NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 2, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 2, 2022

Kirill Kaprizov returns to the United States, Jesper Bratt and the Devils make their respective arbitration filings, the latest on the Flames and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo reports multiple sources said Kirill Kaprizov has returned to the United States from Russia. The 25-year-old Minnesota Wild winger was reportedly under investigation in his native country for allegedly purchasing a fake military ID but that has apparently been refuted.

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov (NHL Images).

Kaprizov is said to have departed Russia late last week by way of Turkey and arrived in New York City over the weekend. He is scheduled to fly to Minnesota on Tuesday to resume his offseason training.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild and their fans are undoubtedly relieved to see the Kaprizov intrigue come to an end. There were concerns this situation might drag on for weeks or months.

DAILY FACEOFF: The New Jersey Devils and Jesper Bratt have made their respective filings with the arbitrator ahead of his scheduled August 3 hearing. The Devils filed for a $4.15 million salary while Bratt seeks $6.5 million coming off a career-best 73-point performance last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bratt made an average annual value of $2.75 million for two seasons on his previous contract. Both sides could reach an agreement on a new contract before his hearing on Wednesday.

RDS.CA: Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving recently met with Jonathan Huberdeau in Montreal, according to the winger’s agent. The Flames acquired the 29-year-old Huberdeau from the Florida Panthers on July 22 as part of the return for Matthew Tkachuk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Treliving reportedly wanted to meet with Huberdeau as soon as possible following the trade. The playmaking winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

No word yet if Treliving has met with MacKenzie Weegar, who was also part of the return in the Tkachuk deal. Like Huberdeau, the 28-year-old defenseman is due to become a UFA next summer. Weegar and Huberdeau indicated they’re not ruling out signing long-term contracts with the Flames.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Flames, Andrew Mangiapane’s arbitration hearing is scheduled for Friday, August 5. Steve Macfarlane wonders if the two sides will reach an agreement on a new contract before then.

The 26-year-old winger is coming off a two-year contract with an annual average value of $2.425 million. He scored a career-best 35 goals and 55 points last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One way or another, Mangiapane’s going to get a significant raise. For how long has yet to be determined.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Former Stars executive Tom Holy is the San Jose Sharks’ new assistant general manager.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 1, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 1, 2022

Could the Avalanche consider Jonathan Toews as a potential replacement for Nazem Kadri? Are the Wild in the market for a forward? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

COULD TOEWS MAKE A GOOD REPLACEMENT FOR KADRI ON AVS SECOND LINE?

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater recently mused over whether the Colorado Avalanche might consider Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews as a potential replacement for Nazem Kadri.

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews (NHL Images).

Dater noted Toews’ comments last week about how he doesn’t consider the prospect of a lengthy rebuild with the Blackhawks to be very appealing. He also lamented the turnover of players on their roster over the past few years.

Toews’s contract would be a sticking point. He carries a $10.5 million cap hit for the coming season with a full no-movement clause. The Blackhawks would have to retain half of that cap hit, perhaps in a three-team deal.

The long-time Blackhawks captain is now 34 and his best seasons are behind him. However, Dater suggested that he could have a fine year playing on a good team, citing his faceoff skills, playoff experience and leadership.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dater said he’s heard nothing that would indicate this could or will happen. Still, it’s an interesting suggestion. It’s anticipated Toews and long-time teammate Patrick Kane could be moved before the 2023 trade deadline. Both would likely prefer moving to a playoff contender.

Toews could be interested if the defending Stanley Cup champions came calling. Whether they will, however, is another matter. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman last month said the Avs had looked into Kane’s availability leading up to last season’s trade deadline. He wondered if they might revisit their interest this season.

WILD SHOPPING FOR A FORWARD

THE ATHLETIC’s Michael Russo recently tweeted that Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin continues to explore the trade market for a forward. If that doesn’t work out, he could turn to free agency. He’s also open to keeping that spot open for internal competition in training camp but doesn’t want a young forward being the 12th or 13th forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild have $4.3 million in cap space with 20 players under contract for the coming season. Free-agent options that might fit within their limited room include Sonny Milano, Evan Rodrigues, Tyler Motte or Zach Aston-Reese.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 17, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 17, 2022

The reaction to the Penguins’ acquisitions of Jeff Petry and John Marino, what’s next for the Canadiens after trading Petry, David Pastrnak could get Johnny Gaudreau money, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes explained why he shipped Jeff Petry and Ryan Poehling to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday in exchange for Mike Matheson and a fourth-round pick in the 2023 draft.

Montreal Canadiens traded defenseman Jeff Petry to the Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL Images).

Hughes was acting on a trade request Petry made for family reasons during the season. He said the 34-year-old defenseman was appreciative that he was going to an American-based team that would be easier on his family, as well as one that’s going all in to try and win the Stanley Cup.

Matheson was a former client of Hughes’ from his days as a player agent. The Canadiens GM praised the Montreal native’s skating ability and character, adding that he’ll fit in well into head coach Martin St. Louis’ system.

The addition of Poehling in the deal was due to the Penguins’ belief that they’ll need a little more depth at center. With the Canadiens’ addition of Kirby Dach, Hughes felt they were solid enough at that position that they could afford to part with Poehling.

The move also freed up sufficient salary-cap space for the Canadiens to bring back Rem Pitlick on a two-year, $2.2 million contract. Hughes explained they had decided earlier this month not to qualify the 25-year-old center’s rights because their limited cap space would’ve made it difficult to meet what he might’ve received through arbitration.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those moves leave the Canadiens with over $1.2 million in salary cap space and 21 roster players under contract for 2022-23.

Shipping out Petry also leaves them short of a right-shot defenseman. Hughes indicated he’s open to adding that type of blueliner. He’s also still willing to make another cost-cutting trade.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Prior to acquiring Petry, the Penguins traded defenseman John Marino to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for blueliner Ty Smith and a third-round pick in 2023.

Dan Kingerski reports the move freed up the cap space the Penguins needed to add Petry, who is a bigger, more accomplished rearguard than Marino. He also cited Hextall expressing confidence in Poehling as a big-bodied forward who will have an opportunity to improve in Pittsburgh.

Hextall also thinks Smith has plenty of upside and the ability to regain the form from his promising rookie season after struggling through his sophomore campaign of 2021-22.

While the addition of Petry improves the Penguins’ right-side blueline depth, trading away Matheson to Montreal weakens them on the left side.

NHL.COM: Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald explained his addition of Marino by singling out his competitive nature and puck-handling abilities.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Hughes, Hextall might not be done making moves this summer. He could be in the market for an affordable left-side defenseman via free agency or the trade market as insurance in case Smith struggles to adjust with the Penguins.

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont believes Bruins winger David Pastrnak is in line to receive a contract similar to (or perhaps exceeding) Johnny Gaudreau’s $9.75 million average annual value with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Only five players have scored more goals than Pastrnak over the past six seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins GM Don Sweeney and the Pastrnak camp are currently in contract extension talks. Dupont believes he could get an eight-year, $80 million deal with the Bruins. If the two sides fail to reach an agreement, the 26-year-old winger will probably land a seven-year deal exceeding $10 million annually on the open market.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold admitted he’s feeling some nervousness over unconfirmed reports claiming winger Kirill Kaprizov is being detained in Russia while authorities investigate an alleged attempt to evade military service.

Leipold said Kaprizov is laying low and doing the right things, adding he just wants to be in his home country during the NHL offseason and visiting his family. The Wild owner doesn’t expect any problems with Kaprizov returning to his club in the coming season and remains hopeful there won’t be.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There have been no new developments regarding Kaprizov’s situation since it was reported over a week ago. Perhaps no news is good news in this case.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Panthers signed forward Chris Tierney to a one-year, two-way contract.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 13, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 13, 2022

Johnny Gaudreau heads to the free-agent market, Evgeni Malkin re-signs with the Penguins, Evander Kane stays with the Oilers, Patrice Bergeron to return with the Bruins, the Wild trade Cam Talbot to the Senators, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Johnny Gaudreau has played his final game with the Flames. He reportedly rejected an offer worth over $10 million annually on an eight-year deal. Flames general manager Brad Treliving indicated the 28-year-old winger’s decision was based on family reasons and not money.

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a disappointing outcome for the Flames. Gaudreau’s decision could also affect the club’s efforts to re-sign restricted winger Matthew Tkachuk to a long-term deal. Gaudreau is now the top player available in the unrestricted free-agent market when it opens at noon ET today. He’s been linked to the Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Evgeni Malkin has agreed to a four-year, $24.4 million contract with the Penguins. The annual average value is $6.1 million and comes with a full no-movement clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Malkin was reportedly planning to test the market due to his frustration over negotiations with the Penguins. It appears his desire to stick with the only NHL team he’s ever played for led to his change of heart. The cap hit is identical to teammate Kris Letang’s but for two years less than Letang’s contract.

Speaking of the Penguins, they signed pending restricted free agent defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph to a two-year, one-way contract worth an annual average value of $825K.

SPORTSNET: Evander Kane is staying with the Edmonton Oilers after agreeing to a four-year, $20.5 million contract. The annual average value is $5.125 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers agreed to let Kane’s agent speak to other clubs but it appears whatever those teams were offering didn’t measure up to this deal. The 30-year-old winger had terrific chemistry with Edmonton superstar Connor McDavid last season. It’s a good bargain for the Oilers if Kane and McDavid continue playing well together.

Meanwhile, Kane is still waiting for his grievance to be heard over his contract termination last January by the San Jose Sharks. There’s no indication he and the Sharks are going to work out a settlement before then.

RDS.CA: Francois Gagnon reports Patrice Bergeron will be returning with the Boston Bruins. Details of the agreement are expected to be revealed later today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was concern among Bruins followers that Bergeron would retire, leaving the club without an established first-line center. It’ll be interesting to see what this new contract looks like.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators have acquired goaltender Cam Talbot from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for backup goalie Filip Gustavsson. Talbot, 35, has a year remaining on his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Talbot was reportedly unhappy over the Wild bringing back Marc-Andre Fleury on a two-year contract. Wild general manager Bill Guerin said he respected the veteran netminder but didn’t want this situation to become a distraction.

In the short term, Talbot should provide a much-needed boost to the Senators’ goaltending. Gustavsson, meanwhile, will serve in a backup role to Fleury.

TSN: Speaking of the Senators, they placed defenseman Michael Del Zotto on unconditional waivers yesterday for the purpose of buying out his contract. Del Zotto joined Philadelphia Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom, San Jose Sharks forward Rudolfs Balcers and New Jersey Devils forward Janne Kuokkanen on the contract buyout list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lindblom’s buyout isn’t going down well with Flyers followers. The 25-year-old winger became a fan favorite after overcoming a rare bone cancer in 2020. The move is seen as GM Chuck Fletcher’s attempt to clear cap space to pursue a big-ticket free agent such as Johnny Gaudreau.

THE ATHLETIC: Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ondrej Palat intends to test the market today. Speaking of the Lightning, TSN reports they’ve hired former Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill as an assistant coach.

TSN: The Los Angeles Kings signed defenseman Alexander Edler to a one-year contract worth $750K.

WGR550: The Buffalo Sabres are bringing back goaltender Malcolm Subban on a one-year, $850K contract.

NHL.COM: The Kraken re-signed forward Alexander True on a one-year, two-way contract.

TSN: Scotty Bowman is stepping down as senior hockey operations advisor for the Chicago Blackhawks.

NHL.COM: Duncan Keith officially announced his retirement yesterday as an NHL player after 17 seasons with the Blackhawks and Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I summarize the future Hall-of-Famer’s career on Saturday when news first broke of his impending retirement. Best wishes to Keith and his family in their future endeavors.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 9, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 9, 2022

The goalie market is heating up with free agency approaching plus updates on J.T. Miller, Evgeni Malkin and Jeff Petry in today’s NHL rumor mill.

GOALIE MARKET HEATING UP

TSN: Chris Johnston reports Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas intends to meet with Jack Campbell in the hope of negotiating a new contract with the goaltender before free agency begins on July 13. Dubas also did due diligence on the Ottawa Senators’ Matt Murray and talked with other GMs on possible options if Campbell decides to test the UFA market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs aren’t the only club looking at Murray. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports the Edmonton Oilers and Arizona Coyotes are studying that option.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox reported the Leafs aren’t the only club searching for goaltenders. Multiple clubs will be bidding for Campbell and Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper. Meanwhile, Murray, Montreal’s Jake Allen and Anaheim’s John Gibson have surfaced in the trade market.

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Darren Dreger believes it’ll take a lot to pry Allen away from the Canadiens given the uncertainty over Carey Price’s future as he attempts to recover from last summer’s knee surgery. Gibson recently denied rumors he wanted out of Anaheim. With a $6.4 million cap hit and a 10-team no-trade list, he won’t be an easy acquisition.

TWINCITIES.COM: Dane Mizutani reports Minnesota Wild GM Bill Guerin sought to downplay reports claiming Cam Talbot was upset over the Wild’s signing Marc-Andre Fleury to a two-year contract.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox reports Talbot’s agent met with Guerin on Friday, telling The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun that the Wild GM had a lot to think about. Asked about those remarks, Guerin bluntly said the agent could say “whatever the hell he wants.” He went on to point out Talbot’s under contract for 2022-23, he really likes him and the team is set now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Michael Russo cited a source close to Talbot saying he doesn’t want out of Minnesota but he was hurt by not seeing much playing time in the 2022 postseason. He also indicated Talbot seeks a raise on a contract extension.

Guerin stated he has no intention of trading Talbot. However, that won’t keep his name out of the rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Speaking of Pierre LeBrun, he believes Kuemper could be a fit with the Washington Capitals. That could leave the Leafs and Edmonton Oilers battling over Campbell in the free-agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Signing Kuemper will be expensive. Washington Hockey Now’s Sammi Silber cited TSN’s Darren Dreger reporting the netminder’s seeking a deal similar to Seattle’s Philipp Grubauer ($5.9 million AAV for six seasons).

The Leafs are in a tighter spot cap-wise than the Oilers, who freed up plenty of cap room after trading Zack Kassian to Arizona on Thursday followed by Duncan Keith announcing his retirement. If Kuemper signs with Washington, the Oilers could pursue Campbell if he goes to market on Wednesday, leaving the Leafs scrambling to find at least a suitable starting goalie via the trade market.

LATEST ON MILLER, MALKIN AND PETRY

TSN: Darren Dreger reports there remains tremendous interest in J.T. Miller but that failed to materialize into a deal that suited the Vancouver Canucks. Their intent now is to wait and see if teams that fail to address their need for a top-six two-way forward in the upcoming free-agent market will circle back to Miller. If not, the Canucks are happy to have him back for the final season of his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The New York Rangers could be one of those clubs. They’re believed in the market for a second-line center with Ryan Strome and Andrew Copp heading to market on Wednesday.

Chris Johnston reported Evgeni Malkin might be staying with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He believes it comes down to contract term, suggesting a four-year deal worth $7 million annually might get it done.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins GM Ron Hextall remains hopeful of getting Malkin signed, saying they’ll continue chipping away at it.

Darren Dreger reports there’s still some interest in the trade market in Jeff Petry. However, there wasn’t enough for the Montreal Canadiens to trade the 34-year-old defenseman during the draft week.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites an NHL executive suggesting a Petry trade could take place within the next two weeks. He pointed out that the blueliner has been linked to the Dalla Stars. Murphy also said sources confirm that the Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings and Carolina Hurricanes had some interest in Petry.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Canadiens hope to shed Petry’s $6.25 million annual average value their best opportunity is between now and the start of free agency on July 13. After that, most teams will have used up much of their cap space, leaving fewer potential trade partners.










Notable NHL Trades and Free Agent Signings – July 7, 2022

Notable NHL Trades and Free Agent Signings – July 7, 2022

Check out my take on the notable trades and free-agent signings leading up to and including the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft. This list will be updated as new trades and signings occur.

Edmonton Oilers trade winger Zack Kassian, the 29th overall pick in this year’s draft, a second-round pick in 2025 and a third-round pick in 2024 to the Arizona Coyotes for the 32nd overall pick in this year’s draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers need to shed salary to acquire a starting goaltender and have enough space to re-sign or replace winger Evander Kane. It cost them two draft picks and dropped them down three places in the remainder of the first round but it sheds Kassian’s $3.2 million annual salary-cap hit through 2023-24.

The Toronto Maple Leafs traded goaltender Petr Mrazek and their first-round pick (25th overall) in this year’s draft to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for the 38th overall pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Such is the price necessary for the Leafs to ship out Mrazek and free up his $3.8 million annual average value through 2023-24. They’ll put those savings toward finding a suitable replacement for starting goalie Jack Campbell if they fail to re-sign him before the free-agent market opens next week.

As for the Blackhawks, GM Kyle Davidson is once again making moves to garner more first-round picks for his rebuilding club. He started the day without a pick in this round. He finished the night with three. He also takes on a goaltender in Mrazek but will need to find another if he doesn’t re-sign Kevin Lankinen or Colin Delia.

Montreal Canadiens trade defenseman Alexander Romanov and a fourth-round pick in 2022 to the New York Islanders in exchange for the 13th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.

The Canadiens flip that pick and a third-rounder in this year’s draft to the Chicago Blackhawks for center Kirby Dach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to reports, the Canadiens wanted more size up front. After selecting big Slovakian winger Juraj Slafkovsky with the first-overall pick, they acquired the 6’4”, 197-pound Dach, who was chosen third overall in 2019 by the Blackhawks.

To get Dach, however, the Canadiens needed another first-round pick, which is why they sent Romanov to the Islanders. This move leaves a gap on their blueline that they’ll have to fill at some point in the offseason. It could come from within by promoting one of their promising young defenseman like Kaiden Guhle or Justin Barron or from another trade or a free-agent signing if they’re looking for experience.

The Canadiens have added more size to their forward lines but they need to address that gap left by Romanov’s absence. The 22-year-old Russian moves the puck well and doesn’t shy away from making big hits. However, he’s had difficulties adjusting to the NHL game. The Isles gave up quite a bit to get him but it could be worth it if he plays up to his potential with his new club.

Dach showed flashes of promise during his three seasons in Chicago but was plagued by injuries and inconsistency. Still, he had time on his side to find his game. Perhaps a change of scenery will benefit him.

For the Blackhawks, it’s their second significant trade today, having shipped Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators this afternoon. These moves gave the rebuilding club two picks within the top 15 in this year’s draft, which they used to select defenseman Kevin Korchinski (sixth overall) and center Frank Nazar (13th overall). However, it came at the cost of shipping out their best goal scorer in DeBrincat and a promising center in Dach from their lineup.

Bold moves by the Canadiens and Blackhawks today. Time will tell if they pan out.

Minnesota Wild signed goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to a two-year contract with an annual average value of $3.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s quite a pay cut for the 37-year-old Fleury from the $7 million annual average value of his previous contract. At this stage of his career, however, that should be expected. Earlier reports had the Wild trying to sign him to a one-year deal so he managed to squeeze an extra year out of the. With Cam Talbot under contract for $3.6 million next season, the Wild return with their tandem from the 2022 postseason.

The Chicago Blackhawks trade winger Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for the seventh and 39th overall picks in the 2022 NHL draft plus the Senators’ third-round pick in 2024.

Chicago Blackhawks trade winger Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators wanted a top-six winger to skate alongside Tim Stuetzle on the second line. DeBrincat should provide a big boost to their offense, coming off his second 41-goal season within the past five years.

The question now is whether the Senators can sign the 24-year-old DeBrincat to a contract extension. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer with a $6.4 million cap hit but will earn $9 million in actual salary. That’s also how much it’ll cost the Senators to qualify his rights because he signed his current contract in 2019 before the changes to the rate for qualifying offers. He’ll also be a year away from UFA eligibility next summer.

The Blackhawks wanted to get a top-10 pick after former general manager Stan Bowman traded away their pick last summer to Columbus in the Seth Jones trades. Some observers expected they’d get a bigger return than a first and a second in this year’s draft and a third in two years’ time. Nevertheless, if current GM Kyle Davidson can secure at least one future star out of those picks it could prove worthwhile for the rebuilding Hawks over the long term.

Pittsburgh Penguins sign Kris Letang to a six-year, $36.6-million contract extension. The 35-year-old defenseman was slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the one hand, this isn’t the five-year deal between $8 million and $9 million annually that some sources had speculated. On the other, the Pens are paying an average of $6.1 million per season for a blueliner approaching his late-30s.

It’s a gamble by general manager Ron Hextall. Letang is coming off a career-best 68-point performance and should have around three more good seasons left. It’s those final three years that could make this contract burdensome down the road.

Hextall’s focus will shift toward Evgeni Malkin, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13. Recent speculation had the two sides discussing a three-year contract but they’re apparently far apart on the dollars.

New York Rangers trade goaltender Alexandar Georgiev to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for a third and a fifth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft plus a third-rounder in 2023.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This means Darcy Kuemper will be departing the Avalanche as a free agent on July 13. Georgiev struggled at times during his tenure with the Rangers. However, he did play well filling in for starter Igor Shesterkin this season when he missed 11 games with a lower-body injury and a bout with COVID-19. Maybe he’ll have better luck in Colorado establishing himself as a starter than he did in New York.