NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 2, 2019

by | Jul 2, 2019 | News, NHL | 24 comments

Some of the fallout from a busy opening day of the 2019 NHL free-agent market in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Artemi Panarin signing a seven-year deal with the New York Rangers and Sergei Bobrovsky inking a seven-year contract with the Florida Panthers were just some of the notable moves that took place yesterday during the opening hours of the NHL free-agent period. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Follow this link for yesterday’s noteworthy unrestricted free agent signings. TSN has a complete list of the day’s UFA and restricted free agent signings. 

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell said he was taken by surprise by center Sebastian Aho signing an offer sheet with the Montreal Canadiens. During a press conference yesterday, he said he hadn’t had an opportunity yet to discuss the signing with team owner Tom Dundon. The terms of the deal would pay Aho over $21 million in signing bonuses in the first 12 months. 

Will the Carolina Hurricanes match Sebastian Aho’s offer sheet from the Montreal Canadiens (Photo via NHL Images).

The Hurricanes have seven days from the date of Aho’s signing to match the deal. Waddell said the club would make an announcement soon. He appeared unconcerned over the move, saying the signing means he won’t have to spend the entire summer negotiating with the Aho camp. 

THE ATHLETIC: Aho’s agent, Gerry Johannson, believes it won’t be easy for the Hurricanes to match the Canadiens’ front-loaded offer. He also believes his client wants to play in Montreal.  

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan wonders what “Plan B” will be for the Canadiens if the Hurricanes match the Aho offer sheet. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While most observers approved of the audacity of the Canadiens’ front-loaded offer, they expect the Hurricanes will match it. Waddell and Dundon could let the Habs twist in the wind until the last minute before matching. Because the Canadiens will be waiting for the Hurricanes’ decision, they’ll be reluctant to invest much more in other potential moves. That’ll hamper their efforts to make other roster moves as the free-agent market becomes depleted. 

THE SCORE: Goaltender Robin Lehner claims his departure from the New York Islanders had nothing to do with him. After signing a one-year, $5-million contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, Lehner denied rumors claiming he walked away from any contract offers from the Isles. “I took a couple of days to think about it, and when I came back and wanted to make something work, they already went for another goalie.”

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Lehner’s signing raises questions over the future of Blackhawks starter Corey Crawford. The 34-year-old Crawford was hampered by injuries over the past two seasons. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crawford is now in the final season of his contract. He could become an unrestricted free agent next summer if Lehner outplays him. 

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: In restricted free agent news, the San Jose Sharks re-signed winger Timo Meier to a four-year, $24-million contract. The annual average value is $6 million.

CBS SPORTS: The Columbus Blue Jackets re-signed defenseman Ryan Murray to a two-year. $9.2 million contract and goaltender Joonas Korpisalo to a one-year deal

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins re-signed defenseman Connor Clifton to a three-year, $3-million deal. 


  1. The poll on the Hurricanes twitter account was some beautiful trolling.

    “Will we match the offer sheet for Sebastian Aho?”

    o Yes
    o Oui

    • They’re probably going to wait till the last second to match the offer, handcuffing the Habs into scrambling to sign another player after the best are off the market. They deserve it xD

      • Then why was the Offer Sheet concept accepted into the last CBA? It’s there as a buffer against dithering GMs and perfectly legal – in other words “s*&t or get off the bloody pot.”

        How is it any more seen as an unwarranted attack by one GM on another than one GM squeezing all he can from another, who finds himself up against the cap, in a trade?

      • Good point George, I bet Waddell is blackballed now for getting a first from Toronto when they couldn’t afford Marleaus cap hit lol

      • Or maybe Aho just wants to be a pro hockey player on a team that doesn’t have to do circus tricks after every game. All the talk is about the how upset the gym and owner are. What about the player? Here’s a kid who wants to play, but the CBA says he can only take what the owner is willing to give. Carolina messed up. They will take the picks

      • We don’t know what the canes will do. The Marleau buyout plus having to match this offer isn’t a slam dunk to match.

        For a team that is far from competing losing those picks isn’t bad but the timing is. Maybe the Habs will have a team that will grow into a contender eventually and probably sooner with Aho in their line up.

        Ballsy move but I don’t know if it was a right one.

      • Sammy Maudlin, But hurt 101 as Dundon is a Billionaire and now mat stop selling Molson/Coors in the PNC arena and opening night vs the Habs will be D-Cell battery night for the team and those French peaking twats…BTW weather and being a flat tax state matters with Aho making 40% more than in the French freezer.

      • Sammy Maudlin, but hurt much Aho got 40% more cash and doesn’t have to put up with French speaking snob media and plays golf in February and btw 1993 is like 1967 to the Leafs LOL

    • Love The canes ability to nose tweak

  2. Really isn’t much of an offer sheet, yes it’s front loaded. But Montreal when low and didn’t want to give up more then one first round pick. With the compensation being a 1st, 2nd and third, there is no doubt the Canes will match.
    If Montreal really wanted Aho , they should’ve made more of a financial push. What a bunch of jerks!

    • Adding another $1m or so to the AAV would have made no difference. If Carolina matches at 8.5 they’d match at 9.5 too. The real poison pill is the front loading of the bonuses. $22m or so by July 1 next year. Habs structured the offer with the maximum permitted bonuses. So a higher AAV would have made little or no difference other than costing an extra first.

      • Thank you Howard! People don’t seem to understand this ☝️

      • Howard by offering $9.2 this would give Carolina two 1st round picks and maybe enough for them to walk away; however they will not be walking away for just one 1st round pick. That offer isn’t enough for Carolina to take; regardless if it’s front loaded or not.
        If Carolina is smart they’ll wait until the last day to match, holding up any other plans Montreal may have, with more players already signing.

    • Carolina will match. Does the team generate a whack of cash? No.
      Does Dundon have a whack of cash? Yes.
      He just paid a few million for a first round pick by taking Marleau’s contract.
      He was will to fork over $250M for a start up football league.
      Methinks he doesn’t need to call the banck to get a loan in order to sign Aho.
      Much ado about nothing.
      not sure what MB was trying to accomplish.

    • Yes good point but doesn’t Aho keep is right to restricted free agency after 5 years?

      If so, will Waddell want to go through this again?

      • Caper, I see your point. The Canes have now matched, but I really don’t think that a two-firsts offer sheet would have prevented them from matching. With Aho, the Habs picks could conceivably be in the mid-20s of the round. I don’t think the Canes would have surrendered their top forward, 22 years of age, even for two picks that could be in the bottom third of the first round. Especially since they’re entering a win-now mode and already have an extra pick from the Leafs. I guess we’ll never know.

  3. Why do the Rangers never learn? They keep chasing these high-end free agents and are never willing to rebuild.

    • Nail on the head, he’ll probably flash out just like the rest. More power to anyone seeking a huge contract but tbh they never seem to work out when free agents only if they’re traded.

      • Look at what happened to leafs after the Tavares signing, they’re still in cap hell even after that is yr they only have one dman signed with 4 forwards that will be making 40 million

    • Big Market teams can’t really afford to not have marquee players. How do you think ticket sales will be, let alone justify the cost of one, if there are no stars on a high profile team? It just won’t happen.

      The only thing one can hope for is when adding these high priced players, they are your stars and able to support you youth movement and hopefully be a part of it. 9 times out of 10 it doesn’t work.

      • There are examples of rebuilds that go no where. With these crazy RFA contract demands, UFA pricing and at times bad development of talent there is no guarantee that a rebuild will work.
        What is the last successful team that did a rebuild? Chicago comes to mind, Pittsburgh got handed two elite centers during the lock out year.

        Rebuilding is fine if done right, but you need luck. At the same time, each NHL team is a business and need to hit revenue goals – stars help them do that.

      • Hire a GM that can DRAFT for starters…Bergevin is a joke

  4. Why do people suddenly ‘assume’ that any free agent out there now magically wants to sign with the Habs after the offer sheet? Why do people assume MB did not kick tires on all UFA of interest and have a REAJJY good feel for their likelyhood of signing in MTL? Funny, nobody seems to note that the offer sheet brings Aho to UFA status, meaning that even if the Canes match, they can no longer ‘buy’ any of his UFA years. If he really is keen on Mtl, see you in 5 years when he is still in his prime. The money? MB has been very careful with the cap and very mindful of not placing the Habs in the position of the Leafs or Vegas. He wants cash to pay he other key players. My guess, he’ll target cash strapped teams for salary dumps in exchange for picks. Reaves might be a good replacement for Deslairier’s toughness……