NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 7, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 7, 2021

The latest on the Canadiens and Lightning, top prospect Owen Power still leaning toward returning to university, the Kraken announces the hiring of two assistant coaches, the latest contract signings and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Expect the Canadiens to ice the same lineup in Game 5 as they did in their previous contest. That means Jake Evans will replace Jesperi Kotkaniemi again on the third line while Alexander Romanov and Brett Kulak will replace Erik Gustafsson and Jon Merrill on the third defense pairing.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Alexander Romanov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That shouldn’t come as a surprise considering those changes contributed to their 3-2 victory in Game 4. Romanov scored an even-strength goal with an assist from Evans.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh is enjoying perhaps the best postseason performance of his career. He’s set up several big goals, leads all postseason skaters with a plus-minus of plus-14, and is one of his club’s top shot blockers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDonagh’s been overshadowed by teammates such as Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Points, Andrei Vasilevskiy and Victor Hedman. Nevertheless, he’s a big reason why the Lightning holds a 3-1 lead in this series over the Canadiens.

ESPN.COM: A league source told Greg Wyshynski there is “zero chance” Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final will be postponed despite Tropical Storm Elsa bearing down on Tampa Bay. That assessment was made based on the forecast, though NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly indicated they have “an amount of flexibility.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, unless the storm’s impact proves far worse than anticipated, it’s game on tonight in Tampa Bay.

WGR 550: University of Michigan defenseman Owen Power is still leaning toward returning to university for one more season before making the jump to the NHL. Power is ranked as this year’s top prospect. He is expected to be selected by the Buffalo Sabres, who hold the first-overall pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some teams might prefer a prospect who could be ready to jump to the NHL right away. However, it’s unlikely Power will drop in this year’s draft order. Many highly-touted prospects need another year or two of seasoning before they’re ready for the big time.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Kraken yesterday announced the hirings of Kelly McFarland and Jay Leach as assistant coaches. McFarland will oversee the power-play unit and forwards while Leach will be in charge of the defensemen.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils signed goaltender Scott Wedgewood to a one-year, two-way deal worth $825K at the NHL level.

NHL.COM: The Los Angeles Kings signed defenseman Christian Wolanin to a one-year, two-way contract worth $750K at the NHL level.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets yesterday signed center Dominic Toninato to a two-year contract worth $750K at the NHL level. It’s a two-way deal in the first season.

CBS SPORTS: Former Boston Bruins defenseman Steven Kampfer signed a one-year contract with KHL team AK Bars Kazan.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes have hired Alan Hepple as their new director of pro scouting. He’s the former director of amateur scouting with the Colorado Avalanche.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 30, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 30, 2021

Patrick Marleau reaches a significant milestone, the Panthers suffer a serious blow with Aaron Ekblad sidelined, the Senators and Kings make a minor deal, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Erik Karlsson scored twice in regulation and the winning goal in a shootout as the San Jose Sharks nipped the Minnesota 4-3. Kevin Fiala and Marcus Johansson each had two points for the Wild (44 points), who sit in third place in the West. Sharks winger Patrick Marleau played his 1,757th NHL game to move past Mark Messier into second place on the all-time games list. Marleau is just 10 games behind leader Gordie Howe with 22 games to play.

San Jose Sharks winger Patrick Marleau (NHL.com).

The Vegas Golden Knights maintained their grip on first place in the Honda West Division with a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Robin Lehner made 24 saves for the win and Jonathan Marchessault collected two assists as Vegas (49 points) have won eight of their last 10 games. They hold a one-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche.

Speaking of the Avalanche, Cale Makar had three assists as they downed the Anaheim Ducks 5-2. Colorado winger Mikko Rantanen tallied his 20th goal of the season. The Avalanche are 9-0-2 in their last 11 contests.

The Philadelphia Flyers overcame a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 on an overtime goal by Ivan Provorov. Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux and Provorov each had a goal and an assist for the Flyers (38 points), who move within one point of the fourth-place Boston Bruins in the MassMutual East Division. Buffalo’s winless skid is now at 18 games. Sabres forward Dylan Cozens left the game with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of those 18 defeats, this one is the cruelest for the Sabres, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

A 19-save performance by Casey DeSmith in relief of Tristan Jarry enabled the Pittsburgh Penguins to hold off the New York Islanders 2-1. DeSmith replaced Jarry after the latter left the game in the first period with an undisclosed injury. Jared McCann scored what proved to be the winning goal for Pittsburgh (48 points), who moved into a tie with the New York Islanders. The Isles, however, holds second place in the East Division on the basis of regulation wins. Penguins winger Jason Zucker returned to the lineup after missing 18 games with a lower-body injury.

An overtime goal by Darnell Nurse gave the Edmonton Oilers a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Oilers captain Connor McDavid set up Nurse to extend his points streak to 11 games. Toronto center Auston Matthews tallied his league-leading 23rd goal while Mitch Marner had a goal and an assist. With 47 points, the Leafs remain atop the Scotia North Division while the Oilers sit two back in third place.

Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers each collected three points as the Winnipeg Jets snuffed out the Calgary Flames 5-1. Scheifele scored twice and Ehlers had three assists. The Jets sit one point behind the Leafs and one ahead of the Oilers in the North Division. The Flames (35 points) remain two points back of the fourth-place Montreal Canadiens

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dropping five of their last six games, the Flames have missed a golden opportunity to overtake the idle Canadiens. They sit only two points behind the Habs but the latter have six games in hand after having four games postponed last week by COVID-19 protocols.

HEADLINES

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad will be sidelined for 12 weeks following surgery to repair a fractured lower left leg.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Losing their top defenseman is crushing news for the Panthers, who are jockeying with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes for first place in the Discover Central Division. It could force general manager Bill Zito into the trade market for help.

CBS BOSTON: Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask could be sidelined most of this week with an upper-body injury.

TSN.CA: Montreal Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi came off the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. Teammate Joel Armia remains on the list while new Hab Eric Staal is on the list as part of a seven-day quarantine before joining the club later this week.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators traded defenseman Christian Wolanin to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for minor-league forward Mike Amadio. Wolanin cleared waivers last week and was demoted to the Senators AHL affiliate in Belleville.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sun reporter Bruce Garrioch explains the reason the Kings didn’t claim Wolanin off waivers was that they wanted the ability to get a contract off their books. They were interested in Wolanin but wanted to be sure the Senators would take Amadio’s contract.

NHL.COM: Former NHL forward Bobby Schmautz passed away at his home in Arizona on Sunday at age 76. He spent 13 seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks, Vancouver Canucks, Boston Bruins, Edmonton Oilers and Colorado Rockies. He tallied 20-or-more goals nine times, including two 30-plus goal campaigns. Schmautz spent over six seasons with the Bruins. In 764 games, he scored 271 goals and 557 points, along with 61 points in 84 postseason contests.

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










NHL Rumor Mill – March 26, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – March 26, 2021

The latest on Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri plus updates on the Canadiens, Oilers, Flyers and Senators in today’s NHL rumor mill.

HALL AND PALMIERI

SPORTSNET: Buffalo Sabres winger Taylor Hall said he would “for sure” listen if general manager Kevyn Adams approached him about trade options. His comments came following the Sabres 4-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins last night.

Buffalo Sabres winger Taylor Hall (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier this month, Hall indicated he’d also be open to re-signing with the Sabres. Perhaps the strain of 16 consecutive losses has changed his mind. The 29-year-old winger has a full no-movement clause and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. There’s speculation the New York Islanders could be interested in his services.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the New Jersey Devils and Kyle Palmieri aren’t close to a new contract. He’s told the two sides are struggling to find common ground due to the flattened salary cap and uncertainty over what contracts could look like moving forward. LeBrun considers it more likely Palmieri gets moved by the April 12 trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Palmieri is completing a five-year deal with an annual average value of $4.65 million. A five-time 20-plus goal scorer who can skate on either wing, the 30-year-old winger would be a very enticing rental player for playoff contenders seeking scoring punch.

WILL THE CANADIENS BE BUYERS AT THE DEADLINE?

TSN: Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin told reporters yesterday he doesn’t expect to be busy leading up to the trade deadline due to salary-cap constraints.

TVA SPORTS: Maxim Lapierre believes Bergevin could make a move despite his comments to reporters. Lapierre believed the Habs GM is on the hot seat and maintaining the status quo isn’t an option. He feels the club needs a fourth-line center or a veteran third-line forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’d argue landing a reliable top-four, left-side defenseman is the greater need for the Canadiens. Regardless, a number of pundits aren’t buying the notion that Bergevin won’t do something before the deadline.

Bergevin could strike if the opportunity presents itself. Cap Friendly indicates the Canadiens have over $3.5 million in projected trade deadline cap space. They also carry plenty of tradeable assets in draft picks (11 between rounds two and five) and promising prospects.

LATEST ON THE OILERS, FLYERS AND SENATORS

TSN: Frank Seravalli believes the Edmonton Oilers are looking for a right-shot center who can win faceoffs and help them kill penalties. He proposed Detroit’s Luke Glendening, Vancouver’s Brandon Sutter and Calgary’s Derek Ryan as three options, though the latter two carry higher salary-cap hits than Glendening. Seravalli points out the Oilers traded away their second, third, and fifth-round picks in this year’s draft “so they’d like to do all that with a fourth-round pick if they can.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers GM Ken Holland undoubtedly wants to bolster his lineup before the trade deadline. That will be difficult given their limited cap space and shortage of picks in this year’s draft.

Holland will have to get creative, including perhaps moving out a roster player or dipping into his 2022 draft picks. I also don’t see the Canucks or Flames dealing with the Oilers as long as they remain in playoff contention.

PHILADELPHIA HOCKEY NOW: Ryan Gilbert reports Flyers assistant GM Brent Flahr was among a number of scouts at the Arizona Coyotes game against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday. He speculates Flahr could’ve been checking Coyotes defenseman Alex Goligoski or Jason Demers. The Flyers kicked tires on Coyotes captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson during the offseason but he has a no-movement clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers won’t be buyers if they continue to struggle in the MassMutual East Division. The New York Rangers have overtaken them for fifth place.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators have placed Christian Wolanin on waivers for the purpose of sending him to their AHL affiliate in Belleville or moving him to their taxi squad. He said they’ve been trying to trade the 26-year-old defenseman for the last little while but couldn’t find anyone willing to give up any assets.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 22, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 22, 2019

The Jets suspend Dustin Byfuglien, Martin St. Louis leaves the Blue Jackets, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: The Winnipeg Jets suspended defenseman Dustin Byfuglien for failing to report to training camp. The move was made to protect their roster and provide salary-cap flexibility. If Byfuglien doesn’t report by the opening day of the regular season next month, his salary-cap hit won’t count against their payroll for as long as he’s not on the roster.

The Winnipeg Jets suspend defenseman Dustin Byfuglien for failing to report to training camp (Photo via NHL Images).

Byfuglien is on a leave of absence and is believed to be mulling his future. Bob McKenzie reports this isn’t as ominous as it sounds as the Jets still want the blueliner back back. He said the decision can be reversed at any time and doubts this comes as a surprise to Byfuglien.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I daresay Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff informed Byfuglien of this decision and the reasons behind it before it was officially announced. It’s a business decision and not intended to punish him.

THE ATHLETIC: Martin St. Louis won’t be returning to the Columbus Blue Jackets this season. The Hall-of-Famer spent half of last season with the club in an advisory role. He cited family reasons behind the decision.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Winger Kevin Fiala finally joined the Minnesota Wild after missing the first nine days of training camp while waiting for a work visa.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning demoted goaltenders Louis Domingue and Mike Condon to their AHL affiliate in Syracuse.

SPORTSNET: The Vegas Golden Knights placed goaltenders Garret Sparks and Oscar Dansk on waivers.

 

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 13, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 13, 2019

Shea Theodore reveals cancer diagnosis, Logan Couture named Sharks captain, the latest contract signings, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

REVIEWJOURNAL.COM: Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore revealed he was diagnosed with testicular cancer over three months ago. General manager Kelly McCrimmon said Theodore has fully recovered following treatment and will participate in training camp on the first day of practice today.

Speaking of the Golden Knights, winger Ryan Reaves is listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Theodore in his ongoing recovery. Check out this link for information on diagnosing and treating testicular cancer. 

Logan Couture is the new captain of the San Jose Sharks (Photo via NHL Images).

  NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks named center Logan Couture as their new captain. He replaced Joe Pavelski, who signed with the Dallas Stars this summer. Brent Burns, Joe Thornton, Erik Karlsson and Tomas Hertl were named alternate captains.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets yesterday announced defenseman Josh Morrissey signed an eight-year, $50-million contract extension. The annual average value is $6.25 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the deal comes with a full no-movement clause from 2022-23 to 2024-25 and a modified no-trade for the remaining years. He’ll also earn $8 million annually in real salary in three of the first four years of the deal.

A terrific signing by the Jets. Morrissey, 24, has developed into a solid top-pairing defenseman. As Dustin Byfuglien ages, Morrissey will take over as the linchpin of Winnipeg’s blueline. Given his youth and ongoing development, this contract will be considered a steal for the Jets in a few years. 

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers have reportedly reached an agreement with defenseman Ivan Provorov on a six-year contract. The annual average value is said to be $6.75 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The deal is expected to be officially announced today. It’s less than the $8 million per season his side was reportedly seeking. I don’t doubt the three-year, $15-million contract inked by Columbus Blue Jackets rearguard Zach Werenski affected these negotiations.

It’s still a solid deal for Provorov, though he might’ve been better served inking a bridge contract similar to Werenski’s. Should Provorov continue to improve, he’ll be locked into a deal that could potentially pay him less than his true value over the next six years. The Blue Jackets’ blueliner, meanwhile, can pursue a more lucrative deal in three years time. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed defenseman Marcus Pettersson to a one-year contract worth just over $874K.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins would’ve preferred paying Pettersson more on a long-term deal but their limited salary-cap space handcuffed them. They’ll reward him next season for agreeing to this affordable contract. The signing pushes the Penguins above the $81.5-million cap ceiling by just over $1 million but they could get cap compliant by demoting one or two of their nine defensemen. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: A degenerative back disc has brought Oilers center Kyle Brodziak’s playing career has come to an end after 15 seasons. With one year remaining on his contract at an annual average value of $1.15 million, he’ll be placed on long-term injury reserve by the Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Brodziak in his future endeavors. He finishes his career with 129 goals and 296 points in 917 career games. Not bad for a gritty checking-line forward who was a seventh-round pick by the Oilers in 2003. 

OTTAWA SUN: Senators defenseman Christian Wolanin suffered a torn labrum earlier this week. He will undergo surgery and is expected to be sidelined for four months.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings won’t name a captain this season. Jusitn Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin, Frans Nielsen and Luke Glendening will be the four alternates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is just postponing the inevitable. Give Larkin the “C” already!

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 5, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 5, 2019

The Leafs re-sign Cody Ceci and Alex Kerfoot, the Canadiens ink Ben Chiarot, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs yesterday re-signed restricted free agents Cody Ceci and Alex Kerfoot. Ceci inked a one-year, $4.5-million contract while Kerfoot agreed to a four-year, $14-million deal. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs re-signed defenseman Cody Ceci to a one-year contract (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good cost-effective moves by the Leafs, who acquired Ceci and Kerfoot via trades on Monday. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $3.76 million in salary-cap space, with Mitch Marner still to be re-signed.

The Leafs are allowed to exceed the $81.5-million salary cap by 10 percent during the off-season. If necessary, they can place permanently sidelined Nathan Horton ($5.3 million) on long-term injury reserve. They can do the same with sidelined players Zach Hyman and Travis Dermott until they’re ready to return to the lineup later in the fall. The Leafs could also bury a couple of contracts in the minors for the start of the season.

Bear in mind the Leafs must be cap compliant when Hyman and Dermott return to the roster. It could also complicate efforts to call up players during the season. They could be forced to make another cost-cutting deal before the end of the year.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens yesterday signed unrestricted free agent Ben Chiarot to a three-year, $10.5-million contract. The annual average value is $3.5 million. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A solid addition to the Canadiens blueline. Chiarot is a big-bodied defenseman who was among the Winnipeg Jets’ leaders in hits and blocked shots last season while averaging over 18 minutes of ice time per game. He’ll bolster their depth on the left side. With over $8.4 million in cap space, the Habs have room to add a forward or another defenseman. 

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators signed defenseman Christian Wolanin to a two-year, $1.8-million contract extension. 

SPORTSNET: The Carolina Hurricanes inked forward Brian Gibbons to a one-year, two-way contract worth $725K at the NHL level 

NHL.COM: The Vancouver Canucks signed right wing Justin Bailey to a one-year, two-way deal 

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks also shuffled their amateur scouting department.