NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 24, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 24, 2022

The Hurricanes sign Paul Stastny, the Islanders make some depth signings, the Coyotes’ new arena gets a name and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes signed Paul Stastny to a one-year, $1.5 million contract. The 36-year-old forward scored 21 goals and 45 points in 71 games last season with the Winnipeg Jets. He also gets a $500K performance bonus if the Hurricanes win the Stanley Cup.

Carolina Hurricanes sign free agent Paul Stastny (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stastny signing is meant to offset the absence of Max Pacioretty, who is sidelined until February recovering from a torn Achilles tendon. The signing raised some questions over whether Jesperi Kotkaniemi will be knocked out of the second-line center position.

Stastny can play center or left wing. With Pacioretty on the shelf, he could be projected to fill the left wing spot on the second or third line. He can also slide into the second-line center position if Kotkaniemi struggles in that role in the coming season.

DAILY FACEOFF: One day after re-signing Noah Dobson, Alexander Romanov and Kieffer Bellows, the New York Islanders made four depth signings on Tuesday. Defensemen Dennis Cholowski and Paul LaDue and forward Arnaud Durandeau each signed two-year, two-way contracts while forward Hudson Fasching signed a one-year, two-way deal.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Arizona State University announced its new 5,000-seat arena will be called Mullett Arena. The venue is also the temporary home of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The venue is named in honor of the Mullett family, who have been long-time supporters of ASU’s hockey program. Nevertheless, this news drew plenty of jokes on social media referencing early-90’s style hockey hair.

NJ.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning forward and New Jersey native Ross Colton recently said it would be cool to one day play for the Devils. He loves being in Tampa Bay and playing for the Lightning but said he grew up as a die-hard Devils fan.

I understand it’s a business and whatnot. But down the road if I could throw on the (Devils) jersey one day, that would be awesome,” said Colton.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Colton could get that opportunity in two years’ time. That’s when he’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent unless he signs an extension with the Lightning. His current contract expires next summer when he’ll be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights and a year away from UFA eligibility.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: The Sharks signed restricted forward Noah Gregor to a one-year, one-way contract worth $950K. He will be eligible for arbitration next summer.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Tickets for the 2023 Winter Classic between the Penguins and Boston Bruins at Fenway Park on Jan. 2 go on sale today.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 22, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 22, 2022

What would it take for the Oilers to acquire Patrick Kane? Will Paul Stastny return to the Jets or sign elsewhere? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

WHAT WOULD IT COST THE OILERS TO LAND PATRICK KANE?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins speculates Patrick Kane could consider playing alongside Connor McDavid and Leon Drasaitl with the Oilers to be more enticing than his present situation with the rebuilding Chicago Blackhawks.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

Leavins suggests it will cost “a player, a #1 pick and a good prospect, plus-plus” to acquire Kane as a rental player no matter where he goes. Sorting out the salary-cap dollars would also be an issue. The 34-year-old Blackhawks winger carries a $10.5 million cap hit for the coming season and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

The real question for Leavins is whether Kane (an American) would be willing to come to Edmonton for even just one season. He pointed out the Blackhawks star has the same agent as Oilers’ Kailer Yamamoto and Cody Ceci.

OILERS NATION: Jason Gregor considers Kane’s contract “very easy” to trade, pointing out he’s only earning $2.9 million in actual salary for the coming season. The Blackhawks would have to retain 50 percent of his $10.5 million cap hit in a trade.

Gregor believes the Oilers can’t afford to acquire the remaining 50 percent. He believes they’d have to get a third team involved, pointing out the Arizona Coyotes are “always willing to take on money for draft picks”.

Under that scenario, the Oilers would only take on $2.65 million of his cap hit and $725K in actual salary. Gregor speculates it would cost the Oilers a late-round pick and a second-tier prospect to the Coyotes to make it work.

As for what the Blackhawks would want from the Oilers, he suggests Jesse Puljujarvi or Warren Foegele would have to head to Chicago to make the cap work for Edmonton. He wonders if a first-round pick, a second-rounder and Puljujarvi would be enough, assuming Kane would accept a trade to the Oilers.

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Matt Porter wondered if a first-round pick, a prospect, winger Kailer Yamamoto and “overpaid defenseman Tyson Barrie” would get it done.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane alongside McDavid or Draisaitl would give the Oilers two devastating forward lines that could power them to the Stanley Cup. Acquiring him, however, won’t be easy.

Reports out of Chicago claim Kane has not requested a trade and isn’t in any rush to leave the Blackhawks. He and Jonathan Toews could see how this season shakes out before deciding if they want to be traded to a potential Stanley Cup contender.

A Kane trade could happen before the start of this season. However, I think it’s more likely to occur closer to the trade deadline. That will ramp up the bidding and also give Kane and the Blackhawks a clearer picture of the potential markets for his services

The Oilers wouldn’t be the only team interested in Kane if he becomes available in the trade market. The New York Rangers, for example, need an experienced right wing among their top-six scorers. If Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko fail to break out this season, the Blueshirts could be in a good position to win a bidding war for Kane.

WHERE WILL STASTNY GO?

SPORTSNET: In a recent mailbag segment, Ken Wiebe was asked by a reader if Paul Stastny was coming back to the Jets and if not, why?

Wiebe thinks the door is not officially closed for a return to the Jets but feels it’s increasingly likely the 36-year-old center will move on. He believes Stastny wants to get his name on the Stanley Cup, suggesting a return to the Colorado Avalanche (where his NHL career began) makes a lot of sense given Stastny’s hockey sense and versatility.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 19, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 19, 2022

What now for the Islanders and Avalanche after missing out on Nazem Kadri? Where could P.K. Subban end up? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

WHAT WILL THE ISLES & AVS DO AFTER LOSING OUT ON KADRI?

NEW YORK POST: Ethan Sears reports the Islanders are left with a lot of maybes after Nazem Kadri signed with the Calgary Flames yesterday. Media gossip linked the 31-year-old former Colorado Avalanche center to the Islanders but general manager Lou Lamoriello had been silent about the rumors and his efforts to bolster his club’s offense.

Maybe things will turn around with the roster as is and a season unimpeded by the long road trip and COVID-19 outbreak that affected the Islanders at the start of last season,” writes Sears. “Maybe Anthony Beauvillier or Oliver Wahlstrom will take the next step forward. Maybe new head coach Lane Lambert will unlock something (former coach Barry Trotz) couldn’t in this team.”.

Sears believes Sonny Milano is the most viable free agent that the Islanders could add but he’d probably end up on their third line. There are no obvious trade candidates at this time that Lamoriello could target.

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz noted Lamoriello and Lambert have spoken about their belief in the Islanders’ core. However, it was apparent last season that they were going to need a few pieces if they intend to contend this season. Signing someone like Sonny Milano won’t make anyone change their view of the Isles’ lineup the way Kadri would have.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner wonders if Lamoriello will revisit his interest in J.T. Miller. The Isles GM was reportedly interested in the 29-year-old Vancouver Canucks center during the 2022 NHL Draft last month. Free agent winger Phil Kessel could be a temporary, last resort option as he does provide offense.

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think there was a lack of effort on Lamoriello’s part to bolster his scoring. He was rumored to be pursuing Kadri and apparently attempted to sign Johnny Gaudreau last month before he accept a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Lamoriello reportedly attempted to acquire Miller before the first round of the draft but for whatever reason, the deal fell through. He could try again but I don’t think the Canucks are keen to move the versatile two-way forward until perhaps close to the 2023 trade deadline if they’re out of playoff contention by then. At that point, the Isles will face plenty of competition for his services, driving up the asking price beyond Lamoriello’s comfort zone.

The bottom line here is Lamoriello struck out in the trade and free agent markets. Kessel or Milano would be affordable short-term options but won’t move the dial much offensively for the Islanders.

I think the Islanders still have a good team. They’ve got a strong goalie tandem in Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov plus what looks like a solid top-four defense in Ryan Pulock, Adam Pelech, Noah Dobson and Alexander Romanov. Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson and Anders Lee are proven scoring talents, while Beauvillier and Wahlstrom could step up this season.

Nevertheless, the offense remains an area of concern, one that Lamoriello will have to address at some point this season if the Isles are to be more than a playoff contender.

THE DENVER POST: Sean Keeler reports Nazem Kadri’s departure to Calgary leaves a big gap at their second-line center position that could prove difficult to fill.

Pickings are slim in the free-agent market. They include 36 -year-old former Avalanche center Paul Stastny. They might have to look to within and see if J.T. Compher or Alex Newhook can fill that role.

WHERE COULD SUBBAN LAND VIA FREE AGENCY?

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Mike Stephens recently listed the Seattle Kraken, Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres as three possible destinations for P.K. Subban. The 33-year-old defenseman could be an affordable short-term addition for clubs in need of an experienced, puck-moving right-shot blueliner.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng examines the pros and cons of whether Subban would be a good fit with the Sharks. While he’s no longer an effective top-four rearguard, he could have a role on the third pairing and would provide them with a right-handed shot from the point.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Subban had a decent performance last season with the New Jersey Devils. He should end up with an NHL club on an affordable one-year deal before training camps open in mid-September.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 15, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 15, 2022

In today’s NHL Rumor Mill: The best bargains remaining in the free-agent market, possible trade destinations for the Sharks’ James Reimer, and the Canucks need for another defenseman.

BEST FREE-AGENT BARGAINS STILL AVAILABLE

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Paul Stastny, Phil Kessel and P.K. Subban top Mike Stephens’ list of the top 5 best bargain players in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market.

Stastny remains a reliable presence at both ends of the rink. Stephens observed there are rumors linking him to the Colorado Avalanche, suggesting the 36-year-old center could fit seamlessly in their lineup on a one-year contract for around $3 million.

Free agent defenseman P.K. Subban (NHL Images)

Kessel still has plenty left in the tank. While he managed a career-low eight goals, he also had 44 assists with the low-scoring Arizona Coyotes last season. A low-money, one-year deal could make him a worthwhile addition to a contender.

Subban isn’t the Norris Trophy contender of the past. However, he could be a good depth addition for a club seeking a veteran presence and puck movement for its blueline.

Forwards Evan Rodrigues and Sonny Milano round out Stephens’ list. Stephens expects Rodrigues gets snapped up once fellow center Nazem Kadri is finally signed. He doesn’t rule out Milano perhaps returning with the Anaheim Ducks after a solid performance with them last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rumors linked Kessel and Subban to the Edmonton Oilers though we don’t know if the club is interested in either player. Of the two, Kessel seems the best fit given their need for more offensive depth on right wing.

Some fans and pundits wonder if the Canadiens might bring back Subban to bring his career full circle. Anything’s possible but that doesn’t seem like the direction the rebuilding Habs are willing to take.

WHERE MIGHT REIMER LAND?

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Sheng Peng reports the San Jose Sharks have one goaltender too many. With Kaapo Kahkonen expected to become their starter in the coming season, James Reimer or Adin Hill could be the odd man out.

Reimer. 34, could have the most value in the trade market. He had a strong campaign last season with the Sharks and is signed for the coming season with a $2.25 million cap hit and a five-team no-trade list.

Peng reported a source said the Sharks sought a second-round pick for Reimer. The Vegas Golden Knights and Arizona Coyotes could be among the suitors.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Dallas Stars were also included as a possible destination should Jake Oettinger end up staging a contract holdout. However, I think those two sides will get an agreement in place before training camp opens in mid-September.

The Golden Knights could be in the market for a replacement for the sidelined Robin Lehner. Meanwhile, the Coyotes need a reliable backup for Karel Vejmelka.

CANUCKS NEED ANOTHER EXPERIENCED DEFENSEMAN

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston believes the Vancouver Canucks could benefit from the addition of an experienced depth defenseman. He noted The Fourth Period’s Irfaan Gaffar recently suggested UFA Calvin de Haan as an affordable option.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 7, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 7, 2022

Should the Avalanche forget about bringing back Nazem Kadri? What are their options if they do? Should the Islanders trade Mathew Barzal to make room for Kadri? What’s the latest on Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

SHOULD THE AVS SIGN KADRI OR CONSIDER OTHER OPTIONS?

THE DENVER POST: Mark Kiszla doesn’t blame Nazem Kadri for wanting top dollar on the open market. However, he points out that Colorado Avalanche president of hockey operations Joe Sakic doesn’t have a reputation for overpaying talent.

Former Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

Kiszla suggests Kadri should fit in somewhere between Valeri Nichushkin’s $6.125 million annual cap hit and Gabriel Landeskog’s $7 million. He believes it would be foolish for the Avalanche to pay more than $26 million over four years for him. The Avs would also have to make a cost-cutting trade to fit him into their cap payroll for the coming season.

Sakic could opt instead to look outside the organization to replace Kadri. Former Avalanche center Paul Stastny remains available via free agency. Kiszla also suggested attempting to acquire Jonathan Toews from the Chicago Blackhawks sometime before next year’s trade deadline.

THE ATHLETIC: Peter Baugh also looked at possible options if the Avalanche can’t afford to bring back Kadri. Stastny, Sonny Milano and Evan Rodrigues remain on the open market plus he didn’t rule out going the rental player route at next year’s trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche would love to bring back Kadri and he’d love to return but the cost of doing so is simply too much. They can’t afford him unless they ship out someone like Samuel Girard to free up the cap space and that’s apparently not something they want to do. So, they’ll either have to go with a more affordable option via free agency or the trade market or look within the organization.

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks reports that “the usual suspects” claim Kadri still seeks a long-term deal starting around $9 million annually. He believes that explains why he remains unsigned. Meanwhile, there’s been ongoing speculation linking Kadri to the Islanders. Speaking of which…

SHOULD THE ISLANDERS TRADE BARZAL TO MAKE ROOM FOR KADRI?

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefan Rosner believes the Islanders must soon decide if Mathew Barzal remains part of their future before it’s too late. The 25-year-old center becomes a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer and will also be a year away from UFA eligibility.

Barzal has said he views his long-term future with the Islanders but Rosner reminds us that John Tavares said the same thing before he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He cited colleague Jimmy Murphy tweeting a hypothetical trade in which Barzal is traded to the Detroit Red Wings to clear cap space to sign Kadri.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello could surprise us by trading Barzal to the Wings or another club and use the $7 million savings for 2022-23 to sign Kadri. However, I don’t see that scenario happening. Lamoriello can find other ways to shed sufficient salary for Kadri such as shopping Anthony Beauvillier or packaging Josh Bailey with a draft pick or prospect.

Trading Barzal would be a rather extreme measure on Lamoriello’s part. Since he wouldn’t want to take back much salary in return, he’d be getting pennies on the dollar for a gifted playmaking center in his playing prime just to make room for a soon-to-be 32-year-old center seeking big bucks on a long-term deal.

UPDATE ON BERGERON AND KREJCI

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont reports Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci technically remain unsigned. However, the word around town is Bruins general manager Don Sweeney remains confident they’re done deals with the veteran centers to sign on for one year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speculation since June has Bergeron and/or Krejci already having agreed to one-year contracts while Sweeney takes the time to determine how to fit the duo within his limited cap space. If so, the Bruins GM is taking a page from the Lamoriello playbook as the Isles GM has done the same thing in the recent past.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 29, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 29, 2022

A look at the best remaining talent in the unrestricted free agent market in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox did a quick rundown of the best players still available in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market.

Fox doubts Nazem Kadri will be returning to the Colorado Avalanche unless the 31-year-old center accepts another discount. Paying him $7 million into his mid-30s is a luxury they can’t afford.

Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

Kadri is reportedly waiting for some interested teams to clear cap space for him. There are rumblings the New York Islanders could make a push to sign him. Fox pointed out the Calgary Flames have money to spend now and the Columbus Blue Jackets could use a playmaker for Johnny Gaudreau.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets had to ship Oliver Bjorkstand to the Seattle Kraken for next to nothing in a cost-cutting deal after signing winger Patrik Laine to his new contract. No room for Kadri in Columbus unless they can shed more salary.

Kadri rejected a trade to the Flames three years ago. Maybe he had a change of heart if they’re willing to meet his asking price but I wouldn’t hold my breath. The Islanders would also have to move out some salary. Perhaps they’d do that by shopping Anthony Beauvillier, who’s been a fixture in the rumor mill since last season.

Fox noted the Carolina Hurricanes, Seattle Kraken, Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators were linked earlier this month to John Klingberg. The Dallas Stars attempted to bring back the 29-year-old defenseman but those talks fell through. The Hurricanes, meanwhile, acquired Brent Burns from the San Jose Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Fox suggests, it appears Klingberg overplayed his hand, leading to his change of agents earlier this week. With the Stars having to re-sign rising stars Jason Robertson and Jake Oettinger, I don’t think there’s sufficient room for him to return to Dallas now.

Fox said the Red Wings speculation persists. The Senators, meanwhile, are rumored to be in the market for a top-four defenseman.

A report last month claimed Patrice Bergeron was returning to the Boston Bruins on a one-year contract. So far, however, there’s no confirmation from either side that this has happened. The Bruins are also in talks with David Krejci about a possible comeback.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins general manager Don Sweeney could be taking a page from the Lou Lamoriello playbook by waiting until the start of the season before officially announcing the deal for salary-cap reasons. Perhaps that decision is tied to getting a deal done for Krejci. Or maybe Bergeron just hasn’t made up his mind yet if he’ll return. Your guess is as good as mine but I think he’s coming back to the Bruins for one more season.

There’s a rumor linking Phil Kessel to the Edmonton Oilers. He’s coming off a 52-point performance last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel could be a worthwhile short-term addition to a playoff contender seeking an affordable depth scorer.

The Winnipeg Jets haven’t closed the door on bringing back Paul Stastny. There was also speculation linking him to the Flames.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stastny would be a more affordable option for the Flames than Kadri but he won’t produce at the same level as the former Avalanche center.

Fox wondered if veteran defenseman Anton Stralman might be a fit with the Montreal Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stralman would be a cost-effective signing for teams with limited cap space. However, the Canadiens are pressed against the $82.5 million cap. Stralman isn’t a fit there unless they dump some salary via trade or Carey Price and Paul Byron start the season on long-term injury reserve.

Sonny Milano has plenty of potential as a middle-six forward despite being cast off by the Columbus Blue Jackets and being cut loose by the Anaheim Ducks. Meanwhile, former Pittsburgh Penguins middle-six forward Evan Rodrigues drew some interest from the Vancouver Canucks, Flames, Red Wings and New Jersey Devils.

Veteran defenseman Calvin de Haan could be an economic second or third-pairing guy. He’ll have to be prepared to take a pay cut.