NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 9, 2019

by | Jul 9, 2019 | News, NHL | 25 comments

Jacob Trouba’s arbitration hearing date set, Martin Hanzal mulling retirement, the Sharks re-sign Kevin Labanc, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE SCORE: Josh Gold-Smith cites the New York Post’s Larry Brooks reporting Jacob Trouba’s arbitration hearing is July 25. Trouba was among 40 players who filed for arbitration last Friday. The Rangers acquired the 25-year-old defenseman last month in a trade with the Winnipeg Jets.

Jacob Trouba’s salary-arbitration hearing is set for July 25 (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of those who filed for arbitration, Trouba’s situation could be the most interesting. Brooks believes it would be “stunning” if the process reaches that point. Trouba went through arbitration with the Jets last summer and was awarded a one-year. $5.5-million contract.

Coming off a career-best 50-point performance last season, Troub could seek between $7 – $8 million per season on his next contract. He’s also slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

The Rangers will want to ink him to a long-term deal but Cap Friendly indicates they only have around $8 million in cap space. They also have RFAs Pavel Buchnevich, Brendan Lemieux, and Tony DeAngelo to re-sign.

A new deal for Trouba will eat up most or all of their remaining cap space. A cost-cutting trade or contract buyouts will be necessary to free up sufficient cap space for the others. 

iDNES.CZ: A nagging back injury has Dallas Stars center Martin Hanzal considering retirement. The 32-year-old has already undergone three operations. He has a year remaining on his contract with a salary-cap hit of $4.75 million.

Hanzal said he has an agreement with the Stars to report to training camp in September. He intends to continue off-season training but if the condition persists he could hang up his skates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stick tap to Alexander Wirdzek for the link. When healthy, Hanzal is an effective two-way checking forward. Injuries, however, have frequently sidelined him in recent years. He played only 45 games over the last two seasons with the Stars. 

TSN: The San Jose Sharks re-signed forward Kevin Labanc to a one-year, $1-million contract. Labanc tallied 56 points last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a helluva re-signing by the Sharks. Labanc was coming off his entry-level contract and also posted 40 points in 2017-18. He was in line for a significant raise but left a lot of money on the table by accepting this offer.

With the Sharks pressed for cap space and looking to bring back Joe Thornton and perhaps Patrick Marleau for one more season, Labanc did them a big favor. I daresay general manager Doug Wilson promised a much bigger payday for Labanc next summer. 

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues re-signed forward Zach Sanford to a two-year, $1.5-million contract.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche re-signed defenseman Ryan Graves to a one-year, two-way contract.



  1. Kevin Labanc 56 points at a cool million is to me a person of trust and integrity in knowing San Jose Sharks cap situation.

    He’s more than paid his dues to earn a big payday but seems level headed enough to help the cause and team pursue for the championship ring.

    Kudos to him and I’m certainly rooting for the Sharks this coming season.

    I’m a TML fan but with what Labanc did makes me perturbed with the teams situation, especially with a current RFA’s entitlement to be paid more than 10 folds and dampen any chances of team success moving forward.

    • It’s a helluva gamble for the kid. What happens if he suffers a serious injury while playing on a 1-year deal? It’s one thing for a 38 year-old with 14 years worth of earnings to sign up for one more crack at 1 year – but a 23 y/o with tons of upside?

      I know, I know – had he gone to arbitration (was he eligible?) he might have been awarded a 1-year contract, but with his record so far it would have been for a LOT more than $1 mil.

      Sorry, what he did was not being “considerate” or “loyal” – that’s being bone dumb.

      • Good morning George.. I respect and understand your viewpoint and no argument from me.

        I’m simply wowed with Labanc’s intestinal fortitude and taking one for the team.

        A proven player with no qualm of entitlement knowing he’ll be paid handsomely next contract and it’s his choice.

        Enough said ..

        TML fan

      • Labanc was not arbitration eligible. He was completing his entry-level contract. The only leverage he had was to not report to training camp.

      • So, something like Nylander who parlayed 185gp 48g 87a 135 pts for 0.73 ppg, and 3g 8a 11 pts in 20 playoff games for 0.56 ppg into a $6,962,366 per for 6 years contract.

        In contrast, Labanc converted 132gp 28g 68a 96 pts for 0.72 ppg and 5g 9a 14 pts in 30 play off games for 0.37 ppg into a 1 year deal barely above the league minimum.

        Insane. Hey, I can understand the frustration of a fan when one among their team looks past the team concept and thinks first about themselves – but as everyone closely associated with the game keeps reminding us “this is a business.”

        Labanc did NO player a favour with that signing.

      • That should read, for Labanc, 0.47 ppg in playoffs

      • You may be right a heck of a gamble. However none of these kids, with proper financial management should have money issues moving forward. Sure they might need to find a job at one point but….even the lowest paid guys can love mortgage free and debt free at a very young age for the rest of their lives if they don’t get distracted by shiny things or the Joneses.

    • $132,979 per point @ $12.5M – asking (94 points) vs. $17,857 per point @$1M – signed (56 points) based on last season.

      Who would you rather have on your team for the upcoming season based on the Clubs ROI (return on investment).!?

      I digress..

    • If I would have been blessed with nhl talent there is no way in the world I would have done what Labanc did…..not that I would be crazy greedy either but you only have so much time to put $ in the bank…..

      • And the money he’s already made plus the million and ya can’t figure out how to make that last? Seriously? Debt free life?

    • I agree….leblanc did one of the most unselfish acts in accepting such a contract…… Hope he admired by his teammates for this..

    • Gordie Howe was full of trust and integrity for a long time in Detroit. Strangely, he seemed to have just as much integrity after he stood up for himself.

  2. Doug Wilson must be one helluva salesman. Refreshing to see – stay healthy, kid.

  3. Lebanc deal is a massive head scratcher

    I do see some logic in the “show me/prove it to me” 1 year deals that could have massive payouts for the player the following year

    I realize there are “home” discounts and “friendly” discounts to help teams with cap so they can sign back team mates

    This is not one of them.

    His numbers on any player merit more. ANY single player.

    I would even go far enough to say that a 35+ contract with those numbers are worth more than $1M

    $2M would have been cheap

    As George has said …. this is Dumb dumb dumb

    Who the hell is counselling this kid?

    League minimum last year was $650 K I believe and I tried to find anything in CF at that…. a quick look and lowest seems to be $675K

    This is a brain dead move by his agent and Lebanc himself must not be too wise

    Let this sink in …. Penguins gave Chad Ruhweedel 2 years at $700 K…. a very very poor 9th DMan who played a whole 18 games and was a MINUS 9 in that span (not a typo!!!)

    For the Sharks …. deal of the century

    Crazy times!!!!

    Mitch Marner didn’t put up twice the numbers of Lebanc …. so is he going to sign a 1 year $2M deal???

    I hope for his sake; Lebanc stays healthy this year and does even better and gets a MASSIVE contract next year

    Is this the Twilight Zone?

  4. Talk about extremes in RFA negotiations. Labanc vs Marner

  5. Lyle, please help. I’ve been wondering how the 2nd buyout window works. From Rangers side, they need to shed salary. I fully expect Smith to get bought out. My question is, do they need to actually go to arbitration with either Trouba or Buchnevich to where there is a decision awarded? What if they come to terms before hearing, are they still able to buy out someone?

    • As per Cap Friendly:

      Buyouts Outside of the Regular Period
      Clubs whom have 1 or more arbitration filings may be permitted to perform a buyout outside of the regular window. This gives teams another opportunity to become cap compliant following an arbitration case.

      Clubs are permitted to perform a buyout outside the regular period during the 48 hour period beginning on the third day after the final of [CBA 13(c)ii]:
      Settlement of the Club’s final arbitration case, or
      Receipt of the Club’s last arbitration award

      A buyout can only be performed on a player who was on the clubs reserve list at 3:00pm on the most recent trade deadline
      The player must have a cap hit of at least $3,455,438 for the 2019 offseason.

      • The Rangers have no choice for a buyout or a salary dump trade unless they plan to flip Trouba…

        Swap him for Ristolainen…;-0

  6. Either he should fire his agent… or his agent should fire him. Pure stupid

  7. He might have signed for 1 million but who knows what other deals were made behind the scenes. Sometimes things are done with a handshake. I think Doug Wilson is smart

  8. I never understood the argument “he should take less to help out the team” Why is it the player responsibility to take less, he didn’t hand out the other contracts, the team paid them out; sure if other players on the team took less then maybe but still not the player responsibility.
    It’s all a negotiation and in the end the player decide to sign or not.

  9. One thing we’ve seen with the posters in these threads stemming from the Labanc signing is a dividing line between those “fans” who look at things pragmatically and perhaps have a “what have you done for me lately” approach when it comes to their team of choice, and those who wear their hearts on their sleeves and a “my team right or wrong” philosophy. Interesting to say the least.

    • Couldn’t say it any better George, to each his own..

      Respectfully sir!

    • @ George: None of these players owe any team any loyalty. Its a business. They have short careers and its up to them to make the most of it while its in front of them.

      Its up to owners do decide if they believe their worth the ask and if they are, can they fit them in.

      If Marner or anybody stays or goes with their respective teams then so be it.

      Training camp starts in September. 🙂

      • Players well know it is a business and that teams can trade, buy out, or re-assign players to the AHL.

        This is why the top RFAs are holding out to maximize money and term, and why so many UFAs vote with their wallet.

        Loyalty is rare in a player because it is rare in management.

        That said, it is pro sports: lose and there is change. Win and there is change.