NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 6, 2021

by | Aug 6, 2021 | News, NHL | 18 comments

Salary arbitration schedule set, the latest notable contract signings and an update on the salary cap in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHLPA.COM: The hearing dates have been set for players who selected salary arbitrations last week:

August 11
Adam Pelech (New York Islanders)
Michael McNiven (Montreal Canadiens)
Jakub Vrana (Detroit Red Wings)

August 12
Victor Mete (Ottawa Senators)*

August 13
Neal Pionk (Winnipeg Jets)

August 14
Vince Dunn (Seattle Kraken)
Zach Sanford (St. Louis Blues)*

August 16
Adin Hill (San Jose Sharks)*
Ross Colton (Tampa Bay Lightning)

August 17
Kevin Fiala (Minnesota Wild)

August 18
Juuse Saros (Nashville Predators)

August 20
Dante Fabbro (Nashville Predators)*
Jason Dickinson (Vancouver Canucks)

August 21
Adam Erne (Detroit Red Wings)
Dennis Gilbert (Colorado Avalanche)

August 23
Zach Aston-Reese (Pittsburgh Penguins)*

August 26
Andrew Copp (Winnipeg Jets)
Nikita Zadorov (Calgary Flames)
Travis Sanheim (Philadelphia Flyers)

*indicates player had settled.

New Jersey Devils sign Tomas Tatar (NHL Images).

  NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils signed Tomas Tatar to a two-year, $9 million contract. The 30-year-old winger spent the past three seasons with the Montreal Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bang goes my theory of the Devils acquiring St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko via trade. Tatar reached or exceeded 20 goals six times between 2014-15 and 2019-20 and 45-plus points five times. He’ll likely slot in alongside Nico Hischier or Jack Hughes on the Devils’ top-two lines. Tatar is the third significant UFA signing by the Devils this summer, joining Dougie Hamilton and Jonathan Bernier.

THE SCORE: Speaking of the Devils, they signed winger Yegor Sharangovich to a two-year, $4 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to Cap Friendly, these moves leave the Devils with $14.7 million in projected cap space with restricted free agent Janne Kuokkanen to sign. They still have plenty of room to make another significant addition if they so choose.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators avoided salary arbitration with Dante Fabbro, signing the 23-year-old defenseman to a two-year, $4.8 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators have over $17.6 million in projected cap space with Juuse Saros and Eeli Tolvanen to re-sign. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins avoided arbitration with Zach Aston-Reese, inking the 26-year-old winger to a one-year, $1.725 million deal.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports the NHL is projecting an increase in the salary cap by $1 million for 2022-23. It will be the first raise in the cap since COVID-19 affected the league’s business operations, delinking the salary cap from revenue and creating a $1 billion debt that players are still working to pay back to the owners.

Seravalli believes the anticipated increase in revenue when the NHL resumes a normal 82-game season in 2021-22 could trigger a “lag formula” agreed upon by the owners and players in the CBA extension. Starting in 2022-23, the cap will increase by $1 million each season until 2025-26, when the players’ debt is expected to be repaid should revenue rebound strongly over that period.

Should the debt be repaid by the end of 2025-26, Seravalli indicates the CBA would automatically extend by one season to 2026-27. The cap would revert back to the usual formula where it is tied to actual revenue projections.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The debt Seravalli refers to stems from the artificially set cap of $81.5 million for last season and this season. League revenue was far less than projected because of the pandemic. The cap would’ve been significantly lowered had it remained tied to revenue, forcing teams to shed salary. That would’ve been almost impossible because most teams would’ve lacked sufficient cap space to acquire those contracts. It also would’ve left a large number of free agents unsigned.

Instead, it was agreed the cap would be decoupled from revenue and artificially set at $81.5 million. That created an imbalance as the players were receiving most of the revenue. Because the CBA mandates a 50-50 split, the players have to pay back the excess via escrow to make the owners whole.

NHL’s coffers should receive a boost from its new broadcasting deals with ESPN and Turner plus the addition of the Seattle Kraken. Nevertheless, it remains largely a gate-driven league. The number of fans returning to the arenas post-pandemic will determine how much revenue increases. As Seravalli points out, short of a revenue bonanza, the cap will only slowly rise over the next five seasons.


  1. I have Tatar as the 3rd line RW.

    Apparently the NHL generates 50% of it’s HRR from gate receipts so someone will have to explain to me how it’s possible the NHL has only lost 1 bil in revenue over 2 seasons impacted by the pandemic. I have those loses far greater at close to 3 bil & not all arenas will have their fan bases back fully in 21/22 especially in Canada.

    That said the cap will go up as the MOU defines & it is revenue related but I don’t believe the players will have paid back the shortfall of monies received under the 50/50 split of HRR when this MOU expires.

    • The new TV deal, Kraken buy in, plus shutting reduces seasons also comes with reduces expenses thus curbing some of the losses to the league/owners.

      • I don’t think the Kraken buy-in goes into the HRR pot; I believe that fee is purely for the owners and the players get 0% of that.

    • Striker. Welcome back. What do you see Pelech getting and are Isles now front runners for Tarasenko?

    • You must be unaware that Tatar shoots left and is a Left winger despite being listed at capfriendly as LW/RW

      Habs will miss him

      • I don’t think the Habs missed Tatar very much during the finals when he was sitting in the press box.

        Tatar certainly played well with the Habs, but the additions of Anderson and Toffoli last year limited his role somewhat and now that Hoffman and Caufield are aboard, there was no room for him. I don’t think they’ll miss him too much.

    • Matt,

      Is the very detailed article currently appearing in The Athletic your source for this CBA stuff you quote?


  2. I’m wondering if we can go back to the good ole days where players did as they were told players didn’t take time off because of tummy aches & bad nights at the bar.
    And no one unless you were a superstar made more than million. sick of all. the legal mambo jumbo

    • Rick,

      Let’s not forget rotary phones, black and white TVs and 8-tracks. Time marches on and we can’t stop it.

      And no, hockey players don’t sit out unless they have real injuries.

    • I long for the days of BullDog,Mental Case,Taz,Lucic,Thorton,Neely,Cash,Miller,

      • Lyndon Byers….Quader, Secord

      • Ulfy Cooke. The good old days

    • And you started your car with a crank.

  3. BRC ( Freedom Roast )is tasting soooo good this morning……

    Bruins are going to start off with Coyle as #2 Center he did have a couple of good years with pts back 4-5- years ago ….also Cassidy mentioned DeBrusk will be the 3rd line LW…

    • Joe, Coyle is not second line centre they need a better second line centre(. Dvorak) & I believe strong they will go after Eichel they don’t really have a choice Studnicka isn’t it neither are Coyle and Haula. Patrice might have a couple of years left.

  4. I’m not sure there was another GM out there willing to give Tatar 9 million over two years … 4 million for two years would have been more like it …

  5. I have removed a number of comments from today’s post that veered far off-topic or degenerated into personal insults. Stick to talking hockey, folks, and be respectful toward your fellow commenters.