NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 19, 2020

by | Sep 19, 2020 | News, NHL | 21 comments

Contract talks break off between the Blues and Alex Pietrangelo, the Wild won’t re-sign captain Mikko Koivu, an update on Steven Stamkos, the Penguins re-sign Jared McCann, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Darren Dreger last night reported contract talks between the St. Louis Blues and captain Alex Pietrangelo have broken off, with the Blues advising the 30-year-old defenseman to pursue unrestricted free agency.

Pietrangelo told Dreger contract discussions haven’t gone the way both sides were hoping. Unless something changes, it’s in the best interest of both sides for him to test the market.

Dreger colleague Pierre LeBrun wondered if the Blues would be willing to trade Pietrangelo’s rights before the UFA market opens on Oct. 9. “If so, what is the draft pick that gets it done?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford reports sources said a recent Blues offer to Pietrangelo had an annual average value of $7.7 million, though it’s now believed to be $8 million. He’s willing to accept less than market value (believed to be $9 million AAV) but is concerned over the structure of the deal, such as term, no-movement clause, and a signing bonus in the final year of a long-term deal, guaranteeing Pietrangelo a cash payout in the event of a buyout.

While there’s still time for the two sides to work things out, it appears the Blues are willing to let Pietrangelo walk if he gets a better offer via the open market. The door could be open to both sides resuming discussions if he doesn’t find anything to his liking. Nevertheless, if I were a Blues fan, I’d be resigned to Pietrangelo playing with another club next season.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild won’t be re-signing long-time captain Mikko Koivu. The 37-year-old center spent his entire 15-year NHL career with the Wild. It’s unclear if he’ll sign with another club. He’s previously indicated he’s not interested in playing for a different NHL team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It appears retirement beckons for Koivu. The wear and tear of his long career caught up with him over the last two seasons as he slid down the Wild depth chart, skating on the fourth line. I think we expected the Wild would part ways with Koivu, but it’s still a little sad to see the end of an era and the potential end of a long, productive career.

TSN: Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois remains hopeful Steven Stamkos could return at some point during the Stanley Cup Final. However, the Lightning captain won’t suit up for Game 1 tonight against the Dallas Stars.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stamkos has been sidelined with what’s believed to be a lower-body injury suffered during Phase 2 training in July. He’s resumed skating but there’s still no timetable for his return.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed center Jared McCann to a two-year contract worth an annual average salary of $2.94 million. McCann was the subject of recent trade rumors but this new contract turns down the heat on that speculation.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McCann could still be traded now that he’s carrying an affordable contract for the next two years. Nevertheless, I think Penguins GM Jim Rutherford re-signed him with the intent of keeping him in the lineup for at least next season.

TSN: The Washington Capitals re-signed winger Daniel Sprong to a two-year contract worth an AAV of $725K.

Cap Friendly published a list of upcoming important dates on the NHL calendar. Among the noteworthy timings:

The first contract buyout period begins on Sept. 25.

The deadline for club-elected salary arbitration is Oct. 5.

The 2020 NHL Draft will be held Oct. 6 and 7, with free agency beginning at noon ET on Oct. 9.

No-movement and no-trade clauses for 2020-21 also take effect at noon ET on Oct. 9.

The deadline for player-elected arbitration is 5 pm ET on Oct. 10.

The second club-elected arbitration window begins 5:01 pm ET on Oct. 10 to 5 pm ET on Oct. 11.

Arbitration hearings will be held from Oct. 20 to Nov. 8.

Nov. 12 is the last day for teams to exercise their walkway right and the last day for the second buyout period.

TSN: Rick Westhead cited executives from several NHL sponsors telling him talks for 2020-21 deals presuppose teams will at least play in bubbles of some sort. The NHL and NHLPA hope to avoid this but cross-border travel and crowds at indoor arenas are unlikely for many months. Westhead said NHL team sponsorships in many markets hang in the balance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Money will ultimately decide when the NHL returns to action next season and in what form. The league and the PA might not have much choice but to return under some sort of bubble.

There’s been talk of seeing purely divisional play, or having all the Canadian teams play each other while the American-based clubs would face each other based on regions, followed by more bubble hockey for the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs. The league could be closely watching how MLB and the NFL have handled travel during their respective schedules.


  1. Gmjr must really be sour on the third line center market to sign McCann for that.

    • I agree, unless he plans to move a winger or another asset while bringing a center back in the deal.

      At least the contract length is reasonable.

    • Chrisms,

      I thought that Bozak might be a good option for JR—dependable and consistent producer. Would benefit Blues with cap.

      • Pens are trying to keep costs down as well. No
        Match. Idda taken a year of him though.

    • Hi Chrisms

      GMJR didn’t sour in the C market…. he was sleeping

      Rookie Kevyn Adams was spry and awake… stealing ES for another UFA and saving dough in the process

      GMGR could have offered up two younger players with many more years of club control… say ZAR & Laffy for ES

      He should offer this now to Adams as Adams knows ES won’t re-sign next summer; so he’ll be looking at a 2nd @TDL…. ZAR + Laffy now is worth more than a 2nd @ TDL

      Glory day is coming next Friday…. buyout season

      Pens have been reticent in the past…. but its a new time and Ronny/Mario have said cut costs and remain competitive. All it takes is one closed door meeting with Mario/GMJR…. bare knuckles… no gloves!!!!

      There is no other team in the NHL that can do a buyout ; save $’s and Cap AND massively better the team. It may be time to buyout Horny as well. Those two buyouts save (after replacements on roster with Poulin and Cuzczman or Pierre-Olivierre Joseph) over $4M cash and Cap….. team younger; faster; waaaay better

      Sid Guentz Cappy
      Gino Rusty Zuck
      ES McC Poulin
      Blueger Turbo Simon

      Czuzman or Pierre-Olivier Joseph


      GMJR could really make a splash by putting Zuck in the deal and getting Montour back; then signing Hoffman and Clifford

      Sid Guentz Cappy
      Gino Rusty Hoffman
      ES McC Poulin
      Blueger Turbo Clifford

      Czuzman or Pierre-Olivier Joseph


      No matter what…. he needs t call GMKA and find out the ask for ES

      • Who says es didn’t have pens on his no trade list? Or that gmjr didn’t make the offer you suggested? And I like zar and laffrrty but they ain’t worth a second. They are fourth liners. Good ones but just that.

      • Hi Chrisms

        I meant both ZAR and Laffy together equal a second

        It was Friedman who said… “I wonder why teams like Penguins didn’t try to get Staal”

        If ES left the door open to go to Buffalo… logical then has that Pens would have to have been on his list… he only had a 10 team no trade list…. 20 he could go to…. Pens would have been one of the 20

        Again… key to next season comes down to next Friday and the following few days… let’s see if Jimbo disobeys his marching orders… cut costs, stay competitive…. one single buyout with replacement; saves them $1.3 M + cash and Cap; AND moves Pens from possibly missing playoffs in ‘21 to Div winner contenders… one move… and that’s doing what he’s been asked to do…. we’ll see

  2. Lyle,

    Words the I didn’t want to hear you say—” be resigned to Pietrangelo playing with another club”……

    • Sadly, that’s the way things look now. It could change, especially if Pietrangelo doesn’t find a deal to his liking via free agency, but it appears he’s played his final game with the Blues.

      • Sounds similar to Stamkos who ultimately signed in the eleventh hour?

  3. Let the overpayment of Alex Pietrangelo begin …

    • He is for all intents and purposes a Leaf already. Now they can move out Andersen and Kerfoot to the Sabres to switch 1st rounders so Leafs can get Askarov. Then deal johnsson and Dermott for a new goalie. Stays within cap solves top pair RHD and dumps Andersen in division which is great if the Leafs could meet that but in the playoffs.

      • bum in playoffs

      • who replaces Kerfoot, Dermott, and Johnnson?

      • That’s all the leafs need is another contract over 10 million per year! 4 players make up a whole team haha
        The leafs are so far away from being a contender AP is not the solution

      • With those 2 moves they are a cup contender and they can get AP for 8.5 by front loading all the bonus money.

      • So Buffalo volunteers to take on 8.5 Million in salary while their ownership reportedly sets an internal limit of $70M? And they carry 3 goalies with the hope that someone takes Hutton off their hands?

        Then, someone trades a goalie AT LEAST as good as F.A. (.936 in the playoffs isn’t bad for a bum); for a 3rd line winger and 3rd pair defender. AND this miracle goalie costs less than F.A. to give enough cap space for Pietro?

        And as M>L points out; who replaces the 4 skaters you’ve traded away?

      • Lehtonen nylander (better at centre than wing) and robertson. Easy and better

      • Wow you guys sure aren’t able to think in a non linear way. It doesn’t have to be buffalo they are all easy to move assets to make room for AP.

      • You literally mentioned Buffalo as a destination for those bottom 6 players.

  4. i think the regional schedule (teams only play teams in their division) makes sense, especially for the Canadian teams, as who knows when the Canadian government will allow US teams to enter/leave the country freely.

    but how would the schedule look like ? it surely can’t be 80 games, that would be >13 games vs each team in your division.

    maybe split the season in two, first half would be inter-divisional play, and the second half would open up, but in a bubble if necessary?