NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 2, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 2, 2023

Recaps of Wednesday’s games, Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom stepping away for health reasons, the latest on the Senators and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Anaheim Ducks winger Troy Terry had a hat trick and collected an assist in a 4-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Rookie Leo Carlsson netted his third goal while Lukas Dostal made 35 saves for the 6-4-0 Ducks. Lawson Crouse tallied twice while rookie Logan Cooley netted his first career NHL goal as the Coyotes slipped to 4-4-1.

Anaheim Ducks winger Troy Terry (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ducks netminder John Gibson missed this game with an upper-body injury.

The Buffalo Sabres defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2. Tage Thompson had a goal and two assists, rookie winger Brandon Biro tallied his first two NHL goals and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stopped 38 shots as the Sabres improved to 5-5-0. Joel Farabee and Cam Atkinson replied for the 4-5-1 Flyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers goaltender Carter Hart left the game with a mid-body injury in the first period after giving up two goals on five shots. Backup Samuel Ersson allowed two goals on nine shots. There was no postgame update on Hart’s condition.

Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger kicked out 43 shots to hold off the Calgary Flames 4-3, handing the latter their sixth straight loss (2-7-1). Jamie Benn had a goal and an assist for the Stars as they improved to 6-1-0. Flames rookie Connor Zary scored in his first NHL game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stars forward Radek Faksa missed this game with an upper-body injury.

The Flames’ ongoing slump continues to generate speculation about their pending free agents. I’ll have more about that in today’s Rumors update.

The Colorado Avalanche rolled to a 4-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues. Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist while Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar each had two assists for the 7-2-0 Avalanche. Robert Thomas replied for the Blues as they dropped to 3-4-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche forwards Jonathan Drouin and Tomas Tatar were healthy scratches for this contest.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Nicklas Backstrom is stepping away from the team due to ongoing issues related to his hip. The 35-year-old Washington Capitals center underwent hip resurfacing in June 2022 and appeared in 39 games last season. He played just eight games this season with one assist. It remains uncertain if he’ll return to the team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backstrom is one of the greatest players in Capitals history. He’s their all-time assist leader (762) and sits second in games played (1,105) and in points with 1,033.

However, Backstrom’s on-ice career could be over. Players who’ve undergone this procedure such as Ed Jovanovski and Carl Hagelin struggled to return to form while Ryan Kesler never played again.

It also raises questions over how effective Patrick Kane will be once he returns to action. The 34-year-old free-agent winger continues to rehab from his resurfacing procedure and is expected to begin fielding offers from interested clubs later this month.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators owner Michael Andlauer was not pleased with his club having to forfeit a first-round draft pick over the club’s role in the Evgenii Dadonov trade to the Vegas Golden Knights in 2021 and the subsequent invalidated trade that would’ve sent Dadonov from the Golden Knights to the Anaheim Ducks in 2022.

During the press conference yesterday, Andlauer indicated that he was aware there was a grievance against the team during the due diligence process before purchasing the club this summer. “It was basically, from the seller’s standpoint, really a non-issue,” said Andlauer. “I don’t know if a first-rounder is a non-issue to you guys, but it is (an issue) to me.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Andlauer said he received a 73-page report from the league that he acknowledged indicated the Senators’ actions at that time were “negligent in nature”, adding that the club deserved to be punished.

The problem, however, is the league waited until after Andlauer purchased the Senators before delivering its sentence. It gives the impression that they wanted to ensure that this didn’t jeopardize the sale or risk Andlauer reducing or withdrawing his $950 million bid.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Potential candidates to replace fired Senators GM Pierre Dorion include former Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli, Tampa Bay Lightning director of hockey operations Mathieu Darche and Carolina Hurricanes assistant GM Eric Tulsky. They could also consider promoting assistant GM Ryan Bowness or president of hockey ops (and current interim GM) Steve Staios could take over on a full-time basis.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Former Senators star and current Pittsburgh Penguins assistant GM Jason Spezza has also been suggested as a candidate.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of Andlauer, following the sale of his 10 percent stake in the Canadiens, the club’ new valuation is now at a league-record $2.5 billion.

NHL.COM: New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes, Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson and Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak were the league’s three stars for October 2023 while Anaheim Ducks goalie Lukas Dostal was named rookie of the month.

TSN: Former NHL star Joe Thornton will join Flames assistant GM Brad Pascall in handling the management duties and the assembly of Canada’s roster for this year’s Spengler Cup tournament.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could be a stepping stone for Thornton toward a new career in NHL management.

YAHOO! SPORTS: Former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser has transitioned to working as a real estate agent. DeKeyser, 33, spent 10 seasons in the NHL (all with the Red Wings) before injuries cut short his playing career.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 29, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 29, 2023

Recaps of Saturday’s game, Joe Thornton and Tomas Plekanec announce their retirements, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak scored two goals and added an assist in a 4-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Charlie McAvoy tallied his first goal of the season as the Bruins lead the Eastern Conference with a record of 7-0-1 (15 points). Joe Veleno replied for the Red Wings (5-3-1), who are 0-2-1 in their last three contests and were outscored 8-2 in their last two games.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).

The Vegas Golden Knights extended their season-opening points streak to nine games by nipping the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 in a shootout with Jack Eichel netting the winning goal. Logan Thompson stopped 36 shots as the Golden Knights extended their league-leading record to 8-0-1 (17 points). Drew Doughty scored his fourth goal of the season for the Kings (4-2-2).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Golden Knights announced they moved Nicolas Roy on injured reserve.

An overtime goal by K’Andre Miller lifted the New York Rangers over the Vancouver Canucks 4-3. Mika Zibanejad had a goal and two assists while Artemi Panarin and Adam Fox each had a goal and an assist as the Rangers lead the Metropolitan Division with a record of 6-2-0. J.T. Miller potted his fourth goal of the season and Filip Hronek collected two assists for the 5-2-1 Canucks.

The Nashville Predators upset the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on an overtime goal by Roman Josi. Ryan O’Reilly scored twice against his former club while Juuse Saros stopped 33 shots for the 4-4-0 Predators. William Nylander scored his sixth goal of the season for the 5-2-1 Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said sidelined defenseman Jake McCabe (groin injury) won’t be sidelined for as long as originally feared. He believes McCabe should be back “before too long.

A shootout goal by Nick Suzuki gave the Montreal Canadiens a 4-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Jake Allen kicked out 42 shots while Kaiden Guhle had two assists as the Canadiens overcame a 3-1 deficit to improve their record to 5-2-1. Adam Lowry netted two goals for the 4-3-1 Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a costly win for the Canadiens as defenseman Mike Matheson suffered a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk tallied twice in a 5-2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Joonas Korpisalo turned aside 40 shots while Claude Giroux and Tim Stutzle each collected two assists as the Senators rose to 4-4-0. Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel each scored for the Penguins as they dropped to 3-5-0 and sit last in the Metro Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins continued to struggle with the man advantage and have the third-lowest power-play percentage (10%) in the league. That’s a troubling stat for a club with experienced scorers like Crosby, Guentzel, Evgeni Malkin, Erik Karlsson and Reilly Smith.

The Anaheim Ducks dropped the Philadelphia Flyers 7-4. Frank Vatrano had a hat trick while Ryan Strome had a goal and two assists for the 4-4-0 Ducks. Travis Konecny tallied twice for the 4-3-1 Flyers.

New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 35 saves in a 2-0 shutout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Kyle Palmieri and Matt Martin scored for the Islanders (4-2-1) while Spencer Martin stopped 31 shots for the 3-3-1 Blue Jackets.

The Florida Panthers overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Seattle Kraken 3-2 on a third-period goal by Nick Cousins. Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves for the win as the Panthers improved to 4-3-0. Joey Daccord made 35 stops for the 2-5-2 Kraken.


SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Joe Thornton officially announced his retirement on Saturday. He hadn’t played since the 2021-22 season with the Florida Panthers.

In his 24 seasons (1997-98 to 2021-22) with the Boston Bruins, San Jose Sharks, Toronto Maple Leafs and the Panthers, Thornton amassed 1,109 regular-season assists to sit seventh on the all-time list in that category. He’s also sixth all-time in games played (1,714) and 12th in points with 1,539. Thornton scored 430 career regular-season goals and had 32 goals and 102 assists for 134 points in 187 playoff contests.

Thornton’s best seasons were the 15 he spent with the Sharks, winning the Art Ross Trophy (125 points) and the Hart Trophy in 2005-06. He was named to the First All-Star Team that season and to the Second All-Star Team in 2002-03 (with the Bruins), 2007-08 and 2015-16.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thornton was among the greatest playmakers in NHL history. In my opinion, he’s perhaps the greatest player in Sharks history, holding the single-season record for assists (92) and points (114) and the franchise record for career assists with 804. He’s also second in total points (1,055) and third in games played with 1,104.

Thornton was the driving force that turned the Sharks into a regular-season powerhouse from 2007-08 to 2010-11. During that period, they finished atop the Pacific Division four straight times, were first overall in the Western Conference twice and second overall twice, winning the Presidents’ Trophy in 2008-09 with a franchise-record 117 points. He also helped them reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2016.

While a Stanley Cup title eluded Thornton, he was a winner on the international stage for Canada, taking home gold at the 1997 World Juniors and the 2010 Winter Olympics as well as the World Cup of Hockey in 2004 and 2016.

DAILY FACEOFF: Former Montreal Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec also announced the end of his playing career yesterday. Apart from 17 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs, he played the rest of his 1,001 career NHL games with the Canadiens from 2003-04 to 2018-19, sitting seventh on the franchise’s all-time list of games played with 984. He finished with 233 goals and 375 assists for 608 career regular-season points as well as 53 points in 94 career playoff games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Plekanec was a fan favorite in Montreal for his two-way skills. He’s played in Czechi since 2018-19, spending the past three seasons with the Kladno Knights, where he skated with Jaromir Jagr.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: Devils captain Nico Hischier will miss Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Wild with an upper-body injury.

NHL.COM: Speaking of Hischier, Buffalo Sabres defenseman Connor Clifton received a two-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of the Devils captain on Friday.

WGR 550: And speaking of the Sabres, goaltender Eric Comrie is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury. With Devon Levi still on the mend, the Sabres have called up Devin Cooley to back up Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen.

THE ATHLETIC: Canada Post issued a stamp to commemorate Willie O’Ree becoming the first player to break the NHL’s color barrier in 1958.

NEW YORK POST: Former NHL player Adam Johnson died on Saturday following a freak accident while playing with the EIHL’s Nottingham Panthers when his neck was cut by a skate blade. He was 29 years old. Johnson played 13 games with the Penguins from 2018-19 to 2019-20.

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

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 3, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 3, 2022

Recaps of Friday’s games featured a big night for Senators captain Brady Tkachuk, the latest on Joe Thornton plus updates on the injury statuses of Thatcher Demko, Jakub Voracek, Tyler Bertuzzi and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk had a “Gordie Howe hat trick” to a 3-2 overtime victory over the New York Rangers. Tkachuk scored the tying and winning goals, collected an assist on Tim Stutzle’s goal, and fought Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba. Tkachuk’s game-tying tally was also his 100th career goal as the Senators improved their record to 9-13-1. Vitali Kravtsov and Mika Zibanejad replied for the 11-9-5 Rangers.

Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was a scary moment prior to Kravtsov’s goal when he fired a shot that struck Senators defenseman Travis Hamonic in the throat. Hamonic left the game but returned in the second period and played the remainder of the contest.

Columbus Blue Jackets winger Patrick Laine scored twice to lead his club over the Winnipeg Jets by a score of 4-1. Laine had missed the previous seven games with an ankle injury. Johnny Gaudreau collected three assists and Joonas Korpisalo made 37 saves for the Blue Jackets (8-12-2). Pierre-Luc Dubois replied for the 14-7-1 Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Blue Jackets announced that winger Jakub Voracek is out indefinitely with a concussion. Defenseman Zach Werenski underwent successful surgery to repair a torn labrum and will be sidelined for six months while blueliner Jake Bean (shoulder surgery) is out for four-to-six months.

The Nashville Predators picked up their third straight win by downing the New York Islanders 4-1. Kevin Lankinen kicked out 48 shots for the win and Matt Duchene had a goal and two assists as the Predators improved to 12-9-2. Mathew Barzal scored for the Islanders as they sit at 15-10-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Predators captain Roman Josi had a goal and an assist in this game. With 562 career points, he’s just four points away from David Legwand’s franchise record of 566 points.


THE MERCURY NEWS: Joe Thornton has been seen attending San Jose Sharks practices and home games with members of the team’s front office in recent weeks. Thornton, 43, hasn’t announced his retirement as an NHL player but is said to be carefully considering his next move.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My guess is Thornton will officially bring his playing career to a close once he decides what his off-ice career will be. One of the greatest playmakers in NHL history, he’s a certain first-ballot Hall of Famer.

DAILY FACEOFF: Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko is expected to miss at least six weeks with a lower-body injury suffered during Thursday’s 5-1 loss to the Florida Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The fate of the Canucks’ playoff hopes could rest upon the performance of backup Spencer Martin and call-up Collin Delia.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Oft-injured Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi will spend six more weeks on injured reserve. He underwent successful surgery on Friday to repair damage to his left hand after being struck by a shot from teammate Ben Chiarot during Wednesday’s 5-4 loss to the Buffalo Sabres.

CBS SPORTS: The Carolina Hurricanes removed Teuvo Teravainen (upper body) from injured reserve on Friday. His availability for Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings remains to be determined.

TSN: The Tampa Bay Lightning placed defenseman Philippe Myers on waivers. He was acquired last summer from the Nashville Predators and signed to a two-year contract by the Lightning. Myers has appeared in 11 games this season.

The New Jersey Devils have recalled winger Andreas Johnsson.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 21, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 21, 2022

As training camps begin, check out the latest on Ryan Ellis, Joe Thornton, Tyler Bertuzzi and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Ryan Ellis continues to rehab a pelvic injury suffered during preseason last year. There is no timetable for the 31-year-old defenseman’s return to the lineup. Daily Faceoff first reported Ellis’ status on Tuesday. He played just four games with the Flyers last season. 

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ryan Ellis (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This news comes a day after the Flyers announced first-line center Sean Couturier is sidelined week-to-week with an upper-body injury. Having two of their best players on the shelf for the opening weeks of 2022-23 is a major setback for a club hoping to bounce back from one of the worst seasons in franchise history.

THE MERCURY NEWS: The San Jose Sharks released their training camp roster yesterday and Joe Thornton was not among the 34 forwards. The 43-year-old Thornton has taken part in informal “captain’s skates” with several of his former Sharks teammates in recent weeks, sparking speculation he might attend camp on a professional tryout offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks general manager Mike Grier said he isn’t sure if a PTO is in Thornton’s future but he’s happy to have him and former Shark Patrick Marleau around the team. It sounds like Grier’s angling for one or both to join the club in an off-ice capacity. So far, there’s no word from Thornton or Marleau regarding their plans.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Tyler Bertuzzi might not have to miss games in Canada this season. The Canadian government will lift the COVID-19 vaccination requirement to cross the border on Sept. 30 pending cabinet approval. Bertuzzi was the only NHL player unvaccinated last season and wasn’t allowed to play in Canada.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: “Personal choice. Freedom of choice. And life choice,” explained Bertuzzi last season of his decision to be unvaccinated. The Red Wings won just two of its nine games in Canada last season without him in the lineup.

TORONTO STAR: Defenseman Timothy Liljegren will miss the start of Maple Leafs training camp with an undisclosed injury. The team is expected to provide an update on the 23-year-old defenseman on Wednesday but he could be for a long-term period. It’s also believed forward Pierre Engvall could also be injured heading into camp.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report also indicates Liljegren’s absence isn’t expected to put more pressure on Leafs management to sign restricted free agent blueliner Rasmus Sandin.

TORONTO SUN: Speaking of the Leafs, they’ll have a “Milk” advertising patch on the right breast of their sweaters for this season. It’s part of their ongoing marketing partnership with the Dairy Farmers of Ontario.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This news will likely enrage purists who are udderly against ad patches on NHL sweaters. It’s just part of each team’s desire to milk as much advertising revenue as possible but there will be fans who’ll find the whole scheme rather cheesy.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER’s Luke DeCock reports Jake Gardiner isn’t expected to join his Carolina Hurricanes teammates in training camp this week. He’s likely to end up on long-term injury reserve again.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gardiner spent all of last season on LTIR recovering from hip surgery. This could spell the end of his playing career. The 32-year-old defenseman is entering the final season of his four-year contract with an average annual value of $4.050 million.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes signed restricted free agent Barrett Hayton to a two-year contract. The 22-year-old center will earn an average annual value of $1.775 million.

TSN: St. Louis Blues defenseman Marco Scandella will undergo surgery on his right hip joint. He’s expected to be re-evaluated in six months.

The Colorado Avalanche have reportedly signed forward Alex Galchenyuk to a professional tryout offer. Galchenyuk, 28, had 21 points in 60 games last season with the Arizona Coyotes.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – September 18, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – September 18, 2022

Check out the latest on Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun and Ducks goaltender John Gibson plus an update on Joe Thornton in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.


GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan reports Jakob Chychrun has been the subject of rampant trade speculation for some time. However, Arizona Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong said last week that he expects the 24-year-old defenseman to report to training camp when it opens on Sept. 21.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

Armstrong said they’ve had “continued, healthy conversations” throughout the summer as Chychrun continued to rehab an injury. He also praised the blueliner’s professionalism.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rumors persist tying Chychrun to the Ottawa Senators but if that move was going to happen it probably would’ve by now. Armstrong has reportedly set a high asking price and has stuck to it.

We’ll likely hear Chychrun’s name come up again in rumors throughout this season depending on his performance this season. However, the earliest I see him being traded (if it happens at all) is in the days leading up to the March 3 trade deadline.

The Coyotes GM also indicated contract negotiations are ongoing with restricted free agent Barrett Hayton. “We’re in a staring contest,” said Armstrong, who sympathize with the young center.

Armstrong also indicated a decision on Andrew Ladd’s future could be coming this week. He’s entering the final year of his contract but said at the end of last season that his plans remained uncertain due to the wear on his oft-injured body.


THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens last week reported the Anaheim Ducks won’t be trading John Gibson. “The Ducks didn’t do it over the summer. Gibson said he didn’t want to leave.”

Stephens observed that both sides appear committed to keeping the long-term relationship going “for now.” He also pointed out that the 29-year-old goaltender has another five years and $32 million remaining on his contract plus a 10-team no-trade list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stephens acknowledged it’s possible the relationship between Gibson and the Ducks changes. However, he considers it more probable that he doesn’t move. For now, they can comfortably afford his contract but it could become an anchor when they have to re-sign their promising young players.


SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng reports Joe Thornton recently joined the San Jose Sharks for a “captain’s skate” with Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Kaapo Kahkonen and James Reimer. However, Peng considers it unlikely that the 43-year-old forward will be returning to the Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thornton is one of the greatest playmakers in NHL history and a certain first-ballot Hall-of-Famer. As I’ve stated previously, however, his play has noticeably declined over the past few seasons as age and the wear-and-tear of 24 years of NHL hockey have caught up with him. An NHL club could invite him to training camp for a tryout but I think his playing days at the NHL level are probably over.

NHL Rumor Mill – September 6, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – September 6, 2022

In today’s NHL Rumor Mill: more speculation over possible trade destinations for Patrick Kane plus a suggestion for the Calgary Flames to sign Joe Thornton to a tryout offer.


THE BOSTON GLOBE: Matt Porter suggests it “seems probable” Patrick Kane will play games this season for an Atlantic Division team.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

Kane’s hometown team, the Buffalo Sabres, has the cap space to bring him home. If the cap-strapped Toronto Maple Leafs can find a way to clear sufficient cap space, he’d give them their most Stanley Cup-worthy roster in years. Shipping him to the Detroit Red Wings could send their rebuild into overdrive.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane remains a subject of ongoing media trade chatter despite his whopping $10.5 million salary-cap hit and a full no-movement clause. He’s also been linked to the Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers, who couldn’t afford him unless they could pull off a complicated trade with a third team to spread his cap hit around.

Meanwhile, Chicago sportswriters such as Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times continue to report that Kane (and longtime teammate Jonathan Toews) haven’t approached the Blackhawks about a trade. Pope cited Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson repeating that Kane and Toews are excited about training camp and look forward to seeing how the season unfolds.

There have also been reports that both players aren’t really keen to leave the only NHL club they’ve ever played for. It’s believed Davidson will give both stars the time and space they need to decide whether their plans involve the Blackhawks after this season.

Nevertheless, the rumor mill keeps churning about Kane. Get used to seeing his name popping up in trade chatter over the course of the coming season. If he does get moved it’ll likely be closer to the trade deadline depending on how the Blackhawks’ season shakes out.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane suggests the Flames should consider bringing in Joe Thornton on a professional tryout offer. He thinks the 43-year-old forward could be the perfect addition for a smooth dressing-room transition given the roster changes the club has undergone this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We don’t know what Thornton’s plans are but there is talk he could take up a management position with a team in Switzerland, where he resides with his family during the offseason.

It was painfully apparent last season that the future Hall-of-Famer has reached the end of the line as an effective NHL player. Sure, it’s a risk-free opportunity as Macfarlane suggests, but it would also take away a training camp spot from a younger hopeful who might play a more meaningful long-term role.