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.”