NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 23, 2021

by | Jul 23, 2021 | News, NHL | 31 comments

The 2021 NHL Draft begins tonight, the league releases its 2021-22 schedule, Shea Weber’s career is likely over due to injuries, the Flyers send Shayne Gostisbehere to the Coyotes, the Hurricanes trade Alex Nedeljkovic to the Red Wings, plus much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.com: The first round of the 2021 NHL Draft gets underway at 8 pm ET tonight. Rounds two through seven will be held on Saturday. Like last year, it will be a virtual draft.

The 2021 NHL Draft begins on Friday, July 23. (NHL.com).

The Buffalo Sabres hold the first-overall pick. University of Michigan defenseman Owen Power is ranked this year’s top prospect but there’s no guarantee he’ll be selected by the Sabres. Power intends to return to university this fall but Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams said that won’t affect his club’s decision. The Seattle Kraken holds the second-overall selection with the Anaheim Ducks holds the third.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Check out my 2021 NHL mock draft of the first round for Bleacher Report. I predict Power will be selected by the Sabres.

The NHL also unveiled its 82-game schedule for 2021-22. The season will begin Tuesday, Oct. 12 with the Pittsburgh Penguins visiting the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning while the expansion Seattle Kraken plays their first-ever NHL game as they visit the Vegas Golden Knights. The Kraken’s first home game is Oct. 23 as they host the Vancouver Canucks

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said he doesn’t expect team captain Shea Weber to play next season, adding the defenseman’s career is probably over because of injuries he tried to play through in recent years.

Bergevin confirmed goaltender Carey Price is in New York having his knee and hip examined with the possibility his knee could require surgery with a possible recovery period of 6-8 weeks. He also said he expects winger Jonathan Drouin will return to the team for training camp in September. Drouin took a season-ending leave of absence in March to deal with a personal matter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergevin anticipates the league will allow him to place Weber ($7.8 million cap hit) on long-term injury reserve for 2021-22. That would provide the Canadiens GM the flexibility to exceed the $81.5 million salary cap by the equivalent of Weber’s cap hit if necessary.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes acquired defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere plus a 2022 second-round pick and a 2022 seventh-round pick from the Philadelphia Flyers without sending anything back in return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was purely a cost-cutting move by the Flyers to shed Gostisbehere’s $4.5 million annual cap hit. “Ghost Bear” struggled over the past two years and could benefit from a change of scenery.

This is the second deal involving the Coyotes where they acquired a player and draft picks without sending anything the other way. They recently swung a deal with the New York Islanders for Andrew Ladd and three picks. As with the Gostisbehere deal, it was done by the Isles to clear some cap room.

The Flyers and Islanders paid a price to get those contracts off their books by giving up those draft picks to the Coyotes. Gostisbehere remains a decent NHL player and is expected to be part of the Coyotes roster next season. Ladd’s spent most of the past two seasons in the minors and could do so again in 2021-22.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings acquired goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for goalie Jonathan Bernier and a third-round pick in this year’s draft. Nedeljkovic signed a two-year contract with the Wings worth an annual average value of $3 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move baffled most observers. Nedeljkovic is a promising young netminder and a Calder Trophy finalist this season. However, it appears the Hurricanes front office wasn’t that enamored with his overall performance. Rather than face a possible salary arbitration battle, they opted to trade him to the Wings.

It’s believed the Hurricanes will seek a suitable replacement via trade or free agency. Nevertheless, this could backfire on them if Nedeljkovic goes on to a solid NHL career with the Wings.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers signed forward Barclay Goodrow to a six-year contract worth an annual average value of $3.642 million. The deal also includes signing bonuses and a 15-team no-trade list. Goodrow was recently acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The cap hit is reasonable but the term seems long for a player of Goodrow’s caliber. The 28-year-old is a solid third-line forward but comparable players usually get three or four-year deals at most. Cap Friendly indicates he’ll receive $5 million in actual salary in 2023-24 and $5.1 million in 2024-25.

TSN: A former Chicago Blackhawks player described his alleged sexual assault by the club’s former video coach Bradley Aldrich in a recent court filing.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The attorney handling two negligence lawsuits against the Blackhawks said one of her clients was bullied by several Blackhawks teammates after he accused Aldrich of sexually assaulting him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman yesterday said he would cooperate with the internal investigation conducted by the legal team hired by the club. The Tribune reports he declined to comment on the specifics of the review or the events in 2010 citing the pending lawsuits.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames acquired forward Tyler Pitlick from the Seattle Kraken in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2022.

THE MERCURY NEWS: The San Jose Sharks re-signed Rudolfs Balcers to a two-year, $3.1 million contract.

CAP FRIENDLY: The Tampa Bay Lightning re-signed center Gemel Smith to a two-year, $1.5 million contract. The first year is a two-way deal with Smith earning $750K at the NHL level.

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche re-signed forward Kiefer Sherwood to a one-year deal.

NHLPA: Matt Calvert announced his retirement from the NHL after 10 seasons due to a career-ending injury. He played 566 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Colorado Avalanche, tallying 203 career points.

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


  1. The bruins got him, full closure after eight tonight.

    • Who? Who’d we get?

      • 2422

        Robert Orr drafted by Bruins

      • We’re taking a center from the Q with our 1st selection.

      • 2422,

        Robert Orr is a centre from the Q, Halifax Mooseheads.

      • Sorry, bud. I meant to put a question mark behind that.
        I figured we’d be looking at selecting an American college player.

  2. Lyle, reading your pick predictions I wonder at your choice of LW Dylan Guenther for Ottawa’s pick at # 10. Is this purely based on “best athlete available” because, with Tkachuk, Paul, Formenton and, if he stays at wing because Dorion manages to land that C he’s seeking in a trade, Stutzle holding down the left side, what would be the point?

    I have to think we might see more draft day trades than we’ve seen in recent years, and among them I can see Dorion moving that 10th pick, perhaps in that potential deal for a C from one of the cap-strapped teams.

    Do you see the likelihood of more draft position trades?

    • George O,

      Only 2 players from last years 1st round stepped into the NHL, same for the previous year, 4 the year before.
      For the most part these picks take 4-5 years to make it to the NHL.

      Positional need today isn’t necessarily the need 4-5 years out, so betting on the best player available is a good idea.

      Ottawa still doesn’t know what it needs, the upcoming season will give a better idea of what’s there.

      • Uhh … thanks? … but I’m well aware of all that … I was simply asking Lyle what his rationale was in naming LW Guenther as Ottawa’s pick (while listing their NHL depth at that position – I didn’t even mention prospects Roby Jarvenie, Ridley Greig and Egor Sokolov) – and asking him if he thought there might be more draft position trades tonight.

        I haven’t been following hockey for the better part of 7 decades without picking up some knowledge along the way 🙂

      • Little crusty this morning George?

      • Not really … just that I don’t recall asking for a history lesson. My question was to Lyle asking if HE thought there might be more draft position trades, and what rationale HE used for naming Guenther as Ottawa’s pick. I’m well aware of the sound theory of taking the best player available as opposed to drafting for position (which some GMs still do).

      • I’ll jump in uninvited as well George!
        Saw Guenther as couple times when he was a 16 yr old, scored in both. Couldn’t go last season.
        Not a scout, but the kid has poise with the puck, can pass it or shoot it at a high level.
        A kid that has that type of poise as a 16 year old is pretty rare. At least I haven’t seen it live in the WHL.

        Was ranked way higher at start of the year, but didn’t get to play much this year. Might be too good to pass up.

        I hope Lyle is right about Cossa dropping to Edmonton. Also noted that the B’s had the worst ranked pipeline in the NHL. Not a shock to see that.

    • I didn’t have sufficient room to elaborate in the mock draft. I’m not anticipating Guenther to crack their lineup for a few years. By the time he’s ready, Stutzle could be skating as a first- or second-line center. That would create a spot for Guenther there. He can also skate at right wing and there could be a vacancy there if Connor Brown moves on as a free agent in 2023.

      These things, of course, are a crap shoot as we pundits, bloggers and fans have no idea what each team will select until the draft begins. Even then, they often surprise us. I wouldn’t get too excited about whether my pick jibes with yours or others. Sometimes players go higher or lower than we expect. Sometimes, a team will select a player that addresses a need they felt was important that the rest of might disagree with.

      Draft position trades are always possible, though rare in the first 10 picks of the first round. Doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Most of those position trades happen in rounds 2 through 7.


      • Thanks Lyle. I guess my original wording wasn’t the greatest …. after scanning through it I was just wondering if, when you came to pick 10, that Guenther – in your mind – was the next “best one” available, or if you saw a potential role for him one day in Ottawa.

        For sure there have been picks off the map over the years that have left many with mouths open (like the Kotkeniemi pick a couple of drafts back which had two Habs fans in team colours going “who????”) LOL.

        Watching McKenzie’s last go-round with his take on the draft, while he had Power the unanimous consensus # 1, he sees (I think) 2 to 6 as being completely interchangeable, that’s how close they are in his estimation.

    • Hey Lyle, hearing Blake Coleman is set to sign in Calgary, reported by a Swedish site. Have you heard anything on this?

      • I haven’t heard anything about that. Unless he has permission from the Lightning to speak with other teams (and I haven’t read or heard that he has), there’s no way of knowing where he intends to sign. Teams aren’t allowed to speak with another team’s UFAs.

      • Brisbois has given Goodrow, Coleman and Savard the greenlight to speak with other teams. Goodrow has already signed with the Rags, so the others may soon follow suit and sign with new teams soon.

  3. When Jim Rutherford signed Brandon Tanev to that 6 year 3.5 mil per year deal a couple years back I feel like it set the market for “good” 3rd line players. Goodrow got slightly more in salary but the same length of contract. I think Tanev was 28 when he signed that deal as well. Same as Goodrow.

    • Some day, we could be reading about top-six guys asking coach to put them on the third line so that they can make more money.

    • Hi Randino

      I started reading your post 10 minutes ago; and collapsed after just reading “when Jim Rutherford”…. angina ; and faintness occur with the mention of his name

      Okay…. Silliness/jocularity over

      Re Goodrow’s contract…

      He was in demand; solid energetic 3rd line guy; big; tough; Cup winner…. term and hit reasonable IMHO

      The only weird thing was the exact amount of the contract

      These NHL players are signing for Millions…. Thousand dollars and hundreds of dollars are irrelevant….

      His contract is for $3,641,667 each year and $25,850,002 overall (per Capfriendly)

      Why such weird figures?

      $3,640,000 or $3,650,000 makes sense

      Is there something meaningful/superstitious to Goodrow with the 1,667 number (like Sid wanting his hit to have 8-7 to start)???

      • Hey Pengy,

        Speaking of GMJR, I am dying to know what circumstances led to him leaving Pittsburgh. In the middle of a season, it just doesn’t make sense to me. There also doesn’t seem to be a ton of info out there on this topic.

  4. One more time … don’t do it Sweeney.. don’t give Kase $2.6 million let him go

    • Agree Joe, Kase can be had for much less.

      The Hall deal not announce yet.

      They have agreed on term and dollars.

      Sticking point ntc or nmc will Hall walk away if he doesn’t get it? Will Sweeney let him walk if he can get him to sign.

  5. If Kase,s head is in a good place he is worth the contract can skate and has skill just needs to buy some finish that can happen. Marchand was always going to be a $hit disturber but worked on his game and now top 5 scorer in league. It’s a gamble for sure Joe.

  6. Hi Lyle

    I was surprised that your Mock Draft had Kraken taking Hughes (2nd overall)

    Most rankings have him going somewhere 5th through 9th

    Bob McKenzie has him 8th; Button 5th; consolidated 5th; Elite Prospects 11th; SN 6th

    Before seeing your mock draft ; I was wondering if Devils might pick him 4th (earlier than the overall consensus) to unite the bros; OR if he was still on the board at say 6 or 7 whether Benning might try to swing a deal to move up to grab him and unite the bros

    Re Powers and Sabres…. I was wondering since Francis is appearing to heavily favour D in his build; whether he might make an offer to Adams to flip 1 & 2 to take Powers

    I had posted before (George was not in agreement) re a smart move by Sens might be to trade Sanderson and this year’s 10th for 1st (Powers)

    I am that pro on Powers

    Sens in two years are starting their contention window IMHO…. and anchors of then 26 year old Chabot; and 21 year old Powers at LD….. that’s nice!!!

    Of course the sad news for me

    …. “and with their first round pick the Leafs are proud to select….. “

    …. “and with their first round pick the Pens are proud to select….. “

    Nada, Zip, Zilch


    • Hi, Pengy. You’ll find the reason why I selected Hughes in the link I provided in the Hughes’ slide and the comment from Central Scouting senior manager David Gregory about the young defenseman that I included in that piece. Cheers!

      • Thanks Lyle

        Read it now

        I understand his logic for pick there if I buy his prognostications on Hughes future. I am not as completely convinced as he is of Hughes future over others.

        To me…Berniers more likely to go at 2

        Some could argue Clarke has more future upside than Hughes… very debatable

        My gut felling… he unites with his brother in NJ

        I would love for Francis to pull off the trade with Sabres (1 for 2) to save some of his confusing moves in the entry draft…. I am still scratching my head over the selection of UFA Bayreuther… if you are selecting a UFA …. You better be sure you are signing him… else you get nothing

        And, although some here have said Bayreuther was not so bad this year (1 point; 9 games) …. 27 year old, never drafted ; UFA with only 28 NHL games TOTAL to his name…. and only 9 this past year…. that pick was IMVHO extremely strange

  7. I think this years entry draft will be more surprising than usual and that all of the mock drafts and predictions are based on circular reports with little real knowledge.

    Habs scout came out and said that last year video was being used in some cases, many players didn’t play or played very little, no way to judge progression.

    Good draft to hit some surprise home runs and to strike out.

    Bergevin has been drafting by position, filling LD with prospects, Centre with prospects, I expect him to go for RD this year.

    Kotkaniemi was drafted for position over the consensus pick, Zadina a winger. Habs drafted 6 centres that year.

  8. Philly lands Ristolainen for Philly’s 1st rder this year & 2nd rder next year.

    • Uwey,
      Philly sent Robert Hagg too.

      Huge overpay imho.

  9. Late day mug of BRC Freedom Roast……. could the Bruins bring back a old friend ML ?