NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 30, 2020
Taylor Hall and the Coyotes talking contract, the trade deadline may have been for naught, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
SPORTSNET: cites a report in The Athletic indicating Arizona Coyotes management have had preliminary discussions with the agent for Taylor Hall regarding a new contract. The 28-year-old winger is eligible for unrestricted free agent status following this season.
“All I would say right now is that both sides are gathering information and having some discussions,” said Coyotes general manager John Chayka. “Where that goes I’m not entirely sure today. As we talk, we’ll see where things go.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The biggest sticking point for the Coyotes is salary-cap space. With nearly $80 million invested in 16 players for 2020-21, they must shed some salary to re-sign Hall. They are allowed to spend over the cap by 10 percent during the off-season but must be cap compliant by the start of next season.
They’ll get $5.275 million in cap relief with permanently sidelined Marian Hossa on long-term injury reserve, but they’ll still need more to re-sign Hall and fill out the rest of the roster. That could mean attempting to move a veteran like Derek Stepan, Nikas Hjalmarsson or Alex Goligoski.
THE SCORE: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry and his wife Julie set up $2,500.00 tabs at two Montreal restaurants to provide free meals for hospital workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
BOSTON HERALD: If the NHL cancels this season, some teams will have given up assets for nothing at this year’s trade deadline. The Tampa Bay Lightning, for example, sent a first-round pick to the San Jose Sharks for winger Barclay Goodrow. They also shipped another first-round pick and prospect Nolan Foote to the New Jersey Devils for forward Blake Coleman.
Meanwhile, the Vancouver Canucks shipped a second-round pick in 2020, a fourth-rounder in 2022, good prospect Tyler Madden from Northeastern and grinder Tim Schaller for Tyler Toffoli, who’s due for UFA status at season’s end.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those teams made moves to bolster their rosters for the playoffs. There’s no word from the NHL if those deals would be overturned if the season and playoffs are canceled, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that issue gets raised at league headquarters.
THE ATHLETIC: Speaking of the Canucks, Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, and J.T. Miller were among the players receiving high grades for their performances this season.
THE SCORE: While almost all hockey leagues have canceled their seasons, the Belarussian Extraliga is still proceeding. Alexander Lukashenko, the country’s president, recently took part in a hockey game on Saturday despite 94 confirmed cased of COVID-19 in his country. “There are no viruses here,” Lukashenko said, “You haven’t noticed them flying around, have you? This is a fridge. Sports, particularly on the ice, this fridge here. That’s the best actual anti-virus remedy.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I have a feeling he’ll be singing a different tune in the near future.