NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 15, 2020

by | Oct 15, 2020 | News, NHL | 33 comments

The Canadiens sign Brendan Gallagher and Jake Allen to contract extensions, Golden Knights owner believes 2020-21 season will begin on Feb. 1, an update on Joe Thornton and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens signed winger Brendan Gallagher and goaltender Jake Allen to contract extensions. Gallagher inked a six-year, $39-million deal while Allen’s is two years with an annual average value of $2.875 million.

Montreal Canadiens sign Brendan Gallagher to a six-year contract extension (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gallagher’s new contract came a day following a report claiming contract talks had broken down. The two sides wasted little time circling back and working things out. Cap Friendly indicates it’s an annual cap hit of $6.5 million, making the 28-year-old winger the Canadiens’ highest-paid forward. It also comes with a modified no-trade clause and a no-movement clause, ensuring he won’t be exposed to next year’s expansion draft.

It’s not surprising the Canadiens locked up Gallagher given his offensive consistency and his status as their heart-and-soul player. It should prove worthwhile through the first half of the deal but could become a salary-cap headache in the latter half as his performance declines.

The Allen deal was a bit of a surprise as it was expected he would only be with the Habs for a year and depart next year via free agency. His new contract is affordable but lacks no-movement protection, meaning he’ll be available in next year’s NHL expansion draft. Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin could attempt to cut a deal with Seattle Kraken GM Ron Francis to ensure Allen remains a Hab.

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski reports Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley told a Las Vegas radio station he sees the 2020-21 NHL season beginning on Feb. 1, a full month after the league’s official target date of Jan. 1. He also believes the schedule could be between 48 to 56 games. Foley feels the fate of next season relies on fans returning to the arenas, citing the NHL’s status as a gate-driven league.

Foley dismissed the possibility of the teams playing in quarantine cities as they did during the 2020 playoffs, calling it unfeasible over the course of a season. He instead mentioned the possibility of some sort of short-term divisional realignment, hinting at an all-Canadian division if the Canada-USA border remains closed by COVID-19.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Foley isn’t saying anything that hasn’t already been speculated by fans and pundits. However, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman could frown on Foley’s remarks. He usually doesn’t stand for owners talking that freely about the league’s plans. Officially, the NHL and NHL Players Association are aiming for a full 82-game regular-season beginning Jan. 1.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson said he’s been in frequent contact with Joe Thornton but declined to say if the long-time Sharks center would return with the club next season. Wilson’s comments, however, make it sound as though he’d welcome Thornton’s return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Recent rumors have tied Thornton with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but there’s an ongoing belief he could return for another season with the Sharks.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins team president Cam Neely denied the club has imposed an internal salary cap lower than the league’s $81.5 million cap. Recent conjecture suggested financial losses suffered by team owner Jeremy Jacobs’ hospitality empire during the pandemic was behind the club’s limited activity in the free-agent and trade markets.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators avoided arbitration with forward Nick Paul by signing him to a two-year, one-way contract worth an annual average value of $1.35 million.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames recently signed free-agent goaltender Louis Domingue to a one-year, $700K contract.


  1. I won’t make any comment on the hockey side of the Gallagher signing. But his agent appears to be a genius in going public.

  2. Overpaying in the Covid world. What is with there salaries? Pietrangelo just south or 9 million on 7; Gallagher at 6.5 for 6 and Brodie at 5 for 4 yrs.

    Salary cap is flattened. If Covid hits hard and league revenue is down it will remain flat if not lowered. These are great hockey players but I think all three are overpaid.

  3. Are Bergevin, Gallagher and Gallagher’s agent sitting back and reflecting on the media hype of the last three says and saying… “ much ado about nothing”?

    I have to believe that This signing and finalized numbers can’t Have have magically been manifested and agreed upon after media frenzy pressure … they must have been relatively close on terms; then reconvened and hashed minutiae out

    Re Allen… continues plan of back up to ease Price load to hopefully maximize CP’s quality starts/games… reasonable hit…no NMC… so exposable to Krakken

    The net increase between Allen/Gallagher next year over this is not huge and there is $ coming off the books in 21/22 and Alzner’s buyout hit in 20/21 of $4M drops to $2M then $0.8 M

    Good on ya GMMB

    • Yes, GMMB has had a fine offseason. I’ve been quite critical of him but he’s done what he had to do.
      As to Gallagher, that’s what it was. Much ado about nothing. That’s the way it is in sports. Everything gets blown out of proportion. I had no doubt he’d sign, although I didn’t expect it this quickly. We can all exhale now.

      • If you saw the TSN clip with Dreger trying to explain how his prediction of Gallagher leaving Montreal was wrong you would have noticed a decidedly sheepish look on his face. He blamed it on miscommunication by unnamed sources.

        Wonder if he meant himself?

      • LOL Lj…. If anyone was paying attention MB said Gallahger would be the Habs highest paid forward and he was not concerned about the contract talks cause he knew he was going to get paid. I imagine MB started by suggesting 6 years at 6.25, the agent want 7 for 8 years, Gally piped up and was ok with the 6.5 for 6. Glly knows that if he wants more years on a bonus laid-den contract MB/the Habs would do it. He is really not worried about the money.

        The Allen signing is not at all surprising. The Habs would have had to sign an experienced goalie for expansion costing likely an asset. What is surprising is the pay cut he took. I wonder if the means Weber would be exposed; hoping his age, and cap hit would scare off the Kraken when a juice cap friendly goalie is available? Petry, Edmonson, Chiarot and a moore experienced Romanov should be able to carry the load.

  4. The Bruins management team is a laughing stock.
    They are clueless on talent evaluation, drafting, Free agency & trades, hence a lack of activity.
    Sweeney has been in way over his head since the 2015 draft disaster…

    • Hi tonyd

      A few people on hear had posted about Jacob’s value losses potentially filtering down to off-season player decisions

      I’m starting to strongly believe that

      Two of their top 3 players now looking like they might start season on LTIR, division rivals making moves, key UFAs sliding by….????

      It’s either that or Sweeney is proverbially taking the calculated risks of waiting out the UFA market and picking up “steal” deals on panicked players… a vision of Dan Akroyd and Eddie Murphy in “Trading Places“ comes to mind… at the very moment the Frozen OJ market hits the key marker … and they start smiling and snapping up the deals from the panicked suckers… effectively bankrupting Don Ameche and his brother Ralph Bellamy…. great movie BTW 😂😂👍👍👍

      • “here” not “hear”

      • Pengy, there is a limit as to what Sweeney can “snap up.” As of right now, he has $10,345,186 in cap space with which to sign 2 – and it so happens he has 2 RFAs left to re-up – and they are good ones.

        DeBrusk is coming off an ELC of $863,333 after posting19g 16a 35 pts in 65gp – projected to an 82-game schedule that’s 24g 20a 44pts. So you know he’s in for a nice raise – probably in the range of $3.5 on a bridge deal.

        LD Matt Grezelcyk’s expiring cap hit is $1,400,000 and, despite his smallish size (not usually a Boston type when it comes to D) he just gave them 4g 17a 21pts and a +15 in 68gp, so over 82 games he’d be at 5g 21a 26pts and perhaps a + 18.

        So, together, that’ll cost the Bruins around $6 mil in cap, leaving them with around $4 mil and a full 23-man roster.

  5. Re “ Foley told a Las Vegas radio station he sees the 2020-21 NHL season beginning on Feb. 1, a full month after the league’s official target date of Jan. 1. He also believes the schedule could be between 48 to 56 games. Foley feels the fate of next season relies on fans returning to the arenas, citing the NHL’s status as a gate-driven league.”

    Personally I’m not that far off in my beliefs of what will actually transpire

    I really can’t see a 1/1 start…. 1/2 much more likely…. only the “surge” knows …. sorry couldn’t resist… been that type of morning

    The key thing is planned completion of SC before start of Olympics (yes I know… “if”…. but as of start oh NHL season, the Olympics will still be a “go” at that point in time)

    Even if there is a miraculous start of 1/1…. to get SC awarded by last week in July … season must be over by late May, to start playoffs and get all in

    I just can’t imagine 82 games packed in to less than 5 full months (“normal” years… it’s a fraction over 6 months)

    My wild guess right now…. 60 games , starting 1/2 with the possibility of the previously suggested “hybrid bubble” scenario….

    Re 24 team playins… part deuce…. I don’t see that

    My 2 cents worth

    • “here” not “hear”

  6. I was way off yesterday and expected Gallagher to take longer. With that being said his actual pay this year is 1 million, so I can see him wanting to settle quickly.
    As for the length of the contract I’m not so concerned on account of what he brings to the table, it isn’t his skating, it isn’t his size, it isn’t his shot, there is nothing that he does really well, it isn’t by mistake that he was so low in the draft.
    His talent is grit, determination and refusing to accept no and that makes him the heart and soul of the team and that isn’t a diminishing quality.

    • None of what you state may be non-diminishing qualities, Habfan30 and I don’t disagree with any of them – but body ability could well be as the years go by with no let-up in approach. He does take a pounding and that won’t diminish as long as the opposition sees him as a threat to be eliminated on each shift.

      • Hey George,

        In comparison, Brad Marchant is 32 yrs old, signed through until he is 36 yrs old at $125,000 less than Gallagher , who will be 35 yrs old when his contract ends.

        Their size & style of are very comparable.

        One big difference is Brad is a partier, as opposed to Gally who is a fitness freak. Eats right, works out religiously, is probably in the top 10% of fittest hockey players in the league.

        His two big injuries were hand injuries, one being a slap shot to the back of his hand from a Shea Weber slapshot.

        His most recent injury was something no player in the NHL world would have been able to take without serious injury.

        As a Habs fan, a Gallagher fan, I am not one bit concerned about this signing.

        Drouin & Byron’s contract are far more difficult to digest for me than that of #11!!!

        So I respectfully disagree that his size & style of game is going to be an issue for the majority of the contract.

        As far as the money, beer sales are up, so Molson is probably not in as much financial difficulties as most owners.

        I like what Bergevin is trying to accomplish. On paper, he is winning the off season IMO, but the game is played on the ice, so we will have to wait to see the outcome of the upcoming seasons & how they stack up.

      • Good comparisons Uwey … and I was not aware of Gallagher’s discipline. Hey, I’m not saying he won’t play with the same Hell-bent-for-Election pace right through to the end – just saying he will be put to the test simply because the opposition will always see him as a catalyst.

        He is the kind of player (like Marchand) that every team would love to have on their team – and soon to be in that category will be guys like Konecny in Philadelphia and Marco Rossi in Minnesota.

      • Uwey, I think the biggest difference between Marchand and Gallagher is that one is an elite winger and the other is not.
        Points last 4 seasons:
        Marchand – 85,85,100,87
        Gallagher – 29,54,52,43

        Another way to say it is Marchand gets twice as many points as Gallagher for less money.

        I’l take the partier.

      • From Ray to Ray (may name also),

        I was comparing them as to how Gallagher’s body would stand to the next 6 years as compared to The Rat V2.0 (Kenny Linesman being the original).

        You read far too much into my comparison.

        FYI, what do you think it would cost the Pooh Bears now to sign Marchant??? It wouldn’t be anywhere close to Gally’s $6.25 per!!!!

        Brad would probably command no less than $9 mill per at if he were Gallagher’s age now!!!!

        Let’s face it, the Bruins will never get the bargains they have in Bergeron & Marchant in today’s market. That said, Krejci would never get what he is being paid today.

        What does Pastrnak at the age of 27?????

      • Maybe Uwey, maybe not.
        Prorated from the $75M cap from the first year of his deal would still have him under $7M.

        He has stated publicly he took a home team discount as they were trying to win another cup and that mattered to him. The B’s window is closing so that loyalty wouldn’t apply today.

        I guess we will never know.

        I get why MTL did what they did with Gallagher, but I don’t think it will age well.

  7. Chrisms, a day or two ago you said you didn’t see the value of my evaluating only Canadian teams.

    I should have told you I had the speculation about an all Canadian division in my head when I wrote it.
    Here is more of the same this morning:


    Pengy is right, we are too far away from a vaccine for a full season and a January 01 start. It makes sense to have an all Canadian division to avoid flying back and forth across the border. This would mean a lack of variety, but it would be better than no season.

    • Lj that clarity on your statement takes the in out of inconsequential 🤘

      • No worries. Most of my stuff is inconsequential.

  8. Lyle, I was surprised by Allen’s extension but thought it was not to protect Allen, but to make him attractive to Seattle.

    Not sure if Cayden Primeau has protected status or not, but I would surely give up Allen after next year over Primeau or a roster that finally has strength but not depth. Lose a D and all of a sudden the Habs are down to a legit top 4. Lose a center and strength from that position goes down after years of weakness.

    • Cayden Primeau has protected status, Lindgren doesn’t but nobody wants him. Making Allen available at an affordable price might save habs an exposed D/

    • Does Price have any interest in finishing his career close to home in Seattle? If so or if it becomes so then by signing Allen Montreal has a little insurance if they decide to free up the cap space and expose Price. Vegas took a risk on a highly regarded veteran goalie – I think Seattle would do it.

      • Price has said he is aware his window for winning a Cup is getting smaller, so I can’t see how he would view Seattle as a way to do that.

        Were I Seattle I would not take on his contract when there will be other less expensive goalies who would be fine alternatives.

  9. Marc Bergevin has clearly won the off-season. And the Habs are definitely harder to play against now.
    But let’s see if it translates to points on the ice.

  10. I like the Gallagher signing, but question the length. The style that Gally plays, combined with his size isn’t conducive to playing to the age of 35. But Bergevin said he would make him the Habs highest paid forward and was a man of his word.
    I like this team going forward, and think they will be a force to be reckoned with.

  11. Re Habs and what GMMB has done…. this tough statement comes from this Leafs fan of over 5 decades.. Habs as at this moment are better than Leafs

    In goal…not even close

    D… Habs for sure

    Top 6 (especially top 4)… Leafs; but forwards as a whole … Leafs …. maybe …, but by only a very small amount

    Cap space… Both with about $400 K… both with 2 spots to fill ; 2 RFAs Leafs; 1 for Habs…. close but I give the flip of the coin to Habs in that Leafs RFAs Mikeyev and Dermott are going to cost more than Meet and a depth forward

    Habs roster IMHO, as is …..has closer chance of winning Div than missing playoffs… I think one could argue the opposite for the Leafs

    😭😭😭😭Habs better than Leafs right now 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬😡😡😡😡

    • Pengy, you said this before, and I think it is accurate, not bias, to say you are correct.

      I don’t want to pile on the Leafs, but I do question your comment that the Leafs top 6 are better than the Habs top 6, even by a bit.

      The Leafs top 4 are very strong. My point is that that is just about where it ends. Dubas has gutted the bottom six and signings like Boyd and Vesey aren’t equivalent to the forwards who were traded out. Vesey had 9 goals last year. Yikes!

      Leaf fans can take some comfort in the fact that Columbus has done little, and Boston and Washington nothing and their best players are 35. Tampa of course is self-imploding so the Leafs may decline slower than the teams above them.

    • In Montreal, Evans will be given every chance at $750, 000 to fill that last roster spot.

      Weal gets buried in Laval (I believe all of his salary $1.4 mill would be buried) & that would leave them just $1 mill to fill that last spot.

      Personally, I think they find a cheap, veteran centerman to fill that 13th forward spot. Or does someone like Freddie Gauthier check some of those boxes at league minimum???

      Big, Francophone, centerman who can sit in the pressbox.

  12. Any chance of a full 82 game season plus playoffs are zero. The reason being is everything including the playoffs will need to be completed before July since in July one of the biggest world events is going to happen called the Olympics.

    This is the make or break it season.

    PS the Habs signing was either 2 yrs too long or about $1.5m too much. Yes this makes the Habs cap situation better and thank god they are considered cup contenders to be pushing up against it.

  13. Uwey, I was disappointed that Uncle Nate was signed by the Habs to fill that spot.