The Lightning sign Brandon Hagel to an eight-year contract extension, the Coyotes extend coach Andre Tourigny’s contract, a columnist joins Kris Letang for a workout, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning yesterday announced the signing of Brandon Hagel on an eight-year, $52 million contract extension. The 24-year-old winger is currently on the final season of his three-year, $4.5 million deal.
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brandon Hagel (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hagel’s getting a significant annual pay raise from $1.5 million to $6.5 million when his new contract kicks in for 2024-25. However, the 24-year-old winger earned it by quickly becoming a key part of the Lightning roster following his acquisition from the Chicago Blackhawks during the 2021-22 season.
Hagel reached career highs last season with 30 goals and 34 assists for 64 points. He’s now in his playing prime and should remain an important part of their core forwards over the life of his new contract.
GOPHNX.COM’s Craig Morgan reports the Arizona Coyotes have reached an agreement on a contract extension with head coach Andre Tourigny. Terms were not announced. It’s also believed his assistant coaches will also receive extensions.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tourigny is entering his third season on his current deal with the Coyotes. The club showed improvement last season with 70 points, up from 57 from the previous year.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Columnist Matt Vensel recently took part in an offseason workout in Montreal with Penguins defenseman Kris Letang and his personal trainer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vensel’s brief foray as Letang’s workout partner is a fascinating look at the hard work that the 36-year-old blueliner puts himself through in preparation for the upcoming NHL season.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers signed 2023 first-round pick Oliver Bonk to an entry-level contract. The 18-year-old defenseman was chosen 22nd overall.
DAILY FACEOFF: The Edmonton Oilers have hired Rick Pracey as their Director of Amateur Scouting, parting ways with Tyler Wright.
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: cited TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie reporting the NHL has cleared defenseman Logan Mailloux to play with the Canadiens. Mailloux, 20, played his final season of junior hockey in 2022-23 with the OHL’s London Knights.
Three years ago while playing in Sweden, Mailloux was charged under Swedish law with defamation and offensive photography when he shared explicit, non-consensual photos with his teammates.
Mailloux was fined for the offenses and was suspended by the OHL for all but 12 games of the 2021-22 season. He also had to receive permission from league Commissioner Gary Bettman to play in the NHL following his junior career.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per the report, Mailloux has expressed remorse for his actions and has taken part in a series of educational events involving the Montreal Canadiens Foundation. He could start the season with the Canadiens AHL affiliate in Laval.
Mailloux appears to have earned the opportunity for a second chance. It’s up to him to make the most of it.
The Penguins end a lengthy losing skid, Evander Kane goes on LTIR after a serious wrist injury, Charlie McAvoy could be poised to return soon and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Two power-play goals by Kirill Kaprizov lifted the Minnesota Wild to a 4-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Filip Gustavsson stopped 31 shots for his first win with the Wild as their record improved to 6-6-1 while the Ducks fall to 4-9-1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, Kaprizov was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL’s department of player safety for high-sticking Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. Anaheim Ducks star Trevor Zegras scored another lacrosse-style goal but “The Michigan” was overturned on a coach’s challenge as his teammate Dmitry Kulikov was ruled offside on the play.
Florida Panthers goaltender Spencer Knight made 40 saves to shut out the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0. Nick Cousins, Aleksander Barkov and Sam Bennett were the goal scorers as the Panthers improved to 8-5-1 while the Hurricanes are 8-4-1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a milestone night for Panthers forward Eric Staal and head coach Paul Maurice. Staal skated in his 1,300th career NHL game while Maurice moved into sixth place among NHL coaches for career wins with 783. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes were without goalie Frederik Andersen as he returned to Carolina for treatment regarding an undisclosed injury.
The Pittsburgh Penguins snapped a seven-game losing skid with a 4-1 victory over the Washington Capitals. Casey DeSmith stopped 24 shots while Jake Guentzel had a goal and an assist for the Penguins (5-6-2) while the Capitals fall to 6-7-2.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins captain Sidney Crosby recorded his 901st career assist to tie Bryan Trottier for 19th on the career assist list. He’s also one point back of Trottier (1,425) for 17th on the all-time points list.
Montreal Canadiens winger Kirby Dach scored twice in a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Nick Suzuki had a goal and an assist and Sam Montembeault kicked out 31 shots for the win as the Canadiens rise to 7-6-1 while the Canucks fall to 4-7-3.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens played without rookie winger Juraj Slafkovsky. He received a two-game suspension for boarding Detroit Red Wings forward Matt Luff, who will be sidelined for 10-12 weeks. Meanwhile, Canadiens winger Josh Anderson served the second game of his two-game suspension for boarding Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.
DAILY FACEOFF: Edmonton Oilers winger Evander Kane was placed on long-term injury reserve following surgery to repair a deep cut on his wrist suffered during Tuesday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. In a statement, Kane thanked the doctors, paramedics and training staffs for both teams.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane was fortunate not to suffer more serious damage to his wrist. While it appears he won’t suffer any permanent effects from the injury, his absence will leave a big gap at left wing on their top scoring line.
SPORTSNET: Isaiah Meyer-Crothers released a statement through the Hockey Diversity Alliance claiming he’s seen no proof that Mitchell Miller has changed his ways. Meyer-Crothers suffered years of racist bullying from Miller, culminating in the latter pleading guilty at age 14 in juvenile court in 2016 to one count of assault and one count of violation of the Ohio Safe Schools Act.
Meyer-Crothers, who is Black and has developmental disabilities, said Miller recently contacted him by text to apologize and to say he was doing community work to help youth. “I told him, ‘That’s all cool but where is the proof though? He didn’t give me any (proof)”, said Meyer-Crothers. “All the lies I have been told from him for so many years I don’t believe what Mitchell told me.”
Mitchell signed an entry-level contract last Friday with the Boston Bruins but they rescinded the deal on Monday following sweeping criticism from team captain Patrice Bergeron and the Bruins’ fan base. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman also weighed in by saying that Miller wasn’t currently eligible to play in the league without major changes.
Meyer-Crothers detailed the years of abuse he suffered by Miller and the toll it has taken on him and his family. He indicated Miller’s friends continued to abuse him even after Mitchell was expelled from school. He also said he recently received racist and abusive messages on social media.
“Mitchell isn’t my friend. It hurts my heart what he did to me. So I just wanted to tell everyone – when Mitchell says we’re friends it isn’t true,” wrote Meyer-Crothers. “I can’t take more of this.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins’ signing of Miller and their clumsy handling of the aftermath poured salt on emotional wounds for Meyer-Crothers and his family that haven’t fully healed. All because management didn’t conduct due diligence in vetting Miller before signing him.
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Canadiens prospect defenseman Logan Mailloux will also require clearance by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman before he can play in the league. He remains on an entry-level contract with the Canadiens and currently plays with the OHL’s London Knights. Canadiens president Jeff Gorton said he and Mailloux knew that Bettman’s approval would be required since the Canadiens drafted him and when he signed his contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mailloux withdrew from the 2021 NHL Draft following a report that – while playing in Sweden in 2020 – he was charged and fined by Swedish police after he secretly photographed a young woman engaged in a consensual sex act with him and shared it with his teammates. The Canadiens drafted him anyway and faced considerable criticism throughout the hockey community.
The report also said Mailloux has been more open and transparent about his ongoings since being drafted, along with signs of growth and accountability. Earlier this year, he discussed his participation in the Canadiens’ Respect and Consent program, indicating he’s undergone therapy and met with Sheldon Kennedy, the former NHL player and sexual abuse survivor who co-founded the Respect Group.
The Canadiens continue to evaluate Mailloux but it will be up to him to prove to everyone, especially Bettman, that he’s sufficiently grown as a person to earn the right to play in the NHL.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins placed defenseman Mike Reilly on waivers as Charlie McAvoy is getting close to returning from offseason shoulder surgery.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli believes McAvoy could make his season debut as early as tonight’s game against Calgary. We’ll find out soon enough if that’s the case.
DALLAS HOCKEY NOW: The Stars have sent Matt Murray to their AHL affiliate to make room for goaltender Jake Oettinger, who’s been sidelined for five games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray is not to be confused with Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Matt Murray nor are the two related.
TORONTO STAR: Speaking of the Leafs’ Matt Murray, he could be ready to return from a groin injury by Saturday. The injury limited him to just one game this season.
The league introduces new COVID-19 protocols for the coming season, the Coyotes submit a bid to build a new arena & the Flyers inking Joel Farabee to a long-term deal headline several of Thursday’s contract signings. Details & more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported last night the NHL and NHL Players Association finalized COVID-19 protocols for the coming 2021-22 season. Topping the list is a mechanism allowing teams to suspend unvaccinated players unable to participate in club activities, including when a player cannot travel due to local/state/provincial/federal regulations “upon return.” The player will forfeit the equivalent of one day’s pay for each day they’re unable to participate.
Exceptions include medical reasons, religious beliefs or quarantine due to being a high-risk close contact. If a full vaccinated player is confirmed with a positive test his condition will be treated as a hockey-related injury. Unvaccinated players will also face strict rules limiting social contact while on the road.
Players wishing to opt-out of this season can do so by Oct. 1. Their teams will have 30 days to determine if their contract will be rolled over to next season or this season removed from their agreement. They won’t be allowed to play in another league or the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a brief version of Friedman’s report. I recommend following the link for the full story. Needless to say, these rules will be used to strongly encourage unvaccinated players to get their necessary COVID shots if they want to play in the NHL this season. Recent reports indicate 85 percent of NHL players are vaccinated. In other COVID-19 news…
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins defenseman Connor Clifton confirmed on social media he contracted the coronavirus while on his honeymoon. It’s unknown if he was vaccinated at the time. If this had happened a month from now when the new protocols are in place he likely would’ve been suspended.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks fans will require proof of vaccination to attend games this season at the United Center.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights announced their fans won’t need to provide proof of vaccination to attend games at T-Mobile Arena this season. They intend to maintain compliance with state and local health regulations, as well as those of the NHL and the CDC.
ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes submitted a bid to build a new arena in Tempe, located in metropolitan Phoenix. The city indicated the evaluation process would take months before there will be a vote to approve or reject the project.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes could still be seeking a temporary home if the city of Glendale maintains its decision to end its lease agreement with the club by the end of this season. If the Tempa arena deal is approved, it could take another two or three years before the building is ready for use.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers signed Joel Farabee to a six-year, $30 million contract extension. The 21-year-old winger lead the club with 20 goals last season and finished with 38 points in 55 games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Farabee’s new annual average value is $5 million. That’s a significant raise over the $925K of his current deal, which expires at the end of this season. It’s also a big vote of confidence in the young winger, who managed eight goals and 21 points during his NHL debut in 2019-20. It could prove worthwhile if he builds on the promise of his sophomore campaign.
WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres inked defenseman Henri Jokiharju and forward Casey Mittelstadt to three-year, $7.5 million contracts. Each will earn an annual cap hit of $2.5 million.
THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings signed former Anaheim Ducks forward Carter Rowney to a one-year contract.
TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins signed goaltender Louis Domingue to a one-year, two-way contract.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes hired former defenseman Tim Gleason as an assistant coach.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Ontario Hockey League (OHL) suspended Canadiens prospect Logan Mailloux indefinitely after he secretly photographed an 18-year-old woman engaged in a sexual act with him while playing in Sweden last year and shared the photo and her identity with his SK Lejon teammates. Swedish police charged him with defamation and offensive photography and fined him $1, 650 USD.
Mailloux will have an opportunity to apply for reinstatement on Jan. 1, 2022.
The remaining rounds of the 2021 draft are completed, plus the latest on Alex Ovechkin, Seth Jones and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The remaining rounds (2 through 7) of the 2021 NHL Draft were completed yesterday. It was something of a family affair as the sons of several former NHL players were selected, continuing a trend that began during the first round when Tyler Boucher (son of Brian Boucher) was chosen by the Ottawa Senators (10th overall), Cole Sillinger (son of Mike Sillinger) was selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets (12th overall), and Chase Stillman (Cory Stillman’s son) was taken at 29th overall.
Other sons who followed in their fathers’ footsteps this year as NHL draft picks include Josh Doan (Shane Doan) selected 37th overall by the Arizona Coyotes (his dad’s former team), Redmond “Red” Savage (Brian Savage) taken 114th overall by the Detroit Red Wings, Justin Robidas (Stephane Rodidas) selected 147th overall by the Carolina Hurricanes and Shane Lachance (Scott Lachance) chosen 186th overall by the Edmonton Oilers.
The second day saw its second brother act in this year’s draft as Colton Dach, the younger brother of Chicago Blackhawks center Kirby Dach, was chosen 62nd overall by the Blackhawks. Luke Hughes, the younger brother of New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes, was selected by the Devils with the fourth-overall pick on Friday.
With the 2021 NHL Draft completed, some are gazing ahead to next year’s draft. OHL center Shane Wright of the Kingston Frontenacs could be the first-overall pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Saturday also saw the Philadelphia Flyers trade Jakub Voracek to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Cam Atkinson, the Buffalo Sabres ship Sam Reinhart to the Florida Panthers, and the Colorado Avalanche re-sign Cale Makar to a six-year contract extension. You can get my take on those moves by following this link.
THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan remains confident of getting team captain Alex Ovechkin under contract before the unrestricted free agent market opens on Wednesday, July 28. “I think both parties want the same goal, and I think we will get it done by then,” he said.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I anticipate Ovechkin will ink a three-year deal with the Capitals worth an annual average value of $9 million.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Seth Jones said he’s up for the challenge of meeting the high expectations he’ll face playing for the Blackhawks. The 26-year-old defenseman was traded on Friday to Chicago by the Columbus Blue Jackets and signed an eight-year, $76 million contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks have been criticized for the trade and the contract signing because of Jones’ declining stats over the past two or three years. Hawks management is betting Jones’ stats will improve playing on a team with more scoring punch where he’ll get an opportunity to play a less restrictive style than what he faced in recent years.
SPORTSNET: The Kings re-signed forward Trevor Moore to a two-year, $3.75 million contract.
TSN: The New York Rangers officially bought out the final year of Tony DeAngelo’s contract. The 25-year-old defenseman is now an unrestricted free agent.
THE SCORE: After being chosen by the Montreal Canadiens in the first round on Friday, defenseman Logan Mailloux addressed the November incident in Sweden that led him to renounce himself from the draft before being chosen.
Mailloux read from a prepared statement acknowledging he took a photo of a young woman engaged in a consensual sex act and sharing it without her knowledge among his teammates. He was fined by Swedish authorities for defamation and invasion of privacy. He admitted what he did was a “stupid and egotistical act”, that he showed a lack of judgment and had caused harm to the woman and her family.
Though Mailloux said he didn’t want to be selected in this year’s draft, he’s accepted the possibility of joining the Montreal Canadiens because he believes the organization will help him improve as a person and a player. He also said he’s participating in professional counseling.
Taking questions from reporters, Mailloux acknowledged he had work to do to regain the public’s trust. He also indicated he’d had no contact with the Canadiens from the time he renounced himself from the draft on Tuesday to when he was selected on Friday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mailloux broke the law but he should have an opportunity to redeem himself as a person. As The Athletic’s Arpon Basu observed, he needs the time to get his house in order by making the self-improvements he claims he’s committed to doing and make amends to his victim’s satisfaction, not just his own. She claims all she wants from him is a heartfelt apology that she said she hasn’t received from him yet. That would be the best place to start.
The Canadiens haven’t done Mailloux any favors by selecting him just three days after renouncing himself from the draft. The same would apply for any of the rumored teams that intended to choose him in the second round had the Canadiens not taken him. It also applies to the NHL and NHLPA for not having a rule in place that honors a player’s request not to be part of a given draft.
Regardless of whatever round Mailloux might’ve been chosen in this year’s draft, this only makes his situation more difficult. As Basu also pointed out, it’s hard to see how this will put him in a position to improve as a person or a player.
The Seattle Kraken expansion draft is tonight at 8 pm ET plus the latest on Vladimir Tarasenko, Phillip Danault, Ryan Ellis, Patrik Laine and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Seattle Kraken will finally have a full roster of players as they reveal their selections this evening in the 2021 NHL expansion draft. The names will be announced at Seattle’s Gas Works Park starting at 8 pm ET. Among the notable names available is Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin, St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko and Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano.
Seattle Kraken expansion draft is July 21. (NHL.com)
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s speculation Price, Tarasenko and Giordano could be selected by the Kraken. I’ll have more on that in today’s Rumor Mill update. Ovechkin, however, is expected to re-sign with the Capitals following the expansion draft.
THE ATHLETIC: Speaking of Tarasenko, Jeremy Rutherford reports the surgeon who conducted the winger’s third shoulder surgery claims his patient’s left shoulder is “rock solid.”
Dr. Peter Millett said Tarasenko’s shoulder is “very stable and strong”, adding the winger told him it feels better now than it has for months. Millett is confident that Tarasenko is “100 percent ready for the upcoming season.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues spent several weeks attempting to trade Tarasenko before exposing him in the expansion draft. This news could make him more enticing to the Kraken or to clubs that expressed interest in the 29-year-old winger.
SPORTSNET: Eric Engels cited sources claiming it’s highly unlikely Phillip Danault returns with the Montreal Canadiens. The 28-year-old center is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28. Engels also indicated there’s no truth to a reported deal between Danault and the Kraken.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Danault has put his Montreal-area home up for sale. His solid defensive play during the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs should help him land a lucrative long-term deal elsewhere on July 28.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Speaking of the Canadiens, they named Jean-Francois Houle as head coach of their AHL affiliate in Laval. The son of former Canadien Rejean Houle, he has several years of coaching experience at the university, Junior-A and minor-league levels. In 2011-12, he won the Ron Lapointe Trophy as the QMJHL’s top coach.
TSN: Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ryan Ellis denied suffering a shoulder injury that required surgery this season. He said it was an injured knuckle that sidelined him for 20 games with the Nashville Predators. Ellis was traded to the Flyers on Saturday before the expansion draft roster freeze. He said he’s good to go for next season.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Patrik Laine is mulling the $7.5 million qualifying offer he received from the Blue Jackets. If he signs the one-year deal he’ll be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer. The move could allow time for the Jackets to negotiate a long-term extension with the 23-year-old winger.
TSN: Prospect Logan Mailloux has renounced himself from this weekend’s NHL Draft. He’s asking teams not to select him following a criminal charge while playing in Sweden last year. He was investigated after distributing a photo of himself and a woman engaged in a sexual act. The photo was taken without her consent.
Mailloux received a summary punishment by fine. The NHL responded that he remains draft-eligible.
NHL.COM: Defenseman Yannick Weber has retired from the NHL after 13 seasons. He intends to continue his playing career in Switzerland. Weber amassed 94 points in 499 games with the Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks, Nashville Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Weber in his future endeavors.