NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 14, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 14, 2018

The Golden Knights re-signing Marc-Andre Fleury to a three-year extension was among yesterday’s notable contract signings. Details and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights yesterday re-signed goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to a three-year, $21-million contract extension. The annual average value is $7 million and begins in 2019-20.

Fleury, 33, was due to become an unrestricted free agent next July. His new contract will make him the third-highest paid goalie in the NHL, behind Montreal’s Carey Price (10.5 million annually) and the New York Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist ($8.5 million).

Vegas Golden Knights re-sign goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to a three-year contract extension (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In actual salary, Fleury will earn $8.5 million in 2019-20, $6.5 million in 2020-21 and $6 million in 2021-22. The deal also comes with a limited no-trade clause. He’s earning an AAV of $5.75-million on his current deal. The term of his new contract is reasonable but the raise is expensive for a goaltender in his mid-thirties.

Fleury quickly became the face of the Golden Knights, playing a key role in their record-setting inaugural campaign. Despite missing 25 games with a concussion, he finished last season with 29 wins in 46 starts, a 2.24 goals-against average with a .927 save percentage and four shutouts. He also backstopped the Golden Knights to the 2018 Stanley Cup Final.

It remains to be seen, however, if Fleury can maintain that level of performance over the next four years. Since 2015-16, he’s missed 45 games to concussions.  While he sits 11th all-time among goaltenders for career victories (404), he’s had his share of ups and downs over his career. In his final regular season in Pittsburgh, he had a bloated 3.02 GAA with a .909 save percentage, though he bounced back in the 2017 postseason with a 2.56 GAA and .924 SP.

For this deal to be worthwhile over the long run, Fleury must avoid injury and a downturn in his game as he ages.

SPORTSDAY: The Dallas Stars avoided salary arbitration with center Devin Shore by signing him to a two-year contract worth $2.3-million per season. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Forward Joel Armia avoided going to arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $1.85-million deal with the Montreal Canadiens. 

LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS: The Kings inked defenseman Paul LaDue to a two-year deal worth $825K per season. 

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs signed restricted free agent winger Andreas Johnsson to a one-year, two-way deal worth $787,500. 

SPORTSNET: “The federal judge overseeing the NHL concussion case has denied class-action status for the former players suing the league over head injuries.” 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In an nutshell, this means the players will have to file suit individually, rather than collectively, against the league. 

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Columbus Blue Jackets will maintain their partnership with the Papa John’s pizza chain in Columbus, despite company founder John Schnatter stepping down after it was revealed he used racial slurs during a meeting. However, the team will be removing Schnatter’s image from ads or marketing materials.