NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 4, 2018
Islanders sign Robin Lehner and acquire Matt Martin, Hurricanes sign Calvin de Haan and Nail Yakupov heading to the KHL. Details and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders yesterday signed unrestricted free agent goaltender Robin Lehner to a one-year, $1.5-million contract and re-acquired winger Matt Martin from the Toronto Maple Leafs for goalie prospect Eamon McAdam.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello is doing what he can to plug the holes in his roster with the slim pickings available to him via free agency and the trade market.
Lehner’s posted up respectable numbers over the past three years backstopping a lousy Buffalo Sabres club but it remains to be seen if he’ll be a significant improvement over Thomas Greiss and the departed Jaroslav Halak. Martin will bring back a physical style to the Isles that’s been missing since he signed with the Leafs two years ago.
The Leafs, meanwhile, shed Martin’s $2.5-million annual cap hit, freeing up room additional space to re-sign restricted free agent William Nylander and perhaps address their need to bolster their defense corps.
SPORTSNET: The Carolina Hurricanes signed former Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan to a four-year, $18.2-million contract. Hurricanes GM Don Waddell believes de Haan’s two-way play will “help solidify the left side and upgrade our defence”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This signing could also set the stage for a trade of Justin Faulk. More on that later this morning in the Rumors section.
TSN: Nail Yakupov, the first-overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, has signed a two-year deal with the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In the wake of this news, I’ve seen several pundits praise Yakupov’s speed, shot and personality but blame his “lack of hockey sense” for his poor NHL career. That’s as may be, but I think the revolving door of coaches and the culture of losing he played under during most of his four seasons with the Edmonton Oilers did him no favors. He was pretty much damaged goods by the time he joined the St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets star Patrik Laine “helped calm some kids Monday night who were frightened by a drunken passenger causing a disturbance aboard a flight from Malaga, Spain to Helsinki.” Laine lightened the mood by talking to the youngsters, posing for photos and signing some autographs, helping each child to relax.
BOSTON GLOBE: The Bruins re-signed forward Sean Kuraly to a three-year contract worth $1.25 million per season.
ARIZONA SPORTS: The Arizona Coyotes signed center Brad Richardson to a two-year, $2.5-million contract.
STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues re-signed forward Robby Fabbri to a one-year, $925K contract.