NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 3, 2022
Max Pacioretty criticizes a lack of accountability on the Golden Knights while the Flames avoid arbitration with Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Former Vegas Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty criticized what he considered the club’s laid-back approach toward losing. The 33-year-old left winger was traded last month by the Golden Knights to the Carolina Hurricanes in a cost-cutting move.
Speaking on the Raw Knuckles podcast with Chris Nilan and Tim Stapleton, Pacioretty talked about how there was no accountability with losing throughout the club when he joined the Golden Knights following a trade from the Montreal Canadiens in 2018. He indicated that was quite a change from what he was used to in Montreal where there was pressure to win.
Pacioretty pointed out that there were players on the Golden Knights who don’t know what it’s like because they haven’t played anywhere else. He felt that demands for accountability by a coach or management or elsewhere helped bring out the best in him, adding he thought that was missing for the Golden Knights last season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pacioretty said he didn’t want to say there was a country club attitude on the Golden Knights. However, the perks the players seem to enjoy there (Pacioretty mentioned having their cars washed, organic food deliveries and going to play golf) combined with Las Vegas being a new NHL market in the Sun Belt could also be detrimental if they’re not answerable for poor performance.
Other factors, such as injuries to key players like Pacioretty, contributed to the Golden Knights missing the playoffs last season for the first time in their short history. Nevertheless, his comments about the club’s relaxed atmosphere could also explain the under-performance of some players last season. Making the playoffs in their first four seasons, including reaching the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural campaign, could also be a contributing factor, a case of too much too soon.
The Golden Knights hired former Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy in June. Perhaps he can bring the accountability that Pacioretty believes was lacking in Vegas.
CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: The Flames avoided salary arbitration with Andrew Mangiapane as the two sides agreed to a three-year, $17.4 million contract. The annual average value is $5.8 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a significant raise from the $2.425 million AAV that Mangiapane was earning on his previous contract. A career-best 35-goal season in a contract year will do that.
The 26-year-old winger has been trending toward that level of production over the previous two seasons. He had 17 goals in 68 games in 2019-20 and 18 goals in 56 games in 2020-21. If not for COVID-19 shortening those seasons, he would’ve probably reached 25 goals or more in each.
The Flames also avoided arbitration with defenseman Oliver Kylington as they agreed to a two-year, $5 million contract. The AAV is $2.5 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kylington is betting on himself after a career-best 31-point effort. He also gets a nice pay bump over the $750K he earned last season. The 25-year-old blueliner will be eligible for unrestricted free agent status in two years’ time. He could put himself in a good position for a much better payday by then if he reaches or exceeds the 30-point plateau again.
TSN: Nashville Predators forward Yakov Trenin had his arbitration hearing yesterday. He’s coming off a one-year, $725K contract, scoring a career-best 17 goals and 24 points. The two sides now await the ruling from the arbitrator.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Prior to 2020, a team and a player could still reach an agreement on a new contract prior to the arbiter’s decision. That’s no longer the case.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers avoided arbitration with rugged winger Zack MacEwen, agreeing to a one-year, $925K deal.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: After 40 years with the Oilers as a player, general manager, president of hockey operations and alternate governor, Kevin Lowe announced his retirement.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Lowe and his family as they embark on the next stage of their lives outside the NHL spotlight.