The 2022-23 preseason schedule is released, the Devils avoid arbitration with Jesper Bratt, the Oilers re-sign Kailer Yamamoto, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: The league released its 2022-23 preseason schedule. It begins on Saturday, Sept. 24 featuring the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs facing off in a split-squad doubleheader in Toronto.
On Oct. 3, the Nashville Predators will face SC Bern in Bern, Switzerland on Oct. 3 while the San Jose Sharks take on Eisbaren Berlin in Berlin, Germany, on Oct. 4 as part of the 2022 NHL Global Series. The Predators and Sharks will meet to play their regular-season openers on Oct. 7-8 in Prague, Czechia.
Twillingate, NL and Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick will be hosting Kraft Hockeyville games between the Senators and Montreal Canadiens on Oct. 6 and 8 respectively.
New Jersey Devils winger Jesper Bratt (NHL Images).
The regular season opens in North America on Oct. 11.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils and Jesper Bratt avoided arbitration at the last minute by agreeing to a one-year, $5.45 million contract. Bratt, 24, was asking for $6.5 million while the Devils sought $4.15 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bratt will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights again next summer. He tallied a career-high 73 points in 76 games last season. Another season with comparable numbers will put him in line for a more lucrative deal.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers re-signed winger Kailer Yamamoto to a two-year contract worth an average annual value of $3.1 million. Yamamoto was scheduled for arbitration on Aug. 7.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yamamoto’s getting a significant raise over the $1.175 million he earned last season. The 23-year-old two-way winger netted career highs with 20 goals, 21 assists and 41 points last season.
The move puts the Oilers above the $82.5 million salary cap by just over $6 million. They can exceed the cap by 10 percent during the offseason and are expected to place sidelined players Mike Smith and Oscar Klefbom ($6.3 million combined salary) on long-term injury reserve to be cap compliant to start the season. However, they still have Ryan McLeod to re-sign and that could force them to shed a salary via trade or waivers.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets re-signed forward Emil Bemstrom to a two-year, $1.8 million contract.
COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche signed former Boston Bruins forward Anton Blidh to a one-year, two-way contract worth $750K at the NHL level.
DAILY FACEOFF: The Calgary Wranglers have been unveiled as the Flames’ new AHL affiliate. They were the Stockton Heat from 2015 to 2022.
NHL.COM: The Seattle Kraken hired Jeff Tambellini as their director of player development.
Kirill Kaprizov returns to the United States, Jesper Bratt and the Devils make their respective arbitration filings, the latest on the Flames and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo reports multiple sources said Kirill Kaprizov has returned to the United States from Russia. The 25-year-old Minnesota Wild winger was reportedly under investigation in his native country for allegedly purchasing a fake military ID but that has apparently been refuted.
Kaprizov is said to have departed Russia late last week by way of Turkey and arrived in New York City over the weekend. He is scheduled to fly to Minnesota on Tuesday to resume his offseason training.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild and their fans are undoubtedly relieved to see the Kaprizov intrigue come to an end. There were concerns this situation might drag on for weeks or months.
DAILY FACEOFF: The New Jersey Devils and Jesper Bratt have made their respective filings with the arbitrator ahead of his scheduled August 3 hearing. The Devils filed for a $4.15 million salary while Bratt seeks $6.5 million coming off a career-best 73-point performance last season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bratt made an average annual value of $2.75 million for two seasons on his previous contract. Both sides could reach an agreement on a new contract before his hearing on Wednesday.
RDS.CA: Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving recently met with Jonathan Huberdeau in Montreal, according to the winger’s agent. The Flames acquired the 29-year-old Huberdeau from the Florida Panthers on July 22 as part of the return for Matthew Tkachuk.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Treliving reportedly wanted to meet with Huberdeau as soon as possible following the trade. The playmaking winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.
No word yet if Treliving has met with MacKenzie Weegar, who was also part of the return in the Tkachuk deal. Like Huberdeau, the 28-year-old defenseman is due to become a UFA next summer. Weegar and Huberdeau indicated they’re not ruling out signing long-term contracts with the Flames.
CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Flames, Andrew Mangiapane’s arbitration hearing is scheduled for Friday, August 5. Steve Macfarlane wonders if the two sides will reach an agreement on a new contract before then.
The 26-year-old winger is coming off a two-year contract with an annual average value of $2.425 million. He scored a career-best 35 goals and 55 points last season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: One way or another, Mangiapane’s going to get a significant raise. For how long has yet to be determined.
John Klingberg signs with the Ducks, an update on Jesper Bratt’s contract negotiations, and the Sharks will honor Doug Wilson this season. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: John Klingberg is off the free-agent market. The 29-year-old defenseman signed a one-year, $7 million contract on Friday with the Anaheim Ducks.
Anaheim Ducks sign former Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers expressed puzzlement on social media regarding this move. Why did Klingberg accept just a one-year deal? Why sign with the rebuilding Ducks? For that matter, why did the Ducks make a short-term investment in a veteran player?
Klingberg may have overestimated his value on this summer’s free-agent market. While he reached the 40-point mark last season for the sixth time in his eight-year NHL career, the puck-moving blueliner struggled with consistency during his final season with the Dallas Stars. Interested clubs may have been reluctant to sign to a long-term deal at this point in his career.
This deal gives Klingberg an opportunity to prove that he still has value as a top-pairing blueliner. A strong season in Anaheim will improve his chances for a more lucrative deal, either with the Ducks or another club in next summer’s free-agent market.
The Ducks, meanwhile, had to spend money to reach this season’s $61 million salary-cap minimum. Signing Klingberg achieve that goal, putting them at $63.6 million invested in 22 players.
It also addressed their need to bolster their blueline while adding a veteran presence to their rebuilding roster. If Klingberg plays well this season, the Ducks can peddle him at next year’s trade deadline for a solid return if they’re out of playoff contention by then.
NJ.COM’s Ryan Novozinsky took to Twitter on Friday regarding Jesper Bratt’s contract negotiations with the New Jersey Devils. He cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman saying there hasn’t been much discussion between the two sides so it’s hard to figure out what’s going on.
Novozinsky acknowledged it’s been “pretty silent” from Bratt’s camp for weeks regarding updates on contract talks. He believes it’s been another tough negotiation like his last deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bratt’s arbitration hearing is set for Aug. 3.
DAILY FACEOFF: The San Jose Sharks intend to raise a banner for former player, captain and general manager Doug Wilson in the coming season. He’ll be honored in a pregame ceremony by the club before their game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Wilson spent 14 of his 16 NHL seasons with the Blackhawks before joining the Sharks. He become their general manager in 2003 and held that position until stepping down for health reasons in April 2022. Wilson was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a player in 2020.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wilson built the Sharks into a Western Conference powerhouse during most of his tenure as their general manager. They finished atop the Pacific Divison five times under his watch, won the Presidents’ Trophy in 2009 and reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2016.
PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The Philadelphia Flyers signed Owen Tippett to a two-year contract with an average annual value of $1.5 million. The 23-year-old right wing was part of the return the Flyers received from the Florida Panthers in the Claude Giroux trade last March.
The 2022-23 schedule is released plus the latest on Kirill Kaprizov, Filip Forsberg, Kris Letang, Patrice Bergeron, John Klingberg, Evander Kane and more on the eve of the first round of the 2022 draft in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The league released its 2022-23 schedule on Wednesday. The regular season begins in Prague on Oct. 7 and 8 as the Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks face off in the 2022 Global Series. The first games in North America will be held on Oct. 11 featuring the New York Rangers facing the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Colorado Avalanche will raise their 2021-22 Stanley Cup banner in Denver on Oct. 12 prior to their home opener against the Chicago Blackhawks. That evening will also see the Toronto Maple Leafs travel to Montreal to face the Canadiens while the Vancouver Canucks will face the Oilers in Edmonton.
The 2023 Winter Classic will be held on Jan. 1, 2023, between the Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins at Fenway Park in Boston. Hockey Day in Canada featuring all seven Canadian teams in action will be on Jan. 21.
The Florida Panthers will host the 2023 NHL All-Star Game with the skills competition on Feb. 3 and the All-Star Game on Feb. 4. The regular season will end on Apr. 13.
THE ATHLETIC: Media reports out of Russia claim Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov is wanted in his native country for allegedly buying a fake military ID card in 2017 while he was playing in the KHL. The Wild and the NHL are gathering information to determine the credibility of the story.
Reports also claimed Kaprizov had fled Russia but Wild general manager Bill Guerin said he’s still in the country and is safe with family and friends. Guerin said he and the club have been in touch with Kaprizov’s agent and aren’t pushing the panic button.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a result of Russia’s war with Ukraine. Under Russian law, eligible men between 18 and 27 must serve a year in the military, though exemptions are provided for athletes. Russo cited a source claiming Kaprizov’s exemption ended on June 30.
Last week, Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Ivan Fedotov was detained under suspicion of dodging the draft and sent to a remote Arctic naval base. Fedotov broke his contract with KHL club CSKA Moscow to sign with the Flyers in May. It’s generated increasing concern over whether Russian players will be allowed to return to the NHL next season.
TWINCITIES.COM: Speaking of the Wild, they signed defenseman Jake Middleton to a three-year contract extension with an annual average value of $2.45 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Middleton was due to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights when the free-agent market opened on July 13. Acquired from the San Jose Sharks before the trade deadline, he proved to be a good fit with the Wild. He skated with Jared Spurgeon on their top pairing, providing an additional measure of grit to their blueline.
NHL.COM: Nashville Predators general manager David Poile said his club is closer to signing Filip Forsberg now than when they made their eight-year contract offer earlier in the offseason. The 27-year-old left winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It looks like Forsberg will stay in Nashville barring a last-minute collapse in negotiations before the free agent market opens next Wednesday. There’s no indication from the Forsberg camp of any disagreement with Poile’s assessment of their contract talks.
I assumed a sticking point was the lack of no-trade protection. Poile indicated Forsberg will get a full no-movement clause and a full no-trade if he signs with the Predators.
The Predators GM said the holdup was over money. It’s rumored that could be between $8 million and $9 million per season on an eight-year deal.
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins GM Ron Hextall said he’d be surprised if his club didn’t get defenseman Kris Letang signed to a new contract before July 13. However, he seemed less optimistic about re-signing Evgeni Malkin but said the two sides will continue working on it.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Letang is reportedly seeking a five-year deal worth between $8 million and $9 million annually. The Penguins are also said to have put the priority on re-signing the 35-year-old defenseman before turning to Malkin.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron hasn’t signed on the dotted line yet, but recent discussions indicate he’s considering a return with the Bruins next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: An earlier report last month had Bergeron agreeing to come back. Back in May, he indicated that he would either return with the Bruins or retire. If he’s leaning toward playing, I think we’ll see him suiting up for a 19th season in Boston.
DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports John Klingberg will be hitting the free-agent market next week. Talks between the 29-year-old defenseman and the Dallas Stars have been cordial but they don’t appear to be any closer to working out a new contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reports last fall claimed Klingberg sought an eight-year deal with the Stars worth between $7.75 million and $8.5 million per season. With Jake Oettinger and Jason Robertson due for big raises coming off their entry-level deals, the Stars won’t have enough cap room to pay them and Klingberg.
SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland said his club isn’t close to a deal with Evander Kane. He said they’ll continue to speak with his agent to see if something can be worked out. Kane, 30, is due to become a UFA next week.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane also has a grievance hearing over his terminated contract with the San Jose Sharks coming up sometime after July 13 unless he and the Sharks can work out an agreement before then. That could affect the Oilers’ efforts to sign him.
TSN: Washington Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said Nicklas Backstrom is determined to play next season after undergoing hip surgery last month.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Uncertainty over Backstrom’s status raised speculation the Capitals could be shopping around for a replacement. His determination to play is admirable but that will be decided by how well he recovers from hip-shaving surgery.
WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Capitals, they’ll get more clarity on the status of Carl Hagelin’s season-ending eye injury later this summer. Hagelin suffered the injury during practice in early March. He underwent two surgeries which permanently took away some of the vision in his left eye. It also affected his depth perception but that could return in time.
VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Canucks management indicated there’s not much to report on contract extension talks with J.T. Miller. However, they’re more optimistic about re-signing captain Bo Horvat.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both players have a year remaining on their contracts. Miller has been the subject of considerable trade speculation this season. There are rumors he could be traded either during the draft or before the start of the UFA market next week.
NHL.COM: New Jersey Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald said Jesper Bratt will not be traded and has received a qualifying offer from the team. The 23-year-old winger is coming off a career-best 73-point performance and is slated to become a restricted free agent next Wednesday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for the recent speculation claiming the Devils could shop Bratt if they couldn’t work out a suitable new contract.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: Speaking of the Devils, they hired Kate Madigan as their new assistant GM, becoming the first woman in franchise history to hold that role.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets signed defenseman Adam Boqvist to a three-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $2.6 million.
NHL.COM: Former NHL defenseman Bryan Marchment died suddenly on Wednesday in Montreal. Marchment, 53, was attending the upcoming draft in his role as a scout with the San Jose Sharks.
A physical blueliner during his playing career, Marchment spent 17 seasons in the NHL with the Winnipeg Jets, Chicago Blackhawks, Hartford Whalers, Edmonton Oilers, Tampa Bay Lightning, San Jose Sharks, Colorado Avalanche, Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames from 1988-89 to 2005-06. In 926 regular-season games, he had 182 points and amassed 2,307 PIMs. His son, Mason Marchment, plays for the Florida Panthers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Marchment’s family, friends, former teammates and the Sharks organization.
Could Devils winger Jesper Bratt become an offer-sheet target? Could the Canucks sign P.K. Subban? What’s the latest on James van Riemsdyk and Ethan Bear? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.
UPDATES ON BRATT AND SUBBAN
NHL WATCHER: recently cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek discussing the contract negotiations between the New Jersey Devils and restricted free agent winger Jesper Bratt. His talks on his last contract were “really tough” and both sides are gearing up for another difficult round of negotiations.
New Jersey Devils winger Jesper Bratt (NHL Images).
Marek raised the possibility of Bratt being targeted by a rival club with an offer sheet. Friedman doubted that will happen, pointing to the Devils carrying $25 million in cap space.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: NJ.com’s Ryan Novozinsky has reported both sides are engaged in ongoing contract talks. Bratt has arbitration rights this summer giving him the leverage he didn’t have in his previous negotiations.
The Devils could listen to trade offers for Bratt if those talks stall or appear headed to arbitration to resolve. I don’t doubt recent reports claiming there are several teams interested in the 23-year-old winger following his career-high 73 points this season. Nevertheless, I think both sides want to get a deal done here.
Friedman’s right when he said an offer sheet wouldn’t make any sense here. The Devils can easily match, making it a pointless exercise. Since the salary-cap era began in 2005, only 10 players have signed offer sheets. Of those, only two (Dustin Penner and Jesperi Kotkaniemi) were successfully signed away.
Simpson noted Subban is a skilled right-handed shot who could be motivated with a new club and could be had at an extreme discount. However, he doubted the Canucks will be interested, pointing out the decline in the 33-year-old’s performance. His acquisition would also go against management’s intention of building up a youthful core of talent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how free agency unfolds for Subban. He’s not expected to be re-signed by the Devils and could find his market options limited because of his declining skills. I think a team in need of some experienced blueline depth will sign him to an affordable one-year contract.
WILL THE FLYERS MOVE VAN RIEMSDYK?
NHL WATCHER: recently cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek discussing potential moves by the Philadelphia Flyers. Friedman believes they could shop winger James van Riemsdyk to free up salary-cap space.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: van Riemsdyk has a year left on his contract with an annual average value of $7 million but an actual salary of $5 million. The 6’3”, 217-pound winger also lacks no-trade protection, giving the Flyers a wide range of potential trade partners.
Now 33, van Riemsdyk is in decline. Nevertheless, he still managed to score 24 goals on the offensively anemic Flyers, marking the seventh time in his 13 NHL seasons he’s reached or exceeded the 20-goal plateau.
A playoff contender could be interested in a big veteran scorer such as van Riemsdyk. However, that contract could be difficult to move given his age and cap hit. The Flyers might have to retain salary, include a sweetener like a draft pick or prospect, or take back a comparable contract.
HURRICANES GIVE BEAR PERMISSION TO SPEAK TO OTHER CLUBS
SPORTSNET’s Elliotte Friedman tweeted on Monday that the Carolina Hurricanes have given Ethan Bear permission to speak to other clubs. They still wish to sign the restricted free agent defenseman but they’re not close to an agreement. Friedman also noted nothing can take place before July 13 with the Hurricanes’ permission.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear struggled this season with the Hurricanes and seemed to fall out of favor with head coach Rod Brind’Amour. He was a healthy scratch during the Canes’ playoff run. The 24-year-old is completing a two-year, $4 million contract and has arbitration rights.
What’s the latest on Alex DeBrincat and Patrick Kane? Are the Devils trying to re-sign or trade Jesper Bratt? What are the Senators’ plans heading into the draft next month? Find out in the latest edition of the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
UPDATE ON DEBRINCAT AND KANE
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reported Friday the Chicago Blackhawks are listening to offers for Alex DeBrincat. There’s no guarantee they’ll trade the 24-year-old winger but if they do it’ll be for a “young player/high picks/top prospect type of return.”
Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).
DeBrincat has a year remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $6.4 million. He becomes a restricted free agent next July with arbitration rights. LeBrun indicated part of what teams are trying to figure out is what his next contract might look like. He added the Los Angeles Kings are among several clubs to express an interest in DeBrincat.
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Charlie Roumeliotis wonders if Patrick Kane will want out of Chicago if the Blackhawks trade DeBrincat. The 33-year-old winger has hinted his potential future with the club could be tied to his linemate’s.
Kane is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. He can sign a contract extension starting on July 13 but could be reluctant to do so without more clarity on what the roster and the potential rebuild timeline could look like.
Roumeliotis suggests it might be better for the Blackhawks to trade Kane if he’s hesitant about a long-term extension rather than let him depart via free agency next summer for nothing.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks wonders about Kane’s worth to the Rangers as a rental player after they were eliminated from the Eastern Conference Finals by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson has indicated his intent to rebuild the roster. He’s also said he’ll keep Kane and team captain Jonathan Toews informed about his plans.
Davidson showed a willingness to trade a young player for the right return when he shipped Brandon Hagel to the Lightning for two players and two draft picks. He could move DeBrincat for the type of return outlined by LeBrun. Time will tell if there’s a team willing to meet that expensive asking price.
Bear in mind that Davidson doesn’t have to move DeBrincat before next summer. The winger is two years away from UFA eligibility so Davidson can be patient in evaluating trade offers. He won’t just move DeBrincat for the sake of doing so.
Kane could decide it’s time to move on if DeBrincat is traded. He’s still an elite forward who can contribute to a playoff club. If Kane is looking ahead at next summer’s free-agent market, Davidson could attempt to move him this summer or at some point before next season’s trade deadline.
ARE THE DEVILS TRYING TO SIGN OR TRADE BRATT?
ESPN.COM’s Kevin Weekes tweeted yesterday that he’s been told there have been no significant contract extension talks between the New Jersey Devils and winger Jesper Bratt. He confirms there are several teams interested in trading for the 23-year-old restricted free agent.
NJ.COM’s Ryan Novozinsky reports Bratt’s agent called him a week ago and said the two sides have had multiple discussions regarding a contract extension. He followed up by reporting Devils officials confirmed the contract talks are ongoing, noting these things take time.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt that there are teams calling Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald to express their interest in Bratt if contract negotiations fall through and he heads to arbitration. Nevertheless, it appears Devils management and Bratt’s camp are continuing to work toward a deal. Just because teams are calling doesn’t mean he’s going to be traded.
LATEST ON THE SENATORS
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch recently reported Senators general manager Pierre Dorion confirmed he’s received calls regarding what it might take for the club to trade the seventh-overall pick in this year’s draft.
Dorion confirmed he’s spoken candidly to those interested parties that his club might move the pick in return for a player who can help them get to the next level. Garrioch speculates the Senators GM might not get his best offer until draft day. Dorion didn’t rule out retaining the pick.
The Senators have been linked to Wild winger Kevin Fiala as he could be a good fit alongside Tim Stuetzle. Garrioch suggested Claude Giroux could be a good fit if the Panthers fail to re-sign the pending UFA forward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can read my take on this story in my column for The Hockey News.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Senators winger Connor Brown might test next summer’s UFA market. They’ll have to decide if they’ll let him play out the season or make a move.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trading Brown would free up $3.6 million for the Senators. That cap space could be put to good use by acquiring a right winger via trade or free agency.