NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 9, 2022
Duncan Keith’s retirement and its effect on the Oilers and Blackhawks, an update on Kirill Kaprizov, the latest on Johnny Gaudreau’s contract talks, the Kings re-sign Adrian Kempe, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reported Duncan Keith will retire after 17 NHL seasons. The 38-year-old Edmonton Oilers defenseman has a year remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $5.54 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keith played all but one of his 17 seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks, becoming the greatest defenseman in franchise history. Joining the Blackhawks when they were among the league doormats in 2005-06, he went on to anchor their blueline as they rose to become one of the league’s most dominant teams.
Keith enjoyed a career worthy of the Hockey Hall of Fame. He helped the Blackhawks win three Stanley Cups in six seasons from 2009-10 to 2014-15, took home the Norris Trophy twice as the league’s top defenseman, won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 2015 and was a two-time First Team All-Star. He is second all-time among Blackhawks skaters with 1,192 games played, sixth in total assists (520) and 10th in points with 625. Keith also helped Canada win two gold medals (2010, 2014) in men’s hockey at the Winter Olympics.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Keith’s retirement provides a boost to the Oilers’ salary-cap space for 2022-23, removing $5.5 million from their books. Having traded Zack Kassian ($3.2 million) to Arizona on Thursday and with goaltender Mike Smith ($2.2 million) and defenseman Oscar Klefbom ($4.1 million) expected to spend next season on long-term injury reserve, the Oilers could have $22 million to work with this summer.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Because Keith was on a 13-year contract signed before term limits were imposed on contracts, the Blackhawks faced a $5.5 million salary-cap recapture penalty for 2022-23 and $1.9 million in 2023-24. The club wasn’t planning on spending to the $82.5 million cap, but it does hamper their efforts to weaponize their cap space by taking on bad contracts from rival clubs with sweeteners such as draft picks and prospects attached.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The financial effects of Keith’s retirement for the Oilers and Blackhawks is newsworthy, but it seemed to overshadow the fact that a future Hall-of-Famer was hanging up his skates after a long and productive career.
THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo reports sources claim Minnesota Wild star Kirill Kaprizov was twice denied entry into the United States and has returned to his native Russia, likely because he currently lacks a work visa. The 25-year-old winger was previously accused of buying a fake military ID in 2017 to avoid service in the Russian military. Russo reports Kaprizov’s father said his son was a student which allowed him to avoid service. However, that exemption expired on June 30.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This has raised concerns over whether Kaprizov will be allowed to return to North America given the tensions between the United States and Russia over the latter’s ongoing war with Ukraine. Russo reports the Wild are working with the NHL behind the scenes to sort this out.
SPORTSNET: Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving said there is a genuine desire by his team and Johnny Gaudreau to get a new contract done before the free-agent market opens on July 13. The 28-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been reported the Flames offered Gaudreau an eight-year deal worth $9.5 million annually. While there’s talk the club has the flexibility to go higher in salary, there’s also a belief that he wants to gauge other offers before reaching a decision.
TSN: The Los Angeles Kings reached an agreement with winger Adrian Kempe on a four-year, $22-million contract with an official announcement expected on Saturday. Kempe, 25, was slated to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. He’s coming off a career-best 35-goal performance.
SPECTOR’ S NOTE: $5.5 million per season is a good contract for a 30-goal winger, especially if he continues that level of production over the course of his new deal.
PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: More details emerged on the Philadelphia Flyers’ acquisition of Tony DeAngelo from the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday. The Flyers sent the Canes a second-round pick in 2024, a third-round pick in 2023 and a fourth-rounder in the 2022 draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The original report indicated the Hurricanes were receiving second, third and fourth rounds picks.
The Flyers acquired DeAngelo because they need insurance in case Ryan Ellis remains sidelined next season by his recovery from a multilayered injury in his pelvis region. Nevertheless, the deal is facing criticism by Flyers followers citing DeAngelo’s checkered history and his average defensive game.
RDS.CA: cites Pierre LeBrun reports it appears Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ondrej Palat is heading to the free-agent market on Wednesday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun didn’t rule things changing but this would be a big loss to the Lightning if Palat departs as a free agent. The 32-year-old winger is a reliable two-way player who’s also a clutch playoff performer, sitting third among active players with 12 game-winning playoff goals.
NEW YORK POST: Forget the rumors of the Islanders trading Semyon Varlamov. GM Lou Lamoriello said he’ll be maintaining his goaltending tandem of Varlamov and Ilya Sorokin for next season.
COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche are reportedly closing in on a new contract for Valeri Nichushkin.
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic said it doesn’t appear he’ll be receiving a contract buyout. He’s excited about returning under new GM Mike Grier (who he played with earlier in his career) and the new coaching staff.
THE TENNESSEAN: Speaking of the Sharks, they acquire forward Luke Kunin on Friday from the Nashville Predators in exchange for a 2023 third-rounder and forward John Leonard.