NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 2, 2021

by | Aug 2, 2021 | News, NHL | 16 comments

Marc-Andre Fleury will report to the Blackhawks, the Kraken’s contract with Philipp Grubauer rejected by the league, Evander Kane denies betting on NHL games, and 17 players file for salary arbitration. Get the details in today’s morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Marc-Andre Fleury confirmed Sunday he will report to the Blackhawks this season. “Hey, Chicago, it’s Marc,” he said via the club’s social media account. “Just wanted to let you know: I’m in. Let’s get to work.”

Marc-Andre Fleury will report to the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL Images).

The Blackhawks acquired Fleury from the Vegas Golden Knights last Tuesday. However, he took several days to discuss his situation with his family and consider his future. The 36-year-old goaltender has a year remaining on his contract with a $7 million salary cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury won the Vezina Trophy for the first time last season with the Golden Knights. He won’t have a solid defense in front of him in Chicago as he did in Las Vegas. Nevertheless, the Blackhawks could have a shot at a playoff spot in the Central Division this season if Fleury maintains his Vezina form.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Kraken have rectified an accounting error that resulted in the league rejecting the club’s first attempt to finalize its contract with goaltender Philipp Grubauer. The front-loaded contract violated the CBA’s 25 percent cap above the amount in the initial contract year.

Grubauer’s annual average value is $5.9 million for six seasons. He will earn $5 million in actual salary this season. It was originally slated to rise to $6 million in 2022-23 and $7.5 million in 2023-24, an increase of 30 percent. The deal has been restructured by shifting $250K from the third year to the second year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: When this was first reported some fans on social media wondered if the contract would be voided. Doesn’t work that way. The team gets the opportunity to fix the accounting error. In this case, it was an easily addressed minor detail.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane denied allegations made by his estranged wife claiming he bet on NHL games. “I have NEVER gambled/bet on hockey, NEVER gambled/bet on Sharks games, NEVER gambled/bet on any of my games and NEVER thrown a hockey game,” he said in a statement released yesterday.

The NHL announced it would investigate Kane based on the allegation made on an unverified Instagram account attributed to Angela Kane. She responded to Kane’s statement via that account yesterday, accusing him of abandoning her and their daughter to party and gamble in Europe. She also claimed he had a gambling addiction and claimed he was trying to use the media to control the narrative.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s personal life has been under growing media scrutiny since applying for bankruptcy in January. He was also the topic of trade speculation following a recent report claiming several of his teammates expressed frustration about him to management during their season-ending exit interviews. The Sharks released a statement on Saturday saying they supported the league’s intent to investigate the gambling allegations.

NHLPA: Seventeen NHL players applied for salary arbitration yesterday:

Zach Aston-Reese (Pittsburgh Penguins)
Ross Colton 
(Tampa Bay Lightning)
Andrew Copp 
(Winnipeg Jets)
Jason Dickinson 
(Vancouver Canucks)
Vince Dunn 
(Seattle Kraken)
Adam Erne 
(Detroit Red Wings)
Dante Fabbro 
(Nashville Predators)
Dennis Gilbert 
(Colorado Avalanche)
Adin Hill 
(San Jose Sharks)
Michael McNiven 
(Montreal Canadiens)
Victor Mete 
(Ottawa Senators)
Adam Pelech 
(New York Islanders)
Neal Pionk 
(Winnipeg Jets)
Zach Sanford 
(St. Louis Blues)
Juuse Saros 
(Nashville Predators)
Jakub Vrana 
(Detroit Red Wings)
Nikita Zadorov 
(Calgary Flames)

The deadline for club-elected arbitration is 5 pm ET on Monday, Aug. 2. The arbitration period is from Aug. 11 to Aug. 26.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Several notable names on this list include Dunn, Pelech, Pionk, Saros and Vrana. If history is anything to go by we can expect most, perhaps all of these players to reach agreements with their teams on new contracts before their scheduled arbitration hearings.


  1. 99% of the time an RFA filing for arbitration is just a signal from the agent that it’s time to get down to serious talks. But every once in a while we see a situation where a team walks away from an arbiter’s award and they become unrestricted free agents. And that usually happens when a team is flush up against (or over) the cap limit.

    Three teams – Winnipeg, Detroit and Nashville – are the only ones with 2 to deal with.

  2. From what I’ve read… MAF was seeking assurances from Chi that he won’t be traded in season (forcing another family uproot)…. I guess it’s “in Stan we trust “

    Was hoping for the faint chance that the Flower would end up back in Pitt to start the season 😢

    Hextall… see if you can get Duby cheap👍👍

    Still teams tight to Cap…. Has no team reached out to Murray about Kessler?

    Bolts “bought” some “wheelin’ ‘n dealin’ “ room with Seabrook. Kessler LTIR room even larger still. Ducks don’t need the space; and this is Kessler’s final year…and he can only block a trade to 8 teams. He obviously wouldn’t move his fam… the end result of any trade is just Whois sending the cheque…. His agent should just have had him list the 8 teams with the highest tax rates (which is basically mostly the Canadian teams). Any trade to a tax haven (Kraken, Knights, Stars, Panthers, Bolts, Preds) and his take home pay actually increases!

    Re RFA’s and Arb… agree George… mostly agents lighting fires under GMs butts to get them going. With flat cap, might see but one actually take it all the way to the Arb table. Will be very interesting to see what Pelech’s contract ends up at. Good player IMHO

    Does anybody know if big Z has said if he is retiring?

    • Pengy – I have a different understanding of both LTIR and taxes then what you state above.

      My understanding on LTIR – if a team is to maximize their LTIR room, they must have the LTIR player on their opening season roster. Once they have their opening day roster finalized they can then move that player to LTIR and use the salary moved. If they place that player on LTIR prior to the season start, then they only get their current “over the cap” figure in savings. So if the Bolts sit $3M over the cap right before opening day and they don’t have anyone that doesn’t have to clear waivers, then they only get $3M cap relief. If they can be Brent Seabrook’s full salary below the cap when the season starts then they get the full cap relief. So I am curious how I am misunderstanding the LTIR thing, as to me it doesn’t seem like as huge a benefit as it is made out to be.

      As for Taxes – don’t you pay taxes in the state you work in? So if Kesler were to be traded but not work a day in his new state, wouldn’t he automatically be considered to be paying his home state taxes? It would be maniacal if he got traded to say LV but still lived in California AND had to figure out his income taxes based upon where the GK’s were playing. 41 road games and 41 home games. I think he would for sure have to at least set up a home address in that state to reap the benefits of the lower taxes. Does that sound correct?

      • Hi BPB

        Yes per on opening night roster…. Seakbrook will be one of their 23 day 1 and on LTIR

        Re taxes…. from what TSN has said re Phil Kessel… that 15% of his Sal every year comes from Toronto… that amount is taxed at the Ontario rate; the balance at Arz State rate

        They said Seabrook would have more take-home pay with going from Chi to TBay; and made a point that he wasn’t actually moving

        This would then mean Kessler would fall into the same category…. If he gets traded to Krakken; Panthers; Bolts; Stars; Knights; or Preds… his take-home pay will increase by $862 K this year

        If he gets traded to Leafs (as mentioned; I’d think his agent would have all 7 Cnd teams on his no trade list); then his Takehomd pay decreases…. and if it is Ott; or Tor; (highest tax rates)… the loss is 238K this year. Mntl… $236 K loss

        *Source for figures… Gavingtoup

      • Is there some thing in LTIR about being medically declared to be out for an entire season where the player doesn’t have to be on the opening day roster? That was what I was wondering.

  3. Arbitration can be just business or can send things in motion.

    This is Victor Mete’s second arbitration filing in his young career and I think contributed to his falling out of favour in Montreal.

    • Who’s his agent?

      • George,

        Darren Ferris.

    • HF30, why would Mete filing for arbitration contribute to his falling out of favour in Montreal? I checked his profile at Cap Friendly and he went directly from London in the OHL to Montreal, played 49 games, then 71 games the following season, and 51 games plus 10 playoff games in 2019-20. Wouldn’t he have earned the right to go to arbitration? Why is that a problem?
      It seems to me the team created any problem by rushing the kid onto the big team before he was ready.

      • BCLeafFan,

        He signed for less than his ELC, so his value was deemed less than you’re trying to portray.

        Do you know anything about the player or just being contrary as usual?

        I happen to like the kid and am positing that his agent got him out of Montreal and will do the same in Ottawa.

  4. Answered my own question – lol – it’s Darren Ferris – here’s a list of his clients – any others who have had signing issues (Marner?)


    • Marner, Athanasiou, Domi, Hall, Anderson, Bennett all had acrimonious public talk.

      Domi and Anderson were traded for each other but each pushed their way out of their respective teams.

      Having seen Mete, Domi and Anderson play and interview, they are very good, team players, good in the locker room and should have been easy signings, but they weren’t.

  5. Mete is not in a good spot to play hard ball with Ottawa , they have 9 defensemen vying for 7 spots. I do not have him ranked in the top6 maybe even as far down as 8th. It would be in his best interest to sign before camp starts. Personally I am not a fan of having two 5’9″ dmen in the lineup , Brannstrom being the other.

    • Nor is it in a player’s best interest to play unreasonable hardball with Dorion – especially, as you point out, when there is good depth at the player’s position. Generally-speaking he makes fair offers and if a player hims-and-haws (e.g. Anthony Duclair who turned his nose up at a $3.5 mil offer) he’ll soon be on the move.

  6. Evander Kane – A gambling addiction? Never! He makes $7 mil a year and files for bankruptcy. He’s probably just making too many donations to worthy causes?

    Well, that and he’s just bad news all the way around.

    • If I was making 7 million per I don’t think I would be gambling but you never know but I would buy myself a couple of race horses