NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 29, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 29, 2018

Latest on Henrik Zetterberg, Jason Garrison, Shane Doan and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Concern over the future of Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg continues to rise after he said he wouldn’t take part in training camp or the start of the regular season. A history of back pain threatens to end his playing career. “I will need more answers from doctors before I say I have played my last game,” Zetterberg said. “In my mind, I am hoping it can get solved.”

Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg will miss training camp and the start of the 2018-19 season. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to Zetterberg, symptoms arise whenever he does something “uncontrolled”. In other words, it appears any sudden and unexpected body motion is a problem. He said the next procedure he’d face would be spinal fusion and that’s something he’d rather not have until he’s much older. By the sound of things, he’s played his final professional hockey game.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers have signed free-agent defenseman Jason Garrison to a professional tryout offer. He’s a veteran of 539 NHL games over ten years but spent most of last season with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With top-pairing blueliner Andrej Sekera sidelined indefinitely with a torn Achilles’ tendon and carrying limited cap space, the Oilers are looking at whatever affordable short-term options they can find to fill the void for now. They recently signed rearguard Jakub Jerabek to a one-year, $1-million contract. In his heyday, Garrison was a skilled puck-moving d-man who tallied over 30 points in a season three times. This could be his last shot at continuing his NHL career. 

Free-agent defenseman Brandon Davidson is joining the Chicago Blackhawks on a tryout offer. If they like what they see from Davidson they intend to sign him to a one-year, one-way contract. 

TSN: Former Arizona Coyotes captain Shane Doan will serve as a pallbearer at Senator John McCain’s memorial service on Thursday. McCain succumbed to brain cancer last Saturday. 

LA PRESSE: The Montreal Canadiens are close to re-signing restricted free agent center Michael McCarron to a short-term contract. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 27, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 27, 2018

Latest on Patrick Kane, Auston Matthews, Henrik Zetterberg, Martin Brodeur and Slava Voynov in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin and Minnesota Wild left wing Zach Parise were among dozens of American-born NHL players who gathered to honor the late USA Hockey executive Jim Johansson. The players gathered for a charity game on Sunday to raise funds for Johansson’s two-year-old daughter and for grassroots hockey. 

Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg’s ailing back has hampered his training efforts this summer. (Photo via NHL Images)

  MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill is doubtful team captain Henrik Zetterberg will be ready to play when the season opens in October. Zetterberg’s ailing back hasn’t allowed him to train properly this summer. He’s expected to report to training camp next month where he’ll undergo a medical to determine his status. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s sounds like Zetterberg won’t pass his training-camp medical. He’ll likely be placed on long-term injured reserve to start the season. If that happens, it’s doubtful he’ll be able to play this season. 

THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford reports sources say Martin Brodeur is preparing to leave the St. Louis Blues organization after four years. Brodeur served as an assistant general manager but his contract expired in June and he’s apparently decided to move on. It’s rumored he’s interested in rejoining the New Jersey Devils, though he’s said he’d like to spend more time with his son. 

SPORTSNET: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said former Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov has yet to be cleared to return to the league. He said Voynov’s return depends upon completing a review process with the league to determine if he meets the parameters to return. Voynov’s misdemeanor domestic abuse conviction was dismissed by a Los Angeles judge last month, a move that allows him to apply for reinstatement. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Until Voynov has his hearing with the league any speculation over which team he might join is baseless.


NHL Rumor Mill – August 24, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – August 24, 2018

The latest Erik Karlsson speculation plus updates on the Detroit Red Wings in your NHL rumor mill.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators don’t want to get caught up in false deadlines or move defenseman Erik Karlsson just for the sake of doing so. However, there’s talk the club hopes to move defenseman Erik Karlsson before the start of training camp on Sept. 13.  While the Senators weren’t close to getting what they wanted in a deal in early-July, they could be inching toward it now.

Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson reportedly isn’t interested in signing a contract extension with a Canadian team. (Photo via NHL Images)

Trade talk has picked up recently after dying down following a frenzy of speculation in early-July. The Tampa Bay Lightning, Dallas Stars, Vegas Golden Knights and San Jose Sharks are believed to have interest in the all-star blueliner.

Garrioch also notes a report Thursday claiming Karlsson won’t sign a contract extension with any Canadian team. This comes a day following a report claiming the Vancouver Canucks had made inquiries.

SPORTSNET: TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie said Canucks fans shouldn’t hold their breath expecting their club to land Karlsson. He feels Vancouver GM Jim Benning was merely kicking the tires, noting the Senators’ asking price would likely include young players Benning doesn’t want to part with. Lavoie believes Karlsson could be heading to a Western Conference club, most likely the Stars, who at one point last month was consider the front-runner.

THE ATHLETIC: In his latest Dallas Stars mailbag, Sean Shapiro noted the Stars had at one point made what was considered at the time to be the best offer for Karlsson and it didn’t involve taking on Ottawa winger Bobby Ryan’s contract. He said the Stars remain interested but at no point were they willing to part with top prospect Miro Heiskanen. There’s a sense this deal won’t get done unless Karlsson is willing to sign a contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps another club will jump into the fray but it appears the Stars, Lightning and Golden Knights stand the best chance of landing Karlsson. If Benning isn’t willing to part with a couple of his best young assets we can forget about Karlsson heading to Vancouver. If he’s truly unwilling to sign with a Canadian team it makes no sense for the Canucks or any other Canadian club to pursue him.

Senators general manager Pierre Dorion will obviously call around in hopes of drumming up more interest in Karlsson and thus drive up the asking price. How many clubs will get involved remains to be seen. Dorion could find himself talking with only a handful of teams carrying the cap space and depth in young players willing to make this deal before training camp opens.  


THE ATHLETIC: Craig Custance recently examined options for the Detroit Red Wings if captain Henrik Zetterberg’s ailing back sidelines him for the season. The Wings will get some some much-needed salary-cap flexibility if Zetterberg and his $6.083-million cap hit get placed on long-term injured reserve to start the season. 

Should the Wings fall out of playoff contention, they could use that cap space to take back salary from contending clubs while moving players at the trade deadline. For example, if  they trade pending free-agent winger Gustav Nyquist ($4.75 million) they could absorb up to half of his cap hit to make him more attractive in the trade market.

Should Zetterberg’s bad back bring his playing career to an end, the Wings could look at moving his contract next summer in a cost-cutting move. His actual salary for the final two years of his contract (2019-20, 2020-21) is $1 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll likely find out Zetterberg’s status in three weeks time after he undergoes his training-camp medical. By the sound of things his playing days are likely over. Going on LTIR means they won’t have to shed salary via trade to make room for a young player like promising Filip Zadina. Picking up part of Nyquist’s cap hit would certainly improve his value in this season’s trade market.

If Zetterberg’s career is truly over, he won’t retire because of the cap-recapture penalty the Wings would incur. They could try to trade his contract this season but that won’t be easy with all clubs having already invested their available cap space. That move will likely happen next summer. 


NHL Rumor Mill – August 11, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – August 11, 2018

Updates on the Red Wings and Wild in your NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Craig Custance examined the implications of Dylan Larkin’s new five-year, $30.5-million contract upon the Detroit Red Wings’ salary cap. His new deal puts the Wings slightly over the $79.5-million salary-cap ceiling even after all-but-retired winger Johan Franzen ($3.95-million annual cap hit) is placed on long-term injured reserve. General manager Ken Holland estimates they’re about $1 million over the cap. Custance proposes burying Martin Frk and Luke Witkowski in the minors to make them cap compliant.

Is Henrik Zetterberg healthy enough to play for the Detroit Red Wings this season? (Photo via NHL Images)

Custance also noted Holland’s concern over the healthy of captain Henrik Zetterberg, whose nagging back problems casts doubt over his ability to play in 2018-19. If Zetterberg can’t suit up, placing him and his $6.08-million cap hit on LTIR will resolve their salary-cap issues.

MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan suggests defenseman Trevor Daley could become a trade candidate if the Red Wings are out of playoff contention come February. His no-trade clause expires 10 days prior to the Feb.25, 2019 trade deadline. Signed through 2019-20, he’d be more than a rental player for playoff contenders, which could increase his value.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly has the Wings sitting at $82.7 million for 2018-19, putting them well over the cap ceiling. They’re allowed to exceed the cap by 10 percent during the offseason but must be cap compliant when the season opens in October. They’re currently using offseason LTIR (over $3.2 million) which would explain why Holland estimated they’re about $1 million above the cap.

If Zetterberg is able to play, Frk or Witkowski are likely to be demoted to free up the necessary space with Franzen being permanently on LTIR. On the other hand, placing Zetterberg on LTIR means there’s no reason to demote anyone simply for cap reasons.

Zetterberg’s potential absence means Larkin will become the first-line center with Frans Nielsen likely moving up to second-line center. They’re expected to bring in Michael Rasmussen full time which could see him in the third-line role with Luke Glendening in the fourth-line spot.

If Rasmussen struggles during training camp and preseason, Holland might be forced to look toward free agency or the trade market. UFA options could include Daniel Winnik or Mark Letestu.

As for Daley, he could join Gustav Nyquist and perhaps Jimmy Howard as potential trade chips if the Wings are out of the playoff race by the February deadline. He won’t fetch a roster player but could land them a decent draft pick or two. 


THE ATHLETIC: During a recent mailbag segment, Michael Russo was asked about Eric Staal’s future with the Minnesota Wild. The 33-year-old center will become a UFA next July. Russo said Staal and Wild GM Paul Fenton will wait until the season is underway before opening contract extension discussions. If the Wild are out of the playoff race by February, they could consider trading Staal. If they re-sign him, Russo figures it could be for around $5 million annually.

With the Wild carrying eight defensemen under contract for 2018-19, Russo was asked what might happen with Gustav Olofsson. He doesn’t consider it a risk placing him on waivers if necessary and thinks the Wild have tried to trade him. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staal regained his form after joining the Wild as a bargain free-agent signing two years ago. His 42 goals last season marked the first time he reached the 40-goal plateau since 2008-09. It could be asking too much to expect him to do that again, but another 60-point campaign could earn him a three-year deal at $5 million annually. If the Wild decide to shop him at the deadline we can expect he’ll attract plenty of interest. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 11, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 11, 2018

Red Wings re-sign Dylan Larkin plus updates on Henrik Zetterberg, Ryan Ellis, Brian Gionta and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: The Red Wings yesterday announced their re-signing of center Dylan Larkin to a five-year, $30.5-million contract. The annual average value is $6.1 million.

Detroit Red Wings re-signed center Dylan Larkin to a five-year contract (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Larkin’s getting a significant raise coming out of his entry-level contract. His bounce-back performance last season after struggling through his sophomore campaign convinced the Wings he’s worth this investment.

The Wings ensured their best forward is under contract long-term through most of his prime playing years for what could be considered reasonable dollars if he plays up to expectations over the term of this new deal.  He’ll also become eligible for unrestricted free agency at the end of this contract, putting him in line for an even bigger raise, from the Wings or someone else.

If last season is any indication, Larkin is poised to become one of the best two-way centers in the NHL. With Henrik Zetterberg’s career winding down, Larkin is the likely candidate to become the next Wings captain. He’s the foundation upon which their rebuild rests. 

THE DETROIT NEWS: Speaking of the Wings, general manager Ken Holland said the health of Henrik Zetterberg remains an unknown for the club. Holland said Zetterberg hasn’t been able to train this summer as he normally would because of his back. He said it’s something they’ll have to examine his status when training camp opens next month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Zetterberg doesn’t pass the team medical he could end up on long-term injured reserve to start the season. While his absence would give the Wings a measure of cap relief, it will also create a big hole at center that could prove difficult to fill, forcing them to lean more heavily on Larkin. 

TSN: Nashville Predators GM David Poile said his club has had “consistent and continual conversations” with defenseman Ryan Ellis, who is eligible for unrestricted free agent status next July.  Ellis is earning $2.5 million on his current deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ellis said he wants to retire with the Predators but it’s going to cost a lot of money to make that happen. It could cost the Predators over $7 million per season to keep him in the fold. As per Cap Friendly, they’ll have the salary-cap space to do so. However, it will still be an expensive investment, especially when they’ll have to face the same scenario next summer with Roman Josi. 

NHL.COM: Brian Gionta, 39, is acknowledging he may have played his final game in the NHL. If so, he’s prepared to walk away with no regrets. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gionta enjoyed a long and productive NHL career but it appears that his professional playing days are over. It appears he’s ready for the next stage, which could including coaching, scouting or management. 

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators yesterday signed free-agent forward Chase Balisy. 

SPORTSNET: Former Toronto Maple Leafs assistant GM Mark Hunter has returned to the OHL’s London Knights as general manager. 


Where Are The 2008 Detroit Red Wings Today?

Where Are The 2008 Detroit Red Wings Today?

Ten years ago, the Detroit Red Wings were the NHL’s dominant team. They and their fans were basking in their 2008 Stanley Cup championship, marking their fourth title in 11 years. Despite the departures of long-time stars such as Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov and Brendan Shanahan, the Wings remained atop the NHL mountaintop as a perennial Cup contender.

Those glory days have since passed. The following season, the Wings fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins in their Stanley Cup Final rematch, beginning a lengthy decline that saw them bottom out by missing the playoffs in each of the last two seasons.

As the Wings rebuild their roster, here’s a look at where the notable players from their last championship team are today.

Nicklas Lidstrom. One of the greatest defensemen in hockey history, the former Wings captain retired in 2012 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015. He lives in Sweden with his family where he coaches his sons. He co-owns an assets company and also works in real estate.

Henrik Zetterberg. Winner of the 2008 Conn Smythe Trophy, Zetterberg is now the captain of the Red Wings. Hampered in recent years by back injuries, his status is unclear for the 2018-19 season.

Pavel Datsyuk. Considered among the best two-way players of all time, Datsyuk retired from the NHL in 2016. Returning to Russian, he joined the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg, captaining them to the Gagarin Cup championship in 2017. He signed a one-year contract extension in April. 

Chris Osgood. The often under-appreciated “Ozzie” backstopped the Wings to the 2008 Stanley Cup. It was his third Cup title and his second as a starter. Osgood would play three more seasons with the Wings before retiring in 2011, becoming just the 10th goalie in NHL history to reach 400 wins. He’s gone on to work in the Red Wings organization, as well as providing analysis for Wings games on Fox Sports. He’s also part-owner of the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit.

Dominik Hasek. 2007-08 was the final NHL season for “The Dominator.”  He was Chris Osgood’s backup during the postseason, seeing action in four games. Hasek spent 2009-10 in the Czech Extraliga and 2010-11 in the KHL before retiring. Ranked among the greatest goaltenders of all time, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014. Today, he’s an entrepreneur in the Czech Republic and also stays involved in hockey and charities.

Chris Chelios. One of the NHL’s great defensemen, Chelios returned with the Wings in 2008-09 and briefly saw action the following season with the Atlanta Thrashers before ending his 26-year NHL career. He spent several seasons with the Wings in the front office and coaching staff before joining the Chicago Blackhawks in July 2018 as a team ambassador. Chelios was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013.

Brian Rafalski. The skilled puck-moving defenseman played three more seasons with the Red Wings before retiring at age 37 in 2011 to spend more time with his family. They currently reside in Florida where he works with a local hockey program.

Johan Franzen. Multiple concussion injuries cut short Franzen’s playing career. Though still under contract with the Red Wings through 2019-20, he hasn’t suited up since 2015. In May 2018, Franzen’s wife revealed her husband was going through “intensive treatment” for brain injury as he continues to deal with post-concussion syndrome.

Niklas Kronwall. Since Lidstrom’s retirement, Kronwall became the linchpin of the Red Wings’ defense corps. Now 37, his physical style of play has led to injuries that in recent years limited his effectiveness.

Tomas Holmstrom. A long-time physical presence in front of opposition nets, Holmstrom spent four more seasons with the Wings before retiring prior to the start of the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign. He lives with his family in Sweden and coaches youth hockey.

Jiri Hudler. After four more seasons with the Wings, including one he missed when he played in the KHL during a season-long contract dispute, Hudler spent his final five NHL seasons with the Calgary Flames, Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars, winning the Lady Byng Trophy in 2015. Last fall, he was involved in an incident aboard an international flight in which he reportedly used cocaine in the washroom and threatened a flight attendant.

Kris Draper. Following three more seasons with the Wings, Draper retired in 2011 and joined the Wings’ front-office staff. He is now a special assistant to general manager Ken Holland.

Mikael Samuelsson. After another season with the Wings, Samuelsson spent parts of four campaigns with the Vancouver Canucks and Florida Panthers before returning to Detroit for a last hurrah in 2013. Retiring in 2015, Samuelsson is a European Development Coach with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Valtteri Filppula. Departed the Wings as a free agent in 2013 to sign with the Tampa Bay Lightning. In 2017, he was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers. He recently signed a one-year deal with the New York Islanders.

Brad Stuart. Following four more seasons with the Wings, Stuart returned to the San Jose Sharks (where he began his NHL career) for two seasons and signed a two-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche. A back injury ended his playing career in 2016.

Dallas Drake. The 2007-08 season was Drake’s last, retiring after 15 NHL seasons. He lives with his family in Michigan and coaches youth hockey.

Darren Helm. The 31-year-old winger is entering his 12th season with the Red Wings.

Dan Cleary. Following seven more seasons with the Wings and one with their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids, Cleary retired in 2017. He’s now the Red Wings’ co-director of player development.

Darren McCarty. After one more season with the Wings, McCarty retired in 2009. He published his autobiography in 2013  detailing his free-wheeling lifestyle and battles with addictions. He lives in Detroit where he works for a real-estate company and is also trying his hand at stand-up comedy.

Kirk Maltby. The long-time Red Wings checking-line forward played two more seasons before retiring in 2010. He soon joined the Wings as a pro scout and remains in that role today.

Andreas Lilja.  The Swedish defenseman spent two more seasons with the Wings. After spending three seasons with the Anaheim Ducks and Philadelphia Flyers, Lilja spent two years playing in Sweden before retiring as a player. Next season, he’ll be an assistant coach for Kristianstad.