Notable Former NHL Stars Still Awaiting Induction Into Hockey Hall of Fame
The latest on Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Robin Lehner, Brendan Lemieux, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NBC SPORTS: San Jose Sharks icons Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau were photographed Monday with retired defenseman Christian Ehrhoff at the Sharks practice facility. The unrestricted free agents are working out in hopes of returning for another NHL season.
Marleau recently moved his family back to the Bay area while the Sharks are giving Thornton all the time he needs to decide on returning. With over $4.7 million in salary-cap space, the Sharks have sufficient room to sign both players.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s assumed Thornton will be back for another season with the Sharks. Marleau would love to return but it’s not a certainty. The Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons recently claimed the Sharks don’t want him back.
SPORTING NEWS: Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Robin Lehner unveiled his new mask advocating for mental health with the hashtag #SameHere. Lehner has been outspoken about his struggles with bipolar disorder and alcohol abuse in the past.
FOREVER BLUESHIRTS: Former NHL player turned agent Claude Lemieux provided an update on contract talks between his son, Brendan, and the New York Rangers. “I have had a few conversations with the Rangers management team but I can’t say that we are close to signing a new contract.”
Brendan is a restricted free agent who received a qualifying offer from the Blueshirts weeks ago.
THE DENVER POST: Hall-of-Famer Michel Goulet believes former NHL star Pierre Turgeon belongs in the Hall. Turgeon sits 32nd on the all-time points list (1,327), the most of any eligible player not inducted in the Hall. “Pierre was the best player on his team for 12 to 14 straight years,” Goulet said. “That’s elite.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Turgeon spent much of his career overshadowed by many great players. He’ll likely get inducted one day but could face a long wait. If more Hall of Famers like Goulet speaks up on Turgeon’s behalf it could hasten the process.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Former NHL defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron is now involved in NASCAR and baseball in his hometown of Trois-Rivieres, Quebec.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes hired Jason Muzzatti as their new goaltending coach.
— St. Louis Blues 🏆 (@StLouisBlues) August 13, 2019
An update on Phil Kessel plus the latest contract signings and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE SCORE: Phil Kessel is hoping to bring more than scoring to the Arizona Coyotes. He’s also hoping to take on a leadership role with the club. “I haven’t really got to have that in my career. I think it’s going to be great. I’m going to do whatever I can to help these guys win and help them improve. (If) the young guys have questions or anything they want to talk about, I’m there to talk about it. Try to get our team better and them better.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: During Kessel’s latter years with the Toronto Maple Leafs he was expected to become more of a leader. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out well. By his own admission, he’s a quiet person and not a “rah-rah guy.”
Kessel’s critics will scoff but he could be an effective leader with the rebuilding Coyotes. He’s now 31 and more mature than he was during his Leafs days. He’s also got more playoff seasoning and now in a market where the spotlight is considerably less harsh compared to his previous NHL stops.
NBC SPORTS: The New York Rangers avoided arbitration with Pavel Buchnevich, re-siging the winger to a two-year, $6.5 million contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The annual average value is $3.25 million. Cap Friendly indicates the Rangers are above the $81.5-million salary cap by over $4.1 million, with restricted free agents Brendan Lemieux and Anthony DeAngelo to re-sign. Something’s gotta give via trade or contract buyout. I’ll have more in today’s rumor update.
NBC WASHINGTON: The Capitals avoided arbitration with forward Chandler Stephenson, inking him to a one-year, $1.05-million contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals sit $1.3 million over the cap. They’ll also have to shed salary before the start of the season, though their options will be easier than those facing the Rangers. More on that in the rumors section.
THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings re-signed forward Dominic Turgeon to a one-year contract.
TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins traded a conditional sixth-round pick in 2021 to the Edmonton Oilers for prospect defenseman John Marino.
The Vancouver Canucks extended their affiliation with the ECHL’s Kalamazoo Wings.
SPORTSNET: The St. Louis Blues are donating equipment to the Hockey Hall of Fame celebrating their first Stanley Cup championship.
Latest on Marc-Andre Fleury, David Perron, Valeri Nichushkin and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
LAS VEGAS SUN: Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said he’d like to finish his career with the Vegas Golden Knights. Fleury, 33, is a year away from unrestricted free agent status.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury quickly became the face of the Golden Knights this season. They can re-sign him as early as July 1, one year from his eligibility for UFA status. His current annual cap hit is $5.75 million. They could opt to re-up him this summer or wait and see how he performs next season before offering up another contract.
David Perron revealed he and his agent discussed a contract extension during the season but couldn’t come to terms. He will be an unrestricted free agent. #VegasBorn
— David Schoen 📰🗞🏒 (@DavidSchoenLVRJ) June 8, 2018
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perron led the Golden Knights in assists this season and was among their leading scorers. He was hampered by injury and illness through the playoffs, so it’ll be interesting to see what effect his postseason performance has upon his contract negotiations.
TSN: A report out of Russia claims the Dallas Stars have agreed to a two-year contract with Valeri Nichushkin, who spent the past two seasons playing in the KHL.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For several weeks there’s been anticipation of Nichushkin returning to the Stars, who own his NHL rights. So far, however, there’s no official word yet from the Stars or the Nichushkin camp confirming this deal.
LA KINGS INSIDER: The Los Angeles Kings announced assistant coach Pierre Turgeon won’t be returning next season. Turgeon has stepped down for family reasons.
TORONTO STAR: The Maple Leafs have traded the rights to prospect forward Nolan Vesey to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a seventh-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. The Oilers immediately signed Vesey to a two-year contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vesey is the younger brother of New York Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey.
KUKLA’S KORNER: Here’s the upcoming key dates in the NHL’s offseason calendar:
20th 2018 NHL Awards presented by Hulu (Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nev.)
22-23rd 2018 NHL Draft (American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas)
1st Free agency begins (12 p.m. ET)
5th Deadline for player-elected salary arbitration notification (5 p.m. ET)
6th Deadline for club-elected salary arbitration notification (5 p.m. ET
20 – Aug. 4th Salary arbitration hearings held
6th Deadline for salary arbitration decisions to be rendered
On Monday, Nov. 13, former NHL stars Teemu Selanne, Paul Kariya, Mark Recchi and Dave Andreychuk will be among the class of 2017 inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. So it’s appropriate to look ahead toward next year’s potential inductees.
It goes without saying Martin Brodeur will be a first-ballot inductee. He backstopped the New Jersey Devils to three Stanley Cup championships, won four Vezina Trophies in five years between 2002-03 and 2007-08, shares the single-season wins record (48) with Washington’s Braden Holtby and the all-time records for games-played (1,266), wins (691) and shutouts (125).
Winger Martin St. Louis could also be inducted in his first year of eligibility. He’s a two-time winner of the Art Ross Trophy (2004, 2013) and Lady Byng Trophy (2010, 2011). He also won the Hart Memorial Trophy and the Pearson in 2004 and played a significant role in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 2004 Stanley Cup run. He finished his career with 1,033 points and is the Lightning’s all-time leader in assists (588) and points (953).
2018 will be forward Daniel Alfredsson‘s second year of eligibility. Winner of the Calder Memorial Trophy in 1996, Alfredsson is the Ottawa Senators’ all-time leader in goals (426), assists (682) and points (1,108). It’ll be surprising if he’s passed over again.
Several notable players eligible for induction in recent years could be among those who get the nod in 2018.
Center Pierre Turgeon amassed 515 goals and 1,327 points in a career that stretched from 1987-88 to 2006-07 with the Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, Montreal Canadiens, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche. Winner of the 1993 Lady Byng Trophy, only two active players (Jaromir Jagr and Joe Thornton) have more points than Turgeon.
Right wing Alexander Mogilny is one of the greatest Russian players in NHL history. He and Teemu Selanne are the last players to exceed 70 goals in a season (1992-93). He also won the Lady Byng Trophy in 2003. Mogilny sits third among Russian-born NHLers in goals (473) and points (1,039) playing for the Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks, New Jersey Devils (winning a Stanley Cup with them in 2000) and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Goaltender Curtis Joseph sits fifth on the NHL all-time list for wins (454) and sixth for games played (943) backstopping the St. Louis Blues, Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, Phoenix Coyotes and Calgary Flames. “CuJo” was also a three-time finalist for the Vezina Trophy.
Right wing Theoren Fleury tallied 455 goals and 1,088 points in 1,084 career NHL games, of which 791 were spent with the Calgary Flames. He won a Stanley Cup with them during his rookie season in 1988-89. He’s second among the Flames all-time leaders in goals (364) and points (830).
Forwards Jeremy Roenick and Keith Tkachuk are two of the highest-scoring American-born players in NHL history. Roenick is fourth among US players in goals (513) and points (1,216) while Tkachuk sits third in goals (538) and fifth in points (1,065).
Latest on Tyler Johnson, Bo Horvat, Lindy Ruff and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning yesterday avoided salary arbitration with center Tyler Johnson, signing him to a seven-year contract worth an annual average value of $5 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A lengthy term for the 26-year-old Johnson at a reasonable salary. He likely would’ve commanded much more on the open market next summer but opted for the security of a long-term deal with the Lightning.
While Johnson has been banged up by injuries in his career, when healthy he’s a swift-skating, productive center. The Lightning’s next notable free agent is left wing Ondrej Palat, who’s arbitration hearing is slated for July 25.
VANCOUVER SUN: There’s talk the Canucks could re-sign center Bo Horvat to a six-year deal this summer. Comparables include Montreal’s Jonathan Drouin (six-years, $33 million), Florida’s Aleksander Barkov (six years, $34.5 million) and Anaheim’s Rickard Rakell (six years, $22.8 million).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Horvat, 22, completed an entry-level contract and lacks arbitration rights. However, he’s moved up the depth chart of the rebuilding Canucks and is entering his playing prime. He tallied 40 points in 2015-16 and 52 points last season.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The Rangers announced hiring former Dallas Stars head coach Lindy Ruff as an assistant coach.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some folks might see this as the Rangers bringing in a possible replacement for bench boss Alain Vigneault. However, this seems more like a depth move for their coaching staff than any suggestion of front office dissatisfaction with Vigneault.
TSN: The Los Angeles Kings named Pierre Turgeon as their “offensive coordinator”. The 47-year-old is a former NHL all-star who finished with 515 career goals.
NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders named Fred Brathwaite as their new goaltending coach.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars re-signed forward Radek Faksa to a three-year, $6.6-million contract. He tallied 33 points in 80 games last season, along with 101 hits and 62 blocked shots.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: The Jets re-signed left wing Brandon Tanev to a one-year, $700K contract.