NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 16, 2019

by | Jun 16, 2019 | News, NHL | 29 comments

The Penguins trade Olli Maatta to the Blackhawks, and Dion Phaneuf and Andrew MacDonald are bought out. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW/CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Pittsburgh Penguins traded defenseman Olli Maatta to the Chicago Blackhawks for center Dominik Kuhan and a fifth-round pick in the upcoming NHL Draft. 

Pittsburgh Penguins trade defenseman Olli Maatta to the Chicago Blackhawks (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While most of the focus in the Penguins trade-rumor mill was on Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin, Maatta was also considered a potential trade candidate. He’d fallen out of favor with head coach Mike Sullivan and the Penguins had to free up salary-cap space.

Maatta makes over $4 million annually through 2021-22 while Kahun earns $925K for 2019-20. The move shed over $3 million for the Penguins, giving them over $6 million in cap space for next season. The Penguins also get back a decent player in Kahun. The 23-year-old is a speedy, versatile forward who can play center or wing and tallied 37 points as a rookie this season, all but two of those at even strength.

For the first time in years, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has plenty of salary cap space to work with. Maatta brings what should be an invaluable injection of youth and puck-moving skill to their blueline. While he struggled this season, he helped the Penguins win two Stanley Cup championships. Perhaps a change of scenery will help him regain his confidence. 

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings have bought out the contract of veteran defenseman Dion Phaneuf. He was due to earn $5.25-million per season from the Kings through 2020-21. Cap Friendly has the buyout breakdown for the Kings and Phaneuf’s former club, the Ottawa Senators.

CSNPHILLY.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers yesterday placed defenseman Andrew MacDonald on unconditional waivers to buy out the final season of his contract. MacDonald, 32, had one year remaining on his five-year contract with an annual average value of $5 million. Cap Friendly has the details of the buyout. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: These moves were unsurprising. Both blueliners are past their playing prime and carried too much salary. Still, I can see them signing affordable one- or two-year contracts with clubs seeking experienced depth and leadership on their bluelines.

There was speculation the Kings might also buy out center Jeff Carter. The Athletic’s Lisa Dillman reports Kings GM Rob Blake saying Phaneuf will be their only buyout this summer. 

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks raised concern over the NHL’s concussion protocol after Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk admitted he played through a concussion he suffered earlier in the postseason. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks isn’t the only person raising the alarm over the issue. Did DeBrusk hide his symptoms from team doctors? Was the coaching staff and management aware of his situation? If so, why did they allow him to continue playing? As my pal Scotty Wazz of The Face Off Hockey Show points out, this doesn’t reflect well on the league’s concussion program. 

STLTODAY.COM: Check out the photos of the St. Louis Blues’ Stanley Cup victory parade.


  1. Maata and speed in same sentence lol

    • Not a great return for Pitt
      other than cap space ..surprised they couldn’t get something of a better investment.
      This is what a Zaitsev trade should look like then…

      • Agree don’t like this trade for pit

      • @BB: Ya probably: More or less

      • Maata is slow and not progressing as a defensive!! I do like the trade for the Penguins!

  2. Speed and maatta don’t belong together in the same sentence. But pens got taken advantage of

    • Well, more speed than what the Blackhawks had on their blueline…;)

      • Ha!

      • Yup. “Speed” is variable for sure – a turtle would be a blur to a snail.

  3. Louie DeBrusk might be having a serious talk with his son. Given what we know of concussions and their long-term effects, Jake should have been in the press box, not on the ice.

  4. Lyle, – Does the league have any options to penalize DeBrusk? Is it likely?

    It is a dangerous precedent, and really stupid thing to do…

    • I’m not certain what the league will do. So far, there’s been silence from them on this. Hopefully, there will be some clarification soon.

      • Gee , I mentioned one time about Ottawa playing Karlsson hurt and then trading him. I got roasted by George because hockey players play hurt , that’s just the way it is. Oh and now I guess its different. Lmao

      • A Concussion is not “hurt” it’s incredible risk.
        A broken arm or nose will heal, brains… not so much.

  5. I thought, at 1st glance, Penguins did alright. Kahun definitely helps and they definitely need picks of any kind. watch Rutherford F things up again by signing Phanuef.

  6. Debrusk was allowed to play with an apparent ongoing concussion? I don’t know how all that happened BUT I do know, between this years playoff officiating and now this, a lot of questions will have to be answered between now and September

  7. First of all I would like to wish a Happy Father’s Day to all of the fathers here and to everybody’s father. I miss my father every day.

    Re: GMJR trade. I think he grossly blew the day yesterday. His first move yesterday; no ifs ands or buts; should have been to buy out JJ. The buyout would mean Pens Cap hit for him this fall would only be $270 K… YEP just $270 K…. per CapFriendly. There’s $3 M cleared in Cap space and an immediate gargantuan improvement to the team.

    Pens are in their window now with top 2 Cs being 32 and 33 this year. If JJ plays regularly for Pens next year they have ABSOLUTELY NO CHANCE at a cup next year…. NONE.

    JJ individually cost them 11 game points … they would have finished 2nd in the entire League …. they just can’t succeed with him.

    GMJR still has an opportunity to rectify this but this should have been his first move. Maata is slow but is leaps and bounds better than JJ in that he doesn’t individually cost the team game wins and individually cost his goalies shutouts.

    GMJR, today PLEASE buy out JJ.

    Re: Maata. Slow … yep. That said; I was not a Maata hater. The addition of an up and coming swift winger…. glad to have; but now that an LD has been moved out AND (as I’ve repeatedly said) Pens can’t win with JJ; then an acquisition of another LD MUST happen.

    The quote that Maata had fallen out of favour with Sullivan is puzzling to me… what about JJ…, he’s the only Pens D (correction …. only Pens player PERIOD) that should have been consistently “out of favour”… I’m perplexed.

    The return in trade… again I’m puzzled…. I do appreciate that the leverage in trade was with Bowman but just getting the extra 5th rounder (151st pick [originally the Bolts’]) was definitely not enough. That late a pick has very low likliehood of being a future NHLer.

    Chicago had ( and still has) a 2nd rounder (their own at pick at 43) and 2 fourths (their own …. at 105 AND Bruins’ [123]).

    At the very least GMJR should have got that pick 123 instead of 151 and I would argue more…. overall he got taken in the trade.

    One of my suggestions for the Pens…. immediately buyout JJ…. leaving them sitting very well in Cap and of course a much better team; replace JJ by signing UFA Benn …. basically same age (Benn a few months younger) but a MASSIVE uptick to the Pens D.

    I am still advocating for a Phil trade but Pens won’t need to get hosed in that trade (by including JJ) as they were going to be in that “temp “ Minny trade that got blocked by Phil.

    Rant done

    Again …. Happy Father’s Day

    • Pengy , you will like Kahun on the Pens , the kid has speed and skill.

      • Hi Fergy

        Sorry if I mistakenly conveyed my appreciation of his current skill and upside… I do like the addition for sure

        My point was more to the net in the trade ; I believe Bowman should have given up better than the really late 5th rounder…. Chi won that trade

        Pens still have JJ; so until that is resolved ; Rutherford is completely wasting what is left of Sid and Gino productive time

        I look forward to Kahun’s output for the Pens


    • PENGY.. I’M not a Matta hater.. but Rutherford did a nice job he is skilled, can fly, scored 13 goals on Chicago’s 4 line. How many 4th liners cored 13 goals in Pittsburgh???We get younger and now we are up to $6 million freed up for cap space.

      J.J. IS GOING don’t worry… that Minnesota deal is going to happen with or without KESSEL NVOLVED.

      GM Fenton Minnesota really likes Brian Rust or Patric hornqvist so the deal can and probably will happen with the exchange of bad contracts Jack Johnson and Victor Rask..

      lets say that deal goes through they take brian rust instead.. we shed jack Johnson.

      Rask was really good in Carolina for a couple years just didn’t work in Minnesota.

      We have added two 27 year old wingers…Zucker & Rask plus 23 year old Dominik Kahun from Chicago McCann Bjugstad still young, Guenztal’s young, Simon is young..ZAR is young.

      PLUS Hornqvist & kESSEL

      it will happen…

      also hearing Winnipeg is listening on Nikolai Ehhlers not sure why wouldn’t he look nice in Pittsburgh.

      To Winnipeg:
      32 Patric Hornqvist & 24 Dominick Simom + 24 Tristan Jarry + a 2nd round pick

      To Pittsburgh 23 year old Nikolai Elhers….

      • Kahun most comments linemates were Toews and DeBrincat…

      • Hi BlackNGold

        Hope your right (re JJ definitely moving)

        Not ad confident Minn will take him w/o Phil in deal

        Even if it was Rust and JJ for a 7th rounder I would move on it… $6.7 M in Cap freed up …. Rust replacement can be had in free agency

        I believe Horny has an 8 team NTC …. so can be traded …. no idea which teams he’s blocked

        As long as JJ goes …. I’m feeling much better

        Again …. without any trading ; team can improve at no extra cost( Cap or actual) this year with a buyout and a UFA replacement


      • So the question then is what does Rutherford do with all that cap space? Now after the Maatta trade they have $6M? Would signing Gardiner or Myers be a smart move? Or another UFA dman. If they move Kessel now but have to take back some salary they could have over $10M. Anyone hear rumours of who JR wants to sign?

  8. I also like the trade for the Pens.
    And I agree that the Pens should buy out JJ. I was surprised how “cheap” the buy out would be for the Pens respectively how low the cap hit would be.

    Kahun has a performance bonus of max. $2,850,000. Does that bonus depend on games played? If this is the case, his cap hit is the same as Maata’s. But do the $2,850,000 count against this season’s cap or will it be added to next season’s?

    • Juss 76…what is the cap hit and buyout for jack Johnson?

  9. This much is for certain Debrusk wasn’t the same player after the Kadri cross check to the face.
    I was waiting for the injuries to be announced at season end, I figured he had some type of injury and suspected a concussion based on his unwillingness to play his game.
    If this is true and Debrusk masked his symptoms, this is a very naive and stupid move by and eager young hockey players.
    However I thought the league had a program in place that a player wouldn’t be able to mask his symptoms, maybe a case of a player playing nervous after he received a head shot and made him more tentative to play his brand of hockey.
    If he was truly playing with a head injuring, then he need to be suspended for his own good. Hockey is such a short career and a small part of your life, protect the rest of it.

    • What about Chara playing with a broken jaw .That doesn’t make sense either. It is silly to think that it was alright for him to play. Tell me a blow to the face like that couldn’t have concussion problems down the road. Unfortunately hockey players are expected from a young age to play through injuries. We expect them to as fans.

  10. Pengy..j j is going…so is kessel. Kessel probably to Arizona.. i i either buyout or part of that trade to Minnesota with rust plus