NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 6, 2020

by | Oct 6, 2020 | News, NHL | 18 comments

Connor McDavid tests positive for COVID-19, the Wild trade Devan Dubnyk and Ryan Donato to the Sharks, Matt Niskanen retires, Penguins buy out Jack Johnson, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers captain Connor McDavid has been diagnosed with COVID-19. The club reports McDavid, 23, is experiencing minor symptoms but otherwise feeling well and self-quarantining at his Ontario home.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid tests positive for COVID-19 (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to McDavid for a swift and full recovery. He’s the biggest NHL star to be diagnosed with the coronavirus since a report emerged in June revealing Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews also tested positive. Matthews recovered and played for the Leafs in the NHL’s return-to-play tournament in August.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA/TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild made two trades yesterday with the San Jose Sharks, shipping goaltender Devan Dubnyk (along with a seventh-round pick in 2022) and winger Ryan Donato to the Sharks for a fifth-round pick in 2022 and a third-round pick in 2021. The Wild also retained half of Dubnyk’s $4.33 million cap hit for 2020-21, which is the final season of his contract. The Wild also re-signed defenseman Carson Soucy to a three-year, $8.25-million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubnyk will share the Sharks’ goaltending duties with Martin Jones. General manager Doug Wilson is confident the 34-year-old netminder can regain his form after dealing with his wife’s health issues last season. Wilson also feels Donato, who was stuck on the Wild’s fourth line, could flourish given more playing time.

These moves were straightforward salary dumps by the Wild, giving them $12.5 million in salary-cap space. GM Bill Guerin has made no secret he wants to improve his goaltending plus he still needs a proven scoring center after trading Eric Staal to Buffalo last month. Perhaps he’ll put some of that cap space to addressing those needs.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers defenseman Matt Niskanen has retired after 13 NHL seasons. The 33-year-old blueliner had a year remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $5.75 million. Niskanen had 72 goals and 356 points in 949 games with the Flyers, Dallas Stars, Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals, winning the Stanley Cup with the latter in 2018.

The Flyers also re-signed defenseman Justin Braun to a two-year, $3.6-million contract worth annual average value of $1.8 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Niskanen in his future endeavors. His decision was reportedly based on being away from his family during the recent playoffs and uncertainty over what next season could be like. His retirement clears his cap hit from the Flyers’ books.

With the Braun signing, the Flyers have $2.9 million in cap space for 2020-21. Niskanen’s retirement could send them into the trade or free-agent market for a replacement, or it could make them reluctant to trade blueliner Shayne Gostisbehere.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins yesterday placed defenseman Jack Johnson on waivers for the purpose of buying out his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This isn’t a surprising move. The writing was on the wall for Johnson when the Penguins acquired Mike Matheson last month from the Florida Panthers. The move leaves the Penguins with $1.16 million in dead cap space for the next two seasons, $1.9 million in 2022-23, dropping to $916K for the following three seasons.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs re-signed Jason Spezza to a one-year, $700K contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Spezza, 37, was a worthwhile depth addition playing a variety of roles for the Leafs last season. His signing scarcely dents their cap room, leaving them with $4.7 million.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres re-signed forward Tage Thompson to a three-year contract worth $1.4 million per season.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators re-signed defenseman Josh Brown to a two-year, $2.4-million deal.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): The Dallas Stars salary-cap space shrunk for next season, incurring over $3 million in performance bonuses last season that will count against their 2020-21 salary cap payroll.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames will be adopting their classic 1980s jerseys and color combinations for the entire 2020-21 season.


  1. Why didn’t the Sharks/Wild double trade all go in one deal… ? TSN had talked about Donato and Doobie going over earlier?

    Very surprised re prominent players (McD) getting Covid… letting his guard down or just fluke ? via fam/girlfriend in his own “bubble”?

    Re the buyout… was excited yesterday… but I’m tempering my enthusiasm in case there is a final change (waiving him only to be sent down) … will comment later when (hopefully) it’s truly official

    • This is great news. JJ is now free to sign with Leafs for 5 years.

      • 😢😭😢😭🤬😡🤬😡

    • Merry Christmas Pengy!

      • Thanks Howard

        I will open that Christmas card later today when (🙏) it officially happens


    • Sending him to the AHL would be the ideal outcome for Jack and the Penguins if events after that would follow the Zach Bogosian format. The Sabres waived Begosian with the intention of sending him to their AHL affiliate. He refused to report. which allowed the Sabres to release him for breach-of-contract. That made Begosian a UFA, The Sabres were off the hook, and Zach became a Stanley Cup winner.

      • Hi Francis

        Can’t see him walking away from the AHL to lose all that money… no one will sign him

        The buyout is the way to go 🙏🙏🙏🙏

  2. Just thinking.. Billy G had already been touted (TSN) in having interest in Murray… if (as has been posted many times here) the return is to be a 2nd… Pens would like their 2018 2nd rounder… Addison

    Addison then can play 3RD paired with Matheson

    Bring Poulin up for 3rd line winger

    Leaves just over $3M for last player (bottom 6 winger)

  3. New Bruins trade rumor

    Sean Kuraly for Nikita Zadorov

    this one seems to have legs

    Bruins get toughness on the D but lose that on the bottom 6

    • Hope it happens Joe. Seems like exactly what they need.
      Seems like BOS would need to top it up to make it happen.
      You could play him with McAvoy or Carlo.

    • I think Trent Frederic is ready to step in and take Kuraly’s spot in the lineup. No lack of toughness there!

      I like Kuraly, but I’m all for this move.

    • Hi Joe, curious where did you see that rumour? Yes i would make that trade.

    • As an Avs fan, I like the possibility of this trade overall. The Avs need a real 3C who can play PK so they can move Compher to the wing. And Z has become too expensive for his role. They would miss his size and he is apparently very well-liked in the locker room but they wouldn’t miss his inconsistency.

  4. The Bruins are slipping into irrelevant status. They are OLD, SLOW, no talent in pipeline due to poor trades, free agency signings, and horrible drafting.
    They are going nowhere until Team Sweeney & Neely are shown the door.

    • They did just win the president’s trophy, I’m not adding any nails to their coffin just yet.

      With that said, that is kind of the nature of the beast with a salary capped league. For awhile, Los Angeles and Chicago were on top, then their core aged and now they are lottery teams (though Chicago advanced farther in the COVID CUP than expected.)

      The Bruins have had a good run, and I think they have about 2 more seasons of contention before they become “irrelevant”.

  5. Hmm Dumba to Leafs for Anderson, plus ? ? $1m in salary -$5m cap it – Dumba’s cap and salary gone for the Wild. Not proposing but can see a fit if there was interest in either party.