NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 7, 2023
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.
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.