NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 29, 2018

by | Jul 29, 2018 | News, NHL | 4 comments

Rangers re-sign Brady Skjei, list of remaining arbitration hearings, reviewing the Islanders offseason moves and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers avoided salary arbitration with defenseman Brady Skjei as the two sides agreed to a six-year, $31.5-million contract. The annual average value is $5.25 million.

New York Rangers re-sign defenseman Brady Skjei to a six-year deal (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This signing reflects the faith Rangers management have in the 24-year-old Skjei, who has blossomed in just two seasons into a mobile top-four defenseman. He’s expected to start the coming season on the top pairing alongside Kevin Shattenkirk. If Skjei continues his anticipated development, this contract could turn into a bargain for the Rangers. 

NHLPA.COM: Only nine players remain scheduled for hearings entering the final week of the 2018 NHL salary-arbitration period.

Calgary Flames winger Garnet Hathaway’s hearing is slated for July 30, Ottawa Senators defenseman Cody Ceci and Dallas Stars center Gemel Smith have theirs on August 1, New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes and Nashville Predators winger Miikka Salomaki are slated for Aug. 2, Senators winger Matt Stone for Aug. 3 and Vegas Golden Knights’ center William Karlsson, Colorado Avalanche blueliner Patrik Nemeth and Rangers forward Ryan Spooner on Aug. 4.

NEWSDAY: New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello is getting mixed reviews for his offseason moves since taking over the role on June 5. He’s earned praise for overhauling the front office and coaching staff (including his hires of Barry Trotz as head coach and Mitch Korn as goaltending director) as well as his selections in the 2018 NHL Draft. However, his roster moves have drawn criticism, especially his free-agent signings of bottom-six forwards such as Leo Komarov and Valtteri Filppula, and his inability to bolster the blueline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I understand the unhappiness over Lamoriello’s roster moves but he had little choice. John Tavares, the club’s franchise player, opted to sign with Toronto and there really wasn’t any viable options via the trade or free agent markets to replace him. The loss of Tavares means the Isles are now forced into a transitional period as Lamoriello evaluates the roster in 2018-19.

He‘s opted to bring in checking-line depth while promoting Mathew Barzal and Brock Nelson into larger roles. The pickings were slim for decent free-agent defensemen and the cost of a top-four rearguard in the trade market was likely more than he was willing to pay right now. Bringing in goaltender Robin Lehner could improve the Isles between the pipes, especially under Korn’s tutelage.

The Islanders appear to be a long shot to reach the 2019 playoffs. Under Trotz’s coaching, however, they should be competitive in the coming season.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour is seeking $3 million for his North Raleigh home. 



  1. There is little Lou could do to mitigate the loss of Tavares. I like the signings of Filppula & Komorov. Both are solid 3rd line players who can kill penalties & slide up the roster if necessary for periods of time as injuries require.

    This isn’ t that bad a roster & the D is set, it didn’t need an addition. Pulock, Pelech & Mayfield are all ready for far greater roles & responsibilities, Aho & Toews are ready to see sheltered minutes & roles as injuries dictate playing big minutes in the AHL until needed.

    Move wingers around anyway you like but this is a decent roster, it should be in the hunt for a playoff spot, coming up short I assume but stranger things have happened.

    Lee, Brazil, Bailey.
    Beauvillier, Nelson, Eberle.
    Ladd, Filppula, Komorov.
    Martin, Cizikas, Clutterbuck.
    Spare. Johnson.

    Leddy, Boychuk.
    Pelech, Pulock.
    Hickey, Mayfield.
    ?, ?.

    Lehner, Greiss.

    This NYI team will play a far tighter more defensive structured system under Trots. The run & gun system employed by Weight will be a thing of the past. No way NYI gives up the most shots & goals against next season, like they did in 2017-18.

    • Barzal had some chemistry with his wingers… maybe you keep that trio entact

  2. Finally a report somewhat not chastising Lou for his signings of bottom 6 forwards.. This past free agent class (aside from JTSnake) were slim pickings especially at the Center position. Why waste top dollar on wingers like Neal or an older Center who has kind of underachieved (Stastny) the Trade market for O’Reilly was obviously costly, and forget about Karlsson. I like the patient approach for this year, assess what we have this year, and if we stink start selling off pending FA’s like Eberle and Nelson for draft assets, we have some good young wingers in thhe minors that can easy replace them if need be.

  3. I’ll say one thing for sure, the Islanders aren’t going to be fun to play against!