NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 27, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 27, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 30, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 30, 2021

The Canadiens force Game 7 against the Leafs, David Pastrnak leads the Bruins to a Game 1 victory over the Islanders, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: An overtime goal by Jesperi Kotkaniemi lifted the Montreal Canadiens to a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 6 of their first-round series before 2,500 fans at the Bell Centre in Montreal. The seventh and deciding game of this series goes Monday night in Toronto.

Montreal Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi (NHL Images).

Power-play goals by Corey Perry and Tyler Toffoli gave the Canadiens a 2-0 lead in the first half of the third before Jason Spezza and TJ Brodie tied it for the Leafs. Habs goalie Carey Price made 41 saves for the win, including 13 in overtime.

Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin left the game in the third period with an apparent groin injury. Canadiens blueliner Jon Merrill missed his game with an undisclosed injury and could be sidelined 1-2 weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teetering on the brink of elimination after Game 4, Montreal has stormed back to set up a winner-take-all match on Monday night. For the second straight game, the Canadiens took a multi-goal lead, the Leafs rallied to tie it, but the Habs get the win on goals by their young forwards.

I expected the Leafs to put forth a better effort in this game after they came out flat in Game 5. Instead, they were worse in Game 6, with only the goaltending of Jack Campbell (especially in the first period when he made 15 saves) preventing a lopsided Montreal victory.

The series momentum has shifted in the Canadiens’ favor, leaving the Leafs reeling as they face the ghosts of recent Game 7 failures. As someone noted on Twitter last night, even if the Leafs win this series, it doesn’t bode well for their Stanley Cup chances when they needed seven games to beat the worst team to qualify in this year’s playoffs.

If the Canadiens pull off this upset, it would be arguably the greatest series comeback in franchise history.

David Pastrnak tallied a hat trick to lead the Boston Bruins to a 5-2 win over the New York Islanders in Game 1 of their second-round series. David Krejci collected three assists for the Bruins, who lost winger Craig Smith with a lower-body injury. Jordan Eberle had two assists for the Isles. Game 2 is Monday night in Boston. The game was played before some 17,000 fans at Boston’s TD Garden as pandemic restrictions ease in Massachusetts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: More fans being allowed back into NHL arenas in recent weeks brings a feeling of normalcy that was missing for most of the regular season.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman expects Mike Sullivan will return as head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins next season. There were questions about Sullivan’s future following the Penguins’ first-round exit against the Islanders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins haven’t formally announced Sullivan’s return. Friedman, however, is among the best-connected insiders in the league. I daresay he’s heard from a reliable team source (President of hockey ops Brian Burke, perhaps?) regarding Sullivan’s status.

CBS SPORTS: Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin injured the AC joint in his left shoulder during Game 7 of his club’s series with the Vegas Golden Knights. He’s not expected to require surgery and should be ready for training camp in September.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Brian Daccord, the Coyotes special assistant to the general manager and director of goaltending operations, reportedly resigned from the team.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 6, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 6, 2019

Forty players filed for salary arbitration, the latest free-agent signings, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHLPA: St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington and New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba were among the 40 players selected salary arbitration by the 5 pm ET deadline yesterday.  Arbitrations hearings will be held in Toronto between July 20 to August 4.

New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba was among 40 player filing for salary arbitration on Friday. (Photo via NHL Images)

Anaheim Ducks

Chase De Leo

Boston Bruins

Danton Heinen

Buffalo Sabres

Remi Elie

Jake McCabe

Evan Rodrigues

Linus Ullmark

Calgary Flames

Sam Bennett

Ryan Lomberg

David Rittich

Rinat Valiev 

Carolina Hurricanes

Anton Forsberg

Brock McGinn

Colorado Avalanche

J.T. Compher

Sheldon Dries

Ryan Graves

Dallas Stars

Jason Dickinson

Florida Panthers

MacKenzie Weegar

Los Angeles Kings

Alex Iafallo

Montreal Canadiens

Joel Armia

Charles Hudon

Artturi Lehkonen

Nashville Predators

Rocco Grimaldi

Colton Sissons

New Jersey Devils

Will Butcher

Connor Carrick

Mirco Mueller

New York Rangers

Pavel Buchnevich

Jacob Trouba

Philadelphia Flyers

Scott Laughton

Pittsburgh Penguins

Zach Aston-Reese

St. Louis Blues

Jordan Binnington

Joel Edmundson

Zach Sanford

Oskar Sundqvist

Tampa Bay Lightning

Cedric Paquette

Vegas Golden Knights

Malcolm Subban

Washington Capitals

Christian Djoos

Chandler Stephenson

Winnipeg Jets

Andrew Copp

Neal Pionk

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The dates for each hearing will be released before July 20. As soon as it is, I’ll post it up. Paquette yesterday re-signed with the Lightning to a two-year, $3.3-million contract.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins yesterday re-signed head coach Mike Sullivan to a four-year contract extension. 

TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets re-signed defenseman Scott Harrington to a three-year, $4.9-million contract. 

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche re-signed defenseman Nikita Zadorov to a one-year contract. Cap Friendly indicates it’s for $3.2 million. 

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks re-signed winger Josh Leivo to a one-year, $1.5-million contract.

WGR 550: Forward Zemgus Girgensons signed his one-year, $1.6-million qualifying offer with the Buffalo Sabres. Speaking of the Sabres, 2019 first-round pick Dylan Cozens underwent surgery on his left thumb and will require two-three months to recover. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens signed UFA forward Nick Cousins to a one-year, $1-million contract. 

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks signed winger Andreas Martinsen to a one-year, two-way contract worth $750K at the NHL level. 

SPORTSNET: Ontario sports minister Lisa MacLeod has apologized for harsh comments aimed at Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk at a recent Rolling Stones concert. MacLeod said she was giving Melnyk some “feedback”. According to Melnyk, she said, “I am your minister and you’re a f—ing piece of s–t and you’re a f—ing loser,”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And that, ladies and gentlemen, was Friday’s most bizarre sports story. On the one hand, some Senators fans will probably applaud MacLeod for ripping into the cantankerous Melnyk. On the other hand, she’s among the most despised members of Premier Doug Ford’s cabinet. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 22, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 22, 2019

Game recaps, Oilers re-sign Koskinen, Hurricanes re-up Teravainen, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Nashville Predators beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-1, giving head coach Peter Laviolette his 600th career NHL victory. Pekka Rinne made 35 saves, Nick Bonino had a goal and an assist, and Victor Arvidsson tallied his 10th goal of the month. 

Los Angeles Kings goaltender picked up his 302nd career victory in a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Blues (Photo via NHL Images).

Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick made 33 saves for his 302nd career victory in a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Blues. Quick moved past Mike Richter into fourth place for American-born goalies on the all-time wins list. Kings forward Tyler Toffoli scored a goal and added an assist. 

Mikko Koivu tallied his 200th career goal and Eric Staal had a two-point night as the Minnesota Wild doubled up the Vegas Golden Knights 4-2. Following the game, the Golden Knights traded little-used defenseman Brad Hunt and a sixth-round pick in 2019 to the Wild in exchange for the Wild’s fifth-rounder.

The Florida Panthers picked up their third straight win by beating the San Jose Sharks 6-2. Frank Vatrano had a goal and four assists while Aleksander Barkov collected three assists. The Sharks were playing without defenseman Erik Karlsson as he deals with an undisclosed injury. Karlsson will also miss the Sharks next game as well. 

HEADLINES

New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner, New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad, and Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane were named the NHL’s three stars for the week ending January 20. 

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes re-signed winger Teuvo Teravainen to a five-year, $27-million contract extension. The annual average value is $5.4 million. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teravainen, 24, has steadily developed into a reliable offensive forward for the Hurricanes. He enjoyed a career-best performance (23 goals, 64 points) last season and could exceed those totals (10 goals, 39 points in 48 games) this season.

Skating alongside center Sebastian Aho, Tervainen sits second among Hurricanes scorers in assists (29), points (39) and power-play points (12). He’s earned this raise as he’s become one of the Hurricanes’ core players. It’s a reasonable contract for a young player whose best seasons could still be ahead of him. 

SPORTSNET: The Edmonton Oilers re-signed goaltender Mikko Koskinen to a three-year, $13.5-million contract extension. The annual salary-cap hit is $4.5 million. In 27 games, the 30-year-old Koskinen has a record of 14-10-1, with a 2.78 goals-against average, a .911 save percentage and three shutouts. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Oilers fans are upset over this move and calling for general manager Peter Chiarelli to be fired. Despite Koskinen’s stats, he has been inconsistent at times this season. Nevertheless, he’s outperformed former starter Cam Talbot, whose days in Edmonton are likely numbered now. Koskinen’s contract isn’t outrageous and could provide some affordable stability between the pipes for the Oilers, though I also expect they could be in the market for a promising young netminder this summer. 

TSN.CA: The Oilers also placed forwards Ty Rattie and Ryan Spooner on waivers. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: These moves could free up some salary-cap space for perhaps an upcoming addition via trade. We’ll see…

TORONTO SUN: Jake Gardiner (back spasms) could return to the Maple Leafs blueline for Wednesday’s game against the Washington Capitals.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators goalie Craig Anderson is fed up with players crashing the crease and is calling on the league to crack down. Anderson recently returned to action after missing 11 games with a concussion. 

TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets have hired NHL Hall-of-Famer Martin St. Louis as a special teams consultant.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Former NHL player and coach George “Red” Sullivan passed away Saturday at his home in Peterborough, Ontario. He was 89.  Sullivan played for the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, and New York Rangers from 1949-50 to 1960-61, tallying 107 goals and 346 points in 556 games. He coached the Rangers for four seasons (1962-63 to 1965-66), was the first coach in Pittsburgh Penguins history (1967-68 to 1968-69) and was the Washington Capitals’ bench boss as a midseason replacement in 1974-75.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Sullivan’s family, friends, and former teammates.  










Updated Look At NHL Coaches on the Hot Seat

Updated Look At NHL Coaches on the Hot Seat

Earlier this month, I looked at several NHL coaches thought to be at risk of losing their jobs. Since then, the St. Louis Blues fired Mike Yeo while Todd McLellan was relieved of his duties by the Edmonton Oilers.

Yeo was among those on my previous list. Given the Blues ongoing struggles since then, it wasn’t surprising when his firing was announced last week.

McLellan wasn’t on my list because the Oilers at that time had recently overcome a slow start and seemed to be surging in the Western Conference standings. Their resulting slump led to his dismissal.

Given these recent developments, it’s time to revisit and revise the listing. Some who were on the original compilation have seen an upturn in their fortunes while others could still be feeling the heat.

Dave Hakstol, Philadelphia Flyers. While many of the Flyers faithful remain disenchanted with Hakstol, GM Ron Hextall remains patient with his coach and his roster. They’re playing .500 hockey right now as their performances continue to blow hot and cold. Their inconsistency continues to cast a harsh spotlight upon Hakstol.

Ottawa Senators coach Guy Boucher could be among several NHL coaches feeling the heat this season. (Photo via NHL.com).

Guy Boucher, Ottawa Senators. He’s in the final season of his contract and there’s no certainty he’ll be back after this season. Though the Senators defied expectations earlier this season, they’ve sunk in recent weeks toward the bottom of the Eastern Conference. With the club seemingly at the mercy of their unpredictable owner Eugene Melnyk, it wouldn’t be surprising if Boucher was handed his walking papers before the new year.

Bob Boughner, Florida Panthers. With a knee injury sidelining goaltender Roberto Luongo for the opening month of the season, the Panthers got off to a sputtering start. They’ve shown some improvement since Luongo’s return and aren’t out of playoff contention yet but remain at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. If they don’t gain ground in the standings soon, speculation could grow over Boughner’s job security.

Mike Sullivan, Pittsburgh Penguins. With the Penguins sitting outside the Eastern Conference standings, GM Jim Rutherford is shopping around for trades to bolster his struggling roster. Sullivan can’t be faulted for injuries sidelining several key players, goalie Matt Murray’s shaky start and the lack of skilled depth among his checking lines. But if there are no season-saving trades on the horizon, perhaps Rutherford will consider a coaching change.

Randy Carlyle, Anaheim Ducks. Despite losing top defensemen Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm to recent injuries, the Ducks entered this week holding onto third place in the Pacific Division. Despite critics suggesting Carlyle’s tactics no longer work in a league trending toward youth and speed, Ducks general manager Bob Murray is sticking by his coach. Their recent improvement could reduce some of the heat Carlyle’s felt in recent weeks.

Jeff Blashill, Detroit Red Wings. After one of the worst starts in franchise history, the Red Wings rallied back in recent weeks. They’re now within striking distance of a wild-card berth, silencing Blashill’s critics. The Wings aren’t going to part with him now.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 18, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 18, 2018

Panthers name Aleksander Barkov as captain, Oilers re-sign Darnell Nurse, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: The Florida Panthers yesterday named Aleksander Barkov as their new team captain. The 23-year-old center becomes the 10th (and youngster) captain in franchise history.

Florida Panthers name Aleksander Barkov as their new captain. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A good choice by the Panthers. Despite being hampered by injuries in his five NHL seasons, Barkov has matured into the Panthers’ top forward. In 2017-18, he set career highs in assist (51) and points (78) and was a finalist for the Selke Trophy as the league’s best defensive forward.

Barkov’s work ethic and lead-by-example style earned praise from his teammates and coaches. With the Panthers poised to become legitimate playoff contender, he’s the right guy to lead them. 

EDMONTON SUN: The Oilers yesterday re-signed defenseman Darnell Nurse to a two-year bridge contract worth $6.4 million. The annual average value is $3.2 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dollars, not term, was the reason behind the contract standoff. Nurse’s representatives valued him at over $4 million annually while the Oilers put it at under $3.5 million.

With the Winnipeg Jets inking Josh Morrissey to a two-year, $6.3-million bridge deal, the market value was set. Should Nurse continue to develop as projected, he’ll be in line for a substantial raise on his next contract. 

THE SCORE: Montreal Canadiens forward Nicolas Deslauriers was taken to hospital as a precaution and for further testing after leaving the second period of last night’s preseason game against the New Jersey Devils with an upper-body injury. The Canadiens rallied in the third period with three unanswered goals to defeat the Devils 3-1.

CBS SPORTS: Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim will be sidelined one week with an upper-body injury.

USA TODAY: Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan has taken a leave of absence following the death of his father on Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Sullivan, his family and the Penguins’ organization. 

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators yesterday names Peter MacTavish as their new assistant general manager. He had been working as a recruiter and agent for CAA Hockey. 

NHL.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets names Jarred Boll as an assistant development coach while Fedor Tyutin joins their scouting staff.