NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 11, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 11, 2022

John Gibson isn’t interested in a trade to Toronto, the Avalanche re-sign Alexandar Georgiev, the Blackhawks won’t qualify Dylan Strome’s rights, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

DAILY FACEOFF: cites Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reporting agent Kurt Overhardt claims client John Gibson has no interest in playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs. His comments come amid speculation the 28-year-old goaltender could be a Leafs trade target. “He’s absolutely committed to the Anaheim Ducks,” said Overhardt.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Last month, Gibson denied speculation he wanted out of Anaheim as Ducks management focuses on rebuilding the roster. Some will take Overhardt’s comments as meaning his client isn’t interested in playing for Toronto but could accept a trade to an American-based team. Nevertheless, it’s apparent the Leafs will have to look elsewhere for a goaltender. I’ll have more about that in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

THE DENVER POST: Less than a week after acquiring Alexandar Georgiev from the New York Rangers, the Colorado Avalanche signed the 26-year-old goaltender to a three-year, $10.2 million contract. He was slated to become a restricted free agent on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The annual average value is an affordable $3.4 million. Georgiev now has an opportunity to finally establish himself as a starting goaltender and to do so with a Stanley Cup champion.

THE ATHLETIC: The Chicago Blackhawks won’t be qualifying the rights of RFA Dylan Strome before today’s 5 pm ET deadline. The 25-year-old center will become an unrestricted free agent on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s not sitting well with Blackhawks fans who felt Strome earned at least a qualifying offer. Some wonder why they’re just letting him go rather than trying to shop him for some sort of return. He’s been a fixture in the trade rumor mill for the past two seasons. Strome has had his ups-and-downs with the Blackhawks but he could be an affordable second-line center option on a more stable roster.

YARDBARKER: Strome isn’t the only Blackhawk not getting a qualifying offer. Winger Dominik Kubalik will also be heading to market on Wednesday. The 26-year-old led all rookies in 2019-20 with 30 goals in 68 games but his production dropped to 17 goals in 56 games in 2020-21 and 15 goals in 78 games this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kubalik will likely get less on the open market than the $4 million it would’ve cost the Blackhawks to qualify his rights. Still, he could be an affordable option for teams on a budget that are seeking scoring depth.

THE SCORE: Seattle Kraken center Shane Wright denies he glared from the draft stage at the Montreal Canadiens table for not selecting him with the first overall pick. “I was just looking at the cameras in front of me,” said Wright. “To be honest, I don’t really remember too much of going up on stage. It was just kind of a whirlwind for me.”

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Vancouver Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin strongly denied there were any trade talks regarding a possible trade of J.T. Miller to the New York Islanders leading up to the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft. When asked, Isles GM Lou Lamoriello simply shrugged and said, “Talk to Vancouver”.

Nevertheless, Stefen Rosner reports a league source claims Allvin asked for an additional piece in the Islanders’ rumored package offer for Miller. Lamoriello was said to be unwilling to do that and nixed the deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The speculation suggests the Isles were in the market for a scorer at the draft. Whether Lamoriello continues his rumored attempt to land Miller or looks elsewhere via trade or free agency remains to be seen.

Speaking of the Islanders, The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz tweeted it’s his understanding winger Josh Bailey isn’t being shopped, nor is he believed to be available.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bailey was rumored to be a cost-cutting trade candidate in Lamoriello’s search for a scorer. Cap Friendly shows the 32-year-old winger is signed through 2023-24 with an annual cap hit of $5 million and lacking no-trade protection.

DAILY FACEOFF: Qualifying offers for restricted free agents are due at 5 pm ET Monday (July 11). RFAs are eligible to begin receiving offer sheets on July 12. By midnight on Tuesday, pending UFAs won’t be eligible to receive eight-year contract offers from their current clubs. The free-agent market opens Wednesday at noon ET.

BROAD STREET HOCKEY: Philadelphia Flyers winger Bobby Brink is dealing with a hip injury suffered during offseason training and will miss the club’s ongoing development camp.

TSN: The Buffalo Sabres re-signed defenseman Jacob Bryson to a two-year contract with an annual average value of $1.85 million.

Former NHL center Rod Zaine passed away from undisclosed causes on July 7. He was 76. Zaine made his NHL debut with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1970-71 and played for the Buffalo Sabres in 1971-72. He spent the final three seasons of his professional career in the World Hockey Association.

SPECTOR’ S NOTE: My condolences to Zaine’s family, friends and former teammates.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 8, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 8, 2022

The aftermath of a chaotic first round of the 2022 Draft, Joe Sakic was named GM of the Year, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Montreal Canadiens surprised the hockey world and made history by selecting winger Juraj Slavkovsky with the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, making him the first player from Slovakia to go first overall. The Canadiens bypassed center Shane Wright of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, who had been ranked as the top prospect by NHL Central Scouting.

Further history was made when the New Jersey Devils chose defenseman Simon Nemec with the second-overall selection. Slavkovsky and Nemec are the first Slovakians to become the top-two players selected in an NHL draft.

Center Logan Cooley of the U.S. National Team Development Program (USNTDP) was selected by the Arizona Coyotes with the third-overall pick. Wright was chosen fourth overall by the Seattle Kraken.

The Canadiens also chose Slovakian winger Filip Mesar with the No. 26 pick. Meanwhile, the Coyotes selected center Conor Geekie (11th overall) from the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice and Maveric Lamoureux from the QMJHL’s Drummondville Voltigeurs at No. 29.

After starting Thursday with no picks in the first round, the Chicago Blackhawks wound up with three after shipping winger Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators, center Kirby Dach to the Canadiens and acquiring goalie Petr Mrazek as part of a return from the Toronto Maple Leafs. They chose defenseman Kevin Korchinski from the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds at No. 7, center Frank Nazar from the USNTDP at No. 13 and defenseman Sam Rinzel from Chaska High School at No. 25.

With two picks in the first round, the Columbus Blue Jackets selected Czechia defenseman David Jiricek sixth overall and blueliner Denton Mateychuk from the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors with the No. 12 pick.

The Buffalo Sabres had three selections in the first round, choosing Winnipeg Ice center Matthew Savoie ninth overall, Swedish center Noah Ostlund with the No. 16 selection and Czechia center Jiri Kulich at No. 28.

With two first-rounders, the Anaheim Ducks selected Pavel Mintyukov of the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit at No. 10 and center Nathan Gaucher of the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts at No. 22. The Minnesota Wild used their two first-round picks to choose Swedish winger Liam Ohgren at No. 19 and Russian winger Danila Yurov at No. 24.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can see the full results from the first round by following the link above.

That was one of the wilder drafts regarding surprising selections and player movement via trades. You can read my take on those moves involving NHL players here.

Slafkovsky was as surprised as most in the Bell Centre by his selection as the first-overall pick. The big winger has the potential to become a scoring star in the NHL. He was named tournament MVP in the 2022 Beijing Olympics helping Slovakia win its first-ever medal (bronze) in men’s hockey with a tournament-leading seven goals.

Wright, meanwhile, admitted he’ll have a chip on his shoulder from this outcome which he intends to use as motivation in the future. His style of play drew comparisons to Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron. The Kraken will have a future Selke Trophy center on their hands if he plays up to projections.

Rounds 2 through 7 will be held today at the Bell Centre in Montreal at 11 am ET.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Center Jagger Firkus of the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors, defenseman Ryan Chesley of the USNTDP and blueliner Calle Odelius of Djurgardens in the Swedish Hockey League are among Tony Ferrari’s top-five prospects remaining after the first round. Center Jack Hughes of Northeastern University in the NCAA and winger Julian Lutz of EHC Munchen in Germany round out his list.

Joe Sakic of the Colorado Avalanche is the 2021-22 winner of the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A well-deserved honor for Sakic who did a fine job building the Avalanche into the 2022 Stanley Cup champions.

TSN: Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland said he’s given defenseman Duncan Keith until Saturday whether he intends to play next season or retire. Keith, 38, has one year remaining on his contract. His retirement would free up $5.54 million in salary-cap space.

TSN: The Los Angeles Kings hired former goaltender Manon Rheaume as a hockey operations advisor focusing on prospect development. She’s among several women hired to prominent positions among NHL teams in recent weeks.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 20, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 20, 2022

The latest on the Avalanche and Lightning heading into Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Stars have reportedly hired Pete DeBoer as their new head coach, and an update on top prospect Shane Wright in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE DENVER POST: Sidelined winger Andre Burakovsky did not accompany the Colorado Avalanche as they traveled to Tampa Bay on Sunday for Games 3 and 4 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final. Burakovsky suffered a hand injury during Game 2 and was being evaluated on Sunday. He’s expected to rejoin his teammates on Monday.

Colorado Avalanche winger Andre Burakovsky (NHL Images).

Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said sidelined center Nazem Kadri (thumb injury) traveled with the team on Sunday. He’s skating again and practicing puckhandling and shooting but Bednar isn’t sure if he’ll play in the upcoming two games.

NHL.COM: Fourteen years after winning the Stanley Cup in 2008 as a rookie with the Detroit Red Wings, center Darren Helm is relishing this opportunity to win it again with the Avalanche. If he does, he’ll become the fourth player in NHL history to go at least 14 years between championships.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The Tampa Bay Lightning are hoping to once again overcome an 0-2 deficit in a playoff series. They have an opportunity to shake things up at home for the next two games. However, they’re facing a much tougher opponent in this Stanley Cup Final than they did against the Dallas Stars in 2020 and the Montreal Canadiens last year.

TORONTO SUN: Michael Traikos wonders if the wear and tear of three straight trips to the Stanley Cup Final might be taking its toll on the Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fatigue could be an issue for the Lightning. However, the real problem is that the Avalanche are the most formidable opponent they’ve faced since beginning their march as consecutive Cup champions in 2020.

The Avs are faster and possess impressive depth on their forward lines and blueline. They’ve adjusted to the absence of sidelined key players like Kadri and Samuel Girard without missing a beat. They lack a superstar goaltender but their tandem of Darcy Kuemper and Pavel Francouz has been solid throughout this postseason.

It would be foolish to write the Lightning off. They’ve shown a remarkable ability to bounce back from adversity. Nevertheless, they must win Game 3 tonight or risk being swept away by the Avalanche in Game 4.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Matthew DeFranks cited a Sportsnet report claiming the Stars have hired Pete DeBoer as their new head coach. He’s coaching the Florida Panthers (2008-2011), New Jersey Devils (2011-2015), San Jose Sharks (2015-2020) and Vegas Golden Knights (2020-2022).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Neither the Stars nor general manager Jim Nill has confirmed the hiring, though that could come later today. DeFranks anticipates DeBoer would focus on increasing their shots (especially from the point) while still maintaining a solid defense.

SPORTSNET: Projected top prospect Shane Wright believes he can make an immediate impact in the NHL next season. He intends to put in a lot of work this offseason and in training camp to step in right away and make a difference.

The Montreal Canadiens hold the first-overall pick in this year’s draft. Wright recently met with the Canadiens brass and would love to suit up for the historic franchise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wright isn’t considered a generational superstar but has drawn favorable comparisons to Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron and New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad. Even if he doesn’t reach the big league next season, he’s still projected to be a future NHL star.