NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 29, 2019
The latest on Mark Scheifele, Zach Werenski, Marian Hossa, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE SCORE: Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele dismissed recent speculation suggesting there was discord among his teammates last season.
“People can claim whatever, but I know we have a tight-knit team,” he told NHL.com last week. “We have great guys in our room. And there’s no question in my mind about the character we have in our room, the unity that we have.” He went on to call the rumors “a bunch of baloney.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whether those rumors are true or not, it’ll be interesting to see how the departures of Jacob Trouba, Brandon Tanev, and Ben Chiarot affect the Jets’ performance this season. Trouba was traded to the New York Rangers last month while Chiarot and Tanev left via free agency earlier this month.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: There’s been little progress in contract negotiations between the Blue Jackets and Zach Werenski. The 22-year-old defenseman is a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract. The Jackets hope to re-sign Werenski to a long-term deal but it’s possible a contract standoff could carry over into training camp and preseason.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The status of fellow RFAs like Toronto’s Mitch Marner, Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor, and Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk overshadowed Werenski’s contract negotiations. Werenski skates on the Jackets’ top pairing alongside Seth Jones, who’s earning an annual average value of $5.4 million on a six-year deal (stick tap to Cap Friendly).
The Jackets could be hoping to re-sign Werenski to a similar deal but he could seek much more. With over $65 million invested in 21 players, the Jackets have sufficient cap room to re-sign him to a hefty raise. I’ll be surprised if he’s still unsigned when training camp opens in September.
THE SCORE: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Zach Hyman said he didn’t know he’d torn the ACL in his knee until after he and his teammates were eliminated from the opening round of the 2019 playoffs. He suffered the injury in Game 4 against the Boston Bruins but played the remaining three games in the series because the injury didn’t seem as severe as it was. He could return to action by late-October.
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent interview with Scott Power, Chicago Blackhawks president John McDonagh said he feels Marian Hossa could one day return to a role within the organization. Hossa’s career was ended by a skin condition related to his hockey gear but remains under contract for the next two seasons. The Blackhawks last year traded his contract to the Arizona Coyotes.
NHL.COM: Former NHL defenseman Arnie Brown passed away on Saturday at age 77. He spent almost seven of his 12 NHL seasons with the New York Rangers (1964-65 to 1970-71). He also skated with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, New York Islanders, and Atlanta Flames, as well as one season in the WHA before retiring in 1975.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Brown’s family, friends, and former teammates.