NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 20, 2021

by | Jul 20, 2021 | News, NHL | 18 comments

Predators prospect Luke Prokop comes out as gay, Carey Price calls for increased recognition of the history of residential schools, the Kraken could be close to signing Chris Driedger, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators prospect Luke Prokop revealed yesterday he is gay, become the first player under an NHL contract to come out. “I am no longer scared to hide who I am,” wrote Prokop on Instagram. “Today I am proud to publicly tell everyone that I am gay.”

Nashville Predators prospect Luke Prokop.

Prokop, 19, is a defenseman with the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen. The Predators selected him in the third round (73rd overall) in the 2020 NHL Draft and signed him last December to a three-year entry-level contract.

The news was no surprise for the Predators. Prokop informed general manager David Poile of his sexuality over a year ago.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Prokop is receiving widespread support from the Predators and throughout the hockey community following his announcement yesterday. It took courage for this young man to come out. Hopefully, he’ll be an example and inspiration to other gay players.

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price believes more should be done to make Canadians aware of the history of residential schools. A growing number of unmarked graves continue to be discovered on the sites of some former residential schools throughout several provinces.

Price’s grandmother was a residential school survivor. His mother, Lynda Price, is chief of the Ulkatcho First Nation in Northern British Columbia.

I think we need to do a better job in the future of recognizing that this is a part of our history in Canada and it’s just not right,” said Price.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported yesterday the Seattle Kraken are closing in on a three-year, $10.5 million contract with Chris Driedger. The 27-year-old Florida Panthers goaltender is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28.

Under expansion draft rules, the Kraken have a brief window (July 18 to 21) to negotiate exclusively with free agents left unprotected in Wednesday’s expansion draft. If signed by the Kraken, he’ll be considered that club’s selection from the Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Driedger came into his own this season after several years of bouncing between the NHL and the minors. He outperformed Panthers starter Sergei Bobrovsky. With promising Spencer Knight now on their roster, they can’t afford to carry three goalies.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports the New York Rangers are close to signing a six-year contract extension with Barclay Goodrow. The Rangers acquired the 28-year-old forward last week from the Tampa Bay Lightning. It’s believed the annual average value of his new contract would be around $3.6 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not a bad pay raise for Goodrow, who’s completing a two-year, $1.85 million contract. That term is longer than most for a checking-line forward. They usually get deals between three-to-four years.

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski cites sources saying the NHL’s 2021-22 schedule will contain a break for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. It’s reportedly scheduled for Feb. 5-22, 2022.

The schedule is expected to be released on July 22 but could contain a caveat indicating NHL participation in the Olympics isn’t yet guaranteed.

The NHL is still working with the International Olympic Committee on issues that prevented the league from participating in the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers have hired Darryl Williams as an assistant coach. Williams worked with Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault in Vancouver and New York over nine seasons.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning extended their affiliation with the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears for the next two seasons.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets hired Mark Morrisson as the new head coach of their AHL affiliate. He spent the past four seasons as an assistant with the Anaheim Ducks.


  1. The rangers hire Jim Rutherford and I missed it?

    • That’s just an unfounded rumor, Chrisms. Jim’s employer will become evident tonight, when the Kraken save term and a bit of money by selecting Goodrow alternative Brandon Tanev.

  2. Good for Prokop – I just hope he doesn’t run into too many fanatical donkeys along the way – both in the stands and around whatever league in which he plays – although you can almost bet he will.

    • George O, unfortunately it will happen. look no further then the Oiler fans who came after aboriginal Ethan Bear after a miscue lead to one of the Oilers defeat.

      • That was disgusting caper. A lot of wing-nuts out there.

  3. nice deal for Goodrow if this deal come thru , although I don’t agree with a six year term. Classic example of hard work pays off. He was not drafted , played in the OHL as an over-ager. He made the Sharks in his first year pro and then spent the next two years in the AHL grinding his way back to the NHL. Glad for him.

  4. Seattle has a window 18th – 21st to negotiate with ufas and rfas can’t believe the only one their negotiating with is Driedger after 2 days.

    • I am sure they put calls into agents of some of the higher profile UFA they could snag and knew who to bother with

  5. One dimensional checking forwards are important players to fill out a team yet they abound in the AHL and get their chance every year, usually not sticking but sometimes making it.

    Good luck building a team in the cap world by quadrupling a salary in a 6 year contract for a 28 y/o replaceable piece.

    He is now earning almost the contract of a scoring fprward.

    Santa Claus is the new GM there.

    • Lou Lamoriello got raked over the coals when he signed Leo Komarov for 4 years at $3m. AAV and his point and goal production was better than Goodrow’s has been. The Rangers need a player like Goodrow, but this term and coin are way too much.

    • 6 years?? For a plugger??? If those kinds of signings are the new norm in NY they’re in for a world of cap hurt not too far down the line.

  6. You can bet Seattle isn’t giving Driedger $3.5m. per year to be a 25 game backup. Those guys can be had right now for half that. He’ll at least be a 1b goalie, splitting the load with another goalie. And I can’t see them paying Price $10.5m. to share the load. And they won’t take price just to trade him, not with his NMC.

  7. I really like Goodrow in my bottom six but not for the next 6 years … delusional … Gallant’s type of player though and brings something the Rangers don’t have … Blake Coleman’s agent just put a case of champagne on ice …

  8. “SPECTOR’S NOTE: Prokop is receiving widespread support from the Predators and throughout the hockey community following his announcement yesterday. It took courage for this young man to come out. Hopefully, he’ll be an example and inspiration to other gay players.”

    Agreed. It’s even harder when you consider that not all people can be leaders or deal with that kind of pressure and the first ones to put themselves out there are almost expected to be put in those situations.

    Not only are you doing a difficult personal thing already but now you are also expected by everyone else to prominent public ‘poster child’ for it.

    Hopefully this starts another wave of change that is much overdue and more people won’t be as afraid or intimidated by a small but loud minority of bigots.

    • Very well said flying. Fortunately I learned at a young age that people are not defined by race, sexuality or gender and that has contributed greatly to my happiness. People that hate for the sake of hate, fear or religion are not happy, positive people in my experience. Cheers

    • Great post.

  9. Good on Prokop. And good on Price.

    It’s been a long time coming.

  10. Sounds a lot like Phillipe Daneault