NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 22, 2021

by | Sep 22, 2021 | News, NHL | 16 comments

The Wild sign Kirill Kaprizov, the Blues Jackets re-up Elvis Merzlikins and the Blues ink Robert Thomas. Check out the details of these signings plus the latest PTO contracts and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild signed winger Kirill Kaprizov to a five-year, $45 million contract on Tuesday night. The annual average value of the deal is $9 million. This comes on the eve of the Wild opening training camp today.

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report adds Kaprizov is in North America, will travel to Minnesota today and will be in training camp tomorrow. The 24-year-old winger’s one NHL season has raised questions over whether he’s worth that type of contract.

The Wild, however, had no choice. Kaprizov may have a short body of work but he won the Calder Memorial Trophy last season, becoming the most exciting offensive star they’ve had since Marian Gaborik was in his heyday 15 years ago. Cap Friendly indicates they’re also facing a short-term cap crunch over the next three seasons. They needed certainty over how much he’ll cost them per season, especially when the salary cap begins rising again.

Kaprizov now faces the pressure of justifying that hefty raise and building on his promising NHL debut. If he does, the Wild should remain a legitimate playoff contender despite their upcoming salary-cap issues. If not, things could get ugly very quickly for him and for general manager Bill Guerin.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets signed goaltender Elvis Merzlikins to a five-year, $27 million contract extension. The annual average value is $5.4 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This signing cements Merzlikins as the Blue Jackets’ starting goaltender. It also means Joonas Korpisalo could depart next summer as an unrestricted free agent unless he’s moved before the March trade deadline if the Jackets are out of playoff contention.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues inked center Robert Thomas to a two-year, $5.6 million contract with an annual average value of $2.8 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s the same deal teammate Jordan Kyrou recently signed but there was speculation Thomas would get less than that because of his struggles last season. The signing pushes the Blues above the cap by around $1.3 million but it’s expected they’ll offset that by placing sidelined forward Oskar Sundqvist (knee injury) and his $2.75 million cap hit on long-term injury reserve to start the season.

The Blues must become cap compliant when Sundqvist returns to action. That could come about via demoting or trading a lower-salaried player or perhaps they’ll find a trade partner for Vladimir Tarasenko by then.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings signed Bobby Ryan to a professional tryout offer. The 34-year-old winger played for the Wings last season.

TSN: Alexander Galchenyuk signed a PTO with the Arizona Coyotes. The 27-year-old forward last played for the Coyotes in 2018-19.

NHL.COM’s Brian Compton tweets the New York Islanders signed defenseman Erik Gustafsson to a PTO, inked goaltender Cory Schneider to a two-way contract and signed Kieffer Bellows and Michael Dal Colle.

Freelancer Ken Campbell reports Edmonton Oilers defenseman Duncan Keith is still quarantining after receiving his second COVID-19 vaccination. He’s expected to miss the first week of training camp.

TSN: The Philadelphia Flyers announced center Kevin Hayes underwent abdominal surgery and will be sidelined four to six weeks and defenseman Samuel Morin will be out six to eight weeks recovering from knee surgery. Forward Wade Allison is out indefinitely with a right ankle sprain.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’ll feel Hayes’ absence for the opening weeks of this season. His spot as second-line center could be filled by Morgan Frost.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have barred forward Zac Rinaldo from attending training camp due to his unvaccinated status. He’s on a one-year, two-way contract and has been vocal in his stance against mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations. He’ll instead attend the training camp of their AHL affiliate in Cleveland later this month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rinaldo can forget about getting called up by the Jackets. The club is taking a firm stance on ensuring all its players are fully vaccinated, operating under the NHL’s COVID protocols for this season.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks winger Tyler Motte remains sidelined by an undisclosed injury suffered on April 29 in a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He’ll miss the start of training camp and will be re-evaluated in three weeks.

SPORTSNET: After 42 years in broadcasting, Hockey Night in Canada play-by-play man Jim Hughson has retired. He called his first game on radio in 1979 and become the main play-by-play for the Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs and national broadcasts on HniC.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Hughson and his family for a happy retirement.


  1. I think Ronaldo realized that being an antivax conspiracy nut is likely a better career move in the long run than being a nhl ahl tweener on the downside of his career.

    • Rinaldo’s chances of making the Jackets were slim. Still, I applaud him for standing by his principles. Freedom of choice is essential to liberty. BTW, most of you won’t know this, but the Columbus city council issued a mandate requiring everyone to wear a mask at all times, even in the privacy of your own home, even if you live alone.

      • Yawn..wear a mask it’s as simple as that mask goes on when needed mask goes off when it’s not,you can do it saves lives

      • See! It work! Ronaldo already has one more fan than he did before!

    • Apparently, don’t argue covid here. Last time on September 11th my home WiFi was blocked from this site. This time every comment deleted. Didn’t sling one insult either time, didn’t choose to be rude or nasty.

      I guess we know where the owners of this site lean! Lmao.

      • The problem, Captain Obvious, is the discussion veered far off course from COVID-19 within the NHL to a much broader debate that had little to do with hockey and more about arguing over overall COVID numbers among the general population, the veracity of COVID case counts and the effectiveness of vaccines, eventually devolving into personal insults.

        BTW, I have nothing to do with your home WIFI “blocking” you from this site. I don’t have that kind of reach nor would I want it. If you had previous issues posting to this site, it was likely due to a spelling mistake in your screenname or a changed email address. I had to approve a couple of your posts because of that.

        You can discuss/debate COVID as long as it pertains to the National Hockey League or hockey in general.


      • There should be an emoji for a salute.

  2. I liked Hughes…. Congrats on your retirement👏👍👏👍

    Kaprizov…. Billy G was stuck between a rock and a hard place…. with that signing and with dead Cap f basically $13M, $15 M, $15M in 22/23 to 24/25….. almost assures impossible to build cup winning team until 25/26…. How do you compete (for the cup) with the top clubs with $15 M less to work with

    If Kaprizov keeps up his play…. Proper compensation…. If he slides (in performance)…. A possibility but slim in probability…. Then this contract could be very costly to Wild

    Elvis has left the building….. to cash a cheque 👍👍👍

    Oh how Schneider (the once promising and rising star) has fallen…. Two way contract 😳😲

    Was a bit surprised thatThomas got identical contract to Kyrou…. Thought it would be a little less

    Hi Chuck possibly in the desert ….😳🤓

  3. I’m surprisedVars and Demers are still available

    I still think HexBurkie should sign Duby

    • Vats not Vars

    • Desmith is better

      • Hi Chrisms

        You may be right; that’s not the issue

        I do belive Duby is better than De Smith; but it’s subjective …. We agree to disagree there…. All what this forum did s about

        What I think (??) we can agree on is…..that Duby > Domingue

        If Jarry goes down for any extended period… DeSmith/Domingue combo is just not enough…. Especially with (1) already a much much weaker team than last year (McC, Turbo out; Zucker still in) ; and (2) Sid and Gino out

        Jarry out with injury and Duby/DeSmith as tandem …. 👍👍 IMHO

        De Smith/Domingue 😭🤬

      • I think if either desmith or Jarry go down long term then and only then do you bring in dub

      • Hi Chrisms

        I don’t think it would be wise to wait….Duby may not be available then

        Sign him now…. If Sully decides DeSmith is better…. Waive Duby to send him down…if he is picked up off of waivers…Pens are then right where they are now (DeSmith/Domingue if Jarry gets injured)…. but signing Duby at least has the option there

        I’m just worried about Pens this year… HexBurkie have not made prudent moves (and that was already with knowledge of Gino out a minimum of 1/6th of the season ; now add Sid out 6 games Min.) 🤬😭😡💩

  4. My buddy Don, a lifelong Canucks fan, thought Jim Robson was the greatest hockey announcer of all time but he said that “young guy” Hughson was pretty good too.
    Who’s the next one?

  5. Rasmus Dahlin signed 3×6 $18 million

    He’s the stud of that draft year, no public drama, the kid just performs.
    Would love to have him on the Habs.

    Great signing for both player and team.