NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 12, 2020

by | Sep 12, 2020 | News, NHL | 5 comments

Islanders get their first win of the Eastern Conference Final, Nathan MacKinnon wins the Lady Byng Trophy, the Penguins trade Nick Bjugstad to the Wild, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Brock Nelson’s tie-breaking goal late in the third period powered the New York Islanders to a 5-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final. The Lightning rallied from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game in the third before Nelson scored and Jean-Gabriel Pageau netted the insurance goal. Isles goalie Semyon Varlamov made 27 saves for the win.

The Lightning leads the best-of-seven series two games to one. They were without two regulars in this contest. Winger Alex Killorn served a one-game suspension for boarding Nielsen in Game 2. Center Brayden Point was unfit to play following an undisclosed injury in Game 2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A big win for the Isles to avoid falling behind 3-0 in the series. It appeared the Lightning were going to pull off a come-from-behind victory but the Isles proved their mettle in this one. Their top-six forwards led the way with Nelson and Anthony Beauvillier each netting a goal and an assist while Josh Bailey collected two assists.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon is this year’s winner of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, awarded to the NHL player who best displays sportsmanship, gentlemanly conduct and ability. He took just five minor penalties during the regular season while finishing fifth in points.

The Pittsburgh Penguins traded Nick Bjugstad last night to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a conditional draft pick in 2021. The 28-year-old center has a year remaining on his contract. Cap Friendly indicates they’re retaining $2.050 million of Bjugstad’s $4.1 million salary-cap hit for next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Acquired by the Penguins from the Florida Panthers in February 2019, Bjugstad was frequently sidelined by injuries, limited to just 13 games this season. He’ll get a chance to get his career back on track in his hometown next season. This is a salary dump by the Penguins as they attempt to clear some cap space, perhaps for other offseason moves.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner rejected a report yesterday claiming he and the Golden Knights agreed to a five-year, $25-million contract back in June. “Yeah, well, it’s not true,” said Lehner. “You know, you have some talks and kind of (discuss) where you’re at, what you want to do. Nothing has been finalized.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report might not be true but Lehner seems to suggest his camp has had some discussions with Golden Knights management. We know Lehner seeks stability after bouncing from Buffalo to the Islanders to the Blackhawks to Vegas since 2018. Perhaps he’ll find it with the Golden Knights. If so, that will only stoke speculation about Marc-Andre Fleury’s future with the club.

The 2020 NHL Draft will be held virtually from Oct. 6 and 7. The first round begins at 7 pm ET on Oct. 6, with rounds 2 through 7 taking place the following day beginning at 11:30 am ET. Broadcast times to be determined.

The NHL free-agent market opens at noon et on Friday, Oct. 9.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings re-signed defenseman Sean Walker to a four-year, $10.6 million contract extension. The annual average value is $2.65 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A good, affordable move by the Kings. As the report observed, Walker’s blossomed into a speedy, productive two-way blueliner. He’ll be a key piece of their rebuilding roster.


  1. Lyle, didn’t you mean “We know Lehner seeks stability after bouncing from Ottawa to Buffalo to the Islanders to the Blackhawks to Vegas since 2015.”??

    Sheesh. Getting used to playing behind the D of 5 teams in 5 years. I GUESS he wants stability.

  2. I knew Bjugstad’s value was low, but 50% retention for no return is worse than I thought. Even if they get the 7th (conditional on min. 70 games played and ~38 points) that is surprising; though I guess 14 GP scares a lot of people even at 2.1M

    • **Correction. 70GP or 35 points per theScore

    • SCJ….Not the greatest return but the Penguins do free up $2.05 million in space… Buyout would have saved more but he is off the roster.

      Murray or
      Murray & McCann as a package are next
      Possible Hornqvist
      Johnson buyout
      ZAReese will either be traded or start the year on LTR which frees up $ 1 million..

      deals re coming…

      I don’t know how reliable Hockeybuzz is..but hearing Penguins are interested in Alex Pietrangelo which to me is a huge mistake..great player but wants big money and long term….

      hope not
      heard Calgary has upped their interest in Matt Murray and Edmonton and Buffalo have dropped out..

  3. Yesterday, Frank Seravelli of TSN wrote “The Pittsburgh Penguins are reportedly planning to budget in the low-to-mid $70 million range on an $81.5 million limit.” If that is the Penguins’ plan, the Bjugstad salary dump is the precursor of other similar deals. With so many teams in cap trouble, the Penguins may have been glad just to find a taker.