NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 11, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 11, 2022

Jack Eichel tallies a hat trick in his second return to Buffalo, Charlie McAvoy rejoins the Bruins, the Blues and Blue Jackets end their losing skids, P.K. Subban steps behind the microphone, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Jack Eichel tallied a hat trick in his second return to Buffalo as the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Sabres 7-4. Eichel and teammate Chandler Stephenson finished with four points each as the Golden Knights (13-2-0) extended their winning streak to nine games. Tage Thompson scored twice for the Sabres, who dropped to 7-7-0.

Vegas Golden Knights center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fully healthy and settled in with the Golden Knights, Eichel is tearing it up offensively this season with 19 points in 15 games. He’s only been scoreless in three games thus far and is playing a big role in the Golden Knights’ red-hot start to this season.

Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy tallied what proved to be the game-winner in a 3-1 victory over the Calgary Flames (5-6-0). McAvoy was making his season debut after recovering from off-season shoulder surgery. David Pastrnak had a goal and an assist while Linus Ullmark made 31 saves as the Bruins improved their record to 12-2-0.

The St. Louis Blues snapped their eight-game losing skid by dropping the San Jose Sharks 5-3 on third-period goals by Calle Rosen and Noel Acciari. Robert Thomas and Pavel Buchnevich each collected two assists for the Blues (4-8-0). Timo Meier, Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture scored for the 3-9-3 Sharks.

Speaking of ending losing streaks, the Columbus Blue Jackets ended a five-game winless skid with a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Johnny Gaudreau led the way with a goal and two assists and Boone Jenner scored twice for the 4-9-0 Blue Jackets. The Flyers (7-4-2) got goals from defensemen Tony DeAngelo and Ivan Provorov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury. No word yet as to how long he’ll be out of the lineup.

An overtime goal by Nico Hischier lifted the New Jersey Devils over the Ottawa Senators 4-3. The red-hot Devils (11-3-0) have won eight straight while the slumping Senators (4-8-1) have dropped seven straight. Devils goaltender Vitek Vanecek left the game in the third period with an undisclosed injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils already have two goalies sidelined in Mackenzie Blackwood and Jonathan Bernier. Losing Vanecek could threaten to derail what’s been an impressive start for this club. Meanwhile, the Senators lost goalie Magnus Hellberg yesterday as he was reclaimed off waivers by the Seattle Kraken, who had signed him this summer.

The Carolina Hurricanes got a hat trick from Andrei Svechnikov to thump the Edmonton Oilers 7-2 and boost their record to 9-4-1. Jack Campbell gave up all seven goals as the Oilers fell to 8-7-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers invested $25 million over five years last summer in Campbell in the hope he would bolster their goaltending. He’s won six of 10 stars but has been wildly inconsistent. That’s leading to calls for the Oilers to give more starts to backup Stuart Skinner, who has better stats in his five outings this season.

A six-goal third period powered the New York Rangers to an 8-2 drubbing of the Detroit Red Wings. Rangers defenseman Adam Fox finished the night with a goal and three assists as his club improved its record to 7-5-3. Ville Husso gave up all eight goals for the 7-4-3 Red Wings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This wasn’t all on Husso. The Wings flat-out collapsed in that period, with four of the Rangers’ goals coming in a 2:57 span.

The Colorado Avalanche tallied four second-period goals as they defeated the Nashville Predators 5-3. Mikko Rantanen and Logan O’Connor led the way with two goals apiece while Alexandar Georgiev made 32 saves for the 7-4-1 Avalanche. The Predators, meanwhile, fell to 5-8-1.

An overtime goal by Kevin Fiala gave the Los Angeles Kings a 2-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks (5-5-3). Jonathan Quick kicked out 31 shots for the Kings (9-6-3) while Petr Mrazek stopped 33 shots in his first game since being sidelined on Oct. 21.

The Arizona Coyotes got a 24-save shutout from Karel Vejmelka to blank the New York Islanders 2-0. Travis Boyd and Jack McBain were the goal scorers in the third period as the Coyotes improve to 6-6-1 while the Islanders are 9-6-0. Cal Clutterbuck returned to the Isles lineup after missing a game with an injury but Casey Cizikas left this contest with an upper-body injury.

HEADLINES

ESPN.COM: Former NHL defenseman P.K. Subban is joining the network as an in-studio analyst on a three-year contract. Subban contributed to the network’s coverage of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs. He recently retired after 13 NHL seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m not surprised to see Subban move on to television work. He’s a natural in front of the camera and could bring some personality to ESPN’s hockey coverage.

The New Jersey Devils named Hall-of-Famer Martin Brodeur as their new executive vice president of hockey operations. His duties will include personnel decisions, player recruitment, scouting and overseeing the club’s goalie development department. He’s worked in their front office in business development since 2018. Brodeur spent all but one of his 22 NHL seasons with the Devils, backstopping them to three Stanley Cups.

DAILY FACEOFF: Vancouver Canucks winger Tanner Pearson will be sidelined for four-to-six weeks following successful hand surgery.

CBS SPORTS: The Seattle Kraken placed defenseman Jamie Oleksiak (lower body) on injured reserve.

TSN: Veteran forward Alex Galchenyuk has signed a one-year AHL contract with the Colorado Eagles. They are the minor-league affiliate of the Avalanche.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Tempe City Council yesterday voted unanimously to schedule and prepare a public vote on May 16, 2023, regarding a proposed arena and entertainment complex.










Zdeno Chara and P.K. Subban Announce Their Retirements

Zdeno Chara and P.K. Subban Announce Their Retirements

SPORTSNET: Zdeno Chara has signed a one-day contract with the Boston Bruins and has announced his retirement from the NHL after 24 seasons. P.K. Subban also announced he is retiring after 13 NHL seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This may be the first time that two former winners of the James Norris Memorial Trophy announced their retirements not just on the same day but within minutes of each other.

Zdeno Chara (right) and P.K. Subban (NHL.com).

Chara became one of the best defensemen of his era. Debuting with the New York Islanders in 1997-98, the 6’9”, 250-pounder blossomed into a star after being traded to the Ottawa Senators in 2001, spending four seasons with them. He was a First-Team All-Star and a Norris Finalist in 2003-04 and was named to the Second Team in 2005-06.

It’s fitting that Chara is retiring as a Bruins. Joining them in 2006-07, Chara truly came into his own as a great all-around defenseman and a respected leader during his 14 seasons in Boston. He led them to three Stanley Cup Finals and one championship (2011), won the Norris in 2008-09 and become a finalist four times. He was also named to the First All-Star Team twice and was a three-time member of the Second All-Star Team.

Chara spent the final two seasons with the Washington Capitals and the Islanders. He holds the record for most games played by an NHL defenseman with 1,680, finishing with 680 career points and 2,085 PIMs, along with 70 points in 200 career playoff games. Don’t be surprised if he’s elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame on the first ballot.

Subban made his NHL debut in 2009-10 with the Montreal Canadiens. He quickly established himself as a gifted puck-moving defenseman with a hard shot from the point and was named to the All-Rookie Team in 2010-11. He netted 115 goals and 467 points in 834 career games and 62 points in 96 playoff contests.

A flashy, entertaining player personable with reporters and popular with fans, Subban’s seven seasons with the Canadiens were his best. He won the Norris Trophy in 2012-13 and earned a place on the First All-Star Team. He was named again to the First Team two years later and was also a Norris finalist that season.

Traded to the Nashville Predators in 2016, Subban helped them reach the 2017 Stanley Cup Final. He was named to the Second All-Star Team in 2017-18 and was again a finalist for the Norris. In 2019, he was traded to the New Jersey Devils where he spent the remainder of his career. He was honored with the King Clancy Memorial Trophy last season for his charitable work.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 19, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – September 19, 2022

In today’s NHL Rumor Mill: limited cap space could affect the Blues’ efforts to re-sign Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko plus an update on P.K. Subban.

CAN THE BLUES AFFORD O’REILLY AND TARASENKO?

STLTODAY.COM: Jim Thomas reports the Blues could find it difficult to re-sign Ryan O’Reilly, Vladimir Tarasenko, Ivan Barbashev and Niko Mikkola. The four are slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer.

St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly (NHL Images).

Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said he intends to let the season play itself out, “have those guys play.” He didn’t rule out contract negotiations during the coming season. “It means if we do, we’ll do it behind closed doors.”

O’Reilly and Tarasenko will draw the most interest. Both were key players in the Blues’ Stanley Cup run in 2019.

O’Reilly has become the Blues captain and remains among the league’s best two-way players. He also seems to enjoy playing in St. Louis.

Tarasenko, however, requested a trade last summer but enjoyed a career-best 84-point performance last season. Reports emerged this summer claiming he hasn’t rescinded that request.

Both players currently carry an average annual value of $7.5 million. O’Reilly turns 32 in February while Tarasenko will be 31 in December, meaning they won’t be getting eight-year contract extensions like those signed this summer by teammates Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou.

With a projected salary cap of $83.5 million for 2023-24, the Blues will have around $15.95 million in cap space with 13 players under contract. Assuming O’Reilly returns for a cap hit similar to his current one, that’ll leave just $8.45 million for the rest of the roster.

Thomas wondered how much of a pay cut O’Reilly might accept to remain with the Blues. He believes term will be an issue as well.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tarasenko is likely playing his final season with the Blues. His trade request did not become an issue with his teammates and it’s unlikely to be one this season. Even if he has another 80-point performance, there’s a sense that the rift between himself and the front office hasn’t fully healed.

Signing O’Reilly, on the other hand, is likely to be a priority for Armstrong. Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek last week suggested the Blues captain could seek a deal comparable to the seven-year, $49 million contract that Nazem Kadri signed last month with the St. Louis Blues. His colleague, Elliotte Friedman, doubted the Blues will agree to that.

Maybe O’Reilly will accept a pay cut if the Blues offer up a deal of at least five years? That’s something he and Armstrong will have to discuss at some point between now and next July.

If O’Reilly is re-signed, the Blues could be forced to shed salary elsewhere to clear enough room to fill out the remainder of their roster.

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS P.K. SUBBAN?

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons observes training camp is fast approaching but P.K. Subban is nowhere to be found. He made a series of calls to people close to the 33-year-old defenseman but hasn’t been able to reach him.

As far as Simmons knows, Subban has neither a place to play nor has he received a training camp invitation. While the former Norris Trophy winner and All-Star isn’t the player he once way, he’s still good enough to end up somewhere with an NHL club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reports from earlier this summer claimed Subban was receiving some interest and was evaluating potential destinations. Maybe he’s still deciding where he’ll land or perhaps those teams have moved on to other defensemen.

Training camps open on Sept. 21 and 22. We should know Subban’s fate by week’s end.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 12, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – September 12, 2022

An updated list of the top available unrestricted free agents in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: With NHL training camps starting next week, Steven Ellis lists the top-10 players still available in the unrestricted free agent market.

Evan Rodrigues tops the list. The 28-year-old forward plays center or wing and is coming off a career-best 43-point performance. His previous contract was a one-year deal worth $1 million.

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

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently linked Rodrigues to the Anaheim Ducks and Calgary Flames. Earlier in the month, the Edmonton Journal’s Kurt Leavins wondered if the Oilers might attempt to sign the veteran forward to a professional tryout offer but that was prior to their recent signing of Justin Bailey to a PTO.

Sonny Milano and P.K. Subban sit second and third on Ellis’ list. A skillful left winger, the 26-year-old Milano earned $1.7 million last season. Subban, 33, isn’t the star he once was but could still bring value to a team’s blueline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There hasn’t been much recent talk about where Milano could end up. He could return to the Ducks on a cheaper one-year contract.

Subban is the most recognizable name on Ellis’ list. The decline in his skills means his days of big-money contracts are over. Earlier this month, The Athletic’s Marc Antoine Godin dismissed the notion of a reunion between Subban and the Montreal Canadiens, suggesting the Habs instead look at Anton Stralman if they want to add a right-shot free agent defenseman.

Speaking of Stralman, he’s number 5 on Ellis’ list behind winger Tyler Motte.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been quiet in recent weeks regarding these two. Like most on this list, they could either end up signing one-year contracts on the eve of training camp or sign professional tryout offers in hopes of earning one-year deals before the start of the regular season.

Center Tyler Ennis, winger Daniel Sprong, winger Alex Galchenyuk, center Victor Rask and winger Alex Chiasson round out the remainder of Ellis’ list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: These players haven’t surfaced much in the rumor mill. They seem more likely to be PTO candidates leading up to training camp.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 1, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – September 1, 2022

Updates on the notable players remaining in the unrestricted free agent market plus some cost-cutting Bruins trade candidates in today’s NHL Rumor Mill. 

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski took a look at the status of several noteworthy players still available in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market. 

Former New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban (NHL Images)

P.K. Subban’s agent, Don Meehan, recently told the Montreal Gazette that the 33-year-old defenseman is being selective on where he’ll play next. He said there were “expressions of interest” in his client but those clubs also had other things in play. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wyshynski believes Subban is ready to be a difference maker if the right fit can be found. He might not be interested in signing with a non-contender. Boston Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy believes the Bruins should look into signing Subban to a professional tryout offer. However, it’s still possible he inks an affordable one-year contract with a club before training camp opens.

Evan Rodrigues hasn’t signed a new contract but it appears he’s garnered plenty of interest. His agent, Darren Ferris, told Wyshynski that there are “a good seven or eight teams” he’s having discussions with about his client. 

Some of those clubs have cap constraints, including his former team, the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Calgary Flames have also shown an interest. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hockey News’ Mike Stephens suggested the Seattle Kraken, Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators as potential destinations for Rodrigues. However, we don’t know if those clubs are among those talking to his agent.

Wyshynski expects Rodrigues will sign a one-year “show-me” contract and then try his luck for a more lucrative deal next summer. 

Many observers felt last season was Keith Yandle’s last but the 35-year-old defenseman isn’t ruling out playing this season. His agent, Jerry Buckley, said he’s still talking to teams but his client wants to find the right fit if he’s to continue his NHL career.  Buckley “highly doubted” Yandle will accept a PTO. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A PTO might be the only way for Yandle to continue his playing career if that’s what he wants to do. He’s the NHL’s reigning Ironman but his performance has declined in recent years. 

No word on Joe Thornton’s plans. If his playing days are over, the 43-year-old forward reportedly could moving into a managerial role with the Spengler Cup Tournament. 

Speaking of aging veterans, no word yet from 45-year-old defenseman Zdeno Chara regarding his intentions. He hasn’t announced his retirement but it’s assumed he’s played his final NHL game.  

An NHL source claims “a lot of teams” are interested in Sonny Milano. So far, no one’s signed the former Anaheim Ducks winger. 

Former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser is healthy and hoping to land with a new NHL club. Agent Matt Federico is confident his 32-year-old client will have a one-year, low-dollar deal in place before training camps open. 

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Matt Porter recently observed the Bruins are above the $82.5 million salary cap by $2.4 million. They can address this at the start of the season by placing sidelined stars Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy on long-term injury reserve. However, they must become cap compliant when those players are ready to return to the lineup.

It sounds like Nick Foligno ($3.8 million) will remain part of the main group this season. Defenseman Mike Reilly ($3 million) could be a trade candidate given the Bruins’ depth in left-shot blueliners. Winger Craig Smith ($3.1 million) could be shopped if a youngster such as Fabian Lysell or Jack Studnicka makes a push this season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could be Smith who gets moved. There was a rumor last month claiming a team had made an offer for the 32-year-old winger but the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement. 










NHL Rumor Mill – August 30, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 30, 2022

In today’s NHL Rumor Mill, a look at some of the notable players still available in the unrestricted free agent market and some tryout candidates for the Golden Knights.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Evan Rodrigues, Sonny Milano and P.K. Subban top Steven Ellis’ list of the top unrestricted free agents entering September.

Rodrigues is a 28-year-old center coming off a career-best 43-point performance with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Milano, a 26-year-old winger, spent last season skating alongside promising Trevor Zegras on the rebuilding Anaheim Ducks. Subban is no longer the player he used to be but the 33-year-old defenseman could bring good value for the right price.

Former New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rodrigues has been linked to the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some other clubs interested in him. Milano could be a good cost-effective option as a playmaking winger.

Subban is the biggest name on this list. The former Norris Trophy winner could help a club seeking an experienced defenseman for their third defense pairing or a power-play specialist on the blue line. Oddsmakers have linked him to the Edmonton Oilers but there has been no media gossip tying him to the club.

Former Ducks winger Sam Steel, veteran forward Sam Gagner and winger Tyler Motte fill out spots four through six on Ellis’ list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Steel (24) is the youngest player on this list and could be an affordable reclamation project for a team willing to invest the time in his development. The versatile Gagner, 32, had a respectable 31 points with the rebuilding Red Wings last season and could be a good depth addition. Motte, 27, acquitted himself well as a checking-line winger with the Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers.

Defenseman Anton Stralman, center Tyler Ennis, winger Daniel Sprong and winger Zach Aston-Reese round out the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stralman could draw interest from teams seeking an experienced and reliable right-shot rearguard. Ennis and Sprong are well-traveled players who could be enticing to cap-strapped or cost-conscious clubs seeking decent depth forwards. The same applies to Aston-Reese.

Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts on where these players could end up in the comments section below. 

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Rodrigues, Milano, Sprong, Steel and Aston-Reese also showed up on Owen Krepps’ list of proposed professional tryout offer candidates for the Golden Knights. Joe Thornton and Michael Stone were the other NHL players on his listing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some of those players on Ellis’ list could end up accepting tryout offers with the Golden Knights or other NHL clubs next month hoping to earn jobs in training camp or through preseason play.

It will be interesting to find out what Thornton’s plans are. He played with the Florida Panthers last season on a one-year contract but saw action in just 34 regular-season games and one playoff contest. Now 43, Thornton is among the greatest playmakers in league history but his performance has steadily declined in recent years as age and the grind of 24 NHL seasons have caught up with him.