NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 16, 2023

by | Jun 16, 2023 | News, NHL | 35 comments

The Devils sign Jesper Bratt to an eight-year deal but will take Timo Meier to arbitration, the Senators also elect arbitration for Alex DeBrincat, Jarome Iginla returns to the Flames and John LeClair to the Flyers. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: The Devils re-signed Jesper Bratt to an eight-year, $63 million contract on Thursday. The average annual value is $7.87 million.

New Jersey Devils winger Jesper Bratt (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bratt was slated to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights on July 1. He is completing a one-year contract worth $5.45 million. The cap hit also keeps him below Jack Hughes’ $8 million AAV, which leads all Devils forwards.

The 24-year-old winger’s new contract is front-loaded. He’ll earn $10 million in actual salary next season, declining gradually down to $6 million in 2030-31. He also gets a full no-movement clause from 2024-25 to 2027-28, after which it becomes a 15-team no-trade clause with his no-movement preventing him from being sent to the minors.

It’s a significant investment in Bratt by the Devils. He earned this raise with back-to-back 73-point performances. With their Stanley Cup window opening, they obviously consider the winger to be a key part of their future. It will be money well-invested if Bratt maintains that level of production through most of this contract.

The Devils also filed team-elected arbitration with Timo Meier. They had hoped to get the 26-year-old winger signed up for the same term as Bratt but he seeks more money.

Meier was acquired from the San Jose Sharks before the March trade deadline. The Sharks reportedly went over $9 million annually in their efforts to re-sign him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This report suggests that taking Meier to arbitration is a way of buying time as the two sides continue to negotiate a new contract. The date for his hearing will be sometime in July or August but both sides could hammer out an agreement on a deal before then.

Meier is coming off a four-year contract with an AAV of $6 million. However, he earned $10 million in actual salary, which is what it would’ve cost the Devils to qualify his rights. In the worst-case scenario, the team-elected arbitration would reduce that qualifying offer to $8.5 million as one-year arbitration awards can be at 85 percent of the QO.

This move also ensures Meier won’t receive an offer sheet. Given how high his qualifying offer amount would’ve been, it’s doubtful that any club would’ve attempted to go that route.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators are taking winger Alex DeBrincat to team-elected arbitration. If the two sides fail to reach an agreement on a new contract, the arbitration award would be 85 percent of his $9 million qualifying offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeBrincat, 25, earned $6.4 million annually on his current contract but $9 million in actual salary this season. The report also indicates the Senators are actively shopping him and would prefer to get a deal done before July 1.

If they’re unable to move him, getting him signed to a one-year deal at $7.65 million provides them with cap flexibility to add another player. It would also perhaps make him more enticing as a trade candidate.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Jarome Iginla has returned to the Flames as the special advisor to general manager Craig Conroy. The all-time franchise leader in scoring and games played, the popular former captain was traded by the Flames to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2013.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Iginla spent 16 of his 20 NHL seasons in Calgary. He retired as a player in 2018 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2020.

It was long assumed that Iginla might one day return to the Flames in a front-office role. Conroy said he and his former teammate used to talk about one day working together in the NHL.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The Flyers yesterday announced John LeClair is returning to the club as a special advisor of hockey operations. He spent 10 seasons with the Flyers from 1994-95 to 2003-04, scoring 333 goals and 310 assists.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeClair was part of the Flyers’ famed “Legion of Doom” line alongside Eric Lindros and Mikael Renberg. He’s among their single-season leaders in goals (51) and career leaders in goals and points (643).

LeClair joins general manager Daniel Briere, president of hockey operations Keith Jones and special advisor to hockey ops Patrick Sharp among former Flyers recently hired to front-office roles.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad will undergo shoulder surgery that could keep him out of training camp in September. He expects to be ready to go by the time the regular season begins in October.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ekblad is the second Panthers blueliner undergoing shoulder surgery. However, he’s expected to be ready to return in time for the start of training camp.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars traded forward Fredrik Olofsson’s rights to the Colorado Avalanche for future considerations. They also re-signed goaltender Matt Murray to a one-year, two-way contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No, not that Matt Murray, Leafs fans…

NHL.COM: The order of selection for all seven rounds of the upcoming 2023 NHL Draft has been released. Round one begins on June 28 with the following six rounds on June 29.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind that this list could be revised if there are trades involving 2023 draft picks leading up to June 28.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Tampa Bay Lightning are reportedly set to sell a minority stake of their franchise to private equity group Arctos Sports Partners for a record $1.4 billion.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Last fall, Forbes indicated that 14 of the NHL’s 32 teams were valued at $1 billion or higher, with the Lightning sitting 14th at $1 billion. Selling their minority stake for more than its estimated value will have a ripple effect on the value of the other NHL franchises.

ESPN.COM: Las Vegas police arrested a man who threatened to carry out a mass shooting at T-Mobile Arena just four hours before Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final was played there.

Court records indicate the man has arrests in Las Vegas on various charges stretching back to 2014. He was also arrested last October on a felony charge of threatening an act of terrorism or mass destruction.


  1. One thing that doesn’t jibe in Garrioch’s column about DeBrincat this morning begins when he writes “He scored only 27 goals last season, so there’s a good chance the Senators can be successful (in arbitration) because arbitration is based on numbers. Plus, he was second worst on the Senators with a minus-31 rating. That’s the worst plus-minus rating he’s had in his career.”

    Then, a few paragraphs later when talking about a trade, he writes “The club gave up the No. 7 overall pick in last year’s draft to acquire him from the Chicago Blackhawks, so they should be able to get a good return.”

    If his stats this past season are not seen as measuring up to what they relinquished to get him, and puts him in a major disappointment category, how does he foresee them getting “a good return?” Especially if whoever does get him has to fork over something north of $8.2 mil per year off their cap and he’s only interested in signing with a few teams, most of whom have major cap issues now.

    Yes, some team with lots of cap space, but where he has no interest in signing long term, might take him for a one-year rental – but you can bet what they’d relinquish won’t be much

    I’d sure like to know what Garrioch considers “a good return.”

    • And the Sens were a minus 10 as a team, were they not ? So they were a plus 21 when Alex was not on the ice ?

      • Don’t think it works quite like that, Iago.

        5 on 5 when the opposition scores a goal all 5 on the defending team gets a minus, no matter whose fault it is – e.g. the goalie whiffs on an easy shot, or a D coughs up the puck in his own zone.

        Some of DeBrincat’s minus stats could be – and likely are – attributed to one of those examples – or other examples.

      • Yes George, I understand how +/- works. And yes, sometimes goals against happen due to other mistakes cause them that are out of control of any one individual on the ice. Having said that, it is still safe to assume that, despite DeBrincats contributions, the Sens were better when he wasn’t on the ice. You canblame others only sometimes.

        My concern about ADB coming to Detroit is that he becomes the Wings version of John Tavares – hometown boy gets to play for his favorite team (maybe he even had Red Wings pj’s as a kid) – everyone is excited- he does help- signs big contract – Wings make playoffs, but don’t succeed there – others like Seider must get paid too – Wings become cash strapped, and can’t add enough good players to get over the hump….but now stuck with overpaid player who doesn’t provide what the team really needs. Hence, my caution about both the cost to acquire him as well as sign him.

      • I get what you’re saying – but Batherson was a -35 and Pinto a -21 and DeBrincat didn’t play all that much with either.

      • I understand your concerns but Iago, but you described one player who has slightly the same circumstances and to worry about that repeating the exact same way is a little far fetched.

    • Teams have taken bigger gambles on players whose production has dropped off far worse than Debrincat. I really do not think one year at decreased numbers on a brand new team really affects the worth of a player THAT much. At least it shouldn’t…

      • Let’s hope so, theSaint.

        By the way, not mentioned in Lyle’s blurb is that the Senators have signed 19 year-old Swedish 6′ 200 lb C Oskar Pettersson to an ELC. He’ll play this coming season with his European club.

        Can’t have too many prospect C.

      • I saw that George. Oskar seems like a solid player. Looks like he had a bit of a scoring touch in the juniors but flagged off a bit when making it to senior circuit. I look forward to seeing how he develops. Management seems pretty stoked about him.

    • Hi George

      I think this (move to team elected arb( is a pure business strategy; with all “public comments” geared towards their elected strategy

      With Optioning for Arb…. Keeps him as their asset w/o actually paying anything…. Yet

      They can still negotiate a contract( can also still trade him)

      Worst case…. Player wins Arb…. Sens on hook for what they would have had to qualify him at

      Best case…. Deal reached before Arb outcome; satisfying both sides

      Next best case…. Trade satisfying both sides

      Next…. Trade that Sens don’t get what they believe is fair…. But free up cash and cap

      And….. next…. Win arb, keep player; save 15%, can still negotiate extension (Jan) or can trade him

      Let the games begin

      • Pengy, I get all that. What I don’t get is Garrioch’s reasoning that, by taking him to arbitration where they point out all his warts in order to get a 15% reduction (which they would do, as well – and in a flash – if the reduction were 20% or more – they then turn around and try to deal him as a prime player with no warts for a return commensurate with what they gave up to get him!

        As for freeing up cap – it “frees up” nothing since his expired $6.4 mil cap hit is not factored into what they to spend – which isn’t a whole lot if a goaltender is also on the menu.

  2. Great signing by NJ of Bratt, young guy who produces well and chose longevity and sweater over potential more money elsewhere.

    Refreshing to see yet another young player showing a desire to stay in place without trying to break the bank.

    • So 8 year, 63 million is not considered breaking the bank? I have to stop living under a rock it would appear.

  3. Tough little conundrum eh George? While on one hand you’re telling an arbitrator he was crap last year (even though he set career high in assists and was only down 12 points from his career high while playing in a new town, with second/third line line-mates and for coaches who couldn’t run a pee-wee level powerplay) AND on the other hand you’re telling potential trade partners…”hey look he’s scored 40 goals twice, we gave up the 7th pick for him you should give us this this and this.

    I’m hearing he may stay. And I’d be fine with that if you can get him in right around Norris/Stutzle number. He’s small. But fierce. And he’s a very very good goal scorer.

    • With all that’s gone on since the end of the season, if he did sign on long-term Dark G it would be a good sign for the rest pf the roster that he sees only bright days ahead for the team.

      On the other hand, signing him to Norris/Stutzle numbers would deplete their cap reserve pretty quick … and they still haven’t solved the goalie issue. UNLESS their analysis suggest Sogaard is ready to take the job as # 1 with a recovered Forsberg as back-up.

      That would at least allow them to sign (or trade for) a useful player in the $1.5 mil range. They are pretty close to the cap one way or another.

  4. I would not mind the Cat coming to Detroit IF:
    He is acquired for the Wings 2 extra 2023 2nds and a rostered player like Fabbri or Kubalik
    And he accepts a long term contract UNDER $8M AAV.
    He is still not a sure thing at this point, and this would be a gamble.

    • JZ
      Doubt he would sign under 8 million IMHO

      • I guess $8M AAV would be the benchmark + or – $250K

    • I’m with you Johnny. I have some warm mild interest in ADB. He would be a decent addition, but should not be considered a prime target. No 1st round picks, good young players, or top prospects in return, and a contract max of $7.5M. Mr Bruins may be right – those conditions might take Detroit out of the running for him, but, if it does, so be it.

      • I would prefer Timo at $8.25 x 8

  5. Despite the “disappointing numbers” some team is probably going to be willing to give up a good return for him. He’s only 25 and can put the puck in the back of the net. That’s what the writer is probably referring to in his column? Wether we feel he dosen’t deserve it or not, those goal scorers don’t grow on trees. He can always improve on his game defensively and I’m sure he will continue to score.

  6. Maybe it is time to trade Meier for Anderson and Xhekaj. That should help to keep the flies of the roast for NJ!

    • No.

  7. These contracts and demands are ridiculous. I am very much looking forward to the next lockout.

    • Brock a lockout just deprives us of hockey to watch for that length of time. In the end when it’s over the players will get bigger contracts, the owners will make their money back and we will pay more for tickets, beer and hot dogs.

    • Stars and scrubs rarely works in the room or on the ice. GM’s need to knock this sh#t off. Over two thirds of the teams are in cap hell. It will be interesting to see how all this shakes out. More dead money than productive $$ in the future?!?

    • >>>These contracts and demands are ridiculous. I am very much looking forward to the next lockout.

      So, you’d rather the owners make more money instead of the players making more money? That’s an interesting take.

  8. Hi Howard, from yesterday, the Habs prospects at center:


    Those with an asterisk have been listed as center/wing.

    These are all prospects, some of whom may never see the AHL let alone the NHL. You observed correctly that Dach, a center, played well at wing last year, but his natural position is still center.
    Add Suzuki, Dvorak and Evans, and per yesterday’s rumour Monahan.

    So yes, Hughes will do his due diligence re moving up in the draft. But, as you are like a lawyer with a tort 😉 re the Habs acquiring Dubois, I’d like to hear your view of how the Habs can manage a log jam at center, prospects and veterans all, and fit in a drafted high end center and Dubois too. If I understood you correctly.

    • They might not have to move up to far if at all LJ? Will Smith might be available and is predicted to go 4 or 5.

      I don’t know either player other than what I read, but basically the gist is: Michkov (4 or 5 on most boards) is the more offensively talented player, like elite goal scorer already, but is a W, and is signed to play in Russia for a while and can’t play in NHL until 26/27, and with the current geo political envorenment there is that risk as well. Plus a serious knee injury.

      But some rankings still have him at 4 since he is so talented.

      Could do a lot worse than Smith and he might be sitting there when the Habs come up.

      • True, Ray. Everyone’s lists are a bit different so which amplifies the uncertainty of drafting. Smith would not be a poor choice by any means, I’m just interested in hearing Howard’s – or anyone else’s view – of how the Habs are going to manage all their center prospects, while possibly acquiring Dubois and signing Monahan.

        As for Michkov, I would add to your list the point that he will be developed by the KHL during the next three years. Not a good thing.

      • Why not ask Jets for ability to negotiate with PLD and Schieffle….. if they get nods on amenable deals…. Sign and trade….BOTH PLD and Scheiffle for….

        Dvorak and Hoffman plus both ‘23 firsts; plus whatever number (of the 3) firsts (in ‘24 and ‘25) or lesser pics; required to get deal done

        If picks/package requested from Jets too much…. Walk away, go with Suzuki, Dvorak, Dach etc etc…., move down (not up) in draft , to improve depth; OR…. Trade 1 of both firsts this year…. For other roster needs; can always be in on PLD as s UFA 1/7/24

      • Good problem LJ, B’s will take a good one if Hughes is offering?

        Dach seems like what you would want in a 2C. Big, talented with vision, will use his body for position down low and in front. Has a few Thornton/Draisaitl type traits (not saying he is that good). Not the fastest guy, but his skating isn’t a liability.

        Maybe they just used him on the wing for a while to give the offensive guys players to play with?

        I agree with you, if I am reading it right, trading for PLD right now seems like the wrong move.

        At very least, wait until some of the young guys develop and go from there. No rush IMO.

      • Pengy, no to Scheiffle, thank you, on any terms.

        Your trade proposal for PLD significantly overvalues him. He is good but not not fantastic.

        I’d rather develop the players the Habs drafted. It’s important to keep an eye on players to be re-signed in the next few years as well. One thing we have all learned is that cap increases are not guaranteed.

    • LJ, you’ve left me with quite a bit to chew on here.

      As for PLD, let’s dial it back a bit. As you point out, I’ve often said that the Habs should make a serious effort to trade for him, but NOT at any cost. Cannot overpay in the trade. I’ve suggested Dvorak, the #31 pick and a prospect (not Hutson). No way the #5 pick should be part of the deal. I would not consider trading Matheson, Guhle, Barron, Suzuki, Caufield, Dach or Slavkovsky. I’d prefer not Anderson either. They are the building blocks.
      As for money, as I’ve said before, I’d top out at $8m. If he really does want somewhere in the $9m. range, he’s not getting it from the Habs. Not sure he is from anyone.
      At the same time, I’d have interest in Dubois at the right price because any contending team, at the very least, needs two solid centers, even if not necessarily superstars. And I don’t see it yet, quite frankly. The other day, I referenced the Basu/Godin article as to the 2 major reasons for the Habs cup drought. One of them is that they’ve rarely been deep and strong down the middle in recent years.
      Other than Suzuki, there’s no surefire top 6 center. I really like Dach but see him as a winger. What bothers me most is his extreme weakness on faceoffs. Some say that this stat is overrated, which I can understand up to a point. But on special teams and late in a close game, you need to win those draws. A team can live with a top 6 center at around 45% on draws. But Dach not being able to crack 40% is worrisome. That being said, he’s the key to whether or not to make a move for PLD. If the Habs truly see him as a top 6 center going forward, then best to forget about Dubois and better to try to pick up a young winger who can score.
      As for Monahan, obviously, he will be re-signed only if PLD trade doesn’t work out.
      As for the “logjam” at center, what may seem like a logjam doesn’t always work out that way. As you indicated, some if not most of those prospects won’t be NHLers. Firstly, Farrell and Roy played on the wing in NCAA and junior; they will be wingers if they make the NHL. I see Beck as a reliable third line center who can contribute some offense, play good defense and be strong on draws. Same with Kidney. There are those who think his shot isn’t good enough for the NHL. Mysak has been ineffective in the AHL so far. He’ll likely be playing in Europe before long. I’m skeptical about Davidson. He was passed over in 2 drafts before the Habs took him in the 5th round. His last couple of years were more of a product of being 19/20 years old in a league filled with 16/17 year olds. Kapanen looks good, but who knows. Same with the draft. They may very well lose out on the top 4 centers and wind up with a winger. So the “logjam” may be a mirage.
      With that, I’m signing off for the Sabbath. Have a pleasant weekend everyone.

  9. Hi Lyle

    Re “DAILY FACEOFF: The Tampa Bay Lightning are reportedly set to sell a minority stake of their franchise to private equity group Arctos Sports Partners for a record $1.4 billion”

    Is this a typo, and they actually meant minority share of the Bolts (now valued at $1.4 B)?

    Purchasing at $1.4 B; a minority share (has to be less than 50%) then puts value of Bolts at $2.8 M minimum????

    If minority share is 40%….. Bolts overall valued at $3.5 B?

    Numbers seem off

    Thanks in advance for clarifying