NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 27, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 27, 2018

Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2018 revealed, latest notable contract signings and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Goaltender Martin Brodeur, forward Martin O’Ree, right wing Willie O’Ree. Russian forward Alexander Yakushev, women’s hockey forward Jayna Hefford and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman were selected for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame. 

Goaltending great Martin Brodeur is among the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018 (Photo via NHL.com)

Brodeur holds several NHL goaltending records, including most victories and shutouts, and won three Stanley Cups with the New Jersey Devils. St. Louis is a two-time winner of the Art Ross Trophy and won a Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

O’Ree was the first black player in NHL history and became an inspiration for many aspiring black players. Yakushev was a high-scoring forward known to North American hockey fans for his play with the Soviet Union all-stars in the 1972 Summit Series. Hefford won four Olympic gold medals for Canada in women’s hockey.

Under Bettman’s watch, the NHL has broaden in popularity and become a more global sport. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the class of 2018. No surprise to me that Brodeur and St. Louis were inducted this year. The elections of O’Ree and Yakushev were long overdue, especially for the trailblazing O’Ree, who also had a long and productive career at the minor league level. Hefford was a pioneer of women’s hockey and a key reason behind Canada’s success in international competition.

Bettman has significantly contributed to improving the NHL product, expanding its popularity and increasing its revenues. However, his constant labor battles with the NHLPA (including three lockouts) and his reluctance to acknowledge the link between head trauma and CTE tarnish his legacy. Former players Nick Boynton and Dan Carcillo, who are suing the league for what they claim was its failure to warn them of the long-term effects of head trauma, weren’t pleased with Bettman’s induction into the Hall. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning re-signed forward J.T. Miller to a five-year contract worth $26.25 million. The annual average value is $5.25 million and the deal also includes a modified no-trade clause that kicks in next July 1. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller’s production has steadily increased over the past three years, rising from 43 and 56 points in 2015-16 and 2016-17 to a career-high 58 points split between the Lightning and New York Rangers this season. This deal locks up the 25-year-old through his playing prime. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed winger Bryan Rust to a four-year, $14-million contract. The 26-year-old’s new contract counts as $3.5 million per season against the salary cap. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The length of this deal raised a few eyebrows, as Rust was considered among the Penguins’ potential trade candidates following their second-round playoff elimination by the Washington Capitals. This signing leaves the Penguins with about $4.25-million in cap space.

OTTAWA CITIZEN: The Senators yesterday placed forward Alex Burrows on unconditional waivers for the purpose of buying out the final year of his contract. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Because Burrows was over 35 when he signed this contract, the Senators won’t receive any cap relief from this buyout. 

TSN: The Vancouver Canucks re-signed defenseman Derrick Pouliot to a one-year, $1.1-million contract 

TVA SPORTS’ Renaud Lavoie reports the Winnipeg Jets re-signed defenseman Joe Morrow to a one-year, $1 million contract. 

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild have hired Tom Kurvers as assistant general manager. 

LOS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights are suing StubHub “alleging the resale ticketing site owes the team almost $1.5 million in playoff ticket sales profits.”


NHL Rumor Mill – June 20, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – June 20, 2018

Latest on Erik Karlsson, Artemi Panarin, Phil Kessel and Wayne Simmonds in your NHL rumor mill. 


FRS HOCKEY: Chris Nichols cites Bob McKenzie yesterday telling Vancouver’s TSN 1040 he thinks the Ottawa Senators are going to trade defenseman Erik Karlsson. He believes they’ve got to get the right offer and while they don’t have to get it done by the upcoming NHL Draft, it would make sense if Karlsson could be moved by then.

McKenzie thinks they’re listening to offers because it could be difficult to get the superstar defenseman re-signed to a contract extension. Karlsson has a year remaining on his contract. Noting the Mike Hoffman trade, McKenzie thinks the Senators will continue to rebuild.

TSN: McKenzie’s colleague Frank Seravalli also believes the Senators are getting plenty of calls about Karlsson. He feels the Vegas Golden Knights “remains at the centre of the Karlsson Watch, as they attempted to acquire the blueliner leading up to last February’s trade deadline.

The Golden Knights have the salary-cap room and sufficient bargaining chips to make this happen, especially if the Senators insist on adding winger Bobby Ryan into the deal. It’s believed the Senators sought defenseman Shea Theodore when Vegas made their inquiries at the trade deadline, but the sticking point was the Sens asking for the Golden Knights to include top prospect Cody Glass in the deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I really can’t envision a scenario where Karlsson agrees to a long-term deal with the Senators, as there’s growing speculation they intend to blow things up and shed salary to get closer to the salary-cap floor, which could be as high as $60 million for 2018-19. I don’t think Karlsson wants to be part of a lengthy rebuild at this stage in his career.

Whether it’s Vegas or somewhere else, I think he prefers joining a contender. The Sens will set a high asking price for him, which will limit the number of clubs that could land him. 

Could Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin hit the trade block for the second straight summer? (Photo via NHL Images)


THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: George Richards cites a report by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman claiming Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin has declined to engage in contract extension talks with the team “at this time,” prompting GM Jarmo Kekalainen to perhaps test the trade market heading as the NHL Draft weekend approaches. The winger tallied a career-high 82 points last season, his first with the Jackets following a trade from Chicago last year.

Richards said Kekalainen isn’t shopping Panarin, perhaps because he’s waiting to see what the market will bear for this summer’s top unrestricted free agents. Panarin is entering the second year of a two-year deal worth $6 million annually. His agent said this was not a proper time to discuss this situation.

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports Panarin has told Blue Jackets management he prefers to wait until the fall to talk contract, though his reasons are unclear. Portzline speculations perhaps the winger wants to see what moves Kekalainen makes this summer to improve the roster, or maybe he’s waiting to see if they’ll re-sign goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to a contract extension, but his agent denies those are factors behind his client’s decision.

Portzline doubts the Jackets will get fair value for a player that other clubs aren’t sure they can keep unless they can get assurances he’ll re-sign with them. The longer he’s with the Jackets the more the list of trade destinations will shrink.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a very interesting situation for Kekalainen. If he’s got no assurances he can re-sign Panarin, and if he get a fair offer for the winger, he might not have to pull the trigger on a trade. The key here is if the Panarin camp are willing to listen to contract offers from interested clubs. If they’re not, it will certainly affect the return for the Jackets. 


THE ATHLETIC: Josh Yohe reports multiple sources claim Pittsburgh Penguins winger Phil Kessel, while perfectly willing to stay with the club, wouldn’t be opposed to a trade. His preferred destination is the Arizona Coyotes, where he’d be reunited with Coyotes head coach (and former Penguins assistant coach) Rick Tocchet. However, the Coyotes have informed the Penguins they cannot afford to take on his contract. Kessel has four years remaining on his deal, which sees the Penguins pay an annual average value of $6.8 million, with his former club, the Toronto Maple Leafs, picking up the remaining $1.2 million annually.

Yohe also reports the Penguins had interest in winger Max Domi before the Coyotes dealt him last Friday to the Montreal Canadiens. It’s believed they offered up Bryan Rust, Conor Sheary or Dominik Simon.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Jason Mackey believes the signs are there for Penguins GM Jim Rutherford to swing a trade, noting it’s around this time of year when he’s made some of his most notable moves. He feels Matt Hunwick, Conor Sheary and Carl Hagelin are the most likely to be dealt. Kessel and Derick Brassard remains options but not the likely ones.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I often doubted Kessel accepting a trade to a non-contender like the Coyotes, but it’s interesting to note that he would’ve accepted going to Arizona to be reunited with Tocchet. He had a very good relationship with the former Penguins assistant coach.

I’m not fully dismissing the possibility of a Kessel trade, but his cap hit and modified no-trade list makes it difficult to find a suitable trade partner. Given Rutherford’s interest in Domi, it’s apparent he’s looking to swing a deal to bring some balance to his roster. Sheary, Rust or Hagelin could be the likely trade chips. 


THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo reports multiple sources tell him the Philadelphia Flyers are gearing up to potentially trade winger Wayne Simmonds. He’s a year away from UFA status and Russo included him among a list of possible trade options for the Minnesota Wild. 

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: John Boruk reports Flyers GM Ron Hextall recently said he intended to open preliminary contract talks with Simmonds at some point. Hextall added he’s confident the rugged winger will bounce back from recent surgery to repair a tear in his pelvis area. Simmonds also has a 12-team no-trade list. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Simmonds turns 30 in August and earns an annual salary-cap hit of $3.975 million, though in actual salary he’ll earn $5 million for 2018-19. The Flyers could be reluctant to pay him an expensive long-term extension, but he is a heart-and-soul player who’s very popular with his teammates and Flyers fans. This situation could be worth keeping an eye on this summer. 


NHL Rumor Mill – May 10, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – May 10, 2018

Latest on the Pittsburgh Penguins and Edmonton Oilers in your NHL rumor mill.


PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE/PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE REVIEW: Jason Mackey and Jonathan Bombulie report Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford believes his club still has to nucleus to win another Stanley Cup. However, he’s open to making some roster changes. “I can’t give you a definite answer on who that’s going to be right now and exactly the positions, but we’re a good team, and we will be a good team going forward.”

Rutherford intends to have promising winger Daniel Sprong in the lineup next season. With young forwards  Zach Aston-Reese and Dominik Simon having cracked the roster this season, Bombulie feels they have a surplus of wingers. He speculated Rutherford could draw from that depth to perhaps bolster the Penguins defense.

Could the Pittsburgh Penguins shop Carl Hagelin for a defenseman this summer? (Photo via NHL Images)

Mackey proposed possibly shopping winger Carl Hagelin, who’s a year away from unrestricted free agency. “He could trade Kris Letang or Phil Kessel, though neither of those options seem terribly likely at the moment, especially not the first one.” Mackey also suggested little-used defenseman Matt Hunwick could be moved, while young goaltender Tristan Jarry could interest clubs seeking depth between the pipes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the Penguins have over $70 million invested in 17 players next season. Riley Sheahan, Bryan Rust, Tom Kuhnhackel, Dominik Simon and Jamie Oleksiak are restricted free agents with arbitration rights while Chad Ruhwedel is their sole unrestricted free agent. Should the salary cap reach $80 million they have sufficient space to perhaps re-sign all of those players, but not enough to add via free agency or trade without shedding salary first.

A trade or buyout of Hunwick appears certain. Hagelin, who turns 30 in August, has a $4-million salary-cap hit and could prove difficult to move unless the Pens absorb part of his annual average salary. They could try to move Brassard, who also has a year left on his deal ($3 million cap hit) but I think Rutherford might prefer retaining him for next season in hopes he improves. They aren’t trading Letang and I’ll be very surprised if they ship out Kessel. If they peddle a winger it could be someone like Rust or Kuhnhackel. 


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson believes the odds are high that the Edmonton Oilers trade their first-round pick (10th overall) in the 2018 NHL Draft. He feels whatever defenseman is available at that spot is two or three years away from reaching the NHL and the Oilers don’t want to risk wasting any more of captain Connor McDavid’s prime years. Matheson notes the Oilers need “immediate offensive punch for a defence that had 29 goals last year.” He rules out pursuing Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson as the cost would be too high.

Matheson feels they’ll move the pick for a right-shot rearguard. “Do they trade the 10th overall pick for a young offensive defenceman on the cusp of being an NHL regular, package the 10th and a young player for someone better or try for a straight-up swap with winger Jesse Puljujarvi, the most marketable target, or left-shot defenceman Oscar Klefbom because they’ve got too many lefties on the blue-line in Darnell Nurse, Andrej Sekera and Kris Russell?”

Matheson’s proposed trade targets include Carolina’s Justin Faulk, St. Louis Colton Parayko (acknowledging he could be a pipe dream), Colorado’s Tyson Barrie, Vegas’ Colin Miller or Anaheim’s Brandon Montour (a long shot). 


SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect the Oilers will trade that pick for a right-shot defenseman, likely packaged with a good young prospect or player. Given the Hurricanes blueline depth and recent management changes, they could be the most likely trade target, though I think their preference is swapping a d-man for a scoring center. I’ll be very surprised if the Blues move Parayko or the Avs part with Barrie. I don’t see Montour going anywhere.

Vegas lacks a first-round pick in this year’s draft. Given their stunning success this season, the emergence of William Karlsson, Alex Tuch and Shea Theodore and their plethora of extra picks in this year’s draft and the next two, maybe they’re not keen to part with Miller. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 16, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 16, 2017

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Phil Kessel celebrates his goal against the Ottawa Senators with teammates Evgeni Malkin and Chris Kunitz in Game 2 of the 2017 Eastern Conference Final.

Penguins tie conference final with Senators plus updates on the Ducks, Predators and Capitals in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Phil Kessel scored the only goal and Marc-Andre Fleury turned in a 23-save shutout performance as the Pittsburgh Penguins edged the Ottawa Senators 1-0 in Game 2 of the 2017 Eastern Conference Final. The series is tied at one game apiece.

Earlier in the game, Kessel raise eyebrows by arguing on the Penguins’ bench with Evgeni Malkin, though Pens coach Mike Sullivan had no problem with the duo airing their differences. Malkin later picked up an assist on Kessel’s goal.

It was a costly victory for the Penguins. Forward Patric Hornqvist was scratched before the game. Winger Bryan Rust left in the first period after he was on the receiving end of a big open-ice hit by Senators defenseman Dion Phaneuf. Defenseman Justin Schultz also left with an apparent right-shoulder injury after being knocked into the boards. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The first period was another dull, plodding affair but the pace picked up at times in the second and third periods. Despite the injuries the Penguins improved as the game went on. While Kessel’s on-bench squabble with Malkin attracted lots of attention, the bigger news could be the potential long-term loss of Rust and Schultz. The Penguins were a banged-up bunch before Game 2. Losing two more experienced players could prove costly as this series progresses. 

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks rookie forward Ondrej Kase is showing growth as a player in this postseason. 

THE TENNESSEAN: Section 303 of Bridgestone Arena, aka Cellblock 303, contains some of the Nashville Predators’ loudest and proudest fans. 

THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan has delayed his annual season-ending press conference while he conducts a thorough evaluation of the club, including the coaching staff. 

CSN MID-ATLANTIC: Capitals assistant coach Todd Reirden will reportedly be interviewed for the head-coaching job with the Florida Panthers. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 14, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 14, 2017

Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith is congratulated by backup Louis Domingue after a 5-0 shutout of the Calgary Flames.

Game recaps, stars of the week, injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Mike Smith made 36 saves and Christian Dvorak scored twice and set up another as the Arizona Coyotes blanked the Calgary Flames 5-0. It’s Smith’s 21st shutout with the Coyotes, tying the franchise record shared by Nikolai Khabibulin and Ilya Bryzgalov. 

Jimmy Vesey’s third-period goal gave the New York Rangers a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets, extending their winning streak to six games. Rangers forward Kevin Hayes collected a goal and an assist in the win. 

Minnesota Wild right wing Jason Pominville, St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen and Nashville Predators left wing Viktor Arvidsson are the NHL stars for the week ending Feb. 12, 2017

DETROIT FREE PRESS:  Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist has waived an in-person hearing with the NHL’s department of player safety and will instead have a phone interview Wednesday regarding his slash on Sunday to the face of Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon. 

ESPN.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins forward Bryan Rust (upper-body injury) could be sidelined longer than expected. He was sidelined during last Thursday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche. Meanwhile, center Evgeni Malkin could return to action as early as tonight’s game against the Vancouver Canucks. 

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Toby Enstrom could miss at least one game with a lower-body injury. 

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild placed forward Tyler Graovac on waivers. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 6, 2016

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 6, 2016

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Bryan Rust scores one of his three goals against the Ottawa Senators.

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Bryan Rust scores one of his three goals against the Ottawa Senators.

Game recaps, stars of the week, injury updates & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Bryan Rust netted his first career NHL hat trick as the Pittsburgh Penguins overcame a 4-2 deficit and a goalie change (Matt Murray in for a struggling Marc-Andre Fleury) to defeat the Ottawa Senators 8-5.

Sidney Crosby scored his league-leading 17th goal while Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel each tallied a goal and two assists for the Penguins. Senators winger Mark Stone also had a goal and two assists, while Sens goalie Craig Anderson face 43 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not exactly a defensive battle in this one as the Penguins and Senators gave us an entertaining flashback to ’80s style hockey. 

Sam Gagner’s two-goal, two-assist performance carried the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gagner’s already exceeded last season’s career-low 16-point effort, with 10 goals and 17 points in 23 games. He’s on pace for a 60-point performance, which would be a career high. While it remains to be seen if he’ll hit that total, there’s no question he’s rejuvenated his career with the Blue Jackets. 

Marcus Johansson scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Washington Capitals edged the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin took his team-leading 11th minor penalty of the season, which didn’t sit well with head coach Barry Trotz. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After being among the league’s dominant teams last season and considered among this season’s favorites to win the Stanley Cup, the Capitals have struggled through the opening quarter of this schedule. Ovechkin’s undisciplined play appears to reflect those difficulties. 

David Pastrnak’s overtime goal lifted the Boston Bruins to a 4-3 victory over the Florida Panthers. 

Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Steve Mason, St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko and San Jose Sharks goalie Martin Jones are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending December 4

Montreal Canadiens center Alex Galchenyuk is sidelined indefinitely with a leg injury. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s going to hurt the Canadiens offense. He’s their leading scorer this season. 

CSNNE.COM: Boston Bruins winger Matt Beleskey will miss six weeks with a right-knee injury. 

PHILLY.COM: An upper-body injury will sidelined Philadelphia Flyers winger Matt Read for four weeks. 

TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs have placed goaltender Jhonas Enroth on waivers, prompting speculation he could be replaced by free-agent netminder Karri Ramo. 

THE DENVER POST: The cause of death of former Colorado Avalanche forward Marek Svatos on Nov. 5 was revealed to be a drug overdose. The coroner’s report revealed he had “codeine, morphine and an anti-anxiety medication in his system” when he died. Svatos “had a history of heroin use and had gone through drug rehabilitation, according to the coroner’s report. He also had suspected depression, prior suicidal ideation, and “recent life stressors.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A tragic end. It’s a shame Svatos was unable to find the help he needed to cope with his illness. Once again, my condolences to his family and friends.