NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 4, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 4, 2018

Senators re-sign Mark Stone while Cody Ceci gets arbiter-awarded contract, Flames buy out Troy Brouwer, latest on Jeff Skinner and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: The Ottawa Senators avoided salary arbitration with winger Mark Stone as they agreed to a one-year, $7.35-million contract. Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said he’s hopeful this deal will be the first step toward re-signing Stone to a long-term extension. 

OTTAWA SUN:  Senators defenseman Cody Ceci was awarded a one-year, $4.3-million contract by an arbitrator.

The Ottawa Senators agreed to a one-year contract with winger Mark Stone. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stone more than doubled the $3.5-million annual cap hit from his previous contract. His new salary will be the benchmark for his next deal.

While he and the Sens skipped the ego-bruising arbitration hearing, critics see this one-year contract as setting the stage for the winger’s departure via trade or free agency next year. I’ll have more on that later this morning in the rumors section.

Ceci, meanwhile, will once again become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights at the end of the season. He got a pay bump over last season’s $3.35-million salary but nowhere near the $6 million his side had sought from the arbiter.

It’ll be interesting to see how his situation shakes out and if he goes through this process again next summer. Should the Senators trade Karlsson as expected they could push to get Ceci under a longer-term deal next summer. Losing Karlsson and Ceci in the same year would be a significant blow to their blueline depth. 

WGR 550: Former Carolina Hurricanes winger Jeff Skinner said the Sabres’ core of young talent was among the factors behind his decision to waive his no-movement clause and accept a trade to Buffalo. He also said he hasn’t had time to think about a contract extension with the Sabres, adding his focus is on the upcoming season “for the next little while.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Skinner isn’t ruling out re-signing with the Sabres but it doesn’t sound as though he’s in a rush to open extension talks. Doesn’t mean the two sides won’t discuss a new contract at some point during this season. I expect they’ll take a “wait-and-see” approach. 

SPORTSNET: Troy Brouwer passed through unconditional waivers yesterday and was bought out by the Calgary Flames.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Dallas Stars signed forward Gemel Smith to a one-year, $720K contract two days after his arbitration hearing.

THE ATHLETIC (Subscription required): Scott Powers tracks how Cap Friendly went from a passion project to an indispensable resource for NHL insiders and fans.