NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 13, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 13, 2020

What next for the NHL in the wake of pausing the season over coronavirus concerns? What could be the effect upon the playoff race and the off-season? Check out the latest in today’s morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league had been closely monitoring what was going on regarding the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus before its decision to pause the schedule. He admitted the NBA having a player test positive and forcing the cancellation of a game left him no doubt this would be a game-changer.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman remains hopeful of resuming the remainder of this season (Photo via NHL.com).

Bettman said he’s hesitant to use the word “suspension”, remaining hopeful the season will resume at some point. He’s not sure how far it could push the schedule into the summer. The league is taking a day-to-day approach for now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll depend upon how long before the spread of the virus is significantly slowed or contained. TSN’s Frank Seravalli cited an NHL governor telling colleague Darren Dreger the league is focused for now on returning to action within three weeks, but that will depend upon the players’ health, how many (if any) contracted the virus, and recommendations from the health community.

THE SCORE: The playoff picture, the ripple effect upon the off-season schedule, and the salary cap are the major storylines to monitor as the NHL pauses the remainder of the 2019-20 schedule over coronavirus concerns.

Depending on when the league returns to action, it could pick up its schedule where it left off, play an abbreviated number of games to begin the playoffs closer to the starting date, or cancel the rest of the regular season and opt for a wild-card play-in or beginning the postseason based on the standings at the time the regular season was paused.

It could also affect the dates when the league stages its annual prospect combine and draft in June. The annual July 1 start date for free agency could also change. Next season’s salary cap could remain closer to this season’s $81.5 million rather than reach the projected range of $84 million to $88 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I daresay the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery, slated for April 9, will move to a different date later in the spring. 

NEW YORK POST: Teams are standing pat with no practices or meetings. That could change if they think they’ll start playing games again.

Most teams intend to deal with their ticket holders individually. Most could be willing to transfer those tickets to next season.

If the players are still paid during the hiatus, they could end up giving it all back via escrow to ensure the 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue with team owners. As for hourly workers at arenas, individual teams could examine some form of compensation.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Toronto Maple Leafs (via Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment) and Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley announced they’ll look after their arena staff during this period. I expect the other clubs either have a plan in place for their respective personnel or are working on one.

ESPN.COM: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said it’s a team-by-team thing for testing players for COVID-19. “Testing kits are controlled by local health, and each state is allocated different amounts based on population and experience. At this point, the need for testing is greater than the supply of tests. That will start to change as manufacturers are ramping up production.”

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks announced a part-time employee at SAP Center in San Jose tested positive for the coronavirus. The individual is under self-quarantine and receiving care from medical personnel.

SPORTSNET: The International Ice Hockey Federation is considering cancelling the Men’s World Championships. The 16-team tournament is set to begin on May 8.

NBC SPORTS: The AHL, ECHL, and CHL are following the NHL’s lead and pausing their schedules.

THE SCORE: Despite the interruption in the schedule, New York Rangers winger Brendan Lemieux will have a hearing today for interfering Colorado Avalanche forward Joonas Donskoi during Wednesday night’s contest.

CALGARY SUN: Long-time Flames executive Ken King passed away at age 68. He was team president and chief executive officer for many years beginning in 2001, and until recently played a role in securing a deal for a new arena in downtown Calgary.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to King’s family, friends, and the Flames’ organization.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 4, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 4, 2018

Senators re-sign Mark Stone while Cody Ceci gets arbiter-awarded contract, Flames buy out Troy Brouwer, latest on Jeff Skinner and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: The Ottawa Senators avoided salary arbitration with winger Mark Stone as they agreed to a one-year, $7.35-million contract. Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said he’s hopeful this deal will be the first step toward re-signing Stone to a long-term extension. 

OTTAWA SUN:  Senators defenseman Cody Ceci was awarded a one-year, $4.3-million contract by an arbitrator.

The Ottawa Senators agreed to a one-year contract with winger Mark Stone. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stone more than doubled the $3.5-million annual cap hit from his previous contract. His new salary will be the benchmark for his next deal.

While he and the Sens skipped the ego-bruising arbitration hearing, critics see this one-year contract as setting the stage for the winger’s departure via trade or free agency next year. I’ll have more on that later this morning in the rumors section.

Ceci, meanwhile, will once again become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights at the end of the season. He got a pay bump over last season’s $3.35-million salary but nowhere near the $6 million his side had sought from the arbiter.

It’ll be interesting to see how his situation shakes out and if he goes through this process again next summer. Should the Senators trade Karlsson as expected they could push to get Ceci under a longer-term deal next summer. Losing Karlsson and Ceci in the same year would be a significant blow to their blueline depth. 

WGR 550: Former Carolina Hurricanes winger Jeff Skinner said the Sabres’ core of young talent was among the factors behind his decision to waive his no-movement clause and accept a trade to Buffalo. He also said he hasn’t had time to think about a contract extension with the Sabres, adding his focus is on the upcoming season “for the next little while.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Skinner isn’t ruling out re-signing with the Sabres but it doesn’t sound as though he’s in a rush to open extension talks. Doesn’t mean the two sides won’t discuss a new contract at some point during this season. I expect they’ll take a “wait-and-see” approach. 

SPORTSNET: Troy Brouwer passed through unconditional waivers yesterday and was bought out by the Calgary Flames.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Dallas Stars signed forward Gemel Smith to a one-year, $720K contract two days after his arbitration hearing.

THE ATHLETIC (Subscription required): Scott Powers tracks how Cap Friendly went from a passion project to an indispensable resource for NHL insiders and fans.



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 15, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 15, 2017

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Phil Kessel trolls his critics.

Updates on Phil Kessel, Shane Prince, Dwight King and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins right wing Phil Kessel won the hockey internet yesterday by eating hot dogs out of the Stanley Cup yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Revenge against your harshest critic is a dish best served in hot dog form from the Cup. 

NEWSDAY: New York Islanders center Shane Prince recently underwent ankle surgery and will be sidelined four-to-six months.

TSN: Former LA Kings and Montreal Canadiens forward Dwight King signed a two-year with Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg of the KHL.


TORONTO STAR: The Toronto Maple Leafs placed defenseman Alexei Marchenko on unconditional waivers. He’ll be joining KHL team CSKA Moscow. The move would free up $1.45 million in salary-cap space for the Leafs .

NBC SPORTS: Nashville Predators goaltender Marek Mazanec signed a one-year deal with KHL club Slovan Bratislava.

SPORTSNET: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly isn’t ruling out the possibility of an NHL franchise in Kansas City, but stressed market demographics and whether there’s qualified and interested ownership “remain a work in progress.”  Daly was responding to ESPN’s Dave Caldwell, who asked him about the interest expressed by Lamar Hunt Jr, owner of the ECHL’s Kansas City Mavericks a dnson of Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt, in bringing an NHL franchise to that city. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kansas City has an NHL-worthy venue in the 17,500 Spirit Center. Caldwell reported Hunt didn’t get into the bidding for an expansion club two years ago because he wasn’t happy with the $500 million expansion fee. If an existing NHL franchise is to be moved, however, Kansas City, could remain a viable destination. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 28, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 28, 2017

Andrei Markov heading to the KHL.

Andrei Markov returning to Russia plus updates on Dwight King, Chris Neil & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: After 16 seasons, unrestricted free agent defenseman Andrei Markov won’t be returning to the Canadiens and won’t be signing with another NHL club. The 38-year-old blueliner intends to return to Russia and sign with a KHL team. He’s also hopeful of playing for Russia in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. Markov was reportedly seeking a two-year, $12 million contract.

Markov is just 10 games shy of 1,000 career NHL games, all with the Canadiens. He’s tied with Guy Lapointe for second among Habs defensemen in points (572) and is third all-time among their blueliners with 119 goals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Markov isn’t completely closing the door on returning to the Habs one day. He was also apparently willing to accept a one-year contract from the Canadiens. I’ll have more on Markov’s situation and its effect upon the Habs offseason plans later this morning in the Rumors section. 

NBC SPORTS: Another former Hab, forward Dwight King, could also follow Markov to the KHL.  The Vancouver Canucks reportedly had “mild interest” in the 28-year-old, who played on two Stanley Cup winners with the Los Angeles Kings. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: King’s stock declined last season, especially after he was dealt to Montreal, where he had no positive effect as a playoff rental player for the Canadiens. 

OTTAWA SUN: Former Senators enforcer Chris Neil remains confident he’ll be playing in the NHL in 2017-18. He reportedly decided to hold off on one offer in hopes of getting a better deal more suitable for him and his family. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For a 38-year-old fading player, that’s a risky position to take. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes signed forward Phil Di Giuseppe to a one-year, two-way contract paying him $725,000 on the NHL level.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres signed left wing Evan Rodrigues to a two-year, two-way contract, 


List of NHL Trade Deadline Deals – March 1, 2017

List of NHL Trade Deadline Deals – March 1, 2017

Detroit Red Wings ship winger Thomas Vanek to the Florida Panthers.

The list of notable deals made leading up to today’s NHL trade deadline at 3 pm Eastern Time. I’ll have analysis of the day’s most notable trades tonight in my Soapbox

Winnipeg Jets trade winger Drew Stafford to the Boston Bruins in exchange for a conditional sixth round pick in 2017. 

Dallas Stars acquire minor-league defenseman Dillon Heatherington from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for left wing Lauri Korpikoski.

Philadelphia Flyers trade defenseman Mark Streit to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for center Valtteri Filppula, a fourth-round pick in the 2017 NHL draft and a conditional seventh-round pick in 2017.

The Lightning flip Streit to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a fourth-round draft pick in 2018. 

Pittsburgh Penguins trade forward Eric Fehr, minor-league defenseman Steve Oleksy and a 2017 fourth-round pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for defenseman Frank Corrado, 

Ottawa Senators trade forward Curtis Lazar and minor-league defenseman Mike Kostka to the Calgary Flames in exchange for defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka and a second-round pick.

New Jersey Devils trade winger P-A Parenteau to the Nashville Predators in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick in 2017. 

New Jersey Devils trade defenseman Kyle Quincey to the Columbus Blue Jackets for blueliner Dalton Prout. 

Montreal Canadiens trade winger Sven Andrighetto to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for left wing Andreas Martinsen.

Colorado Avalanche trade right wing Jarome Iginla to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018. The Avalanche also retained half of Iginla’s $5.33 million cap hit. 

Los Angeles Kings trade forward Dwight King to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018. 

Detroit Red Wings trade left wing Thomas Vanek to the Florida Panthers for defenseman Dylan McIlrath and a third-round pick in the 2017 NHL draft. The Wings also pick up half of Vanek’s $2.6 million cap hit. 

Vancouver Canucks trade winger Jannik Hansen to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for minor-league forward Nikolay Goldobin and a conditional fourth-round pick in the  2017 NHL Draft.

Detroit Red Wings trade forward Steve Ott to the Montreal Canadiens for a sixth-round pick in the 2018 draft.