NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 16, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 16, 2023

The Devils sign Jesper Bratt to an eight-year deal but will take Timo Meier to arbitration, the Senators also elect arbitration for Alex DeBrincat, Jarome Iginla returns to the Flames and John LeClair to the Flyers. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: The Devils re-signed Jesper Bratt to an eight-year, $63 million contract on Thursday. The average annual value is $7.87 million.

New Jersey Devils winger Jesper Bratt (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bratt was slated to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights on July 1. He is completing a one-year contract worth $5.45 million. The cap hit also keeps him below Jack Hughes’ $8 million AAV, which leads all Devils forwards.

The 24-year-old winger’s new contract is front-loaded. He’ll earn $10 million in actual salary next season, declining gradually down to $6 million in 2030-31. He also gets a full no-movement clause from 2024-25 to 2027-28, after which it becomes a 15-team no-trade clause with his no-movement preventing him from being sent to the minors.

It’s a significant investment in Bratt by the Devils. He earned this raise with back-to-back 73-point performances. With their Stanley Cup window opening, they obviously consider the winger to be a key part of their future. It will be money well-invested if Bratt maintains that level of production through most of this contract.

The Devils also filed team-elected arbitration with Timo Meier. They had hoped to get the 26-year-old winger signed up for the same term as Bratt but he seeks more money.

Meier was acquired from the San Jose Sharks before the March trade deadline. The Sharks reportedly went over $9 million annually in their efforts to re-sign him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This report suggests that taking Meier to arbitration is a way of buying time as the two sides continue to negotiate a new contract. The date for his hearing will be sometime in July or August but both sides could hammer out an agreement on a deal before then.

Meier is coming off a four-year contract with an AAV of $6 million. However, he earned $10 million in actual salary, which is what it would’ve cost the Devils to qualify his rights. In the worst-case scenario, the team-elected arbitration would reduce that qualifying offer to $8.5 million as one-year arbitration awards can be at 85 percent of the QO.

This move also ensures Meier won’t receive an offer sheet. Given how high his qualifying offer amount would’ve been, it’s doubtful that any club would’ve attempted to go that route.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators are taking winger Alex DeBrincat to team-elected arbitration. If the two sides fail to reach an agreement on a new contract, the arbitration award would be 85 percent of his $9 million qualifying offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeBrincat, 25, earned $6.4 million annually on his current contract but $9 million in actual salary this season. The report also indicates the Senators are actively shopping him and would prefer to get a deal done before July 1.

If they’re unable to move him, getting him signed to a one-year deal at $7.65 million provides them with cap flexibility to add another player. It would also perhaps make him more enticing as a trade candidate.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Jarome Iginla has returned to the Flames as the special advisor to general manager Craig Conroy. The all-time franchise leader in scoring and games played, the popular former captain was traded by the Flames to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2013.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Iginla spent 16 of his 20 NHL seasons in Calgary. He retired as a player in 2018 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2020.

It was long assumed that Iginla might one day return to the Flames in a front-office role. Conroy said he and his former teammate used to talk about one day working together in the NHL.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The Flyers yesterday announced John LeClair is returning to the club as a special advisor of hockey operations. He spent 10 seasons with the Flyers from 1994-95 to 2003-04, scoring 333 goals and 310 assists.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeClair was part of the Flyers’ famed “Legion of Doom” line alongside Eric Lindros and Mikael Renberg. He’s among their single-season leaders in goals (51) and career leaders in goals and points (643).

LeClair joins general manager Daniel Briere, president of hockey operations Keith Jones and special advisor to hockey ops Patrick Sharp among former Flyers recently hired to front-office roles.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad will undergo shoulder surgery that could keep him out of training camp in September. He expects to be ready to go by the time the regular season begins in October.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ekblad is the second Panthers blueliner undergoing shoulder surgery. However, he’s expected to be ready to return in time for the start of training camp.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars traded forward Fredrik Olofsson’s rights to the Colorado Avalanche for future considerations. They also re-signed goaltender Matt Murray to a one-year, two-way contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No, not that Matt Murray, Leafs fans…

NHL.COM: The order of selection for all seven rounds of the upcoming 2023 NHL Draft has been released. Round one begins on June 28 with the following six rounds on June 29.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind that this list could be revised if there are trades involving 2023 draft picks leading up to June 28.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Tampa Bay Lightning are reportedly set to sell a minority stake of their franchise to private equity group Arctos Sports Partners for a record $1.4 billion.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Last fall, Forbes indicated that 14 of the NHL’s 32 teams were valued at $1 billion or higher, with the Lightning sitting 14th at $1 billion. Selling their minority stake for more than its estimated value will have a ripple effect on the value of the other NHL franchises.

ESPN.COM: Las Vegas police arrested a man who threatened to carry out a mass shooting at T-Mobile Arena just four hours before Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final was played there.

Court records indicate the man has arrests in Las Vegas on various charges stretching back to 2014. He was also arrested last October on a felony charge of threatening an act of terrorism or mass destruction.