Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov is expected to be ready for the start of the season, Flames center Nazem Kadri expects a different style of game from his club, Blues winger Brandon Saad hopes for a bounce-back performance and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
THE SCORE: cited Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell telling the NHL Network that he fully expects winger Andrei Svechnikov to be healthy and ready for the start of this season.
Carolina Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov (NHL Images).
Svechnikov, 23, suffered a season-ending knee injury in March. Waddell indicated that the young winger is skating on his own and is on schedule to complete the remainder of his recovery, which will be when training camp opens next month.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Svechnikov’s absence was a big reason why the Hurricanes were swept by the Florida Panthers in the 2023 Eastern Conference Final. They missed his production during the playoffs and it caught up with them against the Panthers.
NHL.COM: Calgary Flames center Nazem Kadri believes the club will play a different style this coming season compared to 2022-23. He anticipates that a lot of his teammates will be ready to play to their potential.
“For whatever reason, we got a little restricted last year, so I’m just looking forward to a clean slate and starting the year off strong,” said Kadri, who was among the key Flames whose production declined last season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kadri didn’t throw Darryl Sutter under the bus, but it’s obvious that the Flames chafed last season under their demanding former head coach. The Flames fired Sutter in May and promoted assistant coach Ryan Huska as his replacement.
STLTODAY.COM: Brandon Saad is hoping to put last season’s disappointing performance behind him in 2023-24. The 30-year-old Blues winger netted 19 goals and 37 points in 71 games after tallying 24 goals and 49 points in 78 games in 2021-22.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Saad wasn’t the only player on the Blues whose performance suffered in 2022-23. It’ll be interesting to see if he and his teammates can rebound this season and return to playoff contention.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Anton Lundell could be poised for a breakout performance this season. The 21-year-old Florida Panthers center’s production was down last season from his 44-point rookie performance in 2021-22 but he had 10 points in 21 playoff games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report suggests Lundell will be centering the Panthers’ third line to start this season. Given his ongoing development and potential, he could blossom into an important forward for this club.
TSN.CA: Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nick Robertson seeks a fresh start in this coming season. He said he’s good to go following surgery to repair a season-ending shoulder injury last December.
A hat-trick performance by Seth Jarvis as Hurricanes honor Cam Ward, the NHLPA name Marty Walsh as its new executive director, plus the latest on Thatcher Demko, Jesse Puljujarvi and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Carolina Hurricanes winger Seth Jarvis tallied his first career NHL hat trick in a 6-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Andrei Svechnikov collected three assists as the Hurricanes improved to 36-10-8 to sit second in the overall standings with 80 points. Montreal fell to 23-28-4 on the season. The Canadiens played without Kirby Dach as he was sidelined by a non-COVID-related illness.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes honored former goaltender Cam Ward by making him their first inductee into their Hall of Fame in a pregame ceremony. He spent 13 of his 14 NHL seasons with the Hurricanes, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy by backstopping them to the 2006 Stanley Cup. He holds the franchise’s single-season record for wins (39) and is their career leader in games played by a goalie (668), wins (318) and shutouts (27).
The Boston Bruins got a 28-save shutout performance by Jeremy Swayman to blank the Nashville Predators 5-0. Patrice Bergeron, Hampus Lindholm and Nick Foligno each had two points as the league-leading Bruins (41-8-5) opened a seven-point lead over the Hurricanes with 87 points. The Predators slipped to 25-21-6 (56 points) and sit five points behind the Minnesota Wild for the final Western Conference wild-card berth.
Vegas Golden Knights forward William Carrier scored with 18 seconds remaining in regulation to lift his club to a 2-1 win over the San Jose Sharks. Adin Hill made 25 saves for the win as the Golden Knights (33-18-4) won four straight and sit in first place in the Pacific Division with 70 points. Kaapo Kahkonen stopped 38 shots for the Sharks as they dropped to 17-28-11.
Two goals and an assist by Yanni Gourde powered the Seattle Kraken over the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 6-2. Matty Beniers, Jordan Eberle and Justin Schultz each had two points for the 31-18-6 Kraken as they sit two points back of the Golden Knights in second place in the Pacific Division. Travis Konency scored twice for the Flyers as they slipped to 22-24-10.
The St. Louis Blues doubled up the New Jersey Devils 4-2 thanks to a 34-save performance by Jordan Binnington. Jordan Kyrou and Brayden Schenn each had a goal and an assist as the Blues improved to 26-25-3 (55 points) to sit six points out of the final Western wild-card spot. The Devils are 35-14-5 to sit five points behind the Hurricanes in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 75 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Blues placed winger Brandon Saad (upper body) on injured reserve and recalled winger Jake Neighbours from their AHL affiliate in Springfield.
Florida Panthers forward Anton Lundell had a goal and two assists to lead his club over the Washington Capitals 6-3. Washington defenseman Erik Gustafsson collected three assists. The Panthers (28-24-6) and Capitals (28-23-6) each have 62 points but the Capitals hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with a game in hand.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Capitals announced winger Carl Hagelin underwent left hip resurfacing and is sidelined indefinitely.
Three-point performances by Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi gave the Detroit Red Wings a 5-2 win over the Calgary Flames. Dominik Kubalik tallied two goals for the Wings (26-20-8) as they moved two points behind the Capitals for the final Eastern wild-card spot. The Flames slipped to 25-19-11 and fell out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 61 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames’ inconsistency this season has raised questions and criticism of the club’s culture under head coach Darryl Sutter. He signed a two-year contract extension last October so he’s unlikely to be going anywhere for the time being.
Before the game, the Red Wings announced defenseman Olli Maatta signed a two-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $3 million.
A 37-save performance by Joonas Korpisalo lifted the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 3-1 upset of the Winnipeg Jets. Patrik Laine had a goal and an assist for the 17-34-4 Jackets while the Jets (34-20-1) remain two points behind the first-place Dallas Stars in the Central Division with 69 points.
NHLPA.COM: The NHL Players Association announced yesterday that its Executive Board unanimously appointed Martin (Marty) J. Walsh as its new Executive Director. Walsh is the former U.S. Secretary of Labor and the former mayor of Boston.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can read my thoughts on this hiring here.
THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko may have suffered a setback in his efforts to return from a lower-body injury suffered in early December. It’s believed he may have tweaked something during practice on Thursday. He’s slated to return to action on Saturday in a backup role.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kailer Yamamoto is expected to return to action on Friday against the New York Rangers. He’d been sidelined by an upper-body injury since Jan. 11. To fit him into the lineup, the Oilers will have to make a move that could involve winger Jesse Puljujarvi, who did not practice on Thursday. He was expected to be placed on waivers but that didn’t happen.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Could a much-anticipated trade involving Puljujarvi take place before tonight’s game against the Rangers? We’ll learn more soon enough.
NYI HOCKEY NOW: Islanders center Jean-Gabriel Pageau (lower body) has been placed on injured reserve and Andy Andreoff has been recalled from their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning founder Phil Esposito will join Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis as the inaugural inductees into the franchise’s Hall of Fame during its Alumni Weekend on March 16-18.
TSN: Former NHL defenseman and assistant coach Paul Jerrard died of cancer on Thursday at age 57. Jerrard played five games for the Minnesota North Stars in 1988-89 and spent the remainder of his 11 professional seasons in the minors. He became an assistant coach with the Colorado Avalanche in 2002-03 as well as with the Dallas Stars from 2011 to 2013 and the Calgary Flames from 2016 to 2018. Since 2018-19, he’d been an assistant coach with the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Jerrard’s family, friends, teammates and coaching colleagues.
The Oilers’ Connor McDavid and the Panthers’ Sergei Bobrovsky reach career milestones, the Hurricanes and Sharks remain undefeated, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored two goals, including the 200th of his career, to lead his club over the Arizona Coyotes 5-1. Zach Hyman also tallied twice for the Oilers, who are undefeated at 4-0-0 while the Coyotes are 0-3-1. McDavid is the first player to reach double-digits this season with 11 points.
Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (NHL Images).
Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves to become the third Russian goaltender to reach 300 career NHL wins as the Florida Panthers beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-1. Panthers rookie Anton Lundell had a goal and an assist. Like the Oilers, the Panthers are off to a 4-0-0 start. The Avalanche, meanwhile, dropped to 1-3-0.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bobrovsky is the second Russian-born goalie to reach 300 wins. Evgeni Nabokov (353 wins) was born in Kazakhstan while it was part of the Soviet Union.
The Carolina Hurricanes are 3-0-0 after downing the Montreal Canadiens 4-1. Sebastian Aho led the way with two goals and an assist while former Hab Jesperi Kotkaniemi netted the insurance goal in his first game back in Montreal since signing with the Hurricanes in August. The sad-sack Canadiens are 0-5-0.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: History buffs will point to the start of 1995-96 when the Canadiens replaced its general manager and head coach following a similar start. I don’t anticipate history to repeat itself, especially with coach Dominique Ducharme in the first season of a three-year contract. Nevertheless, it’s going to be a long, difficult season for Ducharme, GM Marc Bergevin and the players if they don’t string some wins together soon.
Third-period goals by Logan Couture and Kevin Labanc lifted the San Jose Sharks over the Ottawa Senators 2-1, spoiling the season debut of Senators winger Brady Tkachuk, who picked up an assist on Drake Batherson’s goal. James Reimer kicked out 30 shots as the Sharks are 3-0-0 to start the season. Sharks defenseman Brent Burns played in his 600th consecutive NHL game. Senators center Shane Pinto left the game in the first period favoring his right shoulder.
The Washington Capitals stretched their record to 3-0-1 by beating the New Jersey Devils 4-1. Evgeni Kuznetsov and former Charlottetown Islander Daniel Sprong each had a goal and an assist while Alex Ovechkin collected two helpers. Earlier in the day, the Devils placed center Jack Hughes on injured reserve with a dislocated left shoulder.
Patrik Laine scored in overtime as the Columbus Blue Jackets nipped the New York Islanders 3-2. Oliver Bjorkstrand collected three assists for the Jackets, who are 3-1-0 thus far. Mathew Barzal tallied one of the Islanders’ goals.
The Calgary Flames blanked the Detroit Red Wings 3-0 on a 33-save shutout performance by Jacob Markstrom. Johnny Gaudreau and Erik Gudbranson each had two assists while Elias Lindholm scored in his third straight game.
The New York Rangers got third-period goals by Alexis Lafreniere and Barclay Goodrow to down the Nashville Predators 3-1. Philip Tomasino tallied his first-ever NHL goal for the Predators. The Rangers are 3-1-1 in their last five contests.
Connor Hellebuyck made 38 saves and Kyle Connor scored twice as the Winnipeg Jets picked up their first win of the season (1-2-1)with a 5-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. The win comes with Mark Scheifele joining Blake Wheeler on the COVID protocol list following two positive tests. Unlike Wheeler, he’s asymptomatic and not subject to a 10-day quarantine.
The Chicago Blackhawks still seek their first win of the season (0-4-1) after falling 4-1 to the Vancouver Canucks. Thatcher Demko made 29 saves for the win and Conor Garland had a goal and an assist. Before the game, the Blackhawks honored Patrick Kane for playing his 1,000th career NHL game last season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks decided to wait until fans were allowed back in the United Center to honor Kane’s achievement.
THE SCORE: Montreal’s Carey Price, St. Louis’ Jordan Binnington, Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper, New Jersey’s Mackenzie Blackwood, Philadelphia’s Carter Hart and Chicago’s Marc-Andre Fleury are the goaltenders on Canada’s long list for the 2022 Winter Olympics.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those goalies all come with uncertainties. Price is in the NHL players’ assistance program with no timetable for his return, Binnington’s been inconsistent since backstopping the Blues to the 2019 Stanley Cup, Blackwood remains unvaccinated for COVID-19, Hart struggled throughout last season and Fleury has been shaky behind a porous Blackhawks defense thus far this season.
TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins placed forward Jeff Carter and goaltender Tristan Jarry in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. Each player is asymptomatic.
STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues winger Brandon Saad was placed on the COVID protocol yesterday. He will be unavailable for the club’s home opener on Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings.
VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez was still being evaluated yesterday after leaving Wednesday’s game against the Blues with a lower-body injury.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning received their 2021 Stanley Cup championship rings at a private ceremony on Thursday night.
Alex Ovechkin looks forward to chasing Wayne Gretzky’s goal record, the Blue Jackets sign Zach Werenski to a long-term contract extension, and the Blues sign Brandon Saad. Get the details plus other notable trades and signings in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Alex Ovechkin said the opportunity to pursue Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goal record factored into his recent signing of a five-year contract with the Capitals. Ovechkin, 35, has 730 career goals and needs 165 more to break Gretzky’s record. To do it, he needs to average 33 goals per season.
Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The all-time goal-scoring record is the most reachable of Gretzky’s significant offensive achievements. Nevertheless, it’ll a daunting challenge for Ovechkin, who turns 36 in September.
Ovechkin’s still among the league’s elite scorers, tallying 24 goals in 45 games last season and 48 in 68 games in 2019-20. If not for the pandemic (and a half-season lost to a lockout in 2012-13), he’d be much closer to Gretzky’s record by now. However, he’s also at an age when his production will begin to decline.
The Capitals captain is currently sixth on the all-time list. A 37-goal performance this season would vault him over Marcel Dionne (731), Brett Hull (741) and Jaromir Jagr (766) into third overall, 34 behind Gordie Howe (801).
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets signed defenseman Zach Werenski to a six-year, $57.5 million contract extension. The annual average value is $9.583 million and takes effect in 2022-23.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets consider Werenski among the NHL’s top defensemen over the past five seasons and are paying him accordingly. He’s tallied 189 points in 335 career games. Starting in 2022-23, he’ll be the third highest-paid defenseman in the league with a higher annual cap hit than Colorado Avalanche blueliner Cale Makar’s $9 million and just ahead of former defense partner Seth Jones’ $9.5 million AAV with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Werenski’s a skilled puck-moving defenseman but I don’t consider him worth more than Makar, a Calder Trophy winner in 2019-20 who was a Norris Trophy finalist last season. But after enduring a steady parade of talent departing Columbus via trades and free agency in recent years, the Jackets had to pay the price to keep Werenski in the fold.
His new contract lacks no-trade protection in 2022-23 and a full no-movement clause in 2023-24 through 2026-27, dropping to a modified no-trade in the final season.
STLTODAY.COM: The Blues signed winger Brandon Saad to a five-year, $22.5 million contract. The annual average value is $4.5 million. The deal also comes with a full no-trade clause in the first four years.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Saad took a pay cut from the $6 million AAV he earned over six seasons on his previous contract. He joins a club undergoing a retooling of its roster since winning the Stanley Cup two years ago. He fills the vacant left wing spot on the Blues’ first line following the departure of free agent Jaden Schwartz to Seattle on Wednesday.
NEW YORK POST/LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights trade winger Ryan Reaves to the New York Rangers in exchange for a 2022 third-round pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers acquired enforcer Reaves in yet another move to bolster their toughness. The Golden Knights, meanwhile, made this move to free up salary-cap space by shedding his $1.75 million cap hit.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning signed winger Corey Perry to a two-year, $2 million contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perry said he wanted to return to the Montreal Canadiens for another season. The opportunity to play two seasons with the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion, however, was too good to pass up.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Zach Werenski wasn’t the only defenseman the Blue Jackets signed yesterday, inking Jake Bean to a three-year deal worth an annual cap hit of $2.33 million. The Jackets acquire the 23-year-old blueliner from the Carolina Hurricanes last week.
MLIVE.COM: Long-time Detroit Red Wings forward Darren Helm signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Colorado Avalanche.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Helm and Valtteri Filppula were the last remaining active members of the Wings last Stanley Cup championship in 2008 still with the team last season. Filppula is also an unrestricted free agent and isn’t expected to be brought back.
SPORTSNET: The Montreal Canadiens signed forward Mathiew Perreault to a one-year, $950K contract.
Catching up on some notable late trades and free-agent signings, including the Avalanche acquiring Darcy Kuemper, plus a look at the notable free-agents still available in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes traded goaltender Darcy Kuemper to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for defenseman Conor Timmins, a first-round pick in 2022 and a conditional third-round pick in 2024.
Arizona Coyotes trade goaltender Darcy Kuemper to the Colorado Avalanche (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche needed a suitable replacement for Philipp Grubauer after he signed with the Seattle Kraken yesterday. They had to move quickly as several teams had some interest in Kuemper. That’s why Avs general manager Joe Sakic paid such a steep price to get him.
In the short term, the 31-year-old Kuemper should offset Grubauer’s absence provided he can stay healthy. He’s been sidelined in recent seasons by a variety of injuries and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong, meanwhile, is doing a superb job trimming payroll while laying the groundwork to restock his prospect pipeline. Timmins is a promising young defenseman who could be a good fit on this rebuilding team. The Coyotes now have two first-round picks and five second-rounders in next year’s draft. They could get more when Armstrong starts shopping some of his pending unrestricted free agents at next year’s trade deadline.
NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals reacquired goaltender Vitek Vanecek from the Seattle Kraken in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft. The Kraken selected Vanecek during last week’s expansion draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Getting back Vanecek maintains the Capitals’ goalie tandem from last season. His reacquisition spares them from shopping for a backup goalie that would’ve cost more than Vanecek’s $716, 667 salary-cap hit.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins traded goaltender Dan Vladar to the Calgary Flames for a 2022 third-round pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The signing of Linus Ullmark and the emergence of Jeremy Swayman made Vladar the odd man out among the Bruins goaltenders, especially if they bring back Tuukka Rask next year following his recovery from hip surgery.
WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres signed veteran goaltenders Craig Anderson and Aaron Dell to one-year contracts.
SPORTSNET: The Sabres also acquired defenseman Will Butcher and a 2022 fifth-round pick from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for future considerations.
SI.COM/THE HOCKEY NEWS: David Krejci, Kyle Palmieri and Brandon Saad are among the best players still available in the free-agent market. Others include Tomas Tatar and Zach Parise.
THE SCORE: Josh Wegman ranks the winners and losers from the opening day of free agency.
TSN: Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is hopeful of returning to action in 2021-22 once he receives medical clearance to do so. The 39-year-old goaltender signed last season with the Washington Capitals but heart surgery sidelined him for the entire campaign.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There will be interest in Lundqvist if he’s cleared to resume playing. It’ll be interesting to see if he gets a contract with a playoff contender.
OTTAWA SUN: The Senators signed head coach D.J. Smith to a two-year contract extension.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks, Rangers and Kings have plenty of promising assets and the cap space to swing a deal for Eichel. Whether they’re willing to pay the hefty price in terms of his expensive contract and the return to the Sabres (an equivalent of four first-rounders) is another story. The ongoing uncertainty over his neck injury remains a serious sticking point for every potential suitor.
The Athletic’s Michael Russo reported last month the Wild had preliminary talks with the Sabres. He indicated general manager Bill Guerin could be reluctant to mortgage his club’s future. Guerin also has to get Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala under contract.
Cap space isn’t an issue for the Bruins but their focus is on adding a top-four, left-side defenseman. They’re in talks with pending UFA winger Taylor Hall and could bring back Tuukka Rask and David Krejci on short-term deals for one more run at the Stanley Cup. They also don’t have enough tradeable assets to meet the Sabres’ high asking price.
Absorbing Eichel’s $10 million annual cap hit would be a problem for the Flames and Golden Knights. Like the Bruins, they lack sufficient depth in promising assets to outbid the others on Friedman’s list.
I’m not saying Eichel won’t be traded or won’t end up on one of those teams. I’m merely pointing out that it’s going to take considerable work to pull it off, especially if the Sabres are reluctant to lower their asking price or absorb a portion of his salary.
KEITH TRADE BETWEEN BLACKHAWKS AND OILERS FALLING APART?
Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (NHL Images).
DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli said the Blackhawks don’t want to retain any portion of Keith’s $5.53 million annual cap hit. The Oilers’ interest has waned and they’ve pulled back on the assets they were willing to send to Chicago in return. Seravalli believes Caleb Jones was part of it. He also said the Oilers have tabled a “take it or leave it” offer and there’s only a certain price they’ll pay if the Blackhawks won’t retain salary.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like Oilers general manager Ken Holland is taking a firm approach here. He’s under no pressure to acquire Keith. The Oilers could use a second-pairing left-side defenseman but they can find more affordable options if the Hawks won’t retain salary. There’s also no indication the Hawks will take on someone like James Neal or Mikko Koskinen for the purpose of buying them out. If the Blackhawks won’t bend, this deal falls apart.
MORE NOTABLE RUMORS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST 31 THOUGHTS
The Philadelphia Flyers and Jakub Voracek have discussed that it might be time for a change. The 31-year-old winger was told he’ll be left unprotected in the upcoming expansion draft.
If the Seattle Kraken doesn’t select him, the Flyers will look elsewhere. Voracek has three years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $8.25 million. There’s also a chance they can’t move him via trade and he stays put.
Friedman also reported the Seth Jones-to-Philadelphia trade discussions are off for now. They can’t get the commitment they want from the Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Voracek’s still an effective top-six winger. He lacks no-trade protection but his cap hit will dampen his trade value unless the Flyers pick up part of it or take back an equivalent salary. Perhaps a three-team deal can be made involving draft picks to spread that cap hit around.
If Jones is unwilling to sign an extension with an acquiring team it could kill his value in the trade market. Teams are definitely interested but they don’t want to part with assets on a player who could depart next summer as a free agent.
Friedman wondered if the Carolina Hurricanes will qualify the rights of goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic over concerns of what he might get via arbitration. Same thing with winger Warren Foegele.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Hurricanes don’t qualify their rights they become unrestricted free agents on July 28. They would lose both players to other teams for nothing, though they’d probably try to trade them before then. Nedeljkovic was a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy and would draw considerable attention in the UFA market.
Friedman took note of Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin acknowledging how tough the past year was for him mentally and his intention to honor the final year of his contract. He wondered if Bergevin might move into a President of Hockey Operations role with the Canadiens after next season while Scott Mellanby or Martin Lapointe takes over as GM.
Canadiens center Phillip Danault confirmed turning down a long-term extension prior to this season. Friedman believes the two sides were $500K to $750K per season apart. Bergevin indicated he hopes Danault remains with the team.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The statuses of Bergevin and Danault will be the hot topics for the Montreal media in the coming weeks. Danault is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28. It’ll be interesting to see if the Canadiens increase their previous six-year, $30 million offer or if Danault will test the market.
The Toronto Maple Leafs had an interest in Detroit’s Tyler Bertuzzi until the 26-year-old left winger suffered a season-ending injury. Pending UFA winger Zach Hyman probably won’t be back with the Leafs. The Red Wings could be among Hyman’s suitors.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps the Leafs will revisit that interest in Bertuzzi if he’s fully recovered from his back surgery. He is a restricted free agent who exceeded 45 points in consecutive seasons prior to this year. He’ll be costly to the Leafs in terms of salary and return to the Wings if the latter intends to part with him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings were in the market for two top-six wingers in the trade market, preferably in their late-20s with some term left on their contracts. Saad and Schwartz are in the right age group but they’re due to become UFAs by July 28. The Kings might be interested but perhaps on deals for no more than four years.