NHL Morning Coffee Headlines and Rumors – July 25, 2023
The Stars sign GM Jim Nill to a contract extension, the Hurricanes sign Tony DeAngelo plus the latest speculation on the Leafs, Rangers and Coyotes in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines and Rumors
MORNING COFFEE HEADLINES
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars signed general manager Jim Nill to a two-year contract extension. He is entering his 11th season with the Stars and became the first general manager in franchise history to win the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year award last season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nill did a fine job rebuilding the Stars in his early years, weathering some difficult times and bringing in young talent such as Jason Robertson, Roope Hintz and Jake Oettinger. They reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2020 and the Western Conference Final last season.
DeAngelo, 27, played for the Hurricanes in 2021-22 and was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers last summer, who signed him to a two-year contract worth an average annual value of $5 million. However, the Flyers bought out the final year of his contract earlier this month, making him an unrestricted free agent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeAngelo played a better-disciplined game during his first tenure with the Hurricanes which explains why the Hurricanes brought him back. They had a trade in place with the Flyers earlier this month to acquire him with the latter retaining half of his cap hit but the deal was rejected on a CBA technicality.
THE ATHLETIC: Joe Smith reports the Minnesota Wild and goaltender Filip Gustavsson could be headed to arbitration to resolve his contract situation. Gustavsson, 25, is coming off a two-year contract with an AAV of $787,500. He filed for arbitration and his hearing date is Aug. 4.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gustavsson and the Wild will make their respective contract submissions to the arbitrator 48 hours prior to his scheduled hearing.
CAP FRIENDLY: Speaking of arbitration, Gustavsson is among eight players with hearings scheduled from July 30 (Arizona’s Jack McBain and Boston’s Jeremy Swayman) to Aug. 4 (Gustavsson, Edmonton’s Ryan McLeod, Pittsburgh’s Drew O’Connor and the New York Rangers’ Brandon Scanlin).
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons believes the Maple Leafs cannot afford to pay William Nylander the $9 million to $10 million annual cap hit that he’s seeking on his next contract. It’s still less than what John Tavares, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner are currently making.
Simmons doubts the Leafs will get anything close to equal value for Nylander in a trade. He recommends letting the 27-year-old winger play out the final year of his contract and then let him walk via free agency. Simmons argues the Leafs could use the money they would’ve paid Nylander to put toward “all kinds of possibilities for roster movement” between now and next July.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The latest reports on Nylander’s contract negotiations claim they’re not going well with the two sides far apart.
General manager Brad Treliving went through a similar situation in 2021-22 with winger Johnny Gaudreau while GM of the Calgary Flames. He hoped to re-sign Gaudreau but wound up watching the winger depart for Columbus as a free agent last summer.
That’s sparked speculation that Treliving won’t go through the same thing with Nylander. Others, meanwhile, share Simmons’ belief that they should retain him this season as the Leafs chase the Stanley Cup, let him walk next summer and use the cap room to bolster their depth elsewhere.
It’ll be interesting to see how Treliving addresses this. While he won’t get equal value for Nylander in the trade market, he could get a couple of promising young players in return who could blossom into future stars. However, if the “Shanaplan” remains pursuing the Stanley Cup this season, they’ll likely keep Nylander and watch him depart as a free agent next July.
TSN: Travis Yost considers the contract buyout possibilities for the Maple Leafs in the wake of Ilya Samsonov’s contract award via arbitration on Sunday.
With the Leafs now well over the $83.5 million salary cap, Yost believes a buyout is coming before their second buyout window closes barring a cost-cutting trade. He suggests oft-injured goaltender Matt Murray or defenseman T.J. Brodie as candidates, though buying out the latter could hurt their efforts to be a Cup contender this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yost also points out that the Leafs could place Murray on long-term injury reserve. However, they would have to be salary-cap compliant once he’s ready to return to the lineup. Of course, if injuries have ended his playing career they can place him on LTIR and buy out Brodie or someone else.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks recently noted an unusually large number of free agents remain unsigned. He wondered how many of them would accept one-year contracts or tryout offers and if the Rangers might be able to tap into that low-cost pool to fill out their roster.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Puljujarvi might not be able to play until much later in the coming season. He underwent double hip surgery and faces a long recovery period.
GOPHNX.COM: In his latest mailbag segment, Craig Morgan was asked about why the Arizona Coyotes didn’t trade Nick Schmaltz this summer given how backloaded his contract was. Morgan believes they’re willing to absorb that cost given their shift to improving year over year as well as Schmaltz’s chemistry with high-scoring winger Clayton Keller.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Morgan believes Keller wouldn’t have been very happy if Schmaltz was traded. He tied the franchise single-season points record (86) in 2022-23 with Schmaltz as his linemate.
Morgan was also asked about the trade rumors that swirled about Coyotes goaltender Karel Vejmelka. While they’re always willing to listen to offers, management hasn’t put Vejmelka on the trade block.