NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 16, 2021

by | Jul 16, 2021 | News, NHL | 22 comments

The Avalanche trade Ryan Graves to the Devils, the Panthers buy out Keith Yandle, Ben Bishop agrees to waive NMC for the expansion draft, Leafs give Zach Hyman permission to speak to other clubs, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE DENVER POST/NORTHJERSEY.COM: The Colorado Avalanche last night traded defenseman Ryan Graves to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for forward Mikhail Maltsev and a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL draft.

The Colorado Avalanche trade Ryan Graves to the New Jersey Devils (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche risked losing Graves to the Seattle Kraken for nothing in next week’s expansion draft. They get a promising young forward in Maltsev and replace the second-round pick they shipped to the New York Islanders last fall for Devon Toews. The move also gives the Avs some much-needed salary-cap relief, replacing Graves’ $3.21 million annual average value with Maltsev’s $925K for 2021-22.

Graves, 26, established himself as a quality top-four defenseman during his tenure with the Avalanche. The 6’5”, 220-pounder brings a good mix of size, physical play and a solid defensive game to the Devils’ blueline.

NBC SPORTS: The Florida Panthers have bought out the remaining two years of Keith Yandle’s contract. The 34-year-old defenseman had an annual average value of $6.35 million. The first year of the buyout will count as $2.34 million against the Panthers’ cap for 2021-22, jumping to $5.3 million for 2022-23, and dropping to $1.24 million annually for the final two seasons.

They also re-signed winger Anthony Duclair to a three-year, $9 million contract and defenseman Gustav Forsling to a three-year, $7.98 million deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Things were coming to a head between Yandle and the Panthers this season. He was nearly a healthy scratch to start the season, which would’ve threatened his Ironman consecutive games streak. He was scratched from three postseason games. This move freed up immediate cap room to address other needs.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars goaltender Ben Bishop agreed to waive his no-movement clause for the upcoming expansion draft. That will allow the Stars to protect goalie Anton Khudobin as promising Jake Oettinger is exempt from the draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bishop missed all of this season recovering from a knee injury. His lengthy injury history likely means the Kraken will pass on selecting him in next week’s draft.

THE SCORE: cited TSN’s Darren Dreger reporting the Toronto Maple Leafs are allowing Zach Hyman to speak with other teams. The 29-year-old left-winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s a chance the Leafs could match the best offer but that appears slim. I’ll have more on Hyman in today’s Rumor Mill.

TSN: Darren Dreger speculates Shea Weber’s situation could end in a dispute between the NHL and NHLPA if the league doesn’t allow the Canadiens to put the 35-year-old defenseman on long-term injury reserve. Weber’s career is in jeopardy from the effects of multiple injuries suffered over the past four seasons. He’s reportedly expected to miss the entire 2021-22 season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Everyone is waiting for clarity on this before deciding what to do next. Weber is reportedly getting a second medical opinion. Dreger indicated the timing of this situation is what’s clouding the issue with the expansion draft coming up.

THE SCORE: Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins said Matiss Kivlenieks died a hero during the memorial service for his late teammate. Kivlenieks died at age 24 from chest trauma from a fireworks mortar blast. The tube tilted and started firing toward a hot tub. Merzlikins and his pregnant wife were nearby. He said the young goaltender sacrificed his life to protect others

SPECTOR’S NOTE: RIP Matiss, your last save was your biggest.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed winger Brett Ritchie to a one-year, $900K contract.

THE MERCURY NEWS: The San Jose Sharks re-signed center Dylan Gambrell to a one-year, $1.1 million contract.


  1. Well said about matiss Lyle.

  2. Tragic story. The young man died a hero while protecting his friends and their unborn child. RIP.

  3. Graves is happy because he only has to see Ryan Reaves twice next year …

  4. Sad storey. Rip Matiss

    • The ultimate teammate.

  5. Very nice pickup by New Jersey

  6. Bruins stay away from Yandle.

    • Pens and Leafs too!

  7. Dreger appears to have engaged in bald speculation. He did not suggest in any way that the NHL was considering not allowing Weber to be placed on LTIR. This seems to be one of those times where Dreger says something just to be heard.

    • Howard, no way! Dreger. Impossible! Not him (or anyone else when they need to).

      • lol

  8. Very sad; extremely tragic re: Kivlenieks. Prayers and thoughts out to his family and friends

    Zito and Sackic…. Prudent moves 👍👍. Devils pick up a good D-man for reasonable hit and reasonable cost👍👍

    Re : Hyman and possibility of Leafs matching BO….. how does that happen??call it .01 % chance??

    Re: “ Darren Dreger speculates Shea Weber’s situation could end in a dispute between the NHL and NHLPA if the league doesn’t allow the Canadiens to put the 35-year-old defenseman on long-term injury reserve.”

    I don’t understand this. If he is injured and misses the greater of 10 games or 28 days…. Then LTIR can’t be challenged

    So if he (Weber) gets to game 11 in 21/22 and is unable to play due to injury…. How can league challenge him being on LTIR?

    Is he having surgery on ankle ? foot? hand/wrist?

    OR … was Dreger speculating re League challenging Weber be put on PERMANENT LTIR (like Pronger et al ?)

    This just seems weird to me

    If he is injured and Dr’s conclude he can’t play for at least 10 games/28 days into 21/22 season… to me …. Automatic LTIR

    Hossa retired on LTIR due to sore itchy skin!!!

  9. Re : Hyman and possibility of Leafs matching BO….. how does that happen??call it .01 % chance??
    I can help you with that. It’s quite simple very very simple actually it’s a matter of wanting to do it or not but it is very possible. Let’s say Zach gets what most have read or heard that he might be in the neighborhood of 5×5M per. The total value of that contract is $25 million. The leafs can propose sign him for say eight years, dropping that $5m cap hit to $3.1M something per year. They also can frontload the contract so he can receive most of his money within the first two or three years like they’ve done with all the other big contracts. After two or three years I don’t expect them in the top six, after five years I don’t expect them in the top nine 3 million on a fourth liner in five years from now is that horrible? Will he be retired or on LTIR by then because of his play style? Who knows but the important question is how long do you believe Zack will be his effective self? Two, three, maybe four, i don’t know with any certainly but you better make sure that you will be getting that Hyman those two-three years is worth paying him that money.
    I think the Leafs will try to see if they can find a fit unlike with Anderson situation who seemed to make a poster here question the motive of the team, it’s simple too. With Anderson, his age and position as well as a pretty defined need, ie a goaltender that can post at least league average s% and x amount per year. That’s a position that doesn’t age very well at all as well as it seems the team wants to have a lot of flexibility at that position and not be tied down. So either the offer made to him already wasn’t to Andersons liking or the offer made to him is something he’s going to think about and see what he can get on the open market before he agrees or disagrees to the offer. I think it’s quite simple and there’s nothing nefarious going on as some wish you to believe.

  10. The NHL tightened up the variability rules of front loaded contracts in the new CBA. Any salary variance in adjacent years now cannot exceed 25% of the salary in the first contract year and the lowest salary year cannot be less than 60% of the highest salary year.

    So much for frontloading contracts

    • Habsfan, I said front loaded I misspoke. The way the Leafs do it is via signing bonuses since all bonuses signing or performance ones count against the cap and as a Habs fan you ought to now be painfully aware but you do recall reading or seeing how on July 1 X player gets X million dollars signing bonus?
      So in Zach Hyman’s case, the leafs can sign him like I said where the average is $3.1 million however the first two or three years he will receive a signing bonus of somewhere of let’s say $8-10 million July 1 because the contract is for $25 million so however they give him the money is up to the team and that’s how a team with deep pockets can do and should take advantage of that. I said frontloaded which was wrong. Now this should be clear.

      • The way the Leafs do it is the way the Rangers, Oilers, Habs, VGK, TBL, Carolina etc do it, The signing bonus paid in July still exists , and isn’t included in escrow calculations.

        What you are suggesting, increasing the signing bonus for the first few years, 2-3 times the average cap hit is the very definition of front loading and no longer legal.

      • Basically this: https://www.capfriendly.com/players/alexander-kerfoot
        Kefoots signing bonus his first year vs his salary. Unless they changed that which is his current contract signed 2019. I wasn’t aware they changed this loophole.

  11. If Weber goes on LTIR, I’m willing to believe he is hurt. And I’m OK if it isn’t a specific thing requiring surgery; I’ve had contact with a number of older players when I was in broadcasting and a lot of them had trouble getting out of a chair or up and down stairs…the wear and tear thing is real. If he doesn’t play, the team has to win without him for him to come back for the playoffs. At that point he’ll have to have recovered enough to play and be effective. And that’s the rule and that’s fine. I do have enough faith in the league to assume that the hurt is not a team/doctors/league conspirancy.
    Players get hurt, teams need to replace them for the season, they recover and are willing to sacrifice for the playoffs. As long as the hurt and recovery are legit, it actually makes sense. Forcing an injured player to play to stay eligible does not; forcing a team to play short handed does not; pretending that some injuries are not caused by opposition play that goes unpunished does not.
    Mr. Weber was tough opposition, has had a good career, and I wish him well, both in finishing, and in a healthy life after hockey. If it takes sitting most of a season out to recover and rehab for one more run – I’m not going to call that cheating.

    • No issue with Weber sitting out.

      TB best player sat out and they easily made the playoffs.

      How many teams could let their best player sit out and make the playoffs.

      It’s a gamble

  12. The Weber issue is all about Nashville’s recapture penalty, when how and if it kicks in.

    LTIR or retirement impacts the Predators.

    It might be in Nashville’s interest to trade for Weber and have some sort of control over the player in the future.

    An Ekholm trade might be in the offing bringing $10 million cap room to the team

    • Not sure if Ekholm would be the trade. But 100%, if Weber is done. NASHVILLE MUST GET HIS CONTRACT BACK! If he retires… omg they are done.

      • JJB,

        Nashville won’t move Josi or Ellis and the Habs won’t take Carrier or Fabbro.

        The only one left that the Habs could use and Nashville won’t resign next year is Ekholm.

        As you said, “”NASHVILLE MUST GET HIS CONTRACT BACK! If he retires… omg they are done.