NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 4, 2023

by | Jul 4, 2023 | News, NHL | 22 comments

Check out the latest on Blake Wheeler, Marc Staal, Cam Talbot and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

WINNIPEG SUN: Former Jets winger Blake Wheeler had nothing but good things to say about his former club, the city of Winnipeg and Jets fans during his introductory meeting with the New York media on Monday.

Blake Wheeler signed a one-year contract with the New York Rangers (NHL Images).

Wheeler, 36, signed a one-year contract with the Rangers on Saturday a day after the Jets bought out the final year of his contract. He was the Jets’ longest-serving player, having moved with the club from Atlanta to Winnipeg in 2011. He is their franchise leader in games played (897), assists (550) and points (812).

I have nothing but gratitude to that city and organization and that fan base…I’m really proud to leave on great terms.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wheeler handled his departure from the Jets quite well. In time, the franchise will likely honor his accomplishments once his playing career is over.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The Flyers signed defenseman Marc Staal to a one-year, 35-plus contract worth $1.1 million. General manager Daniel Briere said the 36-year-old was brought in to add a veteran presence for their younger players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staal was the most notable of a quiet day of contract signings with just 14 players inking new deals on Monday. Blame the combination of a flattened salary cap and a free-agent pool already short on big-name talent when the market opened on July 1.

LA HOCKEY NOW: Cam Talbot said he’s excited about playing again for Kings coach Todd McLellan. The 35-year-old goaltender’s best seasons were when he played for McLellan with the Edmonton Oilers. He indicated that was a big selling point in convincing him to sign a one-year, 35-plus contract with the Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Goaltending was considered a prime issue for the Kings to address this summer. Talbot’s age and recent injury history hampered his performance over the past two years. He will be paired with Pheonix Copley as the Kings’ goalie tandem to start the season.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Jonathan Drouin is looking forward to a fresh start with the Avalanche after a difficult six-year tenure with the Montreal Canadiens. The 28-year-old winger was hampered by injuries and personal issues during his time with the Habs. He signed a one-year, $825K contract with the Avalanche, reuniting him with his friend and former Junior teammate Nathan MacKinnon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A solid performance with the Avs this season will help Drouin get his flagging NHL career back on track. It remains to be seen if he’ll be skating alongside MacKinnon but just being his teammate again could have a positive effect on Drouin’s game.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The Red Wings yesterday placed Filip Zadina on waivers. General manager Steve Yzerman said the move was made after attempting to trade the 23-year-old winger. Yzerman indicated Zadina’s agent has approached him before the draft asking for a trade to provide his client with an opportunity for a fresh start elsewhere.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The sixth-overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, Zadina has struggled to play up to expectations as a scoring winger. His best performance thus far was a 24-point effort in 74 games during the 2021-22 campaign. He’s signed through 2024-25 and could remain with the Wings if he clears waivers at noon ET today.


  1. Wheeler…. Steal of a contract by Rangers

    Drouin…. I had posted several times…. 1 year…. Low pay (as long as $1.2 M or less… which it is)…., basically zero risk…., if he can’t play at that pay grade…. Bury …. No cap hit…, great move by Avs

    Was looking at CapFriendly….

    Non 35+ true C’s who played at least 45 games last year

    Stepan (33), $750 K last year
    Nosek(30), $2M last year
    Pius Suter (27)$3.75 M last year;
    Boquist (only 24) ; $875 K no QO

    I know Boquist is slight … 6’ , 180…. But plays all three forward spots; only 24; 10-11-21 ; plus 8 in 70 GP…. Was only needed to be qualified at $875 K…. Why wasn’t he qualified?

    That’s just $100 K over league min???

    Someone should offer him the low risk 1 @ $1M (or less) contract

    Non 35 + D, that played at least 45 games

    Stone (33)…RD…. Last year … League min

    Hamonic (32)…RD….last year $3.25 M

    Beaulieu (30) LD/RD…. $850 K

    Harrington (30….LD… $750 K

    Dumba (28)…RD….. $5.2 M

    Caleb Jones (26) LD/RD …$1.35 M

    Bear (24) RD…$2.2 M No QO

    Benoit (24) LD… $759 K. No QO

    Foote (24) RD…$850 K. No QO

    Somebody has to offer Foote a low risk 1 year $1M?????

    Stone, Beaulieu, Harrington…. 1 year @ League min…. Zero risk to teams,,,, can always bury the contract

    Bear…. $1.5 M , 1 year… “show me” contract???

    If Pens can’t get EK; must move Petry…. Give Dumba 1 @ $4M “prove you can” contract

  2. @Pengy

    U have to like this Leaf’s lineup far more than what exited the playoffs !

    Domi is over the top , I could just imagine his dad’s emotion!

    Bertuzzi will have a banner year , just hope they can resign him !

    Nylander , asking for 10 million won’t be do able , although he may be worth it , another team to swallow that pill won’t be an easy task either ..
    Nashville has gobbled up 2 of our regulars , perhaps they would like to conduct some real business . I am sure they are stacked with prospects .
    Anaheim has shown interest ..
    Package Nylander and Brodie , trim the cap , hopefully land a defenseman , problem is – hole on the wing ??

    Ps… No way Bertuzzi and Domi are Leaf’s, if Dubas was still in command !
    Goodbye Dubas
    Thanks for the memories !

    • Hi Ken

      Love the Bert/Domi adds

      That said…. As at this very moment (things will change); but as at this moment… Leafs are weaker than team that exited….

      Bunting replaced by Bert…. Upgrade…. But not in leaps and bounds; noticeable … but marginally so

      Holl replaced by Klinger…. Offensive uptick for sure…. Both equally problematic defensively… call it a slight uptick (only in that offence is not Leafs pitfalls)

      Simmonds replaced by Reaves…. Uptick in “prevention” if you know what I mean; down tick slightly re offence…. Call it a saw off

      RoR replaced by Domi… love Domi but he in no way is the 200’ player and great face off guy that RoR is… so that is a downtick for me

      Kerfoot AND Accairi…. As at now; replaced by Robertson

      *over cap now…. So someone moving out (WW??) nust to balance cap…. Downtick

      Here is the huge one…. As of this very minute… Samsonov not signed…. So…. Samsinov replaced by Murray…. Massive downtick

      So…. As of this very minute…. IMVHO , Leafs are worse than the team that got ousted Round 2

      Early summer and things will change…. But pieces in (right now) weaker/lesser than pieces out

      🤞🙏 on Tre being able to do stuff

      Re Domi and/or Bert not being Leafs had Dubas stayed… one yes; both no… you are bang on

      You are so correct re WW’s ask…, his playoff performance and play last two years warrants a raise… and a fair size one at that
      Yes I’m sure he’s (and his Dad is) fixated on what Marner makes. Let’s not forget that he (well… his dad) held out last time

      He’s only owed $2.5 M cash ($7M Cap) now…. 40 Gs… PPG…. Certainly a tradable asset

      Should be moved…. But a D coming back ; of similar (close) Cap…. Doesn’t help the Cap situation; AND Samsonov still not signed

      Whatever Tre does…. Under no circumstances should he be flipping WW and Samsonov to Ducks for Gibson (as some in the media are suggesting)

      Gibson is not what he was (and yes was behind a bad D… but still not good)…. But most importantly… Samsonov is better; will cost less in Cap

      Tre…. Roll up your sleeves; make many calls; pray often, humbly, and at length


      • Hi Pengy

        U can’t actually say Bunting is a close comparison to Tyler Bertuzzi , or as you put it, not leaps and bounds
        1. Sorry, Lol! Bertuzzi is a substantially better hockey player than Bunting !
        No Cimparison …,

        2. I am not a Samsonov fan , he is not going to lead us to Lord Stanley
        Hopefully , Treliving procrastinating on the Samsonov signing is for that very own reason , he is seeking someone more substantial in between the pipes, although I do really like Joseph Woll .

        3. I really like Domi , He really wants to be in Toronto !!!
        ROR , if he were to stay , I am not sure Bertuzzi or Domi would be aboard

        4. I wish we could of kept Luke Schenn , I don’t quite understand the Klingberg signing , but Treliving is wanting a power play weapon and views the player , as having a bad year , prove to me for further consideration ordeal

      • “Bertuzzi is substantially better…”

        career stats for pro-rated 82-game season:
        G: 23.1
        A: 31.7
        PIM: 49.0 (proxy for hits, since I can’t find that)
        PPP: 12.6
        +/-: minus-39 (total), includes

        G: 25.0
        A: 30.3
        PIM: 86.4
        PPP: 7,9
        +/-: +47 (total)

        Um, what am I missing? Seem pretty similar to me.

  3. Yesterday it was mentioned that Garrioch wrote that the Senators were “linked” to Vladimir Tarasenko.

    This morning, in an article indicating DeBrincat is seeking Meier money and term, Garrioch writes “There’s talk the 31-year-old (Tarasenko) isn’t thrilled with the idea of playing in Canada, but we’re led to believe he doesn’t have many options so the Senators shouldn’t be ruled out at all.”

    Let the SOB go play in Mother Russia … maybe he’ll get a tour of The Ukraine.

    • I agree. Tarasenko is quite clearly on the down slope of his career but still expects to be paid like a star. Word is that he’ll be signing with the Canes. Likely a one year deal at a massive pay cut.

  4. Off the beaten path a little. But what if you’re MTL and you offer Gallagher, Hoffman, throw in a prospect and/or pick to SJ for Karlsson?

    • Will take more then that and he would veto the trade as he wants to win a cup. Habs years away

    • RM,
      absolutely not.

      The thing about Drouin is that he cannot play on the 4th line.
      He is a skilled high talent payer , unfortunately he can’t put it together in the NHL

      • Hi HF30

        Fully agree where he should play in the lineup

        Try him top 6…: even 3rd line… if he fails…. Waive him… zero Cap hit

        This (basically) zero risk; with potential for reward (production anything more than League min Cap he is getting)…. Was a great move

        I wanted Pens to offer him similar and have him try out at 3C…. Has to be better than Granlund…. If Drouin fails…. Bury him in the AHL… waive first…. Maybe someone picks him up even… then completely off the books

        Drouin has absolutely everything to prove

        IMVHO…. This was not only a logical move; but a great one… zero risk(other than cash… and owners are rolling in dough)

        He’s not a caustic guy in the dressing room…. So league minimum to (at the worst) be paid to play in the AHL

        Best case…. Hr performs at a level that his talent CAN…. He gets paid with better contract next year; Avs get a return on asset greater than investment made

        Methinks the end result is between those twi goalposts…. Which means both Avs and Drouin gain (he’ll get some contract with some NHL team next year

    • RM, not even close. Aging veterans are the exact opposite of what the Sharks need. And the Habs, in rebuild mode, shouldn’t be looking at a player of Karlssons age and contract. And as Mrbruin4 indicates, EK wants no part of a rebuild at this time

    • Not to pile on, Ronald, but one reason the Habs traded Edmundson was to make room for the young D they already have.

      Indeed, look for them to move one more D before the season starts.

    • How about Habs give them Gallagher and Hoffman for free ? 😉

      • Hey Mike, you forgot Armia. All 3 for “ future considerations”

  5. @George

    Supposedly the Hurricanes are committing to Taresenko ?

    So much for Nylander landing in Carolina

    • They can have him!

  6. Nobody’s picking up Zadina on waivers. His cap hit is over $1.8m. for two more years and he’s not worth half that. All Detroit can really do is hope he can pick up his game. Failing that, cut ties after his contract is up.

  7. No one in Winnipeg should complain about Blake Wheeler!

    The man played his heart out for that team and never took a shift off.

    Great leader and well respected, absolute solid pickup by the rangers.

  8. Here’s hoping that Drouin works out but I am pessimistic! I think the Avalanche should have focused their attention elsewhere. I am hoping for a hockey trade that involves Girard going out. I like him and I believe the Avalanche love him but to me to fill some holes in the line up, he should be packaged? Or use the damn LTIR for good use. You are going to have to pay someone wether you like it or not? The absence of Kadri & Burakovksky are glaring. GO AVS!!!!

    • Avs had a solid lineup tommyboy, but I agree that not using existing space seems like a missed opportunity, especially with some guys like Bertuzzi taking 1 year deals.

      Still teams out there that need to move salary, and will need to sell at a discount. So being in the Avs position could lead to a bargain acquisition in terms of assets given up. It shouldn’t cost Girard, who if they lost him would create a hole in the lineup. TDL still to come, plus Kane is sitting out there, and if he’s healthy…..

      Good chance we see a cost cutting move that will benefit COL before the season starts.

  9. I don’t think we can wait for TDL? Last year we had an AHL team most nights with injuries. We can’t go through that again w/o production. It took its toll on everyone. Other guys didn’t get the job done! Always up to MacKinnon and Rantanen Nothing left in the tank come playoffs. Chemistry is important. Don’t want Kane. Not crazy about Drouin as well. Hoping I am terribly wrong. We could have used some of that money on a bigger dman. They were out there. But whatever? I saw where Heinen is available. If the Avalanche are not going to spend that much, then he is a bargain. Always liked him on Boston and Pittsburgh. Maybe like you said, now that the dust is settling from free agency, there will be someone really good. Read something about Reinhart as a possibility?