NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 26, 2021

by | Jul 26, 2021 | News, NHL | 14 comments

Niklas Hjalmarsson to retire, the Red Wings re-sign Marc Staal, the Canucks to buy out Jake Virtanen and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

AZ COYOTES INSIDER Craig Morgan reports Arizona Coyotes Niklas Hjalmarsson is retiring. Morgan doesn’t anticipate he’ll make a formal announcement.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hjalmarsson, 34, spent 14 seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks and the Coyotes. A shutdown defenseman, his best years were with the Blackhawks as he helped them win three Stanley Cups during his 10 seasons with the franchise. He finishes with 172 points in 821 career NHL games. Best of luck to Hjalmarsson and his family in their future endeavors.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings re-signed defenseman Marc Staal to a one-year, $2 million contract. The deal also includes a no-movement clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staal proved to be a valuable addition to the Red Wings. The 34-year-old provided experience, leadership and stability to the rebuilding club’s defense corps. He hopes to become a mentor this season to promising Wings blueliner Moritz Seider, who’s expected to make his NHL debut in 2021-22.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks placed Jake Virtanen on unconditional waivers yesterday for the purpose of buying out the final year of his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Virtanen was once considered a promising offensive forward but he failed to play up to expectations. His recent questionable off-ice behavior also became an issue. The Canucks attempted to trade the 24-year-old winger during this season but reportedly couldn’t find any suitable offers. He’s been on leave from the club since May 1 following a sexual misconduct allegation.

THE ATHLETIC: The Columbus Blue Jackets are expected to keep their goaltending tandem of Elvis Merzlikins and Joonas Korpisalo intact to start the 2021-22 season. Both are entering the final year of their contracts. It was anticipated one of them would be traded this summer but the tragic death of promising Matiss Kivlenieks on July 4 changed that plan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps one of them will be shopped later in the season if the Jackets are out of playoff contention before the February trade deadline.

CAP FRIENDLY: The St. Louis Blues signed forward Nathan Walker to a two-year, two-way contract. He’ll earn $750K at the NHL level.


  1. Eagerly awaiting rumors, but starting work soon. Next 3 day should be interesting

    • I’m sure a flat cap again and players needing new, more expensive contracts, won’t adversely affect trades, right?

  2. I closely follow the Habs and what they do. However I don’t really follow the media (or Twitter) of other teams. Question on Vancouver and Virtanen after the events surrounding Montreal’s 1st round draft pick on Friday. Has there been this much hatred, vitriol and hypocrisy spewed in Vancouver towards the Canucks and Virtanen? For those who don’t follow the Habs that closely they’ve lost fans, GM should be fired, Molson should sell the team, the guy should not get a chance to play in the NHL, etc., etc. There’s even been a comment that he is a rapist! Its insane!

    • I’m sorry I asked the question… Not the same situation at all. The frustration I have is the hypocrisy of it all. Logan and the organization are being treated in the same manner as if he did what Virtanen did/is accused of doing.

      • Hi Neil

        The difference may lie in accepted fact and yet to be proven accusations

        The new Hab lad; has not denied the accusation; has in fact confirmed what he did

        Virtanen’s situation appears to possibly be headed to court; where the case against him would be presented…. But under the judicial system…. Innocent until proven guilty

        Buying him out does not directly have ‘Nucks taking sides in the pending case

        I am not passing judgement by any stretch; but I would think iit unlikely (as at now) to see any team; calling his agent to make an offer

      • Neil, what I’ll never understand is why, after the player asked to not be drafted this year, Montreal picked him. Has someone answered that question?

      • BC Leaf Fan, I agree with you that the, Habs, and all other teams, should have respected the young man’s wishes and not drafted him. It was a mistake for Bergevin to draft him.

        What the player has admitted to doing is more than just a mistake, it was a thoughtless and harmful act and is inexcusable. That being said, however, it’s ridiculous that so many people, including many in hockey media, seem to be equating him to Jack the Ripper. As horrible an act as he committed, unlike Virtanen, he has not been accused of sexual assault.

  3. What’s there not to understand

    2) He is talented AND Bergevin *knew* (as has been widely publicized) several teams were similarly going to ignore his words and planning to draft him in the second round BEFORE the Canadians at the bottom of the round could so felt he had to do so at #31

    1) He’s Francophone

    While this is not the NFL where “talent trumps all” there have been enough cases, most noteably Patrick Kane amongst them that the team choose over whatever moral outrage. How did that work out?

    • Agree this is simple and Kane didn’t do anything wrong did he? He was subjected to extortion the way I understand it.

      The kid took pictures of her having sex without her consent. Sent them to his buddies on the team without her consent. What they have done with them since I have no idea. Not cool and illegal.

      He deserves a 2nd chance, all agree I would hope. He wanted to wait and go back in, which was a good decision, to deal with this. MTL and maybe some other teams decided to draft him any way. Now he & the victim are under an even greater microscope.

      A mistake IMO, and I don’t think it will help this kid or his victim. Which should have been the priority. Also my opinion. But ya, he is a good prospect on the ice.

      In the end doesn’t matter what any of us think.
      I just hope it turns out good for both of them.

      • Ray, early in his career, Patrick Kane and his cousin pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct charges after an altercation with a cab driver. A few years later, there was an investigation on a complaint of sexual assault which did not lead to charges.

      • Didn’t know about the first one Howard thanks. Hopefully he made good with the cab driver.
        The 2nd is the one I was thinking of where the lady who issued the complaint and her mother I think, were not on the up and up.
        Don’t remember it all, but that was the jist.

  4. Logan Mailloux isn’t Quebecois, he was born and raised in Ontario.

    Last two coaches hired to the organization are Kelly Buchberger and Trevor Letowski

    Obviously there will be a desire for homegrown talent but the focus is on best for the job or position.

    I don’t recall any complaints about Toe Blake, Scotty Bowman or Pat Burns when they coached or about Babcock when he was in the running for head coach of the Habs

    The ability for the Head Coach to speak French, the language of majority in Quebec is self evident and it’s the 1st or 2nd language of all Quebecers.

    He was drafted because he was a top 20 player available at 31 on the team’s player rankings.

    • Regardless of the reason ‘why’ they drafted him, the fact remains that they should not have drafted him.

  5. Thanks guys. Interesting, sensible comments and questions WITHOUT the vitriol that is being spewed on Twitter (maybe I should just stay away from Twitter! lol)
    From what I understand, there is no option under the CBA for the NHL to stop a player from becoming ineligible for the draft even if he asks not to be included. He was drafted for his on-ice talent, not for what he did off the ice (even though that can affect it). Not sure if it is true/accurate or not, but I saw one list yesterday that had him as Montreal’s second best prospect after Cole Caufield. So maybe he is really good?
    It bugs me too that people say they should have waited until a later round. How would that have made it better? He still gets drafted. The issue with waiting a year is that the whole thing would be raised again and this young woman (probably) would have to go through it again. I’m sure some dumba$$ reporter would have found her and asked her what she thought. I think that would have been just as bad (or maybe not, but I think it would have been.)