NHL Rumor Mill – June 6, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – June 6, 2024

A look at the offseason market for goaltenders and the latest on Brady Tkachuk, Martin Necas and Chandler Stephenson in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

LOTS TO CHOOSE FROM IN THIS SUMMER’S GOALIE MARKET

SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen offered up an analysis of the goaltenders potentially available in this summer’s trade market and the teams who could be interested in them.

The big names include Nashville’s Juuse Saros, Calgary’s Jacob Markstrom, and Boston’s Linus Ullmark.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Saros seems the least likely of those three to be available. The Predators are reportedly planning to open contract extension talks soon, though they could listen to offers if those negotiations stall.

Markstrom has two years left on his contract with an average annual value of $6 million and a full no-movement clause. The 34-year-old Flames goalie was reportedly close to getting traded to the New Jersey Devils in February but for some reason, the deal fell through. It’s assumed Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald could revisit his interest in Markstrom, who could waive his clause to go to New Jersey.

Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (NHL Images).

Ullmark seems the most likely to be traded. He’s got a year left on his contract with a cap hit of $5 million and a 16-team no-trade list that becomes a 15-team list on July 1. It’s believed the Bruins intend to make Jeremy Swayman their full-time starter with promising Brandon Bussi as his backup. It was rumored the Bruins were close to moving Ullmark before the trade deadline to a team on his no-trade list but he rejected the deal.

Other trade options include Minnesota’s Filip Gustavsson, Ottawa’s Joonas Korpisalo, Columbus’ Elvis Merzlikins, and Washington’s Darcy Kuemper.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’re all on this list because of their recent inconsistent performances.

Gustavsson is the odd man out among the Wild goalies with Marc-Andre Fleury returning for one more season and promising Jesper Wallstedt ready for promotion. Korpisalo has four years left on his contract with an annual average value of $4 million and a 10-team no-trade list.

Merzlikins raised eyebrows in January with a trade request that his agent subsequently walked back. He’s got three years left on his contract with an AAV of $5.4 million and a 10-team no-trade list. Kuemper’s performance has declined over the past two seasons. He’s also got three years left on his deal and a 10-team no-trade list. His AAV is $5.25 million.

The free-agent market is rather thin on reliable starters but has plenty of backups with varying abilities. They include Kaapo Kahkonen, Casey DeSmith, Anthony Stolarz, Ilya Samsonov, Laurent Brossoit, and Cam Talbot.

Boylen listed the Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Los Angeles Kings, Carolina Hurricanes and Detroit Red Wings as potential buyers.

SENATORS MUST IMPROVE TO MAKE TKACHUK TRADE RUMORS DISAPPEAR

SPORTSNET: Wayne Scanlan noted the recent trade speculation suggesting the Ottawa Senators might listen to trade offers for captain Brady Tkachuk, forcing GM Steve Staios to deny the rumors in a recent interview with The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun.

The trade conjecture about Tkachuk is baseless but it’s not going away. Scanlan believes the only way to nip it in the bud is for the Senators to finally improve into a playoff contender. Another missed postseason will only further stoke speculation about their captain’s future in Ottawa.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators are building around Tkachuk but the constant losing is wearing on him. The 24-year-old left winger has four years left on his contract. He’s already been in the NHL for six seasons without a sniff of the playoffs. This year’s disappointment had to be particularly bitter following such a promising buildup to this season.

If the Senators keep spinning their wheels, Tkachuk will run out of patience at some point. He’ll want to play for a winner while he’s still in his playing prime. Another lost season or two could force him into requesting a trade. He’ll get slammed in some quarters for bailing on the Sens but most folks won’t blame him for doing so.

Tkachuk is doing everything he can to lead the Senators into postseason contention. His performance on and off the ice back this up. He and his teammates have been let down by years of mismanagement by Staios’ predecessor.

LATEST ON MARTIN NECAS

THE JEFF MAREK SHOW: Marek spoke with colleague Elliotte Friedman about potential suitors for Carolina Hurricanes winger Martin Necas.

Friedman isn’t sure that some of the teams reportedly interested in Necas (Vancouver and Montreal) have what the Hurricanes want for the winger. The Boston Bruins could offer up goaltender Linus Ullmark, noting the two teams discussed the former Vezina Trophy winner before the March trade deadline.

Marek noted the Buffalo Sabres have a lot of prospects and draft capital to use as trade bait. However, he doesn’t think any of that works for the Hurricanes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes will set a high asking price for Necas, hoping his potential as a scoring winger will fetch a significant return. They can retain him if they don’t get any suitable offers, but there’s a sense among the punditry that they prefer to move him rather than face a potential arbitration hearing.

Earlier this week, Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli said he wouldn’t be surprised if Necas was traded by this Saturday. We’ll find out soon enough if that’s the case.

UPDATE ON CHANDLER STEPHENSON

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Kevin Allen recently reported Golden Knights forward Chandler Stephenson could draw several suitors if he hits the open market on July 1. He’s coming off a four-year contract with an AAV of $2.75 million.

Allen cited reports suggesting the Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Nashville Predators could be among a growing list of teams that could come calling about Stephenson when free agency begins.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 6, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – May 6, 2024

A look at what the offseason could hold for the Golden Knights plus the latest on the Leafs and Jets in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS?

ESPN.COM: Ryan S. Clark believes Vegas Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon faces several roster decisions this offseason. One of them is what to do about pending unrestricted free agents Jonathan Marchessault and Chandler Stephenson.

Winner of the 2023 Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, Marchessault is among the few remaining original members of the Golden Knights. He’ll be in line for a significant raise after all he’s done for them. So is Stephenson, who’s proven himself as a solid two-way forward who can anchor the second line and play in any scenario.

The Golden Knights’ limited cap space complicates things. They have less than $900k of projected cap space with 20 active roster players under contract.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Ed Graney wondered if Marchessault still has a future with the Golden Knights. He noted the 33-year-old winger is among the few “Golden Misfits” remaining but pointed out the club has parted ways with beloved players in the past (like Marc-Andre Fleury) and could so again.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Jonathan Marchessault (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marchessault earned $5 million annually on his current contract while the 30-year-old Stephenson made $2.75 million.

The Golden Knights will get $5 million in cap relief if goaltender Robin Lehner remains on long-term injury reserve next season. That might be enough to pay Stephenson a decent raise but not for Marchessault. They’ll have to shed salary to retain both. Heck, they might have to shed salary for Stephenson if they decide to part ways with Marchessault.

THE LATEST ON THE LEAFS

TORONTO STAR/TORONTO SUN/THE HOCKEY NEWS: Kevin McGran, Terry Koshan and Michael Traikos looked at the challenging offseason questions facing the Maple Leafs during the offseason.

Koshan thinks Brendan Shanahan could be down to his last gasp as team president. He wonders if Shanahan will change his tune after years of putting his faith in core players Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, John Tavares and Morgan Rielly. Shanahan has one year remaining on his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment could give Shanahan one more season to fix the problem. After a decade on the job, however, it’s time to thank him for his service and look at replacing him with someone who’ll bring a fresh perspective.

McGran and Traikos believe firing head coach Sheldon Keefe would be the easiest decision. The Leafs need a new voice behind the bench capable of getting them them to play a better-structured and disciplined system.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keefe signed a two-year contract extension last year. General manager Brad Treliving could give him another shot behind the bench but that seems unlikely now. It’s time for a coaching change after only one playoff series win in five seasons.

They also believe it’s time to trade Marner as it’s no longer working for him and the Leafs. The 27-year-old winger holds all the cards given his no-movement clause.

McGran believes Marner might be better off playing for a southern US team like Tampa Bay or Utah where the spotlight won’t be as intense. Traikos mentioned Utah, Columbus, Seattle or even Ottawa.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marner might be open to a trade if management tells him he won’t get a contract extension. However, there’s no certainty under that scenario that he’ll agree to it. He could insist on finishing his contract with the Leafs hoping that a new team president or head coach can fight for him to be re-signed. If not, he can walk away next summer where he’ll find plenty of lucrative options elsewhere.

McGran also suggested the Leafs consider naming a new team captain, pursue a reliable starting goalie such as Calgary’s Jacob Markstrom (whom Treliving knows well), and beef up the blueline. Meanwhile, Traikos proposed finding a suitable defense partner for Rielly, re-signing gritty forward Tyler Bertuzzi, and bringing back Ilya Samsonov as a backup goalie on a reasonable contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs have a projected cap space of $18.5 million with 16 active roster players under contract. That’ll hamper efforts to address most of their roster needs unless they can move Marner’s $10.9 million from their books.

UPDATE ON THE JETS

THE ATHLETIC: Murat Ates recently looked at the players who could stay or go for the Winnipeg Jets during the offseason.

Their untouchables include core players Mark Scheifele, Connor Hellebuyck, Josh Morrissey, Adam Lowry and Gabriel Vilardi. Pending UFA Tyler Toffoli and Colin Miller are expected to depart via free agency but Dylan DeMelo, Brenden Dillon and Sean Monahan could be re-signed.

Ates believes Nikolaj Ehlers will be shopped and likely moved before the NHL Draft on June 28-29. The 28-year-old winger is a year away from UFA eligibility and there’s some concern that they can afford to re-sign him. The Jets have floated his name in trade talks before and he could fetch someone to bolster their defense and/or bring in a first-round draft pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ehlers carries an average annual value of $6 million and a 10-team no-trade clause. He’s been a productive second-line winger but does have an injury history that could dampen his trade value, though he did play the full 82-game schedule this season for the first time since 2017-18.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 19, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 19, 2023

Recaps of Saturday’s 13 games include a milestone for the Avalanche’s Cale Makar and the Rangers’ Artemi Panarin extending his season-opening points streak. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Ottawa Senators nipped the Minnesota Wild 2-1 on a shootout goal by Josh Norris during the NHL’s Global Series in Stockholm, Sweden. Anton Forsberg made 24 saves in regulation and overtime for the win while Erik Brannstrom scored the game-tying goal as the Senators improved to 8-7-0. Marco Rossi scored for the Wild (5-8-3), who’ve won just twice in their last 10 games.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (NHL Images).

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar collected three assists in his club’s 6-3 win over the Dallas Stars, making him the fastest blueliner in NHL history to reach 200 career assists. Mikko Rantanen, Valeri Nichushkin and Ross Colton each had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche, who’ve won six straight as they improved their record to 11-5-0. Tyler Seguin tallied twice for the 11-4-1 Stars.

New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin scored twice to extend his season-opening points streak to 15 games as his club down the New Jersey Devils 5-3. Jimmy Vesey also scored two goals while Vincent Trocheck had three assists for the 12-2-1 Rangers, who sit second overall in the Eastern Conference with 25 points. Jack Hughes had a goal and an assist in his return from a five-game absence due to injury as his Devils dropped to 8-7-1.

The Boston Bruins (13-1-2) maintained their hold on first place in the overall standings (28 points) with a 5-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Trent Frederic tallied twice while David Pastrnak collected three assists to move into fourth in the NHL scoring race with 27 points.

Juraj Slafkovsky had a goal and an assist for the Canadiens (7-9-2) as they’ve dropped four straight games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Bruins announced that winger Milan Lucic was taking an indefinite leave of absence following his arrest early Saturday morning in Boston on an alleged incident of domestic abuse. Lucic’s wife reportedly called the police claiming that he had attacked and choked her. He also appeared to be drunk at the time of his arrest.

An overtime goal by Sean Couturier lifted the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-3 upset of the Vegas Golden Knights. Couturier and Owen Tippett each had a goal and an assist for the 9-7-1 Flyers, who’ve won four straight games. Jonathan Marchessault scored two goals and collected an assist for the 13-3-2 Golden Knights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vegas center Chandler Stephenson received a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for a cross-check to the chin of Flyers forward Garnet Hathaway.

The Winnipeg Jets beat the Arizona Coyotes 5-2. Mark Scheifele led the way with a goal and two assists while Kyle Connor scored his league-leading 14th goal of the season as the Jets raised their record to 10-5-2. Matias Maccelli and Matt Dumba replied for the Coyotes as they dropped to 8-7-2.

Seattle Kraken winger Jordan Eberle had a goal and two assists while Matty Beniers scored the winning goal as their club held off the Vancouver Canucks 4-3. Quinn Hughes, Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller each picked up a point as the Canucks stars remain tied atop the NHL scoring race with 28 points. The Kraken improved to 7-8-4 while the Canucks (12-5-1) have lost two straight games.

The Nashville Predators snapped a four-game losing skid with a 4-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Craig Smith scored two goals while Kevin Lankinen stopped 29 shots for the 6-10-0 Predators while Chicago dropped to 5-10-0. Blackhawks center Connor Bedard (14 points) picked up an assist to hold a two-point lead over Arizona’s Logan Cooley in the rookie scoring race.

A four-goal third period carried the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Edmonton Oilers 6-4. Nikita Kucherov scored twice and added an assist while Luke Glendening netted the game-winner for the Lightning as they moved to 8-6-4 on the season. Derek Ryan scored twice and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had two assists for the Oilers (5-10-1) as their three-game win streak came to an end.

Two third-period goals by Seth Jarvis carried the Carolina Hurricanes to a 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jarvis finished the night with three points while Sebastian Aho and Brent Burns each had a goal and an assist for the 10-7-0 Hurricanes. Sidney Crosby scored both goals for the Penguins as they slipped to 8-8-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins forward Jeff Carter missed this game with a lower-body injury, marking the fourth straight contest he’s been out of the lineup. His teammate Pierre-Olivier Joseph (lower body) was placed on injured reserve.

The New York Islanders ended a seven-game losing skid by nipping the Calgary Flames 5-4 on a shootout goal by Oliver Wahlstrom. Ilya Sorokin made 35 saves while Brock Nelson had a goal and an assist for the Islanders as they improved to 6-6-5. Nazem Kadri and Connor Zary each collected two assists for the 6-8-3 Flames.

Washington Capitals rookie forwards Hendrix Lapierre and Aliaksei Protas each had a goal and two assists as their club defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3. Alex Ovechkin also scored as the Capitals (9-4-2) have won four straight games. Johnny Gaudreau scored one of the Blue Jackets goals as they dropped their eighth straight and slipped to 4-10-4 on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals defenseman Joel Edmundson made his season debut after being sidelined since preseason with an injured hand.

A four-goal first period carried the Los Angeles Kings to a 5-1 win over the St. Louis Blues. Adrian Kempe had a goal and an assist to take over his club’s scoring lead with 18 points while Cam Talbot kicked out 29 shots for the Kings (10-3-3). Jake Neighbours replied for the Blues as they fell to 8-7-1.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 9, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 9, 2023

Anze Kopitar reaches a milestone goal as his Kings extend their road wins streak, a four-point night for the Senators’ Tim Stutzle, and the Wild make two trades. Get the details on these and other stories in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

RECAPS OF WEDNESDAY’S GAMES

NHL.COM: Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar scored his 400th career goal as his club beat the Vegas Golden Knights 4-1 to extend their season-opening road win streak to seven games. Kopitar and Adrian Kempe each had a goal and an assist while Cam Talbot made 37 saves as the Kings improved to 8-2-2. William Karlsson scored for the Golden Knights (11-2-1) as they’ve lost two straight but remain on top of the overall standings with 23 points.

Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings are road warriors but they’ve won only once (1-2-2) on home ice. Meanwhile, the Golden Knights were without center Chandler Stephenson as he is sidelined with an upper-body injury. He’s expected to miss one more game.

The Ottawa Senators defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-3. Tim Stutzle had a goal and three assists, Claude Giroux and Dominik Kubalik each tallied twice and Mathieu Joseph collected three assists for the 5-6-0 Senators. William Nylander had a goal and an assist to extend his season-opening points streak to 13 games but his Leafs dropped to 6-5-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators were short three regular defensemen for this game with Thomas Chabot, Artem Zub and Erik Brannstrom sidelined. However, it was the Leafs who struggled defensively in this contest.

An overtime goal by Sam Reinhart lifted the Florida Panthers to a 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals. Reinhart, Aleksander Barkov, Evan Rodrigues and Oliver Ekman-Larsson each had a goal and an assist as the Panthers improved to 7-4-1. Anthony Mantha tallied two goals for the 5-4-2 Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of the Capitals, they placed center Nicklas Backstrom (hip) on long-term injury reserve. He’s taken time away from the team and isn’t expected to return to action this season.

HEADLINES

STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild made two trades on Wednesday. They shipped defenseman Calen Addison to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for winger Adam Raska and a fifth-round pick in the 2026 NHL Draft. They also acquired defenseman Zach Bogosian from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for a 2025 seventh-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bogosian is in the final season of a three-year contract with an average annual value of $850K while Addison is on a one-year deal worth $825K.

The Wild wanted an experienced physical presence on their blueline. They traded away Addison to free up room and salary-cap dollars to take on the 33-year-old Bogosian, who appeared in just four games this season with the Lightning. Raska is a 22-year-old winger with eight games of NHL experience who is likely heading to the Wild’s AHL affiliate.

Addison could use a fresh start after struggling with the Wild over the past two years. The 23-year-old blueliner should get plenty of opportunities to get his NHL career back on track in San Jose.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: Kraken winger Jordan Eberle suffered a deep cut from a skate blade to the upper part of his leg during practice on Wednesday. General manager Ron Francis said Eberle appeared to avoid serious injury but was taken to a hospital for an MRI to determine if there was any tendon damage. The Kraken have called up Shane Wright as an emergency replacement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Francis believes Eberle “dodged a bullet” but they won’t know for certain until they get the results of the MRI. An update on his condition could be released today.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers goalie Jonathan Quick joined starter Igor Shesterkin on the “day-to-day” list. They’ve recalled netminders Louis Domingue and Dylan Garland.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers are being cautious with Shesterkin and Quick, who have experienced “soreness” from recent play. Shesterkin participated in an optional practice on Wednesday so he could be ready for their matchup tonight with the Wild.

NHL.COM: League commissioner Gary Bettman has upheld the four-game suspension of Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Bruins, forward Morgan Geekie is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury. Defenseman Derek Forbort (undisclosed) remains questionable for Thursday’s contest with the New York Islanders.

TSN: Edmonton Oilers goaltender Jack Campbell cleared waivers yesterday and has been sent to their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield. The Oilers are expected to recall netminder Calvin Pickard.

DAILY FACEOFF: Colorado Avalanche forward Ross Colton was fined $5,000.00 by the department of player safety for crosschecking New Jersey Devils winger Timo Meier on Tuesday.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Travis Dermott is expected to miss some time with an undisclosed injury.

CBS SPORTS: San Jose Sharks defenseman Jacob MacDonald could be out for at least a week with an undisclosed injury.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins placed forward Andreas Johnsson on waivers to terminate his contract. Johnsson, 28, is expected to return to his native Sweden.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johnsson tallied a career-best 20 goals and 43 points with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2018-19 but never regained those heights again.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 11, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 11, 2023

The Golden Knights are one game away from winning the Stanley Cup, the league’s sponsorship revenue surges, plus the latest on the Blue Jackets and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GOLDEN KNIGHTS DOWN PANTHERS TO TAKE 3-1 LEAD IN STANLEY CUP FINAL

NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights held off the Florida Panthers for a 3-2 victory in Game 4 of the 2023 Stanley Cup Final to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Vegas Golden Knights center Chandler Stephenson (NHL Images).

Chandler Stephenson scored twice and William Karlsson scored what proved to be the winning goal as Vegas jumped to a 3-0 lead midway through the second period. Florida battled back on goals by Brandon Montour and Aleksander Barkov.

The Panthers pulled goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky with Vegas defenseman Alex Pietrangelo in the penalty box for a six-on-four power-play with 17.4 seconds remaining in the third period. However, the Golden Knights held firm as netminder Adin Hill finished the game with 29 saves.

Game 5 will be in Las Vegas on Tuesday at 8 pm ET with the Golden Knights having the opportunity to win their first Stanley Cup title on home ice.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers faced a 3-1 deficit in their first-round series with the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Boston Bruins but battled back to upset the Bruins and win that series. However, this is a different team they’re facing in the Golden Knights and a different situation with the stakes being much higher.

For the first time in this series, the Golden Knights failed to score on the power play. It didn’t matter as they jumped to an early lead on Stephenson’s game-opening goal and tallied twice more in the second at even strength.

Florida caught a break as Montour’s goal pinballed in off Vegas defenders Brayden McNabb and Shea Theodore. Aleksander Barkov’s first of the series early in the third gave the Panthers life and made it interesting but they ultimately couldn’t crack the Golden Knights’ defense or Hill’s goaltending over the rest of the period.

The Panthers head into Game 5 with leading scorer Matthew Tkachuk hampered by an apparent shoulder injury suffered during Game 3. He struggled through the first two periods and skated just four shifts in the third, though he was on the ice for the final 2:26 of the frame. The Panthers star was noncommittal over whether he’ll play in Game 5.

With Tkachuk neutralized, other Panthers scorers must step up if they hope to overcome another 3-1 deficit. Barkov, Anthony Duclair and Carter Verhaeghe each have just one goal in this series while Sam Reinhart and Sam Bennett have yet to find the back of the net against Vegas.

The league is expected to take a close look at a brawl that broke out around the Vegas net at the end of the game. Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo had been serving a delay of game penalty when he exited the penalty box and joined the skirmish. It remains to be seen if he’ll face supplemental discipline.

IN OTHER NEWS…

AD AGE: The NHL’s sponsorship revenue has surged thanks to their digitally enhanced dasherboard ads, an expanded field of advertisers and jersey sponsor patches. It rose by 21 percent this season to $1.28 billion.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That likely won’t elevate the league’s projected $1 million increase in the salary cap for 2023-24. That’s because the players still owe $70 million in escrow debt to the team owners stemming from the COVID-shortened seasons of 2019-20 and 2020-21. That debt is expected to be paid in full before the end of next season.

It does bode well for significant increases in hockey-related revenue for 2024-25 and beyond. However, it’s also going to raise concerns among some fans that the league could further clutter up jerseys with more ad patches and ice space with more digital advertisements.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Former NHL goaltender Niklas Backstrom is rumored to become the next goaltending coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Speaking of the Blue Jackets, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH’s Brian Hedger reports general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said he’s received multiple calls about his first-round pick (third overall) in the upcoming 2023 NHL Draft. However, he said it would take “an awful lot” to convince him to move it. So far, he’s received nothing even close that would tempt him to move that pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kekalainen could move that pick for the right offer but I wouldn’t hold my breath in anticipation. Given the depth in this year’s draft, they’re going to get a very good prospect with that pick that could blossom into an NHL star.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson said he’s not chasing additional goaltending depth this summer. He’s comfortable heading into next season with oft-injured veteran Petr Mrazek and rookie Arvid Soderblom as his goalie tandem.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Soderblom should expect a heavy workload in 2023-24. Mrazek last played at least 40 games in a season back in 2019-20, though he did appear in 39 games this season.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Hall-of-Fame goaltender Dominik Hasek is getting offers from the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto and the Buffalo Sabres for his memorabilia. He recently had to remove those items from the Czech Hockey Hall of Fame, which closed due to economic issues. Hasek’s best seasons were with the Sabres from 1992-93 to 2000-01.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 2, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 2, 2021

A five-point performance by the Islanders Mathew Barzal, three more Canucks games are postponed by COVID-19 protocols, division stars and rookie of the month for March are announced, Nathan MacKinnon fined, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Mathew Barzal’s hat trick carried the New York Islanders to an 8-4 romp over the Washington Capitals. Barzal finished with five points while teammate Jordan Eberle scored twice. John Carlson tallied twice for the Capitals, who lost goaltender Ilya Samsonov early in the first period following an accidental collision with teammate T.J. Oshie. The Islanders are tied with the Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins with 50 points but the Capitals remain in first place in the MassMutual East Division on the basis of a game in hand.

New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (NHL Images).

The Penguins, meanwhile, rode a 30-save performance by goaltender Casey DeSmith to a 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins. Pittsburgh forward Branden Tanev returned to the lineup after missing six games and picked up an assist. The Penguins have won five straight but sit in third place behind the Islanders as the latter has two more regulation wins. Boston defenseman Brandon Carlo left the game with an upper-body injury. The Bruins sit fourth in the vision with 41 points, three ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers.

Speaking of the Rangers, they edged the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 on an overtime goal by Mika Zibanejad. Artemi Panarin collected two assists for the Blueshirts while Sabres goalie Dustin Tokarski kicked out 44 shots. The Rangers are tied with the Flyers with 38 points but the latter holds fifth place with a game in hand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The East division is getting quite interesting. The Penguins have surged to jockey with the Capitals and Islanders for first place, the Bruins are clinging to fourth place but are being threatened by the Rangers, who could soon surpass the struggling Flyers.

Third-period goals by Ross Colton and Brayden Point 66 seconds apart lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning past the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 to snap a three-game losing streak. Point had two goals on the night while Andrei Vasilevskiy turned aside 36 shots. Zach Werenski had a goal and an assist for the Jackets. With 52 points, the Lightning holds onto first place in the Discover Central Division. The Jackets (36 points) remain in sixth place in the division, three points back of the Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks.

An overtime goal by Alex Wennberg gave the Florida Panthers a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Frank Vatrano scored the tying goal and collected an assist on Wennberg’s winner. The Panthers also have 52 points but remain in second place in the Central as the Lightning hold a game in hand.

The Carolina Hurricanes got a late goal by Jesper Fast to nip Chicago 4-3 and sit one point behind the Lightning and Panthers. Warren Foegele tallied twice for the Hurricanes. The Blackhawks remain tied with Nashville with 39 points but the latter holds fourth place in the Central on the basis of regulation wins.

As for the Predators, they missed an opportunity to open a lead over the Blackhawks as their six-game win streak ended in a 4-1 loss to the Dallas Stars. Joe Pavelski collected two assists for the Stars (34 points), who sit five behind the Predators and Blackhawks.

A shootout goal by Kevin Fiala lifted the Minnesota Wild past the Vegas Golden Knights by a score of 3-2. Cam Talbot had a 35-save performance while Kirill Kapizov had a goal and an assist for the Wild (46 points), who moved within four points of second-place Vegas in the Honda West Division. The Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche each have 50 points but the latter holds first place because of regulation wins.

The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-1 as Brendan Gallagher and Phillip Danault each had a goal and an assist. Jake Allen made 23 saves for the Habs, who hold a six-point lead for fourth place over the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks with 41 points.

HEADLINES

Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov is the star of the month for March in the Discover Central Division. Colorado Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer is the Honda West star of the month. Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby took home the honor for the MassMutual East Division while Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid is the Scotia North Division star for March.

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic was named the NHL’s rookie of the month for March 2021.

The Vancouver Canucks have had three additional games postponed as forwards Adam Gaudette and Travis Hamonic and a member of the coaching staff were placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list earlier this week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gaudette and his wife faced some flak on social media by several folks alleging they failed to properly protect themselves from COVID-19. In fact, the couple followed all guidelines and were informed they did nothing wrong by the team and health officials. The Gaudettes have no idea how they caught the coronavirus and don’t deserve being hounded by some ill-informed fans.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon received a $5,000.00 fine from the NHL department of player safety for unsportsmanlike conduct against Arizona Coyotes winger Conor Garland on Wednesday.

Vegas Golden Knights forward Chandler Stephenson received a three-game suspension for elbowing Los Angeles Kings defenseman Tobias Bjornfot on Wednesday.

NEW YORK POST: Brendan Lemieux requested a trade from the Rangers prior to their dealing him last week to the Los Angeles Kings for a fourth-round pick. Lemieux made the request as he wanted to play for a team where he’d have a more meaningful role. He’d been seeing fourth-line duty this season with the Rangers.

THE SCORE: Roberto Luongo is expected to be named general manager of Team Canada’s 2021 World Championship team.

SPORTSNET: Wisconsin forward Cole Caufield, Minnesota State goaltender Dryden McKay and North Dakota forward Shane Pinto are this year’s finalists for the Hobey Baker Award. Caufield recently signed an entry-level contract with the Montreal Canadiens while Pinto inked a similar deal with the Ottawa Senators.