NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 3, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 3, 2021

Recaps of Tuesday’s games, the stars of the month, plus injury updates, game postponements and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Joe Pavelski scored twice and collected two assists as the Dallas Stars defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-3. Stars captain Jamie Benn had a goal and two assists while Patrik Laine was held scoreless in his first game with the Blue Jackets since getting traded last month from the Winnipeg Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 36-year-old Pavelski is off to a strong start, with 14 points in his first seven games of the season.

Montreal Canadiens captain Shea Weber (NHL Images).

Montreal Canadiens captain Shea Weber collected an assist as his 1000th career NHL game ended in a 5-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Habs winger Tyler Toffoli continues to terrorize his former club by scoring twice while Josh Anderson also tallied two goals. The Canadiens (16 points) vaulted over the idle Toronto Maple Leafs into first place in the North Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eight of Toffoli’s nine goals this season have been against the Canucks.

The Carolina Hurricanes edged the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 on a shootout goal by Andrei Svechnikov. Jordan Staal and Warren Foegele each had two points for the Hurricanes. Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat and defenseman Nicolas Beaudin rejoined the lineup after being on the league’s COVID-19 protocol list.

Vince Dunn scored and set up another as the St. Louis Blues hung on to nip the Arizona Coyotes 4-3. The Blues have won four straight games. Christian Dvorak tallied twice for the Coyotes, who played without forwards Christian Fischer (upper-body injury) and Lawson Crouse (upper body).

The Winnipeg Jets tallied three first period goals and held on to down the Calgary Flames 3-2. Matthew Tkachuk scored two goals for the Flames.

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer made 27 saves backstopping his club over the Minnesota Wild 2-1. The Avalanche were playing with superstar Nathan MacKinnon, who’s listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury. Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon left this game with an upper-body injury. No post-game update was provided on his status.

The Anaheim Ducks snapped a three-game losing skid with a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Nicolas Deslauriers scored and added an assist while Kings rookie Arthur Kaliyev tallied his first career NHL goal.

Jesse Pulujaarvi scored his first two goals of the season as the Edmonton Oilers doubled up the Ottawa Senators 4-2. Connor McDavid and Tyson Barrie each collected two assists while Senators rookie Tim Stuetzle netted his third goal of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators have dropped nine straight games since their season-opening win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. They weren’t expected to be a playoff contender but it was assumed they would be more competitive after a busy offseason shoring up their roster with some veteran additions. None of those moves, however, have improved the Senators, who are on track for one of their worst seasons in franchise history.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Pavelski and McDavid were among the NHL’s top stars for the month of January 2021, joining Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar and Philadelphia Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk.

WGR 550/NEW YORK POST: The Buffalo Sabres’ scheduled games against the New York Islanders on Tuesday and Thursday were postponed due to COVID-19 protocols. Sabres forward Taylor Hall and defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen were added to the protocol list following the club’s recent series of games against the New Jersey Devils.

NJ.COM: Speaking of the Devils, they now have 14 players on their COVID-19 protocol list. Jesper Bratt, Jack Hughes, Damon Severson, Ty Smith and Matt Tennyson were added to the list yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind this doesn’t mean those players have all tested positive for COVID-19. Players can be added to the list if they’re a suspected close contact.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers forward Morgan Frost will undergo potentially season-ending shoulder surgery later this week. Center Sean Couturier (costochondral separation) is expected to return within seven-to-10 days.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings forwards Robby Fabbri and Adam Erne will rejoin their teammates today after missing several games on the NHL COVID-19 protocol list. Sam Gagner, Jon Merrill and Filip Zadina are also off the protocol list.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Several sticks ordered by the Capitals for defenseman Zdeno Chara were instead delivered to a New Jersey man. The total order was worth over $5,000.00.










NHL Player Tracking: Trending Up, Trending Down – Week 3

NHL Player Tracking: Trending Up, Trending Down – Week 3

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 27, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 27, 2021

Recaps from a very busy night in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins edged the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 on an overtime goal by Craig Smith. Brad Marchand had a goal and an assist for the Bruins, who lost winger Jake DeBrusk to a lower-body injury following an open-ice hit by Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. Jason Zucker scored and collected an assist for the Penguins.

Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel’s first goal of the season held up as the game-winner in a 3-2 victory over the slumping New York Rangers, sending the latter to their fourth straight loss. Earlier in the day, the Rangers learned center Filip Chytil will be sidelined four-to-six weeks with an upper-body injury.

Philadelphia Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk (NHL Images).

James van Riemsdyk scored two goals and Ivan Provorov had a goal and two assists to give the Philadelphia Flyers a 5-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. Claude Giroux also collected two assists for the Flyers.

The Washington Capitals nipped the New York Islanders 3-2 when Justin Schultz scored with 27 seconds remaining in the third period. John Carlson had a goal and an assist for the Capitals, who extended their points streak to seven games. Mathew Barzal scored and picked up an assist for the Islanders, who earned scorn from head coach Barry Trotz over his club’s lack of urgency. “It’s playoff mentality right now and I’m not sure we have our playoff mentality yet,” said Trotz. “And it’s pissing me off.” The Islanders were playing with Anthony Beauvillier as he was placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.

Patric Hornqvist’s shootout goal gave the Florida Panthers a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Anthony Duclair and Carter Verhaeghe each collected two points for the Panthers.

The Nashville Predators ended a three-game skid by downing the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on an overtime tally by Roman Josi. Mikael Granlund had a goal and an assist for the Predators. The Blackhawks skated without winger Alex DeBrincat and defenseman Adam Boqvist as both are expected to miss two weeks due to COVID-19 protocols.

Nikolaj Ehlers scored and set up three others as the Winnipeg Jets rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Edmonton Oilers 6-4. Adam Copp also had a four-point night (two goals, two assists) and Adam Lowry had a three-point performance for the Jets. Oilers stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl each had two points while blueliner Darnell Nurse chalked up three assists.

The Los Angeles Kings picked up their third win in four games by beating the Minnesota Wild 2-1 on a third-period goal by Carl Grundstrom. Kings goalie Cal Petersen kicked out 32 shots for the win.

An overtime goal by Jason Dickinson lifted the Dallas Stars over the Detroit Red Wings 2-1. Stars defenseman John Klingberg had a goal and an assist while Joe Pavelski collected his 800th career point. The Stars have won their first three games.

The St. Louis Blues defeated former captain Alex Pietrangelo and the Vegas Golden Knights by a score of 5-4 on a shootout goal by Brayden Schenn. David Perron scored twice for the Blues while Max Pacioretty tallied a hat trick for the Golden Knights, who played without their coaching staff behind the bench after one of them tested positive for COVID-19. General manager Kelly McCrimmon took over as head coach and called up several coaches from their farm team as assistants. The Golden Knights are closing their facilities today as they determine their next steps under the league’s coronavirus protocols.

A third-period goal by Mitch Marner gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Flames. Marner, Auston Matthews and Morgan Rielly each had two points for the Leafs, who swept their two-game series against the Flames. Johnny Gaudreau tallied twice for the Flames. There were fireworks at the game’s end when Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin flipped the puck at Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk, touching off a scrum that landed Muzzin a meaningless unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The incident was likely tied to Tkachuk injuring Leafs backup goalie Jack Campbell in their previous game, leaving Campbell sidelined “for weeks”.

The Colorado Avalanche rolled to a 7-3 beat down of the San Jose Sharks. Brandon Sand scored twice, Cale Makar picked up three assists and Mikko Rantanen extended his goal-scoring streak to six games. The Sharks, meanwhile, are hoping to ready soon to their home arena after the state of California lifted its regional stay-at-home order that had been in place since Dec. 3.

John Gibson turned in a 31-save shutout and Danton Heinen scored the only goal as the Anaheim Ducks blanked the Arizona Coyotes 1-0.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 5, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 5, 2020

NHL aims to start the season on Jan. 15 plus the latest on James van Riemsdyk, Mats Zuccarello and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

TSN’s Frank Seravalli, THE ATHLETIC’s Pierre LeBrun and SPORTSNET’S Elliotte Friedman and Chris Johnston reported the NHL and NHLPA are making progress toward a possible 56-game schedule commencing around Jan. 15.

Johnston indicated talks between the two sides stretched through Thursday night into Friday morning. They discussed 52- and 56-games schedules but both sides prefer the latter. The planning includes a seven-team Canadian division and eight-team U.S. Divisions. He described the tenure of the talks as “good”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jan. 1 start date was no longer possible after discussions broke down over the league’s requests for increased escrow and salary-deferral rates. A mid-January start date is more sensible, providing time for players to return to their NHL cities. A longer regular-season increases the possibility of staging games with fans in attendance later in the schedule.

Training camps for most clubs could begin as early as Jan. 2. Last season’s seven non-playoff clubs could have a voluntary seven-day pre-camp opening in late December, though a source told LeBrun that’s not a 100 percent certainty.

Friedman indicates those pre-camps could begin on Dec. 28. He also said it’s possible there might not be exhibition games before the regular season begins. The players were told to prepare for a Jan. 15 puck drop while some teams were told they could receive more information over the next several days.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those non-playoff clubs last took the ice back in March. It believed the league promised them an additional week of training camp. They’ll likely get those extra days, though they might not add up to a full week.

Both sides acknowledge the course of the pandemic could push that mid-January start toward February. Sources told LeBrun the league wants to complete the season by early July ahead of the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics. Friedman said the plan is to end the regular season on May 1, allowing room to make up potentially postponed games, with the Stanley Cup awarded between June 30 and July 7.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While most NHL fans were pleased to see the completion of the 2020 playoffs, no one wants another postseason running through the summer. The league also doesn’t want the Stanley Cup Final being overshadowed by the Summer Olympics.

The NHL hopes to stage a normal season for 2021-22. They’re still planning to send players to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and must incorporate a two-week break into the ’21-’22 schedule.

Given the current course of the pandemic, Johnston said the possibility of starting the season in bubbles (hub cities) is still on the table. The preference of the owners and players is to play in their home arenas but that might not be possible given the rising COVID numbers in North America and the ramping up of restrictions in some areas.

Friedman suggests the first couple of weeks of the season could see teams playing in hub cities, moving back to all NHL cities over the course of the season. He wouldn’t be shocked, for example, if the San Jose Sharks began the season playing in Arizona because of the health restrictions in Santa Clara County, California, where the Sharks’ home arena is located.

What wasn’t discussed was the stalemate between the league and the NHLPA over player salaries. Friedman said it sounds like the league’s request to increase escrow payments could be taken off the table because the players won’t agree to that. However, he indicated they are potentially more willing to talk about salary deferrals. LeBrun speculated the players might agree to a lower deferral rate but feels they’ll want something from the league in return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The players won’t agree to increase the escrow rate because that’s money they won’t get back. While they probably aren’t happy about raising the deferred salary rate, that money will be returned in equal installments over the final three years of the CBA extension.

What they’ll want in return from the league remains to be seen. Theories pitches by several pundits suggest including interest in those deferred payments, expanding the playoffs from 16 to 20 teams, or increased post-playing career benefits for retired players.

PHILLY.COM: Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk said the players are “ready to roll” if the team owners honor the collective bargaining agreement. As the Flyers NHLPA player rep, van Riemsdyk said multiple scenarios regarding the amount of revenue that could be created this season was taken into account when the extension to the CBA was negotiated.

As players, we’re ready to roll and ready to play and uphold the agreement,” said van Riemsdyk. “We’re just waiting to hear from the owners, but we’re ready to get started.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: van Riemsdyk’s comments appeared the day before the recent reports on a 56-game schedule commencing Jan. 15. We’ll learn in the coming days if the PA will bend or stand firm.

SPORTSNET: Minnesota Wild winger Mats Zuccarello could miss the start of the season and be sidelined for a while following surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right arm a few weeks ago. The Athletic’s Michael Russo reported it’s the same arm he broke two seasons ago playing for the Dallas Stars. He played with that discomfort for most of last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could explain the decline in Zuccarello’s production last season.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks have parted ways with long-time anthem singer Mark Donnelly over his plan to sing at an anti-mask rally today in downtown Vancouver.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 11, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 11, 2020

The latest on Tyler Johnson and Steven Stamkos, plus a look at yesterday’s notable free-agent signings in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

UPDATES ON JOHNSON AND STAMKOS

THE SCORE: Tampa Bay Lightning winger Tyler Johnson cleared waivers yesterday. The Lightning had hoped a rival club would claim Johnson and clear his $5 million annual average value from their books.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bolts hope to shed some salary to create cap space to re-sign restricted free agents Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev. Trading Johnson is still possible but the Lightning will have to include a sweetener in the deal like a quality draft pick, prospect or young player. He has a full no-trade but has reportedly submitted a list of preferred trade destinations.

TSN: Lightning captain Steven Stamkos underwent surgery on Wednesday to repair an abdominal core muscle. He’s expected to make a full recovery before the start of the 2020-21 season.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stamkos will have plenty of time to recover. The NHL and NHLPA have targeted Jan. 1 for the start date of next season. I believe March 1 could be a more realistic start date, depending on the course of the second wave of COVID-19.

NOTABLE UFA SIGNINGS

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed defenseman Tyson Barrie to a one-year, $3.75-million contract and brought back goaltender Mike Smith on a one-year, $2-million deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Barrie addition is an affordable short-term acquisition to address Oscar Klefbom’s anticipated lengthy absence as he deals with a nagging shoulder injury. Bringing back Smith, however, doesn’t improve their goaltending, which is their biggest weakness. After failing to find an upgrade via free agency, GM Ken Holland seems unwilling to take a chance in the trade market.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks are reportedly close to bringing back winger Patrick Marleau for a third stint.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marleau’s had a long, productive NHL career, most of it with the Sharks. However, the 41-year-old winger is well past his prime. This could be based more on sentimentality than what he can actually bring to their lineup.

SPORTSNET: The Columbus Blue Jackets signed former Minnesota Wild center Mikko Koivu to a one-year, $1.5-million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild opted not to re-sign their long-time captain after the 37-year-old Koivu dropped down their depth chart last season. His best days are behind him but he could still have one decent season left as a fourth-line center with the Jackets.

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings signed goaltender Thomas Greiss to a two-year deal with an annual average value of $3.6 million and defenseman Troy Stecher to a two-year deal with an AAV of $1.7 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Two decent short-term deals bringing some much-needed goaltending and blueline depth to the rebuilding Wings.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins signed winger Craig Smith to a three-year deal with a $3.1 million AAV.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes signed winger Jesper Fast to a three-year deal ($2 million AAV).

SPORTSNET: The Buffalo Sabres signed center Cody Eakin to a two-year, $4.5-million contract.

The Toronto Maple Leafs signed defenseman Zach Bogosian to a one-year, $1-million contract.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes signed forward Johan Larsson to a two-year, $2.8-million contract.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals signed defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk to a one-year, $800K contract.

NOTABLE RFA SIGNINGS

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The Sharks re-signed winger Kevin Lebanc to a four-year deal worth an AAV of $4.725 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is Lebanc’s reward for only taking a one-year, $1-million contract last year when the Sharks were facing a salary-cap crunch. His production was down last season but that could be due to the Sharks’ overall poor performance last season. This could be a worthwhile contract for the Sharks if Lebanc regains his 56-point form from 2018-19.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche re-signed wingers Andre Burakovsky and Valeri Nichushkin to two-year contracts. Burakovsky’s AAV is $4.9 million while Nichushkin’s is $2.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise here. Both forwards were key contributors to the Avalanche last season. Burakovsky enjoyed a career-best 20 goal, 45 point performance in 58 games last season while Nichushkin has turned into a versatile checking-line forward.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres re-signed defenseman Brandon Montour to a one-year, $3.85-million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Montour was the frequent topic of trade speculation last season. It’ll be interesting to see if he has a future in Buffalo beyond next season.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild re-signed winger Jordan Greenway to a two-year, $4.2-million contract.

IN OTHER NEWS…

TSN: The Ottawa Senators acquired forward Austin Watson from the Nashville Predators in exchange for a 2021 fourth-round pick.

NHLPA: 26 NHL players filed yesterday for salary arbitration. The arbitration period begins Oct. 20 and concludes Nov. 8.

Boston Bruins

Matt Grzelcyk

Buffalo Sabres

Victor Olofsson

Sam Reinhart

Linus Ullmark

Calgary Flames

Andrew Mangiapane

Carolina Hurricanes

Clark Bishop

Haydn Fleury

Warren Foegele

Gustav Forsling

Colorado Avalanche

Ryan Graves

Detroit Red Wings

Tyler Bertuzzi

Florida Panthers

MacKenzie Weegar

Minnesota Wild

Kaapo Kahkonen

New York Islanders

Joshua Ho-Sang

Ryan Pulock

Devon Toews

New York Rangers

Tony DeAngelo

Alexandar Georgiev

Brendan Lemieux

Ryan Strome

Ottawa Senators

Connor Brown

Christian Jaros

Nick Paul

Chris Tierney

Toronto Maple Leafs

Ilya Mikheyev

Vancouver Canucks

Jake Virtanen










NHL Morning Headlines & Rumor Mill – September 21, 2020

NHL Morning Headlines & Rumor Mill – September 21, 2020

The latest on Steven Stamkos and Jimmy Howard in this morning’s NHL headlines, plus updates on the Devils, Flyers, Senators, and Hurricanes in the NHL rumor mill.

NHL MORNING COFFEE HEADLINES

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said Steven Stamkos is inching closer to returning to action, but he doesn’t expect his captain to suit up for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final tonight against the Dallas Stars. Stamkos has been sidelined since July with a core-muscle issue.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Goaltender Jimmy Howard wants to continue his NHL playing career but acknowledged it probably won’t be with the Red Wings. Howard, 36, is an unrestricted free agent on Oct. 9.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings are likely in the market for a starting goaltender, something Howard is no longer capable of being. He could land elsewhere on a one-year deal as a backup and mentor to a younger starter.

TSN: Former Montreal Canadiens defenseman Albert (Junior) Langlois passed away over the weekend at age 85. He spent four seasons with the Canadiens from 1957 to 1961, winning three Stanley Cups. He also spent three seasons with the New York Rangers, two with the Boston Bruins, and one with the Detroit Red Wings, followed by one season with the WHL before retiring in 1967.

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

NHL RUMOR MILL

TSN RADIO VANCOUVER: TSN analyst Ray Ferraro speculated Devils defenseman Damon Severson may have “soured” in New Jersey. Ferraro noted Severson is a right-hand shot, praising his skating and shot. He believes the 26-year-old blueliner would be more affordable than Minnesota’s Matt Dumba if the Devils are willing to move him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils have been quiet since hiring Lindy Ruff as head coach and removing the interim tag from Tom Fitzgerald’s title as general manager in early July. Their most notable move since then was hiring Mark Recchi earlier this month as an assistant coach.

We don’t know if Fitzgerald has any intention of shopping Severson, who has three years remaining on his contract with an annual cap hit of $4.166 million and lacking no-trade protection. The Devils have $55.2 million invested in 13 players. Unless they have an internal cap lower than the league’s $81.5 million, Fitzgerald won’t be under pressure to shed salary. Nevertheless, it could be worth keeping an eye on Severson and the Devils in the coming weeks as activity builds up in the trade market.

PHILLY.com‘s Sam Carchidi believes the Philadelphia Flyers will try to move defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere and winger James van Riemsdyk. He believes Gostisbehere will draw more interest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both players are signed through 2022-23 and lack no-trade protection. Gostisbehere, however, carries an annual average value of $4.5 million while van Riemsdyk’s is $7 million. So yeah, there will probably be more interest in Ghost Bear than JVR in this economic climate.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch expects the Senators will receive plenty of calls from clubs looking to shed contracts in exchange for draft picks. The Sens have nine picks in the first three rounds and 13 in total.

Garrioch doesn’t expect them to take on bad contracts but maybe they can use this situation to their advantage to bolster their roster. It’s believed they’ve been in talks for a veteran goalie, including Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray. The Columbus Blue Jackets and Arizona Coyotes could also be shopping goaltenders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sens have three first-round picks, including the third and fifth overall, in this year’s draft. I don’t see them moving either of those (or both) unless they’re getting a terrific player in return. They could, however, entertain offers for the first-rounder they acquired from the New York Islanders in the Jean-Gabriel Pageau trade at the February trade deadline.

The Blue Jackets could move either Joonas Korpisalo or Elvis Merzlikins. The Coyotes, meanwhile, could shop Darcy Kuemper or Antti Raanta.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): With the Carolina Hurricanes carrying limited salary-cap space next season, Sara Civian wondered if they’ll go the free-agent or trade route to upgrade their goaltending.

Free-agent options could include Vegas’ Robin Lehner, Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom or Dallas’ Anton Khudobin, though Civian doesn’t expect an encore with the Hurricanes for the latter. If the Golden Knights re-sign Lehner, she suggests the Hurricanes look into acquiring Marc-Andre Fleury.

Civian wondered what they’d be willing to trade for a goalie. Jaccob Slavin is off-limits, they don’t want to trade Brett Pesce or Martin Necas, and she doesn’t believe they’d move Dougie Hamilton even though he’s a year away from UFA eligibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t believe the Hurricanes can become a Cup contender next season with their current goaltending tandem of Petr Mrazek and James Reimer. Maybe they ride it out for another season with those two until their contracts expire next summer, but if the front office is serious about building a contender, they must look to the trade or free-agent market for an upgrade.