NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 7, 2020

by | Oct 7, 2020 | News, NHL | 51 comments

Alexis Lafreniere tops the first-round selections in the 2020 Draft, the NHL and NHLPA target Jan. 1 as the start date for the 2020-21 season, the Capitals re-sign Brenden Dillon, the latest contract buyouts and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

Alexis Lafreniere was selected first overall by the New York Rangers in the 2020 NHL Draft (NHL.com).

  NHL.COM: The New York Rangers selected Alexis Lafreniere with the first-overall pick in the first round of the 2020 NHL Draft last night. The Los Angeles Kings selected Quinton Byfield with the second-overall pick while the Ottawa Senators selected Tim Stuetzle with the third-overall selection. Rounds two through seven will be held today starting at 11:30 am ET. (Stick tap to NBC Sports for the list below):

1. New York Rangers – Alexis Lafreniere, LW, Rimouski (QMJHL)
2. Los Angeles Kings – Quinton Byfield, C, Sudbury (OHL)
3. Ottawa Senators (from SJS) – Tim Stuetzle, C/LW, Mannheim (DEL)
4. Detroit Red Wings – Lucas Raymond, LW, Frolunda (SHL)
5. Ottawa Senators – Jake Sanderson, D, USNTDP (USHL)
6. Anaheim Ducks – Jamie Drysdale, D, Erie (OHL)
7. New Jersey Devils – Alexander Holtz, RW, Djurgardens (SHL)
8. Buffalo Sabres – Jack Quinn, RW, Ottawa (OHL)
9. Minnesota Wild – Marco Rossi, C, Ottawa (OHL)
10. Winnipeg Jets – Cole Perfetti, C, Saginaw (OHL)
11. Nashville Predators – Yaroslav Askarov, G, St. Petersburg (VHL)
12. Florida Panthers – Anton Lundell, C, HIFK (SM-liiga)
13. Carolina Hurricanes (from TOR) – Seth Jarvis, C, Portland (WHL)
14. Edmonton Oilers – Dylan Holloway, C/LW, Wisconsin (NCAA)
15. Toronto Maple Leafs (from PIT) – Rodion Amirov, LW, Ufa Salavat Yulayev (KHL)
16. Montreal Canadiens – Kaiden Guhle, D, Prince Albert (WHL)
17. Chicago Blackhawks – Lukas Reichel, LW, Eisbaren Berlin (DEL)
18. New Jersey Devils (from ARZ) – Dawson Mercer, C/RW, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
19. New York Rangers (from CGY) – Braden Schneider, D, Brandon (WHL)
20. New Jersey Devils (from VAN via TB) – Shakir Mukhamadullin, D, Ufa Salavat Yulayev (KHL)
21. Columbus Blue Jackets – Yegor Chinakhov, RW, Avangard Omsk (KHL)
22. Washington Capitals (from CGY via NYR via CAR) – Hendrix Lapierre, C, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
23. Philadelphia Flyers – Tyson Foerster, RW, Barrie (OHL)
24. Calgary Flames (from WSH) – Connor Zary, C, Kamloops (WHL)
25. Colorado Avalanche – Justin Barron, D, Halifax (QMJHL)
26. St. Louis Blues – Jake Neighbours, LW, Edmonton (WHL)
27. Anaheim Ducks (from BOS) – Jacob Perreault, RW, Sarnia (OHL)
28. Ottawa Senators (from NYI) – Ridly Greig, C, Brandon (WHL)
29. Vegas Golden Knights – Brendan Brisson, C, Chicago (USHL)
30. Dallas Stars – Mavrik Bourque, C, Shawinigan (QMJHL)
31. San Jose Sharks (from TB) – Ozzy Wiesblatt, RW, Prince Albert (WHL)

The NHL and NHLPA issued a joint statement targeting Jan. 1, 2021 for the start of the 2020-21 season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be great if the league and PA can safely start next season on New Year’s Day. Whether they can is another matter. COVID-19 will ultimately decide if that start date can be met. The priority is the safety of everyone involved in the games.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals re-signed defenseman Brenden Dillon to a four-year contract worth an annual average value of $3.9 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A good, affordable signing by the Capitals. They acquired Dillon before the trade deadline and he quickly fit in well on their blueline.

THE SCORE: Speaking of the Capitals, defenseman Michal Kempny will be sidelined six-to-eight months following surgery to repair an Achilles tendon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kempny will likely go on long-term injury reserve for 2020-21. It would give the Capitals $2.5 million in wiggle room if necessary to make other moves.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens placed defenseman Karl Alzner on unconditional waivers yesterday for the purpose of buying out the remaining two years of his contract. It will count as $3.9 million for 2020-21 against their cap hit, dropping to $1.9 million in 2021-22, and $833K per season for the final two years of the buyout

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Habs could’ve waited another year to buy out Alzner when it wouldn’t have counted as long against their cap. It’s believed they did this to allow the veteran blueliner an opportunity to try and sign with another NHL club.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings placed forward Justin Abdelkader on unconditional waivers yesterday for the purpose of buying out the final three years of his contract. It’ll count as $1.8 million against their cap in 2020-21, $2.3 million annually for the next two seasons, and $1.05 million for the final three years of the buyout.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers general manager Ken Holland decided not to tender qualifying offers to Andreas Athanasiou and Matt Benning. Both players will become unrestricted free agents on Friday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holland is catching flak from Oilers supporters because he gave up two second-round picks as part of the return to the Detroit Red Wings last February for Athanasiou. The Oilers GM was hoping the speedy winger could regain his 30-goal form but he managed just two points in 13 games in Edmonton. The cost of qualifying his rights was $3 million, which would’ve been too expensive for the cap-strapped Oilers.

SPORTSNET: The Vancouver Canucks re-signed winger Zack MacEwen to a two-year contract worth $825K per season.



  1. Not too many surprises at the draft – maybe picks 15, 20 and 21 could be construed that way – along with the lack of deals which some of us expected – me included, especially with Dorion hanging onto the 28th (Calgary did get involved but those were just flips of picks to add picks in the 3rd round)

    The UFA heap just got longer as well with RFAs Athanasiou, Benning and Hinostroza not being qualified and Abdelkader and Alzner being bought out. I have a feeling a few more RFAs will be added to the list shortly.

  2. After watching Drysdale at the WJC, I was surprised Detroit passed.

    • On the oft-stated theory that you build from the back-end out, I suppose that could be viewed as a bit of a surprise Shaun, but apparently this Raymond kid is a good one. And both Old Blue Dog and I had another good F – Cole Perfetti – going there and Raymond going to Anaheim. with Drysdale going to Ottawa.

    • @shaun
      I also expected Detroit to grab a D there but they really have need at every position

      • Yes, so much great potential and promise. Goes to show how many little details go into the final decision to choose one over another.

      • They also drafted an excellent prospect on D last year in Seider. Projects as a big top pair guy. Looked really good as a kid in the AHL last year playing big minutes.
        They also took 2 more D in the 2nd round last year.

      • Another big German kid Ray … they are really starting to turn out some solid NHLers – Holtz and Reichel also going in the 1st round along with Stuetzle

    • My picks for Ottawa were Byfield and Raymond. I thought it funny LA took Byfield preventing my team from having a chance to pick him. Then Detroit took Raymond.
      I can’t complain much about my Sens not getting the two players I wanted. Obviously Stutzle has to be taken after Byfield.

      Over al sens look good.

      I was surprised Rossi fell so far. Surprised Jack Quinn went that early and hat Nashville selected Askorocv.. thought he’d make it to Carolina or Edmonton. Not to far off I guess.

      Ounce the draft got into the teens anything really could of happen with the slelections. So much depth through out.

      A happy Sens fan today.. I don’t expect my team to improve greatly in the standings the next season so looking forward to adding to this in next draft.

      Build build build

  3. As stated weeks ago , this oilers fan would’ve giving ken flak if he did qualify AA. A few posters suggested qualifying him solely due to acquisitions cost to “save face”. Don’t compound the problem to save your own bacon . As ken explained last night , the pandemic hit , cap no longer going up , cap outlook from very strong to unknown , smaller sample of games to fit in and he hoped to see more out of AA . Knows the player well , hoped for a better fit but even that viewIng got shortened by covid and less games .
    Accept the change in times , yeah he would love the picks back but don’t put ken holland above the oilers and try to save face . Many many gm in the same boat with deadline deals , rfa’s etc . Chalk it up as a mistake , with an assist to covid and move on , circle back if both players don’t like what they see on the open market .

    • Although I was one of those “save face” posters, Craig, you make a strong argument for taking this route … now it will be interesting to see if he even gets a sniff at anything close to the $3 mil cap hit he’s coming off of what with the growing list of UFA competition and so few openings.

    • I believe I was the one who started the thread that they wouldn’t qualify him as I heard it on the radio that day that they were discussing not doing it.
      I argued in favor of not qualifying him.

      I would bet he doesn’t get $3M on the open market, so who knows, maybe they circle back.

      The Klefbom uncertainty must be changing Holland’s thinking about next season.

      • Yeah I think you and I were the two against qualifying him . As with most things on edmonton , I agree with most of your opinion ls Ray bark.
        The klefbom situation is a tough one, hopefully some clarity at the very least .
        Reminds me of the sekera situation a couple years back and hope it doesn’t play out the same. That being somewhat caught in the middle of season ending and long term, if that’s the case its that much harder to replace him in the short term if he doesn’t know for sure one way or the other if he will be back or not. If its season ending and its known to be that , LTIR becomes much more of a usable tool . If they are unsure its tricky if he plans to try to make it back.

      • Ya it is a tough one Craig, Gregor has sources that he trusts saying it is arthritis. Not promising.
        That is a huge 23 minute, PP and PK hole.
        At a steal of a cap hit.
        You don’t replace that with a UFA.
        Leaves them with Nurse, Russell and Jones on the left side. Far from Ideal, but all NHL’ers
        They didn’t qualify Benning either, so to me they shop or promote Bouchard after 1 year in Bakersfield. I would bet he goes shopping.
        Right now it points to a Russell Larsson pair as they probably keep Nurse and Bear together. Maybe even top pair.
        Best get a solid tender then!

    • It’s reported they talked about a contract of lesser value but AA felt testing the market may garner more. I would not be surprised if AA returns to the Oil at a value lower than his qualifying offer

  4. You were initially George but after learning of the 3 million qualifying offer Amount I think you softened your stance if I remember right . Other posters , not so much .
    If a team makes an offer at 3 million I would be shocked , I’ll be equally as shocked if Edmonton can or will present the best offer if they circle back to him but I think they should and will at least check in .

    • I think circling back will be a theme with unqualified RFA’s. Ken Holland described everything that GM’s are dealing with this year and many of the qualifying offers simply don’t fit.
      For example, the Leafs have said they won’t be qualifying Evan Rodrigues. The number would be $2 million and that simply won’t work for a fourth line winger.
      Rodrigues may be in the Toronto lineup for the start of the 2021 season but his cap hit will be well below $2M.

  5. It does make me wonder how many veterans are going find themselves not playing for the NHL this year. There are obviously a ton of UFA’s with mid-range salaries. Absolutely crazy times with the amount of NHL caliber assets that teams are letting “walk” with no return. I think the smart play for these unqualified veterans is to take the first offer they get once FA opens. Now is not the time to press for money or term with the exception a few players.
    The goalie market is also very interesting. Murray might be backing himself into a corner with his desired AAV that he is seeking for an extension. Given the pool of available goalies, teams have other options. It could end up that Murray goes to arbitration and the Pens reject the arbitration, Murray becomes a UFA late in the process and has a hard time finding a team that will give him anything close to what he wants. The Pens will get nothing for him if this happens.
    I think the VGK may have to buy out MAF if they can’t deal him prior to Friday. Ottawa should look at Fleury or Murray.

    • As I posted in a response to Chrisms this morning on yesterday’s thread, Marko, the issue with Ottawa, anyway, and Murray isn’t his ability but rather it’s the type of injury that has sidelined him in the past – concussion – since that is the same injury that has cast doubts on Nilsson being ready to start the new season (whenever that will be). I doubt Dorion wants to be saddled with two goalies with that problem. Not with so many other short-term options available while the prospects they have gain more experience in the minors.

      • Have the Pens qualified Murray yet?
        If he is smart he simply accepts it.

  6. I’m not liking the pick for the Leafs

    I’m not talking about the player… he may or may not turn into a good NHLer in 3 years

    It is the type of player they picked

    Leafs improvements need to be on D; in grit; in size. Some say goal… but even if they could have nabbed Askarov… he’s 2 years away minimum from the NHL

    So…. WTF Dubas… you picked (again) a very slight forward

    A quick glance and it looks like every single player picked after him was bigger

    Why pick a forward and why one who is not supposed to be “gritty”

    3 of the next 5 picks after Amirov we’re big D men:

    Guhle … 6’ 3” …. listed at 190 but announcers said last night that he is already north of 200…. at 18… when he hits the NHL in 2 years he’ll likely be in the 210-215 range. He is a gritty player

    Schneider .. 6’2” … now listed at 210…. expected to be 220-225 in a couple of years. Supposed to be a hard hitter

    Mukhamadullin… 6’4”… listed at 180… but they said last night that he’d already put on 15 pounds… he’ll play at 205

    They also passed on (in the picks 15-20)… Mercer…. I get the tempered risk and him shifting down from last fall’s expectations [when he was projected in the 6-10 slot] because judgement had been placed based on a concussion but they have now re-diagnosed that

    Also in that 16-20 was Stutzle’s line-mate Reichel

    Dubas Dubas Dubas…..????

    Highlight of the night was the scattering of papers to find info on Jarmo’s pick …. they had no paperwork on him…. was completely passed over in his draft eligible year last year; this year “Future Prospects” had him at 214th, McKeen’s at 173 … Jarmo … have you found this year’s diamond in the rough? I know Clb has no 2nd rounder and not picking again until 78th… but WTF??

    I love Cgy’s move (twice) to slide and pick up 2 more picks👍👍

    Rangers had two great selections; but IMHO , in 3 years … Byfield will be the better performer (over Lafrennierre)…

    • I’m glad you – a devout Leafs fan – made that observation, Pengy. I wondered the same thing at the time (and was totally blown away by the Columbus choice which flies in the face of any attempt at justification) – but had I said that this morning it would’ve drawn the usual snarky comments from the usual suspects.

      Now I’m waiting for some rationale describing that 15th pick as “the steal of the draft.”

      • Funny you mention that, George, in one mock draft I read, the author (Kevin Papetti who had a pretty darn good night last night by the way) said exactly that about Amirov.
        We’ll see.

    • Pengy, thank goodness you are not the Leafs GM.

      In Dubas I trust. You dont draft for need now as that may change when the player is ready for NHL in a few years.

      When you draft in first round, after the sure fire guys like the top 3 this year, you try to pick a future star potential player, not someone who projects as a 2nd or third line or pairing player with modest skills and limited upside. They are a dime a dozen in trade market.

      YOU TRY TO HIT A HOME RUN, whether it works out or not.

      I wish Askarov had been there for them but he wasn’t. Dubas is drafting for high end skill difference-makers which is the smart way to go.


      • And I will interpret your “WTF Dubas” comment as “WOW Thats Fantastic Dubas !”

      • Figures. LOL – at least no one will be able to say “I told you so” for at least 3 years … and by then I’ll be TOO damned old (if I make it that far 🙂 )

      • Wendel:

        Pengy is not the only Leaf fan I have heard from who cannot reconcile drafting Amirov after saying they need more grit.

        But your view on that is the better one. High end talent is always harder to find than grit and who knows what the Leafs’ situation will be in a few years.

        But that “In Dubas I trust” comment is another matter ….

    • Agree Pengy, Amirov was talked up about shooting up the draft prior, but he is simply more of the same.
      OTT is absolutely stacked with prospects now.
      As is LA and NY.

    • Pengy, I’d agree with you most of the time (now that JJ has made his exit stage left) but there’s a way to look back and see where a lot of value lies in drafting defence men. Check out some of the re-drafts that are out there – case in point Luke Schenn – picked at #5 in the draft. Later picks that year included John Carlson and some guy named Pietrangelo. A lot of top four blueliners were drafted in later rounds.
      The Leafs have plenty to choose from today.

      • BCLeafFan: Pietrangelo (4th) was picked one spot ahead of Schenn (5th) in 2008. Carlson was a steal at 27.

  7. Guhle will be the steal of this draft … and I like the Josh Anderson deal for the Habs … Domi is not a centre, akin to plugging a square peg into a round hole … Bergy needs to add a d-man or two on Friday and the Habs will be formidable next season …

    • I was hoping Guhle would fall lower – or Dorion made a deal to move up from 28 to grab him. Good, solid pick by the Habs who, with their other moves, are quietly building a solid club.

      • Guhle is a big mean kid who can skate, thought the leafs would’ve taking him because of their lack of defensive dmen

    • As I understand it, Domi is much, much better as a center

      • So, is Julien a dummy for not seeing that? Because IF he is a valid C, why didn’t he just put him there and leave him there?

      • Well George and NMAvsFan, it appears Julien and Bergevin think that Suzicki, KK and Danault are all better C’s than Domi.
        We will see if they are right as CLB may give him a shot there as they don’t have the same depth at that position.

    • Oops, Van, but how about Erik Karlsson instead?

  8. Winnipeg got Cole Perfetti 10th overall. This player was ranked as high as 5th overall.

    His hockey IQ was given a 6 out of 5.

    Why the drop…..skating

    He is an OK skater they say and with today game if you can’t skate, you almost can’t play.

    I think sometimes team may get to caught up in the skating. If your slow, that is one thing, but if your average, then you should be ok and if your average but smart you’ll be places where other didn’t expect you to be.

    Time will tell.

  9. Boston should be all over AA on Friday, good size, good speed, motivated and cheap.

    • But his possession game and defense are downright atrocious. Does that fit with Boston?

      • AA was a -1 in 9gp with Edmonton; yes brutal in Detroit but i’ll give that a pass.

        Can’t teach speed and he did score 30 goals, even if he can get back to 20 goals, he be a nice pickup.

    • I watched almost every game he played in Edmonton.
      Looked good in his first game, got banged up and missed some time, was then invisible until games 3&4 against Chicago and then had some moments.

      Great wheels, can wire it, good size.
      Doesn’t play well with others as he wants the puck on his stick all the time and misses the simple reads. Doesn’t find the soft spot to receive the pass. Low hockey IQ is how the kids say it today.
      Can a guy like that play with Krecji?

      Never been what you would call a 200 ft player.
      Would be a good 3rd line guy who wheeled, wired, hit and defended. Hasn’t been that guy so far, thinks of himself as a scorer.
      Having said all that, for cheap, like $1M, of course you take a chance on him. Sometimes guys figure it out.

  10. I am surprised you are up and posting, George. I expected you would wake up with a pounding headache, trying not trip on all those champagne bottles.

    • LOL LJ. Well, it was an entertaining night, given the circumstances, highlighted by glimpses of those kids sitting in a familiar environment, surrounded by family and friends, and looking so tense followed by sheer relief when their names were called.

      No great surprises for me re the Ottawa picks (loved the Trebek thing and on the radio this morning – Team 1200 – I heard that the idea started with Melnyk earlier this summer after the lottery was finalized and that, when approached, Trebek was all in). If there was a surprise, it was hanging onto the 28th. Every time I heard Bettman say “I have a trade to announce” I sat up, fully expecting that this would be the one. Ahh well … the Grieg kid looks like a decent prospect who, if he turns pro this year, will get a good long look in Belleville.

      By the way, my preference is Scotch – Glenfiddich or Chivas

      • The Sens may have gotten their own “little ball of hate” in Grieg.
        The guy everybody hates except his own team.
        Good idea IMO.

      • A pleasant surprise to hear Melnyk was behind the Trebek moment, given Melnyk’s media reputation. Trebek was the coolest thing I have seen in a draft in years.

        As for Scotch, give Oban a go.

      • Good choices George O. Good scotch does not give you/us a headache

  11. And I will interpret your “WTF Dubas” comment as “WOW Thats Fantastic Dubas !”

    • LOL nice. Unfortunately no one cares to mention the offfff the board picks the Blue Jackets made and the 20th pick from Jersey…but at least we have an Ottawa Sens fan tell Leafs fans that their pick is a bad one. I expected better but hey it’s all good.

      • Just another point, picking toughness from a bunch of 18yr olds is obviously valued over skill and instead of trading or signing or even lower in the draft, the first round is the best way to fill that basic need.

        I’m sure some don’t agree.

  12. Today we are congratulating all the teams for their excellent picks.

    Yet we won’t know who will pan out or who will be a bust for a few years.

    • Caper, bang on. And you can almost bet that a pick yet to come in the 5th or 6th rounds will be talked about some years down the line as an example for “you never know” discussions.