NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 17, 2022

by | Sep 17, 2022 | News, NHL | 22 comments

The Jets strip Blake Wheeler of his captaincy, the Sharks reach a settlement with Evander Kane regarding his contract termination, the latest on David Pastrnak’s contract status, the date for the 2023 trade deadline is revealed, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets announced Friday they have stripped the captaincy from Blake Wheeler. Several players will instead wear the “A” as alternate captains for 2022-23, though they have yet to be determined. The club called the move “leadership restructuring”.

Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler (NHL Images)

Wheeler said he knew the move was coming as he had been informed beforehand during his first conversation with new head coach Rick Bowness. According to Bowness, this was in line with the new coaching staff taking over and the intention to change the way the Jets play the game.

Bowness also denied that Wheeler was standing in the way of younger Jets growing into leadership roles. He insisted that he wants to have everyone working together as a team toward the same goal.

Wheeler said he was grateful for the opportunity to be the Jets captain but insisted he’ll still be a leader on this team. As for trade talk that surfaced about him during the offseason, he said he couldn’t give a straight answer about it because he doesn’t make those decisions. “I’m here and I’m committed to this team and motivated to have a great season.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The move shocked Jets center Mark Scheifele, who questioned the timing of the announcement while claiming Wheeler has the full support of his teammates. It’ll be interesting to see if Scheifele will be among the alternate captains for the coming season considering he was part of the leadership core of last season’s squad.

Jets beat writer Murat Ates of The Athletic believes it would’ve been better for Wheeler had they traded him during the summer. However, he admitted moving a 36-year-old winger carrying an annual average value of $8.25 million through 2023-24 was a tough sell.

This isn’t the first time a team has removed the captaincy from a popular star. In 2009, the San Jose Sharks did the same thing to Patrick Marleau and again in 2014 with Joe Thornton.

Both instances gave rise to trade speculation and talk of undermining the club’s performance. Instead, both players stayed put and the Sharks’ play didn’t suffer other than missing the playoffs in 2014-15 only to rebound and reach the Stanley Cup Final the following year.

Critics blamed the Jets’ leadership for the team’s inconsistent effort in 2021-22, claiming the dressing room was divided. This decision will motivate this club into a bounce-back performance following last season’s disappointing effort or it will make matters worse.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Sharks, they reached an agreement with Evander Kane on a settlement related to his contract termination in January.

Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reported Kane will receive a one-time payment from the Sharks and the cap penalty will be applied to last season’s salary cap. They finished last season just under $5 million beneath the cap. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman indicated Kane’s original contract was worth $19 million over the next three seasons. His current deal with the Edmonton Oilers is worth $16.5 million over the same period. The settlement would offset the difference.

In other words, the Sharks will pay Kane $2.5-million annually from 2022-23 to 2024-25 without incurring any salary-cap penalties going forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will give the Sharks the cap relief they were counting on when they terminated Kane’s contract without having to go through an arbiter to settle the issue. That procedure might not have gone in their favor and could’ve created a big cap headache for them.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: David Pastrnak remains hopeful that he and the Bruins can reach an agreement on a contract extension at some point during the upcoming season. The 26-year-old winger is in the final season of a six-year, $40 million deal and is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

Pastrnak indicated his priority is staying in Boston. He cited how happy he and his family were living there and is putting his focus on helping the team win this season. TSN’s Darren Dreger reported Pastrnak’s agent and Bruins management are in discussions but there’s nothing close yet.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pastrnak is among the NHL’s elite scorers. He could receive over $10 million annually on a long-term deal in next summer’s free-agent market. Perhaps he’ll accept a little less than that ($9.5 million) if the Bruins offer up an eight-year deal as the most he’ll get on the open market is seven years. Either way, he’s going to make big money on his next contract.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the 2022-23 NHL Trade Deadline will be Friday, March 3, 2023, at 3 pm ET. The 2023 NHL Draft will be held on June 28-29 in Nashville while the annual free agent market returns to July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can’t recall the last time the NHL Trade Deadline was on a Friday. It’s usually held on a Monday or Tuesday.

I didn’t miss the annual free-agent frenzy on Canada Day. It was nice to spend the past couple of years quietly enjoying that day with my family in my backyard.

LeBrun also reported the Carolina Hurricanes quietly signed general manager Don Waddell to a new contract over the summer.

SPORTSNET: Duncan Keith has joined the Edmonton Oilers in a player development role. The former NHL defenseman (and future Hall-of-Famer) retired at the end of 2021-22 after 17 seasons.


  1. Pasta should and will become the highest paid Bruin unless Sweeney gets him to sign at discount to match Charlie’s cap of 9.5. Which may happen

  2. Glad to hear that the Sharks were able to make a fair deal with Kane. One headache down, one more big one to go with MEV.

  3. Keith gets his reward for going on retiring.

  4. If Pasta signs for more than 9.5 he’s a greedy Sob
    Players see dollar signs in their eyes and money speak louder than words. In the nhl it screams.

  5. Nhl pretty much lowest paying pro sport.

  6. A new coach comes in and says i hear things so you’re out as our captain. I’m showing you who is in charge.

    No, I’m not a fan of this move. If it was done by Paul Maurice be a different story.

    I don’t see how this brings players together, players are vocal no matter who has a letter on their sweater.

    Like it or not Bowness who may think he is bringing the team together has just divided the room and turned one of your best players in Mark Scheifele against you.

    This falls on the shoulders of Chevy, the only play here was to move Wheeler out. Yes easier said then done but needed to be done.

    Hopefully Hellebuyck isn’t part of the Wheeler crew, in 2yrs you won’t only be losing Wheeler, you also be losing Scheifele and Hellebuyck.

    • It is a big move for sure Caper. I don’t know what was going on in that room, you seem to know more being in WPG, and if I recall have been talking about Wheeler being an issue.

      Agree that the perfect scenario is moving Wheeler, but if it cost too much to do so, it hurts the team as well.

      My guess is Bowness had a frank and honest chat with Wheeler and explained what he was doing and why and asked him to be a pro and do what was best for the team. With the other players as well.

      Bowness has to do what he thinks is best for the team with the players he has, one of which is Wheeler, so he did.

      Have to give him credit for addressing it, probably wasn’t easy and not going to be easy when they all get to camp.

    • Caper

      I have to agree with you. Very odd to not even coach a game and pull the C from the captain who has given his all since he became a jet

    • Ray, Wheeler himself acknowledge that his stye wasn’t working and had to change his ways. He said basically you can’t treat the young one the same way as when he came in the league.

      Personally, I don’t like the decision it creates divide and already has.

      Bowness has basically drawn a line in the sand and told Wheeler you’re not my guy and I believe your part of the problem.

      It’s unfortunate because Wheeler is the hardest working player on the team and always gives a 100%. Nope don’t see how this help but we’ll see.

      Ballsy or st@pid

      Wasn’t a fan of hiring Bowness and this just add to it.

      • What if there was already a divide in the room and Wheeler was a big part of the problem?

        Again, I don’t what the deal was, none of do, and likely never will

        I dunno, but in my experience, if there is a problem like this, and there was obviously a problem, you have to try and fix it as the status quo, wasn’t working.

        We will see if it was the right decision.

      • Agree Ray, but removing the doesn’t remove the issue.

        Boness needs to talk to the players.

        As Scheifele said he was shocked and the team will rally around Wheeler.

        That’s not a good way for a coach to start.

        Certainly not the way I would of handle it.

        I dont see any positive in handling it this way.

        Laine and Ehlers were the two mentioned not happy with Wheeler style.

        Could be others; but, as previously mention Wheeler acknowledge and if he changed I dont know and didn’t here anything.

        Very odd to me a new coach comes in and he thinks the best decision is to remove the C from a player who still has his loyalist.

        Not a great way to start a new season.

        Chevy get on the horn and move Wheeler.

      • No doubt a risky move Caper, but I think Bowness knows that and did it anyway. Take what you want from that.

        And like you said above trading would have been best. In my experience when coming in and knowing you need to change a culture, that is exactly what you need to do. Remove the problem.

        Like Lyle said above, this could go either way.

        You know they will get asked about it, which won’t make it any easier out of the gate.

      • Ray that’s the point they didnt remove any problem. They removed a letter.

        Wheeler has all ready spoken and said it doesn’t change how he leads at all.

        We will see how it plays out.

      • We agree that it is not ideal Caper.
        We also agree that trading would be best.

        Bowness doesn’t have the power to trade him and he didn’t create this problem.

        But it is his job to try and fix it, and he thought this was the best of his limited options and he might be right IMO.

        Ball is in Wheeler’s court now and we’ll see how he deals with it.

        Should be interesting days in the Peg!

  7. This for HF30, from yesterday:

    Yes, Trudeau looked pretty good last night. But he is given no chance by Pat Hickey, at least, of making the Habs. Curious.

    Not sure what to make of Heineman. Is he lazy, or does he have a Frank Mahovlich stride that makes it look like he isn’t skating hard when is is?


    • LJ,

      All teams pump the tires of their prospects until the time they get bypassed.
      In Montreal we have been hearing the hype on Romanov (traded) Norlinder, Struble,Harris.
      Guhle , Maillouz, Xhekaj are the new darlings and time will tell if they live up to it, most will not.

      Trudeau is an unheralded 4th round pick who isn’t part of the hype and it doesn’t surprise me that Hickey passes him by.
      My eyes tell me that the kid has the right stuff.

      Heineman looks like he’s trying to find his place on the smaller ice and the different system but when he knows where to go he gets there fast. He’s a project.

      • Yes indeed, everyone is a contender until the games begin in earnest. Thanks for the response.

  8. We agree that it is not ideal Caper.
    We also agree that trading would be best.

    Bowness doesn’t have the power to trade him and he didn’t create this problem.

    But it is his job to try and fix it, and he thought this was the best of his limited options and he might be right IMO.

    Ball is in Wheeler’s court now and we’ll see how he deals with it.

    Should be interesting days in the Peg!