NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 5, 2022
The Canadiens leave all options open with the first-overall pick as the 2022 draft approaches, the Sharks name Mike Grier as their new GM, Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk rescinds his trade request, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes is stirring up intrigue over what he’ll do with the first-overall pick in the upcoming 2022 NHL Draft. He claimed he hasn’t decided yet if he’ll choose center Shane Wright of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, winger Juraj Slavkovsky of Liiga club TPS in Finland, or center Logan Cooley of the U.S. National Team Development Program.
“We’re trying to evaluate how a player projects,” said Hughes. He adds they’re being open-minded and flexible over which is the right situation for those players. The Canadiens GM also didn’t rule out trading the pick or swinging a deal with the New Jersey Devils to end up with the first- and second-overall picks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hughes is doing what any GM worth his salt would do with the first-overall pick in a draft where there is no generational player like Connor McDavid available. He’ll get a very good player with that pick if he keeps it regardless of whether he chooses Wright, Slavkovsky or Cooley.
Hughes could surprise us by trading that pick, and if he can land the Devils’ pick without giving up a young core player such as Nick Suzuki or Cole Caufield it’ll be an impressive move. However, I doubt he’ll be able to pull that off. I anticipate he’ll retain the first-overall pick and use it to select Wright given the Habs’ ongoing need for quality depth at center.
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: cited ESPN NHL insider Kevin Weekes reporting the Sharks will name Mike Grier as their new general manager on Tuesday. He’ll become the first black person in NHL history to become the GM of a team.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weekes has a solid record for breaking NHL news. Grier spent 14 seasons from 1996-97 to 2010-11 as an NHL player with the Sharks, Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres. He went on to serve as an assistant coach with the Chicago Blackhawks, New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers and in 2021 was named the Rangers’ hockey operations advisor.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: cited TSN’s Ryan Rishaug reporting Jake DeBrusk’s agent claiming his client has rescinded his trade request. The Bruins signed the 25-year-old winger in March to a two-year contract extension.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting to note that DeBrusk withdrew his trade request after the Bruins fired head coach Bruce Cassidy. Make of that what you will.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Evander Kane’s grievance hearing with the San Jose Sharks over the January termination of his contract isn’t likely to be scheduled before free agency begins on July 13.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun wonders if the two sides might reach an agreement on a settlement before then. That might be possible now that the Sharks finally have a new general manager in place.
TSN’s Darren Dreger reports Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev has changed agents and is now represented by Dan Milstein. Dreger’s colleague Chris Johnston reports Sergachev is expected to sign a contract extension in the coming weeks.
Pierre LeBrun reports pending UFA winger Ilya Mikheyev’s agent (Dan Milstein) may seek a multi-year deal worth between $4.75 million to $5.5 million annually. The 27-year-old Mikheyev spent the past three seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, tallying a career-high 21 goals and 32 points in 53 games in 2021-22.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mikheyev is a good depth forward but he’s not worth that much. Nevertheless, we shouldn’t underestimate the ability of NHL general managers to succumb to action fever and overpay for second-tier talent in the opening days of free agency.
NHL.COM: The Winnipeg Jets have appointed Scott Arniel as an associate coach under new bench boss Rick Bowness.
PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers goaltender Ivan Fedotov is apparently going to be serving in the Russian Navy. After being detained in St. Petersburg last Friday for allegedly dodging the draft, he was reportedly hospitalized with what his attorney called stress-induced gastritis. He was then sent to a Russian naval base near the Arctic Circle.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fedotov, 25, played for CSKA Moscow last season but signed a one-year entry-level contract in May with the Flyers. There are rumors his gastritis was in fact poisoning but there’s no confirmation of this.
Fedotov’s plight is raising concerns that he’s being used as an example to other young Russian players thinking of leaving their KHL clubs to play in the NHL while Russia is at war with Ukraine. It could affect whether Russian prospects are chosen in the upcoming NHL Draft.
CALGARY SUN: The city of Calgary is continuing to work with the Flames in hope of finding a resolution toward the construction of a new arena to replace the aging Saddledome. A third-party intermediary called the Event Centre Visioning Group is continuing talks with both sides with the intention of getting them back to the negotiating table.