NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 17, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 17, 2020

NHL releases “Reverse Retro” jerseys plus the latest on Henrik Lundqvist, Bobby Ryan and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The NHL and adidas released their “Reverse Retro” alternate jerseys for all 31 clubs. The jerseys will be available for purchase on Dec. 1 and will be worn by the teams during multiple games in 2020-21.

Henrik Lundqvist could return to the New York Rangers once his playing career is over (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The big reveal of these jerseys stirred up considerable buzz on social media among NHL fans but time will tell if this translates into significant sales. As I noted yesterday, I’m not a fan of alternate jerseys. However, I don’t fault the league for its current cash grab given how COVID-19 is affecting the start of the 2020-21 season and NHL revenue. They’re facing a shortened season with limited attendance and needs all the money it can get.

FOREVER BLUESHIRTS: Former New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist could be returning to the Blueshirts following his playing career. The 38-year-old goaltender told Sweden’s Goteborgs-Posten he expects to return to the club in some capacity.

I’ll be part of the Rangers for the rest of my life, in one way or another,” he said.”Both I and the Rangers have been clear about that. That’s how it will be.”

Lundqvist signed with the Washington Capitals after the Rangers bought out the final season of his contract. He’s not sure what his role with the Blueshirts will be but feels he’ll be connected to the club “forever.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The New York Post subsequently picked up the story, confirming the blog’s translation of the Swedish interview.

TSN: Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said Bobby Ryan is really motivated to have a great year with the club. The 33-year-old winger signed with the Wings after the Ottawa Senators bought out his contract. Blashill feels his experience and right-hand shot will be beneficial to the Wings’ power play. Ryan won the Masterton Trophy after publicly sharing his battle with alcohol issues.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres signed prospect winger Jack Quinn to a three-year entry-level contract. They selected the 18-year-old Quinn with the eighth overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers are facing a lawsuit from a Dallas hotel over two unpaid hotel bills. The first was last December worth $28,000.00 and the second was $27,000.00 for a stay in March. The club claims the error is due to an accounting glitch compounded by a timeline miscommunication and intends to pay the bill in full in a matter of days.

ESPN.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning announced the elimination of 30 positions. The club didn’t make any money during its 2020 Stanley Cup championship run because the playoffs took place in quarantine bubbles in Toronto and Edmonton. Due to COVID-19, the Lightning lost money last season and expects to do so again in 2020-21.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’re not the only NHL club to lose money, cut positions and lay off employees because of the pandemic. That’s why the majority of clubs are keen to return to play this season in their own arenas.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 13, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 13, 2020

Details emerge from the NHL board of governors briefing for the 2020-21 season, the Sharks could face vacating their arena, an update on Bobby Ryan and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

RETURN-TO-PLAY UPDATE

TSN: Frank Seravalli provides details from the NHL’s board of governors conference call and the NHLPA executive board conference call on Thursday.

The league reiterated its intent to open the 2020-21 season on Jan. 1, 2021, in its video conference call with its board of governors on Thursday. Neither that date nor a format for the season, however, is carved in stone. Many governors and owners wonder if Feb. 1 might be more realistic.

Players have not yet been provided a date to report to their respective cities.

There’s a growing appetite for teams to open their seasons in their own arenas rather than in hybrid bubbles, though the latter remains an option. The cost of operating those bubbles and the potential lost revenue with games staged at neutral sites is behind the preference for each team to travel city to city to complete a shortened regular season as the NFL and MLB have done.

Under that scheme, there would be temporary divisional realignments, including an all-Canadian division. Teams would be permitted to have a limited number of fans based on local and regional health regulations, with the hope that capacities could expand over the course of a season and a vaccine becomes available. It would also allow teams to recoup in-arena signage and broadcasting ad revenue.

Teams would travel to divisional opponents to face each other in short series of games similar to that of a baseball schedule to reduce travel and players’ time away from their families.

The only certainty is there won’t be an 82-games schedule. Various models involved 48 to 62-game schedules.

NHL players have braced for a possible proration of salaries. Under the new CBA they agreed to be paid 72 percent of their salaries for 2020-21, with 20 percent paid back to owners for last season’s losses plus a 10 percent deferral. Seravalli explains it’s 72 percent because it’s 20 percent off the top plus 10 percent of the remaining 80 percent.

NHLPA members were told to expect an ask of increased salary deferral for next season rather than proration. It won’t change what they get paid, only when they get it, but they might be expected to give up something in return, though it has yet to be determined what that might be.

Seravalli’s colleague Pierre LeBrun reported there are now 16 players on the return-to-play committee, including Ian Cole, Zach Hyman, Claude Giroux and Ron Hainsey. Last spring’s committee involved just five players. It appears the committee is currently working more internally with the Players Association while the PA and the league hold higher-level discussions.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the NHL envisions a 14-day training camp as the run-up to the start of the season. If it’s Jan. 1, that could cause some conflicts for players to spend time with their families during Christmas because of COVID-19 travel restrictions. It probably wouldn’t be a deal-breaker but it could become a topic of conversation.

Brooks adds NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr is steadfast that the union won’t accept salary proration for a season of fewer than 82 games. Meanwhile, sources claim three-to-five owners said they’d be unable to survive under these circumstances and would be better off not playing the season. He also said the league has pitched a further salary deferral to the PA rather than proration.

Players remain scattered across the globe while the return-to-play committee has yet to stage a meeting.

SI.COM/THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell reports the league remains cautious in its approach to opening next season. As they did in this summer’s successful return-to-play playoff tournament, they’re taking their time and garnering as much information as possible before making firm announcements on a 2020-21 schedule.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the league is going with a January 1 start, their 14-day training camp will have to begin no later than Dec. 18. Last season’s seven non-playoff clubs were promised an earlier start of 7-to-10 days, which could see them begin on Dec. 8.

The return-to-play committee still has some time to hammer out an agreement for a Jan. 1 start but they must get started soon. It’s looking like the NHL and NHLPA bigwigs will work out the main issues and the committee could end up addressing secondary issues.

The players will definitely prefer another salary deferral over proration. That the league is willing to offer up deferral over proration indicates they don’t want labor strife to derail their plans for next season. As Seravalli pointed out, however, they’re probably going to have to give up something in return. It could be accepting a much higher deferral rate.

Any return-to-play plan, however, depends upon the course of the pandemic. The league and the players may want to start as soon as possible, but the growing number of cases throughout North America could push that start date into February or March.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Proposed development around the SAP Center could force the San Jose Sharks to leave the arena. Team president Jonathan Becher said the Sharks don’t want to leave, but the city’s plans for developing the area surrounding the arena could make it difficult for fans to get to the area. It’s unclear if Becher’s statement means the Sharks would have to build a new arena or move to another city in the Bay Area.

THE ATHLETIC: Craig Custance reports Bobby Ryan admitted he was shocked when the Ottawa Senators informed him they were buying out his contract. He said the conversation lasted about a minute. “There’s not really much to say. What do you say, really? I said, “OK, thank you, good luck” and that’s it,” said Ryan.

Ryan also said he was impressed by the pitch of Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman. He indicated he chose the rebuilding Wings because he felt he still had some high-end hockey left in him and didn’t want to be a third- or fourth-line player. Yzerman told him he’d get the opportunity to skate on the top nine in Detroit.

He added the Wings GM said if Ryan’s having a good year and wants to move on and there’s interest in the winger at the trade deadline, they can sit down and discuss those things.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Malcolm Subban has an opportunity to become a starting goaltender with the Blackhawks. The club intends to make it a competition between Subban, Collin Delia and Kevin Lankinen which will play out over the course of the season.










List of Notable NHL UFA Signings – October 9, 2020

List of Notable NHL UFA Signings – October 9, 2020

8:30 pm ET: St. Louis Blues sign Torey Krug to a seven-year, $45.5 million contract.

7 pm ET: Toronto Maple Leafs sign T.J. Brodie to a four-year contract ($5 million AAV).

4 pm to 5 pm ET: Calgary Flames sign Jacob Markstrom to a six-year, $36-million contract.

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3 pm to 4 pm ET: Anaheim Ducks sign Kevin Shattenkirk to a three-year contract ($3.9 million AAV)

Washington Capitals sign defenseman Justin Schultz to a two-year, $8 million contract.

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2 pm to 3 pm ET: Florida Panthers sign Alexander Wennberg to a one-year $2.25 million contract.

New York Rangers sign Jack Johnson to a one-year, $1-million contract.

Nashville Predators sign Mark Borowiecki to a two-year, $4-million contract.

In other contract news, the Ottawa Senators sign Matt Murray to a four-year contract with an annual average value of $6.25 million. The Senators acquired Murray, a restricted free agent, on Wednesday from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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1 pm to 2 pm ET: Vancouver Canucks sign Braden Holtby to a two-year deal ($4.3 million AAV)

Minnesota Wild sign goaltender Cam Talbot to a three-year, $11-million contract.

Dallas Stars sign Anton Khudobin to a three-year contract ($3.5 million AAV)

Edmonton Oilers sign center Kyle Turris to a two-year contract ($1.65 million AAV)

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12 pm to 1 pm ET:  Washington Capitals sign goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to a one-year, $1.5 million contract.

Toronto Maple Leafs sign winger Wayne Simmonds to a one-year, $1.5-million contract with a full no-movement clause.

Detroit Red Wings sign winger Bobby Ryan to a one-year, $1-million contract.

Winger Pat Maroon (two years, $900K AAV) and defenseman Luke Schenn (one year, $800K) are returning with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Florida Panthers sign defenseman Radko Gudas to a three-year contract ($2.5 million AAV).

In other news, the Tampa Bay Lightning placed winger Tyler Johnson on waivers. He has four years remaining on his contract with a $5 million annual cap hit and a full no-trade clause.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson will remain with the Arizona Coyotes. His deadline to be traded to either Boston or Vancouver came and went without a deal.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 1, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – October 1, 2020

Possible destinations for Henrik Lundqvist and Bobby Ryan plus the latest on Patrik Laine, Darcy Kuemper, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and many more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHERE COULD LUNDQVIST AND RYAN LAND AS FREE AGENTS?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks looked at potential landing spots for Henrik Lundqvist. The 38-year-old goaltender was bought out of the final year of his contract yesterday by the New York Rangers. Brooks suggests the St. Louis Blues, Vegas Golden Knights (if they trade Marc-Andre Fleury), Carolina Hurricanes, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks (if Jacob Markstrom departs via free agency) as options.

SPORTSNET: The Canucks make Mike Johnston’s list, which includes the Colorado Avalanche, Washington Capitals, Dallas Stars (if they fail to re-sign Anton Khudubin), and Chicago Blackhawks if they move on from Corey Crawford.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien suggests Lundqvist could provide affordable goaltending insurance to contenders like the Capitals, Stars, Blues and Golden Knights, as well as the Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Winnipeg Jets. He also suggested some playoff hopefuls that could provide him more playing time like the Oilers and Canucks, along with the Calgary Flames, Minnesota Wild, Arizona Coyotes and San Jose Sharks.

Where could former New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist land following his contract buyout? (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It appears there are a number of clubs that could be destinations for Lundqvist but this is all mere media speculation right now. But how many of those clubs will be serious suitors and how many of them is he willing to consider as acceptable destinations? His affordability, experience and leadership would be invaluable, but finding the right fit and the right role will be crucial factors.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Joe Fordyce reports Bobby Ryan said the Philadelphia Flyers would be high on his list of destinations if they made him a contract offer or extended an invitation to training camp. The 33-year-old winger was recently bought out by the Ottawa Senators.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Brian Witt cites The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz recently reporting the San Jose Sharks are one of “many teams” believed interested in Ryan. “They could certainly use a right wing,” said Kurz.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It remains to be seen if the Flyers are among the clubs interested in Ryan. Whoever signs him will likely do a short-term deal (one-to-two years) for probably between $2 -$3 million per season. Some clubs could try him in a second-line role while others could see him as a third liner.

Speaking of the Sharks, they also reportedly talked to the Minnesota Wild about goaltender Devan Dubnyk and winger Ryan Donato. Kurz suggests this could have some legs as a possible package deal.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST 31 THOUGHTS

SPORTSNET: In his latest 31 Thoughts column, Elliotte Friedman expects Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois to “think unconventionally” in the offseason. He believes teams will ask if defenseman Mikhail Sergachev wants a bigger role.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sergachev should get an opportunity for a bigger role with the Lightning. Kevin Shattenkirk, Zach Bogosian, Luke Schenn and Jan Rutta are unrestricted free agents. All of them could depart on Oct 9. Granted, they’re also right-side defensemen and Sergachev plays the left side, but I can see the Bolts trying to convert him to the right side.

Friedman expects the Dallas Stars will try to move a big salary, although trade protection is a concern. He expects Anton Khudobin has priced himself out of Dallas. Ben Bishop’s full no-trade becomes a partial, but his actual salary drops to three years at $3.5 million, which is manageable for the Stars.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly lists Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Joe Pavelski as the three highest-paid players with each carrying full no-movement clauses, followed by Alexander Radulov with a 15-team no-trade list. Trying to move any one of them will be difficult.

Friedman thinks the Vancouver Canucks and Arizona Coyotes had a discussion about Coyotes blueliner Oliver Ekman-Larsson, but he doesn’t see if a deal is possible.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It isn’t unless the Canucks move some salary to take on Ekman-Larsson’s $8.25 million AAV and he agrees to be traded to Vancouver.

If the Jets decide to trade Laine, Friedman wonders if there’s a match with the Columbus Blue Jackets or Carolina Hurricanes. He believes the Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers could do it but isn’t sure they would. He also wondered about the New York Islanders but mentioned their salary-cap issues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets will set a big asking price if they put Laine on the trade block. They need a second-line center and a top-four, right-shot defenseman. There’s also the fact he’s a restricted free agent next summer with arbitration rights and will be in the market for a big raise over his current $6.75-million AAV.

The high volume of goalies available in the UFA market could affect the trade market, making it difficult for a club like Pittsburgh to trade a netminder. Friedman suggests that’s why the Arizona Coyotes’ preference is to retain goalie Darcy Kuemper. He believes the Calgary Flames talking with the Columbus Blue Jackets about one of their goalies but that talk has cooled.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teams that fail to address their goalie needs via free agency could return to the trade market, but their numbers will be depleted after the best UFA goalies are signed. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch also cited sources claiming the Coyotes could retain Kuemper, but he thinks that could change if GM Bill Armstrong gets a first-round pick and another piece he’s seeking in the deal.

Speaking of the Flames, Friedman thinks they could revamp their blueline depending on who’s available. Noah Hanifin’s name was mentioned when the Flames were talking with the New Jersey Devils about Taylor Hall last month.

Speaking of the Coyotes, Friedman wonders if they’ll test the market on forward Clayton Keller.

The Washington Capitals are trying to shed some salary to re-sign defenseman Brenden Dillon.

The New Jersey Devils are willing to move the 18th and 20th picks in this year’s draft but Friedman doesn’t see them shopping the seventh-overall selection. The Anaheim Ducks aren’t averse to moving down a few spots from sixth overall.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 26, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 26, 2020

The Lightning take a 3-1 lead in the Stanley Cup Final, the Senators intend to buy out Bobby Ryan, the Canadiens re-sign Jeff Petry, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Kevin Shattenkirk scored in overtime as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Dallas Stars 5-4 in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final to take 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Shattenkirk’s goal came on a power play after Stars captain Jamie Benn was whistled off for tripping Lightning forward Tyler Johnson. Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point and Dallas’ Joe Pavelski each scored twice.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (NHL Images).

Several milestones were reached in this game by four Stars. Pavelski tied Joe Mullen’s NHL record for most playoff goals by an American-born player with 60. He also holds the record for most goals scored in one postseason (12) by a player 36-or-older.

Meanwhile, teammates Miro Heiskanen and John Klingberg are only the second pair of defensemen on the same team to each reach 20 points in one postseason. Paul Coffey and Charlie Huddy were the first to do so with the 1985 Edmonton Oilers.

Corey Perry also scored in this game, making him the third player in NHL history to go at least 13 years between Stanley Cup Final goals, joining Mark Recchi (15 years) and Dino Ciccarelli (14).

The Lightning were without captain Steven Stamkos. After scoring a goal during a brief appearance in Game 3, Stamkos was unfit to play in Game 4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the most entertaining game of this series. The Stars took 2-0 and 3-2 leads only to see the Lightning battled back to tie the game. The Bolts took their first lead when Alex Killorn made it 4-3 in the third period but Pavelski tied it with his second of the game.

Benn’s penalty sparked criticism from the Stars but it was an obvious infraction the officials couldn’t ignore. Besides, the Stars had a great opportunity earlier in the extra frame with the man advantage after Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev was called for holding Tyler Seguin but they failed to capitalize.

Both clubs have little time to dwell on this one. Game 5 goes tonight at 8 pm ET with the Lightning just one win away from becoming Stanley Cup champions and the Stars desperate to keep their Cup hopes alive.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators yesterday placed winger Bobby Ryan on waivers with the intention of buying out the final two years of his contract. Cap Friendly indicates the Senators will be tagged with a $3.58 million salary-cap hit for the next two seasons, followed by about $1.83 million annually for the last two seasons. Ryan won the Masterton Trophy this season for perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a bit of a surprise but one the Senators made for business reasons. The 33-year-old Ryan is not the scorer he used to be and his $7.25 million annual average value was more than the rebuilding Sens were willing to keep paying. This move allows Ryan an opportunity to have a fresh start with a playoff contender at a more affordable price.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Aaron Portzline reports the Columbus Blue Jackets are considering a contract buyout of center Alexander Wennberg. The move would save the Jackets over $10 million over the next three years. Wennberg is 26, but because he was 25 in June, as per the CBA the buyout will be at one-third the remaining value, rather than two-thirds.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Portzline reports neither Wennberg or his agent have heard anything about a buyout from the Jackets, while GM Jarmo Kekalainen declined to comment. His annual average value is $4.9 million for the next three seasons.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers won’t be buying out James Neal or any other players this year.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens yesterday re-signed defenseman Jeff Petry to a four-year, $25 million contract extension. The annual average value is $6.25 million. His new deal also includes a no-movement clause and a 15-team no-trade list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This deal provides Petry a slight raise over his current $5.5 million AAV, but otherwise isn’t much different from the final three years of his present contract in terms of movement and no-trade clauses. It’s a good move by the Habs to ensure veteran stability on the right side of their blueline. Petry’s been a reliable, sometimes underrated member of the Canadiens core. The move won’t affect their 2020-21 salary-cap payroll.

NBC SPORTS: The Philadelphia Flyers re-signed goaltender Alex Lyon to a one-year, one-way contract worth $700K.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs added Paul MacLean to their coaching staff.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 8, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 8, 2020

The Lightning crush the Islanders to open the Eastern Conference Final, Bobby Ryan wins the Masterton Trophy, plus updates on Sean Couturier, Mikael Granlund and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning thumped the New York Islanders 8-2 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final. Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov each collected five points while Victor Hedman and Kevin Shattenkirk each had three points. Jordan Eberle and Nick Leddy replied for the Islanders, who pulled goalie Thomas Greiss in the first period after he gave up three goals on nine shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning dominated the Islanders from the opening faceoff to the final whistle. Whatever the reason – lack of time to prepare following their Game 7 win over the Flyers on Saturday, the travel day between games – the Isles were flat in this contest. The Bolts aren’t expecting further lopsided wins in this series as their opponent is expected to put up a better effort in Game 2 on Wednesday.

Ottawa Senators winger Bobby Ryan is this year’s winner of the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverance. He took an extended leave of absence in November to receive treatment for alcohol abuse. Ryan returned in February and tallied a hat trick in his second game back.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Ryan and best wishes in his ongoing recovery.

THE SCORE: The NHL recorded its seventh consecutive week of zero positive COVID-19 tests among its players and staff participating in the return-to-play plan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once again, the league and the NHLPA deserve praise for how they’ve pulled this off. None of the doom-and-gloom forecasts from some observers came to pass.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers center Sean Couturier played through a sprained MCL during Game 7 against the Islanders.

THE ATHLETIC: Nashville Predators winger Mikael Granlund intends to test this year’s unrestricted free agent market.