Updates on Zach Werenski and Kyle Connor, the Lightning trade Adam Erne to the Red Wings, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Defenseman Zach Werenski’s agent, Pat Brisson, expects his client will re-sign with the Columbus Blue Jackets before training camp opens in September.
“I have been in communication with the Jackets throughout the summer,” said Brisson. “It’s our intention to have an agreement in time for camp. I’m most certain we will be continuing our talks in the near future.”
WINNIPEG SUN: Jets winger Kyle Connor is hopeful of signing a long-term contract. The restricted free agent also hopes to avoid missing training camp next month.
“That’s definitely the plan,” he said. “A player never wants to miss time in training camp. It’s tough coming in, not getting that preparation and time with the teammates in practice. But things happen, so we’ll see. I’ll be prepared if it happens.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: None of the unsigned RFAs want to miss the start of training camp. I’m sure all of them, especially Mitch Marner, saw how Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander struggled after missing almost half of last season to a contract standoff with management.
With about a month until training camps open in September, there’s plenty of time for these players to sign new deals. I anticipate we’ll see a flurry of signings in early/mid-September.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A rare mid-August NHL trade. With $9.3 million in salary-cap space and most of that headed to restricted free agent center Brayden Point, there wasn’t enough for the Lightning to retain Erne. He’ll probably be replaced with an affordable call-up or UFA signing.
The rebuilding Wings land a young (24) winger with some NHL experience and the potential to contribute more with increased playing time. He’ll get that opportunity in Detroit.
VANCOUVER SUN: A Canucks spokesperson said the club has no current plans for the upcoming season to retire the number of Roberto Luongo but the club is “sure his name will be included in future discussions.” They also acknowledged Luongo’s 20-year NHL career, including the eight seasons he spent with the Canucks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect the Canucks will retire Luongo’s number at some point. The future Hall-of-Famer was a big reason why the Canucks rose to dominance in the Western Conference from 2008-09 to 2012-13, including their march to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011.
Luongo is the Canucks all-time leader in career wins (252), shutouts (38) and second all-time in goals-against average (2.36), games played (448) and save percentage (.919). He’s also the single-season leader in games played (76), wins (47), and shutouts (nine).
SPORTING NEWS: Former NHL goaltender Eddie Lack yesterday announced he won’t be signing with an NHL club this season, focusing instead on recovering from a hip injury suffered in the minors last season. He revealed he played through hip pain throughout the past six seasons. As he rehabs, Lack will be the goaltending coach at Arizona State University.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best of luck to Lack in his recovery. If he’s unable to continue his playing career, perhaps he’ll have a future in coaching.
THE SCORE: Seattle general manager Ron Francis said the expansion NHL franchise will reveal its new name in early 2020.