NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 2, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 2, 2024

The Coyotes end a 14-game losing skid, the three stars and rookie of the month for February are revealed, the Avalanche and Devils make a trade, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Arizona Coyotes snapped a 14-game losing skid by downing the Ottawa Senators 5-3. Matias Maccelli had a goal and two assists as the Coyotes (24-31-5) snapped a 3-3 tie with two third-period goals for their first win since Jan. 22. Ottawa captain Brady Tkachuk left the game in the third period after being shaken up following a hit by Coyotes forward Liam O’Brien. The Senators’ record sank to 25-30-3 as they were booed off the ice by their fans at the end of the game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Senators placed center Josh Norris on long-term injury reserve with an upper-body injury. It’s not confirmed whether he’s reinjured his surgically repaired shoulder.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender Lukas Dostal (NHL Images).

Anaheim Ducks goaltender Lukas Dostal set a franchise record for most saves in a win by a goaltender with 52 as he backstopped his club to a 4-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Dostal ensured the win by stopping Devils forward Jack Hughes on a penalty shot with three seconds remaining in the third period. Frank Vatrano tallied twice for the 22-35-3 Ducks. Hughes and Tyler Toffoli each had a goal and an assist for the Devils (30-26-4) as they remain six points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 64 points.

The Washington Capitals scored five straight goals to keep their playoff hopes alive with a 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Dylan Strome had a goal and two assists for the Capitals (28-22-9) as they’re five points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot. Owen Tippett had a goal and an assist for the 31-23-7 Flyers, who remain in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 69 points.


NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, and New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin are the three stars for February 2024. Carolina Hurricanes goalie Pyotr Kochetkov was named Rookie of the Month.

THE DENVER POST/NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: The Colorado Avalanche traded defenseman Kurtis MacDermid to the New Jersey Devils on Friday in exchange for a seventh-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft (originally acquired from the Nashville Predators) and forward Zakhar Bardakov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a salary dump by the Avalanche to free up salary-cap space leading up to the March 8 trade deadline. MacDermid carried an annual cap hit of $987,500. Clearing that sum from their books gives them over $2.2 million in cap room with 21 players on the roster. Expect them to acquire a player with a trade between now and March 8.

As for the Devils, they add some grit and size to their blueline in MacDermid. He’s unlikely to be much help as they continue to struggle in the Eastern playoff race.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Dallas Stars won’t place Tyler Seguin on long-term injury reserve. He’s week-to-week with a lower-body injury and carries an average annual value of $9.85 million. He is expected to return to the lineup before the playoffs.

NHL.COM: Speaking of the Stars, they loaned Logan Stankoven back to their AHL affiliate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: He might not be on the farm for long. The 21-year-old forward is one of their top prospects and had three goals and an assist in his four games with the Stars.

TSN: Minnesota Wild winger Mats Zuccarello and Nashville Predators forward Michael McCarron were each fined $2,000.00 by the department of player safety for unsportsmanlike conduct during Thursday’s game between the two clubs.

SPORTSNET: The day before the Calgary Flames honor Miikka Kiprusoff by raising his jersey to the rafters, he was reintroduced to “Mini-Kipper”, the young kid who used to dress up as the netminder for every Flames home game from 2005-06 to 2008-09.

Brendan Peters, now 27, paints goalie masks for a living. On Friday, he presented Kiprusoff with a custom mask he designed for his hero.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Has it been nearly twenty years since Kiprusoff was in his prime with the Flames and his biggest fan used to emulate his warmup movements in the stands before every home game? Time is passing way too fast!

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 6, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 6, 2024

The Jets take over first place in the overall standings, Blackhawks rookie Connor Bedard suffers an injury and Andrei Svechnikov ties a Hurricanes record. Details on these and other stories in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Winnipeg Jets took over first place in the overall standings with 54 points as they downed the Anaheim Ducks 3-1. Laurent Brossoit stopped 37 shots while third-period goals by Nate Schmidt and Cole Perfetti powered the 25-9-4 Jets to their fifth straight win, extending their points streak to 11 games. Mason McTavish scored for the Ducks (13-24-1), who’ve won just three of their last 10 games.

Chicago Blackhawks center Connor Bedard (NHL Images).

Third-period goals by Simon Nemec, Michael McLeod and Tyler Toffoli lifted the New Jersey Devils to a 4-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Nemec and Alexander Holtz each had a goal and an assist for the Devils (21-14-2) as they vaulted into the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 44 points. Blackhawks rookie Connor Bedard left the game in the first period following a clean hit by Devils defenseman Brendan Smith. The ‘Hawks dropped to 11-26-2 on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bedard jumped up immediately following the hit and skated off holding his mouth. Blackhawks forward Nick Foligno also left this game with an injury. There was no postgame update as both players will be re-evaluated in Chicago on Saturday.

Bedard was recently named as his club’s representative for the 2024 NHL All-Star Game. His fans will be hoping that his condition isn’t serious.

The Blackhawks have been decimated by injuries this season. Taylor Hall, Seth Jones, Anthony Beauvillier, Tyler Johnson and Andreas Athanasiou are among the notables currently sidelined, with Hall out of the season.

The Carolina Hurricanes tallied five unanswered third-period goals to thump the Washington Capitals 6-2. Andrei Svechnikov had a goal and two assists to tie the Hurricanes’ record with his sixth straight multi-point game. Brent Burns had two goals and an assist and Sebastian Aho collected three assists for the surging Hurricanes (22-13-4) as they’ve won five straight and sit second in the Metropolitan Division with 48 points. Nic Dowd and Dylan Strome scored for the 18-13-6 Capitals (42 points) as they blew a 2-0 lead and dropped two points out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.


THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen is listed as week-to-week with an apparent leg injury following an accidental collision with Stars goaltender Scott Wedgewood during Thursday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche.

Head coach Pete DeBoer said Heiskanen would undergo further testing on Friday but the injury “doesn’t look terrible.” The blueliner isn’t out for the season and won’t require surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Heiskanen is the Stars’ top defenseman. Losing him for a significant period would be a big setback for their blueline.

CBS SPORTS: Minnesota Wild winger Mats Zuccarello has come off the injured reserve list. He’d been sidelined since Dec. 16 with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zuccarello’s return might help the Wild snap out of their four-game losing skid that has sent them tumbling five points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes are close to announcing the location they will focus on for their new arena.

DAILY FACEOFF: Speaking of the Coyotes, they placed forward Zach Sanford on waivers.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers called up forward Mackie Samoskevich and placed forward Nick Cousins (concussion) on injured reserve.

IIHF: Team USA defeated Sweden 6-2 to capture gold at the 2024 World Junior Championship. It’s the sixth WJC gold in the country’s history with their first coming in 2006 and the previous one in 2021.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks prospect Jonathan Lekkerimaki was named the most valuable player of the 2024 WJC. The 19-year-old winger had seven goals and 10 points in seven games to lead Sweden to a silver medal. Lekkerimaki was chosen by the Canucks in the first round (15th overall) in the 2022 NHL Draft.

NHL Rumor Mill – December 20, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – December 20, 2023

The Rangers hold onto first place in the Eastern Conference, Nikita Kucherov adds to his lead in the scoring race and Quinn Hughes becomes the first defenseman to reach 40 points this season. Details on these and other stories in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The New York Rangers downed the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2, improving their record to 22-7-1 and holding onto first place in the Eastern Conference with 45 points. Mika Zibanejad scored two goals, Erik Gustafsson collected three assists and Igor Shesterkin stopped 31 shots for the Rangers. Auston Matthews scored twice to take over sole possession of the league goal-scoring lead (25) but his Leafs dropped to 16-7-6 and sit second in the Atlantic Division with 38 points, ending their nine-game points streak.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov (NHL Images).

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov scored twice in a 6-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues. With 54 points, he holds a six-point lead over Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon for first place in the league scoring race. Steven Stamkos and Nick Paul each had three points for the Lightning (15-13-5) as they hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 35 points. Justin Faulk scored for the 15-15-1 Blues (31 points) as they sit three points out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

The Vancouver Canucks extended their points streak to seven games by downing the Nashville Predators 5-2. Quinn Hughes collected two assists to become the first defenseman to reach 40 points this season (41) as his Canucks improved to 22-9-2 (46 points) and sit one point behind the league-leading Vegas Golden Knights. Predators goaltender Juuse Saros got the hook after giving up five goals on 19 shots as his club sits at 18-14-0, holding the first Western wild-card spot with 36 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks made winger Andrei Kuzmenko a healthy scratch. It’s the third time since November that he’s been scratched from the roster, which could stoke the trade rumors that have swirled about him in recent weeks.

Speaking of the Golden Knights, they dropped a 6-3 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes. Michael Bunting had a goal and two assists while Sebastian Aho collected three assists for the Hurricanes (17-12-3), who own the first Eastern wild-card berth with 37 points. William Carrier tallied twice for the 21-7-5 Golden Knights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov scored in his first game after missing six contests with an upper-body injury.

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Kirill Marchenko scored a natural hat trick within a span of 8:07 as his club spanked the Buffalo Sabres 9-4. Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and two assists for the 11-17-5 Blue Jackets while Rasmus Dahlin and Dylan Cozens each had a goal and an assist for the 13-17-3 Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Buffalo winger Jack Quinn was held scoreless in his season debut as he returned from offseason Achilles tendon surgery. Sabres head coach Don Granato is feeling the heat from unhappy Buffalo fans as they were chanting for him to be fired during this contest. Kyle Okposo and Tage Thompson spoke up following the game to defend Granato but those fans calling for his firing could get their wish if this club doesn’t turn things around soon.

The Minnesota Wild upset the Boston Bruins 4-3. Kirill Kaprizov scored twice, including the winning goal in overtime, while Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his 549th career victory with a 40-save performance as the Wild improved to 13-13-4. David Pastrnak netted two goals and Pavel Zacha collected two assists for the Bruins (19-5-6) as they sit one point back of the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury needs three more wins to surpass Patrick Roy for second place on the all-time list for wins by NHL goalies. The Wild played without Mats Zuccarello as he’s week-to-week with an upper-body injury. Meanwhile, Zacha and defenseman Charlie McAvoy returned to the Bruins lineup after missing multiple games with upper-body injuries.

An overtime goal by Owen Tippett lifted the Philadelphia Flyers over the New Jersey Devils 3-2 as they extended their points streak to nine games. Ryan Poehling scored two goals for the Flyers (18-10-3) as they hold second place in the Metropolitan Division with 39 points. Michael McLeod and Jesper Bratt replied for the 16-12-2 Devils (34 points) as they sit one point behind the Lightning for the final Eastern wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Former Flyers center Nolan Patrick has retired to work with a hockey coaching and mentorship program founded by former NHL player Jayce Hawryluk. Patrick, 25, was chosen second overall by the Flyers in the 2017 NHL draft but his playing career was derailed by concussions and a migraine disorder. He last played in 2021-22 with the Vegas Golden Knights.

Second-period special teams goals by Anders Lee, Bo Horvat (both on the power play) and Simon Holmstrom (shorthanded) gave the New York Islanders a 3-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. With the win, the 15-8-8 Islanders (38 points) sit one point behind the Flyers in third place in the Metro Divison. The Oilers, meanwhile, have lost three straight and dropped to 13-15-1.

The Chicago Blackhawks upset the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 as Tyler Johnson snapped a 2-2 tie in the third period. Connor Bedard had two assists and Ryan Donato potted a goal and an assist for the 10-20-1 Blackhawks. Valeri Nichushkin scored twice and Nathan MacKinnon collected an assist to extend his points streak to 16 games for the 19-11-2 Avalanche, who remain in second place in the Central Division with 40 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews called out his teammates following this game. “I think we’ve got some guys who think they’re playing well, and I think they’re kidding themselves at this point,” he said, adding, “It’s tough to play in this league when you don’t know where your teammates are gonna be.”

Coach Jacques Martin’s return behind the Ottawa Senators bench didn’t go well as his club blew a three-goal lead to fall 4-3 to the Arizona Coyotes. The Senators ran up a 3-0 lead in the first but collapsed in the third period with Michael Kesselring netting the game-winner for the 16-13-2 Coyotes, who hold the final Western wild-card spot with 34 points. Joonas Korpisalo stopped 34 shots for the Senators, who’ve lost five straight and remain at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with a record of 11-16-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This wasn’t the homecoming Senators defenseman Jakob Chychrun would’ve liked. It was his first game against his former team in Arizona since his trade to Ottawa last season.

The Los Angeles Kings downed the San Jose Sharks 4-1. Kings captain Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist as his club improved to 18-6-4 and sit third in the Pacific Division with 40 points. Kaapo Kahkonen turned aside 35 shots for the 9-20-3 Sharks as they slipped back into last place in the overall standings with 21 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks defensemen Calen Addison and Jan Rutta missed this game. Addison is dealing with a lower-body injury while Rutta has an undisclosed illness.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 30, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 30, 2023

The Wild re-sign Mats Zuccarello and Marcus Foligno, updates on Cale Makar and Jake Guentzel, recaps of preseason play and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild signed forwards Mats Zuccarello and Marcus Foligno to contract extensions on Friday. Zucarrello, 36, agreed to a two-year contract with an average annual value of $4.125 million while the 32-year-old Foligno inked a four-year deal with an AAV of $4 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both players were slated to become unrestricted free agents next July. Zuccarello accepted a pay cut from his current AAV of $6 million while Foligno got a raise from his current $3.1 million AAV.

Minnesota Wild winger Mats Zuccarello (NHL Images).

The Wild didn’t overpay to keep these two in the fold. Zuccarello remains productive with 67 points last season but there is a risk that his performance will decline given his age. It can also be argued that Foligno’s play will deteriorate given his physical game. Nevertheless, Wild management evidently believes they need their leadership and experience beyond this season.

THE ATHLETIC: Joe Smith reports Wild general manager Bill Guerin indicated forward Ryan Hartman will be next to have his contract extended. The two sides are in talks and Guerin claimed things are “heading that way.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hartman, 29, is eligible for UFA status next July. His current AAV is $1.7 million.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar practiced for the first time since training camp opened last week. He’s been dealing with a lower-body issue but remains confident he’ll be ready for the start of the season next month. Makar is hoping to play in one of the Avs’ three remaining preseason games.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins winger Jake Guentzel has returned to practice in a non-contact capacity. He is rehabbing from his Aug. 2 ankle surgery. He’s not expected to return to action until Oct. 24.

THE PROVINCE: The Columbus Blue Jackets claimed goaltender Spencer Martin off waivers from the Vancouver Canucks.

NEW YORK POST: Friday’s preseason game between the Rangers and Islanders at UBS Arena was postponed due to heavy rains causing flooding with a state of emergency declared in New York. The game will take place on Saturday at 7 pm.


NHL.COM: Vladimir Tarasenko scored his first goal with the Ottawa Senators in a 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of the Senators, they named Steve Staios as their new president of hockey operations on Friday. Staios has a long history with Senators owner Michael Andlauer as he served under Andlauer as president and general manager of the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs from 2016 to 2022.

The Philadelphia Flyers got shootout goals by Bobby Brink and Morgan Frost to nip the Boston Bruins 4-3. Brink had a goal and an assist in regulation while David Pastrnak scored twice for the Bruins.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson left in the second period with an upper-body injury and didn’t return as his club dropped a 4-3 decision to the Los Angeles Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word if Gibson was held out for precautionary reasons or if the injury was serious. The Ducks could release an update today.

The Toronto Maple Leafs got goals from Matthew Knies and Mikko Kokkonen as they held off the Montreal Canadiens 2-1. Josh Anderson replied for the Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs played without John Klingberg as the defenseman is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

Three unanswered goals by Nicolas Hague, Brendan Bisson and William Karlsson rallied the Vegas Golden Knights to a 3-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, Golden Knights coach Bruce Cassidy ruled out defenseman Zach Whitecloud with an undisclosed injury. No decision has been made as to whether he’ll be in their season opener next month.

An overtime goal by Brad Malone gave the Edmonton Oilers a 2-1 win against the Calgary Flames. Jack Campbell got the win with a 34-save performance.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Jonas Johansson kicked out 42 shots in a 4-0 shutout of the split-squad Carolina Hurricanes. Anthony Cirelli tallied twice for the Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It seems like Johansson is trying to send a message to management that he can fill the void while starter Andrei Vasilevskiy spends the next eight to ten weeks recovering from back surgery.

The Lightning also played without center Logan Brown and defenseman Roman Schmidt as both are sidelined indefinitely by injuries.

The other Hurricanes squad didn’t fare any better as they dropped a 4-2 decision to the Florida Panthers.

NHL Rumor Mill – September 26, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – September 26, 2023

Check out the latest on the Wild, Kraken and Sharks in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo and Joe Smith pointed out that the Minnesota Wild have three key forwards – Marcus Foligno, Mats Zuccarello and Ryan Hartman – slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer. They wonder if management will be patient or attempt to re-sign the trio as soon as possible.

Foligno, 32, is in the final season of a three-year contract earning an average annual value of $3.1 million. Russo and Smith are betting the Wild offer him the same contract again.

Minnesota Wild winger Mats Zuccarello (NHL Images).

The 36-year-old Zuccarello is in the final year of a five-year deal with an AAV of $6 million. General manager Bill Guerin would likely sign him for two or three years but he’ll have to accept a pay cut.

Hartman, meanwhile, is in the last season of his three-year contract with an AAV of $1.7 million. If the Wild can’t re-sign the 28-year-old center/winger, he could become a valuable trade chip at the March 8 trade deadline.

Russo and Smith get the feeling that Wild management has at least started contract talks with those three to determine the cost of re-signing them. They could be willing to extend their contracts now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Russo and Smith also point out, the Wild’s salary-cap space for next season will also be a determining factor in negotiations with those three players. They have $24.6 million in projected cap space for next season with 12 players under contract.

Guerin will also have to find suitable replacements for goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and defenseman Alex Goligoski. Both are also due to become UFAs and it’s expected they won’t be offered new contracts.


THE SEATTLE TIMES: In a recent mailbag segment, Geoff Baker was asked what type of contract Kraken center Matty Beniers will get once he comes off his entry-level deal next summer.

Baker pointed out that a two- or three-year bridge contract would leave Beniers primed for a big raise before hitting the open market if he chose to do so. If the Kraken believes he’ll become a star player, it might be best to lock him up to an eight-year deal where they’ll get a cheaper back-end deal on some of his UFA seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Beniers won the Calder Memorial Trophy last season as NHL Rookie of the Year. If he builds on that during his sophomore campaign, he could take a page from the playbook of Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and push for a lucrative short-term contract that expires when he’s a year or two away from UFA eligibility.

Asked about Jordan Eberle, Baker indicated the 33-year-old winger would love to re-sign with the Kraken. “I’ve made my stance clear as far as I love it here,” said Eberle. “I want to be here. And I want to be part of a winning group. I think we have one here.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not surprising that Eberle would like to stay. The Kraken surprised everyone last season with their solid performance in just their second NHL season. He’s also at the stage in his career when he’d prefer the stability of a winning club over the uncertainty of the UFA market.

However, if the Kraken stumbles through this campaign Eberle could become a bargaining chip by the March 8 trade deadline. That will depend on the status of his contract negotiations by then. He’s in the final season of a five-year deal with an annual cap hit of $5.5 million.

The Kraken has over $27 million in projected cap space for 2024-25 with 14 players under contract and Beniers in line for a substantial pay raise. Given his age, he’ll likely have to accept a pay cut to stay in Seattle.


SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng reports Alexander Barabanov hopes to re-sign with the Sharks. The 29-year-old winger is in the second season of a two-year contract ($2.5 million AAV) and is slated to become a UFA next July.

He’s been very productive for the Sharks since they acquired him from the Toronto Maple Leafs in April 2021, netting 93 points in 147 games. On the one hand, his age and his next contract might not fit with the Sharks’ rebuild plans, making him a potential trade candidate by the March 8 deadline. On the other hand, it’s always good to keep a few veterans around to lead the way.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks have over $36 million in projected cap space for 2024-25 with 14 active roster players under contract. Depending on Barabanov’s asking price, they can easily afford to re-sign him if they see him as a key piece going forward.

NHL Rumor Mill – August 18, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – August 18, 2023

What will the Jets do with Connor Hellebuyck and Mark Scheifele? Could the Penguins trade Jeff Carter to make room for Tomas Tatar? Could the Rangers reacquire Mats Zuccarello by the trade deadline? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck wonders what Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will do with goaltender Connor Hellebuyck and center Mark Scheifele. Both are slated to become unrestricted free agents at the end of this season and there’s no indication they’re going to sign contract extensions.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (NHL Images).

Billeck believes the Jets can ill-afford to hold onto those two assets for the coming season and forego any sort of return for them. Retaining them for this season risks one or both suffering injuries that could hurt their trade value.

As he did with the Pierre-Luc Dubois trade, Cheveldayoff must find return assets for Hellebuyck and Scheifele that come with team control. However, the Jets GM could face a difficult decision if Hellebuyck and Scheifele are still on the team at the trade deadline and the club is sitting in a high playoff berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Billeck mentioned the possibility of Cheveldayoff getting an offer that makes sense before training camp opens. However, there have been reports since mid-July suggesting the Jets could be willing to start the season with both players on the roster and see how things turn out.

Given the high number of teams with limited cap space for this season, finding a deal that makes sense won’t be easy. Cheveldayoff may have to take the risk by carrying both players for the season, hoping that they stay healthy and play well, and hope for better offers when the trade deadline rolls around.


PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski noted the Penguins have been linked to free-agent Tomas Tatar in the rumor mill. While the 32-year-old winger could be a good fit, finding sufficient cap room to sign him could be challenging unless he’s willing to accept less than $1 million for this season.

Kingerski suggested trading Jeff Carter would be the logical choice to clear cap room for Tatar. He comes with a $3.125 million cap hit for this season. However, the 38-year-old Carter also has complete control with a full no-movement clause. Even if he retired today, the Penguins wouldn’t get cap relief because he’s on a 35-plus contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kingerski considers a Carter trade to be unlikely. Hypothetically, it’s possible but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matthew Mugno noted that Mats Zuccarello is in the final year of his contract with the Minnesota Wild. He suggested that the 35-year-old winger might end up getting moved by the trade deadline if the Wild have a mediocre season.

If so, Mugno believes the New York Rangers would be the one club that could pry Zuccarello from re-signing with the Wild. He began his NHL career with the Rangers, spending almost nine seasons there until traded to Dallas before the 2019 deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild could shop Zuccarello if they’re out of playoff contention by the March trade deadline. Perhaps the Rangers would make a pitch for him.

Nevertheless, I think the Wild will be a playoff club again this season, especially if Zuccarello remains productive skating alongside superstar linemate Kirill Kaprizov. They won’t break up that tandem if they’re in the postseason hunt.