NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 2, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 2, 2018

Flames sign James Neal, an update on Henrik Zetterberg, Ryan McDonagh’s new contract, plus a roundup of other free agent signings and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPECTOR NOTE: Following this link for yesterday’s list of notable free-agent signings and this link for my analysis of the more noteworthy signings. 

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports the Calgary Flames have signed winger James Neal to a five-year deal worth an annual average value of roughly $5.75-million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Neal’s tallied 20-plus goals in each of his 10 NHL seasons and played a leadership role in the Vegas Golden Knights’ record-breaking inaugural campaign. His experience, physical style and leadership could make him a solid addition for the Flames. However, his production decreased over the past two seasons with Nashville and Vegas respectively. His physical style has also taken a toll, as he’s played over 71 games just one in the past five seasons. With Neal turning 31 in September, this new contract could become more costly over the final two years for the Flames.   

Detroit Red Wings management unsure if Henrik Zetterberg will be healthy enough to play next season (Photo via NHL Images)

  MLIVE.COM:  Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland isn’t certain if captain Henrik Zetterberg will be able to play next season. Holland said the last time he spoke to Zetterberg, the 37-year-old center said he’s planning on playing. However, his health will determine if he returns to action.

Zetterberg has a history of back injuries and underwent major surgery in 2014. Holland said he’ll remain in touch with his captain throughout the summer.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning yesterday re-signed defenseman Ryan McDonagh to a seven-year extension worth $47 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDonagh will be 30 when his new contract kicks in next summer. He’s a solid all-around defenseman but that deal could become a millstone for the Lightning over the latter years of the deal. McDonagh’s style of play takes a toll upon his body, one that could hamper his effectiveness as he ages. He also seemed to struggle at times against swifter opponents during the 2018 playoffs. 

THE ATHLETIC: Defenseman Jack Johnson found himself in hot water with Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella over his comment that he was happy to join a team with a winning culture during his press conference yesterday to announce his signing with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Tortorella blasted the former Jackets defenseman, calling those remarks a slap in the face after all the organization had done to support him. Johnson said his misspoke, never intended any insult and called Jackets president John Davidson to apologize.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The Rangers re-signed forward Vladislav Namestnikov to a two-year deal worth $4 million per season and inked former Ottawa Senators defenseman Fredrik Claesson to a one-year, $700,000 deal.

SPORTSNET: The New York Islanders signed center Valtteri Filppula to a one-year contract. Cap Friendly indicates it’s worth $2.75 million.

NHL.COM: The Vancouver Canucks re-signed forward Sven Baertschi to a three-year deal with an AAV of $3.367M.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Matt Cullen is returning to the Pittsburgh Penguins, as the 41-year-old center inked a one-year worth $650K

LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS: The Anaheim Ducks inked defenseman Luke Schenn to a one-year, $800K contract.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres re-signed winger Scott Wilson to a two-year, $2.1-million contract. 

NBC SPORTS: The Washington Capitals signed center Nic Dowd to a one-year, $650K deal.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: The Florida Panthers added goaltender Michael Hutchinson as he agreed to a one-year, two-way contract worth $1.3 million.

NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils inked defenseman Eric Gryba to a one-year, two-way deal worth $750K at the NHL level.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets signed goaltender Laurent Brossoit to a one-year, one-way contract worth $650K