NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 10, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 10, 2022

Lightning suspends Ian Cole pending an investigation into sexual abuse allegations, Wayne Simmonds and Mike Reilly are among those on the waiver wire, the Blues trade Klim Kostin to the Oilers, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning suspended Ian Cole pending the result of a league investigation into allegations against him of sexual abuse.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ian Cole (NHL Images).

A woman using the alias “Emily Smith” recently took to social media accusing the 33-year-old defenseman of engaging in a sexual relationship with her that started when she was a minor. She claimed Cole had manipulated her over a four-year period.

Cole denied the allegations in a statement on Sunday. He and the Lightning indicated they would fully cooperate with the league’s investigation.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No timetable has been given by the league as to when it will complete its investigation. As the report indicates, this is the latest black eye for the sport as it reels from numerous reports of sexual abuse claims.

Former Chicago Blackhawks forward Kyle Beach came forward last year as the player suing the club for mishandling his allegations he’d been sexually assaulted by their former video coach in 2010.

Hockey Canada is being grilled by a Canadian parliamentary committee over its handling of sexual assault allegations against members of Canada’s 2003 and 2018 World Junior teams. Some of those players may have gone on to NHL careers.

Meanwhile, the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors fired head athletic trainer Chad Drown after he was charged with “contacting a minor to commit a sexual offense”. The Condors are the affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers, who released a statement supporting the decision to fire Drown.

DAILY FACEOFF: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Wayne Simmonds, Boston Bruins forward Nick Foligno and defenseman Mike Reilly are among the notable players placed on waivers Sunday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs also let it be known that Simmonds was available for a trade. I’ll have more about that in today’s Rumor Mill update. Foligno isn’t likely to be claimed given his declining performance and $3.8 million cap hit for this season.

Reilly’s puck-moving skills could see him end up with a different team later today. He hits the waiver wire because sidelined defenseman Matt Grzelcyk is expected to return to action much sooner than expected.

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH: The Blues traded forward Klim Kostin to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for defenseman Dmitri Samorukov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A former first-round pick (2017), Kostin struggled to crack the Blues lineup. Perhaps he’ll have better luck with the Oilers as they’re in need of depth on right wing. They also made this move because Kostin carries a slightly more affordable contract. The Blues, meanwhile, are expected to send Samorukov to their AHL affiliate in Springfield.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs yesterday signed winger Zach Aston-Reese to a one-year deal worth over $840K.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers signed winger Jimmy Vesey to a one-year, $750K contract. It’s his second tenure with the Blueshirts as he spent the first three seasons of his NHL career with them.

TSN: The NHL department of player safety fined New York Islanders defenseman Alexander Romanov $5,000.00 for charging Rangers center Vincent Trocheck during a preseason game on Saturday.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes claimed defenseman Juuso Valimaki off waivers yesterday from the Calgary Flames.

GOPHNX.COM‘s Craig Morgan reports the Coyotes are expected to release forward Alex Chiasson from his professional tryout offer.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 8, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – October 8, 2022

The Oilers enter this season with little cap room, the Flames face a decision with Juuso Valimaki, and a lack of tradeable assets could hurt the Bruins this season. Get the details in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

OILERS SQUEEZED FOR CAP SPACE

SPORTSNET: Mark Spector reports the Edmonton Oilers will enter this season with just $165.00 in salary-cap space for the upcoming regular season.

They could get $1.25 million in cap relief if center Mattias Janmark is claimed off waivers later today. If he’s not, they’ll have to place Devin Shore and his $850K cap hit on waivers to become cap compliant by Monday.

Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi (NHL Images).

This will affect the Oilers’ efforts to recall players from their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield this season.

Spector points out Oilers general manager Ken Holland attempted to trade winger Jesse Puljujarvi and his $3 million salary during the offseason but couldn’t find any takers. The same goes for winger Warren Foegele, who carries a $2.75 million cap hit but is harder to move because he’s signed through 2023-24.

Holland hoped to get a second-round pick in exchange for Puljujarvi. Spector wonders if the Oilers GM will accept a lesser return to solve his cap situation.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cousin Mark believes Holland will let the season play out and see if injuries provide some roster relief.At some point, however, the Oilers GM could find himself having to make a cost-cutting trade.

That could mean accepting less of a return for Puljujarvi or Foegele provided he can find a taker for either guy. It’s something worth keeping an eye on as the season progresses.

Speaking of Janmark, Sportsnet’s Ken Wiebe wonders if the Winnipeg Jets might try to claim him off waivers today.

FLAMES FACE A DECISION WITH VALIMAKI

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane reports Juuso Valimaki could be the odd man out for one of the last two spots on the Flames blueline. If they try to send the 24-year-old defenseman to their AHL affiliate, he’ll have to clear waivers first. There’s a good chance another club could snap up the former first-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Macfarlane observes Valimaki has had difficulty nailing down a roster spot since Darryl Sutter returned as head coach. Given their blueline depth, perhaps he’ll become a trade candidate at some point.

BRUINS LACKING QUALITY TRADE BAIT

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: A lack of quality assets to make upgrades via the trade market is among Nick Goss’ list of five huge obstacles preventing the Bruins from winning the Stanley Cup this season.

GM Don Sweeney has shipped out a first-round pick in three of the last five NHL trade deadlines. Doing so again this season would further hinder the Bruins’ ability to draft and develop quality young talent. The Athletic’s February prospect pool ranking had the Bruins 27th out of 32 clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s worse than that. In The Athletic’s August prospect pipeline rankings, the Bruins are dead last in part because they’ve traded away so many first-round picks. If Sweeney’s going to make any deals to upgrade his roster this season he’ll have to draw upon players currently on the team or from his shallow pool of prospects.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 26, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 26, 2022

Speculation suggests the Flames might not be done in the trade market and a couple of predictions for the Oilers in today’s NHL rumor mill.

ARE THE FLAMES NOT DONE DEALING?

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane reports a “growing feeling” that Flames general manager Brad Treliving could make another move in the trade market. He points to preseason projections that have prospect Jakob Pelletier among the Flames’ top-six forwards plus their plethora of defensemen.

Juuso Valimaki is a popular name for trade bait while Oliver Kylington would be the kind of young defenseman who might be of greater interest to rival clubs. Noah Hanifin has only two seasons left on his contract but the Flames likely aren’t concerned about that given their “win-now” attitude.

Calgary Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington (NHL Images).

Macfarlane rattled off the names of several forwards (St. Louis’ Vladimir Tarasenko, Chicago’s Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, Detroit’s Tyler Bertuzzi) who are among the bigger names believed on the trade block this summer. Other notables include Washington’s Lars Eller, Philadelphia’s James van Riemsdyk, the New York Islanders Anthony Beauvillier and Montreal’s Christian Dvorak.

Other trade options could be Philadelphia’s Cam Atkinson, Buffalo’s Victor Olofsson or Montreal’s Paul Byron.

Macfarlane also noted some free-agent options such as Evan Rodrigues and Sonny Milano. He pointed out that Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently suggested the Flames had some interest in the 29-year-old Rodrigues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Treliving’s made some bold moves this summer such as shipping Matthew Tkachuk to Florida for Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar and signing Nazem Kadri. He could have another one up his sleeve, perhaps by drawing on his blueline depth.

Cap space, however, will be a factor. With $2.1 million remaining, Treliving could be forced to make another cost-cutting trade to free up cap space as he did when he traded Sean Monahan to Montreal to make room for Kadri. The other option is a dollar-for-dollar swap. Failing that, an affordable free-agent option such as Rodrigues or Milano seems the more likely route.

TRADE PREDICTIONS FOR THE OILERS

THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell made some bold Edmonton Oilers predictions for the coming season.

One of them is the expectation that the Oilers will become salary-cap compliant by placing Mike Smith and Oscar Klefbom on long-term injury reserve and making a trade. Mitchell suggested shipping out Warren Foegele for a draft pick or a non-roster player.

Mitchell also expects Oilers GM Ken Holland will make a big addition at the 2023 trade deadline. He took note of the recent speculation tying Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane to the Oilers. However, he believes they would be better off waiting until the trade deadline so as to avoid any potential cap complications that could arise over the course of the season. He also doesn’t rule out pursuing Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Oilers are the only team with a genuine interest in Kane, I don’t think they can win a bidding war for his services at the trade deadline. That’s assuming the Blackhawks star will be willing to waive his no-movement clause to come to Edmonton.

Given their lack of cap space, they’ll have to pull off a three-team trade to spread Kane’s $10.5 million cap hit around. Even then, they’ll have to move a salaried player to ensure sufficient wiggle room. They’ve got some decent prospects within their system but other clubs might be able to offer better quality.

As for Chychrun, I don’t see Holland giving up two first-round picks plus a top prospect or a promising NHL player if that remains the Coyotes’ asking price on deadline day.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 3, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – November 3, 2021

The Jack Eichel rumor mill churns on with the Calgary Flames and Vegas Golden Knights as the remaining bidders. Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

ESPN: Emily Kaplan reports sources claim the Calgary Flames and Vegas Golden Knights are the sole finalists in the bidding for Jack Eichel. Both clubs are okay with the 25-year-old Buffalo Sabres center undergoing disc replacement surgery to repair the herniated disc in his neck.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Kaplan said she was told a trade could be close (“on the one-yard line”) but details are still being worked out. Sabres general manager Kevin Adams has been working hard to get this done but he’s standing firm on his asking price. The Flames and Golden Knights have yet to meet his full demands.

The timetable for Eichel’s return would see him return to the ice within six weeks of surgery but it could be up to three months before he’s ready for game play. That would take him out of joining Team USA for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Still, the recovery period is two months shorter than it would be if he underwent neck fusion.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarland noted the Sabres asking price was set months ago consisting of at least four assets not including those that would have to go the other way for salary-cap purposes. He believes the Flames would have to part with a first-round pick, a top prospect and two young roster players, preferably a forward and defenseman under 25.

Macfarland doesn’t see the Sabres being interested in Juuso Valimaki given his struggles this season. The Flames are short on wingers so they’re unlikely to part with Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, Blake Coleman or Andrew Mangiapane.

Center Sean Monahan and his $6.375 million annual cap hit would have to go the other way to help offset the addition of Eichel’s $10 million cap hit. McFarland doubts the Flames will acquire Eichel unless general manager Brad Treliving feels he won’t be able to re-sign Gaudreau or if Tkachuk is biding his time as a restricted free agent.

CALGARY SUN: Kristen Anderson also weighed in on the cost for the Flames to acquire Eichel. She pointed out the Flames have just over $1 million in cap space, meaning they must shed salary in addition to perhaps parting with younger players like Valimaki, speedy winger Dillon Dube and promising prospect Jakob Pelletier as part of the deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I noted yesterday, the salary cap is an issue for the cap-strapped Flames and Golden Knights. The Sabres have made it clear they’re not retaining any portion of Eichel’s cap hit.

Vegas has Max Pacioretty and Alex Tuch on long-term injury reserve and can use that flexibility in the short term to add Eichel. However, they must shed salary later in the season when those players return to the lineup.

The Flames, meanwhile, would have to ship out salary immediately to make the dollars fit. That will involve either a direct deal with the Sabres, a separate cost-cutting trade with another club, or a trade involving a third team acting as a third-party broker.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reports the Boston Bruins likely won’t be involved in any Eichel trade. He cites a well-placed source saying the Bruins are trying to improve their roster but haven’t been involved in the Eichel trade sweepstakes for a while.

Murphy believes the Bruins lack depth in tradeable assets to tempt the Sabres. His source said Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has been looking for a defenseman, specifically a top-four rearguard who can produce offense from the blueline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise the Bruins are out of the bidding for Eichel given the Sabres’ expensive asking price. Most observers have said for months the Bruins lack the assets to make a competitive pitch for Eichel.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 21, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 21, 2021

Henrik Lundqvist announces his retirement, the Blues to retire Chris Pronger’s number, legendary Sabres broadcaster Rick Jeanneret to call it a career following this season, the viability of moving the Coyotes to Houston, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NEW YORK POST: Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist officially announced his retirement yesterday after 15 seasons with the New York Rangers and four with Frolunda in Sweden before that. A heart condition has ended his playing career at age 39.

Former New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has retired (NHL Images).

Lundqvist is the sixth winningest goaltender in NHL history with a record of 459-310-96, a 2.43 goals-against average, a .918 save percentage and 64 shutouts, along with 61 wins and 10 shutouts in the playoffs. The Rangers immediately retired Lundqvist’s No. 30 and will stage a retirement ceremony later this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lundqvist was one of the great goaltenders of his generation and the best in Rangers history. “King Henrik” is their all-time leader in wins, save percentage, shutouts, and game-played by a goalie (887). He’s a shoo-in for the Hockey Hall of Fame.

A First Team All-Star in 2011-12 and a Second Team All-Star the following season, Lundqvist won the Vezina Trophy in 2012 and was also a four-time Vezina finalist. He backstopped the Rangers to the 2014 Stanley Cup Final and won Olympic gold for his home country of Sweden in 2006.

Best wishes to Lundqvist and his family in their future endeavors.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues announced they will retire Chris Pronger’s No. 44 on Jan. 17 before a game against the Nashville Predators. The former Blues captain is among their franchise leaders in games played (598), assists (272) and points (356).

A four-time All-Star, Pronger’s best season was 1999-2000, becoming just the second defenseman in NHL history to win the Hart Memorial Trophy and the James Norris Memorial Trophy. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015.

WGR 550: Long-time Buffalo Sabres play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret will retire at the end of the 2021-22 season. This will be his 51st season behind the mike for the Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jeanneret is one of the best in the business. His iconic call of Brad May’s series-winning overtime goal against the Boston Bruins in the 1993 playoffs is among my favorites.

THE ATHLETIC: News of the Arizona Coyotes’ lease agreement with Gila River Arena ending next year prompted some observers to suggest relocating the franchise to Houston. However, Dallas Stars CEO Brad Alberts told Saad Yousef he doesn’t think that’s a possibility, saying there’s been no discussion at the league level about putting a team in that city.

Alberts said he’s heard rumors that Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta wants an NHL franchise in his city but doesn’t know for certain if he does. He acknowledged things can change but doesn’t believe the league intends to abandon Phoenix.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I said yesterday, the league will do everything it can to keep the Coyotes in Arizona. If that’s not possible, moving to a new city requires a wealthy owner with a viable NHL arena. Fertitta was keen to do so two years ago but that was before the pandemic disrupted normal life. He might not be so enthusiastic now.

TSN: The Calgary Flames avoided salary arbitration with Nikita Zadorov by signing the 26-year-old defenseman to a one-year, $3.75 million contract. They also signed blueliner Juuso Valimaki to a two-year, $3.1 million deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That leaves Philadelphia Flyers rearguard Travis Sanheim as the only player still scheduled for arbitration. His hearing is slated for Aug. 26 but he’ll probably be signed before then.










Pandemic impacting NHL Training Camp for Prized Prospects

Pandemic impacting NHL Training Camp for Prized Prospects