NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 23, 2018
Results of the opening round of the 2018 NHL Draft, plus the latest on John Carlson, Paul Martin, Phil Kessel and much more in your morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Buffalo Sabres selected Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin with the first-overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. The Carolina Hurricanes took right wing Andrei Svechnikov second overall, the Montreal Canadiens selected center Jesperi Kotkaniemi third overall, the Ottawa Senators took left wing Brady Tkachuk with the fourth selection and the Arizona Coyotes used the fifth overall selection to take Barrett Hayton. You can see the full list of the 31 selections by following this link. Rounds 2 through 7 will be held today starting at 11 pm ET.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There were a few surprises among the top-10 selections. Hayton went much higher than expected while forward Filip Zadina dropped to the sixth overall selection and the Chicago Blackhawks surprised by selecting defenseman Adam Boqvist. Those moves saw a reshuffling of the projected order, resulting in the Edmonton Oilers landing defenseman Evan Bouchard (10th overall) and the New York Islanders getting blueliner Noah Dobson 12th overall.
There was also a notable lack of trades involving established NHL players in the opening round. Just prior to the start of the draft, the Washington Capitals dealt goaltender Philipp Grubauer and defenseman Brooks Orpik to the Colorado Avalanche for a second-round pick (47th overall). I’ll have more on the absence of deals later this morning in the Rumors section. I’ll have analysis on any notable moves later today in my Soapbox section.
NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said his club is really close to re-signing defenseman John Carlson, who’s eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Dealing defenseman Brooks Orpik to Colorado yesterday freed up $5.5-million of salary cap space, providing much-needed room to sign Carlson, who could get an eight-year deal worth around $8 million annually.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The interview period for potential UFAs to speak with other clubs begins on Monday, June 25. MacLellan obviously wants to ensure Carlson is signed before then.
THE MERCURY NEWS: The San Jose Sharks placed defenseman Paul Martin on unconditional waivers Friday for the purpose of buying out the final season of his contract. The move will free up $3.2 million of salary cap space to put toward re-signing other players or to pursue a free-agent talent such as the New York Islanders’ John Tavares or former KHL winger Ilya Kovalchuk. The Sharks will now have around $19.2 million in cap room.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan denied reports claiming he has a rocky relationship with winger Phil Kessel. He said their relationship is one of mutual respect and that hasn’t changed in the last three seasons. Rumors claiming otherwise emerged following the Penguins second-round elimination from the 2018 playoffs, sparking speculation Kessel could be traded.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sullivan needed to make those remarks about a month ago when those Kessel trade rumors first surfaced. I daresay his comments will be treated with skepticism now.
NHL.COM: The Dallas Stars re-signed defenseman Stephen Johns to a three-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $2.35 million.
VANCOUVER SUN: The Vancouver Canucks re-signed forward Markus Granlund to a one-year, $1.475-million contract.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Tampa Bay Lightning won’t be re-signing pending UFA winger Chris Kunitz. They re-signed backup goaltender Louis Domingue to a two-year deal worth $2.3 million and hired Jeff Halpern as an assistant coach.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers have agreed to a three-year contract with defenseman Samuel Morin. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings hired Dan Bylsma as an assistant coach. Bylsma was formerly head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres.
THE ATHLETIC: The Anaheim Ducks have parted ways with assistant coach Steve Konowolchuk.
TSN: Former NHL players Nick Boynton and Dan Carcillo are suing the NHL, “alleging it failed to warn players about the long-term risk of brain damage from fighting.”