NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 22, 2019

by | Jul 22, 2019 | News, NHL | 7 comments

The latest on Mikko Rantanen, the Jets re-sign Neal Pionk, the Blues re-up Oskar Sundqvist, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE DENVER POST: Don’t expect anyone to sign away Mikko Rantanen from the Colorado Avalanche with an offer sheet. With the Avs carrying plenty of salary-cap space, the 21-year-old right-winger is poised to become the club’s highest-paid player. He could earn between $8 – $10 million annually on his next contract.

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen will soon receive a big pay raise (Photo via NHL Images).

Rantanen’s next deal won’t upset linemate Nathan MacKinnon, who currently carries the club’s biggest contract. Avalanche GM Joe Sakic said it’s a different landscape compared to when MacKinnon signed his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rantanen’s earned the big raise he’ll get on his next contract. The way MacKinnon’s played over the last two seasons, he’ll eclipse Rantanen’s salary when he’s ready for his next contract in 2023, either from the Avs or another club via the unrestricted free agent market.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets avoided salary arbitration with Neal Pionk, re-signing him to a two-year, $6-million contract. The 23-year-old defenseman will earn an annual average value of $3 million. The Jets acquired Pionk last month as part of the return from the New York Rangers in the Jacob Trouba trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets have around $19.8 million in salary-cap space with RFAs Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor, and Andrew Copp to re-sign. Copp had his arbitration hearing yesterday in Toronto and a decision is expected by Tuesday.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues avoided arbitration with winger Oskar Sundqvist, re-signing him to a four-year, $11-million contract. The annual average value is $2.75 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a big raise for Sundqvist, who earned $700K on his previous contract. His two-way style played a key role in the Blues rise from the bottom of the standings to the Stanley Cup last season.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Six years after leaving Western Michigan University to join the Red Wings, defenseman Danny DeKeyser recently earned his general studies diploma. “It was a real good feeling,” said DeKeyser of walking across the stage. “I felt like I had accomplished something.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to DeKeyser for completing his studies.

WGR550.COM: The Buffalo Sabres and Evan Rodrigues are about $1.15 million apart on a new contract. “Rodrigues is asking for a deal that will pay him $2.65 million per-year, while the Sabres are hoping to get him under contract with an average annual value of $1.5 million.” Rodrigues’ arbitration hearing is slated for Tuesday in Toronto.

THE SCORE: The Tampa Bay Lightning and Vegas Golden Knights top oddsmakers 2019-20 point projections.


  1. Yesterday I surmised that Sundqvist and Barbashev would likely settle for around $2.2 each. Sundqvist got a bit more than that – half a million more (wouldn’t we all love that “bit”?) – leaving the Blues with $4,370,406 to re-sign Edmundson and Barbashev.

    With 3 currently shown by CapFriendly as part of the major league roster likely to start in the AHL (Blais – $850,000 – MacEachern – $750,000 and either Pouliot or Schmaltz – $700,000) the extra $2.3 mil would give them $6,670,406 so it should be doable. But it will be tight and could leave them entering the season right up against the cap limit with a 22-man major league roster and no wiggle room.

    I still think we’ll see a trade involving A D-man (not necessarily – and probably not – Edmundson)

    • Hi George

      Agree, tight but doable.

      For sure it should be MacEachern and Smaltz should be sent down (it should definitely not be Blais) that would have Blurs with $5.8M to sign Edmundson and Barabeshev to get to a 23 man roster; as you’ve said tight but doable

      As I said yesterday ; Blues were successful on the backs of D and goaltending.

      Signing the remaining RFAs would have 25 …. 14 F; 9 D ; 2G

      I would say that more than 1/2 of the teams go 14-7-2; which would mean trading/moving 2 D

      The bottom two in talent are Pouliot and Schmaltz; but as you pointed out above George ; it may not be quite enough space freed up or even if it is; they are too tight to the cap

      What may be more strategic is to move the almost 33 year old Gunnerson who has only averaged 45 games/year over the last 3 seasons (most of it due to injury). That would free up $1.75M

      Regardless … StL will have almost the same roster next year so they will be dressing a very solid team and one that should go deep again

      • Hi George

        For sure Thomas

        StL would be very very foolish to have Scmaltz on in lieu of extending Edmundson. Not quite as foolish as Pens playing JJ instead of ANYBODY (and I do mean ANYBODY) but close.

        Thomas, Blais, and Fabbri, IMO, should definitely be on the roster.

        MacEachern is by far their weakest forward currently listed in CapFreindly as being “up” on the big club

        Similarly , IMHO, Scmaltz is the weakest listed D (yes IMHO, weaker than Pouliot). Not by any stretch bad; just by logic ,first that should be sent down

        Again, moving Gunnerson would prob be the best move

      • Still loving that Sundqvist and the first that became Kostin for Ryan Reaves and a dman(Lauzon) that will never play another game at any level. Did you notice the sarcasm font? I still shake my head every time I even think about it. Rutherford has not had a good summer as gm since he got Kessel in 2015. The Tanev contract proves he’s still an absolute joke in the offseason. Actually the Kessel trade to Zona was pretty bad too. Galchenyuk is such an underachiever.

  2. $3m per seem rather high for Pionk by at least a mill per season.

  3. Caper it is called the Winnipeg forced overpay