NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 21, 2022
Matthew Tkachuk expected to be traded after telling the Flames he won’t sign a long-term extension. Check out the latest plus updates on J.T. Miller, Alex Ovechkin, Carey Price and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
SPORTSNET: The Calgary Flames are expected to trade Matthew Tkachuk “imminently” after he informed management that he doesn’t intend to sign a long-term extension. On Monday, the Flames filed for club-elected salary arbitration to make the 24-year-old winger ineligible to receive an offer sheet from a rival club.
The move buys the Flames some time to work out either a sign-and-trade deal or trading Tkachuk’s rights to another club. Arbitration hearings begin July 27 and run through Aug. 11 but a date for his hearing has not yet been set.
Tkachuk will become the second major star to leave the Flames this summer. Johnny Gaudreau last week stunned the hockey world by signing with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As a restricted free agent, Tkachuk lacks no-trade protection. However, The Athletic reported he has provided the Flames with a list of preferred trade destinations with whom he would agree to a long-term extension.
A source told The Athletic those teams included the St. Louis Blues, Vegas Golden Knights, Nashville Predators, Dallas Stars, New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers. However, Sportsnet’s Eric Francis reports the “alleged list” is not accurate.
The Calgary Sun’s Wes Gilbertson believes would-be suitors will seek permission from the Flames to speak with Tkachuk’s agent about a new contract before any trade is finalized. I’ll have more on possible trade destinations for Tkachuk in the Rumor Mill.
TSN: The agent for J.T. Miller believes there’s a realistic path toward a contract extension for his client with the Vancouver Canucks. The 29-year-old center earns an average annual value of $5.2 million on his current deal. He’s slated to become a UFA next summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller’s free-agent status in 2023 and the Canucks rebuilding process made him the frequent subject of ongoing trade speculation. I daresay that path is a pay raise worth between $8 million and $9 million per season due to his career-best 99-point performance last season. Whether that’s a path the Canucks wish to go down remains to be seen.
WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: The Capitals have no concerns about Alex Ovechkin and Dmitry Orlov being allowed to return from Russia to rejoin the club in the coming season. Russian law dictates men between the ages of 18-27 must serve one year in the military. Ovechkin is 37 and Orlov 31.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those concerns arose due to Philadelphia Flyers prospect Ivan Fedotov being detained and deployed to a Russian naval base while Minnesota Wild star Kirill Kaprizov faces allegations of draft dodging. However, other Russian players of military age, such as the New York Islanders’ Alexander Romanov and the Vancouver Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev, are back in North America to begin training for the upcoming season.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former Canadiens goaltending coach Stephane Waite expects Carey Price will be ready to return to the net for 2022-23. The 34-year-old netminder continues to receive treatment to address complications arising from last summer’s knee surgery.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll believe it when I see Price suited up for the Canadiens’ season-opener on Oct. 12.
SPORTSNET: Hockey Canada said in a statement that its National Equity Fund will “no longer be used to settle sexual assault claims,” effectively immediately. An investigation by The Globe & Mail revealed those funds came from revenue from hockey registration fees.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Well, that’s a relief…yes, I’m being sarcastic. The fact that the people running Hockey Canada thought it was a good idea to settle sexual assault claims by using funds drawn from money that parents paid to put their kids in hockey says all we need to know about their character and competence.
Speaking of Hockey Canada, their executives along with the president of the Canadian Hockey League will be back in Ottawa next week to answer questions from members of parliament over the organization’s handling of a sexual assault allegation involving eight members of Canada’s 2018 world junior team and the out-of-court settlement earlier this year. Public outrage over the investigation and settlement prompted the investigation to be reopened.
TSN: Anaheim Ducks forward Maxime Comtois is the latest member of Canada’s 2018 world junior team to issue a statement denying involvement in that alleged sexual assault of a young woman in 2018.
THE TENNESSEAN: The agent for Nashville Predators defenseman Dante Fabbro said his client was not involved in that incident and knew nothing about it. He added that Fabbro fully complied with the initial investigation and will continue doing so in any forthcoming investigations.
CBC EDMONTON: Oilers owner Daryl Katz has been accused in a civil suit of paying $75,000 to a teenage ballet dancer for her “sexual favors.” The unproven allegations are in response to a sexual abuse lawsuit filed against a dance teacher and his wife.
Katz’s lawyer said his client never engaged in a sexual relationship with the young woman and intends to vigorously defend his reputation against the “baseless and scurrilous” claims in the lawsuit. He said the money Katz arranged to be sent to her was funding for a film project, calling the allegation “a distraction and a shakedown.”
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Former Bruins defenseman John Gruden has been named as their new assistant coach. He spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach with the New York Islanders.