NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 20, 2017

by | Jul 20, 2017 | News, NHL | 11 comments

Buffalo Sabres winger Kyle Okposo will skate in a summer league in Minnesota.

Latest on Kyle Okposo, Colton Parayko and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Colton Parayko has his arbitration hearing today. Parayko seeks a one-year, $4.85 million contract while the Blues countered with two-year proposals of $3.4 million and $3.6 million annually. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given Parayko’s value to the Blues defense corps, I’ll be surprised if they gets settled by an arbiter. I can see the two sides settling on a multi-year deal worth around $4 million annually. Parayko isn’t the only player slated for arbitration today. Also on the docket are the Detroit Red Wings and forward Tomas Tatar.

**UPDATE** The Blues avoided arbitration this morning with Parayko, re-signing him to a five-year, $27.5 million contract. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Told you Parayko wouldn’t go before arbitration. His annual cap hit is higher ($5.5 million) than I expected but this is still a worthwhile contract for the Blues, locking up a rising young blueline star to a reasonable long-term deal. In just two seasons, the 24-year-old emerged as an invaluable part of the Blues’ defense corps. He finished last season with 35 points and logged over 21 minutes of ice time per game. 

 WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres winger Kyle Okposo is returning to the ice for the first time since a health scare on March 27. He’ll be skating with several current and former NHL players in a four-on-four summer league in Minnesota. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This bodes well for Okposo’s anticipated return to NHL action in 2017-18.


SPORTSNET’s Elliotte Friedman reported  the Ottawa Senators are pitching a one-year, $1-million contract proposal to forward Ryan Dzingel, who’s seeking a one-year, $1.95 million deal. His arbitration hearing is slated for July 21. 

SUN SENTINEL: The Florida Panthers signed 2017 first-round pick (tenth overall) Owen Tippett to a three-year entry-level contract. 

NBC SPORTS: Tampa Bay Lightning hired former NHL defenseman Ken Klee as an assistant coach with their AHL affiliate in Syracuse.

SPORTSNET: The AHL is allowing players on minor league contracts to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the NHL remains firm in its decision not to take part in the ’18 Winter Games ( and I don’t see suggesting otherwise), I’m assuming players in the AHL on two-way NHL contracts will be considered ineligible. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Financial news website Wall St. 24/7 published a report claiming the Carolina Hurricanes saw a 32 percent drop in attendance over the past 10 years. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Missing the playoffs nine times in that decade undoubtedly contributed to that decline. With rare exceptions (hello there, Edmonton and Toronto), fans will not turn out to support a perennial loser. And no, that’s not a shot at fans of those two markets. Merely pointing out the obvious.

That’s also not a knock against Carolina hockey supporters. In most markets, fans will stop coming if the team shows no sign of improvement over a prolonged period of time. You’ve gotta give your fans something worth coming out for. For the past decade, Hurricanes followers have had little to cheer about. 



  1. I believe any southern US market would suffer with that type of perennial losing team. There is WAY too much competition in the South US markets. And WAY too little love for the NHL in the south generally speaking. Tampa is pretty much the sole exception, and possibly Nashville.

    • You can often fire a cannon off in some U.S. MLB parks and not hit anyone as well, and while that’s not the case with the NFL and the Carolina Panthers where they are almost always sold-out, I don’t follow the NBA at all so I can’t say if attendance is a problem there.

      But the big difference for franchise survival in MLB and Charlotte Hornets and the rest of the NBA are the TV deals the leagues receive in the U.S. compared to Canada. What MLB and NBA teams share in TV deals in the States dwarfs the comparative loose change picked up by NHL teams. That hurts teams like the Hurricanes, Panthers, Coyotes and who knows, might have impacted the Predators as well had they not built a competitive team by their 6th season in 2003-04.

      • The problem for the MLB, NBA and even some NFL teams (Jaguars) is the absolute love of all things NCAA (all things BUT hockey). It would be almost impossible to find 3 hockey fans on any given night in a sports bar in most of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee etc. It’s just not part of the culture. Most don’t even get the game or care to understand it. Nashville is growing at such a fast pace and luring in NY’ers, NJ, Connecticut Michigan natives it just may work there long term.

        It will have to grow much like Tampa did. I was going to Tampa games in the late 90’s and unless NY, Detroit, Toronto, Montreal were in town, it was a ghost town in those buildings. But ultimately it caught on.

      • I will be surprised if Nashville has the same fervor among residents if they miss the playoffs 1 or 2 years in a row.
        Their fans are people looking for entertainment, because that’s the culture there. I dont know it’s reasonable to think they can sustain this level of devotion among the people coming when they have so many other entertainment options the moment the Preds aren’t hot.

  2. Tampa was TERRIBLE in the late 90’s. But like I said, people would flood in to see the larger market teams they grew up cheering for. I can see Nashville having the same type of transient type of population to make it work….. in the long term. Much like it took Tampa.

  3. It”s hard to expect anything but declining attendance when a perennially losing hockey team leads the NHL in percentage of increase of average ticker price over the last 3 years at 63.19%, Even so, the average cost os a Hurricanes ticket, $101.31, is a paltry sum when compared to the aaveraage cost of a Leafs ticket, $377.71. I doubt that there will be markets other than Toronto that can sell hockey at that price any time soon.

    These figures are according to tickeriQ blog.

  4. Parayko get 5.5*5! How often does a deal come in that is 30% higher than either sides ask? Strange but if anyone is worth that it’s him his future is bright and he’s a monster.

  5. Hi Spector, thought you should know: the large icon links (Latest News, Recent Rumors, etc.) and the small print links in the header (News, Rumors, etc.) are linking to posts from July 12 – at least for me. I can only access recent posts from your homepage. Love reading your updates, though!

    • Thanks for pointing this out, the problem should be rectified now.

  6. Question for you Lyle, the Blues opted to trade Shattenkirk, in part to make room for Parayko on the 2nd pair. They now get Parayko at 5.5M while Shatty is in NY at 6.65M. I’d think they are quite happy with Parayko at that price plus the haul they got for Shatty (Sanford and a 1st rounder), your thoughts?

    • Well, Colin, as I noted in my comments above, I think this is a worthwhile signing for the Blues. And yes, they should be happy with the return for Shattenkirk from the Capitals.