NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 28, 2022
An update on J.T. Miller’s contract talks with the Canucks, Claude Giroux expects a rough welcome from Philadelphia Flyers fans, the latest on John Klingberg and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford told The Bob McCown podcast that his club would like to re-sign J.T. Miller. However, the two sides “remain a long way apart”.
Rutherford considered Miller the Canucks’ best player last season and anticipates he’ll be a very good player for a long time. If unable to reach an agreement with the 29-year-old center on a new contract, he said they’ll have to put him “in a place where he’s going to get his contract and where we’re going to get the right assets back that can help the Canucks in the future.”
Asked if there was a timeline and if he saw Miller starting the season in Vancouver, Rutherford said he would start the season with the Canucks if he remains unsigned and no one’s made a suitable trade offer by then. He acknowledged the situation would reach a pressure point for management a month before the trade deadline, saying they don’t want to be in a position where they wouldn’t get anything in return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller is signed for this season at a salary cap hit of $5.25 million. He is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Miller’s agent recently said there was a pathway toward a new contract with the Canucks. Rutherford’s comments suggest that the pathway could be too long, too expensive or both.
There’s still plenty of time for the two sides to negotiate an extension. However, we can expect trade rumors to continue swirling around Miller in the coming season if he doesn’t have a new deal by then.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Claude Giroux believes he’ll be booed by Flyers fans when he plays his first game at Wells Fargo Arena this coming season. Giroux was traded by the Flyers to the Florida Panthers at last season’s trade deadline and signed a three-year contract with the Ottawa Senators earlier this month. He thinks they could give him a standing ovation and then boo him.
DAILY FACEOFF: John Klingberg has changed agents two weeks into free agency. The former Dallas Stars defenseman parted ways with longtime agent Peter Wallen and is now represented by Newport Sports Management.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Klingberg was considered the top defenseman in this summer’s UFA class. It appears he and his former agent overestimated his value on the open market. There were reports last season that he sought an eight-year deal from the Stars worth between $62 million and $68 million. He’s certainly not getting that now.
NEW YORK POST: Former NHL forward Bobby Ryan took to Twitter yesterday to thank hockey fans for their support after he was arrested for public intoxication earlier this week at Nashville airport. Ryan, 35, has battled alcohol abuse and received treatment in 2019-20 through the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ryan’s relapse was unfortunate but he appears determined to return to the path of sobriety. Here’s hoping he can find the help he needs to do so. It was heartwarming to see the overwhelming support he received on social media from fans and former teammates.
THE ATHLETIC: Former Montreal Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme said he was disappointed he didn’t get the opportunity to speak with the club’s new management to discuss their plans for the franchise. Ducharme was replaced last February by Martin St. Louis after the club tumbled to last place in the overall standings. Under St. Louis, the Canadiens showed improvement though they still finished near the bottom of the standings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ducharme was put in a difficult situation by being hired midway through a COVID-shortened season on a struggling team that barely reached the playoffs. He coached them to a surprise run to the 2021 Stanley Cup Final, saw the wheels come off the following season as injuries to key players and a COVID outbreak ravaged the roster and appeared to have been kept in the dark by the club’s new management.
Nevertheless, the results speak for themselves. The Canadiens played like a team that had lost all confidence under Ducharme last season. There’s no denying their overall improvement under St. Louis.
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins signed free-agent forward Danton Heinen to a one-year, $1 million contract.
DAILY FACEOFF: The Carolina Hurricanes avoided salary arbitration with Ethan Bear, signing him to a one-year, $2.2 million contract.
THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Kraken re-signed forward Ryan Donato to a one-year, $1.2 million deal.
SPORTSNET: The St. Louis Blues signed forward Klim Kostin to a one-year, one-way contract worth $750K.
NHL.COM: The Anaheim Ducks signed defenseman Olli Juolevi to a one-year, two-way contract.
The Edmonton Oilers announced the Fort Wayne Comets will be their new ECHL affiliate.
DAILY FACEOFF: Former NHL player Daniel Carcillo released a statement yesterday criticizing Hockey Canada’s top officials for denying systemic and ongoing problems in junior hockey.
Carcillo is spearheading a lawsuit against Hockey Canada, alleging he suffered abuse during his major junior career. Hockey Canada is under scrutiny from Canadian politicians in the wake of two sexual assault scandals involving members of the 2003 and 2018 World Junior teams.