NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 18, 2023
Connor Bedard signs his entry-level contract with the Blackhawks, Ross Colton inks a four-year deal with the Avalanche, Anton Stralman is no fan of today’s NHL, and more in today’s Morning Coffee Headlines.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Chosen first overall by the Blackhawks in the 2023 NHL Draft, Connor Bedard celebrated his 18th birthday on Monday by signing his three-year entry-level contract.
The deal earns Bedard a maximum average annual value on entry-level deals of $950K. However, he could earn up to $4.45 million annually in performance bonuses.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bedard is the most highly touted prospect since Connor McDavid was drafted first overall by the Edmonton Oilers in 2015. He’s also the latest first-rounder in this year’s draft class to sign their entry-level contract, bringing that number up to nine thus far.
COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche avoided arbitration with Ross Colton by signing him to a four-year, $16 million contract with an average annual value of $4 million. The Avalanche acquired the 26-year-old forward from the Tampa Bay Lightning on June 28.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Colton is coming off a two-year contract with an AAV of $1.125 million. He’s also getting a full no-trade clause for 2024-25 and a modified no-trade for the final two seasons. This deal is a significant raise for Colton and an indication of how highly Avalanche management thinks of him. He could be slated for a larger role than the third-line spot he filled with the Lightning.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Anton Stralman is not a fan of how his NHL career ended because of the salary cap. “It’s not a dream employer regarding how you are treated and all that; it is a cut-throat business,” said the 37-year-old defenseman, who will play this season with HV71 in the Swedish Hockey League.
Stralman also cited the “difficult dynamic” of balancing a family with his NHL career. “No, there is no glamor in it really. It’s hard work and no glamor at all in being an NHL player.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stralman is coming off a 16-season NHL career, tallying 293 points in 938 career regular-season games with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, Arizona Coyotes and Boston Bruins.
There’s no question that it took a lot of hard work for Stralman to maintain a long NHL career. The movement involved in playing for seven teams combined with the games away from home would be stressful for his family. Nevertheless, the money Stralman earned during his NHL career should provide him some measure of comfort. Cap Friendly indicates his total career earnings at over $47 million.
NYI HOCKEY NOW: Islanders winger Oliver Wahlstrom has signed his qualifying offer. It’s a one-year contract worth $875,125.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It had been reported that Wahlstrom had rejected his QO from the Islanders when there was no indication that he’d accepted it by Saturday’s 5 pm ET deadline. However, there was no deadline for the club to make the announcement.
TSN: Ondrej Kase has signed with HC Verva Litvinov in Czechia. He’d played 258 NHL games with the Anaheim Ducks, Bruins, Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes, netting 124 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A series of injuries, including concussions, derailed Kase’s once-promising NHL career.
WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets avoided arbitration with forward Morgan Barron as they agreed to a two-year contract with an AAV of $1.35 million.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Martin Kaut has decided to play for HC Dynamo Pardubice in the Czechia Extraliga rather than re-signing with the San Jose Sharks. He claimed that, during his tenure with the Sharks AHL affiliate, their coaches encouraged him to fight opponents as a way of getting into the NHL. The Sharks released a statement denying Kaut’s claim.
CBC NEWS: Nike announced it will permanently end its sponsorship of Hockey Canada in the wake of its handling of a high-profile alleged group sexual assault case.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Losing a major sponsor like Nike should be a major shot across the bow for Hockey Canada to get its act together and address its toxic culture.
As the report noted, it had used money drawn from player registration fees to quietly pay $8.9 million to 21 complainants since 1989. The entire board of directors and CEO all resigned last fall following months of public scrutiny.
The results of an NHL investigation into the alleged sexual assault involving members of Canada’s 2018 World Junior team are expected to be released this month. Several of those players may have gone on to NHL careers.