NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 26, 2017
Update on Mike Fisher, roundup of latest contract signings & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators general manager David Poile hopes to have an update on the status captain Mike Fisher by next week. Fisher, 37, is an unrestricted free agent. He’s yet to decide if he’ll return with the Predators for another season or retire.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fisher has a solid performance last season, netting 42 points in 72 regular-season games. However, he was held to just four points during the Predators’ run to the Stanley Cup Final. Given how close the Preds came to winning the Cup, Fisher could decide to return for one more shot at a championship.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The Rangers avoided salary arbitration with center Mika Zibanejad by re-signing him to a five-year, $26.75 million contract. The annual average value is $5.35 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Derek Stepan traded away to Arizona last month, Zibanejad gets the opportunity to become a full-time first-line center. A broken fibula limited him to 14 goals and 37 points in 56 games last season, but he had nine points in 12 playoff games. The 24-year-old made steady improvement prior to last season, reaching 51 points in 2015-16, his final campaign with the Ottawa Senators.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres re-signed goaltender Robin Lehner to a one-year, $4 million contract. He was scheduled for an arbitration hearing on July 31.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report notes Lehner set career highs in games played (59), wins (23) and shutouts (two) while posting the ninth-best save percentage (.920) by a Sabres goalie with 40-plus games played. However, he’s also been dogged by injuries throughout his career. This deal seems to be a “show me” contract by Sabres management. If Lehner fails to build upon his 2016-17 performance or is once again sidelined for a significant period, this could be his final season with the Sabres.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Mark Streit to a one-year, bonus-laden contract. He’ll earn a base salary of $700K with $300K in bonuses.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is an affordable depth move by the Canadiens. Streit, 39, began his NHL career in Montreal. At this stage in his career, he’s no longer a top-pairing defenseman and is best suited as a third-pairing blueliner. It’ll be interesting to see if this means the Habs have given up trying to bring back Andrei Markov.
NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils re-signed defenseman Mirco Mueller to a two-year, $1.7 million contract.
TSN’s Rick Westhead reports lawyers for the NHL and former players will begin arguments in court on Oct. 11 if the concussion case filed by those players should be a class-action suit. If certified as class action, some 5,000 former players would automatically become plaintiffs, except for those who opt out.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chuck Greenberg, the prospective buyer of the Carolina Hurricanes, was in Raleigh on Monday for what he called a fact-finding trip. Greenberg is part of an ownership group that submitted a non-binding letter of intent to purchase the Hurricanes for $500 million.