NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 29, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 29, 2019

Three stars of the week, Vladimir Tarasenko sidelined for five months, Evgeni Malkin hopes to return by week’s end, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: A five-goal first period powered the Vancouver Canucks to a 7-2 thrashing of the Florida Panthers, ending the latter’s eight-game points streak. J.T. Miller scored twice while Elias Pettersson and Alexander Edler each collected three assists. Panthers goaltender Sam Montembault was pulled after giving up three goals on nine shots but returned for the second period after Sergei Bobrovsky allowed two goals on six shots.

Nick Schmaltz scored in the shootout as the Arizona Coyotes overcame a 2-0 deficit to nip the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Conor Garland had a goal and an assist for the Coyotes, who’ve won six of their last seven games. Jeff Skinner had a goal and an assist for the Sabres.

HEADLINES

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand, Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi, and Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Brian Elliott are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Oct. 27, 2019.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko will undergo shoulder surgery and will be sidelined for five months.

Shoulder surgery will sideline St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko for five months (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a serious blow to the Blues’ offense, robbing them of their best goal scorer. They’ll have to turn to a young forward like Robert Thomas, Sammy Blais or Robby Fabbri to fill the void.

SPORTSNET: Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin hopes to return to action on Saturday against the Edmonton Oilers. A lower-body injury has sidelined him for all but two games this month.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES/DETROIT FREE PRESS: The Chicago Blackhawks traded forward Brendan Perlini to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for defenseman Alec Regula.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perlini requested a trade last week after seeing limited playing time with the Blackhawks. He could provide a bit of a boost to the struggling Red Wings’ anemic offense. Regula currently skates for the OHL’s London Knights.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets center Adam Lowry received a two-game suspension for a dangerous hit on Calgary Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington during Saturday’s Heritage Classic game in Regina.

TSN: The Flames placed winger Tobias Rieder on waivers.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs defenseman Travis Dermott will make his season debut tonight against the Washington Capitals. He was sidelined by offseason shoulder surgery.

NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils defenseman Connor Carrick required surgery to repair a broken finger. He’ll be sidelined four-to-six weeks.

CBS SPORTS: Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray will miss three-to-four weeks with a broken hand.

Dallas Stars blueliners Andrej Sekera (undisclosed injury) won’t play tonight against the Minnesota Wild.

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland is day-to-day with a minor lower-body injury.

NBC SPORTS: San Jose Sharks defenseman Radim Simek will join their AHL affiliate on a conditioning stint. He hasn’t played since undergoing season-ending knee surgery last March.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins assigned Joseph Blandisi and Adam Johnson to their AHL affililate.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers called up Filip Chytil and Ryan Lindgren.










List of NHL Free-Agent Signings – July 1, 2019

List of NHL Free-Agent Signings – July 1, 2019

Check out the listing of today’s notable NHL free-agent signings. This will be updated throughout the day as signings become official.

The Chicago Blackhawks signed goaltender Robin Lehner to a one-year, $5-million contract. 

The New York Islanders sign left wing Anders Lee to a seven-year, $49-million contract. The Isles also signed goaltender Semyon Varlamov to a four-year contract worth $5 million per season. 

The Carolina Hurricanes sign goaltender Petr Mrazek to a two-year, $6.5-million contract. 

The Montreal Canadiens have tendered an offer sheet to Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho. The proposed contract is for five years, with an average annual value of $8.454 million. 

 

New York Rangers sign left winger Artemi Panarin to a seven-year, $81.5 million contract. The annual average value is $11.6 million.

Florida Panthers signed goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to a seven-year, $70 million deal. They also signed winger Brett Connolly to a four-year, $13-million contract, defenseman Anton Stralman to a three-year, $16.5 million contract and forward Noel Acciari to a three-year, $5-million contract. 

Artemi Panarin signs a seven-year contract with the New York Rangers (Photo via NHL Images).

The Nashville Predators sign center Matt Duchene to a seven-year, $56-million contract.

Dallas Stars sign center/winger Joe Pavelski to a three-year, $21-million contract. The Stars also signed winger Corey Perry on a one-year, bonus-laden contract worth up to $3.25 million. They also signed defenseman Andrej Sekera to a one-year contract with a $1.5 million base salary and $500K in bonuses.

Minnesota Wild sign winger Mats Zuccarello to a five-year, $30-million contract. The Wild also sign forward Ryan Hartman to a two-year contract with an annual average value of $1.9 million.

Vancouver Canucks sign defenseman Tyler Myers to a five-year, $30-million contract. The Canucks also signed blueliner Jordie Benn to a two-year, $4-million contract and rearguard Oscar Fantenberg to a one-year, $850K deal. 

Pittsburgh Penguins sign forward Brandon Tanev to a six-year contract with an AAV of $3.5 million. 

Columbus Blue Jackets sign forward Gustav Nyquist to a four-year, $22-million contract. 

Washington Capitals sign forward Richard Panik to a four-year, $10-million contract and forward Garnet Hathaway to a four-year, $6-million deal. 

Colorado Avalanche sign winger Joonas Donskoi to a three-year contract estimated at around $3.5 million per season. They also sign winger Pierre-Edouard Bellemare to a two-year, $3.6-million contract

Chicago Blackhawks sign center Ryan Carpenter to a three-year, $3-million contract. 

Detroit Red Wings sign center Valtteri Filppula to a two-year, $6-million contract. They also signed defenseman Patrik Nemeth to a two-year deal. 

St. Louis Blues sign forward Nathan Walker to a two-year, $1.4-million contract. 

New Jersey Devils sign winger Wayne Simmonds to a one-year, $5-million contract. 

Edmonton Oilers signed goaltender Mike Smith to a one-year, $2-million contract and sign forward Markus Granlund to a one-year, $1.3-million contract. They also re-signed winger Alex Chiasson to a two-year deal worth $2.15-million per season. 

Ottawa Senators sign Ron Hainsey to a one-year, $3.5-million contract and winger Tyler Ennis to a one-year, $800K contract. 

Toronto Maple Leafs sign center Jason Spezza to a one-year, $700K contract.  

Calgary Flames sign goaltender Cam Talbot to sign a one-year. $2.75-million contract.

Montreal Canadiens sign goaltender Keith Kinkaid to a one-year, $1.75-million contract. 

Tampa Bay Lightning sign goaltender Curtis McElhinney to a two-year, $2.6-million contract. They also signed defenseman Luke Schenn to a one-year, $700K contract. 

Buffalo Sabres sign forward Curtis Lazar,  goaltender Andrew Hammond, and defenseman John Gilmour to one-year contracts each worth $700K.  The Sabres also acquire forward Jimmy Vesey from the New York Rangers in exchange for a third-round pick in 2021.

Winnipeg Jets sign defenseman Nathan Beaulieu to a one-year, $1-million contract. 

Trade Alert: The New York Rangers trade Jimmy Vesey to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a third-round pick in 2021.










Notable NHL Player Movement – June 30, 2019

Notable NHL Player Movement – June 30, 2019

With the start of the NHL free-agent market fast approaching, here’s a look at today’s notable player movement.

The Montreal Canadiens trade winger Andrew Shaw and a seventh-round pick in 2021 to the Chicago Blackhawks. In return, the Canadiens receive a second- and a seventh-round pick in the 2020 draft and a third-round pick in 2021. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Can you say, “salary dump”, kids? I knew you could because that’s what this is. Shaw, 27, has three years remaining on his contract (stick tap to Cap Friendly) at an annual average value of $3.9 million. The Canadiens now have over $12 million in salary-cap room. It’s believed this move sets the stage for what could be one or two significant roster additions via trade or (most likely) free agency tomorrow.

Shaw, meanwhile, returns to the club where he began his NHL career, helping the Blackhawks win two Stanley Cups (2013, 2015). A physical checking-line winger with a decent scoring touch, his style of play has also taken a toll on his body. He was frequently sidelined over the past three seasons. 

The Canadiens also traded forward Nicolas Deslauriers to the Anaheim Ducks for a 2020 fourth-round draft pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s an additional $950K off the Habs books. They’re also loading up on draft picks for the 2020 Draft. They now have 12 picks, including two in the second round, four in the fourth, and two in the fifth. Some of those could be used as trade bait in other deals. 

The Florida Panthers trade goaltender James Reimer to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for goaltender Scott Darling and a sixth-round draft pick. The Panthers placed Darling on waivers to buy out his contract. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reimer is signed through 2020-21 with an annual average value of $3.4 million. With the Hurricanes attempting to re-sign Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney expected to depart tomorrow via free agency, Reimer could be filling the backup role. However, The News & Observer’s Luke DeCock says Reimer’s time with the Canes could be short. “Other potential moves in works,” he said. Stay tuned.

Florida Panthers trade James Reimer to the Carolina Hurricanes (Photo via NHL Images).

Darling had two years left on his contract with a $4.1 million AAV. Given his struggles over the past two years, he no longer had a future with the Hurricanes and doesn’t fit into the Panthers’ goaltending plans. Cap Friendly has the breakdown of the buyout.  

The Edmonton Oilers placed defenseman Andrej Sekera on unconditional waivers for a contract buyout. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sekera, 33, had two years remaining on his deal worth $5.5 million annually. You can see the breakdown of the buyout here.  This move comes as a surprise. Oilers GM Ken Holland had indicated he’d prefer keeping Sekera around. Looks like Holland wants the cap space for other moves. 

The Philadelphia Flyers placed defenseman David Schlemko on unconditional waivers as a precursor to buying out his contract. The 32-year-old had a year remaining on his deal at $2.1 million. 










NHL Rumor Mill – May 25, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – May 25, 2019

Six potential salary-cap casualties plus updates on the Jets and Flames in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

KOVALCHUK, TURRIS,  AMONG POSSIBLE COST-CUTTING CANDIDATES

SPORTSNET: Ryan Dixon lists Los Angeles’ Ilya Kovalchuk and Nashville’s Kyle Turris among six potential cost-cutting candidates this summer. 

Will the Los Angeles Kings try to trade Ilya Kovalchuk this summer? (Photo via NHL Images)

Kovalchuk, 36, has two years left on his contract with an annual average value of $6.25 million. Dixon noted there was speculation near the trade deadline suggesting a team in “win-now” mode might take a chance on the left winger.

Turris ($6 million annually) has five years left on his contract. The 29-year-old center is coming off a difficult, injury-shortened campaign. 

Olli Maatta (three years remaining at $4.1 million per season) has fallen out of favor in Pittsburgh. Dixon believes another club could give the 24-year-old Penguins defenseman another chance. 

Dixon suggests the Edmonton Oilers could attempt to move Andrej Sekera. The 33-year-old blueliner has two years left on his deal with a $5.5-million annual salary-cap hit. His injury history, however, could make him difficult to move. 

The Tampa Bay Lightning need to free up cap space to re-sign Brayden Point. Right wing Ryan Callahan (one year, $5.8 million) seems an obvious trade candidate. He carries a modified no-trade clause. 

If the Florida Panthers pursue goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky via free agency, they could shop backup James Reimer. He’s got two years remaining at $3.4 million per season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Kovalchuk has a full no-movement clause. He and his family seem happily settled in the Los Angeles area. He might consider waiving his clause to join a Cup contender but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Predators general manager David Poile is among the shrewdest executives in the game. However, I doubt he’ll find a taker for Turris without including a sweetener in the deal or picking up part of that cap hit. Even then, Poile could find it tough drumming up interest.

Maatta’s had his struggles with the Penguins. Nevertheless, there’s a market for young, puck-moving, defensemen. Of those on Dixon’s list, Maatta seems the most likely to move. 

Ken Holland, the Oilers’ new GM, could consider peddling Sekera to free up some cap space. On the other hand, he could retain him to buy time for the younger blueliners in their system.

Callahan’s best seasons are well behind him now. The one positive is he only has a year left on his deal. If the Lightning includes a quality prospect or draft pick in the deal, a club with cap room seeking veteran leadership could consider it. 

The Panthers will pursue an upgrade between the pipes via trade or free agency this summer. If Roberto Luongo doesn’t retire, Reimer will be on the move. Teams looking for an experienced backup could show interest in him. 

LATEST ON THE JETS

WINNIPEG SUN: Ken Wiebe expects Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff could attempt to recoup some draft picks leading up to next month’s NHL Draft. The Jets currently have spots in the second, fourth, and fifth rounds. Trade-deadline acquisition Kevin Hayes is expected to depart via free agency. That could put the Jets in the market for a second-line center. They need someone who can establish chemistry with left wing Patrik Laine. 

Wiebe also suggests defenseman Jacob Trouba could be traded during the draft weekend. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. What could complicate things is it’s unknown if he’s interested in signing a long-term contract when he’s a year away from UFA eligibility.  If Trouba is moved, the Jets could attempt to re-sign pending UFA blueliner Tyler Myers. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cheveldayoff will be busy in the coming weeks. With Laine and Kyle Connor due for big raises, they probably can’t afford to re-sign Trouba. The Jets GM won’t have difficulty finding trade partners for the 25-year-old blueliner. Suitors could include the Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, and New York Rangers. 

To address the Jets’ second-line center position, Wiebe suggests Cheveldayoff target Nazem Kadri of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He calls the 28-year-old center “a hard-nosed player with plenty of skill.” The Leafs could be forced to move Kadri’s $4.5-million annual salary-cap hit to free up room to re-sign Mitch Marner. Wiebe suggests offering up Jack Roslovic in a package deal for Kadri. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A sticking point is Kadri’s modified no-trade clause. The Jets could be on his 10-team no-trade list. If they’re not, a package offer containing Roslovic could tempt the Leafs. 

RECENT FLAMES SPECULATION

SPORTSNET: Eric Francis believes Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving must make addressing his goaltending a priority this summer. One option could be re-signing pending UFA Mike Smith, who’s interested in returning. Failing that, Treliving will have to find an affordable option to split the duties with David Rittich.

Francis suggests St. Louis Blues former starter Jake Allen ($4.35 million annually through 2020-21) might be available via trade. So could New York Islanders backup Thomas Greiss, who’s got a year left on his deal at $3.33 million. Free-agent possibilities include Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov or Carolina’s Curtis McElhinney. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Limited salary-cap space will hamper Treliving’s efforts. With over $68.5 million invested in 19 players, he’s got $14 million available for next season. Most of that will be taken up re-signing Matthew Tkachuk and Sam Bennett. Maybe a dollar-for-dollar swap for Allen or Greiss is possible. Failing that, he’ll have to go cheap for goaltending help.

Varlamov’s frequent injury history could drive down his value in the UFA market. As Francis noted, that could make him an affordable gamble. McElhinney will probably re-sign with the Hurricanes. 

 










NHL Rumor Mill – May 14, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – May 14, 2019

Five possible contract buyout candidates, plus the latest speculation on Phil Kessel, Nazem Kadri, and William Nylander in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

POTENTIAL BUYOUT CANDIDATES

TVA SPORTS: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Karl Alzner, Edmonton Oilers winger Milan Lucic, Oilers defenseman Andrej Sekera, New York Rangers blueliner Kevin Shattenkirk, and Vancouver Canucks winger Loui Eriksson could become contract buyout candidates next month. The buyout period begins June 15 and runs through June 30. 

Could the New York Rangers buy out Kevin Shattenkirk next month? (Photo via NHL Images)

Alzner has three years remaining on his five-year, $23.125-million contract. He spent most of last season in the AHL. Lucic has four seasons left on his seven-year, $42-million contract while Sekera has two years left on his six-year, $33-million deal. Shattenkirk is two years into a four-year, $26.6-million contract, and Eriksson has three years remaining on his six-year, $36-million deal

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Contract buyouts for those players count as two-thirds the remaining value over twice the remaining term. Of the five, Sekera could be the easiest to buy out. It comes with a $2.5 million cap hit in the first two years, dropping to $1.5 million for the remaining two seasons. Sekera, however, looked good in his recent return from injury. The Oilers could hang onto him for next season.

The others would be more complicated. Alzner’s buyout would count as over $1.069 million against the Canadiens cap, except for 2020-21, when it jumps to $4.19 million. Shattenkirk’s would be $1.43 million, except for 2020-21 when it would be over $6 million. That’s because a significant chunk of their respective salaries for that particular season is paid as a signing bonus. It’s a form of salary insurance for those two in case there’s a lockout in 2020-21.

Signing bonuses also affect the buyout structure for Eriksson and Lucic. An Eriksson buyout counts as over $5.55 million against the Canucks cap for the first two seasons, dropping to $3.55 million in year three, before falling to over $555K for each of the final three seasons. Buying out Lucic counts as over $3.625 million in 2019-20, $5.625 million in 2020-21, $4.125 million in 2021-22, $5.625 million in 2022-23, then tumbling to 625K for each of the final four seasons.

If the league or the NHLPA choose to opt out of the current CBA in September, there could be another lockout in the fall of 2020. Teams considering the buyout option this summer could opt to wait a year and see what happens with the CBA.

A new CBA could see each team allowed two compliance buyouts as they were when the current agreement was implemented. Those buyouts didn’t count against a team’s salary-cap payroll. 

LATEST KESSEL SPECULATION

TRIBLIVE.COM: If the Pittsburgh Penguins trade Phil Kessel, Jonathan Bombulie believes it must be more than addition by subtraction. Despite his age and “quirky personality”, the 32-year-old winger remains a productive scorer. Replacing his scoring would be difficult. If Kessel’s traded, Bombulie believes the player they get back makes the Penguins better away from the puck and improves the chemistry on the second line. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel has an eight-team trade list, which could complicate things unless he’s willing to widen that list. The Penguins reportedly entertained offers for the winger last summer and could do so again this year.

Moving Kessel and his $6.8-million cap hit could be done to free up salary to bring in a more affordable, younger player. That player could come in the return for Kessel, or through a separate trade with another team, or via free agency. 

NYLANDER OR KADRI?

TORONTO STAR: In a recent mailbag, Kevin McGran was asked if the Toronto Maple Leafs will consider moving center Nazem Kadri and winger William Nylander. Kadri’s undisciplined play cost the Leafs in the last two seasons while Nylander carries a big cap hit that could affect efforts to re-sign Mitch Marner.

McGran believes Kadri is more vulnerable to a trade. He points out Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas “went through a lot to sign Nylander. He’s not trading him.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree. Kadri is the more likely of the two to get traded. One can’t fully dismiss the possibility of a Nylander trade despite Dubas’ “promise” not to move him. Still, it would’ve been all for nothing to trade Nylander at this point. Kadri’s loose cannon act has proven too costly over the past two years. 










NHL Rumor Mill – April 3, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – April 3, 2019

Check out the latest Oilers speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman took note of the frustration expressed by Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid after his club was once again eliminated from playoff contention. McDavid noted it was an “insane season” with coaching and management changes and inconsistent play. “We have a lot of crap to figure out. I hope we can put the right man in the spot and can put together a good team. We let (losing) streaks drag on, we let times were we weren’t able to find wins drag on. You have to find a way to stop the bleeding, quick,” said McDavid.

Edmonton Oilers management cannot afford to ignore the frustrations of stars like Connor McDavid (Photo via NHL Images).

Friedman doesn’t believe McDavid is looking to leave the Oilers, believing he wants to be part of the solution. However, he feels the club could have a serious problem with their captain if they fail to properly address their issues. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Robert Tychkowski feels the Oilers upper-management must pay attention to the warning signs coming from frustrated stars like McDavid, Draisaitl, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. He points out Nugent-Hopkins, 26, has only been the postseason once since joining the Oilers in 2011 and is watching his career pass by without getting a chance to play for the Stanley Cup.

“It’s my eighth year and I’ve only been in it once. At this point in my career, it’s about making the playoffs and pushing for the end result. Right now, it’s tough to swallow,” said Nugent-Hopkins. Tychkowski also points out Oilers management has done a poor job surrounding their best players with a solid supporting cast. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No one is saying McDavid, Draisaitl or Nugent-Hopkins want out of Edmonton. Not yet, anyway. However, several pundits have already wondered (especially about McDavid) how much more they’re willing to put up with before their patience is exhausted. If things don’t change under the next GM over the next two or three years, that issue could come to a head.

Nugent-Hopkins could be the first out the door. He’s got two more seasons left on his contract with an annual salary-cap hit of $6 million and he lacks no-trade protection. He’s popped up in trade rumors several times since 2016 and that speculation could grow if nothing improves. At the very least, they risk making it easy for him to depart via free agency in 2021. 

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski and Chris Peters believe hiring the right general manager and head coach, addressing the organizational rot, and improving the forward depth is among the offseason keys for the Oilers. The “old boys network” remains largely intact in upper management and that has to change. They also noted the Oilers offensive production drops sharply beyond Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Wyshynski and Peters believe the next GM must find a way to shed some salary. Trading Milan Lucic and his hefty contract would be difficult and buying him out wouldn’t free up much cap space. Defensemen Andrej Sekera ($5.5 million annually, no-movement clause) and Kris Russell ($4 million per season, NMC) are often mentioned as trade or buyout candidates. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could take at two or three years for the next GM to untangle this mess and reverse the Oilers’ long-sagging fortunes. Shedding Lucic’s contract will be very difficult and could involve packaging him with a top draft pick or prospect plus picking up a sizeable chunk of his annual cap hit. That’s assuming he’s willing to waive his no-movement. 

Sekera’s missed most of this season and last season to injuries but when healthy he’s a solid addition to their blueline. I expect they’ll keep him for next season and see how things unfold. Russell’s full no-trade clause becomes a modified no-trade this summer so perhaps there’s a chance of moving him via trade. A buyout would give them over $3 million in savings for 2019-20 but the cap hit jumps up to $3.4 million for 2020-21 before falling off again over the final two seasons. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL’s Jim Matheson recently tweeted he feels the Oilers must sign some forwards this summer. “They need a second-line winger to play with Nuge, a third-line C, and two other bottom-six forwards. Speed with all 4.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: To do that, the Oilers must shed salary. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $71 million invested in 16 players for 2019-20. Fortunately, their only free agents of note are Alex Chiasson and Jesse Puljujarvi and both should be affordable re-signings. Nevertheless, they must find a way to free up cap room to add a second-line winger, a third-line center and two bottom-six forwards.

I would also suggest they bring in an experienced goaltender as I lack confidence in Mikko Koskinen as a starter. Either that or hire a goalie coach who can turn him into a reliable one.