense but would also be out of character on his part. 

NO TAKERS FOR HUTTON

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent piece examining the stock of several Vancouver Canucks players, JD Burke believes no other player on the club needs a change of scenery more than defenseman Ben Hutton. It’s apparent the blueliner has fallen out of favor with coach Travis Green and his stock has declined.

Burke said the Canucks have tried trading Hutton for a while but can’t find any takers. He does point out Hutton’s performance wasn’t as bad as it seemed, noting he and Chris Tanev had solid shutdown numbers where paired together. He adds the Canucks did a better job controlling the puck in 5-on-5 situations with Hutton on the ice.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like rival GMs aren’t impressed with Hutton’s shutdown and possession stats. Otherwise, the Canucks probably would’ve found a club willing to take him off their hands. 

TRYOUT OPTIONS FOR THE DEVILS

NJ.COM: Chris Ryan suggests right wings Kris Versteeg, Tommy Wingels and Nick Shore, defensemen Toby Enstrom, Brandon Davidson, Alexei Emelin and Jakub Jerabek, center Logan Shaw and left wings Daniel Winnik and Scott Hartnell as professional tryout offer (PTO) options for the New Jersey Devils. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see if the Devils invite any of these guys to training camp. I daresay several of those players could also become PTO candidates with other clubs  The exception could be Hartnell, who’s reportedly contemplating retirement.