NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 14, 2022
Analysis of some of the biggest signings and trades from the opening day of free agency, a look at two of the notable free agents still available and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE ATHLETIC: Johnny Gaudreau explained why he signed a seven-year, $68.25 million contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He said the experience of playing at Nationwide Arena and speaking with current and former Columbus Blue Jackets players were motivating factors behind his decision.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I analyzed Gaudreau’s new contract and those of the other noteworthy signings for Bleacher Report yesterday. His decision to go to Columbus generated considerable surprise on social media. It also left Calgary fans bewildered and upset after he rejected a more lucrative offer from the Flames to join the Jackets. Whatever the reason behind his decision, he makes the Blue Jackets a better team and should accelerate their rebuilding process.
THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Gaudreau was reportedly interested in signing with the Flyers but their limited salary-cap space meant they weren’t able to make room for him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers’ offseason moves haven’t sat well with their fans who’ve been quite critical on social media. It’ll be interesting to see what general manager Chuck Fletcher intends to do to improve his roster for next season.
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA/VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights each made significant cost-cutting trades with the Carolina Hurricanes. The Sharks shipped defenseman Brent Burns to the Hurricanes while the Golden Knights sent them winger Max Pacioretty.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mike Grier, the Sharks’ new general manager, is wasting little time addressing his club’s need for an overhaul following several seasons of decline. The Golden Knights, meanwhile, got nothing in return for Pacioretty. They are paying the price for their pursuit of big-ticket talent over the past couple of years in pursuit of the Stanley Cup.
The Hurricanes, meanwhile, are going for it. Burns has three years left on his contract with the Sharks retaining 33 percent of his $8 million cap hit. Pacioretty is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. Both should provide a welcome boost of experience and offense to their lineup as they attempt to stage a run for the Stanley Cup in 2022-23.
THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche haven’t given up trying to bring back Nazem Kadri as their second-line center. The 31-year-old Kadri is the biggest name remaining among this year’s crop of unrestricted free agent talent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Avs with $3.9 million in cap space. They’ll have to shed some salary if they intend to bring back Kadri.
THE ATHLETIC: The Dallas Stars attempted to re-sign John Klingberg before the defenseman became an unrestricted free agent but weren’t able to reach an agreement. The door appears closed on a return after the club signed blueliner Colin Miller and added winger Mason Marchment.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Klingberg is the top defenseman still available in the UFA market. Speculation linked him to the Seattle Kraken but other clubs could get into the bidding.
OTTAWA SUN: Claude Giroux was all smiles as he met with local media after signing a three-year, $19.5 million contract with the Senators. Giroux makes his offseason home in Ottawa and said he was excited to be joining his hometown club. “They’ve got a lot of talented guys who like to work hard and compete,” said Giroux. “I just like the character of the team, and I’ll fit right in with them.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the Senators’ most significant UFA signing in years. Giroux was linked to the Sens for months but there was speculation the 34-year-old forward would prefer signing with a Cup contender. He should bring a welcome boost of experience and leadership to their roster.
TSN: The New Jersey Devils have reportedly signed former Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ondrej Palat to a five-year contract with an average annual value of $6 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils were in the market for a top-six winger. Palat is a solid two-way forward with considerable playoff experience. He’ll be a solid addition to the rebuilding Devils in their quest to become a playoff contender next season.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins made a noteworthy addition by acquiring Pavel Zacha from the Devils in exchange for Erik Haula. They’re also still in talks with Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci on one-year, bonus-laden contracts.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A former first-round pick, Zacha struggled to play up to expectations in New Jersey. Perhaps the move to Boston will help the 25-year-old forward improve his game. As for Bergeron, there have been conflicting reports saying he’s going to return while others claim he’s still pondering his future.
DAILY FACEOFF: The Lightning wasted little time locking up three players eligible for restricted free agent status next summer. Defensemen Mikhail Sergachev and Erik Cernak and center Anthony Cirelli were all signed to lucrative long-term contract extensions.
SPORTSNET: The Anaheim Ducks signed former New York Rangers center Ryan Strome to a five-year, $25 million contract on Wednesday evening.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 29-year-old Strome will fill the Ducks’ second-line center position. This is a good move by the rebuilding club, bringing in some experienced depth to take some of the burden from rising star Trevor Zegas.
DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman spent just under $20 million via free agency yesterday to make his club more competitive next season. He added forwards David Perron, Andrew Copp and Dominik Kubalik and defensemen Ben Chiarot and Olli Maatta.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Red Wings have patiently rebuilt over the past three seasons. These veteran additions should help them take the next step toward playoff contention next season. Perron, Copp and Chiarot will bring veteran skill and leadership to the Wings roster.
DAILY FACEOFF: The New York Rangers traded defenseman Patrik Nemeth and two draft picks to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for defense prospect Ty Emberson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a straightforward salary dump by the Rangers, freeing up cap space to put toward re-signing RFA winger Kaapo Kakko.
SPORTSNET: The Calgary Flames brought back defenseman Nikita Zadorov on a two-year contract with an average annual value of $3.75 million.