NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 16, 2019

by | Aug 16, 2019 | News, NHL | 13 comments

The latest on Mikko Rantanen, William Nylander, Sebastian Aho, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic remains hopeful of getting Mikko Rantanen re-signed before training camp opens on Sept. 11. The 22-year-old winger is among a half-dozen high-end restricted free agents coming off their entry-level contracts.

Sakic said he recently called Rantanen in Finland to discuss the terms of a new contract and how his summer was going. The two sides are interested in a long-term deal taking the winger up to unrestricted free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It doesn’t sound like there have been any serious contract discussions between Sakic and Rantanen. I expect that will change as the start of training camp approaches. With over $16 million in salary-cap space, the Avs can afford a big raise for Rantanen, perhaps something between $8.5 – $9.5 million per season.

SPORTSNET: William Nylander is looking to bounce back from a disappointing performance last season with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The 22-year-old winger missed the opening two months of the season to a contract dispute and finished with just 27 points in 54 games. “Now I’m ready to dominate this year,” said Nylander.

William Nylander is looking to dominate with the Toronto Maple Leafs this season (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Considering the Leafs are paying Nylander over $6.9 million annually through 2023-24 (stick tap to Cap Friendly), he’d better dominate this season. Another sub-par effort like last season’s and the calls from his critics in Leafs Nation will only get louder.

Missing training camp and the first 28 games of the regular season hurt Nylander’s performance. I expect we’ll see at least a return to form this season.

NHL.COM: Sebastian Aho has no regrets about signing an offer sheet with the Montreal Canadiens but insists he’s happy the Carolina Hurricanes matched it. “I did sign an offer sheet with Montreal and I’m thankful for them to offer me that contract, but I’m happy to be in Carolina,” Aho said it wasn’t an easy decision at the time, claiming he had less than a day to think about it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Aho’s name surfaced in the rumor mill leading up to July 1. Several reports claimed Hurricanes management was playing hardball with the young center’s representatives, sparking rumblings he could become an offer-sheet target. Aho might be happy with his new contract and to stay in Carolina, but I can’t help wondering if team owner Tom Dundon might hold it against the youngster down the road.

COURIER POST ONLINE: Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere said he was dealing with a nagging left-leg injury that bothered him throughout last season. He feels he’s now fully recovered. Gostisbehere’s point total tumbled from 65 points in 2017-18 to just 37 last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Gostisbehere is fully recovered we should see a significant rise in his stats this season.

THE ATHLETIC: Pittsburgh Penguins assistant general manager Bill Guerin could be emerging as the front-runner for the Minnesota Wild’s GM job. Sources claim Guerin recently had a second interview with the Wild. Former Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall and New Jersey Devils assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald are also believed among the candidates.

NHL.COM: Speaking of the Wild, Kevin Fiala is waiting for the Wild to find a new GM before continuing contract discussions. The RFA was in negotiations with Paul Fenton before his firing.

CBS SPORTS: Ivan Barbashev could play in Europe this season if there’s no new deal soon with the St. Louis Blues.


  1. I realize August holds the real dog days for NHL player transactions with but snippets of information coming out and any rumors mostly manufactured by columnists needing to fulfill commitments.

    But in Winnipeg’s case the silence is deafening. On the surface, their $17,592,503 in cap space looks like Cheveldayov has everything under control, but that will all but disappear once Connor and Laine are settled (and to a much lesser degree Comrie – does he require waivers if delegated?).

    But at the moment CapFriendly shows the Jets with 17 at the major league level, including Comrie so, once Connor and Laine are settled, and if he is delegated, that leaves them with 18 at the major league level with 5 needed to round out their roster at 23 and with precious little left in the way of cap space.

    • George O first off yes Comrie needs to clear waivers. Second two players who will be in the lineup that are not listed as roster players are Vesalainen $891,167 and Appleton $741,667 = $1,632,834 the other two if no one else is brought in could be 2 of Logan Shaw, Mark Letestu and JC Lipon all of whom make $700,000 so that another $1.4m counting the 4 players after Laine and Connor that’s a total of $3,032,834 substract from the $17,592,503 in cap space leaves the Jets with $14,559,669 to sign both Connor and Laine. Connor could get a long term at $5.5 to $6m per and a believe Laine will have to settle for a short term two contract at about the same number.

      • If Connor and Laine were coming in for the amounts you suggest, you’d think the signings would have happened by now. I believe the 2 are seeking a combined total closer to #15.5 mil. At least. 65 goals (Connor the past 2 seasons) and 110 goals (Laine the past 3) are going to cost, and if Connor gets his preference for a long-term deal, you can bet it’s going to be for a LOT more than $5.5-6 mil. Laine, for sure, won’t sign for less than $8 mil.


      • After seeing Tanev, Trouba, Myers and Chiarot depart, the prospect of entering the season with Connor and Laine on the sidelines could lead to disaster and probably cost Maurice his job not long into the season – a typical move by a GM feeling the heat.

  2. Should Nylander bounce back to previous levels of production up to and including by the US Thanksgiving, Dubas will be faced with an interesting scenario as it pertains to cap space and team needs.

    Trade Nylander while his value is likely at its highest for defensive help or keep him as an asset to help the team moving forward?

    • For the last time, no GM will trade a 60pt producing 22 yr old. Maybe once he doesn’t any more or it’s an offer that is greatly in his favor which again rarely happens if ever.

      • Chia says hello.

  3. I still believe the trade of WW for an up and coming early-mid 20’s D that is trending for top 3D is what is best for Leafs in the long run

    As at now … just Reilly signed past this year. There will be difficulty in extending some of our current Key D and I believe at least one of Barrie or Muzzin will be gone

    WW is only owed $700 K for the balance of the year and <$5M Cash AAV for balance of the contract ; plus his most recent performance (worlds[note away from the GTA fish tank]) was quite good

    The above trade improves Leafs now AND in future AND saves valuable Cap

    Leafs must plan for their true cup window …. ‘21–‘25

    Ducks have very shallow pockets … and I know at 27 he is a little high on my suggested age parameters …. but he’s under contact for 3 more years at $4,1M… Manson

    Ducks actually save $3.55M in cash this year and have Cap space

    Leafs free up almost an additional $2.9 M in Cap

    Just a thought


  4. If Billy G gets the job in Minny ; you just know that his first order of business will be to trade with Jimbo to get the coveted JJ.


    • Gmjr might get his dream players in Parise and suter

  5. Nylander isn’t going anywhere. I realize there is very little to talk about but , talk about flogging a dead horse.
    They have gave him 20 million to trade him, I don’t think so.

    • Hi Vinnie

      Most likely you are right; but to me it’s the wrong move.

      I’m setting aside my bitter disappointment in GMKD for capitulating on this deal … should have made him sit; end result would have been lower cap hit for all 3

      That aside ; Dubas must have considered a future trade when he front end loaded the contract so much …. Leafs are flowing with cash…. always… cash no issue; Cap is

      The structure and f that contract made WW highly tradable after the SB was paid

      I firmly believe it’s the best move and should be done; but you are prob right … Dubas won’t take the logical road on this