NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 7, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 7, 2022

Recaps of Thursday’s preseason action, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman weighs in on Hockey Canada scandal as more sponsors withdraw support for the organization, and more in today’s Morning Coffee Headlines.

PRESEASON GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Claude Giroux’s third-period goal stood as the game-winner as the Ottawa Senators held off the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 in the Kraft Hockeyville game in Gander, NL. Tim Stutzle led the way with a goal and two assists for the Senators.

Ottawa Senators forward Tim Stutzle (NHL Images).

The New York Islanders downed the New Jersey Devils 5-2. Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Raty and Noah Dobson each had a goal and an assist while Semyon Varlamov made 26 saves.

A third-period power-play goal by Brandon Montour lifted the Florida Panthers over the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2. Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 38 saves in a losing cause while defenseman Mikhail Sergachev left the game in the first period with an undisclosed injury.

The Columbus Blue Jackets thumped the St. Louis Blues 7-0. Andrew Peeke collected four assists while Daniil Tarasov turned in a 24-save shutout.

Mats Zuccarello, Marco Rossi and Sam Steel each had a goal and an assist to give the Minnesota Wild a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith scored twice and collected an assist in a 6-4 win against the Los Angeles Kings. Jack Eichel and Mark Stone each collected two assists. Kings defenseman Sean Durzi had a goal and two assists.

HEADLINES

MONTREAL GAZETTE: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman weighed in on Hockey Canada’s ongoing scandal over its handling of sexual assault allegations involving players of Canada’s 2003 and 2018 World Junior teams and its refusal to implement a change in its leadership.

I think the response from Hockey Canada certainly needs work”, said Bettman, who was in Gander for the game between the Senators and Canadiens. “I’m not sure I fully understand why they’re responding the way they are.”

Bettman said he was very disappointed at the current state of affairs with Hockey Canada. The league is conducting its own investigation into the situation. The commissioner wouldn’t speculate on what might happen to those junior players who could have been involved in the alleged sexual assaults who are now playing in the NHL. He indicated that will be determined once he’s received and read the final report.

THE GLOBE & MAIL: Hockey Canada continues to lose support from corporate sponsors. Esso, Canadian Tire, Sobeys and Chevrolet Canada joined Tim Hortons, Scotiabank and Telus in withdrawing support for men’s hockey for 2022-23, with Canadian Tire permanently taking away its support.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Hockey Nova Scotia joined Hockey Quebec and the Ontario Hockey Federation in formally suspending fees it pays to Hockey Canada. “Until our values at Hockey Nova Scotia are reflected by Hockey Canada’s senior leadership, we simply cannot support hockey’s national governing body,” the organization said in a statement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hockey Manitoba has called for the resignation of Hockey Canada’s senior leadership but Hockey Canada still stubbornly refuses to heed those calls. It’s growing more costly for the organization and could lead to its total downfall and potential replacement with a new national governing body.

NHL.COM’s Dave McCarthy reports Anaheim Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said that Trevor Zegras is expected to join his teammates in a full practice on Friday. The 21-year-old center has been sidelined since suffering an injury during a preseason game on Monday.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov and winger T.J. Oshie are listed as day-to-day with injuries.

THE ATHLETIC: Montreal Canadiens winger Paul Byron could end up on long-term injury reserve due to an ongoing hip injury. The 33-year-old is in the final season of his contract with an average annual value of $3.4 million.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers released winger Jake Virtanen from his professional tryout offer.

They also announced former Oilers defenseman Steve Staios has been hired as a special advisor with a focus on prospect development. Staios was president and general manager of the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs, who won the OHL championship in 2022.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames released forwards Sonny Milano and Cody Eakin from their professional tryout offers.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 20, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 20, 2022

Sean Couturier is sidelined again, Keith Yandle announces his retirement, updates on Dylan Larkin, Claude Giroux and Mark Stone, the Rangers trade Nils Lundkvist to the Stars, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: A week after declaring himself good to go following back surgery, Sean Couturier suffered what the Philadelphia Flyers call an “upper-body injury.” The 29-year-old center will be reevaluated during training camp and is considered week-to-week.

CROSSING BROAD: Anthony SanFilippo cited “multiple team sources” claiming Couturier suffered a herniated disc in his back during strength and conditioning drills last week. It’s believed he could miss at least 12 weeks but that’s considered an optimistic assessment.

Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier (NHL Images).

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman tweeted the Flyers and Couturier are seeking a second opinion to determine the exact nature of the injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This will be a serious blow to the Flyers’ hopes of rebounding from an awful 2021-22 campaign. Couturier is their top center, their best two-way forward and one of their leaders. His back injury and subsequent absence from the lineup last season contributed to their poor performance.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Forwards Antoine Roussel and Artem Anisimov will be attending Flyers training camp on professional tryout offers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Roussel recently confirmed his PTO with the Flyers. Anisimov is a 34-year-old center with 13 NHL seasons under his belt with the New York Rangers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Chicago Blackhawks and Ottawa Senators. Anisimov played in the KHL last season. He also spent four seasons playing for Flyers head coach John Tortorella during their days with the Rangers.

SPORTSNET: Keith Yandle announced his retirement on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast. The 36-year-old defenseman spent 16 seasons in the NHL with the Arizona Coyotes, New York Rangers, Florida Panthers and Philadelphia Flyers, amassing 619 points in 1,109 regular-season games. Yandle also holds the league’s “Ironman” record of 989 consecutive games played.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Yandle in his future endeavors.

SPORTSNET: Dylan Larkin recently told Elliotte Friedman on the “32 Thoughts” podcast that he’s discussing a contract extension with the Detroit Red Wings. The 26-year-old center is in the final season of his current deal with an average annual value of $6.1 million.

I don’t really see myself playing for another team,” said the Red Wings captain. “It’s moving along. I can’t really tell you when or how (the deal gets resolved), but that’s where I want to be.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The rebuilding Wings consider Larkin a crucial member of their roster core. A Michigan native, he could seek a maximum eight-year contract with an AAV of $8 million.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators named Claude Giroux as one of their alternate captains. The 34-year-old is the former captain of the Philadelphia Flyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A logical decision by the Senators. Giroux’s experience as Flyers captain ensured he’d be part of their leadership group before he even stepped on the ice with them this season.

THE ATHLETIC: Jesse Granger reports Vegas Golden Knights head coach Bruce Cassidy said team captain Mark Stone is feeling good and is expected to be on the ice for their opening day of training camp. The medical team could put limits on his efforts but for now, he said he’s feeling great.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stone, 30, underwent a successful lumbar discectomy in May and was expected to make a full recovery. The Golden Knights captain was limited to just 37 games last season.

NHL.COM: The New York Rangers traded defenseman Nils Lundkvist to the Dallas Stars in exchange for a conditional first-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2025.

If the Stars’ own first-round pick in 2023 is among the top 10, the Rangers will instead receive Dallas’ 2024 first-rounder. That pick will be unprotected.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not a bad return for the Rangers for an unhappy blueliner chosen 28th overall in the 2018 draft with just 25 NHL games on his resume.

It’s not immediate help to the Blueshirts roster but that extra first-rounder could prove useful trade bait at the trade deadline if they pursue a quality rental player at the March trade deadline. Otherwise, it’ll provide them with an extra first-rounder next year or in 2024.

Lundkvist, 22, should provide additional right-side depth to the Stars blueline. He won’t replace the departed John Klingberg’s offense but could grow into the role of a top-four puck-moving rearguard.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed former Anaheim Ducks winger Sonny Milano to a professional tryout offer.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed winger Jake Virtanen to a PTO.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That move has drawn criticism among some pundits, bloggers and Oilers fans. There are those who raised the point of Virtanen facing a civil suit after being found not guilty of sexual assault in a B.C. Court in July. Others point to his poor on-ice performance in recent years.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently reporting that oft-injured Golden Knights forward Nolan Patrick might not play this season with some wondering about his future as a player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The second overall pick in the 2017 draft by the Flyers, Patrick has played just 25 NHL games because of nagging upper-body injuries, including migraines related to a possible concussion.

DAILY FACEOFF: Forward Kurtis Gabriel has retired after nine seasons in the NHL and AHL. He saw 51 games of NHL action with the Minnesota Wild, New Jersey Devils, San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks with five points and 153 PIMs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Gabriel in his future endeavors.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 16, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – September 16, 2022

Will the Blues attempt to sign Ryan O’Reilly to a contract extension? What’s the latest on MacKenzie Weegar’s extension talks with the Flames? What’s going on with the Rangers’ Nil Lundkvist? Could Jake Virtanen sign a PTO with the Oilers? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

BLUES COULD TRY TO SIGN O’REILLY TO AN EXTENSION

SPORTSNET: During his latest “32 Thoughts” podcast with Jeff Marek, Elliotte Friedman speculated the St. Louis Blues could shift their focus toward signing team captain Ryan O’Reilly to a contract extension. This comes after the club made re-signing Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou their offseason priority, with the duo inking identical eight-year contracts.

St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly (NHL Images).

O’Reilly is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. Term could be an issue for the 31-year-old center. Marek suggested the Calgary Flames’ Nazem Kadri as a comparable. He signed a seven-year, $49 million contract last month but Friedman doesn’t know if he sees the Blues doing that.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: O’Reilly is in the final year of a seven-year, $52.5 million contract with an AAV of $7.5 million. He’s still among the league’s best two-way players but, as Friedman observed, he turns 32 in February. That could make Blues general manager Doug Armstrong leery about investing too much for too long in an aging asset.

UPDATE ON WEEGAR’S CONTRACT TALKS WITH THE FLAMES

SPORTSNET: During the same podcast, Friedman reports MacKenzie Weegar said during the Flames’ recent golf tournament that they’re “working on something” and hope to get it done. Friedman believes it could be comparable to Hampus Lindholm’s contract with the Boston Bruins. Lindholm inked an eight-year deal at $6.5 million per season soon after joining the Bruins in a trade from the Anaheim Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That would double Weegar’s current AAV of $3.25 million. The Flames have shown a willingness to be generous with their talent, inking Jonathan Huberdeau to an eight-year, $84 million contract and Nazem Kadri to seven years and $49 million. It wouldn’t be shocking if Weegar gets a deal similar to Lindholm’s.

Those hefty contracts, however, could become burdensome for the Flames down the road. Weegar will turn 29 in January, Huberdeau will be 30 next June and Kadri turns 32 in October. Nevertheless, general manager Brad Treliving is willing to pay now in the hope these players can turn his Flames into Cup contenders over the next four or five seasons.

Another factor is the potential for significant increases in the salary cap perhaps starting as early as next season if revenue projections are higher than expected. New broadcasting deals with ESPN and Turner and new revenue streams such as online gambling are pouring more money into the league’s coffers. That could result in a big jump in the cap over the next several years which could help offset those expensive contracts for the Flames when Weegar, Huberdeau and Kadri inevitably decline.

NO UPDATE ON RANGERS EFFORTS TO TRADE LUNDKVIST

NEW YORK POST: Mollie Walker reports Rangers president and general manager Chris Drury remains uncertain over the status of Nils Lundkvist. The 22-year-old defenseman reportedly won’t report to training camp next week unless the Rangers trade him to a club where he has a better opportunity at a top-four role.

I really don’t have any update on it,” said Drury. He hopes Lundkvist will be in camp next week but said he doesn’t have a definitive answer yet regarding the blueliner’s plans. Walker indicated the belief that he’ll be traded but Drury wouldn’t confirm if he’s requested a trade.

OILERS COULD BE OUT ON VIRTANEN

THE ATHLETIC’s Daniel Nugent-Bowman tweeted the Edmonton Oilers appear to be out on Jake Virtanen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They were reportedly among several teams interested in signing the former Vancouver Canucks winger to a professional tryout offer. Nugent-Bowman reported they’re considering offering a PTO for former Flames winger Brett Ritchie.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 15, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – September 15, 2022

Could the Jets have traded Mark Scheifele if they had signed Pierre-Luc Dubois to a long-term contract? Did they attempt to move Blake Wheeler? Find out plus the latest on Jake Virtanen in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

LATEST JETS SPECULATION

THE ATHLETIC: Murat Ates reported earlier this week that “there is a chance” the Winnipeg Jets would’ve shopped Mark Scheifele if they could’ve re-signed Pierre-Luc Dubois to a long-term contract.

Dubois, 24, was a restricted free agent earlier this summer with arbitration rights. He agreed to accept a one-year, $6 million offer from the Jets.

Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele (NHL Images).

Ates observed Scheifele “looked disengaged defensively” and “sounded deeply frustrated” by season’s end. He’s due to become an unrestricted free agent in 2024 and will be 31 by that point. Dubois is also eligible to become a UFA in 2024.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubois became a fixture in the rumor mill for several weeks earlier in the offseason after his agent suggested his client might one day hope to join his hometown Montreal Canadiens. Dubois also attended the 2022 NHL Draft in Montreal back in July, sparking speculation suggesting he was going to be traded to the Canadiens but the deal fell through.

Dubois denied all of this in the press conference on July 25 announcing his new one-year contract, stressing that if he wanted out of Winnipeg he would’ve asked for a trade but that thought never crossed his mind. His name hasn’t surfaced in the rumor mill since then but it’s probably only a matter of time if the Jets struggle again this season.

Scheifele downplayed his remarks several weeks following the end of the regular season as did general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff. Perhaps playing under new head coach Rick Bowness will provide Scheifele with the spark that seemed to be missing last season. Another sub-par effort on his part, however, will bring the trade rumors roaring back.

Meanwhile, Ates said it was his understanding the Jets looked into trading Blake Wheeler. However, his $8.25 million cap hit through 2023-24 proved too cumbersome to move.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wheeler is another forward worth watching under Bowness’ coaching this season. The 36-year-old Jets captain struggled with consistency last season and is at the stage in his career where a decline in skills is inevitable.

His age as much as his hefty cap hit makes him very tough to move in the trade market. The Jets would have to retain a big chunk of his contract to make him more enticing to rival clubs.

UPDATE ON JAKE VIRTANEN

YAHOO! SPORTS: Thomas Hall cited Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer reporting the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Washington Capitals are believed to have expressed an interest in signing Jake Virtanen to a professional tryout offer.

Virtanen, 26, spent six seasons with the Vancouver Canucks from 2015-16 to 2020-21 until bought out of his contract after he was accused of sexual assault. He spent last season in the KHL and in July was found not guilty in a British Columbia court.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Virtanen’s personal issues aside, I wonder why there are NHL teams interested in his services? He was a disappointment as a Canuck and managed just 16 points in 36 games in the KHL.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 14, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – September 14, 2022

An update on Jason Robertson’s contract talks with the Stars plus the latest on the Canadiens and Oilers in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

LATEST ON JASON ROBERTSON

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Matthew DeFranks reports Stars general manager Jim Nill remains hopeful that Jason Robertson will be at training camp when it opens next week. Contract negotiations continue between Stars management and the 23-year-old restricted free agent winger.

Dallas Stars forward Jason Robertson (NHL Images)

Robertson is coming off his entry-level contract and a career-best 41 goals and 79 points in 74 games. Nill indicated he’s in constant communication with the winger’s representatives. The club has around $7.2 million in salary cap room depending on the final roster makeup.

DeFranks suggests that means a long-term contract is off the table, speculating Robertson could get an average annual value of $7 million on a three or four-year deal. The Stars can create more cap room for the coming season by carrying a smaller roster or trading players such as goaltender Anton Khudobin ($3.33 million) or forward Radek Faksa ($3.25 million).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The bridge deal seems the most likely option here. How much Robertson gets could depend on whether Nill can find a taker for Khudobin or Faksa.

Their respective AAVs aren’t that expensive. Nevertheless, it’ll be difficult finding a trade partner at this time of year when most clubs have limited cap room.

UPDATES ON THE CANADIENS AND OILERS

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie reporting Canadiens defenseman Joel Edmundson is garnering interest in the trade market as training camp approaches. Lavoie claimed there’s a lot of interest around the league for a blueliner like him.

Lavoie doubts Edmundson, 29, will be traded now but thinks the 6’5”, 229-pound rearguard is drawing some attractive offers and could garner more as the season progresses. He missed most of 2021-22 with a back injury but can bolster his trade stock with a healthy, productive season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Murphy suggested, it’d doubtful he’ll be moved before the 2023 trade deadline. Unless the Canadiens get a mind-blowing offer they’re not trading Edmundson now. They recently made him an alternate captain and value his experience and leadership among their young blueliners.

TSN’s John Lu took to Twitter reporting Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen admitted he’s “had communication” with management regarding a contract extension. However, he offered no further comment on the subject.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given Carey Price’s uncertain future and the ongoing development of Cayden Primeau, it’s unsurprising the Canadiens are interested in discussing a new contract with Allen. They’ll need some veteran stability in goal beyond this season if Price’s career is over and Primeau isn’t ready for prime time.

Lu’s colleague Ryan Rishaug tweeted on Monday that he thinks the Edmonton Oilers are waiting to hear an answer from winger Jake Virtanen regarding a professional tryout offer.

He also indicated they’re exploring all cost-cutting trade options for winger Jesse Puljujarvi. They can still start the coming season with what they have if they don’t move Puljujarvi but it could create salary-cap complications later in the season.

Rishaug doesn’t see Tyson Barrie as a trade candidate. He expects the Oilers will start this season with what they’ve got on their blueline and see how things go.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the one hand, avoiding arbitration with Puljujarvi by signing him in July to a one-year, $3 million contract provides cost certainty when attempting to trade him. It seems no team wanted to take on an unsigned restricted free agent with consistency issues with arbitration rights.

On the other hand, most teams have limited salary-cap space. Puljujarvi’s $3 million cap hit is a tight squeeze for many clubs right now.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 9, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – September 9, 2022

In today’s NHL Rumor Mill: an update on the Rangers’ efforts to trade Nil Lundkvist, teams are calling the Penguins about their defensemen, and the Oilers could add another affordable forward.

UPDATE ON RANGERS EFFORTS TO TRADE LUNDKVIST

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple reported a source claims there’s an 80 percent chance that Nils Lindkvist won’t report to New York Rangers training camp on Sept. 21. The 22-year-old defenseman is unhappy with his chances of cracking the Rangers’ top-six defense and is being shopped by the Blueshirts.

New York Rangers defenseman Nils Lundkvist (NHL Images)

Lundkvist could remain in Sweden to continue his training if not moved by the time the Rangers open training camp. Staple believes there’s a spot waiting for him with Swedish Hockey League club Lulea, for whom the blueliner played for three seasons before joining the Rangers last season.

Two sources told Staple that the Rangers have received an offer of a second-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft. However, it’s believed general manager Chris Drury is seeking a young player in return.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng cites an NHL scout telling him Lundkvist could be a “really logical target” for the Sharks. They could use more puck-moving depth on the right side of their blueline though his defensive game needs improvement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks have also been suggested as possible destinations for Lundkvist. So far, however, those reports have been merely speculative.

As Staple observed, Drury won’t just give away Lundkvist. He faced a similar situation with Vitali Kravtsov last season but the young Russian winger spent last season in the KHL awaiting a trade that never came because no one met Drury’s asking price. He’s now back with the Blueshirts attempting to earn a roster spot in training camp.

Lundkvist could end up loaned to a Swedish club for the season if Drury hasn’t received a suitable offer.

TEAMS ARE CALLING ABOUT THE PENGUINS’ DEFENSEMEN

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dave Molinari recently reported Penguins president Brian Burke confirmed some teams are calling to inquire about some of his team’s defensemen. He doesn’t rule out moving one of them though he indicated there haven’t been any recent active trade discussions.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Molinari wrote that Burke didn’t appear to expect any deals of consequence before the preseason starts later this month. The Penguins carry nine defensemen under NHL contracts for the coming season. Brian Dumoulin and Marcus Pettersson have been mentioned this summer as potential trade bait.

THE OILERS COULD ADD ANOTHER FORWARD

THE ATHLETIC: Daniel Nugent-Bowman reports the Oilers are considering signing another free-agent forward to a professional tryout offer. A team source said Zach Aston-Reese, Riley Nash and Jake Virtanen are under consideration.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier this week, the Oilers signed former Vancouver Canucks winger Justin Bailey to a PTO.