Updates on the Stanley Cup Finalists, Islanders re-sign Brock Nelson, Oilers reportedly to hire Dave Tippett as head coach, and the Senators hire D.J. Smith as head coach. Details and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Over 16,000 fans turned out for a Bruins intra-scrimmage game last night at Boston’s TD Garden. Bruins winger Brad Marchand left the game after jamming his left hand in a collision with Connor Clifton but returned to finish the contest.
STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Vince Dunn has resumed skating after missing the last three games of the Western Conference Final. Dunn was sidelined after taking a puck to the face during Game 3. He’s believed to be dealing with concussion symptoms. There’s no timetable for his return.
NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders re-signed center Brock Nelson to a six-year, $36-million contract. Nelson was slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. He’s completing a one-year, $4.25-million deal.
New York Islanders re-sign center Brock Nelson (Photo via NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a considerable pay raise for Nelson, who’s coming off a career-high 53-point performance. Cap Friendly indicates the deal ($6 million annual average value) comes with a full no-trade clause in the first two years and a modified no-trade for the remaining term.
Such is the market value for a second-line center under a constantly rising salary cap. I anticipated Nelson would get at most $5.5 million on a five-year contract.
Newsday’s Arthur Staple anticipated Islanders captain Anders Lee can expect a deal (from the Isles or someone else) worth $7 million annually.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins reports Dave Tippett is the new head coach of the Oilers. The hiring could be formally announced as early as today.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tippett has 14 seasons of NHL head-coaching experience under his belt. However, there’s some concern over whether he can coach the new up-tempo style prevalent around the league. If he can’t, there won’t be much change in the Oilers’ fortunes.
OTTAWA SUN: The Senators introduced D.J. Smith as their new head coach. Smith was an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I like this hire by the Senators. Smith spent four seasons with the Leafs. Before that, he spent three seasons as head coach of the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. In 2014-15, he guided the Generals to the OHL championship and the Memorial Cup. He has lots of experience with young players, which should prove invaluable for the rebuilding Senators.
Speaking of the Leafs, they hired former Florida Panthers assistant coach Paul McFarland as Smith’s replacement.
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Two members of the San Jose Sharks dealt with multiple injuries during the playoffs. Captain Joe Pavelski suffered a head injury in the opening round. He also aggravated a knee injury in Game 5 of the Conference Final and had surgery on his left hand. Tomas Hertl suffered a head injury in Game 5 of the Final and broke his left pinkie finger in the opening round.
Erik Karlsson confirmed he reaggravated a lower-body injury and hopes to avoid off-season surgery. Joe Thornton suffered a groin injury in the conference final.
Thornton also said he hasn’t reached a decision yet on his future. If he does return for one more season, he said it’ll only be with the Sharks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Thornton has another year left in him. I also expect the Sharks will re-sign captain Pavelski. I don’t believe they can afford to re-sign Karlsson.
MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin will be fine after being struck in the groin by a shot during a game against Canada in the IIHF World Championships. Larkin missed the remaining games for Team USA, who were eliminated yesterday by Russia.
TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild have hired Mike Modano as an executive advisor to Craig Leipold, the club owner.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings cut ties with defenseman Slava Voynov after his season-long suspension was cut in half by an independent arbitrator. Voynov pleaded no contest to a charge of misdemeanor corporal injury to his spouse in 2015. He was suspended indefinitely by the NHL and spent two months in jail before returning to Russia. The conviction was expunged last summer, but the league levied a one-year suspension.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Voynov can sign with an NHL club after 41 games this coming season. Given the reason behind his suspension, I doubt any NHL team will risk the public backlash.
SPORTSNET: Jacques Martin will be staying with the Pittsburgh Penguins as an assistant coach. He was interviewed by the Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators for their head-coaching positions.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Speaking of the Penguins, they re-signed defenseman Chad Ruhwedel to a two-year deal worth $700K per season.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks hired Tomas Mitell as an assistant coach.
ESPN.COM: On a non-NHL note, the National Women’s Hockey League “is increasing salaries, offering a 50-50 split of sponsor-related revenues and improved benefits in an agreement reached with its players’ association.”