NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 23, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 23, 2022

Recaps of Wednesday’s games, the Leafs place Morgan Rielly on LTIR and the Stars’ Jason Robertson is on pace to match a franchise points record. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Buffalo Sabres snapped an eight-game losing skid by thumping the Montreal Canadiens 7-2. They jumped out to an early 3-0 lead within the first 2:13 and finished the night with Jeff Skinner scoring twice and adding three assists, Tage Thompson enjoying a four-point performance while Rasmus Dahlin and Alex Tuch each collected three points. Cole Caufield and Sean Monahan replied for the Canadiens (9-9-1) while the Sabres improve to 8-11-0.

Buffalo Sabres winger Jeff Skinner (NHL Images).

New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider tallied two third-period goals to lead his club to a 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin picked up the win with a 35-save performance to boost his club’s record to 10-6-4. Kevin Fiala had a goal and two assists for the 11-9-2 Kings.

HEADLINES

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs placed defenseman Morgan Rielly on long-term injured reserve after he suffered a knee injury against the New York Islanders on Monday. He’ll be sidelined for at least 10 games and 24 days.

Rielly joins fellow blueliners Jake Muzzin (neck) and T.J. Brodie (strained oblique) on the sidelines. The Leafs have called up Victor Mete and Mac Hollowell.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rielly’s absence is stoking trade speculation that began when Muzzin went down last month. I’ll have more in today’s Rumor Mill update.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Jason Robertson can tie a Stars franchise record for the longest points streak (13) held by Dave Gagner when his club faces off on Wednesday against the Chicago Blackhawks. Robertson, 23, currently sits third among NHL scorers with 14 goals and 29 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Robertson and Dallas goalie Jake Oettinger are two of the brightest young stars in the league right now. The Stars are currently second overall in the Western Conference in part because of those youngsters but they aren’t getting the recognition they deserve. Hopefully, that changes as the season rolls on.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Good news for the Blackhawks as defenseman Seth Jones is returning to the lineup after being sidelined for 10 games with a broken thumb.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The Flyers provided an update on sidelined forwards Scott Laughton, Travis Konecny and Wade Allison. Laughton will miss approximately two weeks with a suspected head injury, Konecny is out 10-14 days with an injured right hand while Allison is out for two-to-three weeks with a hip pointer/strained oblique muscle.

Laughton, Konecny and Allison joined Ryan Ellis, Sean Couturier, James van Riemsdyk, Cam Atkinson and Bobby Brink on the sidelines.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s no wonder the Flyers have struggled in recent weeks.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: The Sharks have called up Aaron Dell as starting goaltender James Reimer is out with a lower-body injury. Forward Nico Sturm is also sidelined as he has an upper-body injury.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins forward Trent Frederic is listed as day-to-day with an apparent shoulder injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 22, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 22, 2022

The Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron tallies his 1,000th career point, the Devils tie a franchise wins record, the Avalanches’ Cale Makar reaches a milestone for defensemen, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron collected an assist for his 1,000th career NHL point in a 5-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Charlie McAvoy, Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci each had two-point performances for the Bruins (17-2-0), who picked up their seventh straight win and sit atop the overall standings with 34 points. Nick Paul scored twice for the Lightning, whose record drops to 11-7-1.

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergeron joins Raymond Bourque, John Bucyk and Phil Esposito as the only Bruins to reach the 1,000-point plateau. The 37-year-old Bruins captain is off to a good start to this season with 18 points in 19 games.

The New Jersey Devils tied a franchise record 13-game winning streak as they defeated the Edmonton Oilers 5-2. Nico Hischier collected three assists while Jack Hughes and Jesper Bratt each collected two points for the 16-3-0 Devils, who sit two points behind the first-place Bruins in the overall standings. Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins replied for the Oilers as they slide to 10-9-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The red-hot Devils are drawing considerable praise for their strong start to this season. However, not everyone thinks they’re going to make the playoffs. Sportsnet’s Keith Yandle is a doubter, citing their goaltending while suggesting they’ll start cooling off following the upcoming US Thanksgiving weekend. It’ll be interesting to see if the Devils can prove him wrong.

Oilers goalie Jack Campbell left the game in the second period after being clipped by the puck near his eye while sitting on the bench as a backup for Stuart Skinner. He left the bench and didn’t return. Head coach Jay Woodcroft had no update on Campbell’s condition following the game but Skinner told reporters Campbell had a bloody nose but was joking around and was otherwise okay.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar became the fastest blueliner in NHL history to reach the 200-point plateau in a 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars. Makar opened the scoring to achieve the milestone in 195 career games. Meanwhile, Miko Rantanen scored the only goal in the shootout as the Avalanche improved to 11-5-1. Jason Robertson scored both goals for the 11-5-3 Stars.

Three unanswered goals by William Carrier, Reilly Smith and Alex Pietrangelo lifted the Vegas Golden Knights to a 5-4 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Pietrangelo finished the night with three points while Carrier tallied two goals as the Golden Knights remain atop the Western Conference with a record of 15-4-1. Quinn Hughes and Andrei Kuzmenko each had two points for the struggling Canucks as they drop to 6-10-3.

The St. Louis Blues picked up their seventh straight win by downing the Anaheim Ducks 3-1. Noel Acciari scored twice while Justin Faulk netted the winning goal in the third period. The surging Blues are now at 10-8-0 on the season while the Ducks are at 5-13-1. Colton Parayko returned to the Blues lineup after missing three games with an upper-body injury.

An overtime goal by Anthony Beauvillier lifted the New York Islanders over the Toronto Maple Leafs by a score of 3-2. Josh Bailey scored the only goal in the third period, setting the stage for Beauvillier’s game-winner for the Islanders (12-8-0). John Tavares and Auston Matthews replied for the 10-5-5 Leafs, who also lost defenseman Morgan Rielly to an apparent knee injury in the third period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs went into this game with defensemen Jake Muzzin and T.J. Brodie sidelined by injuries. No word yet on how long Rielly could be out. He will undergo imaging on the knee today.

The Nashville Predators nipped the Arizona Coyotes 4-3 on a shootout goal by Cody Glass. Roman Josi and Mikael Granlund each had a goal and an assist for the Predators (9-8-2)while Nick Bjugstad scored twice for the Coyotes as they fall to 6-9-3. Earlier in the day, the Coyotes announced winger Zack Kassian was moved to injured reserve retroactive to Oct. 30.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun made his much-anticipated season debut after being sidelined for weeks by offseason wrist surgery. The subject of considerable trade speculation stretching back to last season, Chychrun was held scoreless and took a minor penalty, finishing with a plus-minus of minus-1. He was credited with four hits, two shots on goal and two blocked shots while logging 23:04 of ice time.

Calgary Flames winger Blake Coleman commemorated his 400th career NHL game with a goal and two assists in a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Jacob Markstrom made 23 saves for the Flames as they improved their record to 9-7-2 while the slumping Flyers drop to 7-8-4.

The Winnipeg Jets blew a 3-0 lead over the Carolina Hurricanes late in the third period before going on to a 4-3 win as Josh Morrissey scored in overtime. Morrissey finished the night with two goals while Pierre-Luc Dubois had a goal and two assists as the Jets rise to 11-5-1. Jaccob Slavin, Andrei Svechnikov and Martin Necas scored in the final minutes of the third as the 10-5-4 Hurricanes pulled goalie Pyotr Kochetkov to go with six attackers.

San Jose Sharks goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen made 37 saves and Luke Kunin collected three assists in a 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Timo Meier tallied what proved to be the game-winner for the Sharks (7-11-3). Tim Stutzle replied for the 6-11-1 Senators.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, St. Louis Blues winger Pavel Buchnevich and Seattle Kraken goaltender Martin Jones are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Nov. 20, 2022.

ESPN.COM: Rookie center Matty Beniers is having a positive effect on the Kraken’s performance in their second NHL season. The 20-year-old’s 11 points have him tied with the Coyotes’ Matias Maccelli for the lead among this season’s rookie scorers. He’s also drawn praise from his teammates for his maturity and sociable personality.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Canadiens players are pushing back against some criticisms leveled at the club by former equipment manager Pierre Gervais in his recently-released biography. Gervais claimed former head coach Dominique Ducharme lost the room due to questionable decision-making while former general manager Marc Bergevin’s maturity issues lost him some respect among the players.

Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki and alternate captain Brendan Gallagher expressed their admiration for Gervais but disputed his criticisms of Ducharme and Bergevin.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 30, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 30, 2021

Jets GM Cheveldayoff won’t be disciplined by the league regarding the Blackhawks scandal, NHLPA director Fehr faces criticism related to the scandal, the Leafs sign Rielly to a contract extension, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL WON’T DISCIPLINE CHEVELDAYOFF, NHLPA DIRECTOR FEHR UNDER FIRE

NHL.COM: The league announced yesterday it will not impose discipline on Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff regarding improper decisions made by the Chicago Blackhawks organization regarding sexual assault allegations against former video coach Bradley Aldrich in 2010. Cheveldayoff was the Blackhawks assistant GM during that time. The decision came following Cheveldayoff’s meeting on Friday with league commissioner Gary Bettman in New York. 

Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff (NHL.com).

Bettman released a statement pointing out Cheveldayoff was not a member of the Blackhawks senior management in 2010 and thus couldn’t assign responsibility upon him for the club’s handling of the matter. The commissioner indicated Cheveldayoff’s degree of involvement was limited to one meeting and found he was “extremely forthcoming and credible in our discussion.”

The statement went on to note Cheveldayoff’s role within the organization at the time left him without authority to make appropriate organizational decisions on the matter. “In short, Cheveldayoff was not a participant in either the formulation or execution of the club’s response”.

TSN: Cheveldayoff released a statement following the meeting through the Jets’ website. He expressed his support and empathy for Kyle Beach (the victim of Aldrich’s alleged assaults) and praised his courage. He also thanked the league for allowing him the opportunity to meet with Bettman and provide his side of the story.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cheveldayoff may have been cleared by the league but he still faces scrutiny from Winnipeg pundits and fans. Sportsnet’s Ken Wiebe and the Winnipeg Sun’s Scott Stinson believe the Jets GM owes Beach an apology, something that was absent from his statement. The Sun’s Scott Billeck and Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press believe Cheveldayoff owes an explanation to fans and media.

TSN: NHLPA director Donald Fehr is facing criticism after Kyle Beach revealed a lack of support from the association when he and his agent, Ross Gurney, informed them of the details of his alleged assault by Aldrich.

Gurney said he spoke to Fehr directly in 2011 about his concerns regarding Aldrich, who was working with USA Hockey at that time. “My purpose in calling the PA was to get a warning to USA Hockey,” he said. “That is what I was directed to do by Kyle”. He said Fehr told him he knew people at USA Hockey and the PA would look into the matter and offer support.

Beach was referred to Dr. Brian Shaw, a psychologist and program director within the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program. He said Shaw told him the PA would handle it but never heard from them again.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reports Fehr is facing waning support among PA staff and is under fire externally following the results from the independent investigation and Beach’s interview on Wednesday. Seravalli pointed out the player-led Executive Board has the authority to oust Fehr as PA director. He said it’s unclear if the 32 members will move to conduct an inquiry or pressure Fehr into resigning.

ESPN.COM: The Chicago Blackhawks sent a request to the Hockey Hall of Fame to have Aldrich’s name removed from the Stanley Cup. The Hall issued a statement saying HHOF chairman Lanny McDonald, league commissioner Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly are on board with the request. Discussions are underway with the Stanley Cup trustees to make this happen.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers extended their season-opening win streak to eight games with a 3-2 overtime victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Aleksander Barkov scored twice, including the game-winner. The Panthers had a 2-0 lead but the Wings rallied on goals by Sam Gagner and Pius Suter.

The Carolina Hurricanes set a franchise record with a season-opening seventh straight win by dropping the Chicago Blackhawks 6-3. Tony DeAngelo had a goal and two assists for the Hurricanes. Blackhawks forward Tyler Johnson left the game after being crosschecked by Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 739th career goal to lead his club over the Arizona Coyotes 2-0. Ilya Samsonov made 16 saves for the shutout while John Carlson scored the game-winning goal. Ovechkin extended his points streak to eight games as his club remains unbeaten (5-0-3) in regulation. He’s now just two goals behind Brett Hull for fourth place on the all-time goal leader list.

The Vegas Golden Knights blew a 4-1 lead but went on to defeat the Anaheim Ducks 5-4 on a shootout goal by Evgenii Dadonov. Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf collected an assist to tie Teemu Selanne as the franchise’s leading scorer with 988 points. The Ducks also placed winger Rickard Rakell on injured reserve with a shoulder injury suffered during Thursday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres.

A 31-save shutout by Igor Shesterkin carried the New York Rangers over the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-0. Chris Kreider scored two power-play goals while Artemi Panarin and Adam Fox each had three assists.

The Ottawa Senators snapped a three-game losing skid by dropping the Dallas Stars 4-1. Josh Norris tallied twice, Brady Tkachuk netted his first goal of the season and Filip Gustavsson kicked out 38 shots for the win.

IN OTHER NEWS…

TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs signed defenseman Morgan Rielly to an eight-year, $60 million contract. The annual average value is $7.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The good news is the Leafs have their best defenseman under a new long-term deal at a cap hit lower than what he would’ve received on the open market next summer. Given the big contracts signed this summer by other notable blueliners, speculation suggested it would cost the Leafs around $8.5 million to keep him in the fold. Rielly left some money on the table to stay in Toronto.

The bad news is Cap Friendly shows the Leafs have over $53.63 million invested in just six players (Rielly, Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner, William Nylander and Jake Muzzin) for 2022-23. With $75.3 million committed to 15 players next season, Leafs management faces another summer of salary-cap gymnastics to remain cap compliant.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes will be sidelined for five weeks with a dislocated shoulder.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild placed forward Jordan Greenway on IR with a lower-body injury.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Steve Carlson, who played one of the Hanson Brothers in the movie “Slap Shot”, has been diagnosed with a form of cancer known as Stage IV metastatic squamous cell carcinoma. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help him with living costs while he undergoes radiation therapy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Carlson. Follow this link if you’d like to contribute to this fundraiser.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 10, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 10, 2021

An early look at this season’s pending unrestricted free agents, Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello is working the phones and the Canucks are shopping Olli Juolevi. Check it out in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun recently looked at which of this season’s high-profile unrestricted free agents could sign contract extensions within the next month or two. He wouldn’t be surprised Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg is signed by midseason though there’s work to be done. The Boston Bruins signing Patrice Bergeron is a no-brainer if the 36-year-old center wants to return for another season.

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron (NHL Images).

There haven’t been any real contract discussions between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Evgeni Malkin as he focuses on recovering from offseason knee surgery. LeBrun expects those talks could begin later in the season. He also believes the Penguins want to avoid lengthy deals they could regret for Malkin and defenseman Kris Letang. The latter could be willing to see how the season plays out.

LeBrun believes the San Jose Sharks haven’t given up hope of signing Tomas Hertl but thinks the 27-year-old center is unlikely to do so. He could become a big name potentially available at the March 21 trade deadline.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have had preliminary talks with Morgan Rielly and lines of communication remain open. This could be decided in June depending on the Leafs freeing up sufficient cap space to sign him or Rielly going to market because they can’t afford him. LeBrun expects he’ll be in the $8 million per season club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I concur with LeBrun’s take on all but Klingberg. He’s in the final season of a seven-year deal worth an annual average value of $4.25 million and could seek something comparable to Dougie Hamilton’s $9 million AAV with the New Jersey Devils.

As The Dallas Morning News’ Matthew DeFranks observed, the Stars already have $8.45 million annually invested in Miro Heiskanen, $5.8 million annually in Esa Lindell and $3.65 million in Ryan Suter. Assuming Klingberg accepts something in the $8 million range, the Stars will have one of the NHL’s most expensive bluelines.

Unless the Stars shed salary or decide not to re-sign other pending UFAs like Joe Pavelski and Alexander Radulov, they could be unwilling to ink Klingberg to an expensive long-term extension.

THE ATHLETIC’s Arthur Staple reports New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said general manager Lou Lamoriello isn’t quite finished assembling the roster. He may be looking to trade some of their extra players. NEWSDAY’s Andrew Gross reports Trotz said the Isles GM is still working the phones.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those “extra guys” likely include defenseman Thomas Hickey and winger Richard Panik as they were placed on waivers yesterday. If they clear, Lamoriello could attempt to peddle them elsewhere.

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston confirms a report in The Athletic that the Vancouver Canucks are shopping defenseman Olli Juolevi. The former 2016 first-round pick has tumbled down the Canucks blueline depth chart.

If they can’t find a trade and they decide to send Juolevi to their AHL affiliate, he’ll have to be placed on waivers today. Given his pedigree, Johnston anticipated he’d be claimed by another club.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 7, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – October 7, 2021

Are the Buffalo Sabres finally closing in on a Jack Eichel trade? What’s the latest on Evander Kane, Tomas Hertl, Nick Suzuki and Morgan Rielly? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST EICHEL SPECULATION

TSN: Darren Dreger reports there could finally be some progress on the Jack Eichel front. Sources told him ongoing discussions between Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams and clubs interested in acquiring the 24-year-old center have become more serious in recent days.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Much of that is due to those teams having access to Eichel’s medical records specific to the impasse between the center and the Sabres regarding treatment for a herniated disc in his neck. Speculation suggests one of the interested clubs is a West Coast team like the Los Angeles Kings or Anaheim Ducks though sources from those teams are downplaying their interest. Turning to Eastern clubs, New York Rangers sources say they’re not among them.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported in his latest “32 Thoughts” column there’s a real push to reach a solution because Eichel’s displaced disc can’t be allowed to just sit on the nerve. It’s difficult to determine if he’ll be traded first or gets surgery, returns to health and plays some games for the Sabres to regain his trade value. There’s a growing belief there are clubs willing to allow Eichel to undergo disc replacement surgery but they have to be able to make a trade first.

Appearing Monday on the Jeff Marek Show, Friedman said the Calgary Flames were among the teams that “really tried” to acquire Eichel this summer. He also indicated not once did anyone say to him that Eichel wouldn’t go to Calgary. He also didn’t think the Sabres could swing a deal with the Vegas Golden Knights because the latter didn’t want to part with promising center Peyton Krebs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The biggest sticking point could be whether those teams interested in Eichel want to acquire him first and then allow him to have the disc replacement procedure done. The other will be the Sabres’ asking price. If it remains high, teams will be reluctant to take that chance.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”

Regarding the investigation into whether Evander Kane used a fake COVID-19 vaccination card, Friedman isn’t sure where this is going to go. However, he isn’t under the impression that transgression could jeopardize the winger’s contract with the San Jose Sharks if proven true.

Speaking of the Sharks, Friedman feels Tomas Hertl could fetch the best return if they decide to bring in new blood.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It will be interesting to see how things play out for Kane if that investigation into his COVID card (or the one into allegations of spousal abuse) turns out to be true. For now, the club is reportedly planning to start the season without him while the investigations continue.

As for Hertl, his future in San Jose depends on the Sharks’ performance this season. He’s hinted at a willingness to entertain a hometown discount but he also wants to play for a winner. If the Sharks are out of contention by the March trade deadline, Hertl could be playing elsewhere by then.

Friedman predicts the Montreal Canadiens could attempt to sign center Nick Suzuki to a contract extension sooner rather than later to avoid any more offer-sheet shenanigans.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That depends on whether Suzuki and his agent are willing to sign a new contract before next summer. He’ll be coming off his entry-level contract and lacks arbitration rights. The possibility of an offer sheet would give Suzuki some leverage he otherwise wouldn’t have.

The Toronto Maple Leafs could let the season play out before making a decision on Morgan Rielly. It’s not just about how much it’ll cost to sign him but what else they need to do cap-wise if they sign him. His performance, and theirs, could determine the outcome here. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Even if the Leafs and Rielly play well, re-signing him is still going to force them to shed some salary. Cap Friendly shows them with $67.7 million invested in 14 players for 2022-23.

Assuming Rielly accepts a modest raise in his annual average value to $6 million to stay in Toronto, the Leafs won’t have sufficient space to re-sign fellow UFA Jack Campbell, RFA defenseman Rasmus Sandin and still fill out the rest of the roster with quality talent.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 5, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – October 5, 2021

The latest on Brady Tkachuk’s contract talks with the Senators and some speculation about Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly’s next contract in today’s NHL rumor mill.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports all eyes are on Ottawa Senators winger Brady Tkachuk after Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes re-signed with the Vancouver Canucks over the weekend. Tkachuk is the sole notable restricted free agent.

Ottawa Senators winger Brady Tkachuk (NHL Images).

Senators general manager Pierre Dorion remains in constant contact with Tkachuk’s agents and both sides hope to get this resolved as soon as possible. It’s believed the Senators have pitched an eight-year deal worth an annual average value of $8 million. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported Friday the Tkachuk camp seeks north of $8.4 million.

No one knows what effect Pettersson’s three-year bridge contract with the Canucks will have on Tkachuk’s negotiations. St. Louis broadcaster Andy Strickland said the Senators prefer a seven- or eight-year deal while Tkachuk seeks a bridge deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Tkachuk signs for three seasons, he’ll become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights and can seek a much higher annual average value. It’ll also bring him within one year of eligibility for unrestricted free agency.

The Senators obviously want to avoid that scenario. For now, there’s no indication the two sides are getting closer to an agreement though that could change quickly with the start of the season fast approaching.

TSN: Darren Dreger talked about Morgan Rielly’s contract situation with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The 27-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Asked what a hometown discount would be for Rielly, Dreger speculates it would be north of $8 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With several notable defensemen inking big-money contracts this summer, Rielly is going to seek a comparable deal. A hometown discount would be at least $8 million annually.

The Leafs have over $67 million invested in 14 players for 2022-23. Even if Rielly accepted $7 million annually, it would still take a big chunk out of their cap payroll with goalie Jack Campbell also slated to become a UFA and defenseman Rasmus Sandin a restricted free agent. In other words, unless the Leafs shed salary they’re going to have a difficult time keeping Rielly beyond this season.