NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 31, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 31, 2020

Recaps of the final day of exhibition games, including updates on Tyler Seguin, Brad Marchand, John Carlson, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: First-period goals by Boone Jenner, Zach Werenski, and Gustav Nyquist powered the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins. Nyquist finished with two points while teammate Oliver Bjorkstrand collected two assists.

Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask gave up three goals on 20 shots before being replaced by Jaroslav Halak. Teammate Brad Marchand left the game in the third period with an apparent lower-body injury following a hit on Werenski. Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy will provide an update today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins appeared rusty in this contest, but they’ll have plenty of time to sharpen their play during the seeding round-robin before the opening round of the playoffs. The Jackets, meanwhile, showed how much better they can be when they have a mostly healthy roster, something they didn’t have for long stretches in the regular season.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

Reilly Smith scored two goals and Marc-Andre Fleury went the distance with a 22-save performance to give the Vegas Golden Knights a 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Alex Tuch’s highlight-reel goal put the game out of reach. Coyotes center Nick Schmaltz left the game in the second period following a heavy check from Vegas winger Ryan Reaves.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reaves’ arm made contact with Schmaltz’s head during that hit. No word yet if the league’s department of player discipline will be looking at this. It’s interesting that Robin Lehner didn’t split the goalie duties with Fleury. Perhaps he’ll get the start in the Golden Knights’ first game in the round-robin on Monday. 

Viktor Arvidsson scored twice while Juuse Saros and Pekka Rinne combined for a 26-save shutout as the Nashville Predators blanked the Dallas Stars 2-0. Stars center Tyler Seguin was scratched from the lineup (unfit to play), while forward Andrew Cogliano left the game in the second period favoring his left leg following a collision with Predators defenseman Yannick Weber.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seguin is expected to be ready for the round-robin starting Aug. 3 against the Golden Knights. No update was provided on Cogliano’s status.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals defenseman John Carlson didn’t practice yesterday after missing the final half of the third period of Wednesday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Carlson crashed awkwardly into the boards and was removed from the game as a precautionary measure. Head coach Todd Reirden expects the blueliner will return to practice on Saturday.

CBS SPORTS: Toronto Maple Leafs forward Andreas Johnsson took part in special teams’ practice yesterday. He’s still recovering from a knee injury suffered during the regular season. Johnsson isn’t expected in the lineup when the Leafs face off against the Blues Jackets on Sunday in Game 1 of their qualifying-round series.

THE AHL.COM: American Hockey League president and CEO Scott Howson announced a revised start date of Dec. 4 for their 2020-21 season. Details of their full schedule have yet to be determined.










NHL Gold & Mold: Carlson on Fire, Bobrovsky Feeling the Heat

NHL Gold & Mold: Carlson on Fire, Bobrovsky Feeling the Heat

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 29, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 29, 2019

The Avalanche re-sign Mikko Rantanen and the Jets ink Kyle Connor. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche re-signed winger Mikko Rantanen to a six-year, $55.5-million contract. Cap Friendly indicates the annual average value is $9.25 million. 

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets re-signed winger Kyle Connor to a seven-year, $50-million deal with an AAV of $7.14 million

The Colorado Avalanche re-signed winger Mikko Rantanen to a six-year deal (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And with that, the last two notable restricted free agents are finally under contract. Both players missed training camp and preseason action but are expected to rejoin their respective clubs as the curtain rises this week on the 2019-20 regular season. It’ll be interesting to see what effect their absences will have upon their early-season performance.

As for the contracts, they’re worthwhile long-term deals for the two sides. Both players get long-term security. Rantanen becomes the highest-paid player on the Avalanche on a front-loaded deal paying him $12 million annually this season and next in real salary ($34 million over the first three seasons) while Connor becomes the second-highest paid forward on the Jets. 

The Avs and Jets each get an important young player under a contract that could turn out to be a long-term bargain. Rantanen is coming off back-to-back 80-point performances while the two-way Connor netted 30-plus goals in each of the last two seasons. The 22-year-olds are core players entering their playing prime with their best seasons still to come. What looks expensive today could look cost-effective in a few years. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins forwards Sidney Crosby and Bryan Rust suffered undisclosed injuries blocking shots in last night’s preseason loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Coach Mike Sullivan said both were being evaluated and more info could be available today. Speaking of the Sabres, Connor Sheary missed the game with a lower-body injury and remains day-to-day. 

VANCOUVER SUN: Canucks winger Brock Boeser and defenseman Oscar Fantenberg skated in practice with their teammates yesterday. Both have been sidelined by concussions since Monday. 

WASHINGTON POST: Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny (hamstring) remains doubtful for the club’s season opener on Wednesday against the St. Louis Blues. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL’s David Schoen reports Golden Knights winger Alex Tuch is week-to-week with an upper-body injury while Cody Eakin is day-to-day. 

THE SCORE: The Calgary Flames released Devante Smith-Pelly from his professional tryout offer. 

TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs placed blueliners Ben Harpur and Jordan Schmaltz on waivers for the purpose of sending them to the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 26, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 26, 2019

The Devils provide an elaborate welcome for P.K. Subban, the Leafs acquire Jordan Schmaltz from the Blues, the latest contract signings and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NEW YORK POST: The New Jersey Devils provided a red-carpet welcome for P.K. Subban as they formally introduced the defenseman to over 200 fans at Prudential Center yesterday. The Devils acquired Subban during last month’s NHL Draft. Subban was also presented with a Ric Flair-style robe.

 

 

The New Jersey Devils staged an elaborate formal introduction of P.K. Subban to their fans yesterday (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been a busy summer for the Devils. In addition to acquiring Subban for a song from the Nashville Predators, they selected top prospect Jack Hughes with the first-overall pick in this year’s draft and signed power forward Wayne Simmonds to a one-year, $5-million contract. The Devils might not be done making moves. I’ll have more in the Rumors section. 

TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired defenseman Jordan Schmaltz from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for blueliner Andreas Borgman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas continues to wheel and deal. Schmaltz is his latest move, coming on the heels of his recent acquisition of permanently sidelined winger David Clarkson with the intent of placing him on long-term injury reserve.

Schmaltz, a first-round pick by the Blues in the 2012 draft, is a once-promising puck-moving defenseman who struggled to crack the Blues lineup. A right-shot rearguard, he’ll provide additional depth at that position for the Leafs.

WGR550: An arbiter awarded Buffalo Sabres forward Evan Rodrigues a one-year contract worth $2 million. Rodrigues sought $2.65 million while the Sabres countered with $1.5 million.

NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers accepted an arbiter’s award of a one-year contract for defenseman MacKenzie Weegar. Cap Friendly indicates the salary is $1.6 million. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes agreed to a two-year affiliation deal with the ECHL’s Rapid City Rush.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 25, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – July 25, 2019

A look at 10 supposedly untradeable contracts in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Noting the recent Milan Lucic trade, Ken Campbell feels no NHL contract is truly “untradeable” anymore. Nevertheless, he provides a list of 10 players with seemingly unmoveable deals. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Remember, Campbell isn’t saying the following contracts can’t be traded. It would be difficult to move them, but a bit of creativity and a willing trade partner could make it happen. He also looked at contracts with four-or-more seasons remaining. That’s why Loui Eriksson isn’t on this list. 

Is Nashville Predators center Kyle Turris’ contract really untradeable? (Photo via NHL Images)

Nashville’s Kyle Turris, Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader, and Buffalo’s Kyle Okposo come in at 10 through eight on Campbell’s list. Turris has five years remaining on his contract worth $6-million annually. He lacks no-trade protection. Abdelkader, 32, has four years left with an annual average value of $4.25-million. Okposo has four years remaining ($6 million AAV) and has battled injuries and concussion-related illness in recent years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Turris could be the easiest to move if the Predators picked up part of his cap hit or took back a toxic contract in return. The 29-year-old center had a rough 2018-19 but played well for Canada at this year’s World Championships. He could be poised for a bounce-back performance, which could also make him enticing if the Preds want to move him. Abdelkader’s declining play and Okposo’s injury history are significant sticking points.

Arizona Coyotes center Nick Schmaltz and Minnesota’s Zach Parise and Ryan Suter fill positions seven through five. Schmaltz is starting a seven-year deal worth an AAV of $5.85 million and suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2018-19. Parise and Suter are aging veterans with six seasons remaining on their identical $98-million contracts with full no-movement clauses.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Including Schmaltz on this list could be premature. While Campbell notes he’s had only one good NHL season thus far, he did tally 14 points in 17 games with Arizona before his injury. With a strong recovery, he could quickly regain his offensive form and become a solid addition for the Coyotes. Parise and Suter, on the other hand, are now past their prime and age and injuries could take their toll. Parise turns 35 on July 28, Suter on Jan. 21.

The New York Islanders’ Andrew Ladd, Philadelphia’s Kevin Hayes, and Chicago’s Brent Seabrook fill spots four through two. Ladd was frequently sidelined by injuries, has a full no-trade clause this season and four years remaining on his deal with an AAV of $5.5 million. Hayes inked a seven-year, $49-million contract that Campbell doesn’t believe will age well. Seabrook has five years left ($6.875 million AAV) with a full no-movement clause to 2021-22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ladd’s injury history could be a killer here unless he becomes a permanent long-term injury reserve candidate. As we’ve seen, those contracts can be desirable for cap-strapped clubs. I agree with Campbell that Hayes’ deal could become burdensome during its latter years. Seabrook’s name surfaced in trade speculation last season but came to nothing. Moving his contract remains a daunting challenge.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber topped Campbell’s list. The 34-year-old has seven years left on his deal worth over $7.9 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weber’s contract was traded once before. It could be moved again. He’s still an effective top-pairing defenseman, making him valuable in the trade market. He also lacks no-trade protection.

The threat of salary-cap recapture is there if he retires, but it’s the Nashville Predators on the hook for the bulk of it, especially the latter years. If you’re a Predators fan, pray he doesn’t call it quits before 2025-26.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 31, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 31, 2019

Game recaps, Alex Ovechkin reaches 50 goals again, Islanders clinch a playoff berth, Flyers eliminated from the postseason race, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain and NHL goal-scoring leader Alex Ovechkin scored twice and reached the 50-goal plateau for the eighth time in his career to lead his club to a 6-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie each scored twice and collected an assist.

With the win, the Capitals (102 points) maintain a three-point lead over the New York Islanders for first place in the Metropolitan Division. It was a costly loss for the Lightning, as defenseman Victor Hedman left the game in the first period after being struck in the face by the helmet of Capitals winger Carl Hagelin. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Only Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy have more 50-goal seasons (nine each) than Ovechkin, who narrowly missed the cut with 49 goals last season. It’s a remarkable achievement by one of the greatest goal scorers in NHL history.

For the eighth time in his career, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has scored 50 goals (Photo via NHL Images)

The New York Islanders clinched a playoff spot by downing the Buffalo Sabres 5-1. Robin Lehner made 31 stops and Anthony Beauvillier scored two goals. Sabres forward Vladimir Sobotka missed the game with an upper-body injury. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Entering this season, the Islanders weren’t expected to be in the playoff chase following the offseason departure of John Tavares to Toronto. Credit the coaching of Barry Trotz and his staff,  a career season by goaltender Robin Lehner, and the determination of the players for the Isles surprising performance. 

The Philadelphia Flyers are out of the playoff race after dropping a 5-2 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes. Teuvo Teravainen and Brock McGinn each tallied a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes (93 points) who remain one point ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets for the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Columbus Blue Jackets maintained their hold on the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot by beating the Nashville Predators 5-2. Cam Atkinson scored twice for the Jackets. The Predators activated defenseman Dan Hamhuis, who missed over a month with a leg injury.

The Montreal Canadiens (92 points) kept pace with the Blue Jackets by beating the Winnipeg Jets 3-1. Jordan Weal had a goal and an assist for the Canadiens, who remain tied with the Jackets but sit outside the final Eastern wild-card spot. 

The San Jose Sharks (97 points) secured home-ice advantage in the opening round of the upcoming playoffs by edging the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 on an overtime goal by Brent Burns. The Sharks also snapped a seven-game losing skid. 

Vince Dunn scored in overtime as the St. Louis Blues edged the New Jersey Devils 3-2. Robert Thomas had a goal and an assist for the Blues (92 points), who moved within two points of the Nashville Predators for second place in the Central Division. 

Roberto Luongo made 30 saves and Evgenii Dadonov scored two goals as the Florida Panthers upset the Boston Bruins 4-1. The Bruins (103 points) remains six points ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs for second place in the Eastern Conference. 

Craig Anderson kicked out 42 shots and Anthony Duclair scored twice as the Ottawa Senators upset the slumping Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2. The loss prevented the Leafs (97 points) from clinching a playoff spot. Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki missed the game with an upper-body injury. 

Markus Granlund scored the only goal in a shootout to give the Vancouver Canucks a 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars. Jacob Markstrom made 38 saves for the win. The Stars (89 points) maintain a four-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche for the first wild-card berth in the West.

Rickard Rakell tallied a natural hat trick to lead the Anaheim Ducks to a 5-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. The loss keeps the Oilers (77 points) eight points out of a playoff spot in the West.

The Chicago Blackhawks (79 points) dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to the Los Angeles Kings but moved within six points of the Avalanche for the final Western wild-card berth. Drew Doughty tallied the game-winner for the Kings. 

The Detroit Red Wings are expected to announce a two-year contract extension for head coach Jeff Blashill in the coming days. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Wings general manager Ken Holland has frequently supported Blashill’s efforts and recently indicated his intention to negotiate a new contract for his bench boss. The improvement of their young players under Blashill’s coaching is the main reason for this move. 

The Arizona Coyotes re-signed center Nick Schmaltz to a seven-year contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates it’s worth $40.95 million ($5.85-million annual average value) with a modified no-trade clause (10-team no-trade list) starting in 2023-24. It’s a big raise for the 23-year-old Schmaltz coming out of his entry-level contract. His tenure with the Coyotes has been short thus far, playing in just 17 games after being acquired earlier in the season from Chicago.

A knee injury finished his season but Coyotes management obviously liked what they saw from him and feel confident he’ll be their first-line center going forward. Schmaltz had 52 points last season with the Blackhawks and 14 points with the Coyotes before his injury.