NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 14, 2019

The Blues re-sign Jordan Binnington plus updates on Jake Gardiner, Brock Boeser, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues yesterday avoided salary arbitration with goaltender Jordan Binnington. The two sides agreed to a two-year contract with an annual average value of $4.4 million. 

The St. Louis Blues re-sign Jordan Binnington to a two-year deal (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a very reasonable contract for Binnington. For the Blues, this doesn’t lock them in for too long with a player who has a  very short (albeit impressive) body of work in the NHL. It also doesn’t put a big dent into their salary-cap payroll. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $7.1 million in cap room, with Joel Edmundson, Ivan Barbashev, and Oskar Sundqvist to re-sign.

For Binnington, it’s a healthy payraise over last season’s $650K. It also gives him the opportunity to become a UFA in two year’s time. If he builds upon this year’s performance, he’ll be in line for a more lucrative deal. 

NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz examines why defenseman Jake Gardiner remains available in the unrestricted free agent market. Gardiner’s recent back injury could be a legitimate concern among interested clubs. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In recent years it seems there’s always one player considered among the top UFAs who ends up taking longer to sign a contract, usually for much less than projected. That’s free agency under a hard salary cap.

When the free-agent market opens there’s usually several teams with plenty of money pursuing the top talent. Within a couple of days, however, most of the best players are signed and there aren’t as many teams with the cap space to invest in the remaining UFA talent. It’s almost like musical chairs. Now that the music has stopped, Gardiner finds himself without a seat. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton looks at what it might take for the Vancouver Canucks to get Brock Boeser under contract. The restricted free agent winger could get around $7.5 million per season. 

SPORTSDAY: The Dallas Stars offseason moves have received high grades from many NHL observers. Their additions include Joe Pavelski, Corey Perry, and Andrej Sekera. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knights owner Tom Foley hopes to build a new aircraft hangar “to upgrade the way the executives behind the franchise and other companies he’s tied to travel.”

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 13, 2019

The Hurricanes sign Ryan Dzingel, the Flyers re-sign Scott Laughton, and the Blues re-up Robby Fabbri. Details on these and other signings in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes yesterday signed free-agent winger Ryan Dzingel to a two-year, $6.75-million contract. 

The Carolina Hurricanes signed winger Ryan Dzingel to a two-year contract (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The annual average value is $3.375 million, which is considerably less than the $5-million AAV Dzingel reportedly sought from the Ottawa Senators earlier this season. It’s a cost-effective short-term deal that could pay significant offenseive dividends for the Hurricanes. 

Dzingel had a career-high 56 points split between the Senators and Columbus Blue Jackets. However, his production and ice time declined following his trade to the Jackets. Dzingel said he’s looking forward to playing with the Hurricanes because coach Rod Brind’Amour plays an up-tempo system that favors his style of play.  

NBC SPORTS: The Philadelphia Flyers avoided arbitration with forward Scott Laughton by signing him to a two-year, $4.6-million deal. 

WGR 550: Center Johan Larsson signed his one-year qualifying offer ($1.55 million) with the Buffalo Sabres.

NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues re-signed forward Robby Fabbri to a one-year, $900K contract. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed winger Adam Johnson to a one-year, two-way deal worth $700K at the NHL level. 

NHL.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets has brought back Craig Hartsburg as an amateur scout and defense development coach. Former NHL goaltender Niklas Backstrom joins the Jackets as their European goaltending coach.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 12, 2019

Phil Kessel sparks a surge in Coyotes ticket sales, the latest contract signings, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: The Coyotes’ recent acquisition of Phil Kessel sparked a 600 percent surge in tickets sales for the week following the trade compared to the same week a year ago. That included a 550 percent spike in season-ticket sale. 

After acquiring Phil Kessel, the Arizona Coyotes saw a spike in ticket sales (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been years since the Coyotes had an established sniper like Kessel. They’re hoping he’ll provide a much-needed scoring boost that propels them into the playoffs for the first time since 2012. If he does, the Coyotes can expect a healthier surge in season-ticket sales next summer. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens yesterday avoided salary arbitration with forwards Joel Armia and Artturi Lehkonen, signing each to two-year contracts. Armia’s deal is worth $5.2 million ($2.6-million annual average value) while Lehkonen’s is worth $4.8 million ($2.4 million AAV). The Habs now have over $4.84 million in cap space. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Habs still have plenty of wiggle room if they want to bolster their left-side defense or bring in another scoring forward via trade. They could also make another depth signing via free agency. 

SPORTSDAY: The Dallas Stars re-signed center Jason Dickinson to a two-year, $3-million contract. 

NBC SPORTS: The San Jose Sharks re-signed centers Dylan Gambrell and Antti Suomela. Gambrell got a two-year deal and Suomela one year. Each have an annual average value of $700K. Gambrell’s deal is a two-way in the first year and one-way in the second. 

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks signed defenseman Michael Del Zotto to a one-year, $750K contract. 

VANCOUVER SUN: Alex Burrows will join the Canucks’ Ring of Honour on December 3. He spent 12 seasons in Vancouver. 

NBC SPORTS: Paul Holmgren is no longer the team president of the Philadelphia Flyers. He’s now a senior advisor to Comcast Spectacor chairman and CEO Dave Scott. General manager Chuck Fletcher takes over from Holmgren as president. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers hired Tyler Wright as their new director of amateur scouting. Wright held the same position with the Detroit Red Wings. Archie Henderson was also hired to be their new director of pro scouting. 

NHL Early Look: What Can The Blues Do For An Encore?


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 11, 2019

Matt Cullen announced his retirement, the Vancouver Canucks sign Micheal Ferland, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: After 1,516 games and three Stanley Cup championships, center Matt Cullen yesterday announced his retirement. The 42-year-old spent 21 seasons in the NHL with eight teams. He began his career in 1997-98 with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and moved on to the Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, and Pittsburgh Penguins. He won his first Cup with the Hurricanes and two with the Penguins. 

Matt Cullen retires after 21 NHL seasons (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Cullen and his family in their future endeavours. He was a well-respected, hardworking checking forward and mentor to his younger teammates as his career progressed.

Cullen sits second to Chris Chelios for most games played by an American-born player. He tallied 266 goals and 731 points, as well as 58 points in 132 playoff contests. Check out the Penguins’ video tribute to Cullen.  

NBC SPORTS: With Cullen’s retirement, Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara becomes the NHL’s oldest active player. Chara turned 42 on March 18 and is 136 days younger than Cullen. 

TSN: The Vancouver Canucks yesterday signed free-agent winger Micheal Ferland to a four-year, $14-million contract. The annual average value is $3.5 milion. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks got Ferland at a bargain. Earlier this year, he was reportedly seeking a contract comparable to Washington’s Tom Wilson. The 27-year-old winger is a feisty forward coming off back-to-back 40-point campaigns.

Ferland’s injury history, however, could be a problem. He struggled to return to form after suffering a concussion early last season. If he can stay reasonably healthy he should be a good addition to the young Canucks.

The Ferland signing leaves the Canucks squeezed for sufficient salary-cap space to re-sign Brock Boeser and Nikolay Goldobin. I’ll have more on that later this morning in the Rumor Mill. 

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings avoided salary arbitration with forward Alex Iafallo, re-signing him to a two-year contract worth over $2.4 million annually. 

THE SCORE: In a recent interview, former Toronto Maple Leafs winger Joffrey Lupul talked injuries, loss of confidence, and stress that brought about the end of his playing career. The Leafs placed Lupul on long-term injury reserve before the 2016-17 season and would later buy out the remainder of his contract. At the time, Lupul claimed he hadn’t failed his physical and accused the Leafs of cheating, though he subsequently retracted those comments and apologized. He now admits his injury woes contributed to the decline of his play, which also affected his confidence. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former Canadiens defenseman and assistant coach J.J. Daigneault is the new head coach of the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads. 

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Ryan Warsofsky was named the new head coach of the Charlotte Checkers, the AHL affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 10, 2019

The salary arbitration hearing dates are released, the Sabres trade Alexander Nylander to the Blackhawks, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHLPA: The 2019 salary-arbitration schedule was released yesterday. 

St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington’s salary-arbitration hearing is set for July 20 (Photo via NHL Images).

July 20

Joel Armia

Jordan Binnington

Jason Dickinson

Alex Iafallo

Brock McGinn

Malcolm Subban *

July 21

Andrew Copp

July 22

Zach Aston-Reese

Christian Djoos

Ville Husso

MacKenzie Weegar

July 23

Evan Rodrigues 

July 24

Neal Pionk

Oskar Sundqvist

July 25

Connor Carrick

Jacob Trouba

July 26

Colton Sissons 

July 27

Sam Bennett

Chase DeLeo

July 28

Mirco Mueller

July 29

Pavel Buchnevich

David Rittich

July 30

Scott Laughton 

July 31

J.T. Compher

August 1

Remi Elie

Ryan Lomberg

Chandler Stephenson

August 2

Will Butcher

Charles Hudon

Linus Ullmark

August 3

Danton Heinen

Artturi Lehkonen 

August 4

Sheldon Dries

Joel Edmundson

Anton Forsberg

Rocco Grimaldi

Jake McCabe

Rinat Valiev 

NOTE: * indicates a settlement

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Scratch Boston Bruins winger Danton Heinen and Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Malcolm Subban from this list. Heinen signed a two-year deal with the Bruins worth an annual average value of $2.8 million. The Golden Knights signed Subban to a one-year, $850K contract. 

WGR 550/CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Buffalo Sabres yesterday traded forward Alexander Nylander to the Chicago Blackhawks for defenseman Henri Jokiharju.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nylander, the eighth overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, had a disappointing tenure with the Sabres, netting just six points in 19 games. Perhaps a fresh start with the Blackhawks can get his once-promising career on track.

Jokiharju, selected 29th overall in the 2017 draft, had a promising start with the Blackhawks but was returned to the minors midway through last season. His addition to an increasingly crowded Sabres blueline will stoke speculation that they’re planning to move another defenseman for a forward. 

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche signed head coach Jared Bednar to a two-year contract extension. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise here. Bednar’s done a fine job helping turn the Avalanche from a bottom-feeder into a rising power in the Western Conference.

SPORTSDAY: The Dallas Stars re-signed defensemen Gavin Bayreuther and Dillon Heatherington to one-year, two-way contracts.

SPORTSNET: Former Edmonton Oilers forward Ty Rattie has signed a one-year contract with KHL team Lokomotiv. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The NHL could shorten the free-agent interview period and move the start date for free agency up from July 1. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will require approval by the league and the NHL Players Association. The two sides are believed engaged in discussions regarding a new collective bargaining agreement. Perhaps shortening the interview period and tying the free-agency start date to the draft, as suggested in the article, will be part of the next CBA. 

THE TENNESSEAN: Former Nashville Predators captain Greg Johnson died Monday in his Michigan home. He was 48. An original member of the Predators, he played seven seasons in Nashville and was their captain from 2002-03 to 2005-06. Johnson also played with the Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Chicago Blackhawks, amassing 145 goals and 369 points in 785 career regular-season games. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Johnson’s family, friends, and former teammates. No cause of death was given. Johnson’s career ended in 2006 after an irregular heartbeat was detected during a physical examination.