NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 18, 2020

by | Oct 18, 2020 | News, NHL | 26 comments

Updates on Phillip Danault and Kasperi Kapanen plus the latest notable contract signings in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

TVA SPORTS: Louis-Andre Lariviere reported Phillip Danault’s agent indicated his client wants to engage in contract talks with the Montreal Canadiens before training camp. “It would be Phillip’s preference to negotiate a contract at this point with the Canadiens,” said Don Meehan. “We are making efforts in this regard.” Danault is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Montreal Canadiens center Phillip Danault (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The strong postseason performances of young centers Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi raised questions about Danault’s place in the Canadiens lineup next season and his long-term future in Montreal. The longer he goes without a contract, the more we’ll hear his name come up in trade rumors next season.

THE SCORE: cited Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford telling SiriusXM NHL Radio Network he believes Kasperi Kapanen could fit in well on the first line with Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel. Kapanen was acquired in a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs in August. Rutherford is hopeful Kapanen’s speed and ability to track down pucks will make him a good fit on Crosby’s right wing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins will have a lethal complete first line if Kapanen plays as well as Rutherford hopes alongside Crosby and Guentzel.

NESN.COM: The Boston Bruins avoided salary arbitration with Matt Grzelcyk, signing the defenseman to a four-year, $14.75 million contract. The annual average value is $3.687 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Grzelcyk gets a big pay raise over the $1.4 million annually of his previous contract. He’ll be taking on more responsibilities on Boston’s blue line following Torey Krug’s departure via free agency. Cap Friendly indicates the Bruins have over $6.6 million in salary-cap space with restricted free agent winger Jake DeBrusk to re-sign.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Speaking of the Penguins, they signed defenseman Cody Ceci to a one-year, $1.25 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ceci’s stock has tumbled as he’s now on his third team after being traded from the Ottawa Senators to the Maple Leafs in 2019. He earned $4.5 million on a one-year contract last season. A right-handed shot, he’ll likely skate on Pittsburgh’s third pairing. The Pens have $80.18 million invested in 23 players for 2020-21.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues signed Jake Neighbours to a three-year entry-level contract. The 18-year-old winger was the Blues’ first-round pick (26th overall) in this year’s NHL draft.


  1. Neighbours is not a defenceman

    • Fixed.

  2. The most annoying thing about the Ceci signing is that now a subset of fans will try to pin all potential woes of the team on a third pairing d man again. Man Does that get old real quick.

    Oh. That is not specifically targeted at pengy btw. More at all the “woke” analytic fans that never have seen the guy play but still prejudge the move.

    • Vaatenen would have been a better signing.

      • Absolutely Denis… but no space to sign him

        Some team will get a boost from getting Vats on the Covid cheap… but he wasn’t being acquired for $1.25M… no how, no way

        The big miss by Jimbo IMHO, was Stevie Y snatching Stetcher for only $450 K more than Ceci

        I’m under no delusion as to Ceci’s deficiencies… but he is a big upgrade over having Ruhweedel as 3RD… big improvement

    • Hi Chrisms

      I posted yesterday that I was very happy at this move

      This move will then boot CR off of 3RD which was a big concern

      I’ve watched all but 2 of CR’s games over last 4 years; and all of Ceci’s games last year

      Ceci is a big improvement over CR, so forget the metrics

      Pens last year were on a 102 point pace, and they didn’t make the playoffs due to one player… he has been jettisoned

      That massive addition by subtraction will be substantial

      Kappy in for Horny (fan fav, one of my favs but time to move on) …. waaaaaaaay faster, bigger , 9 years younger

      Bjug and Marleau replaced by Jankowski and Sceviour…. again younger, faster , better

      The team as a whole got younger, faster, better

      I do think Kappy’s speed will work well with Sid/Guentz

      The only down tick is MM out, DeSmith in, but if TJ stays healthy and can start 80% of the games… problem mitigated

      Right now per CapFreindly , Pens are 13-8-2 (F-D-G)…. if they can go 14-7-2; and send down CR, bring up Poulin…. and healthy Jarry playing 80% of starts…. that Pens team IMHO has excellent chance of winning Metro and also getting to ECF (leaving then just a series win away from getting back to SCF)

      This recurring mumbles about GMJR considering moving Rusty still concerns me…. if it’s to Bruins… then it better be for DeBrusk (catch Sweeney sleeping?) ; and if it’s Jackets (why would he trade Rusty to a Div rival)… then it better be for Jenner (to go 3C; moving McC to Gino’s wing)

      He should stand put unless he can acquire Haula for 1 @ $1.5M; to Centre McC and Poulin

      Sid/Guentz/ Kappy



      Blueger/Turbo/ZAR (Rodrigues until ZAR back)

      Rodrigues Sceviour





      TJ/De Smith

      That team , healthy, makes ECF IMHO

      • You seem to constantly forget that desmith two years ago kept the pens in the playoff hunt when Murray got hurt and was among the better nhl goalies during that period I am more than comfortable with him getting 30-40 percent starts.

      • Fingers crossed on DeSmith Chrisms

        Yep he did quite well a couple of years ago but then tailed off


      • Yawn. He was in the ahl for cap reasons only.

        Wait. Wernt you the one who decried my butting into conversations that didn’t pertain to me?

      • Curious why Kapanen is capable of playing 1st line with PUT when he showed he couldn’t do it in TOR when given the chance?

        Rutherford missed out on a few RHD they could have signed ahead of Ceci. Matthew Benning comes to mind.

        I’m actually surprised Dubas didn’t re-sign Ceci if he could have got him at that number?

      • Serious question tor fans. I read kap rarely got top 6 minutes in Toronto and rarely got pp time. Was it failed attempts when given opportunity or was it a depth issues or maybe coaches preference?

    • Man. Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed today. It’s not even noon yet. Cheer up ny! It’s a beautiful day today!

      🎶🎶. I feel pretty Oh so pretty…

      Take it ny!

    • Ceci’s a pretty low-risk move by Pittsburgh.
      Team I’m interested in watching for the next while is Tampa Bay. I thought moving Johnson wouldn’t be too difficult but apparently not.
      There’s no real rush for the Lightning but they have some good players that they can’t afford.
      TB’s the team to watch imo.

  3. I’m not worried about Danault. I’m confident he wants to stay with the Habs and that a deal will be reached. I just hope that Bergevin doesn’t think that the strong playoffs of Suzuki and KK makes Danault expendable. As good as I think the two young centers will become, they’re still young and unproven. The Habs lineup and Julien’s desire to roll four lines require more than two solid two way centers. I hope both sides will work toward a fair and reasonable deal that is mindful of the cap and that makes sense for the team and player.

    • Howard, it would seem Montreal and Ottawa have almost the same problem when it comes to Danault and Tierney – both C but neither seen as either 1st or 2nd line types and with both teams having young promising prospects ready to step into those roles (Montreal a bit farther ahead at this stage in that regard) – neither Bergevin nor Dorion want a 3rd line C making in excess of $3.5 mil.

      Danualt is coming off a $3,083,333 cap hit after posting 13g 34a 47 pts in 71gp while Tierney is coming off a $2,937,500 cap hit after a comparable 11g 26a 37pts in 71gp.

      The question is, what is each seeking – one as a UFA next year and the other possibly going to arbitration?

  4. Danault’s request for a new contract now is an interesting one.

    To me he is saying “time to pick, me or the young guys.” I understand why he might want to do that but at the same time he will want the money associated with a first line center. He hasn’t put up the offensive numbers to justify that and he is bound to be disappointed in what he can get now.

    If I am wrong and term is more important for Danault then I can see Bergy giving him a contract that is both retainable and moveable. If not then Bergy can’t give him a contract that is hard to move in 21-22, when the cap is likely to be the same as this year.

    Does this affect the Habs this year? Probably not. Danault has a vested interest in having a good season. Bergy can always wait and see how KK develops this year and make a decision 60 games in.

    • With the Grzelcyk signing and suggesting that he will get an opportunity for 1st pairing minutes; is all you need to know about Boston LD.

      Grizz is a nice player but more of a third pairing in my view.

      There is no one else coming the D will be in house.

      Boston right side D is ok, left side has 4 number 3’s and yes that includes Chara, but if he returns he will get top pairing.

    • He and his agent are smart enough to see Bergevin is maybe the last GM to realize middle of the pack players like him are going to have their salaries slashed by more than half in the coming years so he is trying to jump on the last car of the gravy train before it is too late. That is all it is about.

      • Dubas is still young and shanny is dumb enough to keep him around for awhile! If danault wants to be way overpaid dubas can be his fallback, I mean who gives a middle of the pack and defensive saviour Brodie 5 million? My oh my

    • I wonder if the idea is simply that his side would feel more comfortable negotiating the dollars with the Habs than a new organization via trade or free agency. I can’t imagine Danault would expect a new contract to come with a no movement clause, but he might get a trade list. I would imagine any more certainty than he currently has in these times would be very welcome.

  5. Habs need to see if the young guns live up to the promise before making a decision on Danault.
    In fact I think they should sign Brian Boyle as insurance like Bergevin has done regularly, an older guy who’s good on the faceoff and pk.
    If not Boyle, then a younger version like Frederik Gauthier.

    • Habsfan: surely you agree Suzuki, KK, Evans and possibly Poehling need the ice time.

      Gauthier’s “breakout” season was last year when he scored 7 goals. He was cut loose by the Leafs. That alone says much.

      Boyle is an honest hockey player but he is 36 and slow.

      Neither of these two bring anything to the table that the Habs need.

      • LJ, I don’t see either Boyle or Gauthier as anything but low cost insurance.

        Big bodies high faceoff % and available at the league minimum .

        Able to step in if needed with the expected back to back games and I would assume the higher physicality on the young guns.

      • Ok, Habsfan, we see the player quality differently. That’s part of the fun.

        But your suggestion ushers in not just ice time allocation questions, but cap and roster number issues.

        The Habs have just under 400K in cap space left. How does one or both of your suggestions fit in? Who goes from the existing roster so that the removal of the player or players going out leaves the Habs better for these guys you would bring in?

  6. LJ, I would bring in just one, preferably Boyle to be honest.
    Weal can be sent to Laval, doubt he’d be picked up on waivers but he has become redundant.

    • Yes, Weal has.