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.
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.
RECAP OF FRIDAY’S PRESEASON ACTION
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.