NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 31, 2019
NHL opts to forego reopening the CBA plus updates on Braden Holtby, Roman Josi, and Darnell Nurse in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
SPORTSNET: The NHL yesterday formally notified the NHL Players Association it will not reopen the current collective bargaining agreement, which expires on September 15, 2020. The league has the option to opt-out on Sunday, which would bring the CBA to an end next September.
The spotlight shifts to the PA, which also has an early opt-out option it can trigger on Sept. 15. Elliotte Friedman reports the PA executive plus other players who wish to attend will meet Wednesday in Chicago. “There is believed to be momentum in talks,” said Friedman. “It is possible that if a deal cannot be done by the 15th, both sides will agree to move the NHLPA’s deadline to a later date.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Chris Johnston said yesterday, the league’s decision offer cautious hope for labor peace. I share that view. Unlike previous CBA negotiations where both sides sniped at each other in the media before facing off in three lockouts, there have been no fireworks this time around.
The league and the PA have quietly held negotiations throughout the summer. When either side speaks to the press, it’s to say they’re on the same page on most issues.
Given the contentious labor history between the two sides things could still go sideways. Escrow is a major sticking point for the players. Nevertheless, there seems a genuine desire between the two sides to avoid another work stoppage.
If, as Friedman reports, there is momentum in CBA talks, we could see an extension or a new deal announced in the coming weeks. At worst, both sides could agree to revisit negotiations in three years.
NBC SPORTS: Braden Holtby indicated his desire is to re-sign with the Washington Capitals. The 29-year-old goaltender is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. The Capitals haven’t signed him to an extension, perhaps because they want to evaluate his performance this season. Holtby said he wouldn’t let his contract status become a distraction.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Capitals have over $62 million invested in 15 players for 2020-21. They must also re-sign long-time center Nicklas Backstrom and fill out the remainder of the roster. They must also look to 2022 when captain Alex Ovechkin is eligible for UFA status. It’s assumed the Caps will re-sign Backstrom and let Holtby depart if he’s unwilling to take a hometown discount.
THE SCORE: Roman Josi is hoping to sign a contract extensions with the Nashville Predators. Like Backstrom and Holtby in Washington, the 29-year-old defenseman will become a UFA next July.
He’s in the final season of a seven-year, $28-million deal and due for a substantial raise. “I think we’re talking a little bit over the summer, and I’ll let my agent deal with that and just focus on getting ready for the season, ” said Josi.
THE ATHLETIC: Jonathan Willis speculates Edmonton Oilers blueliner Darnell Nurse could be in line for a long-term contract. The 24-year-old rearguard is in the second season of his two-year contract with an annual average value of $3.2 million.
Willis speculates Nurse could get a deal comparable to Minnesota’s Matt Dumba (five years, $30 million, $6 million annual average value) or Dallas’ Esa Lindell (six years, $34.8 million, $5.8 million AAV).