NHL Morning Links - Sept. 4

The free-agent signing of physical defenseman Douglas Murray makes even more sense for the Montreal Canadiens, now that we know the healthy return of the equally-imposing Alexei Emelin (knee surgery) will probably be delayed. "It may be later than that", Habs GM Marc Bergevin answered when asked if Emelin was still due back by late November.

Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said he was "kicking around" the idea of inviting veteran forward Simon Gagne to training camp on a pro tryout.

Forward Guillaume Latendresse will get the chance to give the NHL another immediate go. The Phoenix Coyotes have extended the free agent a professional tryout.

Reportedly fully healthy, forward Mikael Samuelsson claims to understand that a strong -- and again, healthy -- showing in camp is necessary if he's to have any chance of earning a roster spot with the Detroit Red Wings. Meanwhile, new addition Daniel Alfredsson is expected to slot in on either the Red Wings' top line with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, or alongside Stephen Weiss and Johan Franzen on the second line. One way or the other, Alfredsson is pegged to play on the Wings' top power-play unit. Also, Darren Helm (nagging back injury) should be good-to-go for the start of training camp.

Steve Begin has been extended a tryout invitation to attend camp for the Calgary Flames.

The Edmonton Oilers won't rule out young centerman Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for opening night. There was talk the 20-year-old could miss all of October after having shoulder surgery in the spring.

The New York Islanders may name a new captain (read: John Tavares) as early as next week.

Unsigned restricted free agent Nazem Kadri and the Toronto Maple Leafs remain at a standoff, as far as a new contract is concerned. The prospect of Kadri sitting out the start of training camp is starting to form into a realistic possibility. TSN's Bob McKenzie suggests Kadri and the Maple Leafs aren't even in the "same ballpark" as far as $/term is concerned.

The Ottawa Senators could open camp without defenseman Jared Cowen. The restricted free agent isn't expected to show up without a new contract.

Forward Evander Kane of the Winnipeg Jets may not be in tip-top physical condition after spending a good part of the summer recovering from a wrist injury and off-season foot surgery.

The Carolina Hurricanes will likely be without veteran defenseman Joni Pitkanen (broken heel bone) to start the regular season -- if not for a good while longer. While the injury happened in April, the 29-year-old has yet to put any weight on his left foot. Until the squad gets a better idea of Pitkanen's prognosis, look for the Hurricanes to invite one or more free-agent defensemen to camp on a tryout basis.

Reps for Jason Pominville and the Minnesota Wild are already talking semi-regularly about a contract extension. Pominville's current deal expires at the end of the 2013-14 season.

The New York Rangers and restricted free-agent forward Derek Stepan appear to remain far apart on a new deal.