NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 11, 2021

by | Oct 11, 2021 | News, NHL | 32 comments

The Rangers sign Mika Zibanejad to a lucrative contract extension, Zdeno Chara and Zach Parise officially sign with the Islanders, a large number of players hit the waiver wire, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers yesterday announced Mika Zibanejad signed an eight-year contract extension worth $68 million. The annual average value is $8.5 million. This deal will keep Zibanejad with the Rangers until he’s 36. By keeping his AAV under $9 million, it provided the Blueshirts with some cap flexibility to re-sign key players such as Adam Fox in the near future.

New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Post’s Larry Brooks indicated Zibanejad’s new deal is a little longer than Rangers’ management preferred. However, it was necessary to reach that $8.5 million cap hit as he likely would’ve received up to $10 million annually on the open market. As per Cap Friendly, they now have over $62 million invested in 16 players for 2022-23 with Fox, Ryan Strome, Kaapo Kakko and Alexandar Georgiev among the notables slated for new contracts next summer.

Zibanejad thrived since being traded to the Rangers in 2016, including a career-best 41 goals and 75 points in 57 games in 2019-20. He had a slow start last season following a bout of COVID-19 but finished strong with 50 points in 56 contests.

This signing should also take the Rangers out of the Jack Eichel sweepstakes. I’ll have more on that in today’s Rumor Mill. Brooks believes the only way it happens is if the Sabres retain 40-50 percent of Eichel’s $10 million AAV which isn’t going to happen.

DAILY FACEOFF: The New York Islanders officially announced the signings of Zdeno Chara and Zach Parise. They’re both on one-year, one-way contracts with an annual average value of $1.5 million. They’ll receive a base salary of $750K plus $750K in bonuses.

Frank Seravalli reported Erik Gustafsson has returned to the Chicago Blackhawks. The 29-year-old defenseman signed a one-year deal believed to be worth $800K.

Forty-three players hit the waiver wire yesterday. Vancouver Canucks defenseman Travis Hamonic and Edmonton Oilers forward Kyle Turris are the two notable names on that list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hamonic was absent from the Canucks training camp and preseason for reasons related to the NHL’s vaccination protocols. Unvaccinated players face restrictions that could prevent them from participating in road games, which could also result in them being suspended without pay.

There was talk of the Canucks attempting to trade Hamonic. He’s on a two-year, $6 million contract with an eight-team no-trade clause.

THE PROVINCE: Speaking of the Canucks, they traded defenseman Olli Juolevi to the Florida Panthers for defenseman Noah Juulsen and forward Juho Lammiko.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a trade of young players who failed to pan out with their previous teams. Injuries also hampered the development of Juolevi and Juulsen. The latter is now on his third team in two seasons.

THE SCORE: Vegas Golden Knights president of hockey operations George McPhee accused player agent Allan Walsh of attempting to sabotage efforts to trade Marc-Andre Fleury by telling other clubs his client was considering retirement.

McPhee praised Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon’s handling of the situation. While acknowledging Fleury learned of his trade to the Chicago Blackhawks on social media, McPhee said they spoke with the goalie’s camp leading up to the deal. They stopped communicating with them when Walsh started telling other clubs Fleury planned to retire.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to hear Walsh’s side of the story. The agent generated some controversy during the 2020 playoffs by posting an image on Twitter of Fleury with a photoshopped sword running through his back and head coach Pete DeBoer’s name on the blade. The suggestion was DeBoer stabbed his client in the back by giving Robin Lehner more playing time in the postseason. That image was removed at Fleury’s request.

SPORTSNET: New Jersey Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood returned to practice yesterday after clearing all COVID-19 protocols. He’d received an inconclusive COVID test on Thursday. He said he “still has some things to do” before deciding one way or the other on getting vaccinated, “but I’m probably going to be getting the shot in the next couple of weeks.” He’s the only unvaccinated member of the Devils.

TSN: Speaking of the Devils, they signed forward Jimmy Vesey to a one-year, $800K contract.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette indicated captain Alex Ovechkin is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. He doesn’t consider it serious, suggesting the 36-year-old winger could be in the lineup for their season opener on Wednesday against the New York Rangers.

THE DENVER POST: The Avalanche signed defenseman Jack Johnson to a one-year, $750K contract.

SPORTSNET: Ottawa Senators forward Austin Watson is expected to be sidelined roughly four weeks with an injured ankle.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Mark Friedman was fined $1,812.50 for spearing Columbus Blue Jackets forward Sean Kuraly during Saturday’s preseason game.

Former NHL forward Frans Nielsen signed with DEL club Eisbaren Berlin. The 37-year-old center tallied 473 points in 925 career NHL games with the New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings.


  1. Happy Thanksgiving … in Canada anyway (we give ourselves more time to recover).

    Re Jack Johnson – this guy has more lives than a cat!

    Re Friedman’s fine – I wonder how much hardship that $.50 will cause him?

  2. IMO, Rangers could still be in on Eichel.
    I think it was Elliot Friedman that posted on Twitter that Devils singed Jim Vesey, to which Jimmy replied “my dad needs to get back in shape”.

    • How? They now have over $62 million tied up in 16 players for 2022-23. Adam Fox will likely get over $9 million annually on his next contract, pushing that to over $71 million with Kakko, Strome and Georgiev among the notables to re-sign or replace. The Sabres don’t want to retain any chunk of Eichel’s cap hit, so you’re talking about shedding the equivalent of that to acquire his contract.

      • Actually, The contract keeps Zibanejad with the Rangers till he’s 37. The new contract kicks in a year from now, so it runs through the 29-30 season. He’ll be turning 37 shortly after the regular season will end.

      • Lyle, if Rangers aquired Eichel, Strome would be gone before next season, probably by tdl. I’d think NY could move Gorgiev as well. Whether he thinks so or not, he’s the backup. Fox is a NY kid, who isn’t going anywhere. He’s living dream of playing for his hometown team and could be open to signing for 1 year, maybe 2 at a workable number with promise of bigger payday later. Rangers have 3.4m in dead cap space next season and then they’re done. I’m not saying it’ll happen, but it’s not impossible.

    • Lyles 62 million is already accounting for Strome being off the books. No way in hell Fox takes a bridge deal, and it would be I’ll advised the Rangers give him a bridge deal.

      He is not taking less than Jones , Makar, Hamilton , Nurse etc. and he’d be a fool to do so. Love NY or not, he’s getting paid and probably an 8 year term.

      Adding Fox at 9-10 and Eichel even at 8 leaves no room to fill out the roster or re-sign key pieces in the near future.

      Eichel to NY had sailed, thank god!

  3. To Joe Sackic….. what compromising photos does JJ have on you?

    As soon as the contract was signed….

    MacKrimmon went dancing down the Las Vegas Strip buying strangers free drinks; and

    MacKinnon, Rantenen , Landeskog , Keumper, Kadri, Burakovsky, Compher, Nichushkin; Jost, Helm, Newhook, Maltsev, O’Connor, Makar, EJ, Girrard, Toews, Murray, Byram, McDermid, Francouz…. all called their agents re a possible trade out of Denver; and collectively put Harding and Gilooly on retainer; and

    All Central Div forwards not on Avs…. applauded the move on Social Media; and

    Sid had a 90 minute call with MacKinnon (after he called his agent) to console him;

    • As much as players like to play in Vegas; we can see Kelly Mccrimmon doesn’t care how he treats people, once he no longer wants them around.

      One incident is fine, but now there two.

      • Caper, there are those of us in “fandom” who see it as a professional results-oriented what-have-you-done-for-us-lately business with NO room for sentimentality – especially in a league forced to function under a hard cap.

        Not everyone feels that way, of course, and it will always be like that I guess. But to me, if a GM perceives that player X has reached a level which he thinks can be improved upon – and for a lot less cost off the cap – he’s not doing the team any favours by keeping that player around.

    • Pengy, feel sorry for any employee that gets on your wrong side.

      You don’t seem to have the ability to let things go and get trapped in tunnel vision.

      • The resident posters are on full display today. Same bunch every day.
        I’ve noticed some people complain about their comments not being posted.
        As for your favourite contributing geniuses….I wonder if only themselves and perhaps one family member consider them knowledgeable.
        PS….Why are they not working for some NHL team as a consultant ?????
        Lyle…give these guys a rest and recognize some new folks and their thoughts.

      • Feel free to post more Old Hockey Fan, the only time I have seen Lyle delete posts are when things get personal.
        If the post gets flagged it is likely language that gets picked up by the software, or as Lyle has mentioned guys screw up the email address or something like that.
        Lyle isn’t conspiring against some posters.

      • I seriously doubt Lyle has you – or any other poster who wishes to contribute – on some prohibited list.

        If you don’t agree with someone’s opinion – and that’s ALL they are – by all means submit your view. Who knows, perhaps there’ll be some outside YOUR immediate family who will agree with what you have to say!

      • Hold on, did you just complain about new people not posting by blasting the options of those that do?

        I’m sure that will make them feel a little warm and fuzzy about contributing a future opinion.

        I don’t think (most) posters claim to be anything other than a random opinion. That’s what the comment section is here for, no?

      • Nope. But a thick skin is essential if anyone wants to thrive in here. Bottom line is, nobody can ever break you down if you don’t let them

      • Hi Caper

        I am truly biased re JJ…. No challenge there.

        But tunnel vision???

        I watched every single Pens game (but two) that JJ played in. I believe that is a broad enough and deep enough sample size.

        He shredded team-mates stats. Every Pen who played more than 8 games in those two years had much better stats when JJ was on the bench.

        For the last 5 1/2 decades I have played, coached, watched probably closing in on 10,000 games from minor hockey through the NHL; Olympics; University/College…. and I have never seen a player more detrimental to his teams success than JJ

        I like Sackic, and I like the Avs. For their sakes I hope JJ has somehow improved

        Re my employees…. I am very proud of all of them. I’ve fired only 3 in all my time as owner. None of the three for work performance (hint: criminal charges); and none in last 10 years.

      • You’ve coached played I. Olympic , AHL, ohl, and watched?

        That’s some resume you got there! But if you can’t back that up, well I’m not sure it’s real.

        10,000 games over 55 years? X’s 60 minutes? That’s 181 games a year. That’s 600,000 hours of hockey. 25,000 days of hockey, and 68.49 of hockey of hockey all packed into 55 years? This doesn’t include commercials, job, Olympic team travel, marriage , walking the dog or restroom breaks.

        You’re good!

        Regardless of that impressive resume and time travel ability, I think some gms may have more experience in this area.

    • Pengy and George O. we will take johnson. AVS wouldn’t take him if Joe feels he can’t contribute in some way? We need more beef on the back end and Joe has addressed that during the offseason: McDermid from Seattle, EJ is healthy and back as well as Ryan Murray. Avs get pushed around a little on the blue line so we added more beef and experience, nothing wrong with that! ….Personally, I was hoping they might shop Girard for some added scoring help that we lost in Saad and Donskoi. But we are where we are, will see how it plays out? Don’t underestimate “Super Joe” from making a deal if he needs to. Great GM that no in the East talks about because probably most of you are in bed when the AVS are playing, LOL!!!!!!. GO AVS!!!!!!!!!

      • tommyboy, I have never dumped on Johnson. All I’m saying is, once one team cuts him loose he seems to have no problem getting a new NHL job somewhere.

      • no biggy george o. just believe outside of his Penguins struggles, he seems to be a servicible defenseman in the NHL? Just want to to see him succeed on the AVS. we have enough offensive minded guys, we need some grit clearing out guys in front of the net and some simple defense type play in my honest humble opinion. Has a lot of NHL experience and hope he can contribute in a positive way. It’s all good!

      • Hi Tommy Boy

        No challenge to JJ’s heft and muscle and he can block shots. As I posted above; for Sackic’s and Avs sakes; I hope he has improved tremendously in all other aspects of his game. He has the physical skills …. His problem with Pens was positioning, panicking, and copious brain farts.

        he was out of position for most shifts; coughed up the puck often; couldn’t effectively take a cross ice pass; had many brain farts every game; was an excellent eclipse for his goalies; and he continuously would leave his man in front of the net to join his D partner , who was already engaged with the puck carrier

    • Agreed, Pengy. The Jack Johnson signing was not well-received by a lot of Avs fans. I think most here in Denver would rather have seen Jacob MacDonald get that spot or deal with the growing pains of having rookie Justin Barron in the lineup.

      Even after losing Ryan Graves and Connor Timmins, there’s still a bit of a logjam on the blueline. Can’t help but wonder if the Johnson signing means that another defenseman will be traded soon. After losing Saad and Donskoi, the middle-six scoring feels a bit soft.

  4. Hopefully the Vancouver/Florida trade works out for both teams.

    It would be nice to see the injury stalled development of both players not stand in the way of a decent future in the NHL.

    Both Juolevi and Juulsen have good pedigree’s and could very well get their careers back on track.

    Florida’s depth on the left is weak as is Vancouver’s right. Gives them both a shot at a turnaround in fortunes.

    Juho Lammikko gives us even more versatility in the bottom six if he sticks, likely the fourth line, with some PK experience which is something we are clearly lacking.

    Not what you want to see in swapping former first round picks but I wish Olli the best of luck in Florida and hopefully being a hometown kid, Juulsen can get back on track and work his way up here.

  5. Noah Juulsen was NHL ready and about to become a regular when he got terrible injuries, two pucks to the face in the same game.

    He’s been hobbled by concussions since then, a real tough guy (mental strength) who keeps fighting through and works hard.

    Florida took him off waivers because Shane Churla and Rick Dudley knew Juulsen well, having drafted and developed him.

    He’s a great kid with tons of character but its a bad sign that they let him go. I wish him well.

    • As has been mentioned by several observers, he needs the opportunity to play 80 games in the AHL this season. Let’s hope he gets it.

  6. Old hockey fan has hit nail right on the head with his comments it’s almost like Georgie, Edvan & Chrism rule this site and any time you make a comment according to guys like them you don’t know hockey. Bravo bravissimo! I’d like to say more but I know if I do my post won’t make it on here.

    • Care to back up that baseless allegation, Rick?

      • Don’t hold your breath Lyle.

    • And here, I thought Old Hockey Fan was your pops, the way he was sticking up for you, Rick.
      I for one enjoy your comments. In the beginning they annoyed me because they were so ridiculously far fetched. Now they make me giggle, cause I know no one can be that dense unless they’re a new fan, or running a complete shtick.
      I like your shtick.

      • But he doesn’t hold a candle to Wendell’s shtick!

      • True enough, George. Wendel was like a comet or a shooting star. We may never see the likes around here again.

  7. yeah Pengy, I have watched many Penguins games where Johnson has played poorly but he is a big man and hopefully can fit into AVS system? Improve his game and add some much needed grit to blue line!