NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 21, 2023

by | Jul 21, 2023 | News, NHL | 11 comments

An update on Sebastian Aho’s contract talks, the latest on Brock Boeser and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, plus the latest contract signings and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell said the club is closing in on a contract extension with Sebastian Aho. The 25-year-old center is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next July. He’s in the final season of a five-year contract with an average annual value of $8.454 million.

Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho (NHL Images)

We’re working on it, getting close,” said Waddell. The Hurricanes GM indicated the two sides are talking “almost daily”, adding that he remains hopeful of reaching an agreement “in the next week or so.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This shouldn’t come as a surprise. There’s no way the Hurricanes are going to let their best offensive player walk away next summer.

Aho is a key reason why the Canes are a Stanley Cup contender this season. He could be in line for a maximum eight-year contract worth an AAV between $9.5 million and $10 million.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser is working out with a new trainer this summer in the hope of reaching peak fitness for this season. The 26-year-old winger’s performance improved after Rick Tocchet took over as head coach. There’s reason for optimism if Boeser can also avoid injuries.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A healthy, productive Boeser will be a crucial part of the Canucks playoff aspirations in 2023-24.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Oliver Ekman-Larsson is looking forward to a bounce-back performance with the Panthers after being bought out of his contract by the Canucks last month. The 32-year-old defenseman admitted a broken foot suffered during the 2022 IIHF World Championship adversely affected his offseason training last summer and contributed to his poor performance in 2022-23.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ekman-Larsson’s performance has been in decline for several years but it really fell off last season. Perhaps a healthier offseason with a new club will lead to some improvement. Having signed a one-year, $2.25 million contract, he’s an affordable gamble for the Panthers.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs hired Guy Boucher and Mike Van Ryn as assistant coaches. Boucher will work with the power play while Van Ryn is expected to help with the defense.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The additions of Boucher and Van Ryn prompted questions about head coach Sheldon Keefe’s future with the Leafs. He has a year remaining on his contract but remains unconcerned about his status. “The other stuff will work itself out over time,” said Keefe.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of hiring assistant coaches, the Capitals have brought in Kirk Muller and Kenny McCudden. Muller spent the past two seasons as an associate coach with the Calgary Flames while McCudden is coming off an eight-year tenure with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

TSN: The Dallas Stars have added former goaltender Ben Bishop as a player development coordinator. His main focus will be working with players from their AHL affiliate as well as prospects from Junior A and the NCAA.

TSN: The Chicago Blackhawks and forward Philipp Kurashev await an arbiter’s decision after entering his scheduled hearing yesterday without a deal. The decision will come within 48 hours.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per the 2020 memorandum of understanding (MOU) extending the collective bargaining agreement, negotiations cannot continue between the team and the player once the arbitration hearing has begun.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Former Pittsburgh Penguins forward Derek Grant has signed with the ZSC Lions in Switzerland’s National League. Grant, 33, has 132 points in 427 NHL games with the Penguins, Ottawa Senators, Calgary Flames, Buffalo Sabres, Nashville Predators, Anaheim Ducks and Philadelphia Flyers.


  1. to the Bruins fans here …what do you think the B’s are going to do with DeBrusk ? They probably won’t sign him to another contract he’s going to be looking for 6+ million per, will the let him walk after this coming season,try to trade before season starts or around trade deadline…My thoughts is pair him with a goalie or a Dman and try to get a legit youg center who has contract left now.. Put the $$$ in the bank to restock next offseason

    • Joe

      I think Sweeney will discuss an extension for DeBrusk. But if term and $$ are too high he will get moved for assets bruins cannot afford to let him walk as their cupboard is pretty empty in regards to picks and prospects.

    • Joe, I’m hoping he signs. Subtract Debrusk from the Bruins and tell me who replaces him?

      For those who think Debrusk was/is a first round bust; only 9 players in the 2015 draft have more goals than Debrusk who was drafted 14th overall.

      I hope Debrusk resigns in Boston, as the bruins have no one to replace him.

  2. B’s should concentrate on getting Schiefele from WPG, even if it means giving up Debrusk. B’s looking pretty weak down the middle, can Zacha repeat his success? is Coyle really as top 6 forward?

    • Mike

      Don’t think peg would do a debrusk for Schiefle trade without a good idea Debrusk would sign there. Which he probably would not

      • Long post warning!

        I think DeBrusk would want to see how WPG is doing before he would sign there, I wouldn’t be surprised if he thought the same thing about Boston.

        Do we really know how they will do next year? I sure don’t.

        Solid in net, solid on D, thin up front without a true 1C or 2C. I’m hopeful about Zacha, but a big question mark if he can drive the bus offensively in that role. I luv Coyle for what he does, but he isn’t that.

        Prospect cupboard is bare as is their depth.

        Playoff team? Maybe? Looks like mushy middle IMO. But they should defend and keep goals down, so they should win some games.

        No assets to trade for a top C without playing whack a mole.

        More cap space next year, more holes to address as well.

        IMO Sweeney is in no rush, sees how it goes in the first half of the year, if good, keep going and give it a go. If not some quality guys you can move for young assets and picks.

        Jacobs doesn’t like missing out on the playoff gate, but might have to get used to it for a while.

        Kinda remind me of the Rags a few years ago, some quality guys, but not enough, and had a reasonably quick turn around/rebuild. Average rebuild is 7 years to get back in playoffs.

        Only way to get a top C, IMO is as a UFA, if they get there. Matthews will sign, Aho will sign, Sheifele will be 32 and get signed for too many years, which leaves Lindholm, which would be great, but IMO he either signs in Calgary or gets traded to a place he will sign. These types of guys don’t get to UFA very often, but hey, never know.

        I understand why they haven’t started the rebuild/retool, whatever you want to call it, but I don’t see how it isn’t gonna come within the next 2 years.

        I got my 4 year old grandson an new B’s jersey as the old one was too small already, and tried to explain to him it’s gonna be a while so don’t give up hope!

        We will see, but the type of players we need usually get drafted. Unless you want to move a guy like McAvoy. Whack a mole.

      • Ray I don’t like your post!!!! Kills any hope i have.

        All kidding aside.

        With Lindholm, Carlo and McAvoy on the back end and Swayman and Ullmark (as it stands today) in nets.

        This team is not going to finish in the bottom 11; which is the worst area to finish between 15 – 21

        Can’t do a solid rebuild from that area. I may also add Vegas did quite well without drafting a number 1 or 2 centerman.

        It can be done.

        But if not Then hanging onto a 27yr old Pastrnak may not be idea.

      • Ya, what Vegas did was impressive, but they gave up some quality to get Eichel. Who had yet to have a pretty new procedure on his neck which drove the price down. Quality the B’s don’t have, at least in young assets.

        I’m OK with it if they have to rebuild, it’s been a long and successful stretch. It’s just how the cycle works in the cap era.

        If I am pleasantly surprised and they can play shut down hockey and get us another playoff run, it’s just a bonus and will enjoy!

        Go Jays, Go Riders, Go Bears, will cheer on the local Oil as well if they don’t.

    • I’d hang on to DeBrusk unless he was adament about not re-signing in Boston.
      While B’s need a #1 center, I don’t think Schief is the answer because he’s on the other side of the bell curve and he’s going to want a 6-8 year deal. If you can get him on a 2-4 year deal, then fine.
      I read a rumor that Krejki is def done but that Bergeron would re-sign for 1 more year (1/2 year) around the New Year after resting and recovering. If true, B’s will still need a top until he returns. But not sure there is one out there to get.

  3. Hiring Boucher is a good move. He can mop up if they make a decision on Keefe.

  4. if DeBrusk becomes a UFA…
    He would love to play in his home town team of Edmonton…..But would like to be back in the West he is a family guys & has a house in Edmonton etc….