NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 11, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 11, 2022

Wayne Simmonds, Nazem Kadri and Akim Aliu take issue with a Toronto Sun columnist, an update on David Pastrnak’s contract talks, the Golden Knights sign Nic Hague while the Senators sign Derick Brassard and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

YAHOO SPORTS/TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Wayne Simmonds and Calgary Flames center Nazem Kadri took issue with Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons regarding an article the latter wrote about former NHLer Akim Aliu. The three players are members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, formed in 2020 by several current and former players of color to eradicate racism in hockey.

Simmons suggested Aliu, chair of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, was using racism as an excuse for not achieving his potential as a player. “By my count, Aliu played for 23 teams in nine different leagues in 12 professional seasons and rarely finished any season with the same team he started with. If that was color-related, how is it that Wayne Simmonds spent just about the same 12 seasons playing in the NHL?”

Aliu replied on social media saying Simmons had “no clue” what he and his family endured physically and emotionally since he started playing hockey. He recounted several instances of racism he faced throughout his career.

Calgary Flames center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

Simmonds replied to the Sun columnist on Twitter, saying he didn’t appreciate what Simmons was trying to do. “Do not ever use my name or any other player of color’s name to try and make your point.”

Kadri, meanwhile, said Simmons is the last person who would know about experiencing racism. “He’s always been a writer that’s kind of been on the line and created a lot of controversy so people can read his articles,” said the Flames center. “He’s just a guy who’s a little dated in his writing.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The number of teams Aliu played for or the number of leagues he played in or his ability as a player doesn’t disqualify him from speaking out against racism in hockey. His story and those of other players who’ve endured racism and bigotry in the sport must be heard and their concerns must be addressed. Remember, hockey is supposed to be for everyone.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said contract talks with David Pastrnak are ongoing but offered up no timetable to finalize a deal. The 26-year-old winger said he’s comfortable with negotiations carrying on into the season. Meanwhile, Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs said ownership’s mindset in trying to re-sign Pastrnak was “aggressive.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The fact those discussions are ongoing bodes well for the two sides reaching an agreement before Pastrnak’s eligibility for unrestricted free-agent status next July.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The Golden Knights signed Nicolas Hague to a three-year contract worth an average annual value of $2.294 million. The 23-year-old defenseman was a restricted free agent coming off an entry-level contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights’ limited cap room factored into why it took so long to get Hague under contract. With Shea Weber, Robin Lehner and Nolan Patrick on LTIR, Owen Krepps of Vegas Hockey Now speculates they’ll squeeze under the $82.5 million cap by $700K depending on which players they demote to their AHL affiliate.

OTTAWA SUN: Derick Brassard earned a one-year, $750K contract with the Senators following a professional tryout offer. It’s the 35-year-old forward’s second tour with the Sens, having skated with them from 2016 to 2018.

CBS SPORTS: The New Jersey Devils placed captain Nico Hischier on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. It’s unclear if the 23-year-old center will be ready for the Devils’ season opener on Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers.

TSN: Vancouver Canucks placed Ilya Mikheyev, Travis Dermott and Tyler Myers on injured reserve. Meanwhile, Brock Boeser will start the season on their active roster. Boeser had been recovering from hand surgery.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: The Capitals placed Nicklas Backstrom on long-term injury reserve. The 34-year-old center is recovering from off-season hip surgery. Carl Hagelin (lower-body injury) and Tom Wilson (knee surgery) are listed as non-roster to start the season.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers placed Anthony Duclair (torn Achilles tendon) on LTIR. They will start the season with a 20-player roster due to salary-cap constraints. They also released Eric Staal from his professional tryout offer but are hoping to find a way to sign him to a contract.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Limited salary-cap space is also delaying the Carolina Hurricanes from signing Derek Stepan. They demoted Jordan Martinook after he cleared waivers but it’s considered merely a paper transaction until Jake Gardiner is officially placed on LTIR to start the season. Martinook will remain with the club and Stepan is expected to be signed shortly.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs demoted Wayne Simmonds and Kyle Clifford after they cleared waivers on Monday.

98.5 THE SPORTS HUB: The Boston Bruins demoted Nick Foligno, Mike Reilly and Chris Wagner after they cleared waivers. It’s expected they’ll be recalled with Brad Marchand (hip surgery) and Charlie McAvoy (shoulder) going on LTIR to start the season.

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH: The Blues assigned Jake Neighbours and Josh Leivo to the minors but in reality, they’re not going anywhere. The move is a paper transaction until sidelined defenseman Marco Scandella is placed on LTIR today.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The Canadiens did the same thing with defenseman Arber Xhekaj. He made the roster due to a strong performance in training camp but the Canadiens must first place forward Paul Byron on LTIR.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Clubs can be over the cap during the off-season by 10 percent but must be compliant when the regular season officially opens. Lots of teams with limited cap space were forced to do some creative accounting until they can officially place players on long-term injury reserve to start the season.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Juraj Slafkovsky also made the Canadiens’ roster to start the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 2022 first-overall pick faced considerable scrutiny and criticism from pundits and fans for his play during training camp and preseason games. His improvement over the course of that period garnered him at least a nine-game regular-season tryout.

After that, the Canadiens must decide if they’ll keep Slafkovsky on the roster for the season or send him to their AHL affiliate in Laval. If he’s sent down before his 10th game, the first year of his entry-level contract won’t count against this season and will slide to 2023-24.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 29, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 29, 2022

A look at some notable news from Wednesday’s preseason games, the Czechia government will allow Russian players on the Sharks and Predators into the country, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: New Calgary Flames Jonathan Huberdeau, Nazem Kadri and MacKenzie Weegar each had points in a 4-0 blanking of the Edmonton Oilers in preseason competition.

Anaheim Ducks forward Trevor Zegras (NHL Images).

Anaheim Ducks young star Trevor Zegras suffered an upper-body injury in a 3-1 preseason win over the Arizona Coyotes. The 21-year-old sophomore center was hit by Coyotes forward Jan Jenik during the second period. New Ducks defenseman John Klingberg also left the game but head coach Dallas Eakin said it wasn’t injury-related.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No update on Zegras’ condition following the game. Hopefully, there will be more details today.

Matt Murray turned in a 16-save shutout for the Toronto Maple Leafs as they blanked the Montreal Canadiens 3-0. It was a costly win for the Leafs as defensemen Jordie Benn and Carl Dahlstrom left the game with injuries. In a pre-game ceremony, the Leafs and Canadiens honored members of the 1972 Team Canada squad on the 50th anniversary of its thrilling Summit Series win over the Soviet Union.

Goaltender Alexandar Georgiev gave up six goals on 18 shots as the Colorado Avalanche were thumped by the Vegas Golden Knights 7-1. Georgiev was acquired by the Avs during the offseason.

Washington Capitals forward Dylan Strome scored twice in a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Strome signed with the Capitals as a free agent this summer.

THE ATHLETIC’s Aaron Portzline tweeted that Columbus Blue Jackets center Cole Sillinger skated yesterday in a no-contact jersey during practice. It’s his first time on the ice since suffering an upper-body injury on the first day of training camp. 

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jack Studnicka faces a now-or-never scenario to become a Bruins’ regular. Chosen by the Bruins in the second round of the 2017 draft, the 23-year-old center has spent the past three seasons bouncing between the big club and their AHL affiliate in Providence.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: The government of Czechia will allow the Sharks and Nashville Predators to bring their Russian players to Prague to participate in the two-game NHL Global Series on Oct. 7 and 8. Czechia has banned Russian athletics in a show of solidarity with Ukraine. The players will be allowed to participate on short-term visas.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Before going on to a career in hockey, Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft was a child actor who appeared in the Canadian TV show The Littlest Hobo and had a bit part in the movie Separate Vacations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Woodcroft was also named the NHL’s most handsome coach. Perhaps Hollywood or a career as a male model beckons if this coaching gig doesn’t pan out…










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2022

Nazem Kadri spurned a more lucrative deal to sign with the Flames, the Senators signed Tyler Motte, the Blackhawks announced the date for Marian Hossa’s jersey retirement and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports Nazem Kadri is believed to have turned down an offer from a club earlier in this summer’s free-agent period that would’ve paid him $8.5 million per season. Kadri, 31, signed a seven-year deal last month with the Calgary Flames worth an average annual value of $7 million.

Calgary Flames center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

At the time, Kadri’s agent, Darren Ferris, told Flames general manager Brad Treliving that his client’s decision came down to three teams. LeBrun claims the New York Islanders were definitely interested in the former Colorado Avalanche center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to LeBrun, Kadri’s decision not to sign with the team making the bigger offer was because the fit “obviously wasn’t right for him.” He didn’t indicate which team made that offer.

LeBrun also believes that Kadri likely waited to see if Isles GM Lou Lamoriello could free up the necessary cap space to sign him.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators signed Tyler Motte to a one-year, $1.35 million contract. The 27-year-old checking-line forward split last season with the Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers, helping the latter reach the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A low-cost signing that provides more experienced depth to the Senators’ checking lines.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks announced they’ll retire Marian Hossa’s No. 81 during a ceremony on Nov. 20 prior to their game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the United Center.

Hossa will become the eighth player in franchise history to have his number retired. The Hall-of-Famer spent eight of his 19 NHL seasons with the Blackhawks, winning three Stanley Cups between 2010 and 2015.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hossa also briefly played for the Penguins in 2018, helping them reach that year’s Stanley Cup Final.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: It appears goaltender Andrew Hammond won’t be joining the Panthers on a professional tryout offer. He’s reportedly going to sign with KHL club Traktor Chelyabinsk though it hasn’t been confirmed yet. Hammond, 34, split last season with the Montreal Canadiens and New Jersey Devils.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Arizona Coyotes signed winger Alex Chiasson to a professional tryout offer. Former Boston Bruins forward Zach Senyshyn has accepted a PTO with the New Jersey Devils. The Columbus Blue Jackets signed Victor Rask to a PTO. The 29-year-old center split last season between the Minnesota Wild and Seattle Kraken.

Speaking of the Blue Jackets, THE ATHLETIC’s Aaron Portzline reported they’ve hired former NHL defenseman Roman Polak as a European-based scout.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets head equipment manager Tim Leroy is no longer with the club. He’d been in that role since their inaugural season in 2000.

TSN: Nathan Gerbe has retired as an NHL player after 11 seasons to join the Nashville Predators as their forward development coach. One of the NHL’s smallest players at 5’4”, Gerbe played 435 games with the Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets, scoring 63 goals and 151 points.

Speaking of the Predators, they’ve hired Ronda Engelhardt as a North American scout based out of Minnesota. She becomes their first female scout.

CALGARY SUN: Reports indicate the roof of the Saddledome is showing signs of deterioration with netting put up as a precaution. Meanwhile, a committee tasked with finding a replacement for the aging arena has reportedly made some progress.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A crumbling Saddledome could spur along negotiations to hammer out an agreement for a new arena.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 9, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 9, 2022

Erik Karlsson intends to stick with the Sharks, Carey Price sends a message to his fans, John Tortorella has concerns about the Flyers, Nazem Kadri makes a big charitable donation, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: Erik Karlsson has no plans to request a trade from the San Jose Sharks. “No, I committed here a long time ago,” he said. The 32-year-old defenseman is signed through 2026-27 with an average annual value of $11.5 million.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

Karlsson, 32, acknowledged things haven’t gone the way they wanted to earlier in his tenure with the Sharks. However, he said he’s excited about the future and believes the club can be successful again.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson has also been hampered by injuries since joining the Sharks in a trade from the Ottawa Senators in 2018. The former two-time Norris Trophy winner told The Athletic he intends to be more cautious in dealing with future injury rather than attempt to play through the pain.

Karlsson’s contract would make him difficult to move if he did want out or if new Sharks general manager Mike Grier wanted to move him. In addition to that big cap hit, he carries a full no-movement clause.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price posted a heartfelt “thank you” message to his fans on his Instagram account. The 35-year-old goaltender is on long-term injury reserve as a nagging knee injury threatens to end his playing career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: More than a few people felt the tone of the message suggested Price may be acknowledging that his playing days are over. For now, however, neither he nor the Canadiens have suggested that he’ll be hanging up his pads.

Speaking of the Canadiens, they signed restricted free agent goalie Cayden Primeau to a three-year deal with an AAV of $890K.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Primeau, 23, is expected to start this season with the Canadiens AHL affiliate in Laval.

THE SCORE: cites John Tortorella telling SiriusXM NHL that he has “major concerns” about the mood in the Philadelphia Flyers dressing room. He was hired as their new head coach earlier in the offseason.

Tortorella made the assessment after speaking with players, management and other team personnel. “Before we even step on the ice, situations and standards and accountability in the room is forefront,” he said. “You can’t get squat done on the ice until you get your room straightened out, and I think we have a little bit of work to do there.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers are coming off a hellish season that saw them endure two long, season-killing winless skids, an early-season coaching change, and the departure of long-time captain Claude Giroux at the trade deadline. It’s no wonder morale is probably low right now.

A two-time winner of the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year, Tortorella has a good reputation for turning around struggling teams. Improving the Flyers will be a challenge but one he’s capable of handling.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Nazem Kadri has given back to his hometown of London, Ontario. The 31-year-old center donated $1 million to the London Health Sciences Centre. Kadri signed a seven-year contract last month with the Calgary Flames.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A very generous gift by Kadri toward an excellent cause.

BALLY SPORTS MIDWEST’s Andy Strickland reports the St. Louis Blues and Jordan Kyrou are working on a new contract. “Told talks between the two sides have been very good.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kyrou, 24, is coming off a career-best 75-point performance. He’s entering the final season of a two-year deal with an AAV of $2.8 million and will likely get a significant raise on a long-term contract.

DAILY FACEOFF: Former New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has returned to the club in a new role. The position sees him support business operations for Madison Square Garden Corp. and MSG Entertainment Corp. He’ll also return to his role as a Rangers TV analyst on MSG Network.

Lundqvist, 40, announced his retirement last year. He holds franchise records with 459 career wins, 64 shutouts, and games played (887) during his 15 seasons with the Rangers.

SPORTSNET: Shane Doan is taking a step back from the Arizona Coyotes. He rejoined the Coyotes in 2021 as their Chief Hockey Development Officer following his retirement after 1,466 games with the franchise.

I don’t want this to be seen in any way that hurts the organization. I want the arena bid to be successful for hockey’s long-term future in the Valley,” said Doan. He added that he fully supports second-year coach Andre Tourigny and would help him in any way if asked.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report suggests Doan is making this decision for family reasons. The report said he’ll be spending more time with his four children. His son, Josh, is a Coyotes draft pick who’s starting his second year at Arizona State University.

THE ATHLETIC: Columbus Blue Jackets captain Boone Jenner recently said he’s feeling much better following a season-ending back injury and looking forward to the coming season. “I’m feeling good, ready to go, absolutely,” he said. The 29-year-old center said his offseason training has gone well and he believes he can be a significant contributor to the Jackets.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Mathieu Perreault is retiring as an NHL player to move into a broadcasting position with TVA Sports. A hardworking and versatile 34-year-old forward, he spent 13 seasons with the Washington Capitals, Anaheim Ducks, Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens, netting 352 career points in 708 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Perreault in his new job.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 28, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 28, 2022

Nazem Kadri’s history-making day with the Stanley Cup, a look at the Islanders’ future top blueline tandem, Hampus Lindholm’s offseason home was destroyed by fire, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

TSN: Nazem Kadri’s day with the Stanley Cup was a history-making one as he became the first Muslim to bring hockey’s holy grail to a mosque. The event took place on Saturday in Kadri’s hometown of London, Ontario.

Calgary Flames center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

Kadri, 31, is the first Muslim player to win the Stanley Cup, doing so with the Colorado Avalanche in June. He recently signed a seven-year contract with the Calgary Flames. Kadri thanked his family and supporters. “I’m very appreciative, very privileged, and honored to be the first-ever Muslim to bring the Stanley Cup to the mosque,” he said. “It’s a big deal.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kadri played a key role in the Avalanche’s march to the Stanley Cup. He continues to be an inspiration to Muslims who wish to take up the sport of hockey.

NEW YORK POST: The duo of Noah Dobson and Alexander Romanov could one day become the New York Islanders’ top defense pairing. They’ve never met as Romanov was acquired in a trade last month from the Montreal Canadiens. Both recently signed new contracts with the Isles.

The little I know watching him play, he’s obviously a talented player,” said Dobson of Romanov. He skates really well and he’s got a physical presence out there and a high compete level.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dobson enjoyed a 51-point breakout performance last season as one of the few bright spots in an otherwise forgettable season for the Isles. Romanov is more of a physical defensive rearguard but can contribute offensively. The Isles will have a solid defense for the next several years if Dobson and Romanov gel as a blueline tandem behind the top pairing of Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech.

SPORTBLADET: Hampus Lindholm’s off-season home in Sweden was recently destroyed by fire. The Boston Bruins defenseman was not at the house when the blaze erupted and no one was hurt. Police are investigating arson but it’s believed the fire started in a side building in a battery charger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lindholm also said he was appreciative of the Bruins for reaching out and offering their help.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: After being bought out by the San Jose Sharks, Rudolfs Balcers is looking forward to joining the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Panthers. He netted a career-high 11 goals last season and believes he could’ve reached 20 with the opportunities he was given with the Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Balcers could have a chance to tally 20 goals this season if he’s given the right role with the high-scoring Panthers.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Sharks, former director of scouting Doug Wilson Jr has joined the Seattle Kraken as an amateur scout.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 22, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 22, 2022

The legacy of Carey Price, Nicklas Backstrom opens up about his hip injury, Nazem Kadri expectation for the Flames, and an update on Anton Khudobin in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

DAILY FACEOFF: Matt Larkin believes Carey Price will retire as a legend if he’s unable to play again. The 35-year-old Montreal Canadiens goaltender is expected to miss the upcoming season due to a chronic knee injury that threatens to end his playing career.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (NHL Images).

Price is the Canadiens’ goaltending franchise leader with 712 games played, 361 wins, shot against (21,059), saves (19,304) and minutes played (42,005). He’s also fifth all-time with a .917 save percentage, eighth in goals-against average (2.51) and third in shutouts with 49.

Larkin suggests Price could be a first-ballot inductee into the Hockey Hall of Fame. In his prime (2013-14 to 2016-17), he won the Hart Trophy, Vezina Trophy, and Ted Lindsay Award with a .928 save percentage during that time. He also backstopped Canada to Olympic gold in 2012 and the World Cup of Hockey in 2016. Larkin suggests Price belongs alongside Hall-of-Famers such as Bobby Orr, Cam Neely, Pavel Bure, Eric Lindros and Peter Forsberg whose careers were cut short by injuries.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Price’s playing career is over I believe he will be remembered as the greatest goaltender in Canadiens history to never win the Stanley Cup. He backstopped them to the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals and carried an underdog Habs roster to the 2021 Stanley Cup Final.

Price never had the luxury of a star-studded roster in front of him. Only one of his teammates (Alexei Kovalev) reached 80 points during his career and none of them reached 40 goals in a season. Nevertheless, he made his teams better with his play.

He was highly respected around the league among his peers. Larkin pointed out that Price topped the NHLPA player poll as best goalie or hardest to score against during its first three seasons starting in 2017-18 when he was past his prime. Larkin also cited Price’s charity work and efforts to help break down barriers to mental health.

I’m not sure that Price will get into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. Still, I think he will be voted in one day and probably won’t have to wait very long following his retirement for that honor.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom told a Swedish sports magazine that the pain from his injured hip was so severe it was affecting his daily life. He revealed he has difficulty walking, playing with his children, putting on socks and tying his shoes.

Backstrom, 34, underwent hip surgery in 2015 but has been dealing with chronic hip pain for years. He was limited to just 47 games last season and admitted to a loss of mobility, speed and balance.

Having undergone hip resurfacing surgery in June, Backstrom faces a long road of rehab and recovery. The procedure has ended the careers of several athletes, including former NHLer Ryan Kesler. There’s no timetable for Backstrom’s return to action.

Backstrom said his quality of life has improved since the surgery. He’s not giving up on resuming his playing career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Backstrom can make a full recovery and return to the game he loves. At least he’s no longer experiencing pain in his daily life.

Capitals management has indicated Backstrom’s intent to return at some point in the coming season. If he does it’ll likely be closer to the end of the regular-season schedule.

CALGARY SUN: Nazem Kadri’s decision to sign with the Flames last week is a major compliment to general manager Brad Treliving’s efforts to salvage the off-season. Despite the departure of Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk, Treliving brought in Kadri, Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Treliving’s blockbuster trade of Tkachuk for Huberdeau and Weegar salvaged what could’ve been a disastrous offseason for Calgary following the departure of Gaudreau and Tkachuk’s unwillingness to sign a contract extension. That move helped convince Kadri to sign with the Flames. Kadri, Huberdeau and Weegar should keep the Flames among the top teams in the Western Conference.

NHL.COM: Anton Khudobin is expected to be ready to participate in the Dallas Stars’ training camp next month. The hero of the Stars’ run to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final, the 36-year-old goalie underwent hip surgery in March after struggling through nine games last season. Khudobin has a year remaining on his contract with an annual salary-cap hit of $3.3 million.