NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 23, 2019

by | Jun 23, 2019 | News, NHL | 27 comments

The 2019-20 salary cap limits finally revealed, Leafs close to re-signing Kapanen and Johnsson, plus updates on Sergei Bobrovsky, Artemi Panarin, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The league finally released the salary-cap limits for 2019-20. The upper level will be $81.5 million and the minimum is $60.2 million. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As rumored, the upper level is $1.5 million less than the projected $83 million. Cap-strapped teams like the Vegas Golden Knights, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Edmonton Oilers (stick tap to Cap Friendly) could be forced to make cost-cutting trades this summer. 

The 2019 NHL draft was completed yesterday. USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team made history with a record 17 players selected. 

TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs are reportedly close to re-signing winger Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson. Kapanen is expected to get a three-year deal worth $3.2 million per season while Johnsson will receive four years at $3.4 million per. The deals, however, won’t be finalized until their salary-cap situation is clarified.

The Toronto Maple Leafs reportedly have new contracts in place for wingers Kasperi Kapanen (above, photo via NHL Images) and Andreas Johnsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, once the Leafs sort out Mitch Marner’s contract situation, they’ll formally announce those new contracts.

Not surprising those two are getting affordable deals. Each reached the 20-goal plateau for the first time but they’re coming out of their entry-level deals and had almost no leverage. The odds were low of one of them receiving an offer sheet. If necessary, those contracts would also be easy to move. 

Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will meet with the Florida Panthers tomorrow. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with TSN’s Bob McKenzie that Bobrovsky could be the Panthers’ priority. They desperately need a reliable starting goaltender. They’ve already got a proven top-line left wing in Jonathan Huberdeau. Panarin a luxury they don’t need, especially when they also need another top-four defenseman. 

NEW YORK POST: Islanders captain Anders Lee isn’t happy that he doesn’t have a new contract yet. “I didn’t think we’d get to this point,” Lee told NHL.com. “The process hasn’t … I haven’t enjoyed it, but it is what it is. We want to make sure that everything is done right and it’s right for both of us, for both sides. I hope it works out. They’re working on it right now.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Term, not dollars, is the sticking point. The Isles are reportedly willing to go to five years but Lee wants six or seven. The UFA interview period begins today and Lee and his agent can speak with other clubs if they wish. It’s rumored the Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild could be interested in talking to him.

NHL.COM:  Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill confirms winger Mats Zuccarello intends to test the UFA market on July 1. However, he could still sign with the Stars. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like Zuccarello will fish for the best offer on the open market and see if the Stars will match it. 

THE TENNESSEAN’s Paul Skrbina took to Twitter reporting the Nashville Predators won’t be re-signing pending UFAs Wayne Simmonds, Zac Rinaldo, and Cody McLeod. It also doesn’t sound like Brian Boyle will be back but GM David Poile has met with his agent. 

NHL.COM: The Chicago Blackhawks acquired forward John Quenneville from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for forward John Hayden. 

SPORTSNET: The Vancouver Canucks traded forward Tom Pyatt and a sixth-round pick to the San Jose Sharks for Francis Perron and a seventh-round selection. 


  1. I’m surprised Kapanen and Johnsson arnt getting more money. I’d a thunk they would have been closer to the 4-5 range.

    • Hayes –> 7.1M

      Kapanen –> 3.5M

      • Ufa vs rfa but you kinda make my point

    • Yes considering what Nylander got last year. All three came off 20g seasons. Bad agent(s) didn’t make their player hold out for more.

      • You’d think they would at least see if an rfa offer sheet is out there

  2. Could Matthew Tkachuk be headed to Ottawa? Has anyone heard the rumour that Dorion is trying to reunite Matthew with his brother Brady whether through trade or possibly an offer sheet?

    • @Steve: Now if Dorion could pull that potential trade off, I know their Mom would be ecstatic but to any Eastern conference as a rival, no thanks !!

    • Haven’t heard/read any rumblings about that in local media Steve. I suspect any such chatter is fan-based and stems from the fact his brother is here and that Calgary – like a lot of teams – finds themselves in a bit of a cap bind of their own. So, hope springs eternal.

      While I doubt that that’s in the cards, looking at their cap situation you realize something has to happen along those lines. They have 19 players signed with cap spaces of $12,958,292 to sign 4. On the surface that looks very doable – except that RFAs Matthews (currently $1,775,000) and Bennett ($1,950,000) are going to come in respectively at anywhere from $7 mil to $4.5 mil depending upon which source you believe, and those two alone could wind up eating $10 or 11 million of that cap space. Then they still have to sign 2 goalies with RFA Rittich (45gp 2.67 gaa/0.911 save % ) seeking a big boost from his $800,000 and either re-re-signing UFA Smith ($5,666,667 – 42gp 2.73 gaa/0.898 save %) or finding a less costly but suitable replacement.

  3. Curious to see how Panthers would sign both Bobrovsky and Panarin. They currently have 15 players signed and 20.5 mil in cap space. Bob and Panarin could eat up most of that. Figuring Bob will replace Luongo on roster, they’ll still need to fill about 6-7 spots with very little money left. Would definayely need to make some trades where they get back 2 for the price of 1.

    • @Slick640 I think as Lyle stated, Bob is the priority while Panarin is the luxury

    • The move for the Panthers (for their sake’s) would be to sign both Bob and Panarin and then trade one of Huberdeau or (more likely) Hoffman for a second pairing D man.

      They’d be legit contenders at that point.

  4. Well having both Kappy & Andre under contract means to a rival GM anyways that they cant poach either of them at the expense of only a 2nd round pick whereas poaching Marner would you cost you 4 first round picks.

    Dubas paid the price yesterday on that Marleau but maybe he can recover that lost first round pick somehow

  5. Curious to see how Dubas manages to resolve the Marner contract. I think he should find a trade partner for Nylander; regardless of any perceived verbal agreement in place not to move him.

    I think it would be a mistake to trade Kadri as you he has a very affordable contract with term and has scored 30 goals twice so trading him say for a Dman would merely fill one hole while creating another, Doesn’t make sense to me.

    As I’ve said before with Kadri, I think he’s on strike 2 of 3 with TML; and I believe he will start the season with TML but he is on a short leash and he better improve a lot.

  6. Dater reporting avs meeting with the bread man as early as today…..not sure I believe it unless it’s on the beach lol

  7. Dubas loves to overpay and inflate prices for the entire league.

    It used to just be players, but now…

    A first round pick to eat just one year of a bad contract?

    I was positing that it might be worth the Pens while to offer up a first round pick and Patric Hornqvist to a team like Ottawa for a 2nd or a 3rd round pick. That’s a two round difference to eat five years of an iffy contract.

    Dubas paid far more for far less and blew up previous precedent in doing so.

    Looking more like a confused kid in over his head than a prodigy at this point.

    • @MG: To be fair: Lou was his mentor; and as a pupil, brilliant or not, your mentor is your Bible and to question the wisdom of your mentor, a legend as per say, is considered disrespectful.

      I don’t like the lost first round pick; but I respect what Dubas HAD to do to get out of that contract. Not really a Dubas fan but I appreciate the mess he’s in and do believe that Shanny somehow is on his side and I do believe both want a winner in Toronto; eventually !

      • Ya Dubas didn’t have many options. You can say he should have only traded Marleau for a 2nd or 3rd, but if he could have he would have.
        So, if nobody was willing to do that what would you have done MG? Not trade him? Then what?
        He was boxed in and took the best deal in the market.

      • It’s funny I don’t think anything Dubas does will be right . I actually think so far he hasn’t done to bad . He can’t worry about the rest of the teams, he can only worry about the Maple Leafs. They already have a salary cap to help the other teams.

    • The Horqvist thing was discussed in these threads a few days ago – bottom line, too old, on his final contract with too much term and which would negate any motivation to do anything but go through the motion while playing out the a string for a re-building team, for Dorion to be interested. He’s looking for veteran types in the 27-29 range with 1 or 2 years left on their deals from team that sim ply have to clear cap space.

      • Hi George agree re 27-29 year olds… preference on 2 years remaining and lacking a NMC or NTC… they then don’t have to be protected (in lieu of younger better players) in the June ‘21 expansion draft .

        I still think an excellent move would be taking on Clarkson’s contract…. Sens would only be on hook for $200 K but would get a prospect back and move the Cap needle towards the Cap floor

        Re Hornquist…. yes he is on the downside of his career…. but as I’ve said many many times…. that is not the first move Rutherford needs to make …. a buyout of a certain player immediately saves $3M in Cap and massively and immediately improves the team

        Leafs still in Cap hell…. move WW on July 2nd (receiving team gets top 6 winger and for some teams a top line winger for only $700 K in 19/20 and for < $5 M AAV for balance of contract) for a top 4 mid 20’s RHD … the cap will definitely be less than 7 and team D just improved substantially

      • Pengy – at this stage, with phone calls back and forth on the type of deals I mention, there is no rush to jump into a Clarkson-type arrangement just to reach the $60 mil minimum. That will sort itself out over the next few weeks. Meanwhile, there’s always the 1 year +team option on someone like Spezza to fall back on if those trades don’t pan out. There’s absolutely NO pressure on Dorion, as they realize that any “damage” to the fan base as a result of the Karlsson. Stone, Duchene departures has run as deep as it will, and that those fans who have stuck with them are not expecting a return to playoff contention next season and will be happy to see overall improvement in performances, and with a lottery shot at Lafresniere next June.

        So they have another year with average crowds at around 15,000 (with full houses when the Leafs and Habs are in town and probably close to full when SJ and Vegas visit). That’s still a whole lot better than some franchises I need not mention.

    • MG, you have the answer obviously so you must have a trade partner for Zaitsev and an agreement with Marner’s agent to take a hometown discount and plenty of good cheap defence men, right? Step right up.

  8. Too many GMs thought they could dump garbage on other teams and not have to pay or worry. Parity in the league means most teams won’t be willing to absorb that on a regular basis only one or two per year…so there no longer is a regular dumping ground. Without that the price goes up to bump your trash 😂

  9. When I first looked at theMarleau trade I thought that Leafs grossly overpaid as I had assumed that his SB was nullified if he was bought out prior to July 1st…. meaning Carolina bought a first for 834K.

    I reached out to all here yesterday and from the responses it appears that Marleau still gets paid his signing bonus

    So….. Car pays $3.83M for a first round pick….. an unknown entity that will very likely be in the last 1/2 of the first round next year or the year after and not then play in the NHL for probably at least 3 years from now …wow…. IMO massive massive over payment

    The huge winner is Marleau ….. loses $417 K gross (that’s less than $200 K take home) IF he retires …. if he signs with ANY team…. any single team…. even at League min (650 K) … due to 35+ contract he gets it all…. he then ends up netting more than if he had stayed with Leafs

    So …. if Car does in fact have to pay the SB (pays $3.8M)…. then Leafs paying only 1st rounder to rid $6.25 M in Cap and $3.8 M in cash was a win … big win

    Waddell then should keep Marleau…… he gets a player (to mentor his younger players) for an extra $417 K (savings from buyout)…. paying a 23rd man on the roster who might play 8-10 games …. costs League min. of 650 K

    All along my mindset had been on SB not having to be paid if traded and bought out prior to July 1st

    With that in mind and knowing Leafs have massive amounts of cash to play with…. if they had paid his SB on July 1st and then traded him… a receiving team could have bought him out during the bonus arbitration period for 817K

    If it costs $3.8 M for a 1st ; what would 834K buy?

    I’m not throwing this out rhetorically … I’m asking all here

    Your humble dazed and confused Pengy

    • It’s not the salary at all it’s his 6.5 million cap hit he signed over 35 so it can not be lower

    • @Pengy: Something Dubas said earlier on a TSN yip n yap suggests to me that the $3.8 m signing bonus coming to Carolina is being facilitated by TML. In short, TML sends the cash to pay the signing bonus to dump the contract. Maybe I got it wrong..maybe not

    • I think the Canes play Marleau. Last year was the first year in recent memory he didn’t score 40 points. He played all 82 games. He hasn’t missed a game since 2008. It’s not impossible that he bounces back to 40 point performance.

      Is he an expensive 3rd line player. Yes. Does he bring a ton of experience and an incredible ironman streak. Yes. For a team that struggled with injury in the playoffs he seems like the right kind of player.

      I own his jersey and I fully admit my bias, but i think he’s still a decent player. I don’t think he’s done. If the canes want to absorb some of that cap hit and send him back to the sharks for one year I would do it any day. Don’t overlook that fact that the Canes just got an 18 time 40 point player who had 30 points in the lockout season and 37 last year at age 39.