NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 14, 2023
No Patrick Kane signing this summer plus the latest on Cam Atkinson, Tristan Jarry, Nazem Kadri and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski reports Patrick Kane intends to take his time recovering from major hip surgery that is expected to sideline him for four to six months. Once he’s ready to return (which could be by December), the 34-year-old right winger will select the suitor he feels will give him the best chance of winning the Stanley Cup.
Wyshynski noted the drawbacks of this strategy. Kane can’t control how general managers will manage their rosters. Desirable clubs might not have the salary-cap flexibility in December that they currently have in the offseason. On the other hand, signing with a team now runs the risk of committing to a club that might not become a contender.
Kane’s agent, Pat Brisson, is unconcerned by this strategy. He noted that teams have called to express interest in his client. “You could offer me a one-year or a two-year deal right now at $7 million or so,” said Brisson. “I don’t even know if I want to entertain it, because it’s not what he needs. We’ll see, at the right time, how he feels, where he’s at, and then we’ll take it from there.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The flattened salary cap for 2023-24 likely means Kane will have to accept a one-year contract when he’s ready to return by December. Most Stanley Cup contenders in the market for a scoring winger with championship experience will have little cap room by that point.
Kane earned an annual average value of $10.5 million on his previous contract. At this stage of his career, he and his agent understand they won’t get anything close to that. Given the cap situation, he might have to accept a significant pay cut that could be well below what they anticipate.
It’s likely more important for Kane to show the hockey world that he’s fully recovered from his surgery and is still capable of being an effective scorer despite his age. A strong showing this season on a low-cost, one-year contract will set him up for a better deal next summer when the cap is projected to rise by at least $4 million.
TSN: After missing all of 2022-23 to an upper-body injury and neck surgery, Cam Atkinson is looking forward to returning to action this season with the Philadelphia Flyers. The 34-year-old winger said he’s fully recovered from his surgery and no longer experiences pain in his neck.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Atkinson’s absence was a contributing factor in the Flyers’ decline last season. A return to form in 2023-24 could help them become a better-than-expected team.
CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Nazem Kadri believes the Flames’ coaching change will re-energize the roster for 2023-24. He feels the elevation of Ryan Huska as head coach will have them playing more to their style. Kadri also said Huska is a coach who communicates well, adding he thinks that’s what the team needs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Huska’s predecessor, Darryl Sutter, was a taciturn old-school coach who reportedly clashed at times last season with several of the Flames’ roster core. The change of style could help this club unlock its potential.
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry said he’s 100 percent healthy after struggling through injuries last season. He indicated that he’s changed his offseason training to get stronger and fitter in a different way. While the precise nature of his injuries last season hasn’t been divulged, Jarry denied that they were chronic issues.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins management evidently believes Jarry has put his injury woes behind him, signing the 28-year-old goalie to a five-year contract worth an AAV of nearly $5.4 million. A healthy season by Jarry will be crucial to the club’s hope of returning to playoff contention.
THE ATHLETIC: The Arizona Coyotes placed Alex Galchenyuk on unconditional waivers on Thursday for the purpose of terminating his contract. The 29-year-old winger had signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Coyotes on July 1.
The decision was made after the club became aware of an off-ice issue involving Galchenyuk. It was subsequently reported he was arrested by Scottsdale police on July 9 on a number of charges including private property hit and run, disorderly conduct, failure to obey, resisting arrest and threatening or intimidating. The police indicated the hit and run was “only property damage and no injuries. Galchenyuk was released on his own recognizance and arraigned on Monday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was no comment from Galchenyuk’s agent or his attorney. We’ll likely learn more details of this story in the coming weeks.
TSN’s Rick Westhead tweeted yesterday that several NHL executives, sponsors and player agents are bracing for the NHL’s possible release of its investigation regarding an alleged sexual assault involving as many as eight players from Canada’s 2018 World Junior team.
If the league names and suspends the players allegedly involved, those players will likely appeal any sanctions with an arbitrator as per the CBA and might pursue defamation lawsuits against the league.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report of the NHL’s investigation was expected to be released sometime in July.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars re-signed forward Ty Dellandrea to a one-year, $900K contract.
TSN: The New York Islanders have promoted Rick Kowalsky as head coach of their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport. He served as Bridgeport’s assistant coach for the past two seasons. He replaces Brent Thompson, who recently joined the Anaheim Ducks’ coaching staff.
BUFFALO HOCKEY NOW: The Sabres have signed a two-year affiliation agreement with the ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen.