NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 24, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 24, 2022

The aftermath of the Matthew Tkachuk trade plus the latest contract signings and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

SPORTSNET: Eric Francis reports Matthew Tkachuk explained his refusal to sign a long-term contract with the Calgary Flames. At the time, the 24-year-old winger was a restricted free agent who was a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility.

Calgary Flames traded winger Matthew Tkachuk to the Florida Panthers on July 22. (NHL Images).

Tkachuk indicated he knew when he inked his previous contract in 2019 that there was a chance that it would be time to leave when the deal was over. He said there wasn’t any single reason behind his decision.

He explained that he wanted to re-evaluate where he was at that point in his career. The winger stated that he didn’t know what his choice would be until after he spoke with several teams.

His decision forced the club to trade him on Friday night to the Florida Panthers in a multi-player deal that sent winger Jonathan Huberdeau and defenseman MacKenzie Weegar to the Flames. He agreed to an eight-year deal worth $9.5 million per season with the Panthers.

Tkachuk indicated it wasn’t an easy decision, dismissing speculation that he was motivated by the recent departure of former linemate Johnny Gaudreau to the Columbus Blue Jackets. He said he was sad to be leaving Calgary, insisting that he enjoyed living and playing there. He explained why he choose the Panthers, saying he was drawn to their competitiveness and their prospects for success in the future.

CALGARY SUN: Flames general manager Brad Treliving said the offer he received from the Florida Panthers for Matthew Tkachuk was the best deal available “by a long shot.”

Treliving made the trade after Tkachuk informed the Flames that he wasn’t interested in signing a long-term contract. Huberdeau and Weegar are slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer.

The Flames GM said it was important for everyone to take a breather after everything that’s happened before moving on to the next round of challenges. That includes attempting to re-sign Huberdeau and Weegar.

Treliving also he was “pissed off” about the media narrative that suggests Calgary isn’t a good place to live and play for NHL players. He praised the community and defended his club, insisting that it will be competing every year to be a Stanley Cup contender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tkachuk was a restricted free agent and within his rights under the rules of the collective bargaining agreement to determine where he wanted to play. Informing the Flames that he wouldn’t sign beyond the coming season gave him considerable leverage to force a trade wherever he wanted to go.

Treliving got the best deal he could under the circumstances. In the short term, it should keep the Flames competitive for 2022-23 despite the absence of Gaudreau. Whether it works out over the long term depends on whether Huberdeau and Weegar are willing to sign contract extensions.

NHL.COM: The Los Angeles Kings signed forwards Gabriel Vilardi and Jaret Anderson-Dolan to contract extensions. Vilardi’s is a one-year, one-way deal worth an annual average value of $825K. Anderson-Dolan’s is a one-year, two-way deal worth $750K at the NHL level.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins signed center Jack Studnicka to a two-year, two-way contract extension with an average annual salary of $762,500 at the NHL level.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars signed defenseman Will Butcher to a one-year, two-way deal worth an AAV of $750K.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks recently announced new initiatives to help educate the public about the cultures of Native peoples.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 5, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – February 5, 2022

Check out the latest on the Bruins, Golden Knights and Ducks in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

ADDRESSING THE BRUINS’ ROSTER NEEDS

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa believes the Boston Bruins’ most pressing need is for a second-line center for this season and perhaps beyond. He suggested the Philadelphia Flyers’ Claude Giroux could address the former while the Vancouver Canucks’ J.T. Miller would be a good candidate for the latter.

Shinzawa felt center Jack Studnicka could become a trade piece if he can rebuild his game and help the Bruins. Other teams have shown an interest in Studnick and defenseman Urho Vaakanainen, though there are questions about the latter’s ceiling and if he’s playoff ready. If the Bruins believe Vaakanainen is ready, Mike Reilly could be on the move, though Vaakanainen could fetch a better return.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss believes a lack of defensive depth could be a fatal flaw for the Bruins as it was in recent postseason runs. He suggested targeting the Chicago Blackhawks’ Calvin de Haan, the Seattle Kraken’s Mark Giordano, the Detroit Red Wings’ Nick Leddy or the Arizona Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Giroux, Miller and Chychrun could prove to be out of the Bruins’ price range unless they’re willing to part with top prospect Fabian Lysell and that’s something they shouldn’t do. Leddy or de Haan could be more affordable options.

Giordano is somewhere in the middle. He probably won’t be as expensive as Giroux, Miller and Chychrun but will cost more than Leddy or de Haan. The Kraken could seek a first-round pick and a prospect.

LATEST ON THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS

NHL.COM: Dan Rosen was recently asked how the Vegas Golden Knights will clear salary-cap space for Jack Eichel’s contract when he’s finally healthy and ready to join their lineup. They currently have Eichel, defenseman Alec Martinez and forward Adam Brooks on injured reserve.

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez (NHL Images)

If all three are activated they’ll have to start trading or waiving some depth players. If they’re still over the $81.5 million cap, they’ll have to move a more impactful player like Evgenii Dadonov or Reilly Smith, who each carry cap hits of $5 million.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: With the Golden Knights’ recent signing of Brayden McNabb to a three-year deal worth $2.85 million per season, Owen Krepps speculates they could look at shedding a defenseman to trim some payroll. He suggested Martinez could be the odd man out. While they re-signed the 34-year-old blueliner last summer, he’s been sidelined for all but 11 games this season. Meanwhile, the Golden Knights have managed well in his absence.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Martinez carries a $5.25 million annual average value. Moving him would spare them from shipping out Dadonov or Smith. However, his 16-team no-trade list for this season could complicate efforts to move him.

DUCKS POTENTIAL TRADE CANDIDATES

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman looked at the “to-do list” of new Anaheim Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek. He believes winger Rickard Rakell is the most likely of the Anaheim Ducks’ three notable pending UFAs to get traded. The top question is whether Verbeek can allow Hampus Lindholm to walk if he doesn’t think he can re-sign him.

Josh Manson would also draw interest if they shop him. He’s been linked to the Toronto Maple Leafs but Friedman reports the Leafs are one of the teams on his no-trade list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what Verbeek does as the trade deadline approaches. I think much will depend on where the Ducks in the standings by then. They last reached the playoffs in 2018. Like every club, their revenue has taken a hit by COVID-19 and a chance to get some postseason cash could be tempting. Those three could be retained as own rentals if they’re still in the thick of the Western Conference playoff chase.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 5, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 5, 2020

Recaps of Tuesday’s games plus the latest on Jake Muzzin, Steven Stamkos,  and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho (Photo via NHL Images).

 NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes are the first team to advance past the qualifying round, defeating the New York Rangers 4-1 to sweep their best-of-five series. The Hurricanes scored four unanswered goals, including two by Sebastian Aho, while James Reimer made 38 saves for the win. Chris Kreider tallied the only goal for the Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This series saw dominant performances by Aho and linemate Andrei Svechnikov. The young Hurricanes forwards proved too much for the Rangers to contain. Aho leads all playoff scorers with eight points, while Svechnikov has three goals and five points in three games.

 

Auston Matthews’s second-period goal was the game-winner and Frederik Andersen had a 20-save shutout as the Toronto Maple Leafs blanked the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-0, tying their qualifying round series at a game apiece. John Tavares and Morgan Rielly also tallied for the Leafs. The Maple Leafs win was overshadowed by Jake Muzzin being stretchered from the ice late in the game with a suspected head/neck injury after a cross-check by Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois sent the defenseman colliding awkwardly with Jackets winger Oliver Bjorkstand. Muzzin was taken to a local hospital and was reportedly able to move his limbs.  

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Muzzin will be ok. It remains to be seen how long he’ll be at the hospital and if he’ll have to undergo the mandatory four-day quarantine before rejoining his teammates. The Leafs had the better of the play in this game, outshooting the Jackets 39-20.

Sean Monahan had a goal and two assists as the Calgary Flames downed the Winnipeg 6-2 to take a 2-1 series lead. Monahan’s linemates Johnny Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm each had a goal and an assist, as the Flames went three-for-four on the power play. The injury-depleted Jets suffered another casualty as Mathieu Perreault left the game following a big hit from Flames forward Sam Bennett. Winnipeg defenseman Tucker Poolman left the game briefly left the game for stitches after taking a puck to the face.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a very physical game that left both sides battered, but the Jets got the worst of it. Already down two players with stars Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine sidelined, they cannot afford to lose more regulars. They also need more production from first-liners Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor, who’ve both been held to just one point in this series.

The New York Islanders tallied three unanswered goals to double up the Florida Panthers 4-2 and take a 2-0 series lead. Jordan Eberle tallied twice as the Isles overcame 1-0 and 2-1 deficits. Mike Hoffman and Keith Yandle each had two points for the Panthers. The Islanders can wrap it up in Game 3 later today. Following the game, Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson was fined $2,500.00 for high-sticking Isles center Brock Nelson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders showed lots of poise in this game. They didn’t get rattled when they fell behind and garnered momentum after Matt Martin made it 2-2. It was a disappointing outcome for the Panthers, who played much better in this game but couldn’t hold the lead.

J.T. Miller and Bo Horvat each had a goal and an assist as the Vancouver Canucks held on to edge the Minnesota Wild 4-3 and tie their series at a game apiece. Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom turned in a 34-save performance. Kevin Fiala scored two late goals for the Wild. The Canucks successfully killed off six penalties in this contest but also lost winger Micheal Ferland to an undisclosed injury in the first period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A strong bounce-back effort for the Canucks, who looked flat in Game 1. They also tweaked their roster, with Jake Virtanen and Loui Eriksson entering the lineup for this one. Tyler Toffoli missed this game with an injured foot suffered in Game 1.

Nashville Predators’ goaltender Juuse Saros made 24 saves for his first career postseason win, backstopping his club to a 4-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes to tie their series at a game apiece. Ryan Johansen had a goal and an assist as the Preds rolled to a 4-0 lead before the Coyotes tallied twice in the final minute of regulation.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After falling behind early in Game 1, it was the Predators’ turn to ride an early lead to victory. Apart from brief flurries from the Coyotes, the Preds largely controlled the play, especially when Calle Jarnkrok made it 3-0. Coyotes backup goalie Antti Raanta was declared “unfit to play” after leaving the bench mid-game and won’t suit up for Game 3 later today.

HEADLINES

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning captain Steven Stamkos won’t be in the lineup when his club faces off today in round-robin play against the Boston Bruins. Though he’s skated with his teammates in recent days, he’s still recovering from an injury suffered during Phase 2 training.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins winger Jack Studnicka will be a healthy scratch from today’s game against the Lightning. He’ll be replaced by Nick Ritchie.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues forward Ivan Barbashev is returning to St. Louis to attend the birth of his first child. He’s expected to rejoin his teammates for the first round of the playoffs.

THE SCORE: Former Washington Capitals winger Brendan Leipsic signed a one-year contract with KHL club CSKA Moscow. He was released from his contract in May when inappropriate comments he made on a group chat were leaked to social media.