NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 5, 2021
The latest on the Lightning and Canadiens on the eve of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, the latest on the Leafs and Blue Jackets, and an update on Stephen Johns in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Poised to win their second straight Stanley Cup, the Lightning realizes this could be the end of the current roster. Head coach Jon Cooper reminisced following Game 3 about the contributions of wingers Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn during their tenures with the Bolts. Salary cap issues are expected to bring about a restructuring of the roster following this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Lightning sitting $5.066 million over the $81.5 million salary cap for 2021-22 with 19 players under contract. Pending UFAs Blake Coleman, Barclay Goodrow, David Savard and Curtis McElhinney aren’t expected to be re-signed. Management could attempt to shed $10 million to become cap compliant and have enough wiggle room for affordable depth signings.
Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois has a well-deserved reputation as a shrewd cap manager. This summer will be his biggest test since taking over as GM in 2018.
Johnson and Killorn were expected to be moved in cost-cutting moves during the last offseason. Nikita Kucherov’s hip surgery last December sidelined him for the regular season, allowing the Lightning to put him on long-term injury reserve. That bought the club a reprieve as they were able to keep almost all of their roster intact.
As the article pointed out, the Lightning cannot expect the same situation next season. Johnson is expected to be left unprotected in the expansion draft and could be selected by the Seattle Kraken. If not, he and Killorn could hit this summer’s trade block.
THE SCORE: Tampa Bay Mayor Jane Castor would like to see the Lightning lose Game 4 in Montreal so they can win the Stanley Cup back home in Tampa Bay in Game 5.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning would love to win the Cup back home in front of their fans, but they’re focused on wrapping this up tonight in Montreal.
The odds are against the Canadiens rallying back to win the Cup. Nevertheless, they could pin the mayor’s remarks to their dressing room bulletin board as motivation for tonight’s game.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens, meanwhile, are saying all the right things about being a close-knit group who’ve stayed positive and overcame long odds to get to the Final.
TSN: The Canadiens spent their formal practice yesterday focusing on special teams’ play, particularly their power play.
THE ATHLETIC: Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen could bring in adding a veteran coach to act as an advisor and mentor to their new coaching staff. Brad Larsen and his staff have a combined 15 years as assistant coaches at the NHL level but none as a head coach. Jacques Martin has surfaced as a possible candidate.
Former NHL defenseman Stephen Johns has completed his coast-to-coast rollerblading journey across America to raise awareness for mental health in his #MentalMiles mission. Johns recently retired and revealed he battled depression while recovering from head trauma that ended his career. He was joined at one point in his journey by Detroit Red Wings forward Bobby Ryan.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Johns on his accomplishment for a worthy cause.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) July 3, 2021