NHL Morning Coffee Headlines and Rumors – July 23, 2023

by | Jul 23, 2023 | News, NHL, Rumors | 23 comments

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.


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.

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (NHL Images).

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.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Boston Bruins have parted ways with defenseman Mitchell Miller.

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.


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.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Chuck Bausman wondered if the Carolina Hurricanes might consider bringing back Tony DeAngelo as “Plan B” if their efforts to acquire Erik Karlsson fall through.

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.


  1. Off topic

    All quiet on the William Nylander front

    If they trade him , U most likely have another expensive contract coming back
    Or – A blatant hole on the right wing
    If Leaf’s can over come the over spend on the cap – buy out Murray
    Muzzin -LTIR
    Maybe even buyout Brodie ?
    Perhaps they keep Nylander , take another kick at the can

    They still need an enforcing defender to compete
    I don’t know how that is accomplished

    • The obvious answer is a trade with Carolina for Pesce, however I dont see them paying him 10m. Could they both take a chance on a player for one year without having them signed? All this might change depending on what AM signs for, if he takes a discount maybe WN does the same and resigns

      • A rumour had Matthews at 13.5, term was the issue. If that`s true and the cap goes up as much as they say, it would leave Toronto about 33 million to sign 11 players. The big question is what does Samsonov get. If he gets 4.9 mill then somebody has to go besides the Murray buy out. If Brodie can be replaced with a less expensive guy, then they have a way out.

    • Hi Ken

      Buyout for sure… Murray easier… more savings…I’m not 100% sure but I believe it is 1 buyout (in 2nd window) for EACH Arb case…. If not… media would have been discussing BOTH Granlund AND Petry buyouts (for O’Connor Arb case)

      Either way…. Leafs with a buyout still need to do more for the cap space

      WW for a 2nd pairing Dman at lesser Cap hit is ideal

      My choice would be Oleksiak. Pesce works as well

      Harder to see Tre deal with Canes (who they would likely have to go through in any hopes of getting to SCF )

      Dealing with Kraken easier

      I’ve posted before… the politically challenging but much more logical move is

      AM to Kraken


      McC, Oleksiak, Tanev

      3 for the same Cap hit that AM will get; more points coming in than leaving

      • Pengy you either hate the Leafs with a passion or your goal is to make Mike Milbury look good with your trade suggestions.

      • That trade is right out of the Peter chiarelli gm handbook

      • Pengy, no more cocktails for you today. You’ve had enough.

    • Most importantly, they need a goalie. They need a lot of work to ever be considered a playoff contender.

      • Would like to know as a lifelong Boston fan what happened in the Miller fiasco? Why is everything so. Secretive?Who was responsible Neeley or Sweeney for signing this kid?This was very conveniently swept under the rug during the teams historic season!If he was bought out in February why did we not hear about it?

    • Hi Ken,

      I think if they had re-signed Big Physical Rd/man Luke Shenn 2 yrs at $2M they could have bought out RD Brodie at $5.M or traded him with a sweetener
      LS was very Solid for the leafs in there playoff run,
      leafs have 4 RD men out of 7 right now

      The leafs d still need work, it looks Very Very Mediocre again this year, they are not going very fair this this d/core

      Re; WN
      if they trade RW Nylander for a 1st pick and very good prospect and A ? …..🤔
      they could go after local boy RW Travis Konecny❓
      but beore they do this they should try to move
      John (NMC) Tavares.. and keep WN.
      would be good for the new kid in Chicago they have cap space…??

  2. I bet good money that a KHL team will sign Mitch Miller.
    Leafs may not be able to buy out Murray if he is considered injured. I don’t believe the Leafs have any players going to arbitration, so it’s past the buyout period for them anyways

    • Hi Mike

      As at now , Murray NOT on LTIR… not sure if they can all of a sudden put him on LTIR

    • Mike, Samsonov and the Leafs had their arbitration hearing on Friday. Decision will come today or tomorrow. So they’ll have a buyout window after the decision comes down

      • Howard,
        The Samsonov hearing result come in Today some time Sunday….👍

        The Leafs need to get Matt Murry Sorted out ASAP,
        maybe a Buy out ….. ❓or Trade, Ducks have $28M & Hawks have $15.M in Cap Space, could cost them a pick or a prospect…..🤔

      • Howard, if you have not heard by now. Samsonov was awarded $3.55m

  3. PENGY. is AM Auston Mathew’s ..? If so, you are dreaming! Is it so hard to spell out a name?

    • After the hearing today,
      Ilya Samsonov now at $3.55M for 1 more year.
      then he is a UFA on July 1st 2024.

      The 2nd Buy out window open’s on Wednesday 26th
      for Goaltender Matt Murray
      He is eligable to be bought out with his $4.7M salary for 1 more year, That still leaves the leafs $2.1M over the cap
      Thats after- Muzzens $5.6M contract on IR…

      ➡️Look for the leafs to Dump a RD-man TJ Brodie & his $5.M Salary for 1 more year and go after a UFA d/man like Dumba or DeAngelo…..🤔

      • Willie, who exactly will the Leafs be dumping Brodie on. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, it hasn’t been a great summer for teams looking to offload bad contracts. The Leafs would have to retain half his salary and add a nice sweetener. Plus, Brodie can submit a ten team no trade list. With so many teams strapped for cap space, he could effectively turn that into a full no trade clause.

  4. @ Pengy

    Never thought of Murray on LTIR

    Hypochondriac syndrome maybe

    Auston Matthews getting traded would cause Absolute chaos amongst the fans
    I am not opposed , but cannot see that happening , never say never – Gretzgy has been traded , but ownership at the time ???

    Matthews signing at a discount might entice Nylander to do the same as mentioned by Kent Nilsson

    Now the Samsonov decision – throw the cap in a worst case scenario ???

    I Do like VERY MUCH – the Bertuzzi – Domi editions !!!
    Couldn’t be more happier !

    • Howard thats a very good Question….who?

      Ducks are the only team who need to take on Cap before season starts @$6.5M….. or sign a player
      they could do wiith one more d/man…? like a Dumba or DeAngelo and trade them at the deadline for Good draft picks….🤔👍

      Ducks also need to sign ,Trevor Zegras, & Troy Terry, but they also have $28.M in cap space⁉️

      The leafs will need to do something to get under the cap
      Calle Järnkrok $2.1M would get them under it..?
      dumping RD-man TJ Brodie & his $5.M Salary could give them extra money to spend

      Here is a wild one,
      Matt Murray & TJ Brodie and a 1st pick in 2024 to Chicago or The Ducks as they the ducks are $6.5M under the cap and could do with more draft picks for there Re-build
      do the Leafs just do a Big buy out…❓
      we will see Wednesday when the buy out window opens…

  5. Currently the Leafs at at the max over the cap. You can not use Muzzin until the season starts. What happens with the Samsonov award if after 48 hours that has now increased from 10 to 14% of the cap ? There has to be a fine or penalty of some sort.
    It won’t happen and Murray bought out. He will be available for awhile unless Dubas snaps him up again.
    Backlund Hanifin first Zara for Nylander . Flames pay Willie Styles $10

  6. Carolina had one of the best defenses in the NHL last year. Only Boston was better. I am not sure why you would want to break that up. Karlsson may be good but he is not the team. If the rumors are true that him and Burns don’t get along what’s the point. Plus the money doesn’t make any “cents” at all. I would rather keep Pesce. Hurry up Pittsburgh and sign him already…..please.

  7. Ken, what would you consider to be a discount for Mathews? I don’t see him taking a discount, he’s going to want to be the top paid player in the league in my opinion.

    He made 4.6 million per year more than Nylander in the last contracts. Is he worth that much more than Nylander today? I would say no. Last year they each had 40 goals. Yes Mathews is worth more, but I don’t think he’s worth more than 2 million per year more.

    Mathews will want a raise, so even a $400,000 per year raise would put him at 12 million. If that happens, you can bet Nylander will hold out for 10 million (and I doubt Mathews will settle for 12 million.)