NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 23, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 23, 2020

The Oilers and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins put off contract discussion, Mikael Granlund returns to the Predators, the Lightning sign Erik Cernak and Jan Rutta, the Capitals sign Conor Sheary, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE SCORE: The Edmonton Oilers and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have agreed to put contract talks on the back-burner. The 27-year-old forward is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. There were reports in October that the two sides were making progress on a contract extension.

Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The two sides could resume negotiations at some point during the season. The flattened salary cap for the foreseeable future will affect the value of Nugent-Hopkins and his peers in next summer’s UFA market. He’s earning $6 million per season on his current contract. The longer he goes unsigned, however, the more likely his name could pop up in trade rumors.

TSN: The Nashville Predators signed winger Mikael Granlund to a one-year, $3.75 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m surprised by this signing because of Granlund’s offensive struggles during his previous season and a half with the Predators and reports he was seeking a long-term deal. It was rumored the Preds were interested in winger Mike Hoffman to boost their scoring punch. Both sides evidently decided it would be worthwhile to give it another go.

It’s an affordable deal for the Predators that would leave them with $9 million in cap space (stick tap to Cap Friendly) for the coming season. That will provide general manager David Poile with considerable flexibility to put toward another UFA signing or to make trades as needed over the course of the season.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning signed restricted free agent defenseman Erik Cernak to a three-year contract worth an annual average value of $2.95 million. They also signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Jan Rutta to a two-year deal worth $1.3 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: These signings push the Lightning above the $81.5 million salary cap by over $6.15 million with RFA center Anthony Cirelli still to be signed. The Bolts have until Jan. 13 to become cap compliant. They’re expected to make a cost-cutting trade or two but could get some flexibility if winger Nikita Kucherov ($9.5 million AAV) ends up on long-term injury reserve because of a nagging hip ailment.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals signed UFA winger Conor Sheary to a one-year, $735K contract. He’s expected to skate on their third line. The signing leaves the Capitals with $2.2 million in cap space.

LAS VEGAS SUN: Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland announced his NHL retirement yesterday. He was one of the original Golden Knights selected in the 2017 expansion draft and the club’s unofficial leader. The 38-year-old blueliner also played with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Calgary Flames during his 11 NHL seasons, tallying 127 points in 671 regular-season games. He won the Mark Messier Leadership Award in 2018 as the Golden Knights reached the Stanley Cup Final.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Engelland in his future endeavors.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports former Toronto Maple Leafs center Frederik Gauthier is considering a professional tryout offer with the Arizona Coyotes. He spent parts of the last five seasons with the Leafs.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins signed UFA forward Jordan Nolan to an AHL contract earlier this month. He could have a shot at cracking the roster in training camp next month. Nolan spent six seasons with the Los Angeles Kings, winning two Stanley Cups. He also played for the Buffalo Sabres and St. Louis Blues. He spent last season with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: The Red Wings intend to name their first captain in three years. Dylan Larkin is considered the front-runner for the captaincy. The role has been vacant since former captain Henrik Zetterberg’s playing career was ended by nagging back injuries in 2018.

NHL.COM: The league and the NHLPA announced its medical protocols and critical dates for the coming season. They also revealed a change to the offside rule (stick tap to Kukla’s Korner) indicating a player’s skate will not have to be in contact with the blue line in order to be on-side.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The only change to the previously reported critical dates is the last possible date for awarding the Stanley Cup was changed to July 9 from July 15, though it comes with a note indicating that date could change. The same goes for the May 11th start of the playoffs.

SPORTSNET: The Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils and Washington Capitals are the first teams to unveil helmet ads on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The ads are on the side of the helmets where the team logos used to be. They’re not garish or create an unnecessary distraction. Based on the photos provided in the link, I daresay the other NHL clubs will follow their lead.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 4, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 4, 2019

Hurricanes sweep the Islanders, Stars push the Blues to the brink of elimination, an updated NHL offer sheet compensation list, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes swept the New York Islanders with a 5-2 victory in Game 4 of their second-round series. Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen each had a goal and an assist while teammate Justin Williams collected his 100th career playoff point. The Hurricanes advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they await the winner of the Boston Bruins-Columbus Blue Jackets series.

Justin Williams tallied his 100th career NHL playoff point as his Carolina Hurricanes swept the New York Islanders on Friday night (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As with every game in this series, the injury-depleted Hurricanes did a fine job nullifying the Islanders’ offense and withstanding the physical play. They also had solid goaltending from Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney and cashed in on their offensive opportunities. 

The Isles just couldn’t maintain any sustained offensive pressure on the banged-up Hurricanes in this series. Goalie Robin Lehner was pulled in Game 4 after the Hurricanes went up 3-1. He couldn’t be faulted for those goals as his defense let him down in this contest. Backup Thomas Greiss didn’t fare any better.

I’ll have more on what the offseason could have in store for the Isles in the rumors section. 

Dallas Stars goaltender Ben Bishop made 38 saves (14 in the third period) backstopping his club to a 2-1 win over the St. Louis Blues. Jason Spezza and Esa Lindell scored for the Stars while Jaden Schwartz tallied for the Blues. The series returns to Dallas on Sunday with the Stars holding a 3-2 series lead.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bishop was the star of this game for Dallas. Despite a costly giveaway resulting in Schwartz’s goal, he was otherwise flawless. He’s their playoff MVP thus far. 

VANCOUVER SUN: Canucks winger Loui Eriksson recently told a Swedish publication he and head coach Travis Green “don’t get on 100 percent.” Eriksson’s tenure in Vancouver has been disappointing. He suggests Green isn’t giving him the same trust compared to other coaches in his career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could provide fuel to recent speculation suggesting the Canucks swap Eriksson for Edmonton’s Milan Lucic. Bear in mind both players carry expensive contracts with no-trade protection.

From a roster standpoint, this move would be akin to swapping deck chairs on a sinking ship.  Sure, both players could use a change but at this point in their careers, it’ll do little to improve their respective performances. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning re-signed defenseman Jan Rutta to a one-year, one-way contract worth $1.3 million. Rutta was slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

TSN: Former NHL defenseman John Erskine was seriously injured in a car accident near Napanee, Ontario early Wednesday morning. Erskine “played 491 games in the NHL with the Dallas Stars, New York Islanders and Washington Capitals between 2001 and 2014.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes for a speedy recovery. 

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 14, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 14, 2018

Game recaps, Connor McDavid reaches a milestone, injury updates, declining attendance, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Josh Morrissey scored in overtime as the Winnipeg Jets edged the Edmonton Oilers 5-4. Mark Scheifele had a goal and two assists for the Jets. Oilers captain Connor McDavid had two assists to become the eighth-youngest player in league history to reach 300 points. The Oilers also activated winger Tobias Rieder off injured reserve but placed defenseman Kris Russell (undisclosed) on IR.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made 48 saves to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1. (Photo via NHL Images)

The league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning widened their lead atop the Eastern Conference to eight points by defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1. Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made 48 saves in his first game since suffering a broken foot a month ago.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price made 27 saves to pick up his fourth straight win as his club held off the Carolina Hurricanes 6-4. Jeff Petry scored twice for the Canadiens, as did Andrei Svechnikov for the Hurricanes. Speaking of the Hurricanes, they will play “Brass Bonanza” as their goal song when they face the Boston Bruins at home on Dec. 23 for Whalers Night.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No offense to the Bruins, but here’s hoping the Hurricanes score lots of goals in that game. “Brass Bonanza” is, in my humble opinion, the greatest goal song in NHL history. It was used in “NHL 94”, which is (also in my humble opinion) still the greatest NHL video game of all time.

Buffalo Sabres forward Sam Reinhart picked up an assist to extend his points streak to eight games in a 3-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes, handing the latter their fourth straight loss.

Artemi Panarin scored twice as the Columbus Blue Jackets downed the Los Angeles Kings 4-1.  

The Nashville Predators blew a 3-1 lead but a Colton Sissons overtime goal gave them a 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

Nino Niederreiter scored twice and Ryan Suter collected three assists as the Minnesota Wild thumped the Florida Panthers 5-1.

Timo Meier’s two goals helped the San Jose Sharks nip the Dallas Stars 3-2. 

SPORTSNET: St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo underwent surgery on his injured right hand and will be re-evaluated around Christmas. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That should put a damper on the recent trade speculation swirling around Pietrangelo. 

NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall left practice yesterday with an undisclosed injury. No word yet if he’ll be in the lineup for tonight’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights. 

TSN: The Chicago Blackhawks placed defenseman Jan Rutta on waivers. 

CBS SPORTS: The Philadelphia Flyers recalled goaltender Alex Lyon. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Sagging attendance in some big hockey markets, such as Montreal, New York, Chicago, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Los Angeles, has contributed to the NHL’s projected decline in second-quarter revenue. The low Canadian dollar is also to blame. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL is primarily a gate-driven league, which is why a decline in attendance in some big markets has a significant effect upon revenue. The reason those teams are suffering at the gate this season isn’t mysterious. Most of them missed the playoffs last season or are in danger of doing so this season.