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 Morning Coffee Headlines – July 17, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 17, 2021

Gabriel Landeskog seeks a big payday, Islanders trade Nick Leddy to the Red Wings, plus the latest on Alex Edler, Erik Haula and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

YAHOO! SPORTS: cites St. Louis-based NHL insider Andy Strickland reporting Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog seeks a big raise on his next contract. Slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28, the 28-year-old left-winger could be asking for an annual average value of $9 million to $10 million on the open market.

Colorado Avalanche winger Gabriel Landeskog (NHL Images).

Landeskog is willing to give the Avalanche a hometown discount. However, they’ll have to come up from their offer of between $5 million to $6 million on an eight-year deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Strickland reported the Avalanche also made offers of four years ($6.5 million) and five years ($7 million). He indicated Landeskog would be interested in signing with the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vegas Golden Knights, Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Islanders if a deal cannot be worked out with the Avs.

As always, I don’t fault any player for seeking the best contract they can get as a free agent. Landeskog is a terrific first-line left-winger and a key part of the Avalanche roster.

However, I doubt Landeskog will find many offers between $9 million and $10 million with the salary cap remaining flat at $81.5 million next season. He certainly won’t get it from the clubs listed by Strickland. They’ve all got limited cap space and pending free agents of their own to deal with. They’d have to shed considerable cap space to sign him.

Landeskog earned $5.57 annually on a seven-year deal. If the Avs are offering five years at $7 million per he should jump on that. It’s a reasonable raise that keeps him on a potential Cup contender through the remaining years of his playing prime. The Avs also need room to re-sign Cale Makar and Philipp Grubauer.

THE DETROIT NEWS/NEW YORK POST: report the New York Islanders last night traded defenseman Nick Leddy to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for winger Richard Panik and a second-round draft pick (originally belonging to the Edmonton Oilers) in this year’s NHL draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings also retained half of Panik’s $2.75 million salary. He’s signed through 2022-23. Leddy has one year remaining on his deal worth $5.5 million.

This move provides some flexibility for the cap-strapped Islanders, freeing up over $4 million in payroll. It also provides the rebuilding Red Wings with an experienced puck-moving defenseman who can log top-four minutes.

The Detroit News’ Ted Kulfan speculates the Wings could pair Leddy with promising rookie Moritz Seider. They could also use him as a trade chip if they become sellers at next season’s trade deadline. His addition could also mean they don’t re-sign pending UFA Marc Staal.

THE PROVINCE: Alex Edler’s 15-season NHL career with the Vancouver Canucks could be coming to an end. The veteran defenseman is going to test the free-agent market on July 28. His agent indicated the 35-year-old has never tested the free-agent waters before and he might never get the chance to do so again.

TSN: cited a report by The Athletic’s Adam Vingan indicating the Nashville Predators and pending UFA Erik Haula are discussing a new contract. He’s coming off a one-year, $1.75 million deal.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes signed restricted free agent forward Morgan Geekie to a one-year, two-way contract with $750K at the NHL level.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers signed RFA forward Julien Gauthier to a one-year, two-way contract worth $775K at the NHL level.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former Laval Rocket coach Joel Bouchard denied any rift or animosity with the Canadiens. Bouchard recently joined the Anaheim Ducks as head coach of their AHL affiliate in San Diego. Bouchard insists he made the change because he wanted to try something different elsewhere.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 16, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – July 16, 2021

The latest on Ryan Suter, Darcy Kuemper, Zach Hyman and Tyler Bertuzzi in today’s NHL rumor mill.

INTEREST GROWING IN SUTER

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports of growing interest in Ryan Suter after the 36-year-old defenseman was bought out earlier this week by the Minnesota Wild. He could be an affordable option for cap-strapped contenders such as the Vegas Golden Knights, Tampa Bay Lightning, and New York Islanders. Seravalli also thinks the Boston Bruins could be a landing spot.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber reports sources suggested the Capitals and the Los Angeles Kings are two clubs that could pursue Suter on July 28, when he can officially sign with a new team.

Former Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter could draw lots of interest in the free-agent market (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Suter could be a reliable second-pairing left-side defenseman for a contender on an affordable short-term contract. NBC Sports Boston’s Nick Goss believes the veteran rearguard would be a good addition to the Bruins.

NBC Sports Washington’s J.J. Regan points out the Capitals have three left-side defensemen in Michal Kempny, Dmitry Orlov and Brenden Dillon plus two promising left siders in Martin Fehervary and Alex Alexeyev. He feels adding Suter would make sense only if they shed a left-side defenseman via trade or the expansion draft.

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo speculated over which players the Minnesota Wild could pursue to replace Suter and Zach Parise, who was also bought out earlier this week. Defense options could include Alec Martinez and Alex Goligoski. Forwards could include Nick Foligno and Paul Stastny.

AVALANCHE, LEAFS, KRAKEN TARGET KUEMPER

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports the Colorado Avalanche and Toronto Maple Leafs have contacted the Arizona Coyotes regarding goaltender Darcy Kuemper. Both clubs are considering the goalie market at large. The Avalanche’s Philipp Grubauer and the Leafs’ Frederik Andersen are slated to become unrestricted free agents on July 28.

The Seattle Kraken is also believed interested in the 31-year-old Kuemper, who has a year remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $4.5 million. His camp has informed the Coyotes they’re not interested in a contract extension.

AZ COYOTES INSIDER: Craig Morgan also reported the Avalanche has an interest in Kuemper. The netminder’s performance for Canada in this year’s World Championships improved his trade value after being sidelined by a knee injury in March. Morgan suggests shopping him to a contender for a late first-round draft pick, proposing Colorado, Carolina and Edmonton as possible trade partners.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Picking up Kuemper would be a good short-term option for the Avalanche if they lose Grubauer. I guess Jack Campbell didn’t do enough this year to establish trust among Leafs brass that he’s ready to be a starter if they’re looking at Kuemper or bringing back Andersen. That’s not a knock on Campbell, by the way. I felt he played well enough this season to be their starter going forward.

The Hurricanes have a promising starter in Calder Trophy finalist Alex Nedeljkovic but could use a reliable backup. Kuemper would be an expensive option and would give the Hurricanes a 1A and 1B goalie tandem. The Oilers are reportedly talking to Mike Smith about returning for another season. Unless they shed Mikko Koskinen, there’s no room for Kuemper. The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson reported they’re trying to do just that.

LEAFS LET HYMAN SPEAK TO OTHER CLUBS

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports the Maple Leafs gave permission to Zach Hyman’s agent to speak with other clubs to explore trade possibilities for the 29-year-old pending UFA winger.

Suitors are believed lining up for Hyman. If a suitable deal can be found, the Leafs would trade his rights to another club before July 28 in exchange for a player or something to improve their depleted draft stockpile.

The Detroit Red Wings have been speculated as a destination. It’s believed the Leafs would prefer shipping Hyman out of the Atlantic Division, preferably to a Western team.

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston cites a report in the Toronto Star indicating the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks are front-runners for Hyman while the Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers and Red Wings also have an interest.

Hyman would reportedly stay with the Toronto Maple Leafs on an eight-year deal worth $5 million annually with a no-movement clause. He’s already received offers higher than that. The Canucks are also believed to be interested in signing St. Louis Blues winger Jaden Schwartz.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If those reports are true, I must question the sanity of the general managers making those offers. Hyman’s a good player and deserves a raise over the $2.25 million AAV of his recent contract. Something like $4 million annually on a four-year deal is reasonable. I also don’t fault him and his agent for trying to get the best deal they can.

However, Hyman’s not worth over $5 million annually on a long-term deal. He’s just not. To offer well over that when the salary cap is flattened for the next several seasons is irresponsible management.

UPDATE ON TYLER BERTUZZI

THE ATHLETIC: Max Bultman cited colleague Craig Custance reporting teams believes Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman is open to trading Tyler Bertuzzi. However, he’s not in a hurry to move the 26-year-old winger. Bertuzzi is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. So far, there have been no contract discussions but that’s not uncommon among their notable RFAs right now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was speculation the Maple Leafs had an interest in Bertuzzi as a possible replacement for Hyman. Detroit Hockey Now’s Kevin Allen doubted he’ll be traded unless the Wings get an offer too good to refuse. He’s expecting the Wings will re-sign him.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 13, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – July 13, 2021

The latest on Vladimir Tarasenko, Matthew Tkachuk, Pavel Buchnevich, Reilly Smith and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SERAVALLI UPDATES NHL TRADE TARGETS LIST

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli added some new names to his NHL summer trade targets list.

Debuting at No. 3 is Vladimir Tarasenko. Seravalli reported last month the 29-year-old St. Louis Blues winger provided the club with a list of preferred trade destinations. It’s a mutual parting of the ways. After two botched shoulder surgeries, Tarasenko is now fully healthy after a third surgery conducted by doctors outside the Blues’ organization.

STLTODAY.COM: Jim Thomas wondered if the Blues might package their 2021 first-round pick (16th overall) with Tarasenko. He believes the Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, Washington Capitals and possibly the New York Islanders might have an interest in the former 30-goal scorer. He also pondered the possibility of the Blues bundling that first-round with defenseman Vince Dunn and another sweetener to the Calgary Flames for winger (and St. Louis native) Matthew Tkachuk.

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple cites two sources claiming Tarasenko would be open to a trade to the Islanders. He also said the winger’s list of teams he’s willing to be traded to is “double digits.” Find room to absorb Tarasenko’s $7.5 million annual average value won’t be easy for the cap-strapped Islanders.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

It won’t be as easy as trading winger Jordan Eberle and another player, as Eberle has three more years left on his contract. Acquiring Tarasenko post-expansion if Nick Leddy is traded or selected by the Seattle Kraken would make more sense. A package of Tarasenko and Vince Dunn to the Islanders would also be difficult as there would be a lot of moving parts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tarasenko will draw interest in the trade market. However, a limited number of clubs can comfortably afford his cap hit and have sufficient assets to interest the Blues. I’m not suggesting it won’t take place but finding the right fit could take time.

As for the Blues acquiring Tkachuk, reports out of Calgary denied rumors he wanted a trade to St. Louis. It could take more than Dunn, a first and another sweetener to pry him away from the Flames.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith checks in at No. 6. Seravalli believes the 30-year-old winger could be shopped to improve the Golden Knights’ depth at center. He has a year left on his contract with an annual average value of $5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vegas will be seeking someone to center one of their top-two lines and improve their power play. Finding such a forward won’t be easy. Those willing to part with one could prefer Alex Tuch rather than Smith in return.

New York Rangers winger Pavel Buchnevich is No. 8. Sources claim Blueshirts GM Chris Drury is talking about the possibility of moving the 26-year-old winger. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights coming off a career-best 20-goal, 48-point performance in 54 games. Seravalli anticipates he’d get more than $4.54 million via arbitration, which would also take him up to UFA status next summer.

THE ATHLETIC: Rick Carpiniello reports it’s uncertain if Drury is shopping Buchnevich or if teams are making inquiries. The Rangers have over $22 million in projected cap space and will get more when they buy out Tony DeAngelo.

However, Drury must spend that cap room wisely because he must ensure he has sufficient space over the next couple of years to re-sign Mika Zibanejad, Adam Fox, Kaapo Kakko and Igor Shesterkin. Carpiniello also suggested the possibility of acquiring Jack Eichel from the Buffalo Sabres but dismissed the notion of swapping Buchnevich for Vladimir Tarasenko. They also have two promising wingers in Kakko and Vitali Kravtsov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Drury is willing to examine all his options with Buchnevich. Moving him now while his value is high could fetch a solid return for the Rangers. The deal would also make room for Kakko and Kravtsov to move up on right wing. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Nate Schmidt comes in at No. 12. The Canucks denied a report claiming the 29-year-old blueliner wanted out of Vancouver, but Seravalli notes his first season with the Canucks didn’t go well.

Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi is No. 15. If not for a season-ending back injury, Seravalli believes there would’ve been plenty of suitors for the 26-year-old. His back surgery in April and his RFA status (with arbitration rights) could scare off possible suitors.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently said the Leafs had an interest in Bertuzzi before his back injury. Perhaps they’ll revisit that option if they lose Zach Hyman to free agency.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Alexander Kerfoot is No. 20. It’s believed the Seattle Kraken could select Kerfoot if he’s left exposed in the expansion draft. Seravalli wonders if the Leafs will try to trade him elsewhere before the expansion draft.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 10, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – July 10, 2021

Check out the latest on Jack Eichel, Duncan Keith, Jakub Voracek, Seth Jones, Tyler Bertuzzi and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST EICHEL SPECULATION

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported several sources denied a story suggesting Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel had backed away from disk replacement surgery and would undergo a fusion instead.

He speculates an Eichel trade could happen after the July 21 expansion draft. Possible destinations could include the Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Minnesota Wild and Vegas Golden Knights, with the Boston Bruins, New York Rangers and perhaps the Los Angeles Kings on the periphery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks, Rangers and Kings have plenty of promising assets and the cap space to swing a deal for Eichel. Whether they’re willing to pay the hefty price in terms of his expensive contract and the return to the Sabres (an equivalent of four first-rounders) is another story. The ongoing uncertainty over his neck injury remains a serious sticking point for every potential suitor.

The Athletic’s Michael Russo reported last month the Wild had preliminary talks with the Sabres. He indicated general manager Bill Guerin could be reluctant to mortgage his club’s future. Guerin also has to get Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala under contract.

Cap space isn’t an issue for the Bruins but their focus is on adding a top-four, left-side defenseman. They’re in talks with pending UFA winger Taylor Hall and could bring back Tuukka Rask and David Krejci on short-term deals for one more run at the Stanley Cup. They also don’t have enough tradeable assets to meet the Sabres’ high asking price.

Absorbing Eichel’s $10 million annual cap hit would be a problem for the Flames and Golden Knights. Like the Bruins, they lack sufficient depth in promising assets to outbid the others on Friedman’s list.

I’m not saying Eichel won’t be traded or won’t end up on one of those teams. I’m merely pointing out that it’s going to take considerable work to pull it off, especially if the Sabres are reluctant to lower their asking price or absorb a portion of his salary.

KEITH TRADE BETWEEN BLACKHAWKS AND OILERS FALLING APART?

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (NHL Images).

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Chicago Blackhawks and Edmonton Oilers are reaching a point of “Does it happen or not” regarding a Duncan Keith trade. The Oilers have rejected most of what the Blackhawks sought in return, which may have include Ethan Bear and/or Ryan McLeod.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli said the Blackhawks don’t want to retain any portion of Keith’s $5.53 million annual cap hit. The Oilers’ interest has waned and they’ve pulled back on the assets they were willing to send to Chicago in return. Seravalli believes Caleb Jones was part of it. He also said the Oilers have tabled a “take it or leave it” offer and there’s only a certain price they’ll pay if the Blackhawks won’t retain salary.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like Oilers general manager Ken Holland is taking a firm approach here. He’s under no pressure to acquire Keith. The Oilers could use a second-pairing left-side defenseman but they can find more affordable options if the Hawks won’t retain salary. There’s also no indication the Hawks will take on someone like James Neal or Mikko Koskinen for the purpose of buying them out. If the Blackhawks won’t bend, this deal falls apart.

MORE NOTABLE RUMORS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST 31 THOUGHTS

The Philadelphia Flyers and Jakub Voracek have discussed that it might be time for a change. The 31-year-old winger was told he’ll be left unprotected in the upcoming expansion draft.

If the Seattle Kraken doesn’t select him, the Flyers will look elsewhere. Voracek has three years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $8.25 million. There’s also a chance they can’t move him via trade and he stays put.

Friedman also reported the Seth Jones-to-Philadelphia trade discussions are off for now. They can’t get the commitment they want from the Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Voracek’s still an effective top-six winger. He lacks no-trade protection but his cap hit will dampen his trade value unless the Flyers pick up part of it or take back an equivalent salary. Perhaps a three-team deal can be made involving draft picks to spread that cap hit around.

If Jones is unwilling to sign an extension with an acquiring team it could kill his value in the trade market. Teams are definitely interested but they don’t want to part with assets on a player who could depart next summer as a free agent.

Friedman wondered if the Carolina Hurricanes will qualify the rights of goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic over concerns of what he might get via arbitration. Same thing with winger Warren Foegele.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Hurricanes don’t qualify their rights they become unrestricted free agents on July 28. They would lose both players to other teams for nothing, though they’d probably try to trade them before then. Nedeljkovic was a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy and would draw considerable attention in the UFA market.

Friedman took note of Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin acknowledging how tough the past year was for him mentally and his intention to honor the final year of his contract. He wondered if Bergevin might move into a President of Hockey Operations role with the Canadiens after next season while Scott Mellanby or Martin Lapointe takes over as GM.

Canadiens center Phillip Danault confirmed turning down a long-term extension prior to this season. Friedman believes the two sides were $500K to $750K per season apart. Bergevin indicated he hopes Danault remains with the team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The statuses of Bergevin and Danault will be the hot topics for the Montreal media in the coming weeks. Danault is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28. It’ll be interesting to see if the Canadiens increase their previous six-year, $30 million offer or if Danault will test the market.

The Toronto Maple Leafs had an interest in Detroit’s Tyler Bertuzzi until the 26-year-old left winger suffered a season-ending injury. Pending UFA winger Zach Hyman probably won’t be back with the Leafs. The Red Wings could be among Hyman’s suitors.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps the Leafs will revisit that interest in Bertuzzi if he’s fully recovered from his back surgery. He is a restricted free agent who exceeded 45 points in consecutive seasons prior to this year. He’ll be costly to the Leafs in terms of salary and return to the Wings if the latter intends to part with him.

Teams are showing interest in Arizona Coyotes center Christian Dvorak. He’s under contract for four more years with an AAV of $4.45 million.

Friedman wouldn’t be surprised if the Los Angeles Kings attempted to land a winger such as Colorado’s Brandon Saad or St. Louis’ Jaden Schwartz.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings were in the market for two top-six wingers in the trade market, preferably in their late-20s with some term left on their contracts. Saad and Schwartz are in the right age group but they’re due to become UFAs by July 28. The Kings might be interested but perhaps on deals for no more than four years.

The Blues could go after Gabriel Landeskog if he hits the open market and they trade Vladimir Tarasenko. Friedman thinks Landeskog will stay with the Colorado Avalanche.

There will be plenty of interest in Tampa Bay Lightning UFA forwards Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 4, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 4, 2021

The latest on the Canadiens and Lightning, updates on contracts talks for Gabriel Landeskog and Kirill Kaprizov, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme said Carey Price will be in goal on Monday evening when they face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 4 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final. The Canadiens are on the verge of elimination in part because Price has struggled in this series.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (NHL Images).

Price acknowledged he had to improve but Ducharme didn’t throw his starter under the bus. “You can talk about one guy but it’s about all of us. We have to be better in front of him,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ducharme’s correct in his assessment of the Canadiens in this series. Yes, Price hasn’t played to the same level as he did in the first three rounds, but his teammates also haven’t performed well. If they don’t turn it around in Game 4, the Lightning will win their second straight championship.

The Lightning have been the better team in this series. They’ve done a masterful job cashing in on Montreal’s mistakes, forcing turnovers, matching the Canadiens’ physical game and shutting down their offensive game.

Even if the Habs manage to win Game 4, they’ll be delaying the inevitable because they cannot match the Lightning’s depth of talent. History is also against them as only one team (the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs) has ever rebounded from a 3-0 series deficit to win the Stanley Cup.

ESPN.COM: The Canadian government did not grant additional exemptions for family members of the Lightning to cross the border and avoid the 14-day quarantine for a possible Stanley Cup celebration in Game 4.

The league and the NHLPA had spoken with the government about this as recently as last week. However, the PA warned the players it was unlikely the request would be approved.

THE ATHLETIC: Peter Baugh reports contract talks between Gabriel Landeskog and the Colorado Avalanche are expected to pick up soon. The 28-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28. Both sides are interested in negotiating a new contract but the salary cap could complicate things.

Contract talks between the Avs and pending UFA goaltender Philipp Grubauer have yet to pick up steam. Preliminary discussions have started between the club and Cale Makar. The restricted free agent blueliner could be targeted for an offer sheet but the Avs are prepared to match any offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I’ve noted before, just because a team could try to sign Makar to an offer sheet doesn’t mean he’ll do so. It’s a waste of time to try if he’s not interested.

NHL.COM: Contract talks between the Minnesota Wild and winger Kirill Kaprizov are expected to resume this week. General manager Bill Guerin remains confident the 2021 Calder Trophy winner wants to continue playing for the Wild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The hangup here is the Wild wants to sign Kaprizov to a long-term deal while the 24-year-old prefers a shorter contract to take him up to the earliest date for his UFA eligibility. A compromise could see Kaprizov ink a four-year deal.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Kevin Allen speculates the Red Wings could have over $27 million in cap space after they’ve signed their restricted free agents. Despite that much cap room, however, they’re not expected to be a major player in the UFA market because top players won’t be attracted to signing with the rebuilding Wings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Allen believes Wings general manager Steve Yzerman could target cap-strapped clubs looking to make cost-cutting trades.

NHL.COM: Prospect Matthew Beniers indicated he’s leaning toward returning to the University of Michigan next season. He and Michigan teammate Owen Power are projected to be the top two prospects in the upcoming 2021 NHL Draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Power has also said he was considering a return to Michigan next season. It’ll be interesting to see if their decisions affect their selection in the draft. Some rebuilding clubs could prefer prospects ready to join their system right away.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks promoted Todd Harvey as their new director of amateur scouting.