NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 23, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 23, 2022

Ryan Ellis could miss the start of the Flyers’ season, the Islanders re-sign Noah Dobson, Alexander Romanov and Kieffer Bellows, an update on David Pastrnak and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ryan Ellis could miss the start of the coming season. A “multilayered issue” involving the “complex of the whole pelvic region” limited him to just four games last season.

If you’re asking me right now, I doubt it,” said Flyers head coach John Tortorella when asked if Ellis will be ready to play. They start their season on Oct. 13 against the New Jersey Devils but Tortorella didn’t think the 31-year-old defenseman will be ready when they open training camp on Sept. 21.

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ryan Ellis (NHL Images).

Tortorella indicated he’s had several conversations with Ellis. He said it’s been an “up and down process” for the blueliner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ellis was acquired from the Nashville Predators last summer and was expected to skate on the right side of the Flyers’ first defense pairing alongside Ivan Provorov. His absence last season was a key factor in the club missing the 2022 playoffs.

Cap Friendly shows Ellis is signed through 2026-27 with an average annual value of $6.25 million. They’re above the $82.5 million cap by $2.53 million but will get cap relief by placing Ellis on long-term injury reserve to start the season.

This also explains why the Flyers signed Tony DeAngelo to a two-year contract last month. We’ll have to wait and see if general manager Chuck Fletcher has any other moves planned before the coming season. That could depend on how long Ellis is sidelined.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: The New York Islanders announced new contracts for restricted free agents Noah Dobson, Alexander Romanov and Kieffer Bellows.

Dobson, 22, got a three-year deal with an AAV of $4 million. The 22-year-old Romanov also got a three-year deal. His annual cap hit is $2.5 million. Bellows, 24, got a one-year, $1.2 million contract.

The trio will be restricted free agents at the end of their respective contracts. These deals leave the Islanders with $3.485 million in cap space for the upcoming season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wasn’t surprised by what Romanov and Bellows got. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently suggested that Dobson’s new contract would be a high dollar amount but it’s actually quite reasonable for a young defenseman coming off a 51-point performance.

Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello explained that he wanted to see a bit more from Dobson before committing to a long-term deal. In other words, a more lucrative contract awaits the young rearguard at the end of his current deal if he builds on last season’s breakout effort.

SPORTSNET: Lamoriello also defended what was considered to be a quiet offseason on his part. Earlier this summer, he had promised to be as active as possible to bolster the Islanders’ offense. They were linked to free agents Johnny Gaudreau and Nazem Kadri but both forwards were signed elsewhere. Lamoriello was rumored to be interested in acquiring J.T. Miller but the Vancouver Canucks aren’t in a rush to move the 29-year-old center.

Regarding trades, Lamoriello explained he wouldn’t have received in return what he would’ve had to give up to make his club a better team. He’ll continue to explore the late-summer trade market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s doubtful Lamoriello will find a return that will significantly improve his club’s offense heading into this season. He’s going to bet on new head coach Lane Lambert finding a way to improve the Isles’ production with the current core players. I expect young wingers Anthony Beauvillier and Oliver Wahlstrom will be placed in roles where they’ll get more opportunities to score.

The Islanders have a projected $16 million in trade deadline cap space for the coming season. Barring any other moves, Lamoriello could have sufficient cap room to add a rental scorer by late February if his club is in playoff contention.

NEWSDAY’s Andrew Gross reported Lamoriello said he’s had no contract talks with UFA defensemen Zdeno Chara and Andy Greene. They are not currently under consideration for defense roles with the Isles.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: David Pastrnak’s contract extension talks with the Bruins are currently on hold but the 26-year-old winger isn’t concerned.

In an interview with Czechia media outlet Blesk, Pastrnak acknowledged Bruins GM Don Sweeney had a lot on his plate this summer negotiating new one-year contracts for Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. Pastrnak has a year remaining on his contract and is focused now on physically preparing for the upcoming season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sweeney will probably sit down with Pastrnak and/or his agent at some point during training camp to continue their negotiations.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 10, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 10, 2020

The Devils sign Corey Crawford, the Flames land Chris Tanev, the Lightning place Tyler Johnson on waivers, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils last night signed goaltender Corey Crawford to a two-year contract worth an annual average value of $3.9 million. The move came a day after the Devils bought out netminder Cory Schneider.

Corey Crawford signs with the New Jersey Devils (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An affordable move by the Devils to boost their goaltending depth by providing an experienced mentor for Mackenzie Blackwood. I’m surprised that Crawford’s former club, the Chicago Blackhawks, didn’t sign him to a similar deal. Perhaps their offer was less than what he ultimately got on the open market from the Devils.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed defenseman Chris Tanev to a four-year, $18-million contract. Cap Friendly indicates the annual average value is $4.5 million. The deal also includes a modified no-trade clause in which Tanev submits a 10-team no-trade list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s the second former Canuck the Flames added via free agency, having signed goaltender Jacob Markstrom yesterday. This deal is one year less than Tanev’s previous contract and slightly higher than his previous AAV ($4.45 million). He’ll replace T.J. Brodie, who signed yesterday with the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, the decline in Tanev’s performance and his injury history could be cause for concern among Flames fans.

Note: My list of yesterday’s notable unrestricted free agent signings can be found here.

TSN: The Tampa Bay Lightning yesterday placed winger Tyler Johnson on waivers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A surprising move by the Lightning that suggests a whiff of desperation to shed salary. We’ll learn at noon ET today if any club claims him.

Johnson has a full no-trade clause but it doesn’t prevent him from being placed on waivers. He has four years remaining on his contract worth an annual average value of $5 million. TSN’s Frank Seravalli wondered if the Detroit Red Wings might claim him, given general manager Steve Yzerman’s ties to Johnson when he was GM of the Lightning.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks re-signed restricted free agent winger Dominik Kubalik to a two-year contract with a $3.7 million AAV and goaltender Malcolm Subban to a two-year extension with an $850K cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kubalik, a Calder Trophy finalist, was coming off his entry-level contract, giving Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman leverage to ink him to an affordable bridge contract. The Blackhawks still need a reliable starting goaltender as Subban is strictly a backup. I expect they’ll address that need via free agency or trade.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets center Bryan Little won’t play next season on the recommendation of the team’s doctors. He suffered serious head trauma after being struck in the head by a puck during a game last November and hasn’t played since.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets are expected to place Little on long-term injury reserve for 2020-21. That will provide them some wiggle room to exceed the salary cap if necessary by the equivalent of his $5.291 million cap hit. However, the greater concern is for Little’s future as an NHL player. This injury could cut short his playing career.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Joe Thornton confirmed he’ll return for his 23rd NHL season. However, he’s in no rush to sign with the San Jose Sharks or another club at the moment. He also indicated he might play in the Swiss League prior to the scheduled Jan. 1 start of the 2020-21 season.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars are uncertain about the future of defenseman Stephen Johns, who missed the final 23 games of the club’s playoff run. Johns was sidelined for nearly two years by post-traumatic headaches before returning to action for 17 games last season.

NEWSDAY: New York Islanders prospect Kieffer Bellows violated terms of the AHL/Professional Hockey Players’ Association performance-enhancing substances program. The matter has been dealt with and he will be allowed to play whenever the NHL or AHL are able to start their seasons.