NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 11, 2018
Red Wings re-sign Dylan Larkin plus updates on Henrik Zetterberg, Ryan Ellis, Brian Gionta and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: The Red Wings yesterday announced their re-signing of center Dylan Larkin to a five-year, $30.5-million contract. The annual average value is $6.1 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Larkin’s getting a significant raise coming out of his entry-level contract. His bounce-back performance last season after struggling through his sophomore campaign convinced the Wings he’s worth this investment.
The Wings ensured their best forward is under contract long-term through most of his prime playing years for what could be considered reasonable dollars if he plays up to expectations over the term of this new deal. He’ll also become eligible for unrestricted free agency at the end of this contract, putting him in line for an even bigger raise, from the Wings or someone else.
If last season is any indication, Larkin is poised to become one of the best two-way centers in the NHL. With Henrik Zetterberg’s career winding down, Larkin is the likely candidate to become the next Wings captain. He’s the foundation upon which their rebuild rests.
THE DETROIT NEWS: Speaking of the Wings, general manager Ken Holland said the health of Henrik Zetterberg remains an unknown for the club. Holland said Zetterberg hasn’t been able to train this summer as he normally would because of his back. He said it’s something they’ll have to examine his status when training camp opens next month.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Zetterberg doesn’t pass the team medical he could end up on long-term injured reserve to start the season. While his absence would give the Wings a measure of cap relief, it will also create a big hole at center that could prove difficult to fill, forcing them to lean more heavily on Larkin.
TSN: Nashville Predators GM David Poile said his club has had “consistent and continual conversations” with defenseman Ryan Ellis, who is eligible for unrestricted free agent status next July. Ellis is earning $2.5 million on his current deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ellis said he wants to retire with the Predators but it’s going to cost a lot of money to make that happen. It could cost the Predators over $7 million per season to keep him in the fold. As per Cap Friendly, they’ll have the salary-cap space to do so. However, it will still be an expensive investment, especially when they’ll have to face the same scenario next summer with Roman Josi.
NHL.COM: Brian Gionta, 39, is acknowledging he may have played his final game in the NHL. If so, he’s prepared to walk away with no regrets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gionta enjoyed a long and productive NHL career but it appears that his professional playing days are over. It appears he’s ready for the next stage, which could including coaching, scouting or management.
OTTAWA SUN: The Senators yesterday signed free-agent forward Chase Balisy.
SPORTSNET: Former Toronto Maple Leafs assistant GM Mark Hunter has returned to the OHL’s London Knights as general manager.