NHL Could Face A Reckoning on CTE
Hurricanes to match the Canadiens offer sheet to Sebastian Aho, Darryl Sutter joining the Ducks coaching staff, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon said his club intends to match the five-year, $42.27-million offer sheet Sebastian Aho signed with the Montreal Canadiens. Dundon called the offer a “waste of time”, shrugging off paying out over $21 million in signing bonuses over the next 12 months as “no big deal.”
Dundon insinuated Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin was manipulated by Aho’s agent Gerry Johansson. He also dismissed talk that Aho wanted to leave the Hurricanes. “I have not heard Sebastian say that. If he said that it would be different but he didn’t. So the fact that an agent said it means that there’s no credibility to it.”
The Hurricanes have until July 8 to match the offer. General manager Don Waddell indicated that would come “in the time frame allotted by the CBA.”
LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Johansson denied manipulating or misleading Bergevin into making that offer sheet to his client. “I do not think I’m so smart and Marc Bergevin is a very bright man.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergevin is drawing criticism from fans and pundits for not being more aggressive in his offer. The Canadiens offer was a calculated gamble that failed. However, it leaves them no worse off than before they signed Aho.
Cap Friendly indicates the Canadiens still have over $11 million in salary-cap room and 12 picks in next year’s draft, including two-second rounders and four fourth rounders. Perhaps their “Plan B” is targetting teams with limited cap space looking to shed salary.
Dundon and Waddell are putting a positive spin on this situation. But if reports are true they were playing hardball with the Aho camp prior to July 1, they’re the reason the 21-year-old center became a tempting target for an offer sheet.
It was rumored the Canes offered eight-years between $6 to $7.5 million per season. They must now pay Aho over $8.4 million annually for three fewer years, making him eligible for UFA status at 26. Dundon might brush off paying over $21 million in signing bonuses but I’ll wager that wasn’t part of his original plan.
ANAHEIM CALLING: Former Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter is joining the Anaheim Ducks’ coaching staff. Meanwhile, CBS Sports reports the Ducks signed goaltender Anthony Stolarz to a two-year, $1.5-million contract.
AZCENTRAL.COM/THE ATHLETIC: The Arizona Coyotes signed forward Lawson Crouse to a three-year contract worth an annual average salary of $1.53 million. Meanwhile, assistant coach Scott Allen won’t be returning with the club.
WGR550: The Buffalo Sabres re-signed defenseman C.J. Smith to a two-year, $1.4-million contract.
NHL.COM: The Vancouver Canucks signed Tyler Motte to a one-year, $975K contract.
TSN: The NHL alleges in a recent court filing they are not to blame for the injuries and health problems of former player Steve Montador. He was “posthumously diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) after his death in 2015.”
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