NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 2, 2017
Latest on John Tavares, Nikita Kucherov, Mikael Granlund & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NEWSDAY: Though he’s yet to sign a new contract with the New York Islanders, captain John Tavares remains hopeful of remaining with the team. Tavares, 26, is eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency. While saying he’s had “great, open communication” with management, he declined to discuss the state of his contract talks. “I think I’ll just keep that all internal,” he said.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The status of Tavares’ negotiations and his future with the Isles hasn’t yet reached the same level of interest as that of Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos around this time two year years. The longer he goes without a new contract, however, the more speculation will grow about his future.
The Isles undoubtedly prefer getting him re-signed before the start of the 2017-18 campaign. However, both sides could agree to wait until the end of the season to hammer out a new deal.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov raised eyebrows in April with some harshly translated comments in a Russian paper this spring toward his club’s performance last season and that of several teammate. Agent Dan Milstein said his client’s complaints were based on frustration. He claims Kucherov met with Lighting general manager Steve Yzerman and they’re both on the same page. “Everything is good. What was said is done, stays in the past,” said Milstein.
TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild avoided salary arbitration with forward Mikael Granlund, re-signing him to a three-year, $17.25 million contract. His annual average value is $5.75 million, making him the fourth-highest paid player on the Wild.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Granlund’s new deal lacks no-trade protection. In actual salary, he’ll earn $5.25 million in 2017-18, $5.5 million in 2018-19 and $6.5 million in 2019-20. He enjoyed a career-best performance last season, netting 26 goals and 69 points to lead the Wild in scoring.
It’s a reasonable deal for the Wild, and a bit surprising that Granlund would accept a shorter term than that of teammate Nino Niederreiter, who inked a five-year deal earlier this week. But if he keeps flirting with 70 points each season, he’ll be able to command a more lucrative deal in three years time, when he’ll be eligible for unrestricted free agency.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes re-signed defenseman Brett Pesce to a six-year contract worth $4.025 million per season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pesce’s new contract goes into effect in 2018-19. Another shrewd re-signing by Hurricanes GM Ron Francis. Earlier this summer, he re-upped Pesce’s defense partner Jaccob Slavin to a seven-year contract. This latest move ensures that defense pairing remains together long term through their playing prime.
Speaking of the Hurricanes, team owner Peter Karmanos Jr. acknowledged he’s in the process of selling the club. He’s set the asking price at $500 million but hints he could ask for more. An ownership group based in Texas has indicated interest in the Hurricanes but Karmanos said there’s no purchase agreement. If this falls through, he suggested his club’s potential on-ice improvement could drive up his asking price.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the Hurricanes are reportedly valued at around $300 million, it’ll be quite the deal for Karmanos if he can sell the franchise for $500 million. Take the money and run. If this sale goes through, the Hurricanes will not be moved.
— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) August 1, 2017
LV requested a two-year award on Nate Schmidt at $950K & $1M. Player ask is $2.75M for one year.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) August 1, 2017
WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres hired former NHL defenseman Mike Komisarek as a member of their player development coaching staff.