NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 5, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 5, 2019

An update on NHL CBA talks, the latest on Connor McDavid, the Kings re-sign Adrian Kempe, the latest PTOs, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: NHL Player Association executive director Donald Fehr said the players haven’t decided if they’ll exercise their early opt-out of the collective bargaining agreement by the Sept. 15 deadline. The PA executive board and other players met in Chicago yesterday for an update on current negotiations with the NHL. No decisions were reached regarding the CBA. Talks with the league continue on Friday.

Fehr said discussions remain pleasant and cordial. “It doesn’t mean there haven’t been disagreements and significant disagreements, but it’s so far at least free from rancor,” he said. “That’s a big improvement.” The PA and the league haven’t discussed a possible extension of the Sept. 15 deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fehr’s statement was essentially status quo. He’s not going to tip the PA’s hand while negotiations with the league are ongoing but also won’t say anything that could put those talks in jeopardy.

Escrow payments likely remain among the “significant disagreements” Fehr was alluding to. Indeed, it’s the biggest, perhaps the only, impediment toward a new agreement or an extension of the current one.

As for extending the PA’s opt-out deadline, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun believes that won’t fly with the league as both sides would have to agree. If so, Sept. 15 remains the next significant milestone.

No certainly Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid will be ready for the start of the season (Photo via NHL Images).

 THE SCORE: Player agent Jeff Jackson can’t say if client Connor McDavid will be fully recovered from a knee injury by the start of the Edmonton Oilers’ season on Oct. 2. The Oilers captain suffered the injury during the final game of the 2018-19 season. Jackson said McDavid hasn’t had any setbacks and is working toward getting ready for the start of training camp next week.

WINNIPEG SUN:Josh Morrissey confirmed contract-extension talks have begun with the Jets. The defenseman is slated to become a restricted free agent next summer. “I’d love to get something done. I’d love to play here throughout my career,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After the recent departure of Jacob Trouba, Morrissey’s remarks will be music to the ears of Jets fans. 

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings re-signed center Adrian Kempe to a three-year contract with an annual average value of $2 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise Kempe got a bridge deal. After a promising 37-point rookie campaign in 2017-18, Kempe managed just 28 points last season. Cap Friendly indicates the Kings now have over $74.7 million invested in 23 players for 2019-20.

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks inked restricted free agent winger Nikolay Goldobin to a one-year, $900K contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is probably Goldobin’s last chance to prove himself as a reliable NHL regular with the Canucks. Another inconsistent effort could turn him into a waiver or trade candidate.

TSN: The Calgary Flames signed forwards Devante Smith-Pelly, Tobias Rieder, Zac Rinaldo, and Alexandre Grenier to professional tryout offers. Meanwhile, the Florida Panthers have brought back forward Troy Brouwer on a PTO.

STAR-TRIBUNE.COM: Winger Drew Stafford will attend Minnesota Wild training camp on a professional tryout offer.

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets forward Sonny Milano and Colorado Avalanche forward A.J. Greer pleaded not guilty in a Manhattan court to an assault charge stemming from an incident in New York on July 7. Both will be permitted to skip their next court date next month because of their respective travel schedules.

THE SCORE: NBC Sports has removed Pierre McGuire from its No. 1 broadcast team, relegating him to the second game of their doubleheaders. McGuire will be replaced by Brian Boucher.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McGuire has attracted criticism for his coverage in recent years. The Score observed he was “essentially forced to apologize for a series of awkward on-air exchanges with fellow analyst Kendall Coyne Schofield in January.”

THE HOCKEY NEWS: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and former NHLers Tim Thomas and Brian Gionta are among this year’s inductees into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The taciturn Thomas was part of the conference call with reporters following the announcement, marking his first public statement since his retirement in 2014. He alluded to a “state of nervousness” since his retirement, adding he doesn’t like traveling and prefers to keep his personal life to himself.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 6, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 6, 2018

Game recaps plus updates on Travis Hamonic, Tom Wilson and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Erik Karlsson got his first point with the San Jose Sharks, collecting an assist on Kevin Labanc’s overtime goal in a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Evander Kane and Timo Meier also tallied for the Sharks while Anze Kopitar and Tyler Toffoli scored for the Kings. 

Rod Brind’Amour got his first win as an NHL head coach as the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1. (Photo via NHL.com)

Rod Brind’Amour got his first victory as an NHL head coach as his Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1. Goaltender Curtis McElhinney also got his first win with the Hurricanes after being claimed off waivers from Toronto earlier this week. Sebastian Aho and Micheal Ferland each collected a goal and an assist. 

NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils forward Jesper Bratt was placed on injured reserve after suffering a broken jaw during Thursday’s practice in Gothenburg, Sweden. He’s expected to be sidelined two-to-three weeks. The Devils also signed free-agent forward Drew Stafford to a one-year, $810K contract. 

CALGARY SUN: Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic is listed as week-to-week following a facial fracture suffered during a fight with Vancouver Canucks blueliner Erik Gudbranson during Wednesday’s season opener. 

TSN: The NHL Players Association has filed an appeal on behalf of Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson, who received a 20-game suspension earlier this week by the NHL’s department of player safety for an illegal hit to the head of St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist during a preseason game. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 8, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 8, 2018

An update on Tyler Seguin’s contract negotiations, latest PTOs and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill said the club is making progress in contract-extension talks with center Tyler Seguin. “We are deep in discussions. It’s moving in the right direction,” Nill said. “We’ll go from there.” Nill repeated his wish to get Seguin under contract before the start of the season next month.

Contract talks between the Dallas Stars and center Tyler Seguin have heated up. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seguin is due to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. The status of his contract talks with the Stars has garnered considerable interest in recent weeks. Speculation suggests he could get a long-term deal worth $10.5 million annually with the Stars or over $11 million per season on the open market. 

NJ.COM: Free-agent forward Drew Stafford will return to the New Jersey Devils training camp on a professional tryout offer. 

TSN: It “sounds like” the New York Islanders will bring back defenseman Dennis Seidenberg on a PTO. 

CBS SPORTS: Former Chicago Blackhawks blueliner Viktor Svedberg received a PTO from the Calgary Flames.

THE BUFFALO NEWS’ Mike Harrington reports Buffalo Sabres winter Matt Moulson won’t be at the club’s training camp next week. He’ll remain loaned out to the Ontario Reign, the AHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings. 

KING 5: Construction of a new arena in Seattle won’t be approved until the NHL awards the city a franchise. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 8, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 8, 2017

Alex Ovechkin nets second straight hat trick, Panthers re-sign Michael Matheson & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin become the first NHL player in 100 years to net back-to-back hat tricks to open a season, scoring four times to lead his club to a 6-1 thrashing of the Montreal Canadiens. Teammate Nate Walker also made history, becoming the first Australian to both play an NHL game and score a goal. 

Rookie defenseman Will Butcher made franchise history for the New Jersey Devils, collecting three assists to help his club defeat the Colorado Avalanche 4-1. The Devils got the victory despite losing veteran forwards Drew Stafford and Kyle Palmieri to lower-body injuries. Palmieri left the game following a knee-on-knee hit from Avs defenseman Erik Johnson, but it was ruled unintentional by the league and he won’t face supplemental discipline. 

Third-period goals by Tyler Bozak, Leo Komarov and Nazem Kadri lifted the Toronto Maple Leafs to a wild 8-5 win over the New York Rangers. Zach Hyman also scored twice for the Leafs, who led at one point 5-1 before the Rangers stormed back to tie the game in the second period. Mats Zuccarello netted four points in a losing cause for the Blueshirts. 

T.J. Brodie had a four-point night as the Calgary Flames downed the Winnipeg Jets 6-3. 

Bo Horvat scored twice as the Vancouver Canucks edged the Edmonton Oilers 3-2, holding Oilers captain Connor McDavid off the score sheet. 

John Tavares and Casey Cizikas each scored two goals to lead the New York Islanders to a 6-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Evander Kane also scored twice for the Sabres. 

Anze Kopitar scored twice to lead the Los Angeles Kings to a 4-1 win over the San Jose Sharks. 

Matt Murray turned in a 26-save shutout performance backstopping the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-0 blanking of the Nashville Predators. It was a costly win for the Pens, as defenseman Ian Cole left the game after being struck in the mouth by a Roman Josi shot. 

Brandon Saad, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane each had a goal and an assist in the Chicago Blackhawks 5-1 thumping of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Blackhawks forward Nick Schmaltz left the game early in the first period with an upper-body injury and is considered day-to-day. 

James Neal was the offensive hero again for the Vegas Golden Knights, tallying in overtime to give the expansion team their second-straight win by nipping the Arizona Coyotes 2-1. 

Wayne Simmonds was the overtime hero as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-2.

Jake Allen made 38 saves as the St. Louis Blues doubled up the Dallas Stars 4-2. 

Jaccob Slavin’s shootout goal gave the Carolina Hurricanes a 5-4 victory over the Minnesota Wild. 

Frans Nielsen scored the only goal in the shootout to give the Detroit Red Wings a 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. 

Evgenii Dadonov and Nick Bjugstad each had a goal and an assist as the Florida Panthers held on for a 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. During the pregame anthem, Lightning forward J.T. Brown held a fist aloft in a silent protest against police brutality toward minorities and racial inequality. 

Before the game, the Panthers announced the signing of defenseman Michael Matheson to an eight-year, $39 million contract extension. The annual average value is $4.875 million. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Often overshadowed by teammate Aaron Ekblad, Matheson is a skilled puck-moving defenseman. I’d rank him as comparable to Carolina Hurricanes’ blueliner Jaccob Slavin, who also recently signed a lucrative contract extension. The Panthers obviously see Matheson playing a significant role on their blueline in the coming years.

Some might question why they didn’t sign him to a more affordable bridge deal. However, they’re simply following the recent trend of promising youngsters getting lucrative extensions before they’ve completed their entry-level contracts. Should Matheson develop as expected into a reliable top-pairing rearguard, this could prove to be an affordable long-term deal for the Panthers.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins fourth-line forward Noel Acciari will be sidelined six weeks after fracturing his right index finger blocking a shot during the Bruins’ season-opener against Nashville on Thursday. 

SME SPORT: Former NHL center Zach Boychuk signed with the KHL’s HC Slovan Bratislava. (Stick tap to Alexander Wirdzek for the link). 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 26, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 26, 2017

Could NY Rangers winger Rick Nash one day return to the Columbus Blue Jackets?

Latest on Rick Nash, Drew Stafford, Jay McClement and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline wonders if New York Rangers winger Rick Nash might one day finish his NHL playing career with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Nash was drafted by the Jackets first overall in the 2002 NHL Draft and played nine seasons with them from 2002-03 to 2011-12. He was dealt to the Rangers in a multi-player trade in July 2012. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I suppose you can never say never. Portzline doubts it’ll happen next summer, when Nash is eligible for unrestricted free agency, as he’ll still be too expensive to sign. More likely, it could be toward the end of his career, when he’d be more affordable to acquire via trade or free agency.  

NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils signed right wing Drew Stafford to a one-year, one-way contract worth $800K..

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m not surprised the Devils signed Stafford, as they need experienced depth at forward. I did expect Stafford to get around $1.5 million on a one-year deal, so this is certainly a bargain for New Jersey. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins signed veteran center Jay McClement to a professional tryout offer. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If McClement earns a contract with the Penguins it’ll certainly help bolster their checking line depth, which suffered the twin departures of Nick Bonino and Matt Cullen via free agency. He’s best suited for the fourth-line spot, though Pens GM Jim Rutherford recently said he was comfortable with Carter Rowney filling that role. Rutherford’s also said he’d look to the trade market to fill his third-line center position Perhaps McClement goes into the third-line spot until the Pens GM finds a more suitable option via trade.

NBC SPORTS: Former NHL coach Bob Hartley signed a five-year contract with the Latvian national team. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I find it odd that someone who was the NHL’s coach of the year just two years ago ends up coaching in Europe. Hard to imagine the NHL’s most valuable player skating for a European team just two years later because he couldn’t find an NHL club willing to hire him. 

AZCENTRAL.COM: The Gila River Arena is reducing its losses but what happens if the Arizona Coyotes leave?

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Without an anchor tenant, I’m guessing those losses could increase. 


NHL Rumor Mill – August 25, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – August 25, 2017

The Los Angeles Kings could face a difficult decision regarding the future of defenseman Drew Doughty.

Latest on Drew Doughty, Thomas Vanek, Drew Stafford and Will Butcher in your NHL rumor mill. 

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien points out the Los Angeles Kings could face a daunting decision on all-star defenseman Drew Doughty. His contract expires at the end of 2018-19, when he’ll be 27 and eligible for unrestricted free agency. He’s currently earning $7 million annually and could command much more on his next deal. He also lacks no-trade protection.

While re-signing Doughty appears a no-brainer for the Kings, O’Brien suggests management might have to at least consider the possibility of trading the former Norris Trophy winner. While such a move would be wildly unpopular among Kings fans, O’Brien makes the case that it would provide the Kings with salary-cap relief whilst garnering a return of promising roster talent plus draft picks and/or prospects to restock their farm system. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s no indication new Kings general manager Rob Blake is mulling a Doughty trade. If asked, he’ll likely say it’s far too early to get into concerns over the blueliner’s future in Los Angeles. I doubt Doughty will end up on the trade block this season.

Still, O’Brien’s assessment on Doughty’s future foreshadows what will surely be significant focus on this subject next summer, when the elite blueliner will be only a year away from UFA status. Much will likely depend upon the Kings’ performance this season and whatever moves Blake has in store for his roster and salary cap. 

Some Toronto pundits could seize upon Doughty admitting he’s a Leafs fan, though they’ll likely overlook the part where he said he didn’t know if he could cope with the fishbowl existence of living and playing in Toronto. Still, if the money’s right and the Leafs keep improving, anything’s possible. 

TSN: Agent Brian Bartlett, who represents unrestricted free agent winger Thomas Vanek and Drew Stafford, told Buffalo’s WGR 550 on Wednesday that interest in his clients has increased of late and he expects both could be under new contracts soon.

Earlier this summer, it was reported Vanek was in touch with the Detroit Red Wings, but their salary-cap issues makes it unlikely they’ll bring him back. Stafford’s reportedly been in talks with the Boston Bruins and could get a professional tryout offer from them. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Several of the notable remaining UFAs, like Vanek and Stafford, could get new one-year contracts by the end of September. They might have to accept PTO offers first in order to earn those deals during training camp and preseason play. Vanek and Stafford still have enough value to be enticing to clubs seeking affordable and experienced depth on the wings. 

WGR 550: Brayton Wilson cites reports claiming former Colorado Avalanche defense prospect Will Butcher could reach a decision on his NHL future on Sunday. The Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils and Vegas Golden Knights are believed among the finalists. The Pittsburgh Penguins are also said to still be in the mix.