NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 22, 2023
The 2023 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees are announced, salary cap only rising by $1 million for 2023-24, plus updates on Rasmus Dahlin, Owen Power, Josh Bailey and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
2023 HOCKEY HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES ANNOUNCED
NHL.COM: Henrik Lundqvist, Tom Barrasso, Pierre Turgeon and Mike Vernon were the former NHL players among the inductees in the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023. Canadian women’s star Caroline Ouellette, former NHL coach Ken Hitchcock and former Colorado Avalanche general manager Pierre Lacroix were also among the seven inductees. The formal induction ceremony will be held in Toronto at the Hockey Hall of Fame on Nov. 13.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to all the inductees for this well-deserved honor.
It was long-overdue recognition for Barrasso, Turgeon and Vernon after being passed over for years. None of them say it coming. When Vernon got the call from Hall of Fame chairman Lanny McDonald, he joked that he thought McDonald was inviting him for a golf game. Barrasso, meanwhile, admitted he wasn’t sitting by the phone awaiting the call.
Once again, deserving former NHL stars such as Alexander Mogilny, Butch Goring, Patrik Elias, Rod Brind’Amour and Keith Tkachuk were passed over. Perhaps one of them will get their due next year.
TSN: As expected, the NHL salary cap for 2023-24 is going to rise by just $1 million to $83.5 million. The cap has been flattened since 2020-21 as part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for extending the collective bargaining agreement.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per the MOU, the cap remained at $81.5 million in 2020-21 and 2021-22, rising to $82.5 million in 2022-23 and $83.5 million in 2023-24. There was some hope that the cap would increase by more than the projected $1 million if the players had fully repaid the escrow owed to the team owners resulting from the pandemic-shortened seasons of 2019-20 and 2020-21.
Following the 2023-24 season, the salary cap is projected to significantly increase by at least $4 million. It could rise even higher given the boost to hockey-related revenue over the past two years arising from new broadcasting deals and the addition of the Seattle Kraken.
NHL.COM: The Buffalo Sabres hope to re-sign Rasmus Dahlin and Owen Power to contract extensions and the feeling is mutual. Both defensemen have a year remaining on their respective contracts and can re-sign on July 1.
Dahlin is slated to become a restricted free agent next July with arbitration rights coming off his three-year bridge contract. At the same time, Power will be completing his entry-level contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coming off their best season in years, this is a heady time for the Sabres and their fans. After years of often painful rebuilding, the club is on the cusp of becoming a playoff contender thanks to exciting young talent like Dahlin and Power.
The Sabres already have forwards Tage Thompson and Dylan Cozens under reasonable long-term contracts. Getting Dahlin and Power locked up to lengthy new deals will ensure this team has a solid base of core talent to build on going forward.
GOPHNX.COM’s Craig Morgan tweeted that sources said there is no truth to reports suggesting the Arizona Coyotes have an interest in New York Islanders winger Josh Bailey.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes have a history of taking troublesome contracts from cap-strapped teams packaged with draft picks which they’ve stockpiled to build up their prospect pipeline. However, the Bailey rumor sounds like some folks were spitballing for ways that the Islanders can free up cap space for next season.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Vancouver Canucks GM Patrik Allvin said Tanner Pearson is making progress in his recovery from a hand injury that sidelined him for most of last season. He indicated that the 30-year-old winger is preparing himself for training camp in September.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pearson’s playing career was thought to be in jeopardy after an infection set in requiring another surgical procedure.
DAILY FACEOFF: Florida Panthers GM Bill Zito said he’s spoken with Spencer Knight and expects the promising 22-year-old goaltender to be back with the club next season. Knight played 21 games this season before entering the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program in February and remained there for the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs.
NEW YORK POST: The Rangers have hired Phil Housley and Dan Muse to their coaching staff. A Hall-of-Fame defenseman Housley is the former head coach of the Buffalo Sabres.
DAILY FACEOFF: Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment chairman Larry Tannebaum is set to sell 25 percent of his stake in the company to OMERS, a pension plan for Ontario municipal employees.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets signed forward Mathieu Olivier to a two-year, $2.2 million contract extension.
NHL.COM: The Hershey Bears are the 2023 AHL champions following a thrilling 3-2 overtime win over the Coachella Valley Firebirds in Game 7 of the Calder Cup Final.
Mike Vecchione tallied the winner for the Bears, who are the affiliate of the Washington Capitals. Connor McMichael and Hendrix Lapierre also scored for the Bears.
Bears goaltender Hunter Shepard was awarded the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the most valuable player.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Bears on winning their 12th Calder Cup in franchise history. The Firebirds deserve a round of applause for reaching the Final in just their first season of operation. They’re the affiliate of the Seattle Kraken.