NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 2, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 2, 2023

The latest contract signings and arbitration updates, Vladimir Tarasenko happy to join the Senators, the Kraken removes BookTok content over comments made toward Alex Wennberg and his wife, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman was awarded a one-year contract worth $3.47 million following his arbitration hearing on Sunday. Swayman had sought $4.8 million while the Bruins countered with $2 million.

The Bruins avoided arbitration with forward Trent Frederic as the two sides agreed to a two-year, $4.6 million contract with an average annual value of $2.3 million. Frederic was scheduled to have an arbitration hearing on Tuesday.

Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The new contracts for Swayman and Frederic leave the Bruins with less than $430K of salary cap space for 2023-24 with 22 players under contract. That will likely continue to stoke speculation of the Bruins perhaps making a cost-cutting trade to bolster their depth at center for the coming season.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers avoided an arbitration hearing on Tuesday with Ryan McLeod by signing the center to a two-year contract with an AAV of $2.1 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers now have $3.5 million in cap space with restricted free-agent defenseman Evan Bouchard to sign. It could leave them with sufficient wiggle room to get him under contract on a short-term deal for around $3 million per season.

Bouchard, 23, is coming off his entry-level contract and lacks arbitration rights. He could receive an offer sheet from another club but that seems a remote possibility at this stage given how many clubs lack sufficient cap space to go that route this summer.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Rangers avoided arbitration with minor-league defenseman Brandon Scanlin as the two sides agreed to a one-year, two-way contract worth $775K at the NHL level.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, only two players remain on the arbitration schedule. Anaheim Ducks winger Troy Terry’s hearing is slated for today (Aug. 2) while Pittsburgh Penguins forward Drew O’Connor’s is on Aug. 4.

OTTAWA SUN: Vladimir Tarasenko said he is looking forward to playing with the Senators this season. He signed a one-year, $5 million contract with the club last Thursday.

Speaking from his Florida home, the 31-year-old winger said he had several signing options in free agency. He was convinced the Senators were the right choice after speaking with general manager Pierre Dorion, head coach D.J. Smith and several Senators players.

It’s an exciting young group of players,” said Tarasenko. “I spoke to guys before we signed and it sounds like guys want to win. We just decided that it was the best deal for one year for us.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report also indicated Tarasenko’s new agents called the club saying it would be a done deal if they included a full no-movement clause in his contract, which they did. That clause ensures Tarasenko cannot be demoted to the minors without his approval. He’ll also have total control over potential destinations if the Senators decide to move him before the March trade deadline.

ESPN.COM: The Seattle Kraken removed TikTok videos marketed to the hockey BookTok community. The move comes following statements by forward Alex Wennberg and his wife Felicia speaking out against what they called “vile comments” that sexualized and harassed him and his family for months.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche announced that Steve Konowalchuk has been named the Associate Head Coach of the Colorado Eagles, their AHL affiliate.

Former Avalanche forward Carl Soderberg announced his retirement at age 37. He played 597 games over nine NHL seasons (2012-13 to 2020-21) with the Avalanche, Boston Bruins, Arizona Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks, netting 110 goals and 297 points along with 14 points in 45 career NHL playoff games.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 1, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – August 1, 2023

The top remaining unrestricted free agents, Sharks speculation that has nothing to do with Erik Karlsson, and the latest on the Oilers in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

TOP REMAINING UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

DAILY FACEOFF: Patrick Kane and Matt Dumba sit first and second on Frank Seravalli’s list of the top remaining NHL unrestricted free agents.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane won’t be entertaining contract offers until he’s recovered from his recent hip surgery. That’s expected to be sometime in early December. Dumba, meanwhile, is the top defenseman in the market and has been linked to the Arizona Coyotes and San Jose Sharks.

Forwards Max Comtois, Tomas Tatar and Jonathan Toews sit in positions three through five on the listing.

Former Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Comtois recently said that he’s received calls from interested clubs but no contract offers yet. He indicated that the Montreal Canadiens have not contacted him. There’s been no rumors of late linking Tatar to any NHL club but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t received any calls.

Toews, meanwhile, has been silent except for releasing a statement in response to the recent death of Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz. The agency that represents him did not have his name on their list of clients who are free agents this summer, fuelling speculation that he’s mulling retirement.

Forward Pius Suter, winger Noah Gregor, goaltender Jaroslav Halak, center Paul Stastny and winger Phil Kessel rounded out the top 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Suter said he doesn’t intend on returning to his native Switzerland and hopes to sign an NHL contract. Kessel, 35, has indicated he wants to continue his NHL career. So does the 38-year-old Halak. No word on Stastny or Gregor.

UPDATE ON THE SHARKS

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For those of you who are weary of all the speculation about Erik Karlsson, here’s the latest on the San Jose Sharks that has nothing to do with the 33-year-old defenseman. Enjoy!

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng observed that Sharks general manager Mike Grier has been pursuing devalued assets this summer that still appear to possess real upside. He’s acquired goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood and wingers Anthony Duclair and Filip Zadina and made a failed attempt at signing Vladimir Tarasenko.

Peng listed defenseman Matt Dumba, winger Tomas Tatar and winger Max Comtois as three free agents that he believes Grier should target.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks have over $5 million in projected cap space for 2023-24. They will have more if they somehow manage to trade a certain expensive Norris Trophy-winning defenseman this summer. That will give Grier more room to perhaps add a free agent or two such as those listed by Peng.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Max Miller wondered if the Sharks might consider trading Alexander Barabanov. The 29-year-old winger has been a good player, netting 93 points in 147 games. However, he could become the odd man out among their top-six forwards with the additions of Duclair and Zadina and with promising William Eklund expected to crack the lineup this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller suggested that Barabanov, who is slated to become a UFA next July, could be an enticing target for playoff contenders at the March trade deadline. He carries an affordable $2.5 million cap hit but his 10-team no-trade clause could affect the number of possible trade partners for the Sharks.

LATEST ON THE OILERS

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins reported on Sunday that he’d heard the Oilers were closing in on new contracts with defenseman Evan Bouchard and center Ryan McLeod. The latter has an arbitration hearing on Aug. 4.

Leavins believes the goalposts have been slightly moved in terms of what it might cost to sign them. That leads him to conclude that the Oilers might have to go the professional tryout offer (PTO) route to add a center or two rather than signing UFAs. He also doesn’t rule out an in-season trade, suggesting Washington’s Nic Dowd and Montreal’s Jake Evans as possible trade options.

Robert Tychowski, meanwhile, believes the Oilers have dodged a “potential grenade” of an offer sheet for Bouchard. If it was going to happen, he thinks it would’ve by now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed regarding the Bouchard offer sheet. There aren’t many teams with the cap space to pull it off. It also remains a rarely-used tactic that most general managers tend to avoid.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 25, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – May 25, 2023

A look at what could be next for the Hurricanes after falling in the Eastern Conference Final, some possible trade destinations for Connor Hellebuyck and the latest Bruins speculation in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE HURRICANES?

ESPN.COM: Kristen Shilton looks at what the offseason might hold for the Carolina Hurricanes after getting swept from the Eastern Conference Final by the Florida Panthers.

The Hurricanes must address their goaltending as Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta are eligible to become unrestricted free agents on July 1. Rookie Pyotr Kochetkov likely isn’t ready yet to become a full-time starter. They’ll either re-sign Andersen or Raanta to pair with Kochetkov or scour the market for another veteran, which will take up a hefty chunk of cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Andersen and Raanta play well when healthy but both have had their injury woes in recent years. Still, they could opt to retain one or the other on affordable short-term contracts given the limited goalie options in this summer’s trade and free-agent markets.

Scoring depth was an issue this season. Max Pacioretty was supposed to help them address that issue. However, he missed most of this season to injuries and is also a UFA on July 1 along with Paul Stastny, Jesper Fast and captain Jordan Staal. Jesse Puljujarvi is a restricted free agent but his potential remains uncertain.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pacioretty probably won’t be back given the uncertainty of his health after back-to-back Achilles’ injuries. Puljujarvi was a failed short-term experiment whose NHL career is probably hanging by a thread after another disappointing season.

Staal will likely return on a short-term deal worth considerably less than the $6 million average annual value of his last contract. Stastny and Fast might have to make way for young players, especially if they decide to look for another scorer through a trade or free agency.

PROPOSED TRADE DESTINATIONS FOR CONNOR HELLEBUYCK

THE ATHLETIC: Shayna Goldman looked at seven clubs that could (and should) be interested in Connor Hellebucyk.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (NHL Images).

Winner of the Vezina Trophy in 2019 and a finalist this season, the 29-year-old Winnipeg Jets goaltender is a year away from UFA eligibility. He could be traded this summer if unable to reach an agreement with the Jets on a contract extension.

The Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils are the top two clubs on Goldman’s list. They’re followed by the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ottawa Senators, Vegas Golden Knights, Toronto Maple Leafs and Los Angeles Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Goldman goes into detail as to why each club could and should find Hellebuyck a worthwhile trade target.

My two cents: Hellebuyck would be a terrific addition to any of these clubs if he’s willing to sign a contract extension. Otherwise, he won’t fetch the type of return the Jets would want if they put him on the market. There will be teams interested in him but they could be reluctant to give up too much for an elite goalie who could depart as a free agent next summer.

The Sabres and Devils carry plenty of cap room and can afford him next season and beyond. The Penguins could make it work for 2023-24 but it could get tricky after that. Maybe the Senators can swing it if they pass on re-signing Alex DeBrincat.

As for the rest, they can’t afford his cap hit unless they move out a lot of salary first.

LATEST BRUINS SPECULATION

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy wondered if the Bruins and Edmonton Oilers could become offseason trade partners. He noted that the Bruins need centers given the uncertainty over the futures of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci while the Oilers need defensemen.

Murphy cited an NHL source claiming the Oilers “might move” center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins this summer and they’re seeking a defenseman as part of the return. However, Murphy is skeptical about that one given the Bruins’ limited cap space for next season. He wondered if a more affordable bottom-six option from the Oilers such as Ryan McLeod might be available.

Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk could become a trade candidate. However, Murphy doesn’t see the cap-strapped Oilers taking on his $3.6 million cap hit for next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murphy’s source should brush up on Nugent-Hopkin’s contract. He took a pay cut to stay in Edmonton on an eight-year deal. The 30-year-old center also has a full no-movement clause. There’s no indication he wants out of Edmonton or that the Oilers want to move him.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 28, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 28, 2022

The Kraken keep rising in the standings, the Canucks are clawing their way back into playoff contention, plus the latest on Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: An overtime goal by Daniel Sprong lifted the Seattle Kraken to a 5-4 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Matty Beniers had a goal and two assists for the Kraken (13-5-3) as they pick up their fifth straight win. Mason McTavish and Adam Henrique scored in the third period for Anaheim to force overtime as their record falls to 6-15-1). Ducks forward Trevor Zegras collected three assists.

Seattle Kraken center Matty Beniers (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the win, the Kraken moves one point ahead of the Dallas Stars for second place in the Western Conference standings with 29 points. Beniers leads all NHL rookies this season with 18 points. Meanwhile, Ducks goaltender John Gibson left the game in the third period with an undisclosed injury.

Vancouver Canucks forward Andrei Kuzmenko scored in overtime to nip the San Jose Sharks 4-3. Kuzmenko, Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller each collected two points as the Canucks (9-10-3) have won five of their last six games. Luke Kunin scored twice and Erik Karlsson picked up two assists for the 7-13-4 Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks have overcome a poor start to this season. With 21 points, they’re one point out of a wildcard berth in the Western Conference. Kuzmenko’s been a key part of that improvement. After netting just two points in his first seven NHL games, he now has 19 points in his last 14 contests, including two game-winning goals.

The Winnipeg Jets thumped the Chicago Blackhawks 7-2. Pierre-Luc Dubois and Saku Maenalanen each scored twice while Kyle Connor and Josh Morrissey each had three-point performances as the Jets improved to 13-6-1. Taylor Raddysh and Jujhar Khaira replied for the Blackhawks (6-11-4) as their winless skid reached seven games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Since their 4-2-0 start, the Blackhawks have won only twice in their last 15 games. Jets forward Morgan Barron collected an assist as he returned to action for the first time since being sidelined by an injury on Oct. 30. With 27 points, the Jets are fourth in the Western Conference.

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov had a goal and two assists as his club held off the Arizona Coyotes by a score of 4-3. Joel Eriksson Ek collected two assists for the Wild (10-9-2) while Matias Macelli also picked up two assists as the Coyotes slid to 7-10-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Macelli sits second among this season’s rookie scorers with 13 points but he’s their leader in assists with 12.

The Ottawa Senators downed the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on an overtime by Claude Giroux. Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stutzle and Thomas Chabot each had two points as the Senators boosted their record to 8-12-1. Arthur Kaliyev scored both goals for the Kings (12-9-3) as they’ve dropped four of their last five contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a big win for the struggling Senators as they salvage four points from this four-game western road trip.

HEADLINES

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov will be sidelined for the next two games with a non-COVID-related illness.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers placed forwards Kailer Yamamoto and Ryan McLeod on injured reserve.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres placed forward Riley Sheahan on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract after he declined to report to their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

DAILY FACEOFF: Former Canucks coaching staff member Rachel Doerrie filed a complaint with the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal last week. She alleges she was discriminated against by the team and assistant general manager Emilie Castonguay for her mental and physical disabilities.

Doerrie, who has PTSD and a heart condition, was hired by the Canucks in January as an analyst and promoted to the coaching staff on Aug. 1. She indicated she had revealed her medical conditions to Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford during the hiring process. She was terminated from her position in September.

The Canucks issued two statements saying they “strongly disagreed” with Doerrie’s allegations.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 23, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 23, 2022

Gabriel Landeskog and Nick Suzuki are among notable stars sidelined as training camps open. Ryan Ellis is expected to miss the entire season, plus the latest on Kirill Kaprizov, Mark Stone, Mathew Barzal and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog is expected to miss the start of the 2022-23 season with a lower-body injury that’s been nagging him since last season. Meanwhile, winger Valeri Nichushkin is not participating in on-ice activities with a lower-body injury.

Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Landeskog underwent knee surgery in March and missed the remainder of the regular season but returned in the playoffs to lead the Avalanche to the Stanley Cup.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki will be sidelined for two weeks with a lower-body injury. Defenseman Joel Edmundson will be out indefinitely with a lower-body injury. Winger Josh Anderson and Jake Evans are day-to-day with upper-body injuries.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Edmundson missed all but 23 games last season recovering from a back injury.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers defenseman Ryan Ellis is expected to miss the entire upcoming season with a torn psoas muscle causing hip and core muscle issues. General manager Chuck Fletcher said it’s possible the 31-year-old blueliner’s career is in jeopardy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ellis’ injury sidelined him for all but four games last season. His absence is a big blow to the Flyers blueline.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Golden Knights captain Mark Stone said the nerve pain in his back is fully gone following surgery earlier this year. The 30-year-old winger missed 45 games last season. He said he’s looking forward to getting into at least one preseason game before the regular season begins next month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stone’s absence contributed to the Golden Knights missing the playoffs last season.

TSN: Golden Knights forward Nolan Patrick will miss the coming season with an upper-body injury. A former first-round pick, the frequently sidelined Patrick played just 25 games last season.

THE ATHLETIC: A number of lawyers and diplomats worked with the Minnesota Wild and the agent for Kirill Kaprizov to help the Russian winger secure a U.S. work visa for the coming season. There were concerns the 25-year-old Kaprizov wouldn’t be able to return to the Wild due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Wild general manager Bill Guerin said he doesn’t think there was much truth to reports claiming Kaprizov used a fake military ID. The young winger has been in Minnesota for the past seven weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see if Kaprizov and other Russian NHL players encounter further difficulties getting work visas next summer if the war is still going on by then.

NEW YORK POST: Mathew Barzal isn’t stressed about not having a contract extension yet with the Islanders. The 25-year-old center remains hopeful of getting a deal done before the start of the season in two weeks’ time. There appears to be genuine sentiment between Barzal and Islanders management toward getting a new contract in place soon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barzal will be a restricted free agent next summer and will be a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility

NHL.COM: The Anaheim Ducks won’t be discussing contract extensions with forwards Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry and defenseman Jamie Drysdale until after the 2022-23 season. GM Pat Verbeek wants to see how the season goes and doesn’t want contract negotiations to be a distraction for the players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zegras and Drysdale will be completing their entry-level contracts. Terry will be completing his second NHL contract and will have arbitration rights next summer.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Flyers goaltender Carter Hart said he’s fully cooperating with the NHL investigation into sexual assault allegations aimed at eight players on Canada’s 2018 World Junior team.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin will miss the opening week of training camp with a sore back.

TSN: The Arizona Coyotes placed Andrew Ladd on long-term injury reserve for the coming season. He was acquired from the New York Islanders last year. Per the terms of the deal, the Coyotes will receive a 2023 third-round pick from the Isles as a result of Ladd being placed on LTIR.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ladd is in the final year of his contract. Given his age and injury history, the 36-year-old winger’s NHL playing career appears to be over.

Former Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne has rejoined the team as a special alumni advisor.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed forward Ryan McLeod to a one-year, $798K contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That bargain price could enable the Oilers to start the season with a 21-man roster while GM Ken Holland seeks ways to free up additional cap space if unable to do so over the next two weeks.

THE ATHLETIC: Russian players who are scheduled to participate in upcoming NHL games in Prague will not be allowed into Czechia owing to that country’s stance on Russia’s war with Ukraine.

The Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks are scheduled to play in Prague on Oct. 7 and 8. Yakov Trenin plays for the Predators while Alexander Barabanov and Evgeny Svechnikov skate for the Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks GM Mike Grier said the NHL is handling this situation with Czechia. He doesn’t anticipate his club will forfeit those games but added, “we all go or we don’t go.”