NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 22, 2021

by | Jul 22, 2021 | News, NHL | 56 comments

The Kraken unveil their roster, the Bruins close to re-signing Taylor Hall, the Oilers reportedly ink Mike Smith, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Seattle Kraken finally have a full roster as they made their 30-player selections in their expansion draft yesterday. Mark Giordano, Jordan Eberle and Yanni Gourde were among the notable players chosen by the Kraken.

The Seattle Kraken officially announced their roster on July 21. (NHL.com).

Gourde will have to wait for a little way to make his debut with the Kraken after undergoing shoulder surgery this week. His recovery period is estimated to be four months.

Adam Larsson, Chris Driedger and Jamie Oleksiak were considered draft selections from the Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars respectively after signing new contracts with the Kraken. The trio was slated to become unrestricted free agents on July 28 but the Kraken had a three-day window to exclusively negotiate with free agents exposed in the draft.

Larsson signed a four-year, $16 million contract. Driedger’s new deal is for three years and is worth an annual average value of $3.5 million while Oleksiak’s is for five years with a $4.6 million AAV.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The unofficial Kraken roster I posted yesterday based on media links throughout the day turned out to be the official list. You can read my take on the expansion draft on Bleacher Report.

The Kraken’s home opener is slated for Oct. 23 against the Vancouver Canucks. The NHL’s full 2021-22 schedule will be released on Thursday.

No side deals emerged during the draft despite weeks of hype. General manager Ron Francis was asked if he has any trades in hand that could be unveiled when the expansion draft roster freeze is lifted at 1 pm ET today. “Probably a lot less than you guys think there might be,” he said.

In other news…

TSN: The Boston Bruins are reportedly closing in on a new deal for left wing Taylor Hall. Darren Dreger expects it’ll be a four-year contract worth close to $24 million in total.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not a surprise. Most of the speculation about Hall’s negotiations with the Bruins suggested a three-to-four year contract worth around $6 million annually.

SPORTSNET: Mike Smith is reportedly returning to the Edmonton Oilers. The 39-year-old goaltender is expected to ink a two-year deal worth around $2 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not a bad cap hit but it’s still a bit of a gamble to invest more than one year into a goalie who turns 40 in March. It remains to be seen who will share the netminding duties with Smith. The Oilers are reportedly shopping Mikko Koskinen. He has a year left on his deal worth $4.5 million but they can’t find any takers. There are no immediate plans to buy him out.

Speaking of the Oilers, they’ve engaged in preliminary contract talks with Tyson Barrie after losing defenseman Adam Larsson to the Kraken in the expansion draft.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres have started contract discussions with Rasmus Dahlin. The 21-year-old defenseman is a restricted free agent after coming off his three-year entry-level contract.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens hired Trevor Letowski as an assistant coach. He spent the past 10 years coaching in the Ontario Hockey League, the last three as head coach of the Windsor Spitfires.


  1. Expansion Draft

    Biggest winner on the day… Seravalli …. 30 scoops… all accurate

    Biggest losers on the day… Kraken media/promotions department …. Buckets 0’Buckets spent on “the Reveal”… that Seravalli tackled with a Tweet… several hours earlier

    The next order of business is to find where Frank hid the “bug”/transmitter …. LOL

    I find it very very hard to believe that there are no side deals…. Why would Francis sign Driedger, Oleksiak, and Larrsson yesterday…. When he could sign them for the exact same deal in 1 week AND gain another player off of Panthers, Stars, Oil for free?

    There also has to be other side deals (with announcements coming) due to Krakken picking a very low hanging fruit with other much more logical picks available from that team…. I need only cite the very strange pick of Bayreuther…. the never drafted 27 year old… who has a whopping 28 NHL games to his name…. and only 10 this past year…. and oh wait…. He’s UFA!!! No logic to picking him at all. NONE!!!

    Bayreuther picked when there were players like

    Domi; Kukan; Harrington , Carllsson

    So pick a poor 27 year old UFA D man and not one of the above? I can see Krakken possibly wanting to pass on Domi due to Cap hit….. but Kukan; Harrington AND Carllssn (all under reasonable contracts )… not taken; and Krakken takes the far inferior UFA?? Has to be a side deal

    Winner of day (outside of Seravalli)…. The Leafs…. unless there was a side deal…. HIGHLY Ddoubtful…. Only team (not named Knights) to NOT lose a player that has played ANY games in the NHL

    Leafs only lost …. A 7th in ‘23; and an expected/possible career AHLer 👍👏👍👏👍👏👍😁😁😁

    The only team who could possibly claim a better deal (lesser loss due to expansion) …. Maybe…. Clb…. IF and only IF there is no side deal (lunacy on Francis’ part if there isn’t one)

    Biggest losers of the day (outside of the Kraken promo/media team)…. Penguins…. As at now, only team to lose 2 players to Krakken …. McC and Turbo…. ah but wait… they gained that 7th in ‘23 and a career AHLer….. 💩😡🤬

    • Just read (Walker… NY Post)…. Ranger side deal…. The “temporary “ Krakken . Giordano AND Blackwell… head to big Apple for Strome ….. strange if true🧐 (Kraken actually have Gio there for the announcement; then flip him ????

      • Agreed. I saw that one too and thought it made no sense from Seattle’s perspective. I’d rather have Strome than Blackwell, but Strome for Blackwell and Gio is too much of a gift for the Blueshirts.

        Seattle did right to avoid some of the salary dumps being offered in the draft. It’s better to stay near the cap floor now and wait for cap-strapped teams to pry away some better players.

    • Biggest loser, nil fans. #1 for all the leaks. #2 for being put through yet another gimmicky piece of garbage draft.

      Marshawb Lynch? Shawn Kemp? Macklemore?

      Was Vanilla ice not readily available?

      Anybody else catch Kemp stumble for 5 minutes when asked who his favorite nhl player was? Could not even come up with a name involved in the draft! Marshawn Lynch, you had one job, one name!

      The best pick reveal was the octopus! Because he couldn’t screw it up!

      The inflatable octopus out on that boat was a great addition too. Thank you dollar general for that contribution!

      • Yep… love your review of the “escapade”…. LOL


    • You actually list Carlsson as a better pick than Bayreuther? At least Bayreuther has shown flashes of ability in the NHL, we Jackets fans are still waiting for Carlsson to be anything beyond a wasted roster slot.

      • Hi Paul

        I cede my viewing of both Carlson & Bayreuther is limited… you’ll for sure know more than I on that

        However…. I have seen Domi; Kukan; and Harrington play many many more times (than Carlson & Bayreuther)…. I am very hard pressed to believe that Bayreuther (again note… is a UFA) is a better pick up than any of those three

        To me… picking up a UFA, if you have signed them…. That’s one thing…. But unsigned…. that could end up with nada coming from Jackets…. There must be a side deal and/or upcoming handshake trade

      • Hi Paul

        I cede my viewing of both Carlson & Bayreuther is limited… you’ll for sure know more than I on that

        However…. I have seen Domi; Kukan; and Harrington play many many more times (than Carlson & Bayreuther)…. I am very hard pressed to believe that Bayreuther (again note… is a UFA) is a better pick up than any of those three

        To me… picking up a UFA, if you have signed them…. That’s one thing…. But unsigned…. that could end up with nada coming from Jackets…. There must be a side deal and/or upcoming handshake trade

    • No, you are the biggest loser of the day … and tomorrow

      • Ed,

        I can’t tell you how hurtful this is! I will probably lose sleep for weeks knowing I’m not in your fav 5! Or even 100! I get really bent when some troll on the internet who I don’t know , will never know, and don’t care to know passes judgment on me!

        Well either way, thank you for your continued deep and meaningful posts! One day I dream I can reach the successful height of sitting around in my moms house in my underwear in a beanbag chair coming up with such well thought out and articulate posts demeaning people I don’t know!

        Thank you! And never give up that dream!

    • Yeah the Penguins have 7.5 mil in cap space now though. I think Lafferty can bring everything Tanev did at a fraction of the cost. It gives opportunity for Legare or Poulin to step up. And they could hypothetically sign someone like Landescog now. Tanev was great for the Pens and a joy to watch but in a couple more years he will be 30 something and that 3.5 won’t look as good. I was reading a blog today about trading Peterson for Christian Dvorak. That sounds far fetched but never say never.

  2. Good for Hall was hoping he’d sign for less, but losing Lauzon big blooper for the Bruins. Out of Zobril, Clifton, Moore, Lauzon had the most upside I would have exposed Matt G. Sweeney better have an iron clad plan to fix this and most often he just free flies. This could be Sweeney’s and Neelys last Hurrah.

  3. As soon as I tuned in at 8:00 pm ET and saw the opening of the draft in front of thousands – including media types – conducted at 10:00 am Seattle time, it wasn’t hard to figure out how the choices were “leaked.” Hell, there were likely hundreds of cell phones open to newspapers all across the continent. That there were no such “leaks” in the Vegas draft is simply because that one was handled live.

    Anyway, the combination of knowing who was picked and the hokey way it was conducted (an octopus making a pick??) soon had me tuning into something on Prime.

    And Pengy, spin it any way you like, but the Leafs did lose a player that, in my humble opinion anyway, is a lot better than Kerfoot.

    • Hi George

      Yes McC is much better than Kerfoot

      But McC never played for the Leafs and was drop kicked/punted to Leafs in a last minute panic by Hextall/Burke

      No spin….all the Leafs lost from what they had last week… 7th (‘23) AND a player who has been touted at best to be a career AHLer

      So… ONLY team (outside of Knights) that got off easier than Leafs is Jackets…. AND that’s IF and ONLY IF there was no side deals with Jackets/Krakken

      AND if there was no side deal…. Francis… WTF are you doing passing over guys like Domi; Kukan; Harrington , Carllsson to take a fairly poor; never drafter; 27 yr old UFA that has but 28 NHL games to his name??

      I believe WH17/Mike is dancing in the streets this morning

      • Pengy don’t know about your spin; however, yesterday leafs lost Jared McCann a member of the Toronto Maple leafs. If anything the lost a prospect, 7th round pick (whoopi) and McCann.

        Obviously you don’t think much of McCann; however Seattle rather him over anyone else on the leafs roster.

      • So, in effect Pengy, you’re saying that Dubas thought so highly of Kerfoot that, a few days before the draft, he makes a deal with Pittsburgh to get McCann just to dangle in front of Francis so he wouldn’t take Kerfoot? (or even worse, Dermott??).

        And for those figuring it was a generally weak draft by Seattle, I remind you of the Vegas draft when they took a clutch of players NO ONE considered great losses at the time (e.g. William Karlsson who, in 183 previous games plated with Anaheim and Columbus, had all of 18g 32a 50 pts – and in his first season in Vegas, scored 43g 35a 78 pts).

        Just getting a chance to play meaningful minutes, including pp time, is all some of them needed to blossom. How much egg-on-face will Dubas have IF – and I admit at this point it’s still very much an “if” – McCann breaks out like that in Seattle?

      • In today’s trade game, cap space is an asset as precious as talent. While the Leafs roster remains as it was before the McCann trade, they lost an opportunity provided by expansion to shed a contract. If the Kraken had picked Kerfoot in the absence of McCann, the Leafs would be $3.5 million closer to solving their cap problems.

        On the other hand, if Hextall uses the cap space he’s gained to sign Hyman away from the Leafs, he might regain the attributes he lost in McCann and Tanev in a single player at a lesser cost.

        Your premise that Hallander is a perennial AHLer is questionable.

      • In the hockey commodities market, cap space is an asset as precious as talent. While the Leafs roster remains as it was before the McCann trade, they lost an opportunity provided by expansion to shed a contract. If the Kraken had picked Kerfoot in the absence of McCann, the Leafs would be $3.5 million closer to solving their cap problems.

        On the other hand, if Hextall uses the cap space he’s gained to sign Hyman away from the Leafs for a reasonable cost, he might regain the attributes he lost in McCann and Tanev in a single player at a lesser cost.

        Your premise that Hallander is a perennial AHLer is questionable.

      • Hi Caper and George

        I think EXTREMELY high of McC

        I’m peeved to the nth degree with Hextall/Burke for blowing this

        He chose to protect Blueger (who could have been replaced by Gaudreau)…. So with that move; was going to have McC easily snapped up by Francis

        So Hextall then booted on to Dubas ; pants and undies bundled at his ankles; bent over like Kevin Bacon in Animal house… “Thank you Sir; can I have another”

        Dubas through chump change on the floor after Hextall begged

        Biggggg Pens loss

        Dubas on the other hand had already decided to go 4-4-1…. So the big 4; and his top 4 D were all protected

        He was doing this with or without McC

        Many reports had pondered that Dubas went to Francis (pre McC acquisition) and asked for cost to take Kerfoot…. Price was too high

        Dubas crossed his fingers for Francis to be completely blind; take Kerfoot; and slot McC in top 6…. But knew that likelihood was nigh zero…. He still wanted to protect Holl

        So this absolute Boon… only losing a 7th (‘23) and a potential career AHLer in the expansion draft…. Just fell into Dubas’ hands…. He can’t take credit for this

        Kraken wins and is Happy (McC much better than Kerfoot)

        Leafs win…. Miniscule loss in expansion draft

        Biggest losers (unless some hidden trades are revealed)…. Penguins… lose a very energetic and fan and team fav Turbo and a 27 G (82 game pace) , excellent PP guy, W&C that has played very well all over top 9; AND for the teeny Cap hit of $2.9 M

        Again….I emphatically state

        1) I love McC… fantastic add to Kraken; big and avoidable loss to Pens; and 2

        2) This had nothing to do with anything Dubas had envisioned… he had already decided on protecting Holl… the Pens deal quite literally fell into his lap

        3) Leafs only “lost” McC by a technicality…. they only “had” him for a couple of days and that situation was gift wrapped for them (thanks Hextall) …. And Dubas still got to keep Holl, lose nobody off of last years roster; and other than Knights and (unless there is a hidden trade with Jackets) Jackets (Barreuther —- UFA)…. gave up absolutely the least in the expansion draft

        No spin

        It literally is what it is

        This Leafs fan is ecstatic

        This Pens fan is angered beyond belief

      • threw not “ through”

    • Yes without any concrete evidence it’s pretty clear boy wonder messed this up. George as usual has the correct view on all Leafs things because of his unbiased view. Don’t ya know, ifa guy who’s never suited up for your team nor player 1 min for you’re team is clearly on your team.

      • It doesn’t take a genius – and hell, I’m no genius – to see that, just before the draft he traded commodities for an item that would save him cap space AND possibly be a significant step up on Kerfoot – and then exposed him in the draft with fingers crossed that Francis would take Kerfoot (or maybe Dermott).

        If you feel compelled to continually defend – in the face of all sorts of evidence – a GM who has screwed up his roster almost beyond immediate repair, then you’re letting your biased view get in the way of pragmatism.

        If the bottom line is always the ultimate prize – then he and Shanahan have failed miserably.

        And this has nothing to do with bias or unbiased slants – simply observation. You go right on thinking that that roster is going to be high up in the standings after next season if it goes 82 games when they’re back playing TB, Florida, Boston and other improving teams. If they do I’ll admit that I was dead wrong all along. I expect the same from you if it goes south.

      • It the question is whether Dubas used the draft to his team’s advantage, rather than did he get the best of Hextall, the answer is a resounding “No,”regardless of which team you root for.

        The hard facts are that Dubas lost McCann, an asset he would have liked to keep, failed to rid his team of a player he would like to be without, lost the prospect he gave for McCann, lost an opportunity to gain cap space, and will be compromised in future transactions as a result of not having sufficient cap space.

  4. Ya…..something “fishy” going on behind the scenes. Side deals we may never hear about.

    Are the Oil seriously considering an 8 year deal that so n so from the Leafs ?

    • That was reported yesterday when Hyman was seen in Edmonton … speculation that there could be a sign-and-trade so he’d be able to secure an 8-year deal from Holland. Is he nuts? He loses Larsson, re-signs a 39 y/o Smith for 2 years, and is now thinking about a long-term deal with a plugger?

      • I’d characterize Hyman as more than a plugger. He plays a physical game and can score – 28G 55P per 82 games over the past three seasons. The problems are: a) has had injury troubles, b) stats inflated playing with Matthews and Marner, although seeing as how he’ll be playing with McDavid now, that’s not a concern.
        The real problem is that he’s 29 years old. I figure than another 4 years or so, this starts to look like the Lucic deal.

      • George, you do rattle on. Ken Holland may make a big mistake here but Zach Hyman is not a plugger. He’s a top six winger who will fit nicely with Connor McDavid. His contract is another story but he’s a great addition to any team.

      • With his style of play I’d love Zach Hyman in Ottawa. For no more than 3 or 4 years and nowhere near $7 mil per. That rattle clear it up?

    • Hi Dark G

      I read this morning about the possible side deal of Gio and Blackwell to Rangers for Strome….seems strange…. But if true 😳🤔

      • I don’t see NY making that deal without something else already in place. Possibly multiple other deals in place. Unless they think Gio can play center.

        It would be odd that Seattle parades Giordano around on expansion day, only to turn around and trade him.

        It also seems odd that NY would have interest in a 37 yo defensemen when they are at this stage of a rebuild, and are loaded with d prospects and barren (not Morgan Barron) of center prospects.

      • Wholeheartedly agree CO

        It was strange when I read it; and even after a few hours to think about it…. Still bizarre

      • Thanks Brettzky

        I can’t open ur link but sounds like the same article I read this morning

        Speculation at its best

  5. If there aren’t side deals then this is a team drafted on analytics with an obsession on the cap but the LVK original draft list didn’t look good either.

    Young players and prospects are low cost but very real gambles. Kraken are hanging the future on a handful of goalies who don’t have a combined season between them.

    There are a lot of UFAs available and the might be counting on that to fill out the roster.

    I’m happy the Habs lost a non roster player.

    The release of the draft list was probably on account of a release of the ESPN show.

    Hockey’s in for a ride after that amateur hour starting off the bat with canned boos for Bettman, the butchering of names, the prankster name releases (octopus, fish)

    It was painful to watch, the “celebrities” were shuddering.

    • It was a weird selection process by Francis. Losing Daccord was unfortunate, but as soon as I saw that pre-draft deal where SJ got Adin Hill (projected to be one of Seattle’s picks) and then protected him, I knew losing Daccord then became a distinct possibility.

      So now Ottawa still has C Tierney, RW Dadonov and D Josh Brown. Of the 3 I expect to see only Dadonov still here when training camp rolls around. The other two are now trade-bait.

      The Habs came out of this whole.

      • Correct George, the Habs only lost a young former 1st rounder is lucky for sure.
        I’m surprised that you didn’t and don’t understand Frances thinking with this draft. I think he mentioned something about valuing cap space…just me here, but im thinking hell use to that space to force cap staved teams into teams trades they have to make…just a guess

      • Mr. Moore,

        The Habs lost a third round pick in Fleury, not a 1st round pick.

        Just sayin’.

      • I’m surprised he didn’t look it up before commenting!

      • And since where someone was picked seems to have some significance to you, Ron, Kerfoot was originally drafted in Round 5 while McCann was, indeed,a 1st Round Pick – 24th overall.

  6. I do not understand not taking Tarasenko or even Voraceck and other players that can score.

    I look at this roster and I just don’t see a wildcard playoff team.

    Even if he wanted to keep cap space why not grab Tarasenko and flip and do other things for other teams also to keep cap flexibility and gain assets to build the pipeline.

    Wait and see I suppose.

    • I understand with Dunn there its hard to take the Tarasenko risk. you get a 2nd pairing D that can skate and move the puck

      I thought JVR would be the decision just for the powerplay

  7. I regretfully applaud the notion of going cheap in round one. Kraken have a bag full of young & useful assets, in a league full of difficult contracts.
    There will also be FA’s left out of the dollar chase from the few competitive teams with cap space but having value; would you sign with a perrenial loser hoping that this time the turnaround will be real, or give expansion a try? Francis built the Hurricanes, and did, IMHO more than a respectable job. Not predicting, but he’ll get players like Tyler Johnson for late round draft picks and with some salary rentention to fill out his roster, if he is patient and astute; Francis will probably start the season a bit under the cap, and by 20 games in, assuming normal injuries and that Seattle is where you go to find replacements, may well have a roster to be reckoned with; finish second in a weak division, playoffs first year, and be a team you don’t want to play.

    • Francis’ top concern was preserving cap space. He was not about to help teams rid themselves of expensive mistakes for free. His next move will undoubtedly be to contact these teams and offer to take those expensive mistakes – but at a nice price.
      That Oleksiak deal reminds me of Karl Alzner.

  8. Hall to Bruins probably done and a nice sign by the B’s at a nice price 6 for 4

  9. As I mentioned above…. picking Bayreuther sans side deal…. we’ll nothing but crazy

    But there were other strange picks (with apparently no side deals) where better available team-mates were passed over…


    and possibly Twarynski

    Strange picks IMHO

    • agreed. some of those names and I was baffled myself.

      Francis and company must not have watched the Vegas draft adn even if they couldnt get 1sts..extra mid round picks still can help ya find diamonds. So many NHL studs were mid to late round picks.

      • Fingerprints of Todd Leiweke and a heavily anilytics oriented staff perhaps, after years in Tampa where you are down in the draft and picking over the remnants each round the theory is to find singular skills and piece a jigsaw puzzle together. There is a long video of he, Briesbois, and Murray talking about the difficulty of evaluating players who are kids with talent in JR vs equal but uneven competition, and young players in the NHL who may be miscast or playing behind generational talent and have value unrealized by their current teams. Gourde, an undrafted FA to the Lightning as the Kraken selection, Tyler Johnson, another undrafted FA of the Lightning that the Kraken didn’t take, J. Marssesault a Vegas pick who went through the Lightning system were examples. It is fair to be skeptical, of course, and say that the numbers are only as good as the eye of an experienced scout who may have gotten lucky a few times, because one can’t just add up the hockey WAR and go to the finals, but I do think we are looking at player’s records, and the K are really trying to evaluate potential and in some cases specific roles. AS they’ll only roster 23 and have significant cap room left I’m sure we’re only at the midpoint so a bit early for a final grade, I believe.

    • You mention above Toronto losing the least. I was compiling a list of teams that actually did lose nothing. Your list covers it. These Gms are still shocked and trying to figure out who they lost.

      • Yep… those GMs are having a good day (of course unless there were secret handshake deals for trades coming this aft!)

  10. Biggest winner .. Ron Hextall. He shed from his team a streaky scorer who shrivels up in the playoffs when it gets physical and a 30 year-old 4th liner making 3.5 million a year for the next four years … he achieved what he set out to do, open up cap space and bring in some bigger players and another goalie. Well done.

    The Seattle Kraken roster .. I am not impressed.

    • Ed, how gullible are you? Do you think this is their roster? Brush yourself off RF you built a team in one day!!!
      It’s painfully obvious what Francis is planning now because now teams HAVE to get cap compliant and the clock is ticking on them. He’s has TWO assets those teams lack, good cheap cost-effective players and cap space to absorb a bad contract but the price won’t be any better than it was before the expansion draft…simple…a gamble but one where he doesn’t really lose. Has anyone seen who’ll be draft-eligible in the next drafts? Even if the Krak were to tank, they’ll draft a cornerstone player in the next few drafts.

  11. Wings & Canes make a deal, Wings get Alex Nedeljkovic for a 3rd rder & the rights to Bernier.

    • Uwey,

      The right to Bernier went to the Canes in the trade.

      • hf30,

        Yes I believe that was what I said, “Wings get Alex Nedeljkovic for a 3rd rder & the rights to Bernier.”

  12. Another trade in the league with no return.

    Apparently Philly moved the Ghost with a 2nd rder & 7th rder in next seasons draft.

    The Yotes returned nothing to the Flyers!!!!

  13. The NHL has just announced that Shea Weber will not play in the 21/22 season.