NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 3, 2022

by | Sep 3, 2022 | News, NHL | 18 comments

The Canucks sign J.T. Miller to a seven-year contract extension, the Jets ink Sam Gagner to a one-year deal, the Oilers add Ryan Murray on a one-year contract, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: The Canucks signed J.T. Miller on Friday to a seven-year, $56 million contract extension that goes into effect in 2023-24. The average annual value is $8 million and includes a no-movement clause throughout the deal, with a full no-trade clause for the first four years and a modified NTC over the final three.

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller (NHL Images).

Miller, 29, is in the final season of his current contract with an AAV of $5.25 million. He would’ve become an unrestricted free agent next July. As a result, he was the subject of media trade speculation for months amid reports that Canucks management wanted to retool around younger, more affordable talent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller tallied a team-leading, career-best 99 points last season. If his production were to drop to between 70-80 points for the coming season, he still would’ve been in line for over $9 million annually if he had hit the open market next summer. His strong two-way game and ability to play center or left wing would’ve drawn plenty of suitors willing to pay big bucks for his services.

Miller’s agent, Brian Bartlett, said this deal came together very quickly after weeks of on-and-off negotiations. He indicated that his client wanted to stay in Vancouver and help the Canucks win the Stanley Cup. It was also Miller’s idea to accept less than market value.

Nevertheless, this is a hefty long-term investment by the Canucks on a talented player who will be 30 when this deal goes into effect. He should still provide solid value for them in the first half but that contract could become burdensome against their cap in the latter years when his performance will likely decline.

Miller’s new contract could also affect efforts to re-sign captain Bo Horvat, who is slated to become a UFA next summer. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $68 million invested in 14 players for 2023-24 with the cap expected to increase by just $1 million to $83.5 million. Horvat’s current AAV is $5.5 million and he could seek around $7.5 million annually, which would take a big bite out of their cap space.

Still, the Canucks were willing to spend to keep their best player in the fold. The move signals to their fans that they believe they’re a playoff contender heading into the coming season and beyond. If Miller can help them become Cup contenders, it will be money well spent.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets signed free agent Sam Gagner to a one-year, $750K contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A good, affordable depth move by the Jets. The 33-year-old Gagner can play at center or right wing and still has solid two-way skills. He’s coming off a respectable 31-point performance last season with the rebuilding Detroit Red Wings.

TSN: The Edmonton Oilers signed defenseman Ryan Murray to a one-year, $750K deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chosen second overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2012 NHL Draft, Murray’s NHL career has been frequently hampered by injuries. The most recent was a fractured hand last season while playing with the Colorado Avalanche. Still, he should be a decent cost-effective depth addition on the Oilers’ third pairing.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers are bringing back Jimmy Vesey on a professional tryout contract. He began his NHL career with the Blueshirts in 2016-17 and spent three seasons with them before moving on to the Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks and New Jersey Devils.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues are bringing Tyler Pitlick to training camp later this month on a professional tryout offer. The well-traveled forward has played for the Dallas Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Arizona Coyotes, Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens over the past four seasons.


  1. Like I posted yesterday re the JTM contract….Term is not surprising , but term AND at $8M, a little surprising to me

    Definitely worth the Cap hit now
    But in 6 years…. I’m not as convinced

    • I agree Pengy. Like many of the longer term UFA signings this year, the later years will not age well at all.

    • Many were saying the same thing about 6 years from now in the Kadri signing.

      Worry about those details in 5 or 6 years – not now.

      • The game is starting to take off except in Arizona, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the cap at $125,000,000 in 5-6yrs.

    • In 6 years the cap wil like be 8 million higher

      • No challenge on that Jeff

        However; younger players coming off of ELCs ; will be getting more then; eating up the majority (more than??) that gained Cap space

        Game for s getting younger and faster

  2. Pengy

    It is a good singing for both. JT left a million a year off the deal and didn’t sign max 8 year deal. And nuks keep their best player The cap will take a big jump in 2024. So his hit won’t sting like it would in this tight cap. Nice work by both sides to get a deal in my opinion

    • Hi Mrbruin4

      You definitely are right re Cap going up

      You certainly may be right (re good signing for both)… I’m just not as convinced as you; re years 6 and 7

      Time will tell

      Certainly in no way a bad contract

      CF has not posted officially the specifics of the contract (SB vs Sal; how much each year); which is also important

      JTM’s agent, I’m sure would have pushed to have structured to be virtually buy-out proof; whereas Jimbo should have (??) tried for a contract with some buyout ability flex; mitigating late year risks

      • It will be a little long in the tooth at the end of it but alternative is to overpay now Which is probably worse

    • One thing about the projected salary cap increase….I think we can assume that there will be a corresponding jump in ticket prices. With attendance being down in the NHL (and sports in general), I wonder if attendance will drop even further ? I know that any additional significant increase in ticket pricing will probably push me out of my partial season ticket package.

  3. Jets signing Gagner…. Great low cost move

    Oil re Murray… great low cost move

    League min contracts…. That at worst can be sent to the AHL… meaning gamble is only cash…. Low downside; with potential for good upside

    Still more UFAs out there who will likely end up signing for 1 yr @ league min

    And still others who will sign for more than league min but definitely below what they are worth …. Such as E-Rod (who , if TSN is right; is still talking to Pens 👍👍; they’d have to make a move; but worth it IMHO)

    • Hey Pengy, here is your chance to jettison Ruhwedal Send him to the Nucks for DiPietro!

      • I know nothing re DiPietro; but…. Where do I sign?

  4. Up to now, it’s all been guesswork as to how the Ottawa lines would be formed up, especially after DeBrincat was obtained and generally regarded by us great unwashed as the long sought-after RW. Now, in a Garrioch interview with coach D.J. Smith we learn that DeBrincat will play on the left side of centre Tim Stuetzle and the other big signing, Giroux, will be on the right to start camp.

    Last year’s top line of Josh Norris between Brady Tkachuk and Drake Batherson remains as is. Formenton (if not dealt) drops to 3rd line LW with Pinto at C and Joseph at RW. The 4th will likely have Gambrell between Watson on RW and either Parker Kelly or Ridley Grieg at LW.

    The guesswork on the D has also been cleared a little as Smith says “he’ll start Thomas Chabot with Artem Zub on one pairing while veteran Travis Hamonic will skate with top prospect Jake Sanderson”

    He also revealed some info on who played injured last season – “Hamonic played with a bad knee for the last 20 games and toughed it out because he wanted to be part of the group … Zaitsev had a broken heel and really struggled with that for a long time. His pivoting and turning just wasn’t the same. I’ve seen (Zaitsev) and he’s in the best shape he’s been in since I’ve been here. He’s hungry to prove something.” So, the 3rd pairing could be Holden with Zaitsev, leaving Brannstrom (if not dealt) as the 7th D.
    Re the goaltending, Smith says “Nothing against Matt Murray but he just wasn’t available to us because he was hurt … We didn’t have that stability in net. Talbot (32 wins and a .911 save-percentage with the Wild) has played a lot of games and wants to be a starter. Forsberg has played a lot of games and wants to be a starter. I’ve got two guys that are starving to play, they’re both capable and mature. That will help with our penalty-kill, our defence and, hopefully, that group can mesh together and play well.”

    • Smith could have added, “Now if I just don’t screw it up…..”
      No pressure, Coach.

      • Heh. Yeah, there’s that too. I believe he’ll be an on the proverbial short leash and that Dorion won’t be patient with another sputtering start.

        And there are several with good NHL coaching experience ready to take on a new job. Barry Trotz; Claude Julien; Alain Vigneault; Rick Tocchet; Mike Babcock

  5. Canucks just need to package DiPietro for some RD help. Not gonna be easy……Maybe they can trade Depietro for Bear……would have to be more to it then that for the cap…….

    • Heh JZ

      Not nice

      Above I thought we had a deal to send Ruhweedel to ‘Nucks for DiPietro