NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 27, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 27, 2021

The Panthers re-sign Sam Bennett and trade Anton Stralman to the Coyotes, the Jets re-sign Paul Stastny and acquire Brenden Dillion from the Capitals, the Golden Knights close to re-signing Alec Martinez and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Florida Panthers were busy on Monday. They signed forward Sam Bennett to a four-year deal worth an annual average value of $4.4 million. The club also traded defensemen Anton Stralman and Vladislav Kolyachonok plus a second-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft in exchange for a seventh-round pick in 2023.

The Florida Panthers re-sign forward Sam Bennett to a four-year deal (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not surprising the Panthers re-signed Bennett. Slated to become a restricted free agent on July 28, the 25-year-old netted 15 points in his first 10 regular-season games after being acquired at the trade deadline from Calgary. He also had five points in as many playoff games. Bennett should be a key part of their top-two forward lines.

The Stralman trade was a straightforward salary dump by the Panthers. He had a year remaining on his contract worth an annual average value of $5.5 million. The 35-year-old blueliner reportedly had to be convinced to waive his modified no-trade to go to Arizona. He’ll likely become a bargaining chip at next season’s trade deadline if the rebuilding Coyotes are out of playoff contention by then.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets also had a busy day, re-signing center Paul Stastny to a one-year, $3.75 million contract and acquiring defenseman Brenden Dillon from the Washington Capitals in exchange for a second-round pick in 2022 and a second-rounder in 2023.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stastny isn’t the offensive talent he once was. Nevertheless, the 35-year-old should be an affordable short-term answer to their need for a second-line center while management seeks a long-term solution. Dillon will help address a glaring need for reliable stay-at-home depth on their blueline, though the cost of two second-rounders seems a little high.

The Capitals, meanwhile, freed up $3.9 million in annual cap space for the next three seasons. They now have over $12 million in cap room if they call up Martin Fehervary as expected for next season. That gives them some additional wiggle room to re-sign Alex Ovechkin and goaltender Ilya Samsonov.

LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights are reportedly close to signing Alec Martinez to a three-year contract extension. The 35-year-old defenseman would receive an annual cap hit close to $5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Martinez proved his worth to the Golden Knights this season, especially in the playoffs where he was their best all-around blueliner. The contract is a bit long for a shot-blocking rearguard of his age but that seems the price the Golden Knights are willing to pay to remain in Stanley Cup contention.

That signing could push them over the $81.5 million salary cap. They could make a cost-cutting trade before the start of next season involving Marc-Andre Fleury or Robin Lehner.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes expected to sign forward Dmitrij Jaskin to a one-year, $3.2 million contract. The 29-year-old spent seven seasons with the St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals before spending the past two seasons playing for the KHL’s Moscow Dynamo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes have been everyone’s favorite dumping ground for unwanted contracts this summer. General manager Bill Armstrong has been clearing up long-term cap space while restocking with draft picks and prospects.

Most of the contracts he’s taken on have only a year or two remaining, with most belonging to still-serviceable players who could become trade bait to playoff contenders later next season. He also did a great job shedding Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s hefty contract by shipping that off to Vancouver during the recent NHL draft.

THE SCORE: Several notable restricted free agents didn’t receive qualifying offers at yesterday’s deadline. Among them were Boston’s Nick Ritchie, Chicago’s Pius Suter, Edmonton’s Dominik Kahun and Anaheim’s Danton Heinen. They are eligible to become unrestricted free agents on July 28.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Just because they didn’t get qualifying offers doesn’t mean they can’t re-sign with their now-former teams. Sometimes teams don’t offer a QO because they want to sign those players to a more affordable contract. That’s what the Blackhawks did with Adam Gaudette, inking him to a one-year deal worth just over $997K.

TORONTO STAR: Defenseman Zach Bogosian won’t be back with the Maple Leafs. He’s likely headed to an American market via free agency on July 28.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers are expected to sign Patrik Nemeth when free agency opens tomorrow. The Colorado Avalanche allowed the pending UFA defenseman to speak with other teams.

TSN: The New Jersey Devils traded forward Nick Merkley to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for defenseman Christian Jaros. The Devils signed Jaros to a one-year, two-way contract.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers re-signed defenseman Sam Morin to a one-year, $750K contract.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan is expected to be named head coach of the United States’ Men’s hockey team for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 6, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 6, 2021

The Lightning push the Hurricanes to the brink of elimination, the Islanders tie their series with the Bruins, the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy finalists are announced, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning pushed the Carolina Hurricanes on the brink of elimination with a 6-4 victory in Game 4. They hold a commanding 3-1 lead in their second-round series. The teams combined for eight goals in the second period as the Lightning rallied from a 4-2 deficit. Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos each scored two goals and collected an assist.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That second period was the most entertaining of this year’s playoff thus far. A lack of discipline proved costly for the Hurricanes as the Lightning tallied three power-play goals on six attempts with the man advantage. The series returns to Carolina for Game 5 on Tuesday.

Mathew Barzal broke a 1-1 tie as the New York Islanders beat the Boston Bruins 4-1 to even their second-round series at two games apiece. Semyon Varlamov made 28 saves for the win while Casey Cizikas and Jean-Gabriel Pageau padded the lead with empty-net goals. This series moves back to Boston for Game 5 on Monday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo missed this game with an upper-body injury that is suspected to be a concussion. He remains day-to-day.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin, and Minnesota Wild blueliner Jared Spurgeon are this year’s finalists for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets need Pierre-Luc Dubois to make his presence felt if they hope to overcome a 2-0 series deficit against the Montreal Canadiens. He replaced suspended center Mark Scheifele on the Jets’ top line in Game 2 but his impact was minimal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubois struggled throughout this season following his trade to Winnipeg from Columbus in January. He missed four games in February with a lower-body injury. Perhaps that’s an ongoing ailment he’s been trying to play through.

TSN: Speaking of the Jets, sidelined center Paul Stastny traveled with the team to Montreal for Game 3 tonight against the Canadiens. He missed the last two games with an undisclosed injury and there’s no indication if he’ll return to the lineup for the next two games.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars center Tyler Seguin is focusing on the last phase of his rehab from last fall’s hip surgery after missing all but the final three games of the regular season. He’s hoping to be fully healthy in time for training camp in September.

NHL.COM: Minnesota Wild prospect Marco Rossi has resumed skating for the first time since January following complications from COVID-19. He was the ninth overall selection in the 2020 NHL Draft. It’s expected the 19-year-old center will be ready to report to training camp in September.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 8, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – March 8, 2021

Could the Maple Leafs pursue Nick Foligno? What’s the latest on the Jets, Capitals and Penguins? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD THE LEAFS AFFORD NICK FOLIGNO?

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons took note of recent speculation claiming the Maple Leafs are seeking a forward, preferably one who can play among their top six. He said Nick Foligno of the Columbus Blue Jackets has popped up of late, but the Leafs have next to no salary-cap space.

Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno (NHL Images).

Simmons believes it would take moving “other assets and money” like Alex Kerfoot, maybe a young defenseman such as Rasmus Sandin or Timothy Liljegren or a young sniper like Nick Robertson or maybe an early draft pick to get it done.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Leafs with just over $130K in projected trade-deadline cap space. Foligno, the Blue Jackets’ captain, carries a $5.5 million annual average value with $2.9 million remaining to be paid out as of today. An unrestricted free agent this summer, he also carries a 10-team no-trade list.

The Blue Jackets could consider trading Foligno if they fall further out of playoff contention leading up to the April 12 trade deadline but they’ll want a decent return. As Simmons points out, it would have to be a dollar-in, dollar-out move by the Leafs to get it done and they’ll have to include a promising player or a decent draft pick. They might have to consider more affordable options.

LATEST ON THE CAPITALS AND PENGUINS

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: In a recent mailbag segment, J.J. Regan was asked if he anticipated the Capitals making any moves at the trade deadline. He thinks they’ll look but their usage of long-term injury reserve to exceed the cap means they cannot bank cap space to put toward trade-deadline acquisitions.

Regan felt the Capitals must boost their depth at center and in goal. He suggested Darcy Kuemper or Antti Raanta of the Arizona Coyotes would be good targets, especially Raanta as he’s a free agent this summer. However, the Coyotes would have to absorb a fair bit of his $4.25 million annual average value.

He was also asked if the Capitals could package Evgeny Kuznetsov and something to the Buffalo Sabres for Jack Eichel but dismissed that idea. The only scenario he sees the Capitals trading Kuznetsov is if they’re engaging in a roster rebuild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NHL insider Bob McKenzie last week indicated the Capitals might like to add an experienced goaltender. It’ll have to be someone affordable.

As for Kuemper and Raanta, they’re not available unless the Coyotes fall out of playoff contention. Of the two, Raanta is more likely to be traded given his contract status.

THE ATHLETIC: Josh Yohe recently examined which members of the Pittsburgh Penguins are most likely to move at the trade deadline. He listed defenseman Marcus Pettersson and forward Colton Sceviour in his “I Smell A Trade” Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yohe acknowledged big changes could be coming for the Penguins under new general manager Ron Hextall and president of hockey ops Brian Burke. They could involve long-time core veterans Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang but Yohe doubts either guy will be moved at the trade deadline.

Hextall and Burke both recently indicated they’d like to add more toughness to their lineup. Pettersson and Sceviour could be the trade chips used to bring in more muscle by deadline day.

UPDATE ON THE JETS

SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe was asked by a reader if Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff would entertain moving Paul Stastny before the trade deadline while his stock is high. He doesn’t believe Cheveldayoff will consider doing that, citing Stastny’s value to the Jets in terms of leadership and ability to connect with his teammates. He wouldn’t be surprised if Stastny signed a one-year contract extension.

THE ATHLETIC: Murat Ates recently examined several potential trade targets for the Jets. He considers Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard as the best fit in terms of age, skill set and a right-handed shot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stastny was a perfect fit with the Jets during his previous short tenure with them. That chemistry hasn’t worn off despite his age and the decline in his skills. His versatility and leadership have given them a boost this season.

Mattias Ekholm has been linked to the Jets in recent trade speculation but I agree with Ates that Savard would be a better fit on their blueline. Whether Cheveldayoff pursues him remains to be seen.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 26, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – January 26, 2021

Are the Flyers in the market for a defenseman? What does the Jets’ acquisition of Pierre-Luc Dubois mean for Paul Stastny? What’s the latest on the Ducks? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Charlie O’Connor believes the Philadelphia Flyers aren’t going to rush into the trade market to address their recent struggles. Two-way center Sean Couturier is sidelined while the defense is bereft of puck-moving blueliners beyond Ivan Provorv and Travis Sanheim.

O’Connor points out it is only two weeks into the season and the only players on the trade market are those demanding to be moved or those who’ve been available for months because of bad contracts or poor fits with their current teams.

Winnipeg Jets center Paul Stastny (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That last blurb is probably aimed at recent speculation tying the Flyers to Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle and Detroit Red Wings blueliner Danny DeKeyser. Philadelphia rearguard and South Florida native Shayne Gostisbehere were linked to Yandle but O’Connor indicates the Flyers intend to use him in the lineup once he’s off the COVID-19 protocol list.

SPORTSNET: In the wake of the Winnipeg Jets shipping Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic to Columbus for center Pierre-Luc Dubois last Saturday, Luke Fox is curious about where the Jets and current second-line center Paul Stastny go from here.

The Jets brought back Stastny last fall in a trade with the Vegas Golden Knights. He’s beloved by teammates and the coaching staff but the 35-year-old center becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. Fox wonders if Stastny will take a pay cut to stay with the Jets as a No. 3 center or try to find a second-line center role elsewhere via free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stastny’s had a long and production NHL career but he’s also at the age when skills and speed inevitably erode. If he has a decent performance this season he might be wise to consider sticking with the Jets. I doubt many teams will be in the market for a center turning 36 in December seeking second-line work.

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens points out Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray attempted to acquire Justin Faulk, Kasperi Kapanen and Pierre-Luc Dubois over the past 18 months. He was also linked to Patrik Laine before the winger was shipped to Columbus. Fairly or not, it could reflect poorly on Murray’s ability to close a big trade.

Stephens wonders if the asking price for Dubois was top prospect Trevor Zegras. If so, Murray might be proven right not to part with Zegras or promising defenseman Jamie Drysdale. He doubts the Ducks GM could’ve put together a sufficient package to land Laine.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks are at a point right now where they’ll have to gut it out with what they’ve got this season and hope for the best.

Stephens also pointed out the Ducks lack sufficient cap space to part with inexpensive assets to land expensive, established young talent. Trading away Zegras and/or Drysdale would’ve been gutting the pieces necessary for their long-overdue rebuild. They also lack suitable talent to do a dollar-for-dollar swap that could improve their roster.










NHL Trade Roundup: Reviewing the Deals Last Week

NHL Trade Roundup: Reviewing the Deals Last Week

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 9, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 9, 2020

The Jets are reportedly close to acquiring Paul Stastny, Justin Williams retires, the Canadiens re-sign Josh Anderson, the Devils buy out Cory Schneider, and much more in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck cites sources claiming the Jets are working on a trade that would bring Paul Stastny back to Winnipeg. Stastny was briefly part of the Jets in 2017-18, helping them reach the Western Conference Final before signing with the Vegas Golden Knights as a free agent. It’s believed the Jets will take on his full $6.5 million salary-cap hit on the final year of his three-year contract, with the two clubs also swapping draft picks.

**UPDATE** TSN’s Darren Dreger reports Stastny to Winnipeg for a 2022 fourth rounder and defenseman Carl Dahlstrom

Vegas Golden Knights center Paul Stastny could return to the Winnipeg Jets (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bringing back Stastny could address the Jets’ need for a second-line center. That suggests sidelined center Bryan Little’s status for next season remains in doubt while putting to rest the trade speculation swirling about winger Patrik Laine.

It will also signal the Golden Knights are shedding salary to be busy in the free-agent market, which opens at noon ET today. The move could also be an indicator of the difficulty the Golden Knights are having trying to move goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in a cost-cutting deal.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes winger Justin Williams announced his retirement yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Williams and his family in his future endeavors. He spent 19 seasons in the NHL with the Hurricanes, Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings and Washington Capitals, winning the Stanley Cup with the Canes in 2006 and two Cups with the Kings in 2012 and 2014. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy during the latter run, earning the nickname “Mr. Game 7” by holding the record for most points (15) in Game 7 situations. In 1,264 games, Williams tallied 320 goals and 797 points. He also had 41 goals and 102 points in 162 playoff games.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Two days after acquiring winger Josh Anderson, the Canadiens re-signed him to a seven-year, $38.5-million contract. The annual average value is $5.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a hefty new contract for a 26-year-old winger who’s yet to suit up for the Canadiens,  has one good season (27 goals, 47 points in 2018-19) and missed most of last season to a shoulder injury that required surgery to repair.

General manager Marc Bergevin envisions the 6’3”, 222-pounder as a power forward. This will be seen as a worthwhile investment if Anderson has fully recovered from his surgery and plays up to expectation. Otherwise, it’ll provide additional fodder for Bergevin critics and turn up the pressure on Habs ownership to fire their GM.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils placed goaltender Cory Schneider on unconditional waivers yesterday for the purpose of buying out his contract. Schneider, 34, lost the starter’s job to Mackenzie Blackwood. He has two years left on his contract worth $6 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Schneider was among the NHL’s top goalies from 2013-14 to 2015-16. Injuries, however, hampered his performance in recent years. His buyout will count as $2 million annually against the Devils’ cap through 2023-24.

NJ.COM: The Devils also acquired defenseman Ryan Murray from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for a 2021 fifth-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray is a skilled defenseman plagued by injuries for most of his career. He has a year remaining on his contract worth $4.6 million. If he stays healthy he could be a worthwhile addition to the Devils’ blueline. They still have over $25 million in salary-cap space and could use some of it in the upcoming free-agent market.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets also traded defenseman Markus Nutivaara to the Florida Panthers for minor-league forward Cliff Pu. Nutivaara, 26, has two years remaining on his contract worth an annual average value of $2.7 million.

THE SCORE: The Jackets also placed center Alexander Wennberg on unconditional waivers for the purpose of a contract buyout. The 26-year-old has three years left on his contract worth $4.9 million AAV. For buyout purposes, however, he’ll be considered 25 as that’s what his age would’ve been during a normal regular season when the buyout period would be in June. That means his buyout will be calculated at one-third the remaining value, rather than two-thirds.

NHL.COM: The Jackets also re-signed goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks to a two-year, two-way contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The moves leave the Jackets with $14.2 million in cap space, more than enough to re-sign Pierre-Luc Dubois and perhaps leave enough for an addition or two via trade or free agency.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Long time Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford is heading to the free-agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crawford spent 13 seasons with the Blackhawks, 10 of those as their starting goalie. He backstopped them to two Stanley Cups (2013, 2015) but has been plagued by injuries over the past three seasons. Expect the Blackhawks to seek his replacement via trade or free agency.

SPORTSNET: The Ottawa Senators acquired defenseman Erik Gudbranson from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a 2021 fifth-round pick. He has a year remaining on his contract with an AAV of $4 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another short-term pickup by the Senators to take some pressure off their developing young defensemen. The Ducks, meanwhile, have $4.47 million in cap space and will get an additional $6.875 million in wiggle room should Ryan Kesler remain on long-term injury reserve.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Goaltender Tuukka Rask said he doesn’t want to play for anyone but the Bruins. Rask’s name recently surfaced in trade rumors, prompting GM Don Sweeney to claim the goalie is a “big part of the roster going forward.” Rask is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility.

TSN: The Dallas Stars lifted the interim tag from head coach Rick Bowness, who is expected to sign a new contract with the club.

SPORTSNET: The Stars also released a lengthy list of their injured players following the Stanley Cup playoffs. Among the notables was Jamie Benn (shoulder surgery before the schedule was paused), Tyler Seguin (knee, torn labrum), Ben Bishop (knee surgery in May), Roope Hintz (fractured ankle) and Anton Khudobin (arm surgery).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seguin received criticism for his offensive struggles during the postseason. This is yet another reminder that an NHL player failing to play up to expectations in playoff action is usually nursing an injury that would sideline athletes in other sports.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres are close to re-signing forward Zemgus Girgensons to a three-year contract worth around $2 million per season.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed forward Sam Lafferty to a two-year contract with an AAV of $750K.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens re-signed defenseman Noah Juulsen to a one-year, two-way contract.