NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 10, 2024

by | Jun 10, 2024 | News, NHL | 18 comments

The latest on the Oilers and Panthers on the eve of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Capitals to purchase CapFriendly, the players will get back this season’s escrow payment, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


SPORTSNET: Mark Spector reports Edmonton Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch could tinker with his lineup before Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. Defense pairing Darnell Nurse and Cody Ceci were reunited in Game 1 but continued to struggle as they were on the ice for two of the Florida Panthers’ three goals. Meanwhile, winger Evander Kane remains hampered by a sports hernia.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll find out before Game 2 what Knoblauch has in store for his lineup.

Mark speculates that Knoblauch could sit Ceci if he reactivates Vincent Desharnais. He’s been a healthy scratch since Game 4 of the Western Conference Final. He also suggested Sam Carrick coming in to center the fourth line while replacing Kane on Leon Draisaitl’s line with Ryan McLeod.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers aren’t resting on their laurels following their 3-0 victory over the Oilers in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. They know there is more they must do to improve. “I think we can definitely be better,” said winger Carter Verhaeghe after his club was outshot 32-18 in Game 1.

TORONTO STAR: Speaking of Verhaeghe, he and Oilers winger Zach Hyman are former Maple Leafs playing big roles for their current clubs throughout this postseason. Verhaeghe was a Leafs castoff while Hyman (who was drafted by the Panthers) was not offered a new contract by the Leafs three years ago.

Edmonton Oilers winger Zach Hyman (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Other former Leafs in this series include Connor Brown, Cody Ceci, Sam Carrick and Jack Campbell with the Oilers and winger Evan Rodrigues and head coach Paul Maurice with the Panthers.

SPORTSNET: The Calgary Tower will be lit up in Blue and Orange on June 10 to support Action Anxiety Day. Its “X” account assured Calgarians it was not to show support for the Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The intense NHL rivalry between the two cities burns brightly.


SPORTSNET: The Washington Capitals agreed to purchase the popular CapFriendly website.

CapFriendly will remain publicly available and independently operated until at least July 5, when the sale is expected to be officially announced. After that, the site will go dark and terminate its arrangements that existed for several years with multiple NHL clubs that bought into its API (Application Programming Interface).

THE ATHLETIC: CapFriendly’s tools and functions will become part of the Capitals’ in-house operations. Several NHL clubs were interested in purchasing the site and a source claimed its owners had held talks with other teams before reaching its agreement with the Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: CapFriendly came in after CapGeek was shuttered in 2015 following the death of its owner, Matthew Wuest. It quickly filled the void, becoming popular with fans, pundits, and NHL teams for its accuracy and up-to-date information in tracking player salaries and team payrolls.

Some fans took to social media on Sunday lamenting the sale, with some accusing CapFriendly’s owners of “selling out.” However, this is a business move and I don’t fault the site’s ownership for cashing in on an offer too good to refuse. I’d do the same thing if I were in their shoes.

The NHL doesn’t have a salary cap tracking site. In 2015, league commissioner Gary Bettman said he didn’t see the need to do so because he wasn’t sure fans were as focused on how much players were making as they are about their on-ice performance. He later questioned the accuracy of such sites as CapFriendly.

On both counts, Bettman couldn’t have been more wrong. It subsequently emerged that the league engaged in a “back-and-forth” regarding the creation of a league-operated cap site but some teams were against it.

For those lamenting CapFriendly’s imminent demise, I recommend PuckPedia. I’ve linked to their player and team salary info on my Rumors page for several years. Sportrac is another good option.

DAILY FACEOFF: NHLPA executive director Marty Walsh announced on Saturday that NHL players are on track to have nearly all of this season’s escrow payments returned to them. The players had six percent of their salaries withheld by escrow as per the 2020 CBA Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s because hockey-related revenue exceeded projections for this season. Otherwise, that escrow money would’ve been returned to the teams to offset any potential losses.

SPORTSNET: During Sunday’s “32 Thoughts: The Podcast”, Elliotte Friedman reported some player agents believe the NHL Draft should be shortened to four rounds. Friedman said most players who don’t get contracts are selected in the later rounds. They believe it holds up a player from beginning their NHL careers by having their rights held by a team for two to four years only for them not to receive a contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Any changes to the draft will have to be negotiated during the next round of collective bargaining in 2026.

Those agents are arguing that those who would normally be chosen in the fifth, sixth, and seventh rounds should instead become free agents able to sign with whomever they choose. While they make a good point, some late-round players went on to great careers with the teams that chose them.

SPORTSNET: The 2024 NHL Draft Combine results have been released. It was held last week in Buffalo.


  1. While the idea of shortening the draft to four rounds might provide new opportunity for a handful of prospects, I suspect it would influence NHL clubs to invest less in minor league affiliates, eventually hurting more than it helps.

    • Nope, don’t agree with that. I think what would happen is that clubs would focus even more on scouting staffs with so many more free agent prospects on the market.
      I love the idea of shortening the draft, hope it happens.

      • Precisely. Teams would be even more invested in their minor league scouting, facilities, etc. look at how much attention undrafted players get now. Or the drafted ncaa players going to fa. It would be even bigger.

  2. Boston up 2 games to 0 in the finals!! oh sorry wrong sport.

    Congrats to the owner of Capfriendly on their sale. I visit the capfriendly site almost daily. I will now move over to puckpedia.

    I know it’s only game 2 but i feel this is a must win for the Oilers, as Florida plays a very strong road game. Edmonton can’t go down 2-0 in the series.

    With the cap going up by $4,500,000 can’t help but wonder how quick the GM will blow it by over paying for a fringe player.

    Kind of weird watching the finals when you prefer neither team win. Cursing the TV both ways and then scratching my head. Wouldn’t mind seeing Evander Kane win the cup also don’t mind seeing Aleksander Barkov winning the cup. Understand these player don’t exactly play the same style game.

  3. I am a frequent user of CapFriendly and while I will miss it I am sure something else will pop up.
    Good for the creators to cash in and sell.

    • Cap friendly will certainly be missed. I used to visit Sportrac but it’s really too thin. Doesn’t have NMC info. Puckpedia is better. Hopefully something else will come up.

    • Fergy,

      I hope your right, i also check Capfrendly for info daily…..for rosters, cap space and who is doing well on the farm & who coming up from the farm next….
      its a great page,

  4. I like the idea of shortening the draft

    There are players that get picked late rounds that do become NHL players

    Late bloomers; late birthday players down the depth chart; can become free agents and/or re-enter draft the following year (less 18 year olds (or almost 18 ) drafted first year; more 19 year olds (or almost 19 year olds) drafted 2nd year.

    The first round will still be loaded with “elite” 18 (or 17 soon to be 18) year olds; but 2nd through 4th rounds will have a mix

    As mentioned; can’t happen until new CBA.

    The players (who would be voting on this) are already IN the NHL; so direct impact is NIL; but the bi-product should end up with fewer “new” players in the NHL each year; and therefore less “older” players “retiring”; marginally lengthening the average NHL career. Would that not incentivize them to vote for it?

    With any big change in a CBA, there will be hesitation

    Perhaps a hybrid (5rounds) or gradual (reducing s round per year for 3 consecutive years) move to this proposed 4 round draft?

    • “There are players that get picked late rounds that do become NHL players”… and those same players would still do so, only they’d be signing with their teams of choice than forced into a drafted organization. Teams would still be incentivized to stock up their affiliates and developmental teams, it’s only the manner they do so that would change. With respect to league-wide talent, I see no downside.

      • When I said

        “There are players that get picked late rounds that do become NHL players”, I meant that they eventually do…. Usually for these so called “late bloomers” 2 to 4 years down the road (after more development and size)

        The majority of Those players I was referring to (rounds 5-7) would very unlikely (under proposed 4 round system) sign as UFAs before the following year’s draft; in that they are “late bloomers” and don’t show as high NHL potential, as 18 year olds (time of that draft and soon after)

        There will be exceptions, just like anything else.

        Teams will still be limited to number of contracts; so signing UFA 18 year olds who didn’t get picked in first 4 rounds; will be a gamble; so a flood of those type of signings is highly unlikely

        More likely, IMHO, is the high majority of those get 1 more year of experience and growth; and re-enter the next year’s draft; competing (to be picked first 4 rounds ) with players 1 year younger than they are

        Regardless of potential outcomes and/or rationale behind it/against it; I’m all for it.

  5. With only 4 rounds, it might make for some interesting signings. Imagine 3 or 4 teams have their eye on one particular player that was on their, ” hey if he’s still there in the 5th round, let’s grab him”. Could work out well for those type of players to have a few teams courting them.

    • Good point

      Also benefits teams who have traded away their 1st and/or 2nd and/or 3rd round picks

  6. What would have been late round picks would be much better set up for success. They could target teams near hometown, teams with former teammates, or teams short on their particular position. You’re a lefty d man? Target teams with less depth to increase your ice time

  7. I like these periodic reminders that I do NOT understand business at all. I just do not see the point in buying a site just to take its main use instead of maybe just designing something yourself?

    And what purpose? So they have a better way of tracking their own spending? I am flummoxed. Oh well… PuckPedia it is I suppose.

    • theSaint, here is what Friedman said with regards to the why.

      “NHL teams that had agreements to use their tools/Application Programming Interface (API) recently received notice that these contracts would be terminated. This led to speculation that one club was buying the site, and all information pointed to the Capitals.

      You can definitely see why a team would want this infrastructure.”

      Basically what he is saying is the way CapFriendly makes money are the agreements it had with the teams to use it’s API, not us fans using it for free and some advertising revenue that generates. The Caps think they can make money, perhaps even more with the API/Software. Sounds like they weren’t the only ones who saw that value.

      • I mean from a business standpoint it must make sense, but I have to go back to my statement that I DO NOT understand business haha.

  8. Anyone know how much cap space the Leafs would save if they bought out either John Tavares or Mitch Marner or both?


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