NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 26, 2020

by | Oct 26, 2020 | News, NHL | 15 comments

The Sabres avoid arbitration with Sam Reinhart and Linus Ullmark, the Red Wings and Tyler Bertuzzi await an arbiter’s decision, and Martin Hanzal retires. Check out the details in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

Buffalo Sabres winger Sam Reinhart (NHL Images).

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres avoided salary arbitration with winger Sam Reinhart and goaltender Linus Ullmark. Reinhart agreed to a one-year, $5.2 million contract while Ullmark inked a one-year deal worth $2.6 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both are affordable short-term contracts that could lead to more lucrative deals for both players following next season. Reinhart, 24, exceeded 40 points in each of his five NHL seasons, including 65 points in 2018-19 and 50 points in 69 games last season. Ullmark, 27, took over as the Sabres’ starting goaltender last season, finishing with 17 wins in 34 games with a 2.69 goals-against average and .915 save percentage.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings and Tyler Bertuzzi had their virtual salary-arbitration hearing yesterday and now await the arbiter’s decision. The Wings offered $3.15 million while Bertuzzi sought $4.25 million. The 25-year-old winger led the club with 21 goals and finished second in points with 48.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bertuzzi is the first player among the 26 who filed for arbitration this year to go before an arbiter. The report also notes the arbiter’s decision will be handed down within 48 hours of the hearing’s completion. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, the team and the player can no longer continue to negotiate once the hearing is completed.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks opted not to use their second buyout window on Sunday to buy out the remaining season of Brandon Sutter’s contract. He’s earning an annual average value of $4.35 million. General manager Jim Benning cited the 34-year-old center’s leadership and defensive skills as justification for retaining him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Canucks are $1.5 million above the $81.5 million salary cap. The report suggested Benning has other options to become cap compliant for next season, such as putting Micheal Ferland (post-concussion symptoms) on long-term injury reserve if he’s unable to start next season. He could also demote a player or two to the minors.

THE SCORE: Martin Hanzal announced his retirement citing three back surgeries. The 34-year-old center spent 12 seasons in the NHL, with nearly 10 of them with the Arizona Coyotes. Traded to the Minnesota Wild at the 2017 trade deadline, he spent his final two seasons with the Dallas Stars, though injuries limited him to just 45 games. Hanzal finished his NHL career with 127 goals and 338 points in 673 games, as well as 13 points in 28 playoff contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Hanzal in his future endeavors.


  1. The Canucks are 1 of 7 teams currently over the cap – in their case $1,501,878 over. They could, possibly, cover that if Ferland ($3,500,000) is unfit to go, but with the season start in the air, the longer that drags on the better his chances of a full recovery.

    St. Louis is $1,175,515 over with RFA Dunn still to sign. Right now they show Tarasenko ($7,500,000) and Steen ($6,875,000) as LTIR, but even with Tarasenko likely back the longer the start-up takes, it appears Steen’s cap will more than cover what they need.

    Arizona is $2,770,280 over but have 1 more year of Hossa’s $5,270,000 LTIR, as does Anaheim ($929,999 over) with Kessler’s $6,875,000)

    That leaves 3 teams over with no LTIR to use: Toronto ($1,049,325 over), Washington ($1,024,877 over) and Vegas ($974,104). Both the Capitals and Golden Knights still need to find room for 2 players to reach 23.

    Does anyone see any of the last 3 – or Vancouver – making a pitch for Zetterberg ($6,083,333) from Detroit or Gaborik ($4,875,000) from Ottawa? Certainly, neither team will make use of the LTIR and each only has 1 year to go.

    • Hi George

      I believe Vegas just needs to move Martinez

      That gives them $3M for 3 players …. bring up Hague and Elvenes… that leaves $1.4M for UFA forward…. Sodderberg …. 1 @ $1M ??

      What does Haula sign for? …. him instead of Sodderberg?

      Leafs… even with Dubas’ plan to shift the 3 ELCs to Marlies between every game …. must hope for an LTIR (that didn’t come out right… but you know what I mean) for 1 or more of his players earning over $2M in Cap ; or entire team can magically go whole season with less than 60 man games lost (that’s at an 82 G schedule))

      Caps sitting with 5 RDs … 8 D in total…. moving Jensen replaced by UFA league min Fwd does it

      Looks like all 3 have plenty of time to make their moves

      • On the other hand, Vegas brings in the Gaborik contract for a late pick and they don’t need to move Martinez now to some team that will try to squeeze them knowing it’s for cap clearing only, and do it at any trade deadline designated in the new season as such for possible an even better return.

        Same with the Leafs who have a bottomless pit of money – get the Zetterberg contract for a late pick and they don’t have to worry about daily juggling.

      • I get a little confused with the LTIR and how it works for day 1; but if I understand it correctly; the player is on the 23 man roster on day one ; but the 23 man roster including the LTIR has to fit under $81.5 M

        Adding say Goborik now; puts Knights at $5.9 M over ; 22 on Roster

        Then Show his LTIR…. then as of day 1 ; they are still $1M over ; still 2 to sign

        Glass (As an ELC) down for game 1 ; has them at 20 (minimum to start the season) and 111K over

        They still have to move 1 more player down and bring one up (to get to 20) that nets at least 111K

        Player going down must clear waivers

        Again …. I’m very cloudy on how the up/down and LTIR on day 1 works but I think easiest move is shedding Martinez…. they can still do the Gaborik type if acquisitiin after

      • A team can be over the cap by 10% until opening day – acquiring Gaborik would still leave Vegas well within the 10% limit – and Toronto with Zetterberg – and on opening day both go on the LTIR and then it’s my understanding that both cap hits become available for use elsewhere.


      • I guess if they were thinking of moving Martinez (which reports had them doing)

        Waive Martinez… if he’s snapped up… problem solved just no return for him

        Down saves $1.07M

        Get Gab for late rounder

        That’s Knights in day 1 with 20 players plus 1 LTIR…. at $81.4M

        Which I believe gets them the use off all of Gab sal as LTIR space ; less $100 K (Cap ceiling less day 1 start)


        Did my above roster manipulation play the LTIR game correctly ? That is…. that move gives them $4.8 M (Gab $4.9 M less the $100 K) differential; to fill the last 3 spots to get to 23 man Roster?

        If so…. Martinez (If not taken after waived) back up…. $4.0 – $1.07…. $2.93 M used…$1.87 M left for 2 more roster spots… Hague and Elvenes … after that , about $300 K in LTIR space to use the rest of the year

        Dud I understand it right?

      • Hi George

        Yes I knew overage of 10% before day 1 if season

        I’m talking about how they use the LTIR on day 1

        No matter what… Martinez or similar contract can’t be on NHL roster on day 1…. waive him down and maybe lose him for nada; or see if s trade can be made now for something

        If they could move him now…. maybe they could get Vats for 1 & $2M?

      • Well, right or wrong, it certainly underscores CapFriendly’s observation that the process “is extremely complicated” – LOL

        We keep having to find that elusive Philadelphia Lawyer


      • Oki Doki

        Stab at a solution

        Melnyk paying $600 K now for Gaborik ins premium (per TSN … average premium about 20 % if Sal) … and getting nothing out of it

        McCrimmin calls Dorion and

        Martinez and 2nd for Gaborik

        Sens intead of $600 K for Nothing; pay $3.4 M more for s D-Man to mentor the youngsters; inly there 1 year; get a second rounder

        Any other LD will cost a min of $700 K

        So really it is at most $2.7 M more; get a D man to mentor the youth; and s 2nd

        Knights then at 20…$3.03M under

        Sign Vats 1 @ $2M; bring up highest paid ELC from baby Knights for just day one (Dugan…. $925K) ; and have Gaborik on LTIR in day 1

        That’s day 1… roster of 22… Cap hit of $81.4M

        So …. then have $4.8 M in LTIR left to use

        Day two …. Duggan down

        Technically then $5.7 M in space for 2 roster spots… what UFAs are still out there day 2?

    • George, surely cash is as scarce a commodity as cap space now. The Habs are one of the more financially solvent clubs and Molson was quoted as saying they could limp along with reduced fan attendant (I think he said minimum of 4K per game) but that after one season things would get decidedly dicey.

      I cannot see buying LTIR contracts in this environment, almost guaranteed to last through whatever next season is.

      • You’re no doubt right LJ – just spit-balling. But with an eye towards the seemingly bottomless money pits such as MLSE. Is Vegas or Washington in that class? No idea.

        Trying to figure out which owners whose “other” business interests have been hit hardest can be an exercise in futility … but the irony in all this is that that notorious “cheapskate”, Eugene Melnyk, happens to have holdings in pharmaceuticals and, in that regard, hasn’t noticed any appreciable dip in revenues.

      • Here is a quote from the owner of the Knights:

        “Who knows if we’re going to be playing? If we aren’t playing in front of fans, a lot of teams can’t make it. That’s including us, to make a serious financial commitment to fund the team without playing in front of fans,” said Foley, a member of the NHL Board of Governors. “I don’t believe [commissioner] Gary Bettman is going to have us fly all around [the country] and play in empty arenas.”

        Yesterday I pointed out how viewership for NHL the playoffs was down -28%. The NHL’s TV contract is not as lucrative as the other three major pro sports so attendance is critical for the NHL to run.

        Who are the most vulnerable franchises? Maybe someone else here knows.

      • Hi LJ

        I would have to think that Arz most vulnerable

        How are they paying for office supplies right now

        Reports were circulating that they have been late a few times this year on cutting the Sal cheques…. “the cheque is in the mail !”

        Per CapFreindly… Cash … Sals and SBs paid or due by Arz in 20/21 is > $84 M

        Even peeling back the 20% escrow and 10% Deferall (those two on Salaries only, $19 M in SBs has no escrow) that saves them only at most $21M in cash

        So without rent and admin costs etc etc etc…. call it $63M in expenses…. $70 M + in losses even if they play a full year; would not be unreasonable to see happen

        I’m sure Arz has fingers crossed for full cancelation of year…. or best case sceanario of a delayed start and a 48 game season with Sals all pro-rated at 48 games!!!

  2. I’m guessing Bertuzzi will get $3.7

    • Hi Caper

      Not bad guess

      I’ll take the “over” on that