NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 29, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 29, 2020

Henrik Lundqvist to undergo open-heart surgery, Kirby Dach sidelined by wrist surgery and a roundup of Monday’s notable free-agent signings in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Henrik Lundqvist announced yesterday he’ll be undergoing open-heart surgery to address the condition that has sidelined him for this season. The 38-year-old goaltender signed a one-year contract with the Washington Capitals after being bought out by the New York Rangers in September.

Henrik Lundqvist will undergo open-heart surgery (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to King Henrik for a swift and complete recovery.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Kirby Dach could miss the entire upcoming season after undergoing wrist surgery on Monday. The timeline for his recovery is four-to-five months. The 19-year-old center suffered a fractured wrist last week playing for Canada during an exhibition game against Russia during the World Junior Championships in Edmonton.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a significant blow for the Blackhawks heading into this season. Dach was expected to play a bigger role with the club following a solid debut in 2019-20. There’s a chance he could return to the lineup by the time the playoffs begin in May, provided the Blackhawks qualify for the postseason.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens signed free-agent winger Corey Perry to a one-year, $750K contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perry isn’t the high-scoring right winger he was during his playing prime with the Anaheim Ducks. Nevertheless, he played a key role in the Dallas Stars’ march to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final. The 35-year-old Perry should provide the Habs with experienced depth and leadership on their checking lines.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Former New York Islanders forward Derick Brassard is expected to sign a one-year contract with the Coyotes. Meanwhile, SPORTSNET’s Elliotte Friedman reports they also signed Jordan Schmaltz to a professional tryout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes freed up cap space over the weekend by shipping Derek Stepan ($6.5 million annual average value) to the Ottawa Senators. That’s given them just over $3 million in cap space, with a portion going to replace Stepan with the more affordable Brassard.

SPORTSNET: The Los Angeles Kings have signed forward Andreas Athanasiou to a one-year, $1.2 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a good opportunity for Athanasiou to get his career back on track following last season’s disappointing performance with the Detroit Red Wings and Edmonton Oilers. A former 30-goal scorer, the 26-year-old should get plenty of playing time with the rebuilding Kings.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed Ethan Bear to a two-year contract worth an annual average value of $2 million. The 23-year-old defenseman was a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Inking the promising Bear to a short-term deal was a good cost-effective move by the Oilers. If his development continues as hoped he’ll be in line for a big raise in two years’ time. Cap Friendly shows the Oilers sitting over $2.19 million above the $81.5 million salary cap. However, they’ll be cap compliant once they place sidelined Oscar Klefbom ($4.16 million AAV) on long-term injury reserve.

The Florida Panthers signed defenseman Kevin Connauton to a professional tryout offer.

SPORTSNET’s Elliotte Friedman reports goaltender Garret Sparks is heading to the Calgary Flames on a PTO.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Pittsburgh Penguins were the only club among 123 teams of North America’s “Big Four” professional men’s sports leagues to receive a loan through a COVID relief program. The Penguins received a $4.82 million loan through the CARES Act.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 2, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 2, 2020

The standoff continues between the league and the players as speculation persists over what the 2020-21 season will look like. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports of speculation of the NHL owners canceling season if they decide they can’t go in 2020-21. The NHLPA could challenge that move in federal court as an illegal lockout but Dreger said force majeure (unforeseeable circumstances preventing the fulfillment of a contract; in this case, the collective bargaining agreement) would be applied by the owners because of the pandemic. He also said the league believes the spirit of the existing agreement provides them with cancellation protection. The owners also wouldn’t have to pay the players. However, Dreger points out neither side wants to cancel the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Player agent Allan Walsh took to Twitter yesterday disputing the force majeure idea. He claims if the owners cancel the season because the players won’t give another $300 million in concessions that it would be considered a lockout, “which is expressly prohibited by CBA article 7.1 (b).” In Walsh’s opinion, that would leave the owners at risk of facing billions of dollars in potential damages if the PA took them to court.

Walsh accused the league of soft-pedaling force majeure to the media. Maybe the owners are trying to frighten the players into making more concessions. Perhaps it’s being done to lay the groundwork against any potential media/fan backlash over a potential cancellation.

With reports claiming the NHL and the PA remain determined to stage a season, this could be just posturing by the league. We’ll find out for sure in a couple of months. There might not be a season at all if there’s no puck drop by mid-February.

Pierre LeBrun reports the PA has stuck to its guns that it hasn’t agreed to anything beyond the terms of the memorandum of understanding and the CBA extension. That could change but for now, they believe the league should stick to the terms of the agreement.

LeBrun adds the PA’s return-to-play committee has held regular conference calls but there’s some frustration on their part over a perceived lack of urgency on the league’s part.

Frank Seravalli reports the preference for both sides is opening the season in all 31 NHL arenas for revenue purposes as well as allowing players to spend more time with their families. The league recognizes it will have to be flexible with the schedule and locations because of the rising COVID-19 cases throughout North America, which could result in potential neutral-site games. Hybrid bubbles are also a backup option but not a preferred one.

LeBrun said the temporary realignment of divisions, including a Canadian division, remains locked in. However, a firm decision hasn’t been reached yet over what the three American divisions would look like.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think most of those issues will be quickly sorted out once the standoff between the NHL and NHLPA over the league’s request for increased escrow and salary deferral rates is resolved. The framework for those decisions appears to already be in place.

FOX SPORTS’ Andy Strickland reports some NHL players are delaying returns to their respective NHL cities. He believes we’re destined for a 48-game schedule hopefully beginning in late January or early February.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s pretty much the consensus among NHL pundits and most fans.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: The Red Wings loaned minor-league goaltender Calvin Pickard to the Vienna Capitals in Austria. He’s the 10th player the Wings have loaned overseas and could be a sign the league’s proposed Jan. 1 start date is increasingly unlikely.

SPORTSNET: The Edmonton Oilers have 20 players loaned to European clubs, including Jesse Puljujarvi and Tyler Benson.

TSN: The ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears announced they’ve agreed to terms with free-agent goaltender Garret Sparks for the remainder of the 2020-21 season. Sparks spent parts of three seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vegas Golden Knights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wasn’t that long ago Sparks was considered the logical backup to Leafs starter Frederik Andersen.

Calgary Flames assistant general manager Chris Snow is in good spirits following surgery on Monday to insert a feeding tube into his stomach. Snow was diagnosed with ALS in June 2019 but continues in his role with the Flames.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Snow in his battle against that terrible disease.

NBC SPORTS: The Dallas Stars revealed their all-white Reverse Retro uniforms over the weekend.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Great camouflage tactic by the Stars.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 2, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 2, 2019

The Islanders collect their eighth straight win, John Carlson leads the stars of the month, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The New York Islanders collected their eighth straight win by downing the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2. Isles captain Anders Lee scored a goal and added two assists while goaltender Thomas Greiss made 33 saves. The Lightning is 1-2-1 in their last four games.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck made 51 saves in a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks (Photo via NHL Images).

Connor Hellebuyck made 51 saves and Nikolaj Ehlers scored the winning goal late in the third period as the Winnipeg Jets edged the San Jose Sharks 3-2. The Sharks have dropped four consecutive games.

A four-goal first period powered the Washington Capitals to a 6-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Jakub Vrana scored twice while Michal Kempny and Tom Wilson each had three points.

Sebastian Aho, Dougie Hamilton, and Jaccob Slavin had three points each to lead the Carolina Hurricanes over the Detroit Red Wings 7-3. Hurricanes’ goaltender Petr Mrazek picked up his 15th consecutive home victory. Anthony Mantha scored two goals for the Red Wings.

The St. Louis Blues overcame a 3-1 deficit to nip the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 in overtime. David Perron tallied the winner and also collected an assist. Pierre-Luc Dubois and Oliver Bjorkstrand each tallied a goal and an assist.

Ryan Getzlaf’s overtime goal lifted the Anaheim Ducks over the Vancouver Canucks by a score of 2-1. Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes left the game in the first period with an ankle injury. Earlier in the day, the Canucks recalled Sven Baertschi while Micheal Ferland (concussion) was placed on injured reserve.

Roope Hintz scored two goals and Anton Khudobin kicked out 38 shots as the Dallas Stars defeated the Colorado Avalanche 2-1. Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon scored to extend his points streak to 13 games.

Sean Couturier tallied a goal and an assist and scored the winner in a shootout as the Philadelphia Flyers edged the New Jersey Devils 4-3. Taylor Hall also had a goal and an assist for the Devils. Earlier in the day, the Devils acquired goaltender Louis Domingue from the Lightning in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2021.

HEADLINES

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson, Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak, and Edmonton Oilers winger Leon Draisaitl are the NHL’s three stars for October 2019.

THE SCORE: Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin was activated off injured reserve. He’s expected to be in the lineup for today’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.

SPORTSNET: Hall-of-Famer Doug Gilmour is rejoining the Toronto Maple Leafs as a community representative.

TSN: Speaking of the Leafs, they’ve loaned forward Nic Petan to the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 22, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 22, 2019

The Jets suspend Dustin Byfuglien, Martin St. Louis leaves the Blue Jackets, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: The Winnipeg Jets suspended defenseman Dustin Byfuglien for failing to report to training camp. The move was made to protect their roster and provide salary-cap flexibility. If Byfuglien doesn’t report by the opening day of the regular season next month, his salary-cap hit won’t count against their payroll for as long as he’s not on the roster.

The Winnipeg Jets suspend defenseman Dustin Byfuglien for failing to report to training camp (Photo via NHL Images).

Byfuglien is on a leave of absence and is believed to be mulling his future. Bob McKenzie reports this isn’t as ominous as it sounds as the Jets still want the blueliner back back. He said the decision can be reversed at any time and doubts this comes as a surprise to Byfuglien.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I daresay Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff informed Byfuglien of this decision and the reasons behind it before it was officially announced. It’s a business decision and not intended to punish him.

THE ATHLETIC: Martin St. Louis won’t be returning to the Columbus Blue Jackets this season. The Hall-of-Famer spent half of last season with the club in an advisory role. He cited family reasons behind the decision.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Winger Kevin Fiala finally joined the Minnesota Wild after missing the first nine days of training camp while waiting for a work visa.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning demoted goaltenders Louis Domingue and Mike Condon to their AHL affiliate in Syracuse.

SPORTSNET: The Vegas Golden Knights placed goaltenders Garret Sparks and Oscar Dansk on waivers.

 

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 24, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 24, 2019

The Leafs reacquire David Clarkson’s contract, the Predators re-sign Colton Sissons to a seven-year deal, and an arbiter awards Jets forward Andrew Copp a two-year contract. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs reacquired the contract of David Clarkson from the Vegas Golden Knights last night in exchange for goaltender Garret Sparks. The Leafs also received a fourth-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

The Toronto Maple Leafs reacquired the contract of permanently sidelined winger David Clarkson (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas continues to juggle his limited salary cap space. By taking back Clarkson’s dormant contract, Dubas can allocate his $5.25-million cap hit, and that of permanently sidelined Nathan Horton ($5.3 million), toward re-signing restricted free agent Mitch Marner by placing both on long-term injury reserve.

Some suggest the cap-strapped Leafs could start the season without Marner, place Clarkson and Horton on LTIR on the opening day of the regular season, and then re-sign the winger. It’ll be interesting to see how Dubas plays this. 

As for Sparks, he’ll likely start this season with the Golden Knights’ farm club. Having lost the confidence of the Leafs coaching staff, this move gives the goaltender a chance to get his career back on track with Vegas.

LAS VEGAS SUN: Soon after trading Clarkson’s contract to Toronto, the Golden Knights signed defenseman Deryk Engelland to a one-year, bonus-laden contract. He’ll earn a base salary of $700K with performance bonuses that could take him up to $1.5 million. The move gives the Golden Knights a projected $1.025-million in cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights still have restricted free agent Nikita Gusev to re-sign, but it sounds like they’ll instead try to trade his rights. Shedding Clarkson’s cap hit makes it easier for them to make other minor salary moves if necessary without the LTIR hassle.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators yesterday avoided salary arbitration with Colton Sissons, re-signing the winger to a seven-year, $20-million contract. The annual average value is $2.857 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Predators GM David Poile praised Sissons work ethic, versatility, and leadership when announcing this deal. While the cap hit is reasonable, it’s an unusually long term for a role player. Some observers wonder why Sissons would agree to such a lengthy deal with that low cap hit. Perhaps it’s because he’s playing in a city where there’s no state tax. It could just be because he loves living and playing in Nashville.

TSN: An arbiter awarded Winnipeg Jets forward Andrew Copp a two-year, $4.56-million contract. The annual average value is $2.28 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Copp sought a one-year, $2.9-million contract while the Jets pitches a two-year deal worth $1.5 million annually. The arbiter split the difference. This will affect the Jets’ efforts to re-sign Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor. I’ll have more later today in the Rumors section.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche signed defenseman Anton Lindholm to a two-year, two-way contract.

TWINCITIES.COM: Former NHL forward Alex Tanguay is joining the Iowa Wild as an assistant coach.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers added Brian Wiseman to their coaching staff. Wiseman spent several seasons as an assistant coach with the University of Michigan.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 15, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – June 15, 2019

The latest on Jacob Trouba, Jared Spurgeon, James Reimer, and Garret Sparks plus an update on the Canucks in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

TROUBA DECISION COMING SOON?

WINNIPEG SUN: Ken Wiebe expects the status of Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba to be sorted out by next weekend’s NHL Draft in Vancouver. If Trouba’s traded, a potential return for the Jets will be affected by whether he’s open to signing a contract extension with the club that acquires him. Left winger Nikolaj Ehlers has come up in trade rumors but Wiebe believes it’ll take a significant offer to pry him away from the Jets. Depending on Trouba’s status, center Mathieu Perreault could become a cost-cutting trade candidate. 

THE ATHLETIC: Craig Custance pointed out rumors have linked Trouba, a Detroit-area native, to the Red Wings. They have plenty of salary-cap flexibility but general manager Steve Yzerman could be reluctant to part with assets for a player a year away from UFA status.

Decision day fast approaching for Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba (Photo via NHL Images).

Custance suggested the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers as possibilities because Trouba’s fiancee is attending medical school in Florida. He also considered the Philadelphia Flyers as a potential destination. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s growing speculation Trouba will be traded before the end of next weekend’s draft. I also wouldn’t rule out the Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, and New York Rangers as possible landing spots. I agree that where he could end up depends on whether he’ll sign a contract extension.

I have my doubts the Jets will part with Ehlers, though they might go for it if someone offered up a suitable replacement for Trouba. 

CANUCKS COULD PURSUE GARDINER OR MYERS

SPORTSNET: Mike Johnston cites player agent J.P. Barry saying he expects to speak with the Vancouver Canucks regarding clients Jake Gardiner and Tyler Myers when free agency opens on July 1. Canucks GM Jim Benning’s made no secret he’s in the market for a top-four defenseman. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wouldn’t be at all surprising if Benning pursues Gardiner and Myers. The UFA interview period begins the day following the draft (June 23). The Canucks GM will likely be keen to speak with those two. 

WILD GM HOPES TO RE-SIGN SPURGEON

TWINCITIES.COM: Dane Mizutani reports Minnesota Wild GM Paul Fenton said he has every intention of re-signing Jared Spurgeon. The 29-year-old defenseman is a year away from becoming an unrestricted free agent.

Fenton dismissed recent speculation suggesting Spurgeon could be traded this summer. “There’s not a plan to trade Jared Spurgeon, as has been kind of rumored. This guy is a great piece, a great leader, a great person, a great family guy. We want to have him back, and we’re going to work on doing that.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mizutani indicates this doesn’t mean a contract extension is imminent. Nevertheless, there appears a mutual willingness to work out a new deal. Spurgeon’s on a four-year, $20.75-million contract and will seek a significant raise.