NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 12, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 12, 2022

A milestone night for the Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin and the Capitals’ John Carlson, an update on the Oiler’s Evander Kane and the Blue Jackets’ blueline suffers a major blow. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin scored his 450th career NHL goal in a 4-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Brock McGinn and Jake Guentzel tallied in the third period for the Penguins, who improved to 6-6-2. Zach Aston-Reese and William Nylander replied for the 7-5-3 Maple Leafs.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Former Maple Leafs star and Hall-of-Famer Borje Salming received an emotional standing ovation from Toronto fans during a pregame ceremony honoring this year’s Hockey Hall of Fame inductees. Salming, who is battling ALS (Lou Gerhig’s disease), was assisted by his former teammate and fellow Hall-of-Famer Darryl Sittler as he waved to the crowd to acknowledge the cheers.

Salming was one of the greatest defensemen in NHL history and a trailblazer for European players. I don’t know about the rest of you, but seeing a tearful Sittler helping Salming wave to the fans left me choked up too.

The Washington Capitals got two goals from Sonny Milano to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-1. John Carlson picked up an assist to become the first defenseman in Capitals history to reach 600 career points and sits fifth on their all-time points list. The Capitals improved to 7-7-2 while the Lightning sit at 7-6-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette missed this game after being diagnosed with COVID-19. He is expected to miss Sunday’s rematch with the Lightning.

Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury kicked out 28 shots to shut out the Seattle Kraken 1-0. Mats Zuccarello scored for the Wild (7-6-1) while the Kraken sit at 8-5-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Kraken placed sidelined goaltender Philipp Grubauer (lower body) on long-term injured reserve.

The San Jose Sharks held off the Dallas Stars 5-4 to improve their record to 4-9-3. The Sharks got two-point performances from Timo Meier, Tomas Hertl, Logan Couture and Alexander Barabanov. Jamie Benn scored two goals for the 8-5-1 Stars.

HEADLINES

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers winger Evander Kane was in good spirits as he spoke with the media on Friday for the first time since suffering a gruesome injury to his left wrist on Tuesday.

Kane’s wrist was sliced down to the bone when Tampa Bay Lightning forward Pat Maroon accidentally skated over it. He was rushed to a hospital and underwent surgery. “I was really lucky that they were able to reattach everything,” said Kane, who will be sidelined for up to four months. “I’m thankful that I’m going to be able to make a full recovery.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Kane in his recovery.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski is out for the season after suffering a separated shoulder and a torn labrum during Thursday’s 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Another Jackets defenseman, Nick Blankenburg, suffered a fractured ankle and a high ankle sprain and will miss six-to-eight weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is terrible news for a Blue Jackets squad struggling to overcome a poor start to this season. Losing their best defenseman in Werenski could spell the end of their playoff hopes.

TSN: The Carolina Hurricanes placed goaltender Frederik Andersen on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury retroactive to Nov. 6.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche forward Darren Helm underwent abductor surgery last week and was placed on long-term injured reserve.

NHL.COM: The NHL and NHL Players Association released a joint statement indicating the World Cup of Hockey will not be played in February 2024. “Unfortunately, in the current environment, it is not feasible to hold the World Cup of Hockey at that time.” They hope to stage the tournament in February 2025.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: “Current environment”, in this case, is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 11, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 11, 2022

Jack Eichel tallies a hat trick in his second return to Buffalo, Charlie McAvoy rejoins the Bruins, the Blues and Blue Jackets end their losing skids, P.K. Subban steps behind the microphone, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Jack Eichel tallied a hat trick in his second return to Buffalo as the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Sabres 7-4. Eichel and teammate Chandler Stephenson finished with four points each as the Golden Knights (13-2-0) extended their winning streak to nine games. Tage Thompson scored twice for the Sabres, who dropped to 7-7-0.

Vegas Golden Knights center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fully healthy and settled in with the Golden Knights, Eichel is tearing it up offensively this season with 19 points in 15 games. He’s only been scoreless in three games thus far and is playing a big role in the Golden Knights’ red-hot start to this season.

Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy tallied what proved to be the game-winner in a 3-1 victory over the Calgary Flames (5-6-0). McAvoy was making his season debut after recovering from off-season shoulder surgery. David Pastrnak had a goal and an assist while Linus Ullmark made 31 saves as the Bruins improved their record to 12-2-0.

The St. Louis Blues snapped their eight-game losing skid by dropping the San Jose Sharks 5-3 on third-period goals by Calle Rosen and Noel Acciari. Robert Thomas and Pavel Buchnevich each collected two assists for the Blues (4-8-0). Timo Meier, Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture scored for the 3-9-3 Sharks.

Speaking of ending losing streaks, the Columbus Blue Jackets ended a five-game winless skid with a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Johnny Gaudreau led the way with a goal and two assists and Boone Jenner scored twice for the 4-9-0 Blue Jackets. The Flyers (7-4-2) got goals from defensemen Tony DeAngelo and Ivan Provorov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury. No word yet as to how long he’ll be out of the lineup.

An overtime goal by Nico Hischier lifted the New Jersey Devils over the Ottawa Senators 4-3. The red-hot Devils (11-3-0) have won eight straight while the slumping Senators (4-8-1) have dropped seven straight. Devils goaltender Vitek Vanecek left the game in the third period with an undisclosed injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils already have two goalies sidelined in Mackenzie Blackwood and Jonathan Bernier. Losing Vanecek could threaten to derail what’s been an impressive start for this club. Meanwhile, the Senators lost goalie Magnus Hellberg yesterday as he was reclaimed off waivers by the Seattle Kraken, who had signed him this summer.

The Carolina Hurricanes got a hat trick from Andrei Svechnikov to thump the Edmonton Oilers 7-2 and boost their record to 9-4-1. Jack Campbell gave up all seven goals as the Oilers fell to 8-7-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers invested $25 million over five years last summer in Campbell in the hope he would bolster their goaltending. He’s won six of 10 stars but has been wildly inconsistent. That’s leading to calls for the Oilers to give more starts to backup Stuart Skinner, who has better stats in his five outings this season.

A six-goal third period powered the New York Rangers to an 8-2 drubbing of the Detroit Red Wings. Rangers defenseman Adam Fox finished the night with a goal and three assists as his club improved its record to 7-5-3. Ville Husso gave up all eight goals for the 7-4-3 Red Wings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This wasn’t all on Husso. The Wings flat-out collapsed in that period, with four of the Rangers’ goals coming in a 2:57 span.

The Colorado Avalanche tallied four second-period goals as they defeated the Nashville Predators 5-3. Mikko Rantanen and Logan O’Connor led the way with two goals apiece while Alexandar Georgiev made 32 saves for the 7-4-1 Avalanche. The Predators, meanwhile, fell to 5-8-1.

An overtime goal by Kevin Fiala gave the Los Angeles Kings a 2-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks (5-5-3). Jonathan Quick kicked out 31 shots for the Kings (9-6-3) while Petr Mrazek stopped 33 shots in his first game since being sidelined on Oct. 21.

The Arizona Coyotes got a 24-save shutout from Karel Vejmelka to blank the New York Islanders 2-0. Travis Boyd and Jack McBain were the goal scorers in the third period as the Coyotes improve to 6-6-1 while the Islanders are 9-6-0. Cal Clutterbuck returned to the Isles lineup after missing a game with an injury but Casey Cizikas left this contest with an upper-body injury.

HEADLINES

ESPN.COM: Former NHL defenseman P.K. Subban is joining the network as an in-studio analyst on a three-year contract. Subban contributed to the network’s coverage of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs. He recently retired after 13 NHL seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m not surprised to see Subban move on to television work. He’s a natural in front of the camera and could bring some personality to ESPN’s hockey coverage.

The New Jersey Devils named Hall-of-Famer Martin Brodeur as their new executive vice president of hockey operations. His duties will include personnel decisions, player recruitment, scouting and overseeing the club’s goalie development department. He’s worked in their front office in business development since 2018. Brodeur spent all but one of his 22 NHL seasons with the Devils, backstopping them to three Stanley Cups.

DAILY FACEOFF: Vancouver Canucks winger Tanner Pearson will be sidelined for four-to-six weeks following successful hand surgery.

CBS SPORTS: The Seattle Kraken placed defenseman Jamie Oleksiak (lower body) on injured reserve.

TSN: Veteran forward Alex Galchenyuk has signed a one-year AHL contract with the Colorado Eagles. They are the minor-league affiliate of the Avalanche.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Tempe City Council yesterday voted unanimously to schedule and prepare a public vote on May 16, 2023, regarding a proposed arena and entertainment complex.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 18, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 18, 2022

The Wild and Capitals clinch playoff berths, the Leafs and Blues set franchise records, the Panthers remain red hot and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Minnesota Wild clinched a playoff berth with a 5-4 overtime victory over the San Jose Sharks. Jared Spurgeon scored twice, including the game-winner, Kevin Fiala had a goal and three assists and Frederick Gaudreau collected three assists for the Wild, who sit in third place in the Central Division with 101 points. The Sharks have lost 10 straight games.

Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala (NHL Images).

William Nylander scored the game-winning goal as the Toronto Maple Leafs doubled up the New York Islanders 4-2. The Leafs set single-season franchise records with 50 wins and 106 points as they sit in second place in the Atlantic Division. They also officially eliminated the Islanders from playoff contention, meaning the Washington Capitals have secured a postseason berth with 94 points as they sit in the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs sat out Auston Matthews from this game as he’s nursing a minor injury. He’s listed as day-to-day but head coach Sheldon Keefe wasn’t concerned his condition might worsen.

The eight Eastern Conference playoff clubs have now been determined. What follows over the remaining games of the regular season will be jockeying for position to determine home-ice advantage in the opening round of the 2022 postseason.

The St. Louis Blues erupted for seven second-period goals to set a club record for most goals in a single period as they crushed the Nashville Predators 8-3. Brayden Schenn, Jordan Kyrou and Calle Rosen each scored twice while Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and two assists for the Blues, who sit one point ahead of the Wild in second place in the Central Division. It was also the most goals the Predators have ever given up in a single period as they drop behind the Dallas Stars into the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators (91 points) are tied with the Stars but the latter holds a game in hand. Earlier in the day, the Predators announced defenseman Jeremy Lauzon would not play as he’s week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

Blues coach Craig Berube provided an update on Nick Leddy’s condition after he had been cut under one eye during Saturday’s win over the Wild. He said the defenseman was feeling better and doesn’t think he’ll be sidelined for very long.

Florida Panthers rookie Anton Lundell scored twice and goaltender Spencer Knight made 33 saves in a 6-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Florida winger Jonathan Huberdeau’s point streak ended at 13 games. The Panthers have won 10 straight games and sit atop the Eastern Conference with 114 points, two behind the first overall Colorado Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fun fact: the Panthers have lost only once in the 13 games they’ve played since acquiring Claude Giroux from the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Anaheim Ducks snapped a 13-game winless skid by downing the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-4. John Gibson made 31 saves for his first victory since March 1 while Troy Terry scored twice and collected an assist. Jackets winger Patrik Laine missed the game with an upper-body injury and Zach Werenski left the game early in the first period with a facial injury.

Buffalo Sabres forwards Victor Olofsson and Tage Thompson each scored twice in a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Kevin Hayes and Noah Cates each had a goal and an assist for the Flyers.

HEADLINES

TSN: Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen will undergo an MRI for a lower-body injury suffered during Saturday’s loss to the Colorado Avalanche.

CBS SPORTS: Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews is dealing with “some nagging things” and could sit for Monday’s game against the Capitals.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens forward Michael Pezzetta will have a hearing with the NHL’s department of player safety regarding an illegal check to the head of Capitals winger T.J. Oshie on Saturday.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Canadiens, they’ve set an NHL record for the most man-games lost to injury with 700.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports Donald Fehr’s tenure as executive director of the NHL Players Association could come to an end before next season.

A report released Friday by the law firm Cozen O’Connor cleared Fehr and the PA of any individual or systemic wrongdoing over their handling of the Kyle Beach investigation. That report, however, has come under criticism, raising speculation about concerns among the PA membership.

LeBrun reports Fehr, 74, was facing pressure to come up with a succession plan prior to the report’s release. That process could be accelerated, especially with another round of collective bargaining with the NHL coming in five years’ time.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 29, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 29, 2022

Senators owner Eugene Melnyk passes away, the Hurricanes take over first place in the Eastern Conference, Vladimir Tarasenko reaches a scoring milestone, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SENATORS OWNER EUGENE MELNYK DEAD AT 62

OTTAWA SUN: Senators owner Eugene Melnyk passed away late Monday following a long illness. His enduring legacy was buying the Senators in 2003 and maintaining the franchise in Ottawa. In 2015, Melnyk underwent a life-saving liver transplant. With his help, the Senators Community Foundation invested over $100 million in local charities and community programs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Melnyk’s family and the Senators’ organization. The hockey world is mourning his passing, with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Senators captain Brady Tkachuk among the first to pay tribute.

Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk dies at age 62 (NHL.com).

The Senators were among the NHL’s top teams during Melnyk’s early years of ownership, reaching the 2007 Stanley Cup Final. After exceeding expectations to reach the 2017 Eastern Conference Final, the club spent the following years rebuilding its roster.

Melnyk often faced criticism from Senators fans over the club’s direction, especially in recent years. He received his share of the blame for the departures of popular stars such as Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson. The outspoken Senators owner also threatened to move the club several years ago if the club’s attendance didn’t improve.

Nevertheless, the Senators would’ve probably relocated to an American city in 2003 if Melnyk hadn’t stepped in to purchase the franchise. It’ll be up to his successor and the club’s current management to ensure the current rebuilding program achieves his dream of turning the Senators into a Stanley Cup contender.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Washington Capitals 6-1 to take over first place in the Eastern Conference with 95 points, one ahead of the Florida Panthers. Martin Necas scored two goals and added an assist while Frederik Andersen made 25 saves for the win. The Capitals (84 points) remain three points behind the Boston Bruins, who hold the first Eastern wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes weren’t happy over a hit on forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi by Capitals center Lars Eller late in the game. Kotkaniemi’s left leg appeared to be injured. Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour didn’t know the extent of the injury following the game but commented it didn’t look good. No word if Eller will face supplemental discipline.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko reached his 500th career point in a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Tarasenko scored twice and chipped in an assist while Ville Husso turned in a 35-save performance. With 81 points, the Blues sit in third place in the Central Division. The Canucks (73 points) remain three points behind the Vegas Golden Knights for the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: David Perron also reached a Blues milestone, joining Brett Hull and Scott Young as the third player in franchise history to score at least 12 goals in a calendar month.

The Edmonton Oilers bounced back from a 9-5 loss to the Calgary Flames on Saturday by thumping the Arizona Coyotes 6-1. Ryan McLeod tallied twice and picked up an assist, Leon Draisaitl had a goal and an assist and Mikko Koskinen got the win by kicking out 31 shots. The Oilers sit in third place in the Pacific Division, two points back of the second-place Los Angeles Kings.

Speaking of the Kings, they fell 6-1 to the Seattle Kraken. Chris Driedger stopped 36 Kings shots while teammate Vince Dunn collected two assists. It was the 1,000th career NHL game for Kings coach Todd McLellan, who became the seventh active coach to reach that milestone.

The Buffalo Sabres rallied from a 4-0 deficit to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks 6-5 with Tage Thompson netting the game-winner in the final seconds of the third period. Sabres winger Victor Olofsson scored twice and picked up an assist.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NHL.COM: Minnesota Wild goaltender Cam Talbot, Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau and Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending March 27, 2022.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman upheld a one-game suspension to Hurricanes winger Nino Niederreiter for a slashing infraction on March 18.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury suffered from a high hit by the Minnesota Wild’s Marcus Foligno during the Jackets’ 3-2 loss to the Wild on Saturday.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture suffered a bruised lung when he was struck by a shot by teammate Brent Burns during last Thursday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers. He missed Saturday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks but will return to the lineup on Wednesday to face the Arizona Coyotes.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Over a week after being traded from the Montreal Canadiens to the Colorado Avalanche, Artturi Lehkonen’s immigration paperwork has been processed and he can finally join his new teammates.










Reviewing Some Recent Notable NHL Trades & Free-Agent Signings

Reviewing Some Recent Notable NHL Trades & Free-Agent Signings

July 25 to 31 was a busy week in the NHL following the entry-draft weekend with the annual free-agent market opening on July 28.

I noted the top UFA signings of the opening day of free agency for Bleacher Report. Here’s a quick look at several other notable free-agent signings, plus some interesting trades that caught my eye over the past week.

July 26: Florida Panthers re-sign Sam Bennett to a four-year, $17.7 million contract.

Bennett quickly meshed well with the Panthers following his acquisition from the Calgary Flames at the trade deadline. He’ll provide them with solid second-line depth in their quest to become a Cup contender.

July 27: Chicago Blackhawks acquire Marc-Andre Fleury from Vegas Golden Knights.

The Golden Knights had to shed salary to improve their roster depth. With a younger Robin Lehner under contract for four more years at $5 million per season, the 37-year-old Fleury and the remaining year of his contract ($7 million) had to go. Unfortunately, he found out about it on Twitter before the club could inform him. His omission of team owner Bill Foley and general manager Kelly McCrimmon in his farewell statement to the team and the fans spoke volumes.

Blackhawks acquire Tyler Johnson from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Lightning shed Johnson’s contract for the next three seasons. In return, they get the contract of permanently sidelined defenseman Brent Seabrook to put on LTIR. In other words, Lightning GM Julien BriseBois immediately shed $5 million from his books and garnered another $6.875 million in cap wiggle room if necessary.

Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Points (NHL Images).

July 28: Lightning re-sign Brayden Point to an eight-year, $76 million contract.

It’s a big investment by the Lightning but that’s the price to be paid for keeping a core player who is becoming one of the best centers in the NHL. He’s deadly during the regular season and seems to find another gear when the playoffs roll around.

Starting in 2022-23, the Lightning has almost $45 million invested in just five players. Those five, however, are Point, former league MVP and scoring champion Nikita Kucherov, former Norris and Conn Smythe winner Victor Hedman, current Smythe winner and former Vezina winner Andrei Vasilevskiy, and team captain and former Richard winner Steven Stamkos. They’re the core that helped win back-to-back Stanley Cups. You can argue they’re paying too much to keep that group intact but at least they’ve got true value for those salary-cap dollars.

Colorado Avalanche acquires goaltender Darcy Kuemper from the Arizona Coyotes.

Avalanche GM Joe Sakic turned immediately to the Coyotes and Kuemper after starter Philipp Grubauer signed with the Seattle Kraken. The 31-year-old netminder has a year left on his contract with an affordable $4.5 million cap hit. He’s a terrific performer but has been plagued by injuries in recent years. Kuemper must stay healthy throughout this season if the Avs hope to win the Stanley Cup next June.

Calgary Flames sign Blake Coleman to a six-year, $29.4 million contract.

Coleman was an effective and versatile checking-line forward for the Tampa Bay Lightning in their back-to-back championship runs. His style of play should fit well with head coach Darryl Sutter’s system of grinding defensive hockey. Still, investing that much for six years on a middle-six forward who turns 30 this season could prove costly in the final half of the deal when his skills start to decline.

Boston Bruins sign Linus Ullmark to a four-year, $20 million contract.

Ullmark put up decent stats during his four years with the sad-sack Buffalo Sabres. Whether he’ll become a reliable starter on a better club in Boston remains to be seen. It’s an expensive gamble that could go sour. This signing also raises questions about the future of long-time starter Tuukka Rask once he returns from offseason hip surgery in February.

July 29: Columbus Blue Jackets re-sign Zach Werenski to a six-year, $57.5 million contract extension.

After seeing so many core players depart in recent years, the Blue Jackets had to ensure they could keep Werenski in the fold. The 24-year-old is an excellent puck-moving defenseman but they overpaid to keep him in Columbus. His $9.583 million AAV is higher than that of Colorado Avalanche rearguard Cale Makar ($9 million), who was a Calder Trophy winner in 2019-20 and a Norris Trophy finalist last season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 30, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 30, 2021

Alex Ovechkin looks forward to chasing Wayne Gretzky’s goal record, the Blue Jackets sign Zach Werenski to a long-term contract extension, and the Blues sign Brandon Saad. Get the details plus other notable trades and signings in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Alex Ovechkin said the opportunity to pursue Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goal record factored into his recent signing of a five-year contract with the Capitals. Ovechkin, 35, has 730 career goals and needs 165 more to break Gretzky’s record. To do it, he needs to average 33 goals per season.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The all-time goal-scoring record is the most reachable of Gretzky’s significant offensive achievements. Nevertheless, it’ll a daunting challenge for Ovechkin, who turns 36 in September.

Ovechkin’s still among the league’s elite scorers, tallying 24 goals in 45 games last season and 48 in 68 games in 2019-20. If not for the pandemic (and a half-season lost to a lockout in 2012-13), he’d be much closer to Gretzky’s record by now. However, he’s also at an age when his production will begin to decline.

The Capitals captain is currently sixth on the all-time list. A 37-goal performance this season would vault him over Marcel Dionne (731), Brett Hull (741) and Jaromir Jagr (766) into third overall, 34 behind Gordie Howe (801).

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets signed defenseman Zach Werenski to a six-year, $57.5 million contract extension. The annual average value is $9.583 million and takes effect in 2022-23.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets consider Werenski among the NHL’s top defensemen over the past five seasons and are paying him accordingly. He’s tallied 189 points in 335 career games. Starting in 2022-23, he’ll be the third highest-paid defenseman in the league with a higher annual cap hit than Colorado Avalanche blueliner Cale Makar’s $9 million and just ahead of former defense partner Seth Jones’ $9.5 million AAV with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Werenski’s a skilled puck-moving defenseman but I don’t consider him worth more than Makar, a Calder Trophy winner in 2019-20 who was a Norris Trophy finalist last season. But after enduring a steady parade of talent departing Columbus via trades and free agency in recent years, the Jackets had to pay the price to keep Werenski in the fold.

His new contract lacks no-trade protection in 2022-23 and a full no-movement clause in 2023-24 through 2026-27, dropping to a modified no-trade in the final season.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues signed winger Brandon Saad to a five-year, $22.5 million contract. The annual average value is $4.5 million. The deal also comes with a full no-trade clause in the first four years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Saad took a pay cut from the $6 million AAV he earned over six seasons on his previous contract. He joins a club undergoing a retooling of its roster since winning the Stanley Cup two years ago. He fills the vacant left wing spot on the Blues’ first line following the departure of free agent Jaden Schwartz to Seattle on Wednesday.

NEW YORK POST/LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights trade winger Ryan Reaves to the New York Rangers in exchange for a 2022 third-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers acquired enforcer Reaves in yet another move to bolster their toughness. The Golden Knights, meanwhile, made this move to free up salary-cap space by shedding his $1.75 million cap hit.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning signed winger Corey Perry to a two-year, $2 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perry said he wanted to return to the Montreal Canadiens for another season. The opportunity to play two seasons with the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion, however, was too good to pass up.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Zach Werenski wasn’t the only defenseman the Blue Jackets signed yesterday, inking Jake Bean to a three-year deal worth an annual cap hit of $2.33 million. The Jackets acquire the 23-year-old blueliner from the Carolina Hurricanes last week.

MLIVE.COM: Long-time Detroit Red Wings forward Darren Helm signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Colorado Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Helm and Valtteri Filppula were the last remaining active members of the Wings last Stanley Cup championship in 2008 still with the team last season. Filppula is also an unrestricted free agent and isn’t expected to be brought back.

SPORTSNET: The Montreal Canadiens signed forward Mathiew Perreault to a one-year, $950K contract.