NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 15, 2021

by | Jul 15, 2021 | News, NHL | 39 comments

Shea Weber faces career-threatening injuries, Jeff Skinner waives NMC for the expansion draft, Patrik Laine ties his struggles this season to John Tortorella, and the latest on Gabriel Landeskog, Steven Stamkos, Brandon Carlo and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Various injuries threaten to end Shea Weber’s playing career. The Canadiens captain could miss all of next season, if not more. He’s been hampered by foot, ankle, knee and thumb injuries in recent years. As a result, the Habs might not protect the 35-year-old defenseman in the upcoming expansion draft.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the left ankle and foot injuries are what could derail Weber’s career. He’s been dealing with those issues since 2018. His medical history creates a legitimate case for him to go on long-term injury reserve if he cannot play again. The league will make that determination and the process, which also involves Weber, his agent, the Canadiens and the NHLPA, is underway.

Montreal Canadiens captain Shea Weber (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could be a devastating blow for Weber and the Canadiens. Despite his age, he’s been their unquestioned leader and the linchpin of their blueline. He’s played through injuries that would sideline most players but that wear and tear could be catching up with him.

Weber has five years remaining on his contract. He could retire if his ankle/foot injuries prevent him from playing again, but that would result in a huge salary-cap recapture penalty for his former club, the Nashville Predators. They matched the offer sheet Weber signed with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2012. Placing him on permanent LTIR would enable the Predators to avoid that penalty while also providing the Canadiens with over $7.8 million in annual cap relief if needed.

For now, it appears Weber could miss all of next season, including the playoffs. That will push the Canadiens into the trade or free-agent market for a replacement, though finding someone of Weber’s caliber will be a daunting challenge.

Weber’s status makes it unlikely the Seattle Kraken will select him if he’s left unprotected in the upcoming expansion draft.

Speaking of the Canadiens, they signed assistant coach Luke Richardson to a three-year contract extension.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres winger Jeff Skinner has agreed to waive his no-movement clause for the upcoming expansion draft. It’s extremely unlikely the Kraken will select Skinner, who’s carrying a $9 million annual salary-cap hit over the next six seasons. The move will instead enable the Sabres to protect another player in the draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per expansion draft rules, players with NMCs must be protected unless they agree to waive the clause. The deadline to ask players to waive those clauses was two days ago. Players asked to do so must reach a decision by Friday.

Speaking of players and no-movement clauses, Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos and Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle was not asked to waive theirs for the expansion draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pointless to do so when you know the answer is, “Oh hell, no!” Or words to that effect.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine told a Finnish media outlet he laid part of the blame for his disappointing performance this season at the feet of former Jackets coach John Tortorella. Laine said Tortorella didn’t allow him the freedom to be creative offensively because of the coach’s desire for everyone to play a two-way game.

Laine said he understood the need for a tight system and he does what coaches tell him to do. However, he also believes they should give players the opportunity to use their strengths. “I do not even want to be like everyone else. I am who I am and do things my way. Everyone should be given the opportunity to be themselves.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what weight Laine’s comments have in his contract negotiations with Jackets’ management. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

The report also noted Laine made a disrespectful comment toward Brad Larsen (then an assistant coach) during a game this season, leading to Tortorella benching the winger. Larsen is now the Jackets’ head coach but the article cited sources saying the incident was quickly resolved with no lingering issues between the two.

THE ATHLETIC: Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog is unhappy he doesn’t have a new contract yet with the club. The 28-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28. “I can’t help but be honest with you that I’m a little bit disappointed that it’s gotten this far and it’s had to come to this point,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Talks are reportedly ongoing between the two sides but they’re not yet close to a deal. Salary cap constraints are an issue here. The Avalanche must also re-sign Norris Trophy finalist Cale Makar and Vezina Trophy finalist Philipp Grubauer.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins re-signed defenseman Brandon Carlo to a six-year, $24.6 million contract. The annual average value is $4.1 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a reasonable contract for the 24-year-old Carlo, who’s coming off a two-year deal worth $2.85 million annually. The only concern here is his injury history. He played in just 27 games this season. When healthy, however, he’s an effective shutdown defenseman.

Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller announced his retirement after seven NHL seasons, citing health issues after battling injuries the past two seasons. He played 352 games for the Bruins, tallying 72 points.

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

TSN: It appears the Toronto Maple Leafs could lose two Zachs to free agency on July 28. The Leafs remain far apart in contract talks with winger Zach Hyman while all indications suggest defenseman Zach Bogosian will head to the open market.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed forward Teddy Blueger to a two-year contract with an annual average value of $2.2 million.

THE SCORE: Lightning winger Pat Maroon admitted he was the one who accidentally damaged the bowl of the Stanley Cup during the club’s victory celebration in Tampa on Monday. He was attempting to lift the Cup and slipped on the wet stage and fell backward. It was raining at the time of the incident.


  1. So Montreal now has opportunity to exploit same rules Tampa did. They can put Weber on ltir for season and bring him back for playoffs. Of course they’re not Tampa and barely (18th in league standings)got into playoffs with him.

  2. This will now allow Habs to sign Danault and Kotkaniemi comfortably. Maybe add Savard to replace Weber.

  3. Weber looked fine when he was running around trying to knock Points head off.

    • Kuch looked fine leading playoff scoring despite missing the entire regular season cause of an injury.

    • What exactly is wrong with him he was destroying guys and playing lots of minutes?

  4. Good contract for Carlo, although there’s some.concern re: his concussions history. Get everyone else wrapped up Hall, Krejci. Let Rask walk. Then go for Eichel and OEL. Bah Dah Dum Dum Dum I’m loving it!

  5. “Various injuries threaten to end Shea Weber’s playing career.”

    It explains how he looked to have slowed down a lot during the year, nothing like his playoff performance,

    Cue the cynics…..and they’re off.

    Habs are in the running for Suter, Savard and Jones now.

    Side note, folks who say Allen needs to be traded because he’s going to be lost to the Kraken… Halak has a lower GAA and higher Save % than Allen as a platoon goalie, oh and cheaper.

    • Amazing how quickly things change in hockey. After screaming for the Habs to pick up a mobile LD, it’s obvious that Chiarot and Edmundson will both be back, as it’s now a mobile RD that is needed.
      Slick, Savard is not even close to what’s needed to replace Weber. He’s solid defensively but won’t add anything offensively.
      The Habs should now try to make a big pitch for Jones, even if he isn’t ready to commit to an extension. Ristolainen would be another, possibly more realistic target. Dare I say that reacquiring PK Subban may be worth looking into, although it would require the Devils to keep some salary. I’d be in on Tyson Barrie as well, although, as a UFA, he’ll want a longer team deal, while the others mentioned are heading into their final contract year.

      • Subban might be a good call Howard , as long as $ is retained. For the most part Subban is well liked in Montreal. His current deal has a year left so they can revisit Weber’s health and options after next season.
        I still think Weber gets traded back to Nashville at some point so he can retire and they do not get tagged with the recapture penalty.

      • Howard,

        I disagree, Savard can be a poor mans Weber very easily, while younger & at a lesser cost. No need to give up assets to retain him either.

        Thus, adding a puck moving left shot D would still be a possibility.

      • Firstly, gentlemen, this is a reporter’s “scoop,” and there has been no confirmation by the Habs. It is hard to believe that with the list of injuries cited by Lavoie that Weber could play at the level he did during the playoffs. Did anyone who watched the Habs note anything other than the obvious thumb issue?

        Even if Weber is left off the Habs’ protected list it doesn’t mean that he will be gone all season. As for bringing back Subban, come on guys. He was a defensive liability whose play has been mediocre ever since being traded by the Habs. While he may have matured since then he was a disruptive personality in the dressing room. I will eat Ray Bark’s shorts – the ones he wore on a hot day after jogging with his dog – if the Habs bring him back.

        If, Ray you haven’t eaten them by now …

      • Fair point LJ, what was the condition that I would eat those again?

        I can’t even remember.

        Sure hope I was right!

      • I cannot recall what would trigger your amuse bouche, Ray (it was some trade that you did not want to happen), but it was one of the more memorable comments on this site.

  6. it is usually when the freezing and the meds wear off that a person realizes just how badly injured they really are. Weber needs be cautious at 35 years old in making sure he is not setting himself up for a painful, hobbled journey through life by masking injuries for the sake of playing . I speak from experience , it sucks getting old with worn out body parts.

  7. I am a huge fan of going around the cap when the Leafs do it so will resist the temptation to rage against the night when other teams try to do it…..but given how the Habs took our lunch in the first round it is very tempting.

    Some future hunches:

    1) there will be more moves against the cap as it is in the interests of the NHLPA, the bigger teams and markets and the new TV contract to soften the cap whenever it can be done

    2) the increase in gambling revues will force an evening out of the differences between regular season and play off hockey rule interpretation….the PR campaign regarding cross checking excesses has already started and it is less than 2 weeks after the Cup final

    3) post covid less players will want to be north of the border….the league needs consistency of revenues north of the 49 th and some kind of sympathetic league reaction will occur…I know most Canadian fans will not think this will come to pass…but this one does

    4) For league crediblity some kind of unstated protection of the “stars” will occur..too many of the “names” were absent this spring and the ratings suffered….many fans of teams without these overpaid guys enjoyed what happened this spring… but is hard to believe the sponsors and the networks did….think they can get Bettman on the phone when they want to or that he will leave it all to fate??…

    Ok ….my hockey Notrodamos moment is over ( for now)

  8. If I were JK I’d be discussing Laine in trade talks along with Jones, he can’t wait to get out of Columbus …

  9. Weber himself will ‘only’ make an additional 6 million the last 4 years of his contract(3+1+1+1).
    He has been paid 104million thus far in his career.

    LITR might be where he goes and stays.

  10. Is there ever a positive outcome when a player says; “I am who I am and do things my way”?

    • I’m with you on that, Henry. I agree with Laine to the point that the really talented offensive players must be given more leeway to play their games. But they can never forget that they’re part of a team and must play a team game, with defensive responsibilities. Laine’s comments show a selfishness which no coach would want on his team.

      • Ray your your off your Rocker!

        Think Brett Hull

      • Knew you would fire back at me Caper!
        We have consistently disagreed on Laine.

        Hey maybe he does an Yzerman one day and devotes more energy to preventing goals and we will both luv him as a player.

        Still a young fella.

    • “I am who I am and do things my way”.
      AKA – cheat for offense.
      AKA – Selfish
      AKA – Can’t win with high paid guys like him on your team.
      AKA – will get traded again.

      I’ll take a guy like Danault, who sacrifices personal stats to do what the coach asks him to do, over Laine all day every day.

      I said it, Danault is a more valuable player than Laine. Let me have it!

  11. Huge Weber fan, yes Montreal could ploy the same actions as TB; also depending on Drouin potentially another $5.5m to add to the kitty.

    I don’t think you can replace Weber he is/ was one of the most complete Dman in the league and should of had at least one Norris to his name.

    Even with the LTIR and adding a couple of players, Montreal will be in a battle with Boston, Florida and Toronto to make the playoffs, this is one strong division.

    Losing Weber hurts no matter who you add.

    Carlo deal at $4.1 good signing fair $$ little offense so little increase.

    Miller and McQuaid i can’t say one without thinking of the other. Two tough players who played the right way. Best of luck to Miller here hoping for a healthy and happy future.

    Boston lost most of their toughness and i don’t like the look; hard to believe i’m saying Boston needs to find some toughness on the back end but they do.

    Patrik Laine, you may not like what he said and personally i think he need to take more responsibilities; but with that said, he telling anybody who will listen “I need to play my game” selfish yes but also honest.

    I kind of relate to it this way being hired for your experience but yet they don’t want your experience.

    I think he is done in Columbus; what team is out there that is willing to say “Patrik go score between 40 and 50 goals and back check when you can”

    Will add he is correct all players are not the same and teams need to utilize the skill set the player has.

    What is Gabriel Landeskog worth on the open market? Montreal are you watching?

  12. If Weber is not protected some team could get Kraken to grab him and flip him but I would take Allen

    • No one will be trading for Weber right now given the uncertainty of his health.

  13. Would Dougie Hamilton be a good replacement for weber?

    • He would fit like a glove IMO Premier.
      Also seems like a guy who doesn’t like the spotlight 24/7.
      Don’t know him and just a hunch, but I think he goes somewhere a little more under the radar.

      Unless, of course, they throw a stupid amount of $ at him.

      • Do you think 8-8.5 for 7 yrs would get it done?

      • I like Dougie Hamilton but he is not worth $ 8 or $8.5 million a season.. Especially not for these long term contracts that seem to never work out in any sport.

      • Ya, seems like a lot, but not a crazy over pay.
        Hamilton doesn’t suck defensively, he just isn’t as physical as folks would like due to his size. If he was, look out.

        But not who he is.

        Interesting to see when and how much the cap goes up, and it will in a couple years. Quite a bit I think.

        But a gamble as who knows for sure.

        I don’t think $8M is that far off what he gets if hits the market. I have read that he likes it in CAR, plus a good team, maybe he stays for a little less.

    • Premier, he has a different skill set then Weber, the physical side isn’t there.

      As Ray said appears not to like the lime like but fit in well in Carolina.

      Offense for sure, would be a very good pickup.

      • They could pick up a 3rd line D for toughness along with Romanov. They need more offense from the backend to help with their scoring. The main question would be if Hamilton would play in the Montreal spotlight.

  14. I’m watching that Landeskog situation.
    Interesting stuff. It likely will get done.

    but….you never know.

  15. Florida has bought out Keith Yandle.

    Are the Bruins interested???

    • IMO he isn’t what they have a need for Uwey.
      Need more of a physical, D first guy.
      Have Grz, McAvoy and if improving Zboril as puck movers.

  16. To weigh in on what I would do on the Habs D.

    On the left side, Alex Martinez is an UFA, he was the best man at Tyler Toffoli’s wedding (or vise versa). Tyler could be the bridge to make contact to convince Martinez that Montreal is a great place to play. He can skate, defend & can move the puck as well play both the PK & PP.

    On the right side, David Savard, big body, can skate, defends well, hit like a truck & play the PK. Not to mention he is francophone, which checks off another box for Bergevin .

    If you can add both with a cap hit in the $10 n mill range combined, it would buy some time in years for a couple of the several Habs D prospect to develop.

    Kulak-Fleury or resign Gustavsson as Black Aces

    • Uwey,

      Good call,

      Savard and Martinez were a combined $8.2 million and would make for a fortified defense.

      That D-corp would be able to roll pretty evenly in TOI and keeping the crease clear.

      Cat Toffoli has some work to do 🙂

  17. Uwey, unintentional, I’m sure, but your typo putting “vise versa” beside a guy’s wedding day is pretty darn good imo.

  18. LJ,
    “Firstly, gentlemen, this is a reporter’s “scoop,” and there has been no confirmation by the Habs.”

    It’s been reported by Lavoie, Dreger and Friedman.

    Weber, the Canadiens, the NHL and the NHLPA are doing their due diligence on the matter to determine the best course of action for his medical situation and future.

    I would imagine that the Canadiens will wait for the results and agreed course of action before making a statement.