Going For Something Old Nothing New To Maple Leafs
Roberto Luongo retires, the Golden Knights trade Erik Haula to the Hurricanes, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: After 19 NHL seasons with the New York Islanders, Florida Panthers, and Vancouver Canucks, goaltender Roberto Luongo yesterday announced his retirement. He has the third-most wins (489) in league history, is second all-time in saves (20,409), and 10th all-time in save percentage (.919). Of the seven NHL goalies to appear in at least 900 games, Luongo’s save percentage is the best.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Luongo, 40, is among the greatest goaltenders never to win the Stanley Cup. He also never won the Vezina Trophy despite being a five-time finalist and was runner-up for the Hart Trophy in 2007. Luongo backstopped Canada to Olympic gold in 2010 and helped the Canucks reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2011.
Apart from his eight-year stint with the Canucks, Luongo played for a lot of bad teams during his 19 seasons. During his first go-around with the Panthers, he was often the only reason they were at least competitive.
Luongo was the best goaltender in Panthers history, definitely among the best in Canucks history, and a future Hall-of-Famer. Best wishes to “Bobby Lu” and his family in their future endeavors.
TSN: The Canucks and Panthers will feel the bite of Luongo’s salary-cap recapture penalty. The Canucks will be tagged $3.03 million for each of the next three seasons, the Panthers $1.09 million per season over the same period.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a straightforward salary dump by the Golden Knights. By shedding Haula’s $2.75-million annual average value for Roy’s $750K, they sit $4.775 million above the $81.5-million salary cap. Perhaps they’ll make another move to get closer to the cap before the start of the season.
Haula is a versatile swift-skating forward who can play center or wing. He missed most of last season to a knee injury. If he regains his form, he could be a solid addition to the Hurricanes’ forward lines.
ARIZONASPORTS.COM: The Coyotes have hired former Buffalo Sabres head coach Phil Housley as an assistant coach.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Philadelphia Flyers re-signed goaltender Brian Elliott to a one-year, $2-million contract extension. He was slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The Flyers also hired former NHL defenseman Nick Schultz as a player development coach.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers didn’t like the slim pickings for experienced backups in this summer’s UFA market.
TSN: The Montreal Canadiens re-signed defenseman Mike Reilly to a two-year, $3-million contract.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: The Penguins re-signed defensemen Zach Trotman and Kevin Czuczman to two-year, two-way contracts.
The Canucks re-sign Alex Edler, Lightning winger Ryan Callahan going on LTIR, Ducks re-sign Ryan Miller and more. Get the details on these and other stories on the eve of the 2019 draft in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver begins at 8 pm ET tonight with the opening round. The remaining six rounds will be held Saturday.
VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks yesterday re-signed defenseman Alex Edler to a two-year, $12-million contract extension. Edler, 33, was slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A reasonable deal for both sides. Edler gets a raise and a no-movement clause and stays with the only NHL team he’s ever played for. The Canucks, meanwhile, retain their best defenseman on a short-term deal plus he’s agreed to make himself available for the 2021 NHL expansion draft. As in the Vegas draft, players with no-movement clauses on expiring contracts must be protected unless they agree to be exposed in that draft.
TSN: The Canucks are reportedly in talks with former Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli to join their management staff. Canucks GM Jim Benning worked for Chiarelli during their tenure with the Bruins.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We take you live for a reaction from a Canucks fan.
NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning revealed Ryan Callahan will be placed on long-term injury reserve. The 34-year-old winger is suffering from degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Callahan has a year remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $5.8 million. When this news broke, some fans felt this was a sneaky way for the cap-strapped Lightning to free up payroll for next season. The timing is merely coincidental. Callahan’s career and his dream of winning a Stanley Cup are over. That’s the real story here.
If the Lightning needs real salary-cap relief they could attempt to trade his rights to a club in need of reaching the cap floor. For now, it appears they’ll go the LTIR route.
TSN: The Anaheim Ducks re-signed goaltender Ryan Miller, center Derek Grant, and defenseman Korbinian Holzer to one-year contracts. Miller’s deal is worth $1.125 million. Cap Friendly indicates Holzer’s salary is $850K and Grant’s $700K.
SPORTSNET’s Eric Engels reports Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jordie Benn will test the upcoming unrestricted free agent market.
TVA SPORTS: L.A Lariviere has a two-part series (translation required) listing some interesting behind-the-scenes stories from previous NHL drafts. Among them: Max Pacioretty spiking a proposed deal at last year’s draft that would’ve sent him to the LA Kings.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers have hired Jim Playfair as an assistant coach responsible for their defensive play.
ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes intend to hire former Buffalo Sabres coach Phil Housley as an assistant coach.
NHL.COM: The league announced rule changes for video review and coach’s challenges. Coaches will now be able to challenge missed stoppage of play calls in the offensive zone that result in goals. On-ice officials will be able to review their work on major penalties (other than fighting), match penalties, and double-minors for high-sticking.
The opening-round schedule for the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs revealed, Panthers replace Bob Boughner with Joel Quenneville, Sabres fired Phil Housley, an update on Connor McDavid, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines
NHL.COM: The opening-round schedule for the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs was released yesterday. The puck drops Wednesday with five games that pit the Tampa Bay Lightning against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Pittsburgh Penguins facing off against the New York Islanders, the Nashville Predators squaring off against the Dallas Stars, the Winnipeg Jets facing the St. Louis Blues and the San Jose Sharks going up against the Vegas Golden Knights.
On Thursday, the Calgary Flames meet the Colorado Avalanche, the Washington Capitals clash with the Carolina Hurricanes, and the Toronto Maple Leafs face the Boston Bruins.
UPDATE: The Panthers have hired Quenneville. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports sources saying his contract could be north of $30 million (plus bonuses) on a five-year deal. Quenneville, who won three Stanley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks, has close ties with Panthers general manager Dale Tallon, who hired Quenneville when he was GM of the Blackhawks in 2008.
After narrowly missing the playoffs last year, expectations were high for the Panthers entering 2018-19. Despite possessing considerable depth in talent that include Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau, the Panthers regressed this season despite career-best performances by Barkov, Huberdeau, and others.
Boughner’s critics claim he often seemed overmatched but a lack of quality goaltending and blueline depth didn’t help matters. Tallon must now address those issues. It’s rumored he could pursue Columbus’ Sergei Bobrovsky via free agency in July.
WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres fired Phil Housley as head coach after two seasons.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word yet as to who could replace Housley. GM Jason Botterill could take some time to find a suitable new coach. With the Sabres missing the playoffs for the eighth straight season, the pressure’s on Botterill to get this right.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings announced interim coach Willie Desjardins won’t be returning behind the bench. The Kings have reportedly asked the Edmonton Oilers for permission to speak with Todd McLellan, who was fired in November and has one year remaining on his contract.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Speaking of the Oilers, captain Connor McDavid confirmed he didn’t suffer a broken leg after crashing into the net during Saturday’s season-ending contest against the Calgary Flames. McDavid spoke with the media yesterday and didn’t need crutches to move around. McDavid will undergo an MRI today.
NHL.COM: The department of player safety fined Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf $2,500.00 for roughing Kings forward Adrian Kempe on Friday.
TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild forward J.T. Brown was arrested in Dallas early Saturday morning on suspicion of public drunkenness. Brown missed the Wild’s final game of the season and subsequently released a statement apologizing to his team, his family and fans for his actions.
Told that Ryan Murray’s situation remains status quo for the start of the playoffs, out indefinitely with an upper-body injury.
Also told Adam McQuaid isn’t showing signs of progress yet from his upper-body injury.
Murray has missed 24 games; McQuaid has missed five.#CBJ
— Brian Hedger (@BrianHedger) April 7, 2019
Check out the latest on the Buffalo Sabres and Colorado Avalanche in today’s NHL rumor mill.
UPDATE ON THE SABRES
THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Joe Yerdon examined possible unrestricted free agent targets for the Buffalo Sabres. He ruled out the possibility of landing big-name stars such as San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson or Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin. More realistic options could include such notables as Blue Jackets center Matt Duchene, Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner, New York Islanders winger Jordan Eberle or Winnipeg Jets center Kevin Hayes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Sabres have just over $57 million invested in 19 players. Assuming the salary cap reaches $83 million as projected, they’ll have around $26 million to work with if ownership is willing to spend to the cap maximum.
Re-signing Jeff Skinner will eat up between $9-$10 million annually but he’s their only core player slated for free agency this summer. That leaves enough room to re-sign restricted free agents like Linus Ullmark and to bring in a quality player via free agency if they wish.
Having lots of cap space, however, won’t make the Sabres an enticing option for free-agent talent. While Buffalo is a terrific hockey market their erratic rebuild makes it difficult to make a big splash via free agency.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes the Sabres’ poor performance in recent weeks could spell trouble for Phil Housley’s tenure as head coach. While that doesn’t mean Housley will be fired, LeBrun feels general manager Jason Botterill could evaluate the coaching position. Player-exit meetings at season’s end could also determine Housley’s future.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Housley deserves his share of the blame for the Sabres’ struggles but it’s not solely his fault. The culture is rotten within that organization. To be blunt, they are the Eastern Conference version of the Edmonton Oilers. Until that changes, the Sabres will continue to flounder.
AVALANCHE COULD BE BUSY THIS SUMMER.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Appearing on Montreal’s TSN 690, Darren Dreger said Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic has no intention of losing winger Mikko Rantanen to an offer sheet this summer. Sakic noted his club has plenty of cap space to match any offer for the highly-skilled Rantanen.
Dreger also gets the impression Sakic could be busy this summer as he looks to add more pieces to his roster. He believes the Avs GM wants to improve his blueline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With just over $48 million invested in 12 players, the Avalanche have plenty of cap room to match an offer sheet for Rantanen, re-sign their other noteworthy restricted free agents (Alex Kerfoot, J.T. Compher, Nikita Zadorov) and re-sign or replace pending UFAs such as Semyon Varlamov, Derick Brassard, and Colin Wilson.
If they intend to spend close to the cap, they have room to bolster their defense and perhaps add a second-line scorer. Sakic also has depth in prospects plus two first-round and two third-round picks in this year’s draft but indicated last month he’s not trading those picks or his top prospects.
Sabres hire Phil Housley as head coach, latest contract signings and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Buffalo Sabres announced yesterday their hiring of Phil Housley as their new head coach. A Hall of Fame defenseman who began his NHL career with the Sabres (playing eight seasons in Buffalo), Housley was an assistant coach with the Nashville Predators from 2013 to 2017.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Housley faces the daunting challenge of succeeding with a rebuilding team that frustrated established, respected coaches such as Dan Bylsma and Ted Nolan. His first big task could be establishing a good rapport with rising young star Jack Eichel, who’s now perceived as a “coach killer” by his critics. Eichel reportedly claimed he wouldn’t sign a contract extension if Bylsma remained as head coach. He subsequently denied the report.
The Sabres also received good news yesterday regarding winger Kyle Okposo, who missed the end of the season due to a medical scare. He’s expected to be ready for training camp in September.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray revealed a torn hamstring kept him out of the first two rounds of the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs. Winger Carl Hagelin said the broken fibula he suffered in early March took longer to heal than expected.
Brian Dumoulin suffered a hand injury in the opening round, Justin Schultz was sidelined by a broken rib for four games of the Eastern Conference Final and Ian Cole played with a broken hand and broken ribs.
THE TENNESSEAN: After 17 NHL seasons, Nashville Predators captain Mike Fisher is considering retirement.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Predators general manager David Poile reportedly hopes to re-sign Fisher, who’s an unrestricted free agent on July 1. We’ll find out soon enough if he can tempt Fisher into one more season.
BSN DENVER: The Colorado Avalanche announced they’ve bought out the final season of defenseman Francois Beauchemin’s contract. The Avs won’t get cap relief as Beauchemin was on an over-35 contract.
VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks re-signed defenseman Erik Gudbranson to a one-year, $3.5 million contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gudbranson struggled through an injury-shortened season in 2016-17, his first in Vancouver. If he bounces back next season, he’ll likely earn a long-term deal with the Canucks.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes re-signed forward Teuvo Teravainen to a two-year deal with an average annual salary of $2.86 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: An affordable bridge deal for Teravainen, who had 42 points last season with the Hurricanes and could be poised for a breakout performance in 2016-17.
SPORTSNET: The Montreal Canadiens re-signed forward Charles Hudon to a two-year deal worth $650K per season.
STLTODAY.COM: Craig Berube and Daniel Tkaczuk have joined the St. Louis Blues coaching staff.
CSNPHILLY.COM: Former NHL star Daniel Briere will run the Flyers ECHL affiliate in Portland, Maine.