NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 7, 2021

by | Jul 7, 2021 | News, NHL | 25 comments

The latest on the Canadiens and Lightning, top prospect Owen Power still leaning toward returning to university, the Kraken announces the hiring of two assistant coaches, the latest contract signings and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Expect the Canadiens to ice the same lineup in Game 5 as they did in their previous contest. That means Jake Evans will replace Jesperi Kotkaniemi again on the third line while Alexander Romanov and Brett Kulak will replace Erik Gustafsson and Jon Merrill on the third defense pairing.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Alexander Romanov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That shouldn’t come as a surprise considering those changes contributed to their 3-2 victory in Game 4. Romanov scored an even-strength goal with an assist from Evans.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh is enjoying perhaps the best postseason performance of his career. He’s set up several big goals, leads all postseason skaters with a plus-minus of plus-14, and is one of his club’s top shot blockers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDonagh’s been overshadowed by teammates such as Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Points, Andrei Vasilevskiy and Victor Hedman. Nevertheless, he’s a big reason why the Lightning holds a 3-1 lead in this series over the Canadiens.

ESPN.COM: A league source told Greg Wyshynski there is “zero chance” Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final will be postponed despite Tropical Storm Elsa bearing down on Tampa Bay. That assessment was made based on the forecast, though NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly indicated they have “an amount of flexibility.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, unless the storm’s impact proves far worse than anticipated, it’s game on tonight in Tampa Bay.

WGR 550: University of Michigan defenseman Owen Power is still leaning toward returning to university for one more season before making the jump to the NHL. Power is ranked as this year’s top prospect. He is expected to be selected by the Buffalo Sabres, who hold the first-overall pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some teams might prefer a prospect who could be ready to jump to the NHL right away. However, it’s unlikely Power will drop in this year’s draft order. Many highly-touted prospects need another year or two of seasoning before they’re ready for the big time.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Kraken yesterday announced the hirings of Kelly McFarland and Jay Leach as assistant coaches. McFarland will oversee the power-play unit and forwards while Leach will be in charge of the defensemen.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils signed goaltender Scott Wedgewood to a one-year, two-way deal worth $825K at the NHL level.

NHL.COM: The Los Angeles Kings signed defenseman Christian Wolanin to a one-year, two-way contract worth $750K at the NHL level.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets yesterday signed center Dominic Toninato to a two-year contract worth $750K at the NHL level. It’s a two-way deal in the first season.

CBS SPORTS: Former Boston Bruins defenseman Steven Kampfer signed a one-year contract with KHL team AK Bars Kazan.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes have hired Alan Hepple as their new director of pro scouting. He’s the former director of amateur scouting with the Colorado Avalanche.


  1. Steve kamper no big loss Sweeney as usual his inactive self. Please fire this guy

    • What do you figure he should/could have done between the 2nd round exit, and this morning, Rick?
      As far as I can tell, his activities have been right on par with the other 31 GM’s.
      Perhaps he’ll bust loose and fetch us Eichel and Jones this weekend. Or maybe Tarasenko and Dunn. Or OEL and Garland. Salary cap be damned!

      • 2422,

        Sweeney woke up this morning and hired RWM as capologist/pro scout and announced imminent trades for Eichel and Seth Jones.

        Bruins intend to stay under the cap by paying in crypto hockey cards.

      • I find it fascinating that our old non-linear thinking pal changed his name and his supposed team he routes for to continue his long game.

    • Yeah Sweeney, let’s make some moves, thereby screwing up our protected list. We have no idea if Krejci and Hall have a handshake agreements already in place. Nevertheless, we’ve already missed out on such stars as Toninato and Kampfer.

  2. Tampa tough decision which D to leave exposed……. Even if they decide to trade McD for assets before the expansion selections they will still lose a good player. exposing McD helps the cap but does it hurt too much on the ice next season

    • Hi ds

      We must have been typing at the same time… see below re McD

      BrisBoise might have to go full tilt and agree (to GMRF)….. take McD in draft but Kraken must take TJ in trade; and Krakken also gets a 1st (‘22)

      Foote and Raddysh move up; Lightning a bit weaker but then have $5M in space to fill 4 spots compared to now… $5M over; and still 4 spots to fill

  3. Re

    “ Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh is enjoying perhaps the best postseason performance of his career.”

    Agree it’s certainly up there in his career hilights; but it’s weird that his brain fart in OT (skating hard back but right past Caulfield; stops ; and watches Caulfield play the puck ; which bounces out to Anderson for the goal) was a major contributor to Anderson’s spectacular GWG

    Hope lightning fans are not hanging on that mistake and see all else he has done

    Unfortunately for him; due to his Cap hit and Bolts need for space next year; he may be moved (has an NTC, but CAN go to Krakken [does not have an NMC])

    • Francis could just sit there licking his lips with the potential of snatching McDonagh without adding anything out.
      Krakken can simply pluck Pallat, Killorn, Gourde or McD without even a side deal.

      • First of all McDonagh should be in the running for the Conn Smythe trophy. His contributions both offensively and defensively all over the ice have not even been overshadowed by Kucherov and Point.

        Tampa Bay really needs to go seven and three in the expansion draft. Exposing McDonagh is a high risk for the Lightning based on my aforementioned comments. But the bigger question is is it a higher risk for Francis in Seattle. Though Ryan would make a great first captain I would be interested to know how many think his $6.875 million cap hit running another five years to age 37 fits the plans of this new franchise. If he’s not taken and the lightning protect seven forwards they don’t risk losing any without assets coming back in return. The same can be said for McDonagh’s contract should the Bolts want to trade him.

      • B’s and Oil need an LD, and both have space for McDonagh.
        He would cost more in assets and $ than Keith as I can’t see he Oil not shipping a contract back to CHI and the cost in assets won’t be much.

        Interesting idea. He is exactly what both teams need.

        I wonder what either team would need to send back?

      • @raybark

        I can see McD in a Bruin jersey but cannot see Tampa sending him to a potential playoff opponent

        I do not think anyone is concerned about age 37 with this player

        As a Ranger fan send him back but that means moving Miller in a package for a center.
        Nils Lund/Jones-Smith

  4. There was a tweet but out by the NHL yesterday caption “guess the team” who won the cup.

    It used the National Flag to represent the Country

    11 of the 12 forward were Canadian and 3 of the 6 Dman Canadian, Goalies 1 USA and 1 Finland, the non Canadian forward is Cze.

    This team now has 5 Canadian forwards active roster 1 Canadian D

    Further note the present GM has drafted a total of 9 Canadians since 2015 and 5 of the 9 drafted was in 2015

    This isn’t to say Canadian draft picks are better but it seem this GM is shying away the CHL

    • So who is the team?

      • Ray, it’s one of your two teams and the one we both share.

        As we discussed last year Sweeney, has liken the local boys and players from the USHL

        Since 2016 Sweeney has drafted 26 players out of the 26 drafted players 4 players are from Canada

        Quinn Olson 92nd 2019
        Dustyn McFaul 181st 2018
        Jack Studnicks 53rd 2017
        Cedric Pare 173rd 2017

        Based on the ratio of drafted player per Country, this show Sweeney is looking elsewhere or a hidden jem.

      • I should have caught that with the 5 in 2015 and the tenders.

        When you look at the 2 teams playing in the finals, more than half of the complete rosters is CDN on both teams.

        Not sure if an anomaly, and not going to spend the time to find out.

    • Maybe the point is it doesn’t matter where you’re from, good players make good teams that can win championships? His example was a team with 14 Canadian players now has 6 is still a quality team?
      Interesting starting points.

  5. It’s a good call for Owen Power to go back to Michigan for another year. That way, if Buffalo selects him, he’ll have an education to fall back on later.

    • Ouch TFV!
      Good for BUF and the player IMO.
      Gets to UFA status later, and plus there are very few 18 year old’s that should be in the NHL.
      The McDavid’s, Matthews of the world and that’s about it IMO.
      I get it last year with many leagues not playing for majority, but normally, wait a year. At least.

      The CHL and NHL need to address the 18/19 year old that has outgrown JR but not ready for NHL issue. Let them play in the AHL already.

      • Sabres would be wise to trade back in the draft depending on what those in the top five would be willing to pony up.
        Five years from now the difference in Power and Hughes etc won’t be that much. Something to consider IF the return is good enough. Power is not a franchise player.

  6. Habsfan had a good laugh at your reply this afternoon. But I think anyone who even mildly follows the nhl could do a better job than Sweeney did at the 2015 draft. A virtual goldmine of talent and Sweeney didn’t disappoint he picked three duds. That alone would have gotten most gms fired. Oh by the way sorry about your habs tonight they won’t win.

    • Amen to the Sweeney 2015 draft. Three successive picks and he decides to go off the board? Yeah who needs to risk a Barzal minor knee injury in junior right?
      Cam Neely must still be shaking his head at that disaster of a draft. A draft that should have propelled Boston’s roster for years to come. A draft that should have combined the next generation with the Marchand/Bergeron generation……but they screwed all three picks up.
      Fire him.

      • Soupcan, RWM only Senyshyn, Zboril was pretty much taken were he was suppose to go.

        On most boards Brandon Carlo was a first round pick and Boston picked him up in the 2nd round.

        I still say Zboril will be an everyday top 4 dman.

        Yes he missed the boat, but still came away with Carlo, Lauzon and Vlador

  7. Cappy you’re too optimistic all of those except Carlo are duds. I love it when the sun catches that glint in your eye. When we get Eichel and OEL bruins fans can rejoice the cup will be ours.

    • The only way the Bruins get the both of them is in NHL 21