NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 8, 2022

by | Aug 8, 2022 | News, NHL | 19 comments

The latest on Jonathan Huberdeau, John Tavares, Jonathan Drouin and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane believes the Flames should name a captain for the coming season after playing without one in 2021-22. He suggests Jonathan Huberdeau for the role with Johnny Gaudreau departing via free agency and Matthew Tkachuk traded to Florida last month.

Calgary Flames winger Jonathan Huberdeau (NHL Images).

Acquired from the Panthers in the Tkachuk trade, Macfarlane points out Huberdeau quickly embraced his identity as a Flames. He’s made his intentions clear that he wants to be a leader on and off the ice.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames could decide to play without a captain for the coming season before reaching a decision on who should wear the “C”. Then again, they could make that determination after evaluating their players in training camp and preseason play. Though Huberdeau hasn’t yet played a game for the Flames, his experience should make him a front-runner for the job.

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares said he’s free of the body aches that plagued him since last summer. The 31-year-old took part in a charity game last week in Barrie, Ontario that helped to raise $155K in conjunction with the John Tavares Foundation.

Tavares remains determined to lead the Leafs in overcoming their recent playoff disappointments. He also praised management for keeping most of the club’s core intact while finding ways to fill the holes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt Tavares’ resolution to helping his club finally stage a deep playoff run. Whether they’ve got the goaltending this coming season to pull it off remains to be seen.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jonathan Drouin is looking forward to playing a full season under Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis. The 27-year-old winger played only two games with St. Louis behind the bench last season before a wrist injury sidelined him for the remainder of the 2021-22 schedule.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This season will be a crucial one for Drouin. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He’ll need a healthy and productive performance if he hopes to garner a new deal with the Canadiens or to boost his free-agent stock.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets avoided salary arbitration with winger Mason Appleton as the two sides agreed to a three-year deal with an average annual value of $2.166 million. Appleton was scheduled for an arbitration hearing on Aug. 11.


  1. Agree on this season for Drouin. If he stays fit and plays well then I can see him getting traded at the deadline. But if he plays the full season with the Habs, do they really want to resign him for equal/more money than he’s already making? Could be a tough decision for Habs management and Drouin if he contemplates a shorter contract for less money with the Habs. I think best case scenario for both parties is he stays fit, plays well, and gets traded at deadline.

    • Tend to agree with your take. Even if Drouin has a good year, don’t think he can be counted on to keep it up long term. Best to be able to flip him for good, young assets, like they did with Chiarot and Toffoli, and bring in new blood.

    • What I find interesting about Drouin is candor about his situation and the team.

      He doesn’t point a finger or complain, he takes responsibility for his play.

      When healthy he performs and pays the game the right way.

      He seems more suited fora future in coaching.

      • Sadly, he has anxiety issues, HF30. Not a good match with the typical job instability of coaches, and with having to answer media questions after each game.

  2. Why would the Flames go a year without a captain? I thought that these were adult professional athletes. Apparently I was wrong. With the prior leaders leaving, maybe management shout bring in counselors for those that need them and then give everyone a participation trophy.

    • Well, that’s an interesting take…

    • The Blue Jackets played a couple seasons without a captain after trading Rick Nash.
      As for the rest of your post, I am not only a veteran, but I’ve played a lot of beer league and sled hockey. From those experiences, I can tell you that having an on ice leader is important. Since coaches (and officers) tend to be somewhat older, having someone of the same general age whom one can turn to with a minor problem, recieve a quick pat on the back from and to be somewhat like another coach on the ice (or friendlier officer, to an extent) is very important. Captains also serve the function of “passing along the tribal wisdom”. For example, helping a young rookie learn how to act like an NHLer.

    • Jim, you don’t need a letter to be a leader and having a piece of fabric sown to your jersey does not make you one.

      This just isn’t a big deal IMO.

  3. even if Drouin plays at an MVP level, considering the Habs cap situation, they should just let him walk. Too much of an injury history that should prevent any kind of expensive long term contract for him.

    • Drouin seems like the type of player who, when allowed to walk free next season, will be picked up by Colorado for a song, re-united with MacKinnon, and embarks upon a career year when they get that old Halifax magic back.

    • Hi MikeP, I think only way Habs let him walk if he’s injured and they can’t trade him at the deadline. If he’s fit and Habs don’t see him in their future plans then he gets traded.

      • Who takes him in a trade, giving up assets, when, in a few short months, they can get him as a UFA?

        The only way a deadline trade will happen is if he’s having a banner, healthy season and doing all the things he was projected to do when Tampa first drafted him, and a team sees him as a critical piece heading into the playoffs.

        That’s a lot of “ifs”

      • Hi George, it would be a play-off rental scenario. Not uncommon, provided he is fit and has a good season.

  4. last season seen a record number of career years; many on expiring contracts be it ufa’s or rfa’s.

    Combining that with a flat cap has pushed many teams to unload players.

    The flat cap doesn’t affect players from having career seasons and demanding their increase to go with it.

    The unfortunate part is for teams who play close to the cap limit; each team has a projection board be it 3, 4 or more years out. With the projection boards is salary expectations and what the cap ceiling will look like 3, 4 or more years down the road.

    With the pandemic, teams like Toronto and Tampa among other, the cap freeze threw those projections out the window and are now behind the 8 ball.

    The one thing the freeze didn’t do, is slow down the pay increases for the top level players. leaving much less money for the 3rd and 4th line players.

    A player like Danton Heinen coming off a career year in goals 16, took a slight pay cut of $1.1m to $1m. That is good value for Pittsburgh, Heinen is a smart hockey player and plays a solid defensive game. However in a cap freeze and with teams playing with their projections this is what’s left.

  5. As per the above article on Tavares ….
    I wonder what body aches he was going through since last summer ..
    Does anybody know ?
    I am glad he is relieved from them !

    • Concussion and knee injury.

    • Tavares will be interesting to watch this coming season.

      Over his career (949gp) his 82-game average works out to 34g 44a 78pts.

      He exceeded that twice in his 9 NYI seasons – 2011-12 when he had 31g 50a 81 pts, and 2014-15 when he had 38g 48a 86 pts, and twice more in his 4 seasons with the Leafs: 2017-18 when he had 37g 47a 84pts, and 2018-19 when he had 47g 41a 88 pts – playing full 82-games in each of those 4 seasons.

      In his 669gp with NYI his career 82-game averages there were 33g 33a 66pts, while in his 280 gp so far with Toronto his averages are 35g 35a 70 pts.

      The closest he’s come to his career 82-game averages was his 79gp season just concluded when he had 27g 49a 76 pts.

      He only turns 32 in September so, if he’s back 100% healthy and can put in close to, if not a full season, he will still be a major contributor to the Leafs’ offense.

    • George, he’s a bum! Maybe the other Ron can lay it out as to why.

      It’s not often an older UFA has his best years later than when he was in his prime. I think he’s a lot one could wish in a hockey player…the best thing about him is his consistency of performance and play regardless that many think he’s an overpaid player and by over paid, I’m assuming only 10-15% which can be as a result to offset taxes, BS of playing in Toronto, and the one thing often overlooked is the respect the GMs have for the player and person they offer contracts too.
      Bottom line, great player. Would be exciting to see him even better but personally, I’d rather wait and see.

    • Ken, do you watch the games?