NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 17, 2020

by | Sep 17, 2020 | News, NHL | 36 comments

The Wild trade Eric Staal to the Sabres for Marcus Johansson, Canadiens re-sign Joel Edmundson, and the latest on Brayden Point, Johnny Boychuk, Kyle Clifford and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Minnesota Wild traded center Eric Staal last evening to the Buffalo Sabres for center Marcus Johansson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a straightforward one-for-one swap with no salary retention by either club. Cap Friendly indicates Staal, 35, has one year remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $3.25 million. He has a 10-team no-trade list but the Sabres reportedly weren’t on it. The Athletic’s Michael Russo reported Staal was stunned by the news.

Johansson, 29, also has a year remaining on his contract worth $4.5 million AAV. He’s a versatile forward (when healthy) who can play center or on the wing. However, he managed just 30 points in 60 games last season as a center with the Sabres. Staal netted 47 in 66 contests.

Wild general manager Bill Guerin made no secret of his intentions to shore up his depth at center. Last week, he acquired center Nick Bjugstad from the Pittsburgh Penguins. However, I don’t see the trading away Staal for Johansson as an improvement.

Staal may be older but he was more productive than Johansson, who seems better suited for the wing. Guerin’s recent re-signing of Jonas Brodin has sparked speculation he’s shopping defenseman Matt Dumba for a scoring forward, preferably a center.

The Sabres, meanwhile, are reportedly going to set an internal cap of $70 million for 2020-21. Shedding Johansson for Staal shaves $1.25 million off their payroll. He’ll play a second-line role behind Jack Eichel and perhaps help out in a leadership role.

Speaking of the Wild, StarTribune.com’s Sarah McLellan reported Guerin said it’s unlikely pending free agent center Alex Galchenyuk returns. He also declined to comment on the future of captain Mikko Koivu, who’s also a pending UFA.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Montreal Canadiens re-signed Joel Edmundson to a four-year, $14-million contract extension. The Habs acquired the 27-year-old defenseman last week from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2020.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The annual average value is $3.5 million, making Edmundson an affordable, physical addition to the Canadiens’ defense corps. The deal also comes with a 10-team no-trade list for all four seasons.

Adding Edmundson provides experienced depth on the left side of the Habs’ blue line. It’s also sparked suggestions Brett Kulak or Victor Mete could be packaged in a deal for a scoring forward. The Habs now have over $10.2 million in cap space invested in 19 players for 2020-21.

NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point’s status for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final remains uncertain. Point missed the previous game with an undisclosed injury and didn’t practice yesterday. Lightning coach Jon Cooper said he didn’t know if Point will be available but remains hopeful he’ll be in the lineup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning lost both games Point missed due to injury.

NEW YORK POST: The return of veteran defenseman Johnny Boychuk provided a big lift for the New York Islanders in their Game 5 victory over the Lightning on Tuesday. Boychuk returned to action for the first time since being sidelined in the opening game of the qualifying round against the Florida Panthers.

TORONTO SUN: Agent Todd Reynolds said client Kyle Clifford will be testing the unrestricted free agent market. The 29-year-old left wing was acquired by the Maple Leafs in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings last February. If Clifford doesn’t re-sign with Toronto, the Kings will receive a third-round pick from the Leafs.

THE SCORE: The St. Louis Blues announced former Dallas Stars head coach Jim Montgomery will be joining them as an assistant coach on a two-year deal. He’ll replace Marc Savard, who stepped down earlier this month.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks are expected to make interim head coach Bob Boughner their full-time bench boss.

TSN: A proposed class-action lawsuit has been filed against North America’s most powerful hockey leagues (including the NHL, AHL, and the Canadian junior leagues) alleging conspiracy to limit opportunities for young players. The suit was filed by Kobe Mohr, who played in the WHL from 2015 to 2020.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Former Pittsburgh Penguins president Jack Kelley died Tuesday at age 93. Kelley was the Penguins president from 1993 to 1998. He was also inducted in the US Hockey Hall of Fame in 1993 and the WHA Hall of Fame in 2010.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Kelley’s family and friends.


  1. Oh I hope that law suit takes out the bogus chl deal. Pretty please!

    • Agree 100%. That aspect of the “development” process needs to be given a swift kick in the gonads.

      The other bit of news that comes as a bit of surprise is the fact L.A. will receive a 3rd round pick if the Leafs don’t re-sign UFA Clifford. A THIRD round pick for Clifford???

      • @George it would of been a second if he would of signed. Some people on here believe it’s what the leafs need a big forward who checks hard and fights. Can’t score or play worth anything but he can hit and fight.

      • It would have been a 2nd, George, if Clifford re-signed.
        Eric Staal in Buffalo – one way or another, it should help Jeff Skinner. The Sabres need plenty of goals from him.
        Now Buffalo only needs to sign eleven more players – no problem, right?

      • So the trade in total now was Trevor Moore , a 2020 third and a 2021 third for the end of the reg season With Clifford and a backup . Another beauty trade from Dubas. Yikes. Only James tanner and Wendell can find the good in that one

      • Yes George a 3rd for Clifford and so typical for you to mention that. Well I guess the Leafs like the rest of us, value a 2nd round pick more than a third. No comments about your mighty sens? Oh yeah no one including their fans care.

      • The golf course ?

      • No, a different hole entirely. 🙂

      • awe my thin skin

      • Chrisms

        I don’t get your punchline “ The golf course ?”


      • That’s cause george stepped over the line and the joke for said punchline is all gone.

        Oh the humanity!

      • OK Chrisms

        Are you sure you are not my late Uncle Frank …. who was spot on remembering the punchline ; but could never tell the run up setting for the punch-line

        I’ll just have to imagine the set up from George

  2. Wow. I wonder how much of a role giving up that 2nd played in the decision to not meet his demands? I mean, the guy, who turns 30 in January, is coming off a $1.6 mil cap hit so you have to assume he was looking at at least that amount.

    I don’t know if, in these tough economic times, there is a team out there willing to fork over anywhere near that for someone who has averaged 7g 9a a year over some 676 games. Toughness is one thing – but who can afford to waste a roster spot on a player you just don’t put out there for more than 8-10 minutes a game.

    Could be he’s one of those UFAs who are going to be on the outside looking in when the dust settles.

    • Almost 700 games in the league, George, some team will want him. Buffalo?

      • Could be BCLeafFan …. but do you really see him signing anywhere near $1.6 mil with 3/4 of the league currently smack up against the cap limit and trying to find takers for the cap hits they MUST move out? I doubt even Buffalo goes anywhere near $1.6 mil. For any team that’s money better spent on an RFA you need to keep or the elevation of a couple of ELCs from within a system ready to step up.

        It wouldn’t surprise me to see Clifford finds no takers at or near that amount.

        Borowiecki could be in a similar situation. He turns 31 next season and his body has taken a lot of damage from his style of play. Coming off a $1.2 mil cap hit, I don’t see too many teams prepared to give that – or a bit more – for a 5/6 pairing D-man.

        One thing is sure, we’ll find out quite soon if those types get new jobs once the UFA market opens.

    • I’ve seen Clifford play a number of times, George. He is of course not a point producer – but he plays on the 4th line. LA was a better team when he was on the ice as he can skate well, is physical and brought a ton of energy to the line up. Teams need guys like him on their 4th line.

      I expect that the reason Clifford is testing the waters is that the Leafs were only prepared to offer about half of what he made last year due to their salary cap issues. Remember, this is a team that many say lacks grit, and Clifford brings that.

  3. I want what Bill Guerin is smoking …

    • He might be injecting

  4. Staal and Marcus Johansson both could be dealt again @ TDL. If Johansson fits in maybe Guerin plan is to resign and he was not going to resign Staal?

    • I would think there is a much much stronger probability that Sabres (over Wild) are out at TDL… Staal almost assuredly to be dealt ; and unless he has a major injury or his stats absolutely plummet… count on a 2nd or fair prospect coming back…. more than Johanson will garner (if Wild out and unloading)…IMHO …. Billy G lost this trade every way to Sunday

      As a Pens fan… I am once again in tears as I’ve been begging since last year for Staal as 3C on Pens …. and Pens had way more to offer than Buffalo did

  5. MB signing Edmundson is a good deal. Using a 5th round draft pick to sign a useful dman is a solid deal. Maybe a slight over payment but a solid deal.

    The Buff Minnie deal i understand from Buffalo point, got an old C and saved over $1m on their internal cap hit. Johansson i liked him in Boston playoff run, but i don’t get this deal at all from Minnie point.

  6. Yesterday Pengy post about Lou Lamoriello winning GM of year the year award, brought on some criticism, of oh you think you know more then the writers and voters, etc. To that point I’m going to tell a story i told years ago and why i would say most people on here no more then any writer outside his own market.

    Gary Lawless who now works for Las Vegas, use to be a writer for Winnipeg Free Press, had Lawless corner on Jets games and a afternoon raido show with another guy who goes by Hustler.

    On live air Gary revealed that he voted Shea Weber of Nashville for the Norris Trophy and he followed that up with that he never watched Weber play.

    I followed Gary on twitter and tweeted at him that i just lots a ton of respect for him and that he tarnished the award. To that point Lawless immediately blocked me and i just checked to confirm i’m still blocked. Which i’m fine with.

    The next day Gary addressed my tweet and said if im pricked do i not bleed and then went onto defend his actions by saying that although admitting not watching him play, doesn’t mean he didn’t do his home work, and call some local area writers and other people to get an inform decision. If he had not of blocked me i would’ve tweeted to him, then give that person your vote. Maybe that person already had a vote and now got a second vote.

    The same afternoon program which i listen to a lot, have guest on writers or radio broadcast of other teams coming in to play the Jets, i remember Hustler asking this radio play by play what they could expect out of a certain and the guest said he is injured, next player also injured. I was thinking how embarrassing you don’t know who is injured and who isn’t; either you or your producer need to be more informed.

    My point is when it comes to writers, for the most part they only know the team they follow.

    I say their should be a committee of ex NHL players, coaches and GM that vote for every award, except the Mark Messier Award.

    • some real rough percentage numbers:

      Awards that are voted on such as Jack Adams, Lady Byng, Selke, Norrisgoes to Eastern Conference 60%

      The Vezina is at about 75% to the east

      Detroit is a wild card as it was in the west historically, but original six and located relatively close to Toronto.

      take a risk and extend those percentages further and it means that a player drafted to an eastern conference team has a better chance at higher career earnings.

      • Hi 2.0

        I’m hoping that those percentages are not truly reflective of overall skew indicating better overall players in the East; but more in line with subjectivity bias and higher familiarity with players in your own “zone”/conference; balanced with the fact that the vast majority of PHWA members reside East of the Mississippi

    • Hi Caper

      Posted late yesterday after I got confirmation that voting is after final 4 decided.

      I certainly don’t in any way think I am anywhere near as knowledgeable as GMs (however with GMJR’s recent set of fiascos we might logically add him as an exception; noting that ALL here are better informed; wiser, and more logical/prudent than he)

      I had been going on Friedman statement that all awards voting was done prior to play-ins. With that in mind; GMs making a decision to vote in LL over many other more deserving GMs; as at end of July (when Isle’s were not in a playoff position; were on a 7 game slide; had done poorer than previous year and LL’s acquisitions and re-ups were not up to say Jim Nils; and the year over year outcomes were light years Avs over Isles) was illogical to me; hence my tirade.

      Later in day I asked my EA to do some research and get clarity on when voting had ceased on this award. It turns out Islander was bang on…Friedman had misspoke… ‘twas only a couple of weeks ago ; after final 4 were determined… that then makes the decision to go with LL over the others copacetic

      My lack of proper information at the time; spurned a Pengy rant that riled some here


    • 31 of the voters are GMs. Only 5 are writers like Lawless.

  7. In defence of writers Caper, I would have to be believe that they are as familiar with the players on other teams in the league as the armchair experts that post on this site (which I faithfully read every morning, Thankyou Lyle). They, I am sure watch televised games, replays, read articles every day. They would have to be hockey fans in general. I am happy to see that they don’t cast their vote for the home guy to appease the readers

    • I agree, Joseph, that being paid to follow hockey at the least gives professional writes way more time to become familiar with the players than the rest of us – just enthusiasts who often have a bias for our own team.

      And of course in this brave new world of email/twitter and all other manner they likely get a lot of abuse.

      But I too have experienced what Caper has, notoriously thin skinned writers who put out criticism and can’t take it.

      I’ve called out Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette for flat out errors in his articles and got nothing back. No retraction, he just moved on to the next error filled column.

  8. Hi Lyle,

    a) Edmundson “signed”, he didn’t “re-sign”. Was a risk trading for him on that basis as should be acknowledged.

    b) your #’s for a Montreal have to be wrong, how could $10.2 million cover19 players? Must be that they still have $10.2 mill in space after 19 players signed?

    • No they traded for him so yes he resigned , and it was a good move fills a need

      • BB,

        He was never signed with the Habs, so they didn’t re-sign him.

        He may have re-signed to play professional hockey, but the Habs signed him (for the first time).


      • I agree, a good move at a reasonable price and giving a lot of roster flexibility.


      • I think this is an interesting Language debate. I think you could argue it both ways. He resigned as his rights were owned by habs. He signed as he never previously put pen to paper with habs.

        Oh my.

      • Lions and Tigers and Bears

  9. To the show late today

    Re: Staal/ Johanson…. big winner is rookie GM Kevyn Adams…. wow !!!👍👍👍👍👍👍👍

    He gets the far better player (in every stat category high and low; minutiae and macro; except for a couple of minor ones where Johanson is just marginally ahead); who comes with pedigree (Captain , cup, worlds, Olympics, 1,200 + games; 1,000 + points) and will bring a great deal of mentorship to the team; all while saving $’s and if I’m a betting man; will get a 2nd or fair prospect at TDL…. Kudos Kevyn👍👍👍👍👍👍👍

    Loser in deal… Billy G what were you thinking ???? You just won huge in the Bjug deal (max retained by Pens; basically zero given up for a hometown C in his UFA year that will be doing everything in his power to prove himself for either a nice extension or better offer through UFA). Size, skill, production, maturity , lower cash etc etc etc , all favour Staal. The only gain is Johanson is 6 years younger… but both in their UFA years…. Kevyn hosed Billy G👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎

    Biggest loser in deal…… Pens… what the mofo??? Pens apparently were searching and searching and searching for a 3C; Billy G and Jimbo had just done two deals; and Jimbo certainly familiar with his former Canes’ Captain…. Jimbo, what in the high hell are you doing? You had waaaay more assets under contract (than Buff has) that you could have dangled in the deal. This all could have been handled in the Bjug deal; but you could have offered up McC + ZAR and that for sure out-strips the Johanson offer…. 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬 You are driving this franchise down

    Re Edmunson…. Uber kudos to GMMB…. a 5th was a nothing risk really (with all the picks in your pocket) to be able to negotiate with the Edmunson camp…. now … great addition , very reasonable contract… for a 5th 👍👍👍👍👍

    Discussion above bandied “re-signing” of Edmunson; technically not “re-signed” as that infers same participants to previous contract are the same

    His current contract (which ends with the 19/20 season; which still is ongoing) is owned by Habs ; so more in line perhaps we could say that Edmunson was “re-upped” by his current team

    I think the wording used gets hazy because this all happened in close proximity…. if Phill Kessel signed (just using this as an example as it ain’t happenin’) for at least another year with Arz in June of ‘22; we most likely will be using the slang “extended by”; “re-signed by; “re-upped by”; but original contract had Burke’s signature on it as Leaf GM. Just sayin’

    • Clifford is testing free agency. He is likely to fail his test even though he is a useful 4th player. He will have to decide if he wants to chase the extra quarter mill or sign with leafs under $1M