NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 8, 2020

by | Oct 8, 2020 | News, NHL | 33 comments

The 2020 NHL Draft completes its second and final day, Taylor Hall is heading to free agency, the Blue Jackets re-sign Max Domi, and much more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The 2020 NHL Draft is now history following a marathon second day in which it took over seven hours to complete rounds two through seven.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can see the results for each round by clicking the above link to the NHL draft tracker. As for how long it took to go through yesterday’s rounds, the general managers and their staffs were drafting from home instead of at an arena in a host city as is usually done. That gave them a lot more time to evaluate which prospects they intended to select and to move up or down the draft order by swapping picks with other clubs.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong said Taylor Hall is heading to tomorrow’s unrestricted free agent market.

Arizona Coyotes winger Taylor Hall is heading to free agency on Friday (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes gave up three prospects and two draft picks (including a first in this year’s draft) to acquire Hall in a trade with New Jersey last December. Hall played well for the Coyotes, with 10 goals and 27 points in 35 games, but his addition did little to significantly improve his new club. Their limited cap space made it almost impossible to re-sign him. His departure could ease the pressure from Armstrong to move captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson in a cost-cutting trade before the defenseman’s Friday deadline.

THE SCORE: One day after being acquired by the Columbus Blue Jackets from the Montreal Canadiens, Max Domi signed a two-year, $10.6 million contract with his new club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a sensible signing by the Jackets. Domi gets a raise over two-year, $6.3-million of his previous deal. The Jackets get a reasonable period of time to evaluate their new center’s performance to determine if he’ll be worth a longer-term deal.

Cap Friendly indicates this signing leaves the Jackets with just $1.725 million in cap space with first-line center Pierre-Luc Dubois to re-sign. However, Dubois’ coming off his entry-level contract and could get an affordable bridge contract. The Jackets could also place Brandon Dubinsky ($5.85 million) on long-term injury reserve as a chronic wrist ailment has likely ended his playing days, providing more cap space for DuBois’ next contract.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators placed center Kyle Turris on unconditional waivers for the purpose of buying out his contract. He had four years and $24 million remaining on his deal. The buyout will count as $2 million annually against the Predators’ salary cap through 2027-28.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Turris’ contract turned into a costly mistake for Predators GM David Poile. Desperate to free up cap space, he had little choice but to buy out that deal following unsuccessful attempts to trade the 31-year-old center.

THE SCORE: The Vegas Golden Knights re-signed forward Chandler Stephenson to a four-year, $11 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stephenson fit in well with the Golden Knights after he was acquired from the Washington Capitals last December. However, his new contract pushes Vegas’ cap payroll over the $81.5 million cap by $2.8 million. They are allowed to exceed the cap by 10 percent during the offseason, but that will complicate any plans to be active in the upcoming free-agent market. A cost-cutting trade or two will be necessary before the start of next season.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators have decided to let winger Anthony Duclair become an unrestricted free agent after the two sides failed to reach an agreement on a new contract. Duclair was a restricted free agent with arbitration rights and wasn’t given a qualifying offer by yesterday’s 5 pm deadline. GM Pierre Dorion declined to go into details but said Duclair chose to represent himself in contract talks. He added the club offered the winger a substantial raise over his previous salary.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A puzzling development. Duclair made $1.65 million on a one-year deal last season. Dorion didn’t shut the door on the winger possibly returning to Ottawa. Maybe the Senators were concerned Duclair would get more via arbitration.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets re-signed defenseman Dylan DeMelo to a four-year, $12 million contract. DeMelo was slated to become a UFA on Friday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A good, affordable signing by the Jets. DeMelo joined the Jets before the February trade deadline and quickly adapted to his new team.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers’ long contract standoff with Jesse Puljujarvi is over, re-signing the 22-year-old winger to a two-year deal worth an annual average value of $1.175 million. Puljujarvi spent all of last season playing in Finland hoping to force a trade by the Oilers.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers traded center Lias Andersson to the Los Angeles Kings for the 60th pick in the 2020 NHL draft. Andersson was the seventh-overall pick in the 2017 draft but struggled to crack the Rangers lineup and spent the second half of last season playing in Sweden.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The stock of both young forwards really dropped over the past two years. There was even speculation at one point last season suggesting the two could be swapped for each other in a trade. Both players need a reset if they hope to salvage their NHL careers.

CBC: Montreal Canadiens Hall-of-Famer Guy Lafleur has undergone a second surgery to address a recurrence of lung cancer just two months following quadruple bypass surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Lafleur for a speedy and complete recovery.




  1. For anyone interested, here’s the complete list in alpha order by team of RFAs not given qualifying offers, adding 84 names to an already unprecedented UFA heap

    Arizona – Vinnie Hinostroza, Dane Birks, Jalen Smereck
    Boston – Brendan Gaunce, Brett Ritchie, Wiley Sherman
    Buffalo – Dominik Kahun, Remi Elie, Matthew Spencer, Brandon Hicke
    Calgary – Mark Jankowski, Andrew Nielsen, Nick Schneider
    Carolina – Jacob Pritchard, Callum Booth
    Chicago – Alexandre Fortin, Ian McCoshen, Jacob Nilsson, Joni Tuulola, Slater Koekkoek, Malcolm Subban
    Columbus – Devin Shore, Ryan Collins, Maxime Fortier, Paul Bittner, Michael Prapavessis, Justin Scott
    Dallas – Josh Melnick, Tony Calderone, Landon Bow
    Detroit – Madison Bowey, Brendan Perlini, Christoffer Ehn
    Edmonton – Andreas Athanasiou, Matt Benning, Ryan Kuffner, Ryan Mantha, Angus Redmond, Nolan Vesey, Cameron Hebig, Logan Day
    Florida – Philippe Desrosiers, Dryden Hunt, Thomas Schemitsch, Dominic Toninato, Lucas Wallmark
    Minnesota – Mat Robson, Stepan Falkovsky, Hunter Warner
    Montreal – Andrew Sturtz, Aaron Luchuk, Antoine Waked
    New Jersey – Mirco Mueller, John Hayden
    NYI – Linus Soderstrom
    NYR – Ryan Gropp, Dawson Leedahl
    Ottawa – Anthony Duclair, Andreas Englund, Jayce Hawryluk
    Philadelphia – Nathan Noel
    Pittsburgh – Dominik Simon, John Nyberg, Graham Knott
    San Jose – Jeremy Roy, Andrew Shortridge, Manuel Wiederer*
    St. Louis – Jake Dotchin, Derrick Pouliot
    Tampa Bay – Devante Stephens, Carter Verhaeghe, Dennis Yan
    Toronto – Jeremy Bracco, Frederik Gauthier, Evan Rodrigues, Max Veronneau
    Vancouver – Troy Stecher, Reid Boucher
    Vegas – Nick Cousins, Brett Lernout
    Washington – Travis Boyd, Connor Hobbs, Kris Bindulis
    Winnipeg – Michael Spacek

    Where Duclair is concerned, representing himself was a mistake to begin with, and probably wasn’t helped if what he was seeking was $4 mil + over a long term. Good luck to him

    • Thanks for the list George… if you tell me that you typed all those names out on your phone I’m going to lose it… that would take me an hour of single (fat) finger typing on my phone

      I hope you did cut/paste… If not… kudos abound

      I see a few on their that are not necessarily strange (for their current team not providing them a QO… big exception Duclair… see my post further down) … but will be good reasonable pick ups as depth wingers/4th liners; or depth/7th D

      Bowey, Benning, Cousins pop out to me

      Verhague will be a good pick up IMHO…Bolts had no room… and with their powerful team he was oft used on 4th line…. I think he could be productive on a 3rd line on many teams … would love him on Pens … McC , Poulin ; Verhague would look nice

      • I bet a lot of those “intriguing” names will eventually re-sign with the teams that didn’t qualify them. Fact is, Pengy, NONE of them were factored in to the cap limitations faced by their teams, and with 21 right up against it and limits to what those who do have cap space can take on thanks to the flat cap, there just won’t be teams lining up to take them on. Certainly not at the price they may have thought they were worth.

        And no – LOL – I did that at the PC after going through all the transactions by team and re-arranged them in team alpha order

        Nothing but time these days ….

      • Jeremy Bracco? Wait a minute, he should be the prized piece in any deal involving the leafs! Ha ha ha.

        I wonder if Dubas has any post secondary diploma(s)? Anything to fall back on in case this hockey thing doesn’t work out.

        Ya know, one day I’ll be telling my grandkids that the Leafs got out of the first round many many years ago…and thay will laugh and say…grandad, your so silly!

      • Weren’t you pumping bracco’s tires sticky?

  2. Someone get Sweeney & Neely a double espresso to wake these two up

    • Hi Joe

      Dubas as well

      Instead of addressing deficiencies/shortfall in Leafs depth (size, grit, D)… Dubas picks again in the same mould… very very small forward with speed

      Smallest player picked in round 1; one of the smallest in the whole draft

      3 of the next 5 players picked were strapping D men

      Bergevin must have been smiling ear to ear having Dubas let Guhle slide into his lap… why would Dubas not want a strapping PPG (in Junior) D-Man

      Because Guhle was a lefty???

      Well Dubas could have had Schneider … a rightie… who listed at. 6’2” could still get taller ; but listed at 210 (spring weight) and they said draft night that he’d already put on 10 + lbs… will play in the NHL at 230

      Gorton has sent Dubas his Christmas card early


      • Pengy the hockey writers had an article saying guhle could be the best all around defender in the draft

      • One of the meanest for sure. I was hoping Dorion could swing a deal with that 28th pick to move up and grab him. Ahh well …

      • Pengy, you might want to stick to Pittsburgh for a while. You can hump on the bandwagon again down the road.
        Those Penguins are looking fantastic – nothing but blue skies from now on.

      • Yep, Christmas came to Montreal early, thanks to Dubas.

        I have a Leafs pal that had to be talked off of a ledge after the Leafs took Amirov. He thinks Dubas is a double agent loyal to the Habs.

      • Mrs. Pengy may object if he starts humping the bandwagon, BCLeaffan

      • Hi Big Bear

        Read that as well. Many also had very good things to say re Schneider

        Dubas blew the pick

        Hi BCLeafFan

        Not sure if I would say clear Blue skies for Pens… but massive positive change with just one piece of paper signed (buy out)

        As of the time of this post..l believe Pens much stronger than Leafs right now… that could change with moves tomorrow… but if top RHD is Holl… fahhggeddddabowdit

        Super icing on the Pens cake would be signing Duclair and Benning… alas I dream

        George… re humping my bandwagon…. you haven’t actually seen how cute my bandwagon is

    • Well Joe, Sweeney added from his favorite stocking ground USHL and NCAA, plus he likes his local boys as 6th round pick is from the Boston area (throwing the kid a bone) the 5th round pick Langerbrunner is the son of team player development and former NHLer Jamie Langerbrunner. He also likes the American boys as all 4 players are US citizens.

      Today Bruins Roster has 13 Americans, 7 Canadians, 4 Cze, 2 Sweden, 2 Fin, 1 RedWood (i mean Svk).

      Nothing wrong with drafting and trading for whom ever, but this does show a preference by Sweeney.

      • Had to dig deep to find info on Mason Lohrei …. Ranked 132 among North American skaters in this draft and the Bruins took him at 58….word is that the Bruins wanted Jack Finley but he was taken by TB at 57 …… since 2015 Sweeney 1st season as GM he’s had a tough time with drafts & trades

      • Caper, thanks for quantifying what I thpught was happening.
        There is no doubt that the US is catching up quickly in developing players, and Sweeney may also just be more piped into the US programs. Which makes sense in a way when you are looking for diamonds in the rough in later rounds..
        Or it may also suggest that their scouting system needs an upgrade in other parts of the world as why would you limit yourself?

        Overall for the upcoming season I am really curious to see what they do moving forward this off season.

        If it was me – I wait until reality hits FA’s and go bargain hunting on short term deals with guys willing to take a chance on themselves on 2 year deals and give it another go with the old core.
        If it starts to go south, trade assets with not much term and start the rebuild.

      • Pengy, make that “jump on the bandwagon.” Sounds a lot better.

    • I was bigbear, I guess she didn’t take your surname!

    • Sweeney & Neely aka Dumb & Dumber are totally incompetent.
      They did not draft 1 player out of the USA! Maybe Jacobs cut back on scouting expenses

  3. I am so agitated that we are going to lose Duclair! Particularly as he can pivot to the RW. Tkachuk, Stuetzle, & Forementon are likely to play the left side this year.

    This leaves use with Batherson, Brown, Balcers on the right. We really could have had Duclair…

    • Still could JJB – not qualifying him simply means he can explore the UFA market, He’ll quickly find that, thanks to the flat cap and the wealth of other options available, teams won’t be lining up to offer him in excess of $3 mil – never mind the $4 he might have received from an arbiter- and could circle back to Dorion’s offer.

      • Duclair is interesting. A breakout second season with 20 goals, nothing, nothing, nothing, and then a good couple of seasons. Renaissance or anomaly?

        Dorion has had a season and a half to measure his worth, and the Sens have a fortune in cap space so perhaps Duclair’s biggest admirer is Duclair.

      • Sure looks like that to me LJ.
        If Dorian thought he was worth the amount to qualify him, he would have.
        6 years in the league, 5 teams.
        There is a reason for that.
        What it is I have no idea as I didn’t watch many OTT games.
        Does he cheat for his offense?

      • Ray: His plus/minus is pretty good, especially with the teams he has played on, so if he cheats on offense it doesn’t show up in his stats.

        My guess is that Dorion knows it is a buyer’s market. He doesn’t have to pony up. And, although Ottawa made out like bandits in the draft, they are not a Duclair away from being serious Cup contenders right now. Neither situation works in Duclair’s favour.

        That’s my view. Senator fans, including our ubiquitous friend George, may have another view.

      • Ya, might be a simple as that LJ.
        Plenty of spots to fill in that line up even after they finalize the RFA’s they qualified.
        Have to think a 3 or 4 make the jump to the big club, like Norris, Brown etc. and you don’t want to block them from valuable minutes either.

      • I don’t know about cheating for his offense, Ray, but based on what I saw of him over this shortened season, I liked his hustle and attention to defense as much as offense, and with 23g in 66 gp he was on pace for a full-season 29 goals 21 assists 50 pts. That would have been a marked improvement over his career averages (over 353gp) of 18g 19a 37 pts.

        There was some criticism of his “streakiness” with stretches in January where he produced little – but I tended to put that down to the fact there weren’t a lot of Sens putting up big offensive numbers, so when teams pushing for playoff spots played them in that period, there was naturally a lot more attention paid to him than others.

        Coming off a $1,650,000 cap hit, and representing himself in talks with Dorion, it’s impossible to know what the difference was between what he was asking and what Dorion was offering – both in salary and term.

        Clearly, either or both was beyond what Dorion wanted to commit to and thankfully he didn’t cave. It’s not like he doesn’t have a wealth of promising prospects to assess at the NHL level.

        And I still say, don’t be surprised if he doesn’t circle back to the Dorion offer after finding that the expected pot of gold elsewhere in the league is more like a vastly different sort of pot.

        If, on the other hand, he gets what he wants – good for him.

  4. Seconding your best wishes on Guy Lafleur

    This Leafs fan hated when he played against the Leafs but admired his excellent play… absolutely loved watching him play against all teams not named Leafs

    Good contract for JP… now it’s all on him to prove himself (and I think he will)…. low risk to Oil… just $400 K over League min

    Also good contracts both sides for Domi and Stephenson; I’m mad at Chevy re DeMelo… was hoping for him on Leafs or Pens

    Re VGK over Cap… moves coming 100 %

    I still say easiest and first move is Statsny … might cost a sweetener … but teams looking for Cs and he only has 1 year left …. Statsny replaced by Glass saves$5.6 M in Cap… Glass bigger f aster , 14 years younger. He can be moved to 20 teams w/o his authorization.

    Moving the Flower (Cap.. 2 @ 7 remaining) will be more difficult…. and it might have to be the much more difficult to-through trade where middle team picks up portion of Cap hit (just like how they acquired Lehner and Leafs took a piece of the hit)… with middle team getting picks/prospects from Knights and from eventual receiver of the Flower… he can go to 20 teams w/o his authorization

    Also yesterday there was mention of moving Schmidt …. he was solid through year but did have quite a bad playoffs…
    If they move their 1RD they are left with Whitecloud as the only true RHD that they played in the playoffs.

    I really like Whitecloud… bright future; but bumping him to 1RD for 20/21… I don’t see it

    So …if they are moving Schmidt… expect full court press on Petro

    Schmidt can be moved to 20 teams w/o his say so

  5. Re Duclair

    I am absolutely baffled on this one

    If Dorion is to be believed … stating that he was offering him a lot more… that infers the Qualifying Offer threshold (I think it is at 10% raise) was met… so does that mean his offer was only verbal ???

    If verbal… why not formally give him a written qualifying offer that is less than the verbal offer (which was supposed to be for “much more”)

    Worried about Arb… why…. Sens have plenty of Cap space… they could have let him go to Arb… so Dorion decides term (1 or 2 years)… and if he chooses 1 year and Dorion doesn’t like the award… he can walk away… granting Duclair to be UFA… which is effectively what is happening now

    They still could reconvene today and sign a deal… but if he gets to tomorrow… he can talk to all other teams

    Dorion … you did absolutely a great job on draft day… but not Qualifying Duclair is unbelievably confusing and to me nonsensical

    • Without knowing the extent of the conversation Dorion had with Duclair – with no agent present – I think we all need to hold our counsel until the dust settles. Personally, I’m betting he’ll eventually circle back to the team he knows when he finds that no one is going to offer him what he apparently thinks he deserves based on one decent year.

      If he does find a team willing to pay him what he wants, more power to him and the best of luck

      • It’s a far better approach than caving in to a player’s demands – as Dubas did with Nylander. And if Dorion elected to take him to arbitration he couldn’t then walk away from the arbiter’s decision

  6. I love the flat cap! Seeing it save GMs from themselves and agents. Always assuming it will go up and never end they bit themselves in the backside now they have to handle it like grown ups rather than immature children oogling thru a store front window

  7. This continual nonsense of drafting for need when the player won’t be there for years , instead of picking the highest skill and ceiling player available is so tiring to keep hearing.

    That list of UFA slugs should be titled “Get over yourself, you dime a dozen players who dont know how lucky you used to be to have a big league payday” …a little long I know but accurate I think.

  8. If Duclair learned to play defense after he left AZ, good on him. I loved his jump that he had in his 1st couple of years but seemed to trip on the redline when backchecking. I was always hoping that he could breakout and some team would appreciate his offensive upside. Unfortunately, how many teams would he be in top 6 and get PP time? On bottom 6 or defensive team, he is one of those players that is a square peg in a round hole.

    I fully support the current diversity movement in NHL but from a bird’s eye view. a lot of black hockey players have problems fitting in and sticking with teams. I believe that the HOCKEY CULTURE is only giving lip service to diversity.

    just saying