NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 4, 2021

by | Jul 4, 2021 | News, NHL | 18 comments

The latest on the Canadiens and Lightning, updates on contracts talks for Gabriel Landeskog and Kirill Kaprizov, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme said Carey Price will be in goal on Monday evening when they face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 4 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final. The Canadiens are on the verge of elimination in part because Price has struggled in this series.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (NHL Images).

Price acknowledged he had to improve but Ducharme didn’t throw his starter under the bus. “You can talk about one guy but it’s about all of us. We have to be better in front of him,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ducharme’s correct in his assessment of the Canadiens in this series. Yes, Price hasn’t played to the same level as he did in the first three rounds, but his teammates also haven’t performed well. If they don’t turn it around in Game 4, the Lightning will win their second straight championship.

The Lightning have been the better team in this series. They’ve done a masterful job cashing in on Montreal’s mistakes, forcing turnovers, matching the Canadiens’ physical game and shutting down their offensive game.

Even if the Habs manage to win Game 4, they’ll be delaying the inevitable because they cannot match the Lightning’s depth of talent. History is also against them as only one team (the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs) has ever rebounded from a 3-0 series deficit to win the Stanley Cup.

ESPN.COM: The Canadian government did not grant additional exemptions for family members of the Lightning to cross the border and avoid the 14-day quarantine for a possible Stanley Cup celebration in Game 4.

The league and the NHLPA had spoken with the government about this as recently as last week. However, the PA warned the players it was unlikely the request would be approved.

THE ATHLETIC: Peter Baugh reports contract talks between Gabriel Landeskog and the Colorado Avalanche are expected to pick up soon. The 28-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28. Both sides are interested in negotiating a new contract but the salary cap could complicate things.

Contract talks between the Avs and pending UFA goaltender Philipp Grubauer have yet to pick up steam. Preliminary discussions have started between the club and Cale Makar. The restricted free agent blueliner could be targeted for an offer sheet but the Avs are prepared to match any offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I’ve noted before, just because a team could try to sign Makar to an offer sheet doesn’t mean he’ll do so. It’s a waste of time to try if he’s not interested.

NHL.COM: Contract talks between the Minnesota Wild and winger Kirill Kaprizov are expected to resume this week. General manager Bill Guerin remains confident the 2021 Calder Trophy winner wants to continue playing for the Wild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The hangup here is the Wild wants to sign Kaprizov to a long-term deal while the 24-year-old prefers a shorter contract to take him up to the earliest date for his UFA eligibility. A compromise could see Kaprizov ink a four-year deal.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Kevin Allen speculates the Red Wings could have over $27 million in cap space after they’ve signed their restricted free agents. Despite that much cap room, however, they’re not expected to be a major player in the UFA market because top players won’t be attracted to signing with the rebuilding Wings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Allen believes Wings general manager Steve Yzerman could target cap-strapped clubs looking to make cost-cutting trades.

NHL.COM: Prospect Matthew Beniers indicated he’s leaning toward returning to the University of Michigan next season. He and Michigan teammate Owen Power are projected to be the top two prospects in the upcoming 2021 NHL Draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Power has also said he was considering a return to Michigan next season. It’ll be interesting to see if their decisions affect their selection in the draft. Some rebuilding clubs could prefer prospects ready to join their system right away.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks promoted Todd Harvey as their new director of amateur scouting.


  1. I don’t know Lyle, the teams taking Power and Beniers aren’t close to contending and 1 more year of seasoning at Michigan wouldn’t hurt. I think you take the player and not worry about it.

    • Would like to see Romanov in the game yfor the habs

      • Double that. Gustafsson is in the line up to quarterback the PP, but there have been few penalties and the PP is still anemic. Surely Romanov is as good 5 on 5 as Gustafsson and given that the series outcome is guaranteed why not give Romanov some more playoff experience?

    • Agree 100%.

  2. Montreal’s a goner Vas. Conn Smythe winner. Now’s the time for Boston to get busy trades, free agent pickups. If Sweeney doesn’t get the b’s deep next season he and Neely are gone.

    • Hi RWM

      Can you make that guarantee (“are gone”) for Dubas/Keefe/Shannahan) under the same circumstances for Leafs….. please

      • I think they may have a shorter leash than Neely and Sweeney. I thought Anderson was the answer. Fast skatin talented team. If they had Fluery it wouldn’t have been a first round exit. They would have gone a lot further.

      • It wasn’t goaltending that cost them that series – their D wasn’t as physical (or as good) as Montreal’s and when your two top scorers manage 1 goal between them over 7 games, including several OTs, I don’t care if you put up a brick wall in the crease, you’re not going to win. Add to that that Keefe showed his playoff inexperience behind the bench.

    • My pick for the Conn is Hedman. Vasilevski is a great goalie but look at the team in front of him.

      • I like Hedman too LJ. IMO TB has the best tender and the best D-man in the NHL.
        Their offence gets much attention, but IMO that is the backbone of this team.
        And ya, they score a bunch too.

  3. To all of our US friends here… Happy 245th BDay…. you don’t look a day over 230!!

    5 more years and your a quarter of a Millennium

    Happy Independence Day (the first true Brexit)

    Pengy & Fam

    • “you’re” not “your”

    • Second that. But now they’re more infatuated with the Royal Family than we are! Go figure.

      • Mrs Pengy says our (🇨🇦) Royal family is Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively

  4. ” Red Wings could have over $27 million in cap space after they’ve signed their restricted free agents. Despite that much cap room, however, they’re not expected to be a major player in the UFA market because top players won’t be attracted to signing with the rebuilding Wings.”

    $27 million buys a number of high rated players that can turn a rebuilding team into an arrived one.

    Anderson, Tofolli, Edmundson and Allen cost $18,000,000 and a foursome like that would leave the Wings with $9 million to spare.

    Tatar, Anderssen, Barrie, Martinez, Montour, Hofman, Wennberg, Saad…..these are the type guys that they can sign easily and turn the franchise around.

    UFA’s are available at affordable contracts, its the time to strike.

    • Hi HF30

      I posted on the Wings’ space issue and use on the Rumours section

      I think GMSY might “take on” contracts for one more year and take assets in return; rather than the GMMB model. Wings, IMHO, not quite there yet in terms of build/advancing….. your suggested adds would certainly improve wings…. but it would need to be “all in” and still not necessarily get them top 3 in Atl or EWC spot next year; and certainly not enough to get them as far as Habs have gone this year

      Your suggested moves, IMHO, would likely happen starting 22/23 I would think

      We’ll know SY’s direction in the next 3 weeks

    • I think they want to suck again. They need more young talent to build a base for the future. Plus the lottery hasn’t been lucky for them.
      Next years draft has Shane Wright at the top. Franchise changing player by many accounts.

      Tank again, they are due for a lucky bounce.

      • Exactly Ray.

        Thus if they wanted, they could take on some of those unwanted contracts, but only for high round picks in the next couple of draft years to pad the future nest.