NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 25, 2023
The Predators trade Ryan Johansen to the Avalanche, the Kings ship Sean Durzi to the Coyotes, the Hurricanes re-sign Jordan Staal, a major trade between the Flyers and Blues is in limbo and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
The Predators retained 50 percent of Johansen’s $8 million average annual value (AAV) through 2024-25. That leaves them with just one retained salary slot remaining on their salary-cap payroll as they’re also retaining $250K annually on Mattias Ekholm’s contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a bold move by both clubs. The Avalanche envision Johansen as their second-line center for the next two seasons, which could mean the departure of J.T. Compher via the unrestricted free-agent market on July 1. The Predators free up $4 million in cap space for the next two years to put toward other moves.
Colorado Hockey Now’s Evan Rawal believes there is some risk here for the Avalanche. Johansen isn’t renowned for his speed which raises concern over how well he’ll fit within their up-tempo system, especially after coming off a season-ending cut to his ankle.
It’s unclear where the well-traveled Galchenyuk fits into the Predators’ plans. If they sign the 29-year-old forward he’ll likely end up in the minors. They could also use him as a trade chip or simply let him depart as a UFA on Saturday.
The Predators’ goal was to free up cap space and get younger and faster. Galcheyuk won’t help them with the latter but they can find a player who can with their new-found cap space.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reports indicate Durzi was traded in part to free up salary-cap space (in this case, $1.7 million) and to make room for budding young blueliner Brandt Clarke. This move is also sparking speculation that the Kings are clearing cap room for another move, perhaps the addition of a certain Winnipeg Jets center. I’ll have more in the Rumor Mill.
The Coyotes, meanwhile, bolster their depth on the right side of the blueline. Durzi, 24, is a skilled defenseman who can skate on the right or left side of the blueline. A gritty puck-moving rearguard, he had 38 points in 72 games last season with the Kings. His youth and skills should fit in well with the rebuilding Coyotes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staal, 34, indicated at the end of this season that he wanted to finish his career with the Hurricanes. Acquired from Pittsburgh in 2012, he’s their longest-serving active player.
The cap hit is a considerable drop from the $6 million annually of his previous contract though at this stage of his career isn’t a surprise. The length of the deal, however, raises some eyebrows when one remembers that Staal turns 35 in September and his performance will inevitably decline. However, it’s not a plus-35 contract so the Hurricanes won’t be penalized if he retires before it expires.
THE ATHLETIC: Charlie O’Connor and Jeremy Rutherford report the Philadelphia Flyers were close on Saturday to trading Kevin Hayes to the St. Louis Blues in a multiplayer deal but it’s now in limbo after one of the players in the deal refused to waive their no-trade clause.
The trade would’ve sent Hayes and defenseman Travis Sanheim to the Blues with the Flyers retaining “a significant amount” of Haye’s $7.14 million AAV over the next three years, perhaps up to half of it. In return, the Blues would send a defenseman plus one of their three 2023 first-round picks to the Flyers.
Sanheim is about to start an eight-year, $50 million contract with a full no-trade clause. However, that deal doesn’t go into effect until July 1. The Flyers are rebuilding and the 27-year-old’s age and looming new contract would no longer make him an ideal fit.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Lou Korac reports Torey Krug is believed to be the player tying up this deal. The 32-year-old blueliner has three years remaining on his contract with an AAV of $6.5 million and a full no-trade clause (NTC).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It remains to be seen if this trade can be salvaged. There’s talk it could end up being just Hayes heading to St. Louis with 50 percent salary retained.
The Flyers previous management acquired DeAngelo from the Hurricanes last summer for three draft picks and signed him to a two-year contract with an AAV of $5 million. Reports indicate they will ship him to the Hurricanes with 50 percent of salary retained in return for a late-round pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeAngelo turned out to be a poor fit within head coach John Tortorella’s system. With the Flyers rebuilding under new general manager Daniel Briere, they apparently just want to wash their hands of DeAngelo and get him off their roster.