NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 17, 2020

by | Oct 17, 2020 | News, NHL | 67 comments

Joe Thornton signs with the Maple Leafs, the Flames avoid arbitration with Andrew Mangiapane, the Kings sign Quinton Byfield to an entry-level contract, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TORONTO SUN: Joe Thornton is joining the Maple Leafs following 15 seasons with the San Jose Sharks. The unrestricted free agent center signed a one-year, $700K contract with the Leafs.

Long-time San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton signed a one-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s an affordable move by the Leafs bringing years of experience to their third-line center position and considerable leadership to the lineup. However, I remain skeptical that adding a past-his-prime Thornton moves the Leafs significantly closer toward Stanley Cup contention. I remain concerned about their blueline depth and the speed on their checking lines.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Many Sharks players, including Brent Burns, Logan Couture, Erik Karlsson and Evander Kane, reacted with sadness over Thornton’s departure while praising his leadership and expressing their best wishes to their former teammate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Many Sharks fans shared similar sentiments following the news of Thornton signing with the Leafs. He and Patrick Marleau are the two greatest players in Sharks’ history. Thornton spent the bulk of his playing prime in San Jose and was instrumental in turning them into a long-time Western Conference powerhouse. He was beloved by Sharks fans and his contributions won’t be forgotten by them or the franchise.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames avoided salary arbitration with Andrew Mangiapane as the winger signed a two-year contract worth $2.425 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A fair deal for Mangiapane following a 17-goal, 32-point performance in 68 games as an NHL sophomore in 2019-20. He’ll be in line for a significant raise if he can build last season’s effort.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The King signed Quinton Byfield to a three-year entry-level contract. The 18-year-old Sudbury Wolves center became the highest-selected black player in NHL history as the Kings picked him second overall in this year’s NHL draft.

TSN: cites a report by The Athletic’s Arthur Staple indicating the New York Islanders are working toward a new contract with Matt Martin. The 31-year-old winger became an unrestricted free agent on Oct. 9. While several teams have contacted Martin, he prefers returning to the Isles.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Center Nolan Patrick has accepted the Flyers’ qualifying offer. He missed all of last season with a migraine disorder.

THE PROVINCE: Former Vancouver Canucks enforcer Gino Odjick is once again battling a rare heart condition called amyloidosis which nearly killed him six years ago. He’s confident that early detection this time around improves his chances of overcoming the ailment.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Odjick for a speedy and full recovery.


  1. Do I love Jumbo Joe… yep

    Is he a hall of famer to be… I think so

    Is he going to be a mentor and great in the dressing room … yes

    Does Jumbo Joe on Leafs make sense…. to me , no

    If they were looking for 3C…, Spezza is 4 years younger, tracked fir better numbers last year, is faster, and Jumbo Joe was quite a negative guy (in the plus/minus) last year

    Size?…. 4 pounds and 3/4” in height difference between him and Spezza

    Leafs are now going to lose one (maybe both) of Mekeyev/Dermott due to space issues… or somehow find a taker on Kerfoot

    MM and AM just traded one Shark “dad” for another

    Again… I love him… but this move is a head scratcher

    Leafs as the roster stands right now are not top 3 in Atlantic; so have to beat out 4th and 5th in tightly packed Metro just to get in to playoffs

    You would think this is his last year … the elusive cup still out there… Dubas better have promised him a move at TDL to a contender; if Leafs were sitting on the bubble at that time

    • “You would think this is his last year …” are you speaking of Thornton or Dubas? If the latter, do you think it’s also assessment time for Shanahan?

      • George, I don’t think Dubas would have made the changes he has in this off-season without Shanahan’s agreement. They have both put their jobs on the line imo. Not sure Dubas is done yet; as Lyle said, the blueline is still up in the air.
        I see a strong message here to the team’s best players – if things don’t get better, you’re next.

      • BCLeafFan, don’t you think that setting aside C roster spots – at ELC numbers – for 2 senior citizens is sending the wrong message to the kids on the Marlies roster? One I could maybe understand – but two? Makes no sense.

        This coming April will mark 6 years since the hiring of Shanhan, who more or less began the “Shanaplan” in 2015 with the Clarkson trade. Since then there have been a multitude of “re-building” moves, including coaches and GMs, free-agent signings led by Tavares, top draft picks since awarded massive contracts, trades – you name it – and there still hasn’t been that elusive playoff series win that’s been dogging the organization since 2004.

        Now the rebuilding continues with two 40-year-olds at C on the bottom two lines, while their better prospects cool their heels in the AHL. At what point does the patience of ownership run out?

      • Now that I think of it, maybe the answer to my last question above lies in the fact that, unlike the other 30 teams, no one person “owns” the Toronto Maple Leafs (Tanenbaum is the Chairmen of MLSE – a consortium) so, rather than one person calling the shots, such decisions in Toronto are made by committee. And you know what famed auto designer Sir Alex Issigonis observed a long time ago about committees – it was one that set out to design a horse and came up with a camel.

      • Kids in the marlins have no NHL analytic numbers. Because they aren’t in the NHL. It’s hard for Dubas to run his numbers when they are absent. Maybe that is why he signs aging vets who may block young players wanting to prove themselves.

        Maybe the Maple Leaf prospect pool has nothing in it right now that can help.

    • pengy, games are played on the ice, not on paper. Dubas, in all probability, believes the Leafs roster is top 3 in the Atlantic.

      Sign Mikheyev and Dermott for $800k each and, voila, cap compliant. With only 39 NHL games, Mikheyev should not receive much in arbitration. My guess is less than $1 M.

      Another option to increase cap space would be to trade Justin Holl and replace with an entry level contract. Won’t be easy but that would leave at least $2.7 M for Dermott and Mikheyev.

  2. What’s with the over the hill gang? Spezza served the role of older mentor and he was resigned a couple of weeks ago, that was a good move.
    why waste valuable cap money on Thornton or a past his prime Simmonds?

    These guys had their time but well past their prime and there are only so many players you can have past their prime….if any.

  3. TML never seizes to amaze me. These signings are reminiscent of the old ways/days. Fans with influence and so called pundits are very much to blame. I hope that there’s a method to this madness. Pressed against the flat cap and desperate to win multiple playoff series. Hoping it’ll all work out. I wish them luck and success.


    2019 – 2020 Leaf 4th line centre:

    Fred Gauthier $863,000

    2020 – 2021 Leafs 4th line centre :

    Joe Thornton $700,000

    Think people think before you type.

    • I’m pretty sure you don’t sign a first ballot HOF player to bury his contract.
      If you need a well past his prime player for his “leadership” or voice in the room, what does that say about the high priced players on your roster?

      I watched every game of the SC Final as well as every B’s and Oiler playoff/play in game.
      Not sure if you noticed Wendel, but it was fast hockey. Very little time and space to do anything unless you can skate and create it.
      If you want Thornton’s voice in the room, hire him as a coach.
      I don’t see how this help’s the Leafs.

      I have nothing but respect for Thornton, but if you can’t play, nobody gives a crap what you have to say. Do something and we’ll listen to ya.

      • You hit the nail on the head, Ray. The moves this year reflect management’s desire to change the room and, if the top players don’t understand that, some of them will be moving on.
        Part of the rationale could have been the strong possibility of a shortened regular season which might help the older guys. Perhaps the Leafs plan to platoon Thornton and Spezza – who knows? – but I’m pretty sure the people upstairs are saying to Matthews and the boys, “It’s time to put up or move on.”

      • Yes, I will miss the way Frederick “twinkletoes” Gauthier used to skate rings around Jumbo when Leafs played SJS.

    • Wendel, you are going to confuse / lose some people by discussing math.

      But your logic was spot on as the soccer (football) crowd would say. Bonus marks for showing all your work calcs.

      Great post!

      • Hammer:

        It is only logical if the goal is to sign players under the cap as the primary – if not exclusive – consideration. If cheaper is better.

        And the reason Dubas believes cheaper seems to be better is that he is still in the same corner he painted himself into with the money paid to his “Big 4” forwards and his stubborn refusal; or inability to move one to have a more balanced roster.

        A week ago Dubas was saying he wanted more grit and a roster that was more difficult to play against. Thornton has been signed for grit? For speed then? For goal scoring? No. No. No. Signed because he was cheap.

        The question to ask is, for all Dubas’ quotes, trades and sleight of hand is:

        Is Toronto a better team now than they were at the end of the season?

        The definitive answer will be found at the end of the season. But only the most dogmatic and cult-like think that is so now.

    • I still look back Findlay at Corey Perry’s break away. So fast he was.

  5. Yeah, sure, Wendel …

    • Is Wendel not entitled to an opinion without arrogant dismissal from you, George?
      His point is valid.
      Thornton is better that Gauthier, and cheaper as well.

      • Oh, you mean “arrogant” as compared to the diplomatic “The stupidity of these comments is shocking. IT IS A MATH IMPOSSIBILITY TO NEGATIVELY IMPACT OR DEPLETE YOUR CAPSPACE WITH A LEAGUE MINIMUM SIGNING, IMPOSSIBLE…DUH! ”

        Mea culpa.

      • Perhaps you should go read more posts by Wendel before you shoot your mouth off about arrogant dismissal, mylove. And it is for this limited purpose that I recommend you do read him.

        He is the rudest and most abrasive poster on this site and lowers the tone just about ever time he posts something. I am not the only one who won’t reply to him because feeding trolls only encourages them.

      • Besides, mylove, why are both you and he bringing up Gauthier? He’s an unrestricted free agent who won’t be back anyway. Meanwhile, they have a host of other ELC Centers with the Marlies – is one of them not worth a look?

    • Wendel has a point albeit not the one he’s trying to make. Both Spezza and Thornton were above average players in their prime. Both have regressed in their older age and with that their ability to be an above average player. Thornton put up over 30 pts on a bad SJ team last year and 51 the year before. Are they both still elite? Well no but they can play like/with and produce like your 40pt average players you’re paying $4m+ for. The guy he replaces made +$100k more and produced less and wasn’t close in performance. Why is this seen as a bad move, oh yeah, this site has experts.

      Hey Lyle, do you know how the leafs roster will shape up and the lines will be? You mentioned him as the 3rd C but I never saw any confirmation on how they plan to utilize him.

  6. As a Joe Thornton fan, i wish him well and would like to see him win the cup.

    I don’t think Thornton will hurt the team as he will not be playing top 6 minutes, but should get pp time on the second unit.

    It’s a small investment and Dubas feels that one year of Thornton at league min is better then bringing up someone from the Marlies.

    This really is much to do about nothing. If it doesn’t work, you put him on waivers.

    This is a no risk gamble.

  7. Odjick was a dirty cheap shot goon, deserves everything he gets.

    • Typical.

      • Do try to be nicer to internet strangers, George. Just because his opinion varies from yours doesn’t make it any less or more valid than the others.

      • Your first snide comment at George May have been warranted. Calling out someone for calling out someone who wishes severe illness on others was certainly not. Rein it in champ.

      • Apparently he/she took exception to my “arrogance” over the way I responded to someone calling others “stupid” – still trying to figure that one out – but it goes WAY beyond opinion to wish a fatal disorder on someone. THAT sort of crap should be immediately deleted by Lyle. Lord knows we’ve had things deleted for a lot less.

      • I kinda figured mylove was W17H … or Denis Herron. ; )

    • What a terrible thing to say. If that is what you really believe, what does it say about your character, and what do you deserve?

    • Come on Denis. You are happy he has a life threatening heart ailment because you didn’t like his hockey playing style? Seriously?

    • clown comment of the week….

  8. The Leafs are going to win the Cup if there’s a season.
    You heard it here 1st.
    October 17th 2020, as first reported by mylove.
    The hometown boys are going to bust the streak of no cups in Canada.
    The league is fixed.

    • CDM, there’s the second one

      • Are you hypothetically speaking, George?

        Quick to dismiss others and call strangers names, aren’t you?

        Clown? Hardly.
        Just an astute observer of your blatant hypocrisy over the years.
        If you launch an attack, you can expect a counter. Or does it not work both ways?

        Signed: Fanboy.

      • What?? So, in your esteemed position, “the league is fixed” is an honest opinion not worthy of being called a clown comment???


      • Hypocrite!

        You wrote just this morning; “So, when did having an opinion become “trolling?”…oh wait, I know, its when that opinion does not agree with those of the fan-boys”

        But, do carry on. You’re ramblings are amusing.

      • So you too think “the league is fixed” is an honest opinion – alright, perhaps you can fill us in on exactly HOW you think it’s “fixed” – if calling that a clown comment is being a hypocrite then I wear the crown proudly – Jaysus

      • No. That was sarcasm, and it doesn’t change the fact that you are a thin skinned hypocrite.
        Do you wear that crown proudly as well? Cause you sure flaunt it enough.
        You can’t have it both ways, George. Or can you? You seem awfully entitled for an older gentleman. (And I use that term extremely loosely).

      • Off to pout, yet again?

      • No, I was attending to my wife … so, back to your “sarcasm” claim – I don’t know you from Adam – until two days ago I never saw you in here before – but I’m supposed to know when you’re being serious and when it’s sarcasm?

        Please don’t think for a fleeting moment that the likes of you will drive me away – you will find that I can give as good as I take and if you want to go down that road, then get ready.

        This crap began when I objected to Wendel calling some posters stupid – that you seem to think that’s part of an honest opinion makes it clear how to deal with you.

      • Oh shore. Why?

      • And by the way, shoreorrpark, was CDM out of line for calling Denis Heron a clown for his nasty comment on Odjik? Or do you pick and choose the ones you want single out?

      • First off its mylove.
        Secondly, you touched your gun first. Why did you hafta do that?
        Fanboy? Yeah. It works both ways.

      • Where did I misspell your nick? And how did I “touch my gun” first when I was responding to what looked like a serious post?

        Anyway, forget it – post whatever you like. I won’t waste any more effort on you or anything you submit as sincere or sarcasm. Couldn’t possibly care less one way or the other and I’ll be damned if I waste my time trying to decipher which it is. That goes for you, too, shoreorrpark – no point prompting you to deal with a hypocrite. Not when you clearly have no problem with someone wishing something deadly on another human being.

    • First, mylove, they need to win A series for the first time in 16 years, never mind 4 in one season.

      • What does history have to do with this coming season?
        Superb argument.
        It’s an entirely different team.
        The kids are older, and one would think wiser to the ways of playoff hockey. Some vetran leadership and time to mature is just what the doctor ordered.

      • $5 says mylove is Mr W17Higgins

        Just saying

  9. I think Thorton was signed more for spirit than for scoring.

    When you’re pushed, skating away at warp speed isn’t always the best response–sometimes you have to push back. That’s a lesson Thorton can teach better than any of the Leafs’ young players and prospects, and perhaps one that Shanahan, having been a feisty player like Thorton, feels the Leafs need to be taught. If, as BCLeafFan suggests, Shanahan abetted the Thorton signing, maybe he feels Dubas needs to be taught that lesson, too.

    • But Francis S – shouldn’t that be the role of the highly paid and now legitimately veterans Tavares (going on 11 years in the league), Brodie (9 years), Muzzin (8 years) Rielly (7 years), Spezza (18 years), Simmonds (12 years), Bogosian (12 years) Matthews (4 years), Marner (4 years), Nylander (5 years) – none among them exactly “rookies”

      • I think that many of the players you’ve mentioned couldn’t assume that role because they’re the very ones likely to skate away from confrontations. Apparently, some others haven’t done it even if they could or should, being that the complaints of many Leafs fans that I’ve read here are that their team isn’t assertive enough. Perhaps, Leafs thinking is that Thornton comes from a different mold than those others. That’s mine.

        Thanks for letting me get away with misspelling his name.

      • The. George forget about them and concentrate on your poor team. I guess the idea of having too much of a good thing is a bad thing in your eyes. Maybe you don’t understand as much as you think you do and have unreal expectations.

  10. Talking about Thornton’s leadership is hysterical. The only thing he’s ever lead his teams to is early exits. How many great teams did the sharks have during his tenure in SJ? How many times did they win the pacific or finish near the top of the league during the regular season? And how many Cups did they win? How many times did they appear in the finals? He’ll how many times did the make it to the western finals?

    You can praise his leadership all you want but there’s a very good reason he doesn’t wear the “C”.

    • One.

  11. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, in the dictionary it’s accompanied with a picture of Jim Rutherford. Cody Ceci??? Really?

  12. Every year I hear Leafs Leafs Leafs sooner or later in next fifty yes they may win one. Not sure about next year but stranger things have happened but there are about 6 teams who I like their chances better

    • Toronto top 7 then, OBE?

      I have 8 teams not named Toronto that have a good chance to make the playoffs from the Eastern Conference alone:

      NY Islanders

      The Rangers and the Senators might surprise.

      That is as of now, and that doesn’t count the Western Conferences. Maybe I have a bias, certainly I don’t have clairvoyance. But At best the Leafs have stood still with their eccentric roster moves; at worst they are weaker.

      • Just to draw a line under the Thornton debate:

        There are only 2 possible positions for you to choose from:

        1) you are simply an irrational hater who readily ignores the obvious staring you in the face and have no pride in having credibility at any cost or
        2) you acknowledge there is not a better 4th line centre in the 31 team NHL particularly at league minimum and while no longer a “difference maker” improved the Leafs at the centre position and you concede a nice signing well done by Dubas.

        As I have said before I just make the statements you decide which applies to you.


      • Bluegar is better. Just saying.

  13. Oh yeah, and here’s to mylove, Master of First Impression Analysis!


  14. Here’s my opinion. Strip Tavares of the captaincy and give it to a real leader Joe Thornton.

  15. I’m beginning to remember why I left this site so many years ago!!!!

    I love your content Lyle, you do great work with hockey information highlights.

    That said the art of debate in this ugly world has been almost completely lost. That’s sad.

    • Uwey,

      How can we miss you if you won’t go away.

  16. Look at some footage of Thornton and tell me that’s not an upgrade on Fred Gauthier. Ask yourself why Tavares and the rest of the core group goes missing when things get tough.

    Sandpaper, grit, heart.

    Strip Tavares of the captaincy. That 77 million he’s collecting should be enough. Give the captaincy to Thornton and show the rest of the figureskaters on the Leafs what leaders do.


  17. 2019-20 Statistics:

    GP – G – A – PTS – CF% – ATOI – Player

    70 – 7 – 24 – 31 – 52.7 – 15:30 – Joe Thornton
    61 – 7 – 05 – 12 – 45.5 – 9:23 – Frederik Gauthier

    Does everyone not think that is an upgrade.