What’s Wrong With the Tampa Bay Lightning
Check out the listing of today’s notable NHL free-agent signings. This will be updated throughout the day as signings become official.
The Chicago Blackhawks signed goaltender Robin Lehner to a one-year, $5-million contract.
The New York Islanders sign left wing Anders Lee to a seven-year, $49-million contract. The Isles also signed goaltender Semyon Varlamov to a four-year contract worth $5 million per season.
The Carolina Hurricanes sign goaltender Petr Mrazek to a two-year, $6.5-million contract.
The Montreal Canadiens have tendered an offer sheet to Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho. The proposed contract is for five years, with an average annual value of $8.454 million.
The Montreal #Canadiens have tendered an offer sheet to RFA Sebastian Aho of the Carolina Hurricanes at $8.454M x 5 years
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) July 1, 2019
New York Rangers sign left winger Artemi Panarin to a seven-year, $81.5 million contract. The annual average value is $11.6 million.
Florida Panthers signed goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to a seven-year, $70 million deal. They also signed winger Brett Connolly to a four-year, $13-million contract, defenseman Anton Stralman to a three-year, $16.5 million contract and forward Noel Acciari to a three-year, $5-million contract.
The Nashville Predators sign center Matt Duchene to a seven-year, $56-million contract.
Dallas Stars sign center/winger Joe Pavelski to a three-year, $21-million contract. The Stars also signed winger Corey Perry on a one-year, bonus-laden contract worth up to $3.25 million. They also signed defenseman Andrej Sekera to a one-year contract with a $1.5 million base salary and $500K in bonuses.
Minnesota Wild sign winger Mats Zuccarello to a five-year, $30-million contract. The Wild also sign forward Ryan Hartman to a two-year contract with an annual average value of $1.9 million.
Vancouver Canucks sign defenseman Tyler Myers to a five-year, $30-million contract. The Canucks also signed blueliner Jordie Benn to a two-year, $4-million contract and rearguard Oscar Fantenberg to a one-year, $850K deal.
Pittsburgh Penguins sign forward Brandon Tanev to a six-year contract with an AAV of $3.5 million.
Columbus Blue Jackets sign forward Gustav Nyquist to a four-year, $22-million contract.
Washington Capitals sign forward Richard Panik to a four-year, $10-million contract and forward Garnet Hathaway to a four-year, $6-million deal.
Colorado Avalanche sign winger Joonas Donskoi to a three-year contract estimated at around $3.5 million per season. They also sign winger Pierre-Edouard Bellemare to a two-year, $3.6-million contract.
Chicago Blackhawks sign center Ryan Carpenter to a three-year, $3-million contract.
Detroit Red Wings sign center Valtteri Filppula to a two-year, $6-million contract. They also signed defenseman Patrik Nemeth to a two-year deal.
St. Louis Blues sign forward Nathan Walker to a two-year, $1.4-million contract.
New Jersey Devils sign winger Wayne Simmonds to a one-year, $5-million contract.
Edmonton Oilers signed goaltender Mike Smith to a one-year, $2-million contract and sign forward Markus Granlund to a one-year, $1.3-million contract. They also re-signed winger Alex Chiasson to a two-year deal worth $2.15-million per season.
Ottawa Senators sign Ron Hainsey to a one-year, $3.5-million contract and winger Tyler Ennis to a one-year, $800K contract.
Toronto Maple Leafs sign center Jason Spezza to a one-year, $700K contract.
Calgary Flames sign goaltender Cam Talbot to sign a one-year. $2.75-million contract.
Montreal Canadiens sign goaltender Keith Kinkaid to a one-year, $1.75-million contract.
Tampa Bay Lightning sign goaltender Curtis McElhinney to a two-year, $2.6-million contract. They also signed defenseman Luke Schenn to a one-year, $700K contract.
Buffalo Sabres sign forward Curtis Lazar, goaltender Andrew Hammond, and defenseman John Gilmour to one-year contracts each worth $700K. The Sabres also acquire forward Jimmy Vesey from the New York Rangers in exchange for a third-round pick in 2021.
Winnipeg Jets sign defenseman Nathan Beaulieu to a one-year, $1-million contract.
Trade Alert: The New York Rangers trade Jimmy Vesey to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a third-round pick in 2021.
The Leafs have a tentative deal to send Nikita Zaitsev to the Senators. Check out the details, plus the latest on Artemi Panarin, Matt Duchene, Sebastian Aho, and more in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
ZAITSEV FOR CECI?
TSN: Bob McKenzie reported the Toronto Maple Leafs could have a tentative deal in place shipping Nikita Zaitsev to the Ottawa Senators for Cody Ceci. This trade won’t be finalized until July 1 when the Leafs pay Zaitsev his $3-million signing bonus.
McKenzie adds there could be other pieces in this deal. The Leafs could include a “sweetener” like a player (Connor Brown?) or a draft pick. Zaitsev, 27, has five years remaining on his contract worth an annual average value of $4.5 million. Ceci, 25, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.
TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan adds Zaitsev has agreed to waive his modified no-trade clause, which kicks in tomorrow, to go to Ottawa. Senators head coach D.J. Smith, a former Leafs assistant coach, got involved to help facilitate the deal.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports this move is an indication Ceci and the Senators aren’t on the same page in contract talks. It’s believed Ceci, who earned $4.5 million on a one-year contract this season, seeks a five- or six-year deal worth between $5 – $5.5 million annually.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the one hand, the Leafs will honor Zaitsev’s trade request and move out his troublesome contract. On the other hand, they’ll have to re-sign Ceci, who’ll cost more for longer than Zaitsev. It’s interesting that Smith got involved to make this happen. He seems to see more in Zaitsev’s game than the blueliner’s critics.
Ceci’s faced considerable criticism from Senators fans for his defensive miscues. However, maybe a move to Toronto could benefit his play. The Leafs could flip Ceci to another club. Given their blueline needs, however, I think they’ll try to keep him.
If Ceci’s seeking up to $5.5 million annually, it could complicate the Leafs’ efforts to re-sign Mitch Marner. It’ll also hinder efforts to land a suitable replacement for Jake Gardiner and perhaps Ron Hainsey.
LATEST ON THE AVALANCHE AND PANARIN
COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater recently reported a source close to Artemi Panarin said the Colorado Avalanche continued to have serious interest in the 27-year-old left winger. The source also claimed the club met with Panarin personally this week. Dater acknowledged Panarin’s trips this week to the Florida Panthers, New York Rangers, and New York Islanders.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stick tap to regular reader “Shawn” for the link. It’s worth noting Dater wrote this before the Avalanche acquired Andre Burakovsky on Friday from Washington. While he doesn’t think that move takes them out of the running for Panarin, “the optics aren’t good.” He also noted the Avs are among the suitors for winger Joonas Donskoi. If so, I think that takes them further out of the Panarin sweepstakes.
UPDATE ON THE PREDATORS AND DUCHENE
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Montreal Canadiens could still have a shot at signing Matt Duchene. While it’s assumed Duchene will land with the Nashville Predators, Friedman said more than one source indicates that’s not locked in. Whatever happens, Friedman suspects the Predators will make a major move via trade or free agency. He also linked the Predators to Anders Lee.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Last weekend’s trade of P.K. Subban to New Jersey was done to free up cap space to add a scoring forward. If the Predators miss out on Duchene I can see them pursuing someone like Lee. I don’t think they’re in the bidding for Panarin as he’d be way out of their price range.
HURRICANES PLAYING HARDBALL WITH AHO?
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon intends to play hardball with Sebastian Aho. The 21-year-old center is a restricted free agent completing his entry-level contract and lacks arbitration rights. The Hurricanes, to Brooks’ knowledge, haven’t indicated that they wouldn’t match an offer sheet for Aho. The pundit suggests it would be interesting to find out if they would.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s John Shannon recently reported the Hurricanes are talking an eight-year deal for Aho worth $6 million per season. Of course, that could simply be their opening bid. Hurricanes GM Don Waddell said he didn’t think the two sides were that far apart. He also expressed confidence a deal will be reached before training camp in September.
Waddell also indicated he’s not concerned about Aho receiving an offer sheet. I can see the two sides agreeing to a long-term deal worth around $8 million per season. Given Aho’s upside, he’ll be worth more than that in a few years.
UPDATE ON PAVELSKI
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Ali Thanawalla cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting Joe Pavelski has initiated contract talks with the Dallas Stars. He met with the club earlier in the week. He also noted The Athletic’s Michael Russo reported Pavelski decided not to meet with the Minnesota Wild. Meanwhile, Russo’s colleague Aaron Portzline reported the Columbus Blue Jackets were among the clubs Pavelski politely declined to visit this week.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: By the sound of things, Pavelski is making the Stars his top destination when the UFA market opens tomorrow. Of course, another club could swoop in at the last minute with a better offer. Stay tuned.
As for the Wild, The Athletic’s Michael Russo cites sources claiming they’re “aggressively pursuing” winger Mats Zuccarello. They’re prepared to offer him a long-term contract. Russo speculates it could be a five-year deal worth up to $6 million per season. I like Zuccarello but that’s too much for too long for a winger who turns 32 in September.
RISTOLAINEN TRADE RUMORS PERSIST
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington believes the Sabres’ recent acquisition of defenseman Colin Miller means Rasmus Ristolainen will be traded soon. He cites Sabres GM Jason Botterill speaking of the options it gives his club on the blueline and “flexibility within their lineup”.
Ristolainen’s been the subject of trade speculation for weeks. While Botterill attempted to downplay the rumors, Harrington noted the Sabres GM also didn’t deny them. He points out the Sabres need for offense, suggesting Ristolainen would be the best trade chip to address that requirement.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t rule out a Ristolainen trade this summer. However, as TSN’s Darren Dreger observed, a team must “step up” in a big way or the Sabres won’t part with him. In other words, it’ll take a top-six forward to pry Ristolainen away from the Sabres.
Hearing that Montreal among the three teams showing interest in veteran UFA goalie Curtis McElhinney. Don’t believe Toronto is one of them.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 30, 2019
Those wondering if Flames management is of the belief the team needs more size and toughness, I can report to you that last July 1 the team believed it had an agreement w UFA Ryan Reaves before the rugged winger chose to re-sign w Vegas. The desire to add muscle hasn’t changed.
— Eric Francis (@EricFrancis) June 28, 2019
Sharks get controversial OT win over the Blues in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final. Check out the recap plus updates on the Bruins, Hurricanes, Patrick Kane, Jeff Skinner, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: An overtime goal by Erik Karlsson gave the San Jose Sharks a 5-4 victory over the St. Louis Blues in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final. Karlsson’s tally was controversial as it was the result of an uncalled hand pass by teammate Timo Meier deemed unreviewable by the officials. The Sharks hold a 2-1 lead in this best-of-seven series.
Karlsson and Joe Thornton each scored twice for the Sharks, who overcame a 4-3 deficit after blowing a 3-1 lead. Blues winger David Perron scored twice. St. Louis defenseman Vince Dunn took a puck to the face in the first period and didn’t return. An update on his condition could be coming later today.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This game will stand as yet another example of the poor quality of the officiating in this year’s playoffs. The salt in the wound was Meier getting credited with an assist for a hand pass the officials apparently didn’t see. The argument was also made that Meier’s hand pass glanced off Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and thus no infraction should be called.
This wasn’t the only call the officials missed in this game. St. Louis winger David Perron flipped the puck over the glass in the second period but no delay of game penalty was whistled. In the third period, Blues forward Sammy Blais got away with a hit to the head of Sharks defenseman Justin Braun.
Carolina Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour said there’s a good chance goaltender Curtis McElhinney will start Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final. The Boston Bruins hold a 3-0 lead and can close out the series tonight.
NBC SPORTS: Boston Bruins right winger Chris Wagner has returned to Boston for further evaluation of his injured right arm. He won’t play in Game 4 tonight and is sidelined indefinitely.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane set a US career scoring record at the World Hockey Championships. With 36 points, he surpassed Mark Johnson’s previous record of 33.
TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets signed goaltender Elvis Merzlikins to a one-year contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Prior to this signing, Cap Friendly indicated the Blue Jackets only had two goaltenders under contract for 2019-20. “The CBA requires that all clubs have at least 3 goalies under contract at any given moment during a league year. Meaning the club needed to sign a third goalie prior to July 1st.”
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former Canadiens team doctor Douglas Kinnear passed away at age 92. He worked with the Canadiens from 1962 to 1999.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Condolences to Kinnear’s family, friends, and the Canadiens organization.
Jason Botterill just said on the Instigators that Skinner wanted to know who the coach would be.
— Paul Hamilton (@pham1717) May 15, 2019
Game recaps and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Jeff Skinner’s overtime goal gave the Buffalo Sabres their 10th straight victory as they edged the San Jose Sharks 4-3. Sharks captain Joe Pavelski scored twice, including the game-tying goal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the win, the Sabres also sit atop the Eastern Conference and the overall standings.
Third-period goals by Brady Tkachuk (two) and Matt Duchene rallied the Ottawa Senators from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the struggling Philadelphia Flyers 4-3. With the win, the Senators snapped a four-game losing skid.
Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Curtis McElhinney made 48 saves to backstop his club to a 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens, spoiling the season debut of Canadiens captain Shea Weber. Earlier in the day, Montreal defenseman Karl Alzner cleared waivers and was sent to their AHL affiliate in Laval.
Third-period goals by Nick Ritchie and Carter Rowney gave the Anaheim Ducks their fourth straight victory by beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1.
The Colorado Avalanche ended an 11-game losing streak to the Nashville Predators with a 3-2 win thanks to two goals by Nathan MacKinnon.
Despite the departure of starting goaltender Antti Raanta in the second intermission with a lower-body injury, the Arizona Coyotes held off the Minnesota Wild 4-3. Coyotes forward Josh Archibald scored twice in the third period.
The Pittsburgh Penguins extended their winning streak to five games by downing the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 thanks to third-period goals by Derek Grant and Zach Aston-Reese. Mark Scheifele tallied twice for the Jets.
The Vegas Golden Knights picked up their fourth straight victory by crushing the Chicago Blackhawks 8-3. Cody Eakin and Shea Theodore each scored twice for the Golden Knights. Earlier in the day, the Blackhawks announced defenseman Brandon Davidson would miss six-to-eight weeks following knee surgery.
Edmonton Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom scored the game’s only goal as his club nipped the Dallas Stars 1-0 in overtime.
Dustin Brown’s overtime tally gave the Los Angeles Kings a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Earlier in the day, the Kings activated goaltender Jonathan Quick off injured reserve but he didn’t play in this game. Canucks winger Brock Boeser returned to the lineup after missing 11 games with a groin injury.