Latest on Bobby Ryan, Erik Karlsson, Zach Parise and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
OTTAWA SUN: Senators winger Bobby Ryan considers himself and his family lucky after a tornado touched down within a quarter-mile of his home. A number of nearby houses and businesses were severely damaged.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators Foundation launched a GoFundMe page to raise funds to assist those affected by the tornado. The organization will match the first $25,000.00 in donations. You can find more information at this link.
CSN BAY AREA: Erik Karlsson unveiled the San Jose Sharks third jersey as he took to the ice for the first time in front of fans at SAP Center.
Minnesota Wild winger Zach Parise looks forward to a healthy season. (Photo via NHL Images)
STARTRIBUNE.COM: A year after undergoing surgery to repair a herniated disc, Minnesota Wild winger Zach Parise is healthy and appears back up to speed.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A full campaign with a healthy Parise will provide a big boost for the Wild’s playoff hopes. He was very strong down the stretch last season before being sidelined with a fractured sternum midway through the opening round of the 2018 playoffs.
NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils re-signed forward Miles Wood to a four-year, $11-million contract. The annual average value is $2.75 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wood missed the first 10 days of training camp during his contract standoff with the Devils. He gets a decent raise over his entry-level salary ($925K) for twice the length of a two-year bridge deal. With 19 goals in 76 games last season, the speedy Wood has 20-goal potential. If he can reach that potential this will be a bargain for the Devils.
AZCENTRAL.COM: If Alex Galchenyuk is forced to miss a significant amount of time with a lower-body injury to start this season, the Arizona Coyotes could be forced to employ Clayton Keller as a full-time center. While Keller’s played that position in college and amateur hockey, he’s been employed mainly as a winger with the Coyotes.
NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning claimed forward Danick Martel off waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers.
Recent updates on the status of the four remaining unsigned RFAs in your NHL rumor mill.
SPORTSNET/THE HOCKEY NEWS: Luke Fox and Jared Clinton recently updated the status of Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander, Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore, Anaheim Ducks winger Nick Ritchie and New Jersey Devils forward Miles Wood. The four are the final remaining unsigned restricted free agents.
No sign of an end to the contract standoff between William Nylander and the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo via NHL Images)
Nylander is the biggest name on the list. Fox notes the young Swede’s initial ask was $8 million per season while Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas would apparently settle for something comparable to the $6 million annual average value of Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers.
Nylander remains in Sweden while Dubas remains patient. Fox believes the longer this goes the greater likelihood they’ll agree to a bridge deal. With Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner due for next contracts next summer, Larkin notes the Leafs must tread carefully, as Nylander’s new contract could set the parameters for negotiations with the other two.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The longer this standoff continues the more speculation could arise suggesting the Leafs consider trading Nylander. Dubas has said he doesn’t intend to go that route.
Given Nylander has no leverage other than to not report, the Leafs GM can afford to be patient, especially if the team isn’t significantly hurt by his absence. If this standoff drags into the regular season, however, it will raise questions over Nylander’s long-term future with the Leafs, especially if he ends up settling for a bridge contract.
The recent re-signings of Winnipeg’s Josh Morrissey and Edmonton’s Darnell Nurse have have not affected Theodore’s negotiations with the Golden Knights. Fox cites John Shannon’s Sept. 17 tweet indicating the two sides remains no closer to an agreement. Clinton suggests St. Louis Blues’ defenseman Colton Parayko’s contract ($5.5-million AAV for five years) could be along the lines of what the Theodore camp is seeking.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Golden Knights have over $9.4 million in projected salary-cap space, giving them more than enough room to re-sign Theodore to a Parayko-style deal. However, I think they’d prefer something comparable to Morrissey or Nurse because of his limited body of work.
Theodore still has considerable potential but only had parts of two NHL seasons on his resume before joining the Golden Knights. GM George McPhee might prefer evaluating his development over the next two years before committing to a more lucrative deal.
Fox also cites reports indicating a lack of progress in talks between the Ducks and Ritchie. He feels a short-term contract is Ritchie’s best bet, while Clinton believes the Ducks want to see more than they have out of the winger before investing long term.
Fox and Clinton both noted reports indicating talks toward a short-term deal between the Devils and Wood broke down following the start of training camp. So far, there’s no indication they’ve picked up.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ritchie and Wood have potential to become better NHL players. However, they aren’t as valuable to their respective teams as Nylander and Theodore are to theirs, which is the only real leverage the latter two have.
Updates on the unsigned restricted free agents in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz updates us on the seven restricted free agents still without contracts with NHL training camps now underway.
Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander tops the list of unsigned restricted free agents. (Photo via NHL Images)
William Nylander, Toronto Maple Leafs. Gretz said there are reports the two sides are far apart in negotiation as Nylander doesn’t want to sign a bridge deal. The Leafs have already invested big money in John Tavares and must re-sign Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner next summer. While some suggest the Leafs should trade one of their young players, Gretz believes they can make this work.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Toronto Star’s Kevin McGran reports it’s believed Nylander seeks $8 million per season while the Leafs are offering $6.5 million annually. General manager Kyle Dubas wants to get the young forward signed as soon as possible but said he doesn’t want his club setting any marketplace records. In other words, the Nylander camp won’t be getting $8 million per season.
The Leafs are intent on holding the line here. The longer this holdout goes, the more pressure shifts onto Nylander, who has no leverage other than to withhold his services.
Shea Theodore, Vegas Golden Knights. He was among their top defensemen last season for the Golden Knights, whose blueline will be shorthanded by Nate Schmidt’s suspension for the opening 20 games of the regular season. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports the two sides are far apart.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word on how much Theodore seeks or what the Golden Knights are offering. Cap Friendly indicates his annual cap hit was just over $863K per season on an entry-level deal. While the Knights have the cap space to re-sign Theodore, they obviously want to keep it manageable while they have the leverage.
Darnell Nurse, Edmonton Oilers. The indefinite absence of veteran defenseman Andrej Sekera adds a measure of urgency for the Oilers to get Nurse under contract. However, his agent said there’s a disagreement with management over Nurse’s value.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nurse was reportedly willing to accept a bridge contract. If so, the sticking point here is likely dollars.The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson presumes the Nurse camp could look at Calgary’s Noah Hanifin’s contract (six years, $4.9 million annually) as a comparable.
Cap Friendly indicates the Oilers have around $3.9 million in cap space. That doesn’t leave much room to re-sign Nurse and perhaps add another blueliner to offset Sekera’s absence. The Oilers can only seek cap relief by placing Sekera on long-term injured reserve at the start of the season if they’re sitting over the cap ceiling when the season begins.
Sam Reinhart, Buffalo Sabres. Gretz feels there’s a bit of a mystery over Reinhart’s potential. While there’s still the possibility he can break out, his three seasons of 20-25 goals and 45-50 points could be what to expect of him going forward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reinhart and the Sabres have kept negotiations under wraps as much as possible. It’s assumed the Sabres could be pushing for a two-year deal. Considering Reinhart’s production and questions over whether he’s capable of greater production, that might be the best way to go right now.
Josh Morrissey, Winnipeg Jets. Gretz believes the Jets want to avoid the contentious Jacob Trouba contract negotiation storyline repeating itself with Morrissey.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Winnipeg Sun’s Ken Wiebe recently speculated over what type of contract Morrissey could receive and its effect upon the Jets’ limited salary-cap space. He notes a bridge deal worth between $3.-$3.5 million annually will push the Jets closer to the $79.5-million salary-cap ceiling. A longer-term pact could cost between $4.75 million – $5.5 million, which would be more difficult (though not impossible) for the Jets to handle.
Nick Ritchie, Anaheim Ducks. Given Ritchie’s performance to date, Gretz considers him the one player in this group destined to get a short-term “prove-it” contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: So far, there’s no indication the two sides are close to reaching an agreement.
Miles Wood, New Jersey Devils. Gretz cites Devils GM Ray Shero saying at the start of training camp that the two sides are getting closer to an agreement but “philosophical issues’ remained.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wood’s agent recently said his client is keen to join his teammates at training camp. However, dialogue between the two sides remains quiet. It’s believed the two sides are working toward a bridge deal.
Game recaps, injury updates, Miles Wood receives two-game suspension. Details and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Michal Neuvirth was sidelined during his club’s 7-4 win over the New York Rangers (Photo via NHL Images)
NHL.COM: Claude Giroux had a three-point game, including his 200th career goal, as the Philadelphia Flyers downed the New York Rangers 7-4. Flyers backup Alex Lyon took over for a sidelined Michal Neuvirth at the start of the second period when Neuvirth left the game with a lower-body injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word yet on the severity of Neuvirth’s injury. With starter Brian Elliott out for several weeks following core muscle surgery, losing Neuvirth for a significant period could jeopardize the Flyers’ hopes of clinching a playoff berth. I’ll have more in the Rumors section.
A hat trick by Connor McDavid powered the Edmonton Oilers to a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche, spoiling the return of Avs center Nathan MacKinnon after missing eight games to injury.
The Pittsburgh Penguins moved into first place in the Metropolitan Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 5-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Jake Guentzel scored and added two assists while Riley Sheahan tallied two goals for the Pens.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Two months ago, the Blue Jackets sat third in the division and fourth overall in the Conference while the Pens were at the bottom of the division and 11th in the conference. Since then, the clubs have pretty much flipped their positions. The Jackets are currently second-last in the Metropolitan and 10th in the Conference.
A four-goal first period by the San Jose Sharks set the stage for their 5-2 win over the Dallas Stars. It was a costly victory, however, as their leading scorer Brent Burns left the game with an undisclosed ailment. No word as to how long he’ll be sidelined but his teammates are optimistic he won’t be out for long.
Kyle Connor scored twice, Mathieu Perreault had a goal and two assists and Blake Wheeler had three assists as the Winnipeg Jets thumped the Florida Panthers 7-2.
Taylor Hall scored in overtime as the New Jersey Devils edged the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2. The Devils played without forward Miles Wood, who received a two-game suspension for boarding Tampa Bay Lightning forward Vladislav Namestnikov.
A late third-period goal by Auston Matthews lifted the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 3-2 victory against the Detroit Red Wings.
The NHL issued a statement yesterday condemning the racial taunts and abuse by several Chicago Blackhawks fans against Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly during Saturday’s game between the two clubs.
Smith-Pelly told the Washington Post, “We’re at a time now where we can’t brush it under the rug. You’ve got to start calling people out and making sure people see other people’s true colors. That’s why I’m trying to get the conversation started and show, whoever these people were, their true colors.”
NEWSDAY: New York Islanders goaltender Thomas Greiss is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
Game recaps plus the latest on Nathan MacKinnon, Cam Talbot, Devante Smith-Pelly and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
Washington Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly was the target of racial taunts by several Chicago Blackhawks fans (Photo via NHL Images)
NHL.COM: The Chicago Blackhawks snapping an eight-game losing skid by crushing the Washington Capitals 7-1 was overshadowed by several Blackhawks fans racially taunting Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly while he was in the penalty box serving a five-minute fighting major. The four fans were identified and ejected from the game. The Blackhawks subsequently issued an apology to Smith-Pelly and the Capitals.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals coach Barry Trotz summed it up perfectly following the game: “There is absolutely no place in the game of hockey, or our country, for racism. I think it’s disgusting,” Trotz told reporters. “There’s no place for it. Athletes in this country don’t deserve that. It just shows ignorance.”
Arizona Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta made 40 saves to pick up his first shutout of the season in a 1-0 blanking of the Edmonton Oilers. Following the game, Oilers goalie Cam Talbot voiced his displeasure over the league’s goaltender interference rules after two calls went against his club. “There’s no consistency and I’m fucking sick of it,” said Talbot. “It’s fucking ridiculous. You can quote me, they can fine me, I don’t give a fuck anymore.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what the NHL’s reaction will be toward Talbot, whose frustration is likely shared by many of his peers around the league.
The Vegas Golden Knights set another milestone with their 6-3 win over the floundering Montreal Canadiens, tying the record for most home wins (22) for a team in its inaugural season. Reilly Smith scored twice and Jonathan Marchessault collected three assists for the Golden Knights.
The Pittsburgh Penguins collected their 11th straight home victory by downing the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3. Pittsburgh center Evgeni Malkin scored a goal and added two assists, becoming the fourth player in Penguins history to reach 900 career points.
Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo made a triumphant return to action on Saturday with a 30-save effort in a 6-3 victory over the Calgary Flames. It was Luongo’s first start since being sidelined by injury on Dec. 4. Mike Matheson had two goals and Aleksander Barkov collected three points.
Ottawa Senators center Derick Brassard scored a goal and set up two other as his club downed the New York Rangers 6-3. Rangers winger Michael Grabner had two goals, while teammate Pavel Buchnevich returned to action after missing seven games with a concussion.
Eddie Lack kicked out 48 shots backstopping the New Jersey Devils to their third straight win by edging the struggling Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3. The Bolts have dropped three of their last four games. Devils forward Miles Wood could face supplemental discipline for boarding Lightning forward Vladislav Namestnikov.
The Los Angeles Kings snapped a three-game losing skid by doubling up the Buffalo Sabres 4-2. Anze Kopitar led the way with two goals for the Kings, who picked up their first win in Buffalo in 15 years.
Detroit Red Wings goaltender Petr Mrazek made 31 saves to give his club a 3-1 win over the Nashville Predators.
Loui Eriksson scored twice to lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 6-1 upset of the Boston Bruins.
Nick Ritchie’s goal in the 11th round of the shootout gave the Anaheim Ducks a 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild.
The Columbus Blue Jackets activated defenseman Ryan Murray off injured reserve and sent him to their AHL affiliate for conditioning.
NBC SPORTS: Good news for the Colorado Avalanche, as leading scorer Nathan MacKinnon will return to action on Sunday against the Edmonton Oilers after missing eight games with an upper-body injury. Unfortunately, they’ll be playing without backup goaltender Jonathan Bernier, who suffered a head injury during the Avs 6-1 loss on Friday to Winnipeg.
TSN: Former NHL defenseman Greg Smyth recently passed away at age 51. He played in “228 career games over 10 NHL seasons with the Flyers, Quebec Nordiques, Calgary Flames, Florida Panthers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks” from 1986-87 to 1996-97.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Smyth’s friends, family and former teammates.
Game recaps plus latest on Evgeni Malkin, Timo Meier and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Miles Wood tallied his first career NHL hat trick and Nico Hischier had a three-point game as the New Jersey Devils rallied from a 4-1 deficit to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks 7-5. Blackhawks defenseman Jan Rutta also netted three points.
Braden Holtby made 29 saves in regulation and overtime and T.J. Oshie scored the winner in a shootout to give the Washington Capitals a 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
Andrei Vasilevskiy kicked out 28 shots as the Tampa Bay Lightning extended their road point streak to eight games by defeating the Anaheim Ducks 2-1.
Joel Ward’s third-period goal lifted the San Jose Sharks to a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Earlier in the day, the league fined Sharks forward Timo Meier over $2,400.00 for elbowing Vancouver Canucks defenseman Michael Del Zotto on Saturday.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin joined the social media movement started by Washington’s Alex Ovechkin in support of Russian president Vladimir Putin.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Many of Malkin’s North American fans are likely to squirm a little over this news, but it won’t dampen their support of the Penguins’ star.
CBC NEWS: Former NHL player Joe Juneau has been shut out of the youth hockey program he started 11 years ago in Northern Quebec.
NEW YORK TIMES: There’s very little talk of the NHL’s concussion issue at the Hockey Hall of Fame. In recent years, several notable players whose careers were cut short by head trauma (Chris Pronger, Eric Lindros and Paul Kariya) were inducted into the Hall.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Though the NHL in recent years has taken steps to address concussion injuries, the league remains reluctant to acknowledge the link between head injuries and the degenerative brain disease Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).