NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 1, 2019

by | Jul 1, 2019 | News, NHL | 32 comments

Details of several anticipated free-agent signings leaked, Zaitsev-for-Ceci trade expected today, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

Matt Duchene will reportedly sign with the Nashville Predators today (Photo via NHL Images).

The NHL’s free-agent period begins at 12:01 PM ET today. However, details leaked last night regarding new contracts for several noteworthy unrestricted free agents. Here’s a summary of what was reported:

Matt Duchene is expected to sign a seven-year, $56-million contract with the Nashville Predators

Joe Pavelski will sign a three-year, $21-million deal with the Dallas Stars. They’ve also signed Corey Perry to a one-year, bonus-laden contract with a base salary of $1.5 million.

Mats Zuccarello is heading to the Minnesota Wild. His contract is expected to be for five years and worth $6 million annually. 

Richard Panik is joining the Washington Capitals on a four-year deal believed to be worth over $2.5 million per season. 

Cam Talbot returns to Alberta with the Calgary Flames. The former Edmonton Oilers goaltender will sign a one-year, $2.75-million deal. 

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Nikita Zaitsev has waived his no-trade clause, setting the stage to ship him to the Ottawa Senators for blueliner Cody Ceci. Winger Connor Brown will also be heading to Ottawa. Other players and/or draft picks will also be part of this swap. The trade is expected to be finalized later today after the Leafs pay Zaitsev his $3 million signing bonus. 

**UPDATE** As per Cap Friendly:


SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas deserves kudos for finding a taker for Zaitsev and his $4.5 million AAV through 2023-24. No surprise, however, that he had to include a sweetener (Brown) in the deal.

Ceci, 25, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who was qualified at $4.6 million for 2019-20. He was said to be seeking a five-year deal worth between $5 – $5.5 million per season. It remains to be seen if the Leafs will pay that much, take him to arbitration, or flip him to another club. I think he’s marginally better than Zaitsev but maybe his performance will improve with the Leafs. If the Leafs re-sign Ceci, they’ll still need replacements for Jake Gardiner and Ron Hainsey. Both are unrestricted free agents.

Zaitsev could also benefit from a change of scenery. Senators head coach D.J. Smith reportedly vouched for the blueliner, having worked with him when Smith was an assistant coach with the Leafs. Getting the versatile Brown in the deal is a nice boost to the Senators forward depth. 

In other Leafs and Senators news, Toronto plans to sign winger Kenny Agostino to a two-year, one-way contract. The Senators, meanwhile, hired former St. Louis Blues coach David Payne as an assistant coach. 


  1. Happy 🇨🇦 Day to all North of the border

    Happy “UFA Open for Business and possible Offer Sheet” Day to everybody

    For the first time in many years some key moves were already announced ; those listed here are interesting but not shocking


    Although I think (I know you disagree ) that Leafs got the best player in the deal; the deal overall is good for Ottw. Brown will be good and perhaps Zaitsev can do better as a Sen

    Almost (not 100 % but almost) impossible for Leafs to keep Ceci at likely contract price ; so maybe another trade??

    The Alberta goalie flip was odd but just may payoff for both

    As at now; Dallas biggest surprise and biggest gainer IMO

    Can Ed still retain Chiasson ? Would love him as a Pen (Leafs can’t afford him)

    Go Leafs Go
    Go Pens Go

    Arrrrrrrgooooooos (hoping for a massive rebound win over Riders; was at home opener at cried all the way home)


    • I’m looking at my Penguins jersey wall and seeing Sprong, Maatta, Oleksiak and now Kessel that all probably shouldn’t be there any more. I’m not replacing any of them with a Galchenyuk one because I feel like he’s going to be a huge disappointment. So I’m waiting for later today when it’s announced that Rutherford have Dion Phaneuf and Corey Perry both 5 year deals so I can walk over to said wall and slowly bang my head until I fall into a coma. Hopefully when I wake up from said coma Rutherford will have died from old age and someone competent will be in charge.

      • Dee

        Was just looking at Cap friendly for younger RHD UFAs that we’re not qualified and that would be a low risk add at 7th or 8th D (for any team) as they will likely sign not far off League min “show me” deal so …..

        When I see some names and then see that GMJR not only has yet to rid JJ but, Lady’s and Gentlemen of the Jury , Jimmy boy extended Chad Ruhweedel for two years…. TWO (2) ; that’s T-W-O years….🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬

        Even within the Pens organization there is a far superior , faster, younger, bigger RHD in Ethan Prow. Very good player..,, not even qualified by Jimbo Alogo ; but knucklehead Jimmy extends Ruhweedel for 2 years?????

        Leafs OZ is way better than Ruhweedel; and younger, and bigger

        I would take any of these below over Ruhweedel ; and they are ALL RHD, All younger; all better; and most are faster than Ruhweedel; and I suspect they will all be on or near League min contracts:


        There is also many AHLers far better , bigger , younger than Ruhweedel

        I’ve no idea why there was a rush to extend him ?


        Sharing in your frustration Deee

      • BTW,

        Safe on the Perry front … signing with Little Joe with the Stars (per TSN)

      • Should people who bought both Sprong and Oleksiak jerseys criticize others for their ability to pick the right players?

        Are they next to Neftali Feliz and Justin Morneau Pirate jerseys? Mike Vick and Jacoby Jones Steeler’s jerseys?

      • Nope, I hate baseball and football with a red hot passion. If Oleksiak didn’t lose that fight he would still be on the team and Sprong was supposed to be the next Penguin star. It’s great to have that hindsite perspective though when you judge people though. It always makes you look superior.

      • BTW that 2017 draft I was hoping PO Joseph or Vakanainan would fall to the Pens. Of course they traded that pick plus a useful bottom 6 centre for 4 months of a face puncher but that’s another story. I think Joseph might be a sleeeper to make the team. They don’t need and FA dmen. They re-signed Riikola too. They have 10 guys under contract that can play at the NHL level.

    • Ceci perhaps marginally better … but not to the tune of a $5.5 mil cap hit for any serious length of time. Add to that his repeated contract hassles and choosing arbitration – of which every team in the league is aware – makes trading him problematic. Unless he can convince him to take a cut to, say, $3.5 mil, I still believe Dubas will let him go to arbitration and if he’s awarded anything close to $5 mil, allows him to walk. Tower will disagree. He thinks they can sign Marner and Ceci and somehow have enough left over to replace Zaitsev and Gardiner on D, and perhaps Hainsey as well unless they can get him back at a cheap price.

      Good luck.

      • Hi George

        If your assumptions above are correct then I cede a fair trade

        However at this point in time (barring the arb breakdown you’ve listed above or Leafs then not being able to flip Ceci in fair trade) then I think with the addition of Harpur plus the pick in this trade (the other two are minor leaguer flips) I believe Leafs won it

        Time will tell; that’s just my immediate take

      • @George: You’re right on Dubas letting Ceci walk if arbitration arrives and the arbitrator awards more than TML wants to pay. Oh ya.

        Dubas is a quick learner and I still say Lou leaving him with “junk” and the Nylander contract really wised him up quick.

        I want to see what he does moving forward

      • Wrong. He is signing with the leafs for 4.5 1 year deal.

    • @ Pengy: Thank you Pengy: hoser here: Vancouver transplant from Toronto:

      Ya, still suffering: I just hope they win that friggin cup before our Maker say, Joey, time to come home.!

    • Ain’t gonna happen Pengy.
      GO RIDERS!

  2. Kenny Agostini ? According to the net, he doesn’t even have a hockey profile. I know I copied and pasted into Google and all I got was facebook stuff.?????

    • Hi Joey

      Just a typo

      Last letter in name should be an o not an “i”

      • Played for Jersey ; originally drafted by Pens

        Just an average 4th liner /depth forward

      • @thanks Pengy: Stick tap

      • 👍

      • He’ll be with the Marlies, Joey, they have a lot of change coming too.

  3. Hearing this; The Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators trade consist of Nikita Zaitsev and Cody Ceci – Leafs will trade Zaitsev, Connor Brown and Michael Carcone to the Senators in exchange for Ceci, Ben Harpur, Aaron Luchuk and a draft pick.

    • Antoni

      If you are right on that one…. Leafs won the deal hands down

      I had thought it was Ceci for Zaitz and Brown and maybe a late pick from Leafs

      Leafs getting Harper Lachuk AND a pick? To me Dorian got taken

      George ,

      What say you?

      • I’m not sure what there is to be excited about? Harpur, is a 6th/7th defenseman at best. Big size, no offensive upside, and prone to mistakes. Luchuk is a very big long shot to ever even ice up the skates in the NHL. The 3rd round pick is historically about a 30% chance to make the NHL and over the last decade the Leafs have an abysmal 6% draft record and almost all their success comes out of the 1st round.

        The add ons are long shots who had no future in Ottawa. I think the deal is a win/win for both teams. But there is nothing additional to be excited about except maybe if you are a Marlies fan.

      • Pengy I agree Ottawa gave up too much, Harpur is a nice pick up but now leaves Toronto with 7 dman on the leaft side. But for some reason it seem you are discounting Ottawa picking up Connor Brown after a slowing season. Will he get back to being a 20 goal scorer.
        Still think this was a bad trade for Ottawa should’ve been able to get more. Good on Dubas

    • @Antoni: Interesting trade: Depending on point of view, both sides would likely say they won the trade:
      From a TML point of view, I like it; all things considered.

      • I think Ottawa won the trade because they got Conner Brown
        A great defensive player who can score. Never had a chance on the big lines. A tireless worker on a good contract , hopefully he comes back next year. I would not have traded him.

      • I agree vinnie brown is the only piece with value, a small trade not much to talk about

      • So all those players change hands plus toronto pays the 3 million bonus for Zaitzev.

        Does the bonus they pay go towards their cap at all?

        Kinda neat Ceci decided to bet on himself and take a 4.5 million contravt for 1 year. Seems the cap would be 4.5 but they are paying 7.5 with that bonus being paid.

        Seems a fair trade Ottawa gets some players to plug in their line up Dorion beleives will help the Sens culture growth. Toronto moves out a bit of salary.

  4. Happy Canada day eh?
    At least the Totes improved some with the last two trades, let’s hope.

  5. As Per TSN, Ceci and Leafs agree to a One year deal worth $4.5 million

  6. Is Brown really a sweetener when the Leafs are getting back a 3rd round pick? That seems pretty fair value for Brown

    • Leaf also retain 3 mil of ceci and 5 mil of bron this year. The pick is likely cmmpensation for the money.