NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 15, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 15, 2020

The Canadiens sign Brendan Gallagher and Jake Allen to contract extensions, Golden Knights owner believes 2020-21 season will begin on Feb. 1, an update on Joe Thornton and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens signed winger Brendan Gallagher and goaltender Jake Allen to contract extensions. Gallagher inked a six-year, $39-million deal while Allen’s is two years with an annual average value of $2.875 million.

Montreal Canadiens sign Brendan Gallagher to a six-year contract extension (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gallagher’s new contract came a day following a report claiming contract talks had broken down. The two sides wasted little time circling back and working things out. Cap Friendly indicates it’s an annual cap hit of $6.5 million, making the 28-year-old winger the Canadiens’ highest-paid forward. It also comes with a modified no-trade clause and a no-movement clause, ensuring he won’t be exposed to next year’s expansion draft.

It’s not surprising the Canadiens locked up Gallagher given his offensive consistency and his status as their heart-and-soul player. It should prove worthwhile through the first half of the deal but could become a salary-cap headache in the latter half as his performance declines.

The Allen deal was a bit of a surprise as it was expected he would only be with the Habs for a year and depart next year via free agency. His new contract is affordable but lacks no-movement protection, meaning he’ll be available in next year’s NHL expansion draft. Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin could attempt to cut a deal with Seattle Kraken GM Ron Francis to ensure Allen remains a Hab.

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski reports Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley told a Las Vegas radio station he sees the 2020-21 NHL season beginning on Feb. 1, a full month after the league’s official target date of Jan. 1. He also believes the schedule could be between 48 to 56 games. Foley feels the fate of next season relies on fans returning to the arenas, citing the NHL’s status as a gate-driven league.

Foley dismissed the possibility of the teams playing in quarantine cities as they did during the 2020 playoffs, calling it unfeasible over the course of a season. He instead mentioned the possibility of some sort of short-term divisional realignment, hinting at an all-Canadian division if the Canada-USA border remains closed by COVID-19.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Foley isn’t saying anything that hasn’t already been speculated by fans and pundits. However, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman could frown on Foley’s remarks. He usually doesn’t stand for owners talking that freely about the league’s plans. Officially, the NHL and NHL Players Association are aiming for a full 82-game regular-season beginning Jan. 1.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson said he’s been in frequent contact with Joe Thornton but declined to say if the long-time Sharks center would return with the club next season. Wilson’s comments, however, make it sound as though he’d welcome Thornton’s return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Recent rumors have tied Thornton with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but there’s an ongoing belief he could return for another season with the Sharks.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins team president Cam Neely denied the club has imposed an internal salary cap lower than the league’s $81.5 million cap. Recent conjecture suggested financial losses suffered by team owner Jeremy Jacobs’ hospitality empire during the pandemic was behind the club’s limited activity in the free-agent and trade markets.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators avoided arbitration with forward Nick Paul by signing him to a two-year, one-way contract worth an annual average value of $1.35 million.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames recently signed free-agent goaltender Louis Domingue to a one-year, $700K contract.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 14, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – October 14, 2020

The latest on Brendan Gallagher, Mike Hoffman, Tyler Johnson and Johnny Boychuk in today’s NHL rumor mill.

GALLAGHER’S FUTURE IN MONTREAL IN DOUBT?

TSN: Darren Dreger wonders about Brendan Gallagher’s future with the Montreal Canadiens after contract talks broke off. Discussions between the right-winger and the Canadiens were going well until they acquired Josh Anderson and Tyler Toffoli and now general manager Marc Bergevin is playing hardball with the Gallagher camp.

Gallagher is a year away from becoming an unrestricted free agent, giving the two sides plenty of time to negotiate a deal. However, this situation has some observers wondering if Bergevin might consider trading the 28-year-old winger. Frank Seravalli believes the Vancouver Canucks would be among the suitors, pointing to their need for a scoring winger and Gallagher’s ties to Vancouver.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gallagher’s situation could be a preview of what most of next year’s UFA class could experience. The cap is expected to remain flat again for 2021-22 and that will force general managers to be less accommodating with their pending UFA talent than they were in the past. The acquisitions of Anderson and Toffoli also provide Bergevin with leverage that he didn’t have before the offseason began.

Cap Friendly indicates the Canucks have $1.998 million in cap space. Seravalli believes they have some ability to move out some contracts, suggesting Loui Eriksson or Brandon Sutter, as well as noting uncertainty over winger Jake Virtanen’s future. He feels GM Jim Benning would like to make one more splash in this offseason.

The Canucks might be interested in Gallagher if he hits the trade block, but I doubt they can put together a deal to land him. The winger carries a cap hit of $3.75 million. Benning will have to move over $4 million to take him on, assuming he can put together an enticing package for Bergevin. Other clubs with more roster and salary-cap flexibility could outbid the Canucks.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Tyler Johnson (NHL Images).

UPDATE ON JOHNSON

TSN: Seravalli reports Tyler Johnson has expanded his list of trade destinations from five to eight clubs. His camp is also willing to accept some suggestions from Tampa Bay Lightning management to best facilitate a trade that will get the club out of salary-cap hell.

The Lightning could be forced to include a draft pick with Johnson or any other player (Alex Killorn, Yanni Gourde) they would consider moving in a cost-cutting trade. Those players, however, hold all the cards with their no-trade clauses.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning will probably have to pay far more than they would prefer to move one of those players. Every GM in the league knows their cap situation and won’t make it easy for them.

LATEST ON HOFFMAN

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports Mike Hoffman is holding firm on his value and belief he’s a $5.5 million to $6 million player. He believes the 30-year-old winger can be had on a one-year contract. The Boston Bruins, Columbus Blue Jackets and Nashville Predators are the most interested, though the Canucks and Canadiens could get into the mix if they can move some pieces.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NBC Sports Boston’s Nick Goss indicates the problem for Bruins GM Don Sweeney is signing a player such as Hoffman would take up a big chunk of his $12 million in salary-cap space. The other clubs said to be interested in the winger will face the same issue. Hoffman and the remaining players in this year’s UFA market could be waiting a while to get what they want or be forced to significantly lower their asking prices.

ISLANDERS TRYING TO MOVE BOYCHUK

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple cites a report by The Fourth Period claiming the New York Islanders were close to trading Johnny Boychuk on Monday evening. The 36-year-old defenseman carries an annual average value of $6 million over the next two seasons, though in actual salary he’ll be owed just $5.25 million for the duration of his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No indication if efforts to trade Boychuk are ongoing following their trade of Devon Toews on Monday to the Colorado Avalanche. The veteran blueliner also carries an eight-team list of trade destinations, though perhaps he can be persuaded into broadening that list.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 14, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 14, 2020

Contract talks have broken off between the Canadiens and Brendan Gallagher, some “mutual interest” between the Leafs and Joe Thornton, three key Bruins underwent surgery last month, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Contract talks between Brendan Gallagher and the Montreal Canadiens have broken off, Gallagher’s agent Gerry Johansson told Pierre LeBrun on Tuesday. The 28-year-old winger is eligible next summer to become an unrestricted free agent.

Montreal Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll have more about this later this morning in the Rumors section. There’s still plenty of time for the two sides to work out a new contract. Gallagher is considered among the Canadiens’ core players but this report casts early doubt over his long-term future in Montreal.

THE SCORE: cites The Athletic’s James Mirtle reporting of “some mutual interest” between the Toronto Maple Leafs and UFA center Joe Thornton in reaching an agreement on a contract. The discussions are at an early stage. The 41-year-old center is coming off a disappointing 31-point performance in 70 games last season, his worst output over a full season since his NHL debut in 1997-98.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The idea is Thornton would become the Leafs’ third-line center, allowing Alexander Kerfoot to play on the wing. The former Shark is among the greatest playmakers in NHL history and a future first-ballot Hall-of-Famer. However, the decline in his performance last season should be a concern. The Leafs might be better off looking elsewhere for a short-term third-line center.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins forwards Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak and defenseman Charlie McAvoy underwent surgeries in September. Marchand underwent sports hernia surgery on Sept. 14 and is sidelined for four months. Pastrnak had a right hip arthroscopy and labral repair on Sept. 16 with a five-month recovery period. McAvoy, meanwhile, had a right knee arthroscopy on Sept. 8 and is expected to be ready for training camp.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins will be without Pastrnak and Marchand if the 2020-21 NHL season opens in January.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks signed Patrick Marleau and Matt Nieto to one-year contracts. Cap Friendly indicates Marleau and Nieto will each earn $700K.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs signed goaltender Aaron Dell to a one-year, $800K contract.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Predators signed UFA forward Brad Richardson to a one-year, $1-million contract.

NHLPA: The dates for salary arbitration have been announced:

October 20

Andrew Mangiapane
Anthony DeAngelo
Matthew Grzelcyk

October 21

Ilya Mikheyev

October 22

Connor Brown

October 25

Tyler Bertuzzi

October 26

Linus Ullmark

October 27

Sam Reinhart

October 28

Jake Virtanen

October 30

Joshua Ho-Sang

October 31

Devon Toews
Alexandar Georgiev

November 1

Nicholas Paul

November 2

Gustav Forsling

November 4

Victor Olofsson
Warren Foegele

November 5

Ryan Strome

November 6

Brendan Lemieux
Ryan Pulock

November 7

Christian Jaros

November 8

Chris Tierney
MacKenzie Weegar
Haydn Fleury

OTTAWA SUN: Senators prospect Tim Stuetzle will undergo surgery to repair a broken hand suffered during training camp with the Mannheim Eagles. The recovery time is six-to-eight weeks. Stuetzle was the Senators’ first-round pick (third overall) in the 2020 NHL Draft.

TSN: Speaking of the Senators, Eugene Melnyk has filed a defamation lawsuit against Ottawa Sun columnist Rick Gibbons regarding reports claiming the Sens owner was attempting to divert money from a club charity to his own charity and gouging the Ottawa Senators Foundation by charging exorbitant rent. The Sun subsequently published an apology and a correction of errors in Gibbon’s stories.

THE ATHLETIC: Multiple Dallas Stars employees will be furloughed for the second time this year. Team owner Tom Gagliardi is facing mounting financial difficulties as his core businesses (hotels and restaurants) continue to be affected by COVID-19.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 2, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 2, 2020

The latest on Steven Stamkos, Brendan Gallagher, Andrei Svechnikov and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

  SPORTSNET: Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois said team captain Steven Stamkos was dealing with a compensation injury triggered by his rehab from sports hernia surgery in March. Stamkos is expected to be fully recovered in time for the start of next season.

TORONTO SUN: Speaking of the Lightning, they’re facing criticism for holding a public parade in downtown Tampa where fans were packed shoulder-to-shoulder cheering for their champions. Some of the players allowed several fans to drink from the Stanley Cup. Winger Alex Killorn also slapped the hands of fans as he walked along a barricade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN reports the NHL reached out to the Lightning questioning some of that behavior. We don’t know if the league intends to discipline the club or any individual players. Here’s hoping no one contracted or spread COVID-19 during the celebrations.

RDS.CA: Brendan Gallagher could soon become the Montreal Canadiens’ highest-paid forward. General manager Marc Bergevin said preliminary contract talks have started and he’s confident a new deal can be worked out soon. He said he’d like to keep Gallagher with the Habs for the rest of his NHL playing career and intends to make him the club’s best-paid forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to Cap Friendly, Gallagher’s current annual average salary if $3.75 million. Jonathan Drouin’s $5.5 million AAV is the highest among the Canadiens’ forwards. Gallagher has a year remaining on his current contract. Depending on the length of his next deal, his annual cap hit could be over $6 million.

THE SCORE: cites TSN’s Frank Seravalli reporting the Edmonton Oilers are making progress on a long-term contract extension with forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. He’s entering the final season of a seven-year, $42-million contract. A deal isn’t imminent but is reportedly heading in the right direction.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what Nugent-Hopkins’ next contract looks like. It could cost the Oilers over $7 million annually to keep him in the fold.

SPORTSNET: Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell said his club is in contract talks with winger Andrei Svechnikov, who has a year remaining on his entry-level deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Svechnikov and linemate Sebastian Aho provide the Hurricanes with one of the NHL’s best one-two scoring punches. Aho is earning over $8.45 million annually and Svechnikov could seek around $7 million per season on his next contract.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman confirmed veteran goaltender Jimmy Howard won’t be back. He intends to sign a replacement via free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise about Howard. Yzerman will find plenty of options in this year’s UFA market. The possibilities could include Vegas’ Robin Lehner, Washington’s Braden Holtby, Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom, now-former Ranger Henrik Lundqvist, Chicago’s Corey Crawford, Dallas’ Anton Khudobin, and Calgary’s Cam Talbot. He might have to overpay for one of them, given the Wings’ status as a rebuilding team.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild named Michael Murray as the assistant to general manager Bill Guerin.

AZCENTRAL.COM: The Arizona Coyotes named Darryl Plandowski as their new director of amateur scouting.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 23, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 23, 2020

The Stars draw first blood in their second-round series with the Avalanche, plus the latest on Marc-Andre Fleury, Steven Stamkos, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Dallas Stars took a 1-0 lead in their second-round series against the Colorado Avalanche with a 5-3 victory in the opening game. The Stars’ first line led the way, with Alexander Radulov scoring twice and collecting an assist, Tyler Seguin opening the scoring and assisting on another, and captain Jamie Benn adding three helpers.

Dallas Stars winger Alexander Radulov (NHL Images).

Nathan MacKinnon had a three-point game (two goals, one assist) for the Avalanche, who lost starting goalie Philipp Grubauer with an apparent left leg injury during the second period. Avs defenseman Erik Johnson also suffered a lower-body injury in the first period. He tried to return during the second and spent the third period on the bench.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Led by their first-liners, the Stars dominated much of the play in this game. Apart from MacKinnon, the Avs failed to match their opponent’s intensity.

We could learn more about the status of Grubauer and Johnson later today. Colorado coach Jared Bednar didn’t sound optimistic about his goalie returning to action for Game 2. “He won’t be hitting the ice tomorrow or anything like that,” said Bednar. While he’s hopeful Grubauer can return soon, he indicated backup Pavel Francouz will have to get the job done during his starter’s absence.

SPORTSNET: A suggestive social media post by the agent for Marc-Andre Fleury raised eyebrows and questions over the status of the Vegas Golden Knights netminder. Allan Walsh yesterday tweeted a picture depicting Fleury with a sword in his back and the name “DeBoer” on the blade, suggesting Walsh’s client was being stabbed in the back by Vegas coach Peter DeBoer.

Fleury has appeared in just two postseason contests with Robin Lehner getting the bulk of the starts. Elliotte Friedman last night reported Fleury remains with the Golden Knights and the club seems to be ignoring Walsh’s provocative post. Neither side issued a statement on the matter, but Friedman indicated Fleury met with team officials yesterday and they’re satisfied this won’t be an issue.

 

 

 

 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I understand Walsh has Fleury’s best interests at heart and he’s going to bat for his client, but this post was over the top. The Golden Knights are trying to win the Stanley Cup. DeBoer is simply going with the better goalie. Right now, that’s Lehner. Walsh’s post created an unnecessary distraction for his client and the team.

CBS SPORTS: Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper said team captain Steven Stamkos won’t be available for Game 1 of their club’s second-round series against the Boston Bruins. Stamkos remains sidelined by a lower-body injury suffered during Phase 2 training.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher underwent surgery on Friday for his fractured jaw and returned home to British Columbia. He was also playing with a slight tear in his hip suffered during the qualifying-round series with Pittsburgh.

THE SCORE: NBC Sports hockey analyst Mike Milbury issued a statement yesterday indicating he was temporarily stepping away from his role following an insensitive remark made about women during a broadcast on Thursday. The remark was condemned by the network and the league shortly afterward.  










2020 NHL Playoffs: Flyers, Canadiens Could Face a Scrappy Game 6

2020 NHL Playoffs: Flyers, Canadiens Could Face a Scrappy Game 6