NHL Morning Coffee Headlines and Rumors – July 23, 2023
Evgeny Kuznetsov eligible to return to international competition, Bruins reportedly cut ties with Mitchell Miller in February, plus the latest on Erik Karlsson, Matt Dumba, and Tony DeAngelo in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines and Rumors.
MORNING COFFEE HEADLINES
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Evgeny Kuznetsov is now eligible to return to participate in international hockey events. The 31-year-old Washington Capitals center received a four-year ban for cocaine use in June 2019 which officially ended on June 12 of this year.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kuznetsov won’t be participating in international competition with his native Russia anytime soon. That country is currently not allowed to take part in such events due to its ongoing war with Ukraine.
The Bruins signed Miller on Nov. 4 but soon disassociated themselves from the 21-year-old defenseman following backlash over the signing. At age 14, Miller pled guilty to one count of assault and one count of violating the Ohio Safe Schools Act for a series of racially-motivated acts against a developmentally challenged classmate over a series of months.
The Bruins terminated Miller’s contract and the NHL Players Association filed a grievance on his behalf. A source tells Brooks that a settlement was reached back in February in lieu of a hearing releasing the Bruins from their obligation while paying Miller an undisclosed amount of money and granting him free agency. He’s expected to seek employment in Europe.
SUNDAY NHL RUMOR ROUNDUP
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski cited Erik Karlsson telling the Swedish publication Expressen that he’s not okay with returning to the San Jose Sharks. While he likes living and playing in San Jose, he’s at the stage in his career where he risks running out of chances to win the Stanley Cup.
Karlsson said Sharks general manager Mike Grier knows his position and is trying to accommodate him. Still, Kingerski believes this will put additional pressure on Grier to get a deal done this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Based on recent reports it appears that the Karlsson sweepstakes is down to the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes with the Penguins considered the front-runners. The offers and counter-offers have been made and now everyone waits to see if the Penguins, Hurricanes or Sharks blink first.
TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby took note of Karlsson’s admission in the same interview that he’s spoken with the Maple Leafs as well as several other clubs regarding a trade.
Hornby, however, isn’t getting too excited about this. He pointed out that the Pittsburgh Penguins seem much closer to landing Karlsson. He also noted that Leafs general manager Brad Treliving likes to get into trade discussions involving elite players, “if only to wave his team’s flag.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, Treliving looked into it but it’s doubtful he has a legitimate show at landing Karlsson.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Remy Mastey recently cited Sportsnet’s Luke Fox reporting the Arizona Coyotes have emerged as the leading candidates to sign Matt Dumba. The Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres and Dallas Stars also reportedly had interest along with the Sharks. Dumba, 28, is the top defenseman remaining in this summer’s unrestricted free-agent market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what type of contract Dumba signed regardless of which team gets him. He could bet on himself with a one-year deal in the hope of landing a more lucrative deal next summer when the salary cap is projected to rise by $4 million for 2024-25.
The Hurricanes had a deal in place with the Flyers to bring back DeAngelo earlier this month. However, the deal was held up on a CBA technicality and eventually fell through. The Flyers subsequently bought out the final year of his contract, making the 27-year-old defenseman an unrestricted free agent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I daresay Karlsson’s availability changed things for the Hurricanes. We can’t rule out the possibility of them circling back to DeAngelo but recent reports indicate they haven’t spoken with his camp since he was bought out earlier this month.