NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 17, 2019

by | Jul 17, 2019 | News, NHL | 9 comments

The Blackhawks trade Artem Anisimov to the Senators for Zack Smith, plus the latest free-agent signings in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE/OTTAWA SUN: The Chicago Blackhawks yesterday traded center Artem Anisimov to the Ottawa Senators for forward Zack Smith. 

The Chicago Blackhawks traded Artem Anisimov to the Ottawa Senators for Zack Smith (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move addresses needs for both clubs. The Senators get some offensive skill in Anisimov while Smith brings more defensive skill and toughness up front for the Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks also free up an additional $1.3 million in cap space by swapping Anisimov’s $4.55-million annual average value (through 2020-21) for Smith’s $3.25 million. The Senators, meanwhile, will only pay $2 million of Anisimov’s actual salary for this season and $1.5 million in 2020-21. 

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals re-signed forward Jakub Vrana to a two-year, $6.7-million contract. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vrana, 23, completed his entry-level contract and lacked arbitration rights this summer. With the Capitals squeezed for cap space, he’s doing them a favor by accepting this bridge deal. Vrana’s coming off a career-best 24-goal, 47-point performance. If he continues to improve he’ll be in line for a significant raise on his next contract. 

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils re-signed defenseman Connor Carrick to a two-year deal worth an annual average value of $1.5 million. 

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild re-signed winger Ryan Donato to a two-year, $3.8-million contract. He netted 16 points in 22 games after being acquired from the Boston Bruins in a late-season trade. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed forward Teddy Blueger to a two-year, one-way contract worth $750K per season. 

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks confirmed their signing of defenseman Michael Del Zotto to a one-year, $750K contract. Blueliner Chris Wideman was inked to a one-year, two-way contract. 

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes re-signed defenseman Haydn Fleury to a one-year, $850K contract and defenseman Gustav Forsling to a one-year, two-way contract that will pay $874,125 at the NHL level.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed UFA forward Josh Archibald to a one-year, $1-million contract. 

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings re-signed goaltender Cal Petersen to a three-year contract worth over $858K per season. It’s a two-way deal for 2019-20 and one-way for the next two seasons. 

SEATTLE TIMES: Hall-of-Famer Ron Francis is set to become the general manager of the NHL’s Seattle expansion franchise. Francis is also the former general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The budget-conscious Hurricanes failed to reach the playoffs during Francis’ tenure. However, he brought in young players like Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen and Warren Foegele to Carolina and developed young talent like Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce. All played key roles in the Hurricanes’ march to the 2019 Eastern Conference Final.

THE SCORE: U.S. Senators Tim Scott of South Carolina and Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan are pushing their colleagues to honor Willie O’Ree with the Congressional Gold Medal. O’Ree was the first black player in the NHL and was inducted last year into the Hockey Hall of Fame. 


  1. Kudos to Ron Francis as the first GM of the new Seattle franchise.

    Good on you Tim Scott and Debbie Stabenow re their movement towards recognizing Willie O’Ree

    George, am I wrong in assuming that the main point of this trade w.r.t. Ottw was just to save more $’s for Melnyk?

    Re signings:

    Vrana— team friendly IMO. Nice speed and hands

    Carrick at $1.5M seems high to me

    Re Ana signing the two low risk D contracts…. Does that mean they are not going to trade for JJ? Very upsetting

    Blueger — yes needed to be signed; exactly at what I expected. They still MUST sign Pettersson— ABSOLUTELY Key!! Must move JJ

    Car paying Forsling to more (albeit very small amount more) than Fleury????

    Oil—Archibald at $1M…. for depth/4th line when they are already tight????

    • Ron Francis is great team builder and an excellent judge of young talent. He’s a great choice. Was kind of hoping he would still be around in 4-5 years for the Penguins next rebuild but it looks like are trying to retool on the fly for now anyways. They’ve certainly gotten a lot younger this summer. It just is going to be a huge adjustment for a lot of these young guys. Is fun to think about the forward lines for next year. Training camp is going to be a battle. I was kind of hoping they would give Poulin a couple of games if he works on his skating this summer. He would have been a lottery pick if he had a better first step and a more fluid skating stroke. They get rid of Jackhole and someone like a Caleb Addison or PO Joseph impresses the coaching staff enough to make the team I think it will be fun. I was kind of pulling for Joseph to be the next Brian Dumoulin. The Pens are deep at centre right now, one of the deepest teams in the league at that position.

      • Deee

        With you in full on your eval. on Francis. Was also a good player 🙂

        Re: Pens defense plight:
        I pray every day for a JJ “B-Bye”

        If they can’t sign Petterson because they are not getting rid of JJ; then all hope is lost.


        they needed to set their own precedent and do the buy out. Would be only $270K cap hit this year. Rid the massive problem and save $3M in Cap.

        I posted on the other part of Spectors today w.r.t. a convoluted way to rid JJ , get an upgrade of 3C (Staal) and get Gusav; and save Cap.

        If they just rid JJ and use that $’s for Petterson; team massively improved.

      • I think picking up old man Staal for any reason is a leap in the wrong direction. I don’t think they need Gusev at this point. The forward lines are going to be pretty lethal. I would like to see if they can find any takers for Hornqvist at this point. Give the Wings or someone some kind of incentive to tale him off of our hands. I like Horny, but he’s seen his better days and he’s very one dimensional. Just trying to put lines together is hard at this point
        Guentzel Crosby McCann
        Galchenyuk Malkin ZAR
        Tanev Bjugstad Kahun
        Simon Blueger Rust
        Dumoulin Letang
        Pettersson Shultz
        Riikola Gudbranson
        They definitely got a whole lot younger. I hate the Tanev signing with a passion, he’s very very average, he’s the new Craig Adams.
        There is a whole bunch of young guys knocking on the door for the first time in awhile though, that’s a good thing.

  2. A couple of things.

    The Sens are also on the hook for Anisimov’s signing bonus – conveniently left out of all the hubbub of savings.

    And. The Willie O’Ree thing irks me a little. It just seems like an NHL/Media thing trying to turn this guy into the Jackie Robinson of the NHL. By all accounts it wasn’t like that at all. First black man to play hockey? Yes. Significant? Yes.

    But it’s not like Jackie trying to break into a league that oppressed and forced African American’s into a segregated league. Was there an “NNHL” where African American’s were forced to play do to racism? No. It was simply that African Americans didn’t play hockey. Was he subjected to racist taunts while playing? According to his wiki – yes. Is PK Suban still fielding racist taunts in rinks or online? Probably.

    • Dark G: It was reported yesterday that Anisimov’s signing bonus of US$2M for this year was paid on July 15 by Chicago. That is why this trade happened on July 16. Ottawa will still have to pay Anisimov’s signing bonus next year, but will only pay him US$5M for 2 years of service (a bargain).

      Smith isn’t as good a player as Anisimov and actually makes more money over the rest of the contract (US$6.5M vs. US$5M). However, Chicago saves US$1.3M in cap space each of the next two years and Smith is a cheaper buyout cap wise if they choose to go that route next summer. This is a classic win/win trade for both teams given what each wanted.

  3. I have a lot of respect for Ron Francis and believe Seattle has made the correct choice to build an organization from scratch. He understands every facet of an organization and also knows how to manage a salary cap. He has a lot of respect in the hockey community and will not have any trouble attracting key management personnel. Seattle will not have the early success that Vegas has had but they will have a good 5 year plan that doesn’t include being in cap trouble after two years. They will have a solid foundation for years to come. Seattle season ticket holders should not be surprised if one day they answer their phone and Ron Francis is on the line.

    • Why won’t they have the same success?

      • Chrisms,

        Seattle probably wont have a hall of fame goalie still playing at a high level.

        GM’s have gone through learning curve and are more prepared this time.

        Francis will be focused on the long term and his expansion draft would probably not include players like Neal that would be gone in 1 year.

        Probably wont be a team like Florida giving away the farm.

        I just don’t think that the early success Vegas had was a result of a skewed expansion draft system as many other fans do. A lot of other things had to go there way and they are things that are not easily duplicated.