NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 31, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 31, 2018

Game recaps and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Brayden Point had a career-high five-point game (one goal, four assists) while teammates Nikita Kucherov and Braydon Coburn each scored twice as the Tampa Bay Lightning romped to an 8-3 win over the New Jersey Devils.

Brayden Point’s five-point game powered the Tampa Bay Lightning to an 8-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils. (Photo via NHL Images)

Jordan Eberle scored twice as the New York Islanders beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3. It was a costly win for the Islanders as goaltender Robin Lehner left the game in the second period with an undisclosed injury. Penguins goalie Matt Murray was pulled after allowing four goals on nine shots.

Brad Marchand tallied two goals and Jaroslav Halak made 42 saves as the Boston Bruins downed the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2. Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho joined Wayne Gretzky and Ken Linesman in the NHL record book as the only players to open an NHL season with assists in 12 straight games. Prior to the game, the Bruins placed defenseman Charlie McAvoy (upper body) on injured reserve.

The Detroit Red Wings blew a three-goal lead but late third-period goals by Tyler Bertuzzi and Dylan Larkin gave them a 5-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Wings forward Thomas Vanek could be sidelined for at least two-to-three weeks after suffering an apparent knee injury in the first period.

Matthew Tkachuk’s late third-period goal set the stage for Johnny Gaudreau’s overtime winner as the Calgary Flames edged the Buffalo Sabres 2-1. Jack Eichel tallied the Sabres’ only goal.

The Dallas Stars picked up their first road win of the season by downing the Montreal Canadiens 4-1. Devin Shore had a goal and two assists for the Stars while teammate Jason Spezza played his 1,000th career NHL game.

Two second-period goals by Ryan Hartman helped the Nashville Predators defeat the Vegas Golden Knights 4-1. The Predators lead the NHL’s overall standings with 18 points.

Mikael Granlund’s third-period goal gave the Minnesota Wild a 4-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Eric Staal had a goal and two assists for the Wild.

The Arizona Coyotes picked up their fourth straight win by beating the Ottawa Senators 5-1. Alex Galchenyuk tallied his first goal with the Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After struggling to score in their first five games, the Coyotes have tallied at least three goals in each of their last six.

Nolan Patrick’s goal late in the third period lifted the Philadelphia Flyers to a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Pontus Aberg scored both goals for the Ducks.

Kevin Shattenkirk scored the only goal in a shootout to give the New York Rangers a 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks, spoiling the return of long-time Sharks center Joe Thornton to the lineup. Chris Kreider had two goals for the Rangers.

CBS SPORTS: The St. Louis Blues placed defenseman Jakub Jerabek on waivers. 

THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik missed practice Tuesday with a lower-body injury but is expected to be in the lineup for Thursday’s game against the Canadiens. 

OTTAWA CITIZEN: The Senators secured a $30 million short-term credit line with BMO Bank of Montreal’s corporate finance division. “The hockey club said the five-year loan will be used to give the team access to short-term credit as well as allowing the team to buy U.S. dollars when exchange rates are more attractive. American currency is typically used by a hockey franchise to pay its players.”



NHL Rumor Mill – October 22, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – October 22, 2018

Updates on the Lightning, Predators and Red Wings in your NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Joe Smith recently examined the coming salary-cap crunch facing Julien BriseBois, the new general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning. They have over $67 million invested in 13 players for 2019-20 with forwards Brayden Point (restricted free agent) and Yanni Gourde (unrestricted free agent)  due for new contracts next summer, and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy becoming a restricted free agent with arbitration rights in 2020.

One agent speculates Point could get $6-$7 million annually on a long-term deal and around $5 million annually on a bridge contract. Another, however, believes Florida’s low taxes means the Lightning could get him on a light deal. Smith suggests Gourde could get between $4-$6 million on the open market. One agent isn’t sure if the Lightning can afford to re-sign him, suggesting he could get $6 million annually if he hits 25 goals again.

The Lightning cannot open contract talks with Vasilevskiy until next July at the earliest, but Smith feels it would be wise to lock him up as soon as possible.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ryan Callahan could become a salary-cap casualty next summer. (Photo via NHL Images)

Smith speculates veteran forward Ryan Callahan ($5.8 million salary-cap hit through 2019-20) could become a cost-cutting candidate via trade or contract buyout next June. He carries a modified no-trade clause. Callahan frequently surfaced in this summer’s rumor mill with speculation linking him to his former club (New York Rangers) and his hometown team (Buffalo Sabres) but he was never approached about waiving his clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: BriseBois doesn’t have to make any significant roster cuts this season unless his club falls out of playoff contention by the February trade deadline. He could perhaps make a move or two that improves his club while shedding salary but that type of deal could be difficult to pull off during the season.

The Lightning must also re-sign or replace pending UFA defensemen Dan Girardi, Braydon Coburn, and Anton Stralman, which could also complicate efforts to re-sign Point and Gourde. That increases the likelihood of Callahan being traded or bought out. Even then, they could let Gourde walk if he proves too expensive to keep. They don’t want to risk complicating efforts to re-sign Vasilevskiy.


NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Elliotte Friedman appeared on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960 on Friday and was asked if the Nashville Predators might shop one of their top-four defensemen this season for depth on the wing. He pointed out the Predators remain focused on winning the Stanley Cup and don’t have to trade a blueliner now. He noted they can open contract extension talks next summer with Roman Josi, who’s slated to become a UFA on July 1, 2020. If they decide to move a defenseman, they could do it in a year or two.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Toronto pundits speculated the Predators could be a good destination for Maple Leafs restricted free agent William Nylander, suggesting he could fetch Ryan Ellis or Mattias Ekholm. I believe that’s wishful thinking on their part.  Predators GM David Poile isn’t afraid to make bold moves but I don’t see him jumping on this one.

As Friedman pointed out, the Preds are focused on the Stanley Cup this season and believe they can win with their current top-four blueliners. Unless their season goes wildly off the rails, they won’t peddle Josi, Ekholm, Ellis or P.K.Subban. 


THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan recently noted the Detroit Red Wings slow start and acknowledged some changes may be needed. However, he doesn’t believe firing head coach Jeff Blashill will reverse their fortunes.

As for trades, Kulfan doesn’t expect any significant moves until the Feb. 25, 2019 trade deadline. Pending UFAs Jimmy Howard, Gustav Nyquist, and Tomas Vanek could be shopped as playoff rental players. Defenseman Trevor Daley has a year left on his contract but he could also draw some interest. The emergence of Christoffer Ehn could make Luke Glendening available.


Notable NHL Free-Agent Signings – July 1, 2018

Notable NHL Free-Agent Signings – July 1, 2018

The NHL free-agent market opens today at noon ET. Here’s a list of today’s notable signings, which will be updated throughout the day. 

Toronto Maple Leafs signed center John Tavares to a seven-year, $77-million contract

Toronto Maple Leafs sign John Tavares to a seven-year contract (Photo via NHL Images)

Philadelphia Flyers reportedly signed left wing James van Riemsdyk to a five-year, $35-million contract. 

Tampa Bay Lightning re-signed defenseman Ryan McDonagh to a seven-year contract extension worth $6.75 million per season.

Arizona Coyotes officially announced the signing of defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to an eight-year contract extension worth $8.25 million AAV. They also re-signed defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to a two-year contract extension worth $5 million AAV, and signed free-agent winger Michael Grabner to a three-year deal worth $3.35 million per season. 

Vegas Golden Knights will sign center Paul Stastny to a three-year contract. The annual average value is $6.5 million. They’ve also signed defenseman Nick Holden to a two-year deal worth $2.2 million annually. 

Pittsburgh Penguins will reportedly sign defenseman Jack Johnson to a five-year, $16.25-million contract. They’ve also signed Matt Cullen to a one-year, $650K contract

St. Louis Blues expected to sign winger David Perron to a four-year deal worth $4 million per season. The Blues have also signed center Tyler Bozak to a three-year contract with an AAV of $5 million and goaltender Chad Johnson to a one-year, $1.75-million deal. 

Colorado Avalanche reportedly close to signing defenseman Ian Cole to a three-year contact worth an annual cap hit of $4.25 million.

Chicago Blackhawks sign goaltender Cam Ward to a one-year, $3-million contract with a full no-movement clause. They’ve also signed winger Chris Kunitz to a one-year, $1-million contract and defenseman Brandon Manning to a two-year deal. 

Boston Bruins expected to sign goaltender Jaroslav Halak to a two-year contract worth $2.75 million annually. They also signed winger Joakim Nordstrom to a two-year, $2 million deal and defenseman John Moore to a five-year contract worth an AAV of $2.75 million.

Columbus Blue Jackets sign center Riley Nash to a three-year contract worth $2.75-million per season. 

Buffalo Sabres will reportedly sign goaltender Carter Hutton to a three-year, $8.25-million contract.

New York Islanders have an agreement in place to bring back defenseman Thomas Hickey on a four-year deal worth an AAV of $2.5 million. They also signed forward Leo Komarov to a four-year, $12-million contract.

Detroit Red Wings expected to sign goaltender Jonathan Bernier to a three-year deal worth around $3 million annually and forward Thomas Vanek to a one-year, $3-million contract. 

Edmonton Oilers will sign forward Kyle Brodziak to a two-year deal with an AAV of around $1 million and forward Tobias Rieder to a one-year, $2-million contract.  

Dallas Stars expected to sign forward Blake Comeau to a three-year deal worth $2.4 million per season. They’ve also re-signed winger Valeri Nichushkin to a two-year deal worth $2.95-million annually. Roman Polak is reportedly heading to the Stars on a one-year contract worth $1.3 million.

Vancouver Canucks are expected to sign center Jay Beagle to a four-year contract worth $3 million annually and forward Antoine Roussel to a four-year deal worth $3.25 million per season. 

Calgary Flames expected to sign center Derek Ryan to a three-year deal worth an AAV of $3.125 million and center Austin Czarnik to a two-year deal worth $1.25-million annually. 

Carolina Hurricanes sign goaltender Petr Mrazek to a one-year deal worth $1.5 million. 

Montreal Canadiens are expected to announced the signing of center Tomas Plekanec to a one-year deal worth a base salary of $2.25 million plus bonuses. 

Minnesota Wild will reportedly sign defenseman Greg Pateryn to a three-year contract and signed goaltender Andrew Hammond. 


NHL Rumor Mill Update – June 30, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill Update – June 30, 2018

With the NHL free-agent market opening on July 1, here’s the latest updates on several notable pending UFAs.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports defenseman Mike Green is expected to re-sign with the Detroit Red Wings. It’s believed to be a two-year deal. Bob McKenzie reports it’s worth an annual average value of $5.373 million. The Wings are also expected to sign goaltender Jonathan Bernier. Former Wings forward Thomas Vanek is considering a return to Detroit.

Mike Green will reportedly re-sign a two-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The UFA market for quality defensemen will be even thinner with Green gone. As for Bernier, Sportsnet’s John Shannon reports his new contract will be for three years, while The Athletic’s Craig Custance said it’ll be worth an AAV of $3 million. 

The Montreal Canadiens have placed recently acquired goaltender Steve Mason on unconditional waivers for the purpose of a contract buyout. The Habs brought in Mason, along with forward Joel Armia, along with a seventh-round pick in 2019 and a fourth-round pick in 2020, from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for minor league blueliner Simon Bourque.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The buyout will count as $1.366 million annually through 2019-20 against the Habs cap, leaving them with a projected $17.2 million in salary-cap space. 

THE ATHLETIC’s Michael Russo reports the Minnesota Wild have placed forward Tyler Ennis on unconditional waivers for buyout purposes. The Wild will gain an additional $2.43 million in cap space for 2018-19.

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports the Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames are among the clubs pursuing center Derek Ryan. 

THE ATHLETIC’s Craig Custance reports the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers have been connected to former LA Kings winger Tobias Rieder. Sportsnet 650’s Rick Dhaliwal reports Rieder’s closing in on a deal but it’s not expected to be with the Canucks. 

SPORTSNET 650’s Rick Dhaliwal reports the Vancouver Canucks are considered the front-runners for former Washington Capitals center Jay Beagle. Sources say his new contract could be for three years with an AAV of $2.5 million. The Canucks were also in contact with former NY Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan. 


NHL Rumor Mill – June 29, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – June 29, 2018

A look at the Islanders “Plan B” if they fail to resign John Tavares, the free-agent goalie search plus updates on Milan Lucic, Artemi Panarin and more in your NHL rumor mill.


NEWSDAY: As free-agent center John Tavares takes some time to consider his future, Andrew Gross looks at possible moves by the New York Islanders should Tavares move on. They could promote NHL rookie-of-the-year Mathew Barzal to the first-line center position, perhaps pursue center Paul Stastny via free agency or attempt to acquire Ryan O’Reilly from the Buffalo Sabres.

They also need a starting goaltender and help on the blueline. Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson has requested a trade while free-agent options include Cam Ward and Carter Hutton.

TSN: Ottawa Sun columnist Bruce Garrioch reports the Islanders are among the team to “kick tires” on Anderson, whose age (37) and contract creates a limited market for his services. Moving Anderson would create a big hole in net for the Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While the Islanders are obviously hoping Tavares will stay I don’t doubt GM Lou Lamoriello has contingency plans should he sign elsewhere. Wouldn’t surprise me if Lamoriello quickly gets into the bidding for O’Reilly. He has the cap space to take on the center’s $7.5-million cap hit and the depth in young assets to tempt the Sabres. As for Anderson, unless the Senators move quickly to find a suitable replacement I don’t think he’ll be traded this summer. 

Milan Lucic’s agent denies the Edmonton Oilers have a trade in place for his client (Photo via NHL Images)


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports the agent for Oilers winger Milan Lucic yesterday denied a report claiming the club had a trade in place for his client. “Milan didn’t ask for a trade and Peter (GM Chiarelli) 100 per cent, has not come to us about moving Milan. If he wants to get out from under the contract, he has to talk to us,” said Gerry Johannson. He added Lucic is “coming back to play for the Edmonton Oilers.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lucic was frequently mentioned earlier this month as a possible trade candidate but that speculation faded over the past couple of weeks. If there was any attempt by the Oilers to move Lucic it appears it’s come to naught. 

TVA SPORTS: L.A. Lariviere reports the agent for Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin confirmed his client will be talking with Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen next month in St. Petersburg, Russia. Dan Milstein said it’s merely a courtesy call by Kekalainen and not a formal meeting, something the Jackets GM also did last August.

Panarin is a year away from becoming an unrestricted free agent. The Jackets wish to open contract extension talks but he’s not interested in doing so at this time. Milstein also said rumors his client wants out of Columbus are unfounded, as are reports his girlfriend wants to revive her modeling career in a more cosmopolitan city. “He is not in a hurry to sign a new agreement. He wants to take his time and know the intentions of the organization,” said Milstein.

Milstein also said another client, New York Rangers center Vladislav Namestnikov has received a qualifying offer but has yet to decide if he’ll accept it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There are reports the Jackets have received trade offers for Panarin but none of them will bring the club immediate help to offset the winger’s absence. Much could depend upon Kekalainen’s roster moves this summer, which includes re-signing goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. 


THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander reports long-time Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward has been contacted by five teams interested in his services. His agent, Rick Curran, said the Chicago Blackhawks were among three clubs that have had extensive interviews with his client. There’s speculation Ward could ink a one-year, $3-million deal with the Blackhawks on July 1. 

BOSTON GLOBE: Matt Porter reports the Bruins can forget about wooing Carter Hutton, as he’s only interested in signing where he has a chance to be a starting goalie. The Buffalo Sabres have reportedly zeroed in on Hutton. 

MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports the Detroit Red Wings are leaning toward signing Jonathan Bernier as their new backup on perhaps a three-year deal. They’re also interested in bringing back former Wings Valtteri Filppula and Thomas Vanek and have had productive discussions with free agent defenseman Mike Green, who could re-sign a two-year deal by Sunday. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings reportedly met with former Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner earlier this week but Khan reports he’s no longer a possibility. Not sure if they felt Bernier was a better option or if another club (perhaps the Islanders?) have pitched him a better proposal. 


PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: In the wake of the Penguins’ recent moves (including shipping Conor Sheary and Matt Hunwick to Buffalo for a conditional 2019 draft pick), Jason Mackey believes they’re not done making moves. He reports they’ve met with free-agent winger Michael Grabner, though the Penguins already have considerable depth at right wing.

If they wish to pursue someone like Carolina Hurricanes left wing Jeff Skinner, they’ll have to move winger Carl Hagelin to clear cap space and perhaps goaltender Tristan Jarry as a key piece of a trade that another, such as the Hurricanes, might want.

Mackey suggests pursuing more affordable free-agent options such as Tobias Rieder, Antoine Roussel or Patrick Maroon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins are considered by some as the favorite to land Skinner. Cap Friendly indicates they have a projected $8.1 million in cap space but his $5.725 million cap hit will eat up most of it. The Hurricanes will have to take a salaried player back or pick up part of that cap hit. 

BOSTON HERALD: As the Bruins also await John Tavare’s decision, Steve Conroy reports they’ve “kicked tires” on free-agent wingers James van Reimsdyk and Michael Grabner.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers are interested in Vegas Golden Knights winger Ryan Reaves, who due to become a UFA on July 1. They apparently want to bring more grit and toughness to their lineup.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun and Darren Dreger report the Montreal Canadiens have interest in Tobias Rieder and former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Xavier Ouellet. Frank Seravalli reports Carolina Hurricanes pending UFA center Derek Ryan was expected to meet with the Calgary Flames yesterday.


NHL Rumor Mill – May 19, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – May 19, 2018

The weekly John Tavares update, the latest on Oliver Ekman-Larsson and possible free-agent/trade targets for the Vancouver Canucks in your NHL rumor mill.

Could the Buffalo Sabres be a good free-agent destination for New York Islanders center John Tavares? (Photo via NHL Images)


WGR 550: Joe DiBiase cites TSN’s Gord Miller recently suggesting the Buffalo Sabres could be a destination for New York Islanders center John Tavares if he tests this summer’s unrestricted free agent market. “I’ve started talking to NHL people since the lottery, I think this makes the Sabres a legit contender to sign John Tavares.  Tavares wants to win. That’s his number one thing, he wants to win and he wants to play in a hockey market. Buffalo is a good hockey market. Now you got Rasmus Dahlin coming, they already have Ristolainen, got Eichel, they’ve got an owner who’s willing to spend money,” said Miller. He also noted that Buffalo is close to Tavares’ hometown of Toronto.

Miller’s colleague Darren Dreger, however, disagrees about Buffalo as a destination for Tavares. “I wouldn’t say 0%, but I’d say as close to 0% as you can get… I don’t think that John Tavares knows anything about Rasmus Dahlin. Next to nothing. Until he and future free agents see this kid on the ice and know he can play, I don’t know the influence is there. If Tavares goes to free agency, I’m not saying he’d dismiss the possibility of Buffalo, I’m just saying Buffalo would be further down the list.”

Dreger instead suggests the Nashville Predators could be a suitor for Tavares, though they’d have to get creative from a salary-cap perspective. He also believes the Vegas Golden Knights, St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks could be among the bidders. Dreger also doesn’t think Tavares would shy away from playing for a Canadian team, but feels he’s more interested in which club would be the best fit when it comes to winning. That’s why Dreger doesn’t see the Montreal Canadiens as a fit for Tavares.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If playing for a winner is important for Tavares, I agree with Dreger that we can probably rule out Buffalo and Montreal. The Toronto Maple Leafs are a promising club but they’ve already got a superstar center in Austin Matthews who’s soon to receive a significant pay raise, making it difficult for the Leafs to sign Tavares to a long-term deal. While Predators GM David Poile has a reputation for making bold moves, I don’t think this is one he’s willing or able to make. I concur with Dreger’s take on Vegas, St. Louis and San Jose as potential suitors. 


FRS NETWORK HOCKEY: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Darren Dreger appearing on Montreal’s TSN 690 discussing a recent report out of Arizona claiming the Coyotes are discussing an eight-year contract extension with defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Dreger said he was told the Coyotes were offering up $8 million annually. He doubts that will get it done, believing it’ll take at least $9 million per season. He wonders what might be the “kick-away” number for the Coyotes that causes them to consider trading Ekman-Larsson if they can’t agree to an extension..

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Coyotes feel Ekman-Larsson’s seeking too much money, they could start fielding trade offers for him. Still, they could be willing to pay him $9 million annually to keep him in the fold. Perhaps they could front load the deal to reach the $8-million annual average value. 


THE ATHLETIC: Jason Brough recently speculated over the possible left-wing scoring options for the Vancouver Canucks. One free-agent choice could be pursuing San Jose Sharks winger (and Vancouver native) Evander Kane, but with the Sedins gone, Brough would be surprised if the Canucks land a big fish this summer. Former Canuck Thomas Vanek is another, but unless they can get him cheap, Brough feels they should pass. A trade option could be Pittsburgh’s swift-skating Carl Hagelin, who has a year left on his contract, kill penalties and could be used as a trade-deadline bargaining chip. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brough also suggests the Canucks could look toward internal alternatives such as Jake Virtanen or Nikolay Goldobin. They could go with younger players within their system, but I can also see them bringing in an affordable veteran for short-term depth via trade or free agency. With the Canucks looking to get faster, Hagelin might be the best option, depending upon what the Penguins want in return.