NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 28, 2020

by | Oct 28, 2020 | News, NHL | 8 comments

Check out the latest notable contract signings plus an update on the Penguins in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche signed Devon Toews to a four-year, $16.4 million contract. The annual average cap hit is $4.1 million. The 26-year-old defenseman will earn $2.35 million in 2020-21, $3.55 million in 2021-22, $4.6 million in 2022-23 and $5.9 million in 2023-24.

Colorado Avalanche sign Devon Toews to a four-year contract (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche acquired Toews earlier this month from the New York Islanders. Avs general manager Joe Sakic praised him as a “smart, two-way, puck-moving defenseman who is a durable defender and is excellent in transition”.

Toews is getting a significant raise over the $700K per season of his previous contract. Like a number of contracts signed during this offseason, his deal is backloaded to pay him more in actual salary in the latter years as league revenue is expected to increase.

THE DETROIT NEWS: An arbiter has awarded Tyler Bertuzzi a salary of $3.5 million for 2020-21. The 25-year-old Red Wings forward sought $4.25 million while the club offered $3.15 million. He earned $1.4 million last season. He will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights at the end of next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bertuzzi was going to get a substantial raise given his performance over the last two seasons. It’s curious that he and the Wings needed arbitration to sort this out considering how narrow the gap was between them. It’ll be interesting to see if Bertuzzi goes that route again next year.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes avoided arbitration with Haydn Fleury, signing the 24-year-old defenseman to a two-year contract worth an annual average value of $1.3 million.

NEW YORK POST: The Islanders and winger Josh Ho-Sang avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, two-way deal worth $700K at the NHL level.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ho-Sang requested a trade last year but the Isles couldn’t find any takers. This could be his last chance to stick with the franchise.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets signed restricted free agent forward Jansen Harkins to a two-year contract worth $725K per season.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators signed forward Filip Chlapik to a one-year, two-way contract worth $750K at the NHL level.

THE PROVINCE: Former Vancouver Canucks defenseman Oscar Fantenberg has signed with KHL club SKA St. Petersburg.

THE SCORE: cites The Athletic reporting the Pittsburgh Penguins are exploring the possibility of hiring former Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon in some capacity.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins could also be considering bringing back Jason Botterill, who was fired as Buffalo Sabres GM earlier this year.


  1. With that signing, the Jets joined the ranks of those currently over the cap (Arizona, Vancouver, St. Louis, Toronto, Washington, Vegas, Anaheim are the others), with $696,857 over and still with 2 RFAs to sign (Roslovic and Niku). They also have access to Little’s $5,291,667 cap hit when he goes on LTIR to start any new season.

  2. Haydn Fleury at 1.3 mill is a good signing. He outplayed Gardiner all year. Carolina has had the luxury of good defensemen with team friendly contracts. Hamilton’s new contract will change that.

    If Carolina can’t trade Gardiner they may have to buy him out before Hamilton’s next contract starts.

    Carolina still needs a right side 3rd pair defensemen that is tough to play against and can play PK. Fleury occasionally played the right side with Gardiner. He may have been the only partner Gardiner had any chemistry with.

    • I agree with GP

      The Hurricanes have the luxury of having 5 NHL or NHL-ready LD (Slavin, Skjei, Gardiner, Fleury, Bean). Assuming they plan to continue using Fleury at RD, then the obvious candidate to go is Gardiner. Unfortunately, he also has the least trade value. I don’t see a scenario where he gets traded, even with a sweetener. There simply isn’t a team out there with $4M to spend on a 3rd pair D.

      I don’t see a buyout of Gardiner happening, but certainly can’t rule it out.

      GP, I wouldn’t rule out Keane taking the RD3 spot at some point next season.

      • With the Fleury signing the Hurricanes now have $3,082,261 with which to sign 2, including RFA Foegele, who’s coming off an ELC of $746,667.

        He had a pretty decent season, posting 13g 17a 30 pts in 68gp which would average out, over a full schedule, to 16g 21a 37 pts. You figure he’ll come in at around $1,250,000 which will leave them with enough to elevate someone like Bean.

  3. A bit of clarification has been revealed in the Ho-Sang signing and, to his credit, a bit of method in his apparent madness.

    He was coming off a contract that paid him $874,125 at the NHL level – but just $70,000 in the AHL.

    In their negotiations before choosing to go to arbitration, Lou offered him and NHL-level increase to $917,831 – but still just $70,000 in Bridgeport.

    It seems a lot of RFAs in his position who have been on two-way deals chose arbitration because there, the arbiter is more inclined to increase the minor league salary. Lou knew that and rather than wait for that process, he upped the AHL salary to $225,000.

    • The fact that, in getting that concession, he also took far less than Lou was offering ($700,000) at the NHL level suggests he knows he’s destined for the minors again this coming season. And he has to go through the same RFA process next year.

      His best bet now is to have a career year in the AHL and force Lou’s hand next year.

    • George, thanks for that clarification. That had me scratching my head, thinking JHS got a worse deal than the one he originally was offered. Now that he got a (hefty) raise in the AHL, it makes more sense.

      • I’d bet Lou told him just that – force my hand. I’ll give you that AHL increase, but if you’re called up at any time, I’m only going to pat you at a $700,000 rate – not the $917,831 I initially offered you. You buckle down and have a banner year in the AHL and next year – when you’ll again have arbitration rights – you’ll hold the upper hand.

        Smart motivation.