NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 7, 2023

by | Jul 7, 2023 | News, NHL | 35 comments

The Kings sign Anze Kopitar to a contract extension, the Red Wings terminate Filip Zadina’s contract, the Senators sign Zack MacEwen, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines

LA HOCKEY NOW: The Kings signed captain Anze Kopitar to a two-year, $14 million contract extension. The average annual value is $7 million and comes with a full no-movement clause for the 35-year-old center.

Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kopitar is accepting a $3 million pay cut from his current cap hit of $10 million. Nevertheless, some observers feel the Kings overpaid to keep their captain in the fold beyond 2023-24, pointing to his age and lack of speed. They’re concerned the Kings won’t get full value should his play decline.

There’s a good chance Kopitar’s performance will drop off over the tenure of his next contract. Indeed, that decline could begin during the coming season.

On the other hand, Kopitar could remain the Kings’ best all-around forward. He’s been a model of consistency and durability throughout his NHL career. During his 17 NHL seasons (all with the Kings), he’s reached or exceeded 60 points 14 times and led the Kings in scoring in 15 of those seasons. That includes 2022-23 when he tallied 74 points.

In short, Kopitar’s new contract could be money well spent if he at least remains among the Kings’ best forwards.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The Red Wings placed Filip Zadina on unconditional waivers on Thursday to terminate his contract by mutual consent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings attempted to trade Zadina (at his request) but couldn’t find any takers. He also cleared waivers earlier this week. The Wings took this step after the 23-year-old winger reportedly informed them that he wouldn’t report to their AHL affiliate if he were demoted.

The sixth-overall pick in the 2018 draft, Zadina struggled to reach expectations as a scoring forward. He’s giving up the remaining two years of his contract and $4.56 million in actual salary over that time, hoping for a fresh start elsewhere as an unrestricted free agent.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators signed forward Zack MacEwen to a three-year, $2.35 million contract. The average annual value is $775K.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators hope MacEwen will add more muscle to the lineup. They also don’t want captain Brady Tkachuk fighting in every game.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The Washington Capitals signed Andrew Cristall to a three-year, entry-level contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cristall, 18, was projected by some observers to be chosen in the first round of the 2023 NHL Draft. Instead, he dropped into the second round where the Capitals choose him 40th overall. As the report indicates, this could be a steal for the Caps, especially after Cristall impressed during their recent rookie development camp.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson recently said he’s very close to being done making offseason moves. He indicated that they might make a depth addition or two via free agency but could remain patient on that and wait until the fall.


  1. MacEwen replaces Watson, I will miss Watson’s character but not his pugilistic ability

  2. Kings/Anze…. good on ya!!

    Zadina… as I posted yesterday…. Basically zero risk for any team to offer him $1M…, if he doesn’t show like $1M in training camp…. Waive him… if no one picks him up… he’s already indicated he won’t play in the AHL.; so off your books. If someone does take him off waivers…. Off your books

    To ‘Nucks, Flyers, and Kings fans here re Zack MacEwan

    I am not familiar with him or his play

    Signing (Sens) 3 years at league minimum is a strange contract for someone in their mid 20’s

    Am I wrong in reading between the lines that this player is already convinced that he has zero chance at becoming anything but a 13th/14th forward with extended stints on the 4th line; never to be asked in on the 3rd line?

    He didn’t even negotiate an increase (however small) for year 3?

    He played in 56 games last year; 75 the year before that

    I just looked on CapFriendly and couldn’t find any other player that signed a 1 way; 3 year; League Min contract???

    He’s listed at 6’3” , 205, a rightie that plays both C and RW

    Or did Sens snag a cheap journeyman with big knuckles for 3 years?

    Is he just an intimidator/enforcer or is there more to his game?

    Looks like he had a few bouts in 21/22

    If he truly is a small Ryan Reaves… why not at least get a raise yr 3?

    What am I missing??

    • Pengy , MacEwen went for the security of a 3 year deal. He’s not an elite scrapper but is a gamer from what I have seen . As noted by Lyle he will take the onus off of Tkachuk to police. If he can chip in with 10-15 points and keep other teams from taking cheap shots at players like Stutzle then its worth it imo.

      • Thanks Fergy

        Makes sense on security… the not asking for say $800 K -$825 K Yr 3… just a $25 K to $50 k raise; when Cap will be $92 M… strange

        Great pick up by Sens then

        Doobie…. Could have had some Sid protection for just $775 K!!!!

    • I agree with you concerning Zadina. He is absolutely worth a shot. He was never seen as a locker room problem in Detroit. Over time, he kost confidence, and stopped playing the way he needs to to play to be effective. He was playing too tight, trying not to make a mistake, and gripped the stick too tightly. You could almost hear him thinking that every shot he took HAD to go in. I thought he worked hard to become a complete player, and was injured last season blocking a shot. I am a little sad to see him leave Detroit, and wish him well. He will need to loosen up a bit, and play a simple game, and not overtime. He does have a hard accurate wrister. I hope someone picks him up. Anyone who has the brass to walk away from $4.5M and bet on himself deserves another chance.

      • Thanks Iago

        $1M prove me contract…. If he succeeds…, he’ll get paid on next contract

        Doobie… Let me make this clear…. $1M shot on a player who has potential is far better than gambling $5 M Cap (and $6 M cash) that somehow Granlund finds some form again

        Just buying out Granlund; signing each of Zadina and Ritchie for $1M or less…. Has 23 on roster; bigger; better; younger; and $800 K UNDER thr cap instead of just 22 on roster and $1.5 M + OVER the cap

      • Re; Sen’s get Zack MacEwen
        100% they dont want Tkachuk fighting in every game, but he looks like he enjoys it…😜

        MacEwen is exactly what the Sens need,
        He is not scared to go with any one and will hit and add a physical presence to the 3rd or 4th line, especaly with the two young guys Pinto & Speedster Ridly Greig on the 3rd line this will create space and give them security

        I still think they need aone more big physical player maybe for the 4th line or a call up from the AHL they can use there,
        They have young 22 yr old Tyler Kleven coming in the next 18 moths who likes to play physical for there d also.👍

        Dont be surprised if the Oilers sign x Sens
        Austin Watson as they also need team toughness in the bottom 6….. a weak area for them as they have Evander Kane there 1st line winger doing the fighting… and Nurse is he is awake ❗️😳

      • I meant to say that Zadina must not OVERTHINK the game, but autocorrect figured I really meant overtime.

    • Hi Pengy. A lot of Canucks fans still wish we’d been able to keep McEwan. He sticks up for his mates and has some skill also. Ottawa fans are going to love him.

      • In that case… Pens would love to have him or someone similar…. League Min for 3 more years…. 27 tomorrow…

        Tre could have got him instead of Reaves (@1.35 M)

        Certainly not Reaves…. But much younger…. and if he serves as a deterrent…. Reaves not needed

        Pens would have also loved that attribute

        Good on ya Dorian

  3. Re Cristal by Caps at 40th OA

    That was a great snag

    More shocking was that Blackhawks did’t take Bedard’s close friend at 35th OA and instead took Gajan (who wasn’t even in the top 2 ranked goalies)???

  4. So 3 more seasons of Kopitar. Dubois in fold along with Danault. Is Byfeld moving to wing? Will Turcotte ever make it to NHL? Not sure why LA makes this deal now. Might regret it before extension even kicks in.He’ll be 37 when it does.

  5. Can someone explain to me please how and why the wings are able to simply terminate Zadina’s contract and eliminate his cap hit?

    • My understanding is that Zadina must agree to it as well, and he did.

      Otherwise, no, the Wings would be stuck with the cap hit for as long as the contract is valid.

      Very rare that a player would leave money on the table like that. Pretty brave (or stupid?) move on his part. I’ll go with ‘brave’ pending further information.

      • Have pasta give him a call
        One countryman to another. Tell him sign a price it deal with bruins I would be all for it 3rd line rw.

      • Word is he told the Wings that he would not report to Grand Rapids if demoted to start the season. That violates his contract terms and is grounds for termination.

      • Thanks Lyle and everyone for clarifying this. Lyle, I guess this is what can be termed as an anticipatory breach. One of those issues that lawyers like to debate.

        Whalercane, I’m going with stupid. That’s a lot of money to give up. I personally think the ship has sailed on Zadina. He’ll never be more than a fringe player and will probably be playing in Europe within a couple of years.

      • I was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt.

        But I probably agree with you. I know I couldn’t leave millions on the table when the worst outcome seems to be playing in the minors.

        Maybe he proves us wrong.

      • With ya Howard and Whalercane.
        Go to the minors and improve your game. If you play well enough you will get called up, or a team will take you in a trade and you basically achieve the same thing. Might as well make twice the money.

        It’s not like he is trying to make the Knights, Canes or Avalanche roster, Detroit wasn’t a playoff team which means they need more quality NHL players. Letting his hurt pride get in the way of making a good decision perhaps? Wouldn’t be the first time for a young guy.
        Hope for him he gets it going or he might be kicking himself a couple years down the road.

        I seem to remember reading he doesn’t skate that well for the NHL level. Is that accurate?

      • Ken Holland really destroyed the wings in his last few years… what a disaster this draft was.

        No, Zadina does not skate terribly well. And while his wrist shot is pretty sneaky, he’s not able to pick corners or get himself into good shooting position often enough.

        The problem for him is that he was already on me of the worst teams in the league for his tenure there… most teams had better forward depth. So if you can’t crack top nine in that situation, how are you going to crack it elsewhere. Maybe go to Anaheim or San Jose?

  6. Need a little help understanding Karlson. He has stated he wants a shot at playing for the cup. I guess its down to two teams. Why would he waive his no movement for Pitt? A team that couldnt even make the playoffs last year.

    • Hi ol82nd Guy

      Pens missed by 1 point… team that beat them out with yhat point went to SCF

      Pens had serious D issues ; health issues for starter; and a GM that completely screwed up any semblance of bottom 6

      Dumo already moved on; I’m confident that Dooby will tell Sully that Ruhweedel can never play on the big team again.

      EK; Graves; Friedman ; Smith replacing Dumo; Petry; Rutta; Ruhweedel…. Is s massive massive massive upgrade

      Dooby has started addressing bottom 6…. Just needs to move out Granlund

      Those moves guarantee Pens in playoffs and good bet on winning a round or two

      SC is never guaranteed (only need to cite Bruins and last year)

      If course EK in Canes (depending the loss on trade) boots the already top 3 Cup fave Canes right up there

      As a Pens fan…. EK in; Petry Rutta Granlund out…. That’s a great move

      If I’m EK… I would go for Canes (much higher cup odds(

  7. Can someone explain to me why Zadina would agree to mutually terminate his contract. Seems to me he could have taken a buyout and then resigned again for much more money. What am I missing here?

    • As I noted elsewhere, it’s believed Zadina informed the Red Wings that he would not accept a demotion to the AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids for the coming season. That’s violates the terms of his contract and is grounds for termination.

      • …which makes my attempted explanation completely wrong.

        Not the first time, won’t be the last.

      • Lyle I don’t believe saying the words “I won’t report to the minors” breaks a contract.

        He would have to physically not go if demoted.

        This is more I won’t go; ok then sign here and go where you wish.

      • To further clarify the point:

        “Unconditional waiver placements are almost always the result of a breach of contract (in this case, failing to report).

        The club would then send the player & his agent a letter to inform them the contract will be terminated if the player does not report by a certain date.” – Cap Friendly.


      • Hi Caper

        I think Lyle meant …. This “would” (when he actually does refuse to go at training camp time) violate CBA

        Just future tense (would/will violate vs does [now])

      • Might be time to check his uncle’s bank account🤔. Something is fishy here. I just can’t see anyone walking away from the amount of $. Seems that he might sign elsewhere but for league minimum or slightly above on a 1 maybe 2 year deal. Just doesn’t smell right. LaBanc 2.0 under the table negotiating

      • Hi Isotopes

        Here is my “under the table “ deal

        Carter (Pens) gets assurances that he’ll get his $3M owed in a Swiss bank account if he waives to go to Yotes …. Trade to Yotes

        He then retires… gets what is owed from Pens (via secret Swiss bank account); off Pens books; Yotes get a free $3.1 M cap hit (as Carter retirement clears cash obligations but Cap still stays)

        Pens owners are rich… certainly have the connections to get it done

        Carter can always say that he wanted to retire but didn’t want to burden Pens with Cap hit

        Now that’s my “secret handshake” deal… LOL

      • Hi Pengy, my point does not change. Can’t terminate a contract on words, only on actions.

        Them actions are only determined by what is written in the contract.

      • Hi Caper

        Yes… Lyle is saying that … Zadina must refuse and then actuallynot show up for AHL start.
        . That is the violation he meant…

        It was just a tense difference

        “That violates” meant the action of not showing up…. Not the threat of doing so now

  8. Hey Lyle,

    Do you see the bruins a potential option of Zadina as prove it kind of deal? Especially playing say with Zacha and Pasta?

    • I wouldn’t rule it out but it depends on whether Sweeney sees him as a fit and if they can afford to squeeze him into their limited payroll. Remember, they’ve still got Swayman and Frederic to re-sign.