NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 24, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 24, 2022

Patrice Bergeron reportedly returning with the Bruins, the Golden Knights close in on a new contract for Reilly Smith, the Senators win a bid to construct a new arena in downtown Ottawa, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Patrice Bergeron is returning for another season with the Bruins. Longtime Bruins beat reporter Joe McDonald of the Worcester Telegram and Gazette tweeted last night that the 36-year-old Bruins captain is set to sign a one-year, incentive-laden contract worth a potential total of $6.8 million.

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron (NHL Images).

Earlier this month, Bergeron won the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward for a record-setting fifth time. He’s spent his entire 18-season NHL career with the Bruins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergeron’s re-signing is good news for the Bruins, ensuring they’ll have their best center back for one more season. It also buys management time to find his potential replacement as well as add a second-line center.

We won’t know until Bergeron’s new contract is officially announced what the potential cap hit will be. The estimated $6.8 million would be roughly what he earned as the annual average value of his expiring contract. Whatever the amount, it could force management to make a cost-cutting trade or two. Cap Friendly shows them with just $2.83 million in cap space with 22 players under contract for 2022-23.

Teams are allowed to exceed the cap by 10 percent during the offseason but must be cap compliant when the regular season begins on Oct. 11. The Bruins can remain over the cap ceiling by placing sidelined stars such as Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy on long-term injury reserve but they must be under the cap when those players are ready to return to action.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports the Vegas Golden Knights are closing in on a three-year contract extension for Reilly Smith. Seravalli said it’s a verbal agreement for now and won’t be officially announced until the Golden Knights address their salary-cap issues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word yet on the annual cap hit of Smith’s new contract. The Golden Knights are currently above the $82.5 million cap by over $2.6 million with 16 players signed for 2022-23.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators’ hope of building a new arena in downtown Ottawa is closer to becoming a reality. The club and its partners have a memorandum of understanding with the National Capital Commission to construct an arena complex on LeBreton Flats. Construction on the project could begin in late 2024.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the culmination of several years of stalled negotiations and lawsuits for the Senators. A downtown arena will make it easier for fans to attend their games, providing a big boost to their hockey-related revenue.

There’s still more work to be done before this becomes a reality. Nevertheless, it’s a big, positive step in the right direction.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning hope to extend the 2022 Stanley Cup Final with a win over the Colorado Avalanche in Game 5 on Friday in Denver. The back-to-back defending champions hope to overcome a 3-1 series deficit and win the Cup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The odds are against the Lightning. Teams that are down 3-1 in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final are 1-35. The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs are the only team to accomplish that feat and they were down 3-0 in their series with the Detroit Red Wings.

THE DENVER POST: A solid bounce-back performance by goaltender Darcy Kuemper in Game 4 was a crucial factor in the Avalanche winning that contest.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars are working toward a contract extension with general manager Jim Nill.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The Flyers signed goaltender Felix Sandstrom to a two-year contract with an annual average value of $775K.

NHL.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets have extended their affiliate agreement with the ECHL’s Kalamazoo Wings.