NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 4, 2017
Sabres signed Jack Eichel, Penguins & Canucks swing a trade and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Buffalo Sabres signed center Jack Eichel to an eight-year, $80-million contract extension. The new deal begins in 2018-19 and is worth an annual average value of $10 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise here, as it was rumored for months Eichel would get a long-term deal worth around $10 million annually. The second overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft, the 20-year-old center is considered the Sabres’ franchise player.
Yes, it’s an expensive extension for a young player still on his entry-level contract but I doubt he’ll have any difficulty justifying that deal. Eichel has considerable upside and has yet to hit his playing prime.
Following the signing, I saw some folks on Twitter criticizing the deal by noting Eichel hasn’t cracked 60 points in a season. That’s overlooking the fact he missed 21 games with a high-ankle sprain at the start of last season. He still finished with 57 points in 61 games, putting him close to a point-per-game pace. If he stays healthy this season, he should reach at least 80 points this season.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The NHL ruled the Chicago Blackhawks can place winger Marian Hossa on long-term injury reserve for this season. The veteran forward is sidelined with a skin condition related to his hockey gear. Once he’s placed on LTIR, the club can exceed this season’s $75 million cap ceiling to replace him up to his cap hit of $5.275 million.
The Blackhawks will today sign left wing Bryan Bickell to a one-day contract, allowing him to retire with the club. Bickell spent all but one season with the Hawks, winning two Stanley Cups. His career was ended by multiple sclerosis.
SPORTSNET: The league also ruled the Toronto Maple Leafs can placed sidelined winger Joffrey Lupul on LTIR. Lupul, who failed to pass his training-camp physical, also failed a second medical examination. His annual cap hit is $5.25 million.
TRIBLIVE.COM: The PIttsburgh Penguins traded defenseman Derrick Pouliot to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for defenseman Andrey Pedan and a fourth-round pick in the 2018 draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move provides Pouliot an opportunity for a fresh start. He struggled to crack the Penguins roster and could have a better opportunity with the rebuilding Canucks. There was some expectation the Penguins might use Pouliot as a trade chip to bring in a third-line center but GM Jim Rutherford is willing to stick with Greg McKegg and Carter Rowney centering the bottom two lines.
AZCENTRAL.COM: The Arizona Coyotes won’t have a captain for this season, opting instead for three alternates. A source said defensemen Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Niklas Hjalmarsson would be named alternates, with centers Derek Stepan and Brad Richardson and blueliner Alex Goligoski in the running for the third spot.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bit of a surprise move by the Coyotes. It was anticipated Ekman-Larsson will take over the captaincy from now-retired winger Shane Doan.
CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed gritty winger Tanner Glass to a one-year, $650K contract.
NBC SPORTS: Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson received a four-game suspension for boarding St. Louis Blues forward Sammy Blais.
THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche claimed defenseman Patrik Nemeth off waivers from the Dallas Stars.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights plucked goaltender Malcolm Subban off waivers from the Boston Bruins.