NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 10, 2022
Updates on the contract negotiations of Evgeni Malkin and David Pastrnak, Braden Holtby’s career could be over, Anthony Cirelli underwent surgery and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE ATHLETIC: Evgeni Malkin appears uncertain if he’ll be returning to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Rob Rossi reports the Penguins center is wondering if the front office still wants him as contract negotiations have stalled, raising doubt in the 35-year-old’s mind.
Close friends and teammates of Malkin claim he’s devastated by the lack of movement on the Penguins’ part. Rossi cited congratulatory texts Malkin sent to teammates Kris Letang, Bryan Rust and Casey DeSmith after they signed new contracts with the Penguins. When they asked about the status of his contract talks, Malkin replied, “They think I’m not good anymore.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rossi also reported Penguins general manager Ron Hextall told reporters on Friday that his club wants to re-sign Malkin. He hopes to make a cost-cutting trade to free up cap space to sign the long-time Penguins star. The Penguins’ initial offer to Malkin was reportedly a three-year, $18 million deal. There’s also talk of a four-year contract worth $7 million annually.
Still, this appears to be affecting Malkin so much that team captain Sidney Crosby reportedly paid him a visit to cheer up his old friend. We’ll find out by noon on July 13 if his future remains in Pittsburgh or if he’ll be moving on to a new NHL club.
NHL.COM: Eric Russo reports Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney said contract extension talks with David Pastrnak have gone well thus far. The 26-year-old winger is eligible next summer for unrestricted free agent status. The specifics of the deal (term and salary) have yet to be addressed.
Sweeney also provided updates on captain Patrice Bergeron and former Bruins center David Krejci. He’s hoping for a final decision by Bergeron on Wednesday whether he’ll return for another season or retire. Meanwhile, Krejci is still contemplating whether he’ll return to the NHL after spending last season in his native Czechia.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins and Pastrnak have completed the preliminary stage of negotiations. Next comes determining the framework of the contract. Sweeney appeared keen to continue talks as soon as possible.
It’s rumored Bergeron is leaning toward return, with one report last month claiming he intended to play next season. Krejci’s return would resolve the Bruins’ need for a second-line center for next season. Fitting him into their tight cap constraints, however, could be difficult.
As per Cap Friendly, the Bruins have just over $2 million in salary-cap space with 22 players under contract for 2022-23. They should get some early-season cap relief with Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy expected to miss the opening weeks recovering from off-season surgery but must become cap compliant when they return to action.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Speaking of the Bruins, team president Cam Neely seemed to suggest the players had a hand in the departure of head coach Bruce Cassidy. Confirming that Jake DeBrusk had rescinded his trade request, Neely said the players were chafing under Cassidy’s coaching style and were ready for a change.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could raise concerns over how this makes the Bruins look and could make things difficult for Cassidy’s replacement, Jim Montgomery. However, those worries will be mollified if they play well for Montgomery.
DAILY FACEOFF (via RUSSIAN MACHINE NEVER BREAKS): Frank Seravalli recently reported Braden Holtby won’t play next season and his career could be over after dealing with a nagging lower-body injury this season. The 32-year-old goaltender played 24 games with the Dallas Stars in 2021-22 and is slated to become a UFA on July 13.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word yet from Holtby or his agent regarding his health or future plans.
THE ATHLETIC: Tampa Bay Lightning GM Julien BriseBois said center Anthony Cirelli underwent shoulder surgery last Tuesday. He didn’t provide a timeline for his return.
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: A source claims the Sharks won’t be tendering a qualifying offer to restricted free agent Jonathan Dahlen. The deadline for qualifying offers is 5 pm ET on Monday, July 11.
DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports the Nashville Predators could be the host for the 2023 NHL Draft. They last hosted the draft in 2003, choosing Ryan Suter seventh overall.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: The Seattle Kraken had a solid draft this year, using their 11 picks to address a variety of needs. Highly-touted prospect Shane Wright fell to them at the No. 4 position, but they also chose such notables as Jagger Firkus, Jani Nyman, Niklas Kokko, and Ty Nelson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The overall consensus is the Kraken did very well stocking up their prospect cupboard this year. They’ll be sitting in a good place within a few years if even a handful of those picks pan out for them.