NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 30, 2022
The Leafs sign Rasmus Sandin and could try Mitch Marner on defense, Devils captain Nico Hischier suffers a hamstring injury, an update on MacKenzie Weegar’s contract talks with the Flames, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
TORONTO STAR: The Maple Leafs signed Rasmus Sandin to a two-year contract worth an average annual value of $1.4 million. His deal is similar to that of teammate Timothy Liljegren. The 22-year-old defenseman missed the start of training camp due to his contract negotiations.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sandin camp reportedly reached out to Leafs management to expedite this situation as injuries have already sidelined blueliners Liljegren, Jake Muzzin, Jordie Benn and Carl Dahlstrom.
Cap Friendly indicates this signing puts the Leafs over the $82.5 million salary cap by $2.89 million but they can garner some temporary relief by placing Liljegren on long-term injury reserve and demoting another player. Sooner or later, however, they could be forced to make a cost-cutting trade.
SPORTSNET: With their defense corps already depleted by injuries, the Leafs are considering having All-Star winger Mitch Marner take some shifts on the blue line. The 25-year-old right winger is among the NHL’s best defensive forwards.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall-of-Fame forwards Bob Gainey and Sergei Fedorov also used to sometimes play defense in certain circumstances. It might not be a bad idea to experiment with Marner on defense during preseason play to see how he fares in that role until their blueline is healthy again.
NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils captain Nico Hischier suffered a hamstring injury in preseason play and will be re-evaluated in 10 days.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hischier has been hampered by injuries for most of his young NHL career. The 23-year-old center is coming off a career-best 60-point performance in 70 games last season.
SPORTSNET: Eric Francis reports MacKenzie Weegar and his agent are pushing to get a contract extension done with the Calgary Flames before the start of the upcoming regular season. Acquired from the Florida Panthers in July, the 28-year-old defenseman netted a career-best 44 points last season and is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Francis expects Weegar could earn more than $6.5 million annually if he hits the open market on July 1. Both sides reportedly remain optimistic so there’s a chance an agreement could be hammered out before the Flames open their season on Oct. 13.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks are still awaiting word as to the severity of Trevor Zegras’ upper-body injury. The 21-year-old sophomore center left Wednesday’s preseason game against the Arizona Coyotes after receiving a thunderous bodycheck by Jan Jenik.
THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo reports Minnesota Wild forward Tyson Jost admitted he found it difficult watching the Colorado Avalanche win the Stanley Cup this year. Jost, 24, spent nearly six seasons with the Avs until he was traded to the Wild before last season’s trade deadline.
“It was just tough to watch, and now you’ve got to live with that,” he said, crediting his mother for helping him through that emotional time. He also deleted his Instagram account for a time after several Avs fans trolled him by leaving him messages saying their club wouldn’t have won the Cup if he’d still been with them.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’re so used to players saying how happy they are for their former teammates when they win the Cup. That feeling may be sincere but some of it could also be for public consumption. Privately, it has to affect them in some way to have missed out on winning hockey’s holy grail.
Jost doesn’t have any ill will toward the Avalanche. He’s also in a good position to play a larger role with a promising team in Minnesota than he did in Colorado. Maybe he’ll get his opportunity to win the Cup with the Wild.
TSN: Los Angeles Kings forward Jacob Doty will have a hearing on Friday with the NHL department of player safety for interference on San Jose Sharks forward Jeffrey Viel. The incident occurred during a preseason game on Wednesday.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars forward Ty Dellandrea broke a bone at the tip of one of his fingers after blocking a shot during Thursday’s preseason game against the Minnesota Wild. He’s expected to be sidelined for two-three weeks.