NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 29, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 29, 2020

Henrik Lundqvist to undergo open-heart surgery, Kirby Dach sidelined by wrist surgery and a roundup of Monday’s notable free-agent signings in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Henrik Lundqvist announced yesterday he’ll be undergoing open-heart surgery to address the condition that has sidelined him for this season. The 38-year-old goaltender signed a one-year contract with the Washington Capitals after being bought out by the New York Rangers in September.

Henrik Lundqvist will undergo open-heart surgery (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to King Henrik for a swift and complete recovery.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Kirby Dach could miss the entire upcoming season after undergoing wrist surgery on Monday. The timeline for his recovery is four-to-five months. The 19-year-old center suffered a fractured wrist last week playing for Canada during an exhibition game against Russia during the World Junior Championships in Edmonton.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a significant blow for the Blackhawks heading into this season. Dach was expected to play a bigger role with the club following a solid debut in 2019-20. There’s a chance he could return to the lineup by the time the playoffs begin in May, provided the Blackhawks qualify for the postseason.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens signed free-agent winger Corey Perry to a one-year, $750K contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perry isn’t the high-scoring right winger he was during his playing prime with the Anaheim Ducks. Nevertheless, he played a key role in the Dallas Stars’ march to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final. The 35-year-old Perry should provide the Habs with experienced depth and leadership on their checking lines.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Former New York Islanders forward Derick Brassard is expected to sign a one-year contract with the Coyotes. Meanwhile, SPORTSNET’s Elliotte Friedman reports they also signed Jordan Schmaltz to a professional tryout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes freed up cap space over the weekend by shipping Derek Stepan ($6.5 million annual average value) to the Ottawa Senators. That’s given them just over $3 million in cap space, with a portion going to replace Stepan with the more affordable Brassard.

SPORTSNET: The Los Angeles Kings have signed forward Andreas Athanasiou to a one-year, $1.2 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a good opportunity for Athanasiou to get his career back on track following last season’s disappointing performance with the Detroit Red Wings and Edmonton Oilers. A former 30-goal scorer, the 26-year-old should get plenty of playing time with the rebuilding Kings.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed Ethan Bear to a two-year contract worth an annual average value of $2 million. The 23-year-old defenseman was a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Inking the promising Bear to a short-term deal was a good cost-effective move by the Oilers. If his development continues as hoped he’ll be in line for a big raise in two years’ time. Cap Friendly shows the Oilers sitting over $2.19 million above the $81.5 million salary cap. However, they’ll be cap compliant once they place sidelined Oscar Klefbom ($4.16 million AAV) on long-term injury reserve.

The Florida Panthers signed defenseman Kevin Connauton to a professional tryout offer.

SPORTSNET’s Elliotte Friedman reports goaltender Garret Sparks is heading to the Calgary Flames on a PTO.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Pittsburgh Penguins were the only club among 123 teams of North America’s “Big Four” professional men’s sports leagues to receive a loan through a COVID relief program. The Penguins received a $4.82 million loan through the CARES Act.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 28, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 28, 2018

Reviewing a busy day for the Penguins, an update on Logan Couture, the latest signings and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: The PIttsburgh Penguins yesterday traded winger Conor Sheary and defenseman Matt Hunwick to the Buffalo Sabres for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2019.

Defenseman Jack Johnson could be signing a five-year deal as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Penguins on July 1. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move was a straightforward salary dump as the Penguins shed over $5.2 million in salary-cap payroll. 

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Sources say Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson intends to sign a five-year contract with the Penguins when the unrestricted free agent market opens on July 1. The annual average value is expected to  be between $3 million to $3.5 million. The Penguins also yesterday announced they re-signed center Riley Sheahan to a one-year, $2.1-million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sheary-Hunwick deal was seen as Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford creating room to bring in a defenseman and a winger. It appears he’s accomplished the first if Johnson indeed signs on July 1.

I like the cap hit for Johnson but not the term, as five years is a long time to invest in a 31-year-old defenseman who lost the confidence of his coach in Columbus. Still, the Penguins have a reputation for successful reclamation projects with blueliners (Justin Schultz, Jamie Oleksiak, Trevor Daley) and could strike gold again with Johnson.

The Penguins had declined to make a qualifying offer to Sheahan, thus avoiding arbitration and getting him signed to an agreeable short-term deal. 

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: cites reports by TSN claiming the San Jose Sharks are expected to announce an eight-year contract extension this weekend for forward Logan Couture, who has one year remaining on his current contract. Financial terms weren’t reveal. Couture, 29, is currently earning an annual average value of $6 million on his current deal. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise the Sharks intend to re-sign Couture, who’s one of their best players. An eight-year deal will take him up to age 38, which is a long time to invest in a player whose best seasons will soon be behind him. It’s safe to assume his new deal could be worth at least as much annually as his current one, though I daresay it’ll probably be higher. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes re-signed defenseman Kevin Connauton to a two-year, $2.75-million contract. He’ll earn $1.25 million in 2018-19 and $1.5 million the following season. 

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals re-signed winger Devante Smith-Pelly to a one-year, $1-million contract

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Blackhawks traded goaltender Jean-Francois Berube to the Columbus Blue Jackets for winger Jordan Schroeder. 

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators yesterday completed “a $135 million financing of a “six year senior term debt with a syndicate of financial institutions.” It’s a move that could indicate team owner Eugene Melnyk has no intention of selling the club. 

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Senators assistant general manager Randy Lee “has been charged with a new count of harassment stemming from his May 31 arrest in Buffalo after a hotel shuttle driver complained of unwanted sexual advances.”