NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 2, 2018

by | Jul 2, 2018 | News, NHL | 16 comments

Flames sign James Neal, an update on Henrik Zetterberg, Ryan McDonagh’s new contract, plus a roundup of other free agent signings and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPECTOR NOTE: Following this link for yesterday’s list of notable free-agent signings and this link for my analysis of the more noteworthy signings. 

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports the Calgary Flames have signed winger James Neal to a five-year deal worth an annual average value of roughly $5.75-million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Neal’s tallied 20-plus goals in each of his 10 NHL seasons and played a leadership role in the Vegas Golden Knights’ record-breaking inaugural campaign. His experience, physical style and leadership could make him a solid addition for the Flames. However, his production decreased over the past two seasons with Nashville and Vegas respectively. His physical style has also taken a toll, as he’s played over 71 games just one in the past five seasons. With Neal turning 31 in September, this new contract could become more costly over the final two years for the Flames.   

Detroit Red Wings management unsure if Henrik Zetterberg will be healthy enough to play next season (Photo via NHL Images)

  MLIVE.COM:  Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland isn’t certain if captain Henrik Zetterberg will be able to play next season. Holland said the last time he spoke to Zetterberg, the 37-year-old center said he’s planning on playing. However, his health will determine if he returns to action.

Zetterberg has a history of back injuries and underwent major surgery in 2014. Holland said he’ll remain in touch with his captain throughout the summer.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning yesterday re-signed defenseman Ryan McDonagh to a seven-year extension worth $47 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDonagh will be 30 when his new contract kicks in next summer. He’s a solid all-around defenseman but that deal could become a millstone for the Lightning over the latter years of the deal. McDonagh’s style of play takes a toll upon his body, one that could hamper his effectiveness as he ages. He also seemed to struggle at times against swifter opponents during the 2018 playoffs. 

THE ATHLETIC: Defenseman Jack Johnson found himself in hot water with Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella over his comment that he was happy to join a team with a winning culture during his press conference yesterday to announce his signing with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Tortorella blasted the former Jackets defenseman, calling those remarks a slap in the face after all the organization had done to support him. Johnson said his misspoke, never intended any insult and called Jackets president John Davidson to apologize.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The Rangers re-signed forward Vladislav Namestnikov to a two-year deal worth $4 million per season and inked former Ottawa Senators defenseman Fredrik Claesson to a one-year, $700,000 deal.

SPORTSNET: The New York Islanders signed center Valtteri Filppula to a one-year contract. Cap Friendly indicates it’s worth $2.75 million.

NHL.COM: The Vancouver Canucks re-signed forward Sven Baertschi to a three-year deal with an AAV of $3.367M.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Matt Cullen is returning to the Pittsburgh Penguins, as the 41-year-old center inked a one-year worth $650K

LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS: The Anaheim Ducks inked defenseman Luke Schenn to a one-year, $800K contract.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres re-signed winger Scott Wilson to a two-year, $2.1-million contract. 

NBC SPORTS: The Washington Capitals signed center Nic Dowd to a one-year, $650K deal.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: The Florida Panthers added goaltender Michael Hutchinson as he agreed to a one-year, two-way contract worth $1.3 million.

NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils inked defenseman Eric Gryba to a one-year, two-way deal worth $750K at the NHL level.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets signed goaltender Laurent Brossoit to a one-year, one-way contract worth $650K



  1. Outside of the Tavares drama, pretty boring day. JVR to Philly to me was one of the bigger signings. A lot of teams picked up players , but also lost some.Hany news on Erik Karlsson ? Reports that he was offered new contract.

    • I’ll have an update on Karlsson shortly in the Rumors section.

    • Really, I found it exceptionally interesting. Numerous odd things happened, Tavares went to Tor, ROR got traded. What does it take to perk up your interest?

      I don’t just look at the day though but the lead up to it also tying in the draft. It will take me weeks to sift through all the changes & start to get some summer wagers in. While the bookies are as confused as anyone else.

      • Chacun a son gout. Two squirrels chasing each other around the maple tree caught my eye and I found that more interesting.

  2. Kind of agree with Torts on this one.

    • Probably, a lot of fans don’t know the entire story on Johnson and the Jackets. About a month before the trade deadline, Johnson asked for a trade to, as he claimed, get more ice time so that he’d have a better chance to get a lucrative contract. (Side note: Johnson had to file for bankruptcy a couple years ago because his parents spent his salary instead of investing it.) Torts had a long talk with Johnson and the issue seemed settled. Even so, it was a blatant example of Johnson putting himself ahead of the team. So, say what you want about Torts as a coach, he did work to maintain team harmony and Johnson’s remark is a slap in the face of the team who backed him for years.

      • Has Torts ever worried about team harmony? No team he has ever coached had such. It’s the whip & a sharp tongue if you don’t like it or agree.

        Johnson misspoke it blew up. He actually apologised as it came across different than he meant it to.

        I’m happy for Johnson. He gets out from under Torts thumb. His own parents stole his money. Thankfully his bankruptcy situation was only tied to his last contract & this 1 will allow him to set himself up for life.

        Johnson didn’t deserve to be benched due to his play as you will see when he plays for Pit. He should make for a solid 4/5 option & gets to close out his career with 1 of his best friends Crosby. I’m happy for him.

  3. There is only ONE team out of 31 in the NHL that has NEVER won a playoff series. They have made the playoffs 4 times in 18 years.

    Does that sound like a winning culture to you?

    Torts and Jarmo are like fat chicks who get upset when someone calls them chubby.

    Dear Jarmo,

    No one is saying that you don’t WANT to win. They are implying that you don’t know HOW to win.

    You evidently didn’t know to not kick a player on his way out the door. No matter how true, players take notice of things like that. It’s a dumb, dumb thing for a team to do.

    He’s older than the others, but Jack Johnson comes to the Penguins with FAR more pedigree and career success than their other reclamation projects.

    Ian Cole, Trevor Daley, Justin Schultz and Jamie Oleksiak were all considered garbage when the Pens got them. They did pretty well.

  4. What a crock of S–t. Zetterberg has played 82 games 3 seasons in a row & 77 following the surgery in 2014.

    This is age & contract related. Ironically his front-loaded contract. Zetterberg’s contract drops from 7 mil in actual salary last season to 3.35 this season & then 2 in the final 2 years. The fact the NHL is allowing this BS to happen is embarrassing. It undermines the whole purpose of the annual cap hit if they keep letting teams potentially bury these caps when front-end loaded.

    I assume Zetterberg will play 1 more season then walk on those last 2 seasons at a mil per in real money.

    It’s a joke. These players shouldn’t be allowed to be put on LTIR. Robidas, Lupul, Hossa & soon to be Zetterberg.

    • Sorry, should read & 1 mil in each of the final 2 seasons.

      • Don’t agree with that at all. The team owners wanted a salary cap and were happy to give up an entire season to get it. The players have followed the rules and the league has cost certainty. What’s the problem?
        As a wise man has said repeatedly, no one has put a gun to the owners’ heads to make these offers. Play on, man.

    • from a league perspective I don’t see an issue. But what about the insurance companies paying the teams insurance due to the players not being able to play? How does insurance fraud not play into this?

    • Hossa isn’t being just “Buried” for cap relief. He has a legit ailment and medically cannot play. Hossa would be playing I’m sure if he was able to.

      Lupul, Robidas… well that’s an entirely different story…

      • he’s got crotch rot on his hands… seriously? slap some cream on those suckers and man up.

      • Just a reminder to always wash your hands…

        Seriously, I am not a doctor so I can’t judge but apparently it was pretty bad. It was looked at and legitimized so…..? It is what it is?

      • fyi I was being sarcastic.