NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 29, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 29, 2019

The Golden Knights trade Colin Miller to the Sabres, the Capitals ship Andre Burakovsky to the Avalanche. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

LAS VEGAS SUN/WGR550.COM: The Vegas Golden Knight yesterday traded defenseman Colin Miller to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for “a 2021 second-round pick originally owned by the St. Louis Blues and the Sabres’ own 2022 fifth-round pick.”

Vegas Golden Knight trade defenseman Colin Miller to the Buffalo Sabres (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another straightforward salary dump by the Golden Knights. This move clears MIller’s $3.875 million annual average value from their books. As per Cap Friendly, Vegas now sits roughly $900K over the $81.5-million salary cap for 2019-20. They could make another cost-cutting trade. However, it’s assumed they’ll place permanently sidelined winger David Clarkson ($5.225 million AAV) on long-term injury reserve.

Miller brings puck-moving depth to the Sabres’ blueline. He tallied 29 points in 65 games last season. They’re now overloaded on the right side of their defense. This could add fodder to the Rasmus Ristolainen trade speculation. However, it’s worth remembering Miller can also play on the left side. Zach Bogosian could also miss the start of the season recovering from recent hip surgery so the Sabres don’t have to rush into moving a right-side rearguard. 

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON/DENVER POST: The Washington Capitals traded winger Andre Burakovsky to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for “minor-league forward Scott Kosmachuk and second- and third-round picks in the 2020 draft.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Burakovsky frequently surfaced in this season’s trade-rumor mill. Capitals GM Brian MacLellan seemed reluctant to move him. However, the 23-year-winger recently requested a trade. Burakovsky, a former first-round draft pick, has offensive potential but struggled with consistency and confidence during his tenure in Washington.

By not having to re-sign Burakovsky, a pending restricted free agent, the Capitals can invest their $9.2 million of cap space re-signing Jakub Vrana and perhaps retaining pending UFA Brett Connolly. 

Burakovsky will get a fresh start with the Avalanche, who seem him as a potential top-six winger. This move could quiet speculation linking the Avs to pending UFA winger Artemi Panarin.

With over $38 million in salary-cap space, some observers believed the Avalanche could be major players in this summer’s free-agent market. However,  a big chunk of their cap space will be taken up re-signing several key players.

The Avs have 11 restricted free agents (including Burakovsky, Mikko Rantanen, Alex Kerfoot, Nikita Zadorov, and J.T. Compher) to re-sign. They also need a reliable backup goaltender for Philipp Grubauer.

TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs officially announced the re-signing of winger Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson yesterday. Kapanen will receive a three-year contract worth an annual salary-cap hit of $3.2 million, while Johnsson’s is a four-year deal at $3.4 million annually. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs GM Kyle Dubas is getting well-deserved plaudits for getting those two under reasonable short-term contracts. His focus remains on re-signing Mitch Marner, who is seeking considerably more than what Kapanen and Johnsson received. 

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes re-signed goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic to a two-year contract extension. He’ll receive “$725,000 at the NHL level or $70,000 at the AHL level with a $125,000 guarantee in 2019-20. In 2020-21, the contract is a one-way deal paying $750,000.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Assuming Curtis McElhinney departs via free agency and Petr Mrazek re-signs, the Hurricanes could use Nedeljkovic as Mrazek’s backup. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks re-signed forwards Dylan Sikura and John Quenneville to two-year contracts.