NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 19, 2019
The Flyers re-sign Kevin Hayes and acquire Justin Braun, the Lightning re-sign Braydon Coburn, plus updates on Joe Thornton, Vladimir Tarasenko, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
TSN/SPORTSNET: Bob McKenzie and John Shannon report the Philadelphia Flyers re-signed forward Kevin Hayes to a seven-year, $50-million contract. The annual average value is $7.14 million. Acquired from the Winnipeg Jets earlier this month, Hayes was slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I daresay more than a few NHL general managers are cursing Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher for this one. Fletcher gave up very little (a fifth-round pick) to acquire Hayes but gave up way too much re-signing him. The 27-year-old is a versatile forward who’s tallied over 40 points in four of the past five seasons, but he’s not worth over $7 million per season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fletcher continues to bolster his blueline, having shipped Radko Gudas to Washington last Friday for Matt Niskanen. Braun, 32, is an experienced shutdown defenseman. He and Niskanen bring experience and leadership to a young Flyers defense corps. With the Braun addition and Hayes signing, Cap Friendly indicates the Flyers have over $60 million invested in 16 players.
The Sharks, meanwhile, free up over $3 million in salary-cap space. Those savings could be put toward re-signing captain Joe Pavelski.
Speaking of the Sharks, Joe Thornton expressed his desire to return with the club next season. Like Pavelski, Thornton is slated to become a UFA. “I’m a Shark,” he said. “There’s one team, and it’s here.”
ESPN.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning re-signed defenseman Braydon Coburn to a two-year, $3.4-million contract extension. He was slated to become a UFA on July 1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A good, affordable signing by the Lightning. Coburn was a reliable presence on the Bolts blueline this season. The 34-year-old is taking a significant pay cut from his previous $3.7-million per season. As his career winds down, the Lightning is his best chance to win a Stanley Cup.
TSN: David Clarkson submitted his 16-team no-trade list to the Vegas Golden Knights, who hope to shop his contract this week. All but retired due to injury, Clarkson has a year remaining on his deal with an AAV of $5.25 million. The cap-strapped Golden Knight must free up salary-cap room to re-sign free agents such as William Karlsson.
NEW YORK POST: Goaltender Robin Lehner remains hopeful of re-signing with the New York Islanders. An unrestricted free agent on July 1, Lehner is up for the Vezina and Masterton trophies at tonight’s NHL Awards in Las Vegas.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the mutual willingness on both sides to get a deal done, I expect Lehner to be re-signed before his UFA eligibility date.
STLTODAY.COM: Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko suffered a shoulder injury during his club’s Stanley Cup run. It’s unclear if it’s the same shoulder that required surgery last year.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Forward Charles Hudon rejected the Canadiens’ qualifying offer. The club still retains his NHL rights.
TSN: Trent Yawney joins the Los Angeles Kings’ coaching staff.
SPORTSNET: The NHL salary cap for next season could be lower than projected. Elliotte Friedman believes the league and the PA will agree to tighten the cap for the next two seasons as they work toward a new collective bargaining agreement. A new US television agreement in 2021 could also factor into this decision.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The cap was projected to reach $83 million. There’s now talk it could be around $82 million. That will affect the efforts of cap-strapped clubs to retain key players this summer.