NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 27, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 27, 2021

The Panthers re-sign Sam Bennett and trade Anton Stralman to the Coyotes, the Jets re-sign Paul Stastny and acquire Brenden Dillion from the Capitals, the Golden Knights close to re-signing Alec Martinez and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Florida Panthers were busy on Monday. They signed forward Sam Bennett to a four-year deal worth an annual average value of $4.4 million. The club also traded defensemen Anton Stralman and Vladislav Kolyachonok plus a second-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft in exchange for a seventh-round pick in 2023.

The Florida Panthers re-sign forward Sam Bennett to a four-year deal (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not surprising the Panthers re-signed Bennett. Slated to become a restricted free agent on July 28, the 25-year-old netted 15 points in his first 10 regular-season games after being acquired at the trade deadline from Calgary. He also had five points in as many playoff games. Bennett should be a key part of their top-two forward lines.

The Stralman trade was a straightforward salary dump by the Panthers. He had a year remaining on his contract worth an annual average value of $5.5 million. The 35-year-old blueliner reportedly had to be convinced to waive his modified no-trade to go to Arizona. He’ll likely become a bargaining chip at next season’s trade deadline if the rebuilding Coyotes are out of playoff contention by then.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets also had a busy day, re-signing center Paul Stastny to a one-year, $3.75 million contract and acquiring defenseman Brenden Dillon from the Washington Capitals in exchange for a second-round pick in 2022 and a second-rounder in 2023.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stastny isn’t the offensive talent he once was. Nevertheless, the 35-year-old should be an affordable short-term answer to their need for a second-line center while management seeks a long-term solution. Dillon will help address a glaring need for reliable stay-at-home depth on their blueline, though the cost of two second-rounders seems a little high.

The Capitals, meanwhile, freed up $3.9 million in annual cap space for the next three seasons. They now have over $12 million in cap room if they call up Martin Fehervary as expected for next season. That gives them some additional wiggle room to re-sign Alex Ovechkin and goaltender Ilya Samsonov.

LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights are reportedly close to signing Alec Martinez to a three-year contract extension. The 35-year-old defenseman would receive an annual cap hit close to $5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Martinez proved his worth to the Golden Knights this season, especially in the playoffs where he was their best all-around blueliner. The contract is a bit long for a shot-blocking rearguard of his age but that seems the price the Golden Knights are willing to pay to remain in Stanley Cup contention.

That signing could push them over the $81.5 million salary cap. They could make a cost-cutting trade before the start of next season involving Marc-Andre Fleury or Robin Lehner.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes expected to sign forward Dmitrij Jaskin to a one-year, $3.2 million contract. The 29-year-old spent seven seasons with the St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals before spending the past two seasons playing for the KHL’s Moscow Dynamo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes have been everyone’s favorite dumping ground for unwanted contracts this summer. General manager Bill Armstrong has been clearing up long-term cap space while restocking with draft picks and prospects.

Most of the contracts he’s taken on have only a year or two remaining, with most belonging to still-serviceable players who could become trade bait to playoff contenders later next season. He also did a great job shedding Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s hefty contract by shipping that off to Vancouver during the recent NHL draft.

THE SCORE: Several notable restricted free agents didn’t receive qualifying offers at yesterday’s deadline. Among them were Boston’s Nick Ritchie, Chicago’s Pius Suter, Edmonton’s Dominik Kahun and Anaheim’s Danton Heinen. They are eligible to become unrestricted free agents on July 28.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Just because they didn’t get qualifying offers doesn’t mean they can’t re-sign with their now-former teams. Sometimes teams don’t offer a QO because they want to sign those players to a more affordable contract. That’s what the Blackhawks did with Adam Gaudette, inking him to a one-year deal worth just over $997K.

TORONTO STAR: Defenseman Zach Bogosian won’t be back with the Maple Leafs. He’s likely headed to an American market via free agency on July 28.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers are expected to sign Patrik Nemeth when free agency opens tomorrow. The Colorado Avalanche allowed the pending UFA defenseman to speak with other teams.

TSN: The New Jersey Devils traded forward Nick Merkley to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for defenseman Christian Jaros. The Devils signed Jaros to a one-year, two-way contract.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers re-signed defenseman Sam Morin to a one-year, $750K contract.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan is expected to be named head coach of the United States’ Men’s hockey team for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 10, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 10, 2021

Corey Crawford retires, Islanders sign Mathew Barzal, COVID-19 continues to affect training camps, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NJ.COM: Corey Crawford announced his retirement yesterday. The 36-year-old goaltender spent 10 full NHL seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks and signed a two-year contract last fall with the New Jersey Devils.

Goaltender Corey Crawford retires after 10 NHL seasons (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crawford had been absent for several days last week from the Devils training camp. On Friday, it was announced he was taking an indefinite leave of absence for personal reasons.

Crawford enjoyed a stellar decade with the Blackhawks, backstopping them to two Stanley Cups (2013, 2015). He was also a two-time winner (2012-13, 2014-15) of the William M. Jennings Trophy. He played 488 regular-season games, with a record of 260 wins, 162 losses and 53 overtime losses, with a 2.45 goals-against average, a .918 save percentage and 26 shutouts.

PuckPedia indicates Crawford is retiring rather than going on long-term injury reserve. Under the new memorandum of understanding to the collective bargaining agreement, his salary comes off the Devils’ books. Any multi-year plus-35 contracts where the compensation is the same or goes up with no signing bonuses after the first year no longer count against the salary cap upon retirement.

Best wishes to Crawford and his family in their future endeavors.

NEW YORK POST: The Islanders yesterday signed Mathew Barzal to a three-year, $21 million contract. The annual average value is $7 million, though in actual salary he’ll earn $4 million this season, $7 million next season and $10 million in 2022-23.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The actual salary for the final season is notable because that’s what the Islanders must offer Barzal in 2023 to qualify his rights when he’ll be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. He’s going to get a hefty raise on his next contract but that’s what it’ll take to keep their first-line center on Long Island.

**UPDATE** Under the terms of last year’s CBA extension (as per Cap Friendly), “The Qualifying Offer is limited to 120% of their previous contract’s annual average (AAV).” This applies to players on contracts signed after July 10, 2020.  In Barzal’s case, 120% of the AAV is $8.4 million, not $10 million. My thanks to “Howard” and “Caper” for pointing this out. 

This signing leaves the Isles over the $81.5 million salary cap by nearly $3.1 million, but they’ll get cap relief by placing defenseman Johnny Boychuk ($6 million AAV) on LTIR to start the season. Nevertheless, the Isles could still be attempting to make a cost-cutting trade. I’ll have more in the Rumors section.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers’ winger James Neal has finally hit the ice in training camp after missing the first five days of practice in quarantine. For their season-opener, he’s expected to either be on the 23-man roster listed as unfit to play and on injured reserve or part of their six-man taxi squad.

The Calgary Flames yesterday indicated Sam Bennett was “unfit to participate” in practice. They also signed Brett Ritchie to a professional tryout offer.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings claimed defenseman Christian Djoos off waivers from the Anaheim Ducks.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: The Penguins canceled practice yesterday due to potential exposure to COVID-19 out of an abundance of caution. The club is expected to release a statement today regarding Sunday’s schedule. It’s unknown if any players, coaches or staff members tested positive.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings forward Gabriel Vilardi, defensemen Kurtis MacDermid and Sean Walker, and goaltenders Cal Petersen and Matthew Villalta were deemed “unfit to participate” in yesterday’s scrimmage.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning announced they will open their season without fans in attendance over concerns of rising COVID-19 cases in Hillsborough County and west-central Florida. The Lightning have permission to allow a limited number of fans inside Amelie Arena but have opted to wait until at least Feb. 5, when they’ll reassess the local situation.

The Western Hockey League (WHL) announced it will stage a 24-game regular season for 2020-21. The start date has yet to be determined. The WHL is among the feeder leagues for the National Hockey League.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 7, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – August 7, 2019

Updates on Mitch Marner, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LEAFS OFFER MARNER BETWEEN $9 – $11 MILLION PER SEASON

TSN: cites a recent report by The Athletic’s James Mirtle claiming the Toronto Maple Leafs offered Mitch Marcher between $9 million to roughly $11 million per season depending on the term. The club discussed three, six and seven-year deals with the Marner camp, who are reportedly uninterested in a maximum eight-year deal.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are said to have offered Mitch Marner between $9 and $11 million per season (Photo via NHL Images).

It’s believed Marner’s reps sought a deal comparable to teammate Auston Matthews’ five-year contract ($11.6 million annual average value). Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas recently said there was nothing new to report regarding negotiations with Marner but remained confident and optimistic.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The breakdowns for each contract was probably $11 million per season for seven years, somewhere around $10 million AAV for six years, and $9 million annually for three. My guess is the Marner camp will keep pushing for five years at close to $11 million AAV.

WILL MCAVOY AND CARLO RE-SIGN WITH BRUINS BEFORE TRAINING CAMP?

NHL.COM: Jone Lane wondered if the Boston Bruins can get restricted free agent defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo re-signed before training camp opens next month. He cited Bruins president Cam Neely recently telling NBC Sports the club has to plan and prepare for the possibility both might not report to camp on opening day.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Bruins have over $7.2 million in salary-cap space. Unless they can get both blueliners to accept affordable short-term bridge deals, management could be forced to a salaried player to make room for their new contracts. Defenseman Kevan Miller and forwards David Backes and Charlie Coyle have surfaced in the rumor mill as possible trade candidates.

UPDATES ON THE CAPITALS AND STARS

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: In a recent mailbag segment, J.J. Regan was asked how the Capitals intend to become salary-cap compliant before the start of the season. They currently sit over $1.3 million about the $81.5-million cap. He doesn’t rule out trading defenseman Christian Djoos ($1.25 million) but doubts they’ll go that route because they’ll get next to nothing in return. Regan instead thinks they’ll demote Chandler Stephenson ($1.05 million), as his salary for next season “comes just under the maximum cap relief cutoff for players in the AHL.”

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Sean Shapiro believes the Dallas Stars are still waiting for the best offer for defenseman Julius Honka. He thinks a fourth-round pick is a realistic return. However, clubs that could have interest in Honka might prefer to wait and see if they can pick him up off the waiver wire in October.










2019 Summer NHL Arbitration Update

2019 Summer NHL Arbitration Update

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 25, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 25, 2019

Sergei Bobrovsky explains why he left the Blue Jackets, the latest contract signings, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

TSN: cited Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky telling Russia’s Sport 24 why he left the Columbus Blue Jackets via free agency after seven seasons. He cited discord between himself and the club that started following their first-round elimination in the 2018 playoffs and continued throughout last season.

Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky explained why he left the Columbus Blue Jackets after seven seasons (Photo via NHL Images).

Bobrovsky said there was more to it than just the tensions within the club, adding he felt he needed a change of scenery. Despite the club’s constant efforts to re-sign the goalie, he said there was “no chance” he’d sign an extension with them.

“I was suspended by the team, there were some conflicts in the team, a lot of meetings and some of them just because of me,” he said, adding that he didn’t feel comfortable. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bobrovsky merely confirmed the discord that was rumored throughout last season. Those conflicts he alluded to were highlighted by his one-game suspension by the team for not returning to the bench after being pulled from a mid-season contest. 

CALGARY SUN: The Flames avoided arbitration with Sam Bennett, re-signing the 23-year-old forward to a two-year contract worth $2.25-million annually. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a cost-effective deal for the Flames, who need all the cap space they can get with Matthew Tkachuk, David Rittich, and Andrew Mangiapane to re-sign. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $7.4 million in cap room and it’ll take more than that to sign Tkachuk. A salary-dumping trade before the start of the season seems likely, especially after Rittich gets his new contract. His arbitration hearing is slated for July 29. 

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs announced seven contract signings yesterday. None of them involved Mitch Marner. The players brought in were forwards Pontus Aberg, Kenny Agostino, Tyler Gaudet, Kalle Kossila, Nick Shore and Garrett Wilson, and defenceman Kevin Gravel.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some of these signings, such as Agostino, Shore and Wilson, were previously reported. The Leafs now sit above the $81.5 million cap by over $2.1 million. Most of those players, perhaps all of them, will likely spend this season in the minors. 

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals defenseman Christian Djoos received a one-year, $1.25-million contract via arbitration. The Capitals accepted the arbiter’s decision. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Over the weekend, Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford married his long-time girlfriend Kristy Muscolino.

THE TENNESSEAN: Predators captain Roman Josi also got married last weekend, tying the knot with model Ellie Ottaway.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My congratulations to the happy couples. 

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues hired former Boston Bruins forward Marc Savard as an assistant coach. His responsibilities will be the club’s special teams, especially the power play. 

THE AHL.COM: Former NHL winger Matt Moulson signed a one-year contract with the Hershey Bears. 

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 16, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 16, 2017

Game recaps plus updates on Auston Matthews, Joe Thornton, Jeff Carter & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou each scored twice as the Detroit Red Wings thumped the Calgary Flames 8-2. Their efforts were overshadowed by a third-period line brawl in front of both benches after Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk jabbed Wings forward Luke Witkowski with his stick as Witkowski was being escorted to the dressing room following a fight with Brett Kulak.

Artem Anisimov’s first NHL hat trick powered the Chicago Blackhawks to a 6-3 victory over the New York Rangers, snapping the latter’s six-game winning streak. 

Josh Gibson’s kicked out 40 shots as the Anaheim Ducks doubled up the Boston Bruins 4-2. Josh Manson and Nick Ritchie each had a goal and an assist for the Ducks. The Bruins could get some help for their upcoming game against the Los Angeles Kings, as center David Krejci (possible back injury) could return to the lineup tonight. 

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (suspected back injury) could return to action tonight against the New Jersey Devils. Matthews missed the Leafs’ last three games. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Malcolm Subban (lower-body injury) is close to returning to action, possibly as soon as tonight’s game against the Vancouver Canucks. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Subban’s potential return would be good news for the injury-depleted Vegas goaltending. They’ve depleted their minor-league roster and are now down to WHL Kamloops Blazers’ netminder Dylan Ferguson. 

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets forward Mathieu Perreault (leg injury) has been activated off the injured reserve list. 

 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The surprising strong play of rookie forwards Adrian Kempe and Alex Iafallo has offset the absence of Carter and Gaborik thus far. 

THE MERCURY NEWS: takes issue with the San Jose Sharks for playing coy over the health of center Joe Thornton. He missed “both of the Sharks practices this week after sitting out two last week and skating for a season-low 14 minutes Saturday night.” They were also misleading when discussing Thornton’s recovery earlier this year from offseason knee surgery. 

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals defenseman Christian Djoos is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

 

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: The Arizona Coyotes are under investigation by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) over allegations the club “spied on staff, engaged in union busting and fired two employees who raised concerns about pay.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We take you live to the Coyotes season thus far: 

via GIPHY