The Bruins’ Jeremy Swayman and the Coyotes’ Jack McBain could be heading to arbitration. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
BOSTON HERALD: The Bruins and goaltender Jeremy Swayman are $2.8 million apart as their scheduled arbitration hearing on Sunday approaches. In their pre-filings on Friday, the Bruins offered $2 million while the Swayman camp seeks $4.8 million.
GOPHNX.COM: cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting that the Arizona Coyotes and Jack McBain could also be heading to arbitration on Sunday. The Coyotes are offering up two years at $1.2 million while McBain seeks one year at $2.25 million.
Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The two sides in both cases can still negotiate up until their hearing commences. After that, negotiations cease and they await the arbiter’s decision, which will likely settle somewhere in the middle.
CAPFRIENDLY: The remainder of the arbitration schedule is as follows:
Trent Frederic, Boston Bruins: Aug. 1
Troy Terry, Anaheim Ducks: Aug. 2
Filip Gustavsson, Minnesota Wild; Ryan McLeod, Edmonton Oilers; Drew O’Connor, Pittsburgh Penguins; Brandon Scanlin, New York Rangers: Aug. 4.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres signed 2023 first-round pick Zach Benson to a three-year entry-level contract. The 18-year-old winger was chosen 13th overall.
TSN: Veteran defenseman Patrik Nemeth has signed a two-year contract with SC Bern of Switzerland’s National League. Nemeth, 31, spent 10 seasons in the NHL, netting 70 points in 504 games with the Dallas Stars, Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers and Arizona Coyotes.
The Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2023 will be announced today, the Canadiens re-sign Sean Monahan, an update on Carey Price, the Flames allow Milan Lucic to speak with other teams, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.com: The Hockey Hall of Fame will vote on its Class of 2023 inductees today. They will be announced at 3 pm ET.
Former New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (NHL.com)
Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is expected to be among that group. This is his first year of eligibility.
Other former NHL stars among the candidates include Tom Barrasso, Rod Brind’Amour, Corey Crawford, Patrik Elias, Theo Fleury, Sergei Gonchar, Curtis Joseph, Reggie Leach, Alexander Mogilny, Chris Osgood, Jeremy Roenick, Keith Tkachuk, Pierre Turgeon, Mike Vernon, Justin Williams and Henrik Zetterberg.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I will continue stumping for Butch Goring until he’s inducted or I shuffle off this mortal coil, whichever comes first.
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The Canadiens yesterday re-signed Sean Monahan to a one-year, $1.985 million contract extension. The 28-year-old center was slated to become an unrestricted free agent (UFA) on July 1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After several injury-plagued years in Calgary, Monahan was enjoying a bounce-back performance this season until suffering a season-ending lower-body injury in December. He was a good addition to the rebuilding Canadiens, acting as a mentor to their young players while providing experienced depth at center.
This signing allows Monahan to continue playing a prominent role with the Canadiens and perhaps improve his stock in next summer’s free-agent market. He could also become a valuable asset for the Habs at next year’s trade deadline if he has a healthy and productive season.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Speaking of the Canadiens, long-time goalie Carey Price and his family have put their Montreal-area home up for sale and are moving to Kelowna, BC. Price, 35, has three years remaining on his contract but is unofficially retired because of a knee injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price carries an average annual value of $10.5 million. It’s expected the Canadiens will place him on long-term injury reserve, providing them with additional cap space to spend on other players this summer. There’s also speculation that Price could take up a player development role with the Habs.
CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: The Flames are allowing Milan Lucic to speak with other clubs about a new contract. The 35-year-old winger is slated to become a UFA on July 1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lucic is no longer the dominating power forward of his youth but he played a significant leadership for Canada during their gold-medal run at the 2023 IIHF World Championships. That could entice playoff contenders seeking veteran leadership and toughness to sign him to an affordable one-year contract.
TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan cites a “well-placed source” dismissing rumors of the Maple Leafs buying out defenseman T.J. Brodie. He has one season left on his contract with an AAV of $5 million and a full no-trade clause until July 1 when it becomes a 10-team no-trade clause for 2023-24.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Someone in the media was likely musing over how the Leafs could garner some cap relief and suggested buying out Brodie. It got shared on social media and twisted around into the Leafs buying him out.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports it will take until September before the sale of the Senators to incoming owner Michael Andlauer is completed. Until then, he cannot make any changes to the club. That means he will have no say over possible offseason roster moves by general manager Pierre Dorion.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dorion’s biggest potential move is his anticipated trade of Alex DeBrincat. Garrioch reports the Senators would like a first-round pick as part of the return for the 25-year-old winger, who refuses to ink a long-term extension with the club.
BUFFALO HOCKEY NOW: The Sabres have signed forward Zemgus Girgensons to a one-year contract extension worth $2.5 million. This move was made to preserve the club’s leadership group.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Girgensons is the longest-serving active member on the Sabres roster, having played nine seasons.
ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes yesterday placed forward Zack Kassian and defenseman Patrik Nemeth on waivers for the purpose of buying out their contracts.
TSN: Player agent Ray Petkau confirmed clients James Reimer of the San Jose Sharks and Thomas Greiss of the St. Louis Blues will be hitting the UFA market on July 1.
DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman doesn’t anticipate trading his two first-round picks in the upcoming 2023 NHL Draft (June 28-29) in Nashville. The Red Wings hold picks No. 9 and No. 17.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yzerman could change his mind if a rival GM makes a tempting offer but it doesn’t appear as though he’s actively shopping those picks.
NEW YORK POST: The Islanders signed restricted free agent defenseman Samuel Bolduc to a two-year, one-way contract worth an AAV of $800K.
Analysis of some of the biggest signings and trades from the opening day of free agency, a look at two of the notable free agents still available and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE ATHLETIC: Johnny Gaudreau explained why he signed a seven-year, $68.25 million contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He said the experience of playing at Nationwide Arena and speaking with current and former Columbus Blue Jackets players were motivating factors behind his decision.
Former Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets on July 13. (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I analyzed Gaudreau’s new contract and those of the other noteworthy signings for Bleacher Report yesterday. His decision to go to Columbus generated considerable surprise on social media. It also left Calgary fans bewildered and upset after he rejected a more lucrative offer from the Flames to join the Jackets. Whatever the reason behind his decision, he makes the Blue Jackets a better team and should accelerate their rebuilding process.
THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Gaudreau was reportedly interested in signing with the Flyers but their limited salary-cap space meant they weren’t able to make room for him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers’ offseason moves haven’t sat well with their fans who’ve been quite critical on social media. It’ll be interesting to see what general manager Chuck Fletcher intends to do to improve his roster for next season.
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA/VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights each made significant cost-cutting trades with the Carolina Hurricanes. The Sharks shipped defenseman Brent Burns to the Hurricanes while the Golden Knights sent them winger Max Pacioretty.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mike Grier, the Sharks’ new general manager, is wasting little time addressing his club’s need for an overhaul following several seasons of decline. The Golden Knights, meanwhile, got nothing in return for Pacioretty. They are paying the price for their pursuit of big-ticket talent over the past couple of years in pursuit of the Stanley Cup.
The Hurricanes, meanwhile, are going for it. Burns has three years left on his contract with the Sharks retaining 33 percent of his $8 million cap hit. Pacioretty is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. Both should provide a welcome boost of experience and offense to their lineup as they attempt to stage a run for the Stanley Cup in 2022-23.
THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche haven’t given up trying to bring back Nazem Kadri as their second-line center. The 31-year-old Kadri is the biggest name remaining among this year’s crop of unrestricted free agent talent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Avs with $3.9 million in cap space. They’ll have to shed some salary if they intend to bring back Kadri.
THE ATHLETIC: The Dallas Stars attempted to re-sign John Klingberg before the defenseman became an unrestricted free agent but weren’t able to reach an agreement. The door appears closed on a return after the club signed blueliner Colin Miller and added winger Mason Marchment.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Klingberg is the top defenseman still available in the UFA market. Speculation linked him to the Seattle Kraken but other clubs could get into the bidding.
OTTAWA SUN: Claude Giroux was all smiles as he met with local media after signing a three-year, $19.5 million contract with the Senators. Giroux makes his offseason home in Ottawa and said he was excited to be joining his hometown club. “They’ve got a lot of talented guys who like to work hard and compete,” said Giroux. “I just like the character of the team, and I’ll fit right in with them.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the Senators’ most significant UFA signing in years. Giroux was linked to the Sens for months but there was speculation the 34-year-old forward would prefer signing with a Cup contender. He should bring a welcome boost of experience and leadership to their roster.
TSN: The New Jersey Devils have reportedly signed former Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ondrej Palat to a five-year contract with an average annual value of $6 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils were in the market for a top-six winger. Palat is a solid two-way forward with considerable playoff experience. He’ll be a solid addition to the rebuilding Devils in their quest to become a playoff contender next season.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins made a noteworthy addition by acquiring Pavel Zacha from the Devils in exchange for Erik Haula. They’re also still in talks with Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci on one-year, bonus-laden contracts.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A former first-round pick, Zacha struggled to play up to expectations in New Jersey. Perhaps the move to Boston will help the 25-year-old forward improve his game. As for Bergeron, there have been conflicting reports saying he’s going to return while others claim he’s still pondering his future.
DAILY FACEOFF: The Lightning wasted little time locking up three players eligible for restricted free agent status next summer. Defensemen Mikhail Sergachev and Erik Cernak and center Anthony Cirelli were all signed to lucrative long-term contract extensions.
SPORTSNET: The Anaheim Ducks signed former New York Rangers center Ryan Strome to a five-year, $25 million contract on Wednesday evening.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 29-year-old Strome will fill the Ducks’ second-line center position. This is a good move by the rebuilding club, bringing in some experienced depth to take some of the burden from rising star Trevor Zegas.
DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman spent just under $20 million via free agency yesterday to make his club more competitive next season. He added forwards David Perron, Andrew Copp and Dominik Kubalik and defensemen Ben Chiarot and Olli Maatta.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Red Wings have patiently rebuilt over the past three seasons. These veteran additions should help them take the next step toward playoff contention next season. Perron, Copp and Chiarot will bring veteran skill and leadership to the Wings roster.
DAILY FACEOFF: The New York Rangers traded defenseman Patrik Nemeth and two draft picks to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for defense prospect Ty Emberson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Malkin wants to accept less than what the Pittsburgh Penguins are reportedly offering (three years, $6 million annually), I don’t see most of those clubs as realistic options. As per Cap Friendly, the Lightning and Flyers are maxed out, the Canucks have around $2 million in cap room and the Kings $4 million. They’re not a fit unless they shed salary to accommodate him.
The Capitals have $8.9 million available but they must also acquire two new goaltenders after trading away Vitek Vanecek and not qualifying Ilya Samsonov’s rights. They could get some wiggle room if Nicklas Backstrom ($9.2 million) go on LTIR to start the season as he recovers from hip surgery but they must be cap compliant if he returns to action.
With over $10 million in cap space, the Rangers could afford Malkin as a second-line center. As I said earlier, however, unless Malkin agrees to less than what the Penguins were offering, he may not be a fit on Broadway.
COULD THE AVALANCHE COME CALLING FOR PATRICK KANE?
SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman speculated the Colorado Avalanche could become a suitor for Patrick Kane if the Chicago Blackhawks winger were to request a trade this summer. Friedman said the Avs were among the teams that inquired into the availability of the 33-year-old Kane prior to the March trade deadline.
Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Scott Powers doesn’t think Kane or teammate Jonathan Toews have spoken to Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson about their futures yet. If either one requests a trade, Powers believes they’ve got about a week to let Davidson know if they want to be moved before the start of the season.
If Kane wants out he’d probably prefer getting dealt to a contender as a rental player rather than go to a rebuilding team. However, his $10.5 million cap hit for 2022-23 and full no-movement clause are serious impediments. Powers believes the Blackhawks could prefer to wait until the trade deadline to retain half of his cap hit before moving him. That’s likely when it would be more comfortable to contenders as well.
WHERE WILL GAUDREAU GO?
CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson reports the Flames could be trying to figure out how to reshape their roster if superstar left winger Johnny Gaudreau departs via free agency. If he leaves, it could also affect the club’s efforts to sign restricted free agent winger Matthew Tkachuk to a long-term contract. Gilbertson wonders if the Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils or Seattle Kraken could come calling if Gaudreau hits the market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Philly Hockey Now’s Sam Carchidi cites a source close to the Gaudreau camp raising doubt over whether the Flyers can afford him. They could gain some cap relief if Ryan Ellis goes on LTIR but that could get tricky if Ellis returns at some point. The Flyers were also rumored looking into trading winger James van Riemsdyk ($7 million) but there doesn’t seem to be much interest.
Meanwhile, the Kraken are flush with cap space and could make a big splash in the UFA market. Whether Gaudreau wants to play for a club that is probably another two or three years away from becoming playoff contenders is another matter.
LATEST ON BURNS AND CAMPBELL
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng reports new Sharks GM Mike Grier didn’t shut down speculation his club could look into trading Brent Burns. Peng cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman saying several clubs have called Grier to inquire about the status of the 37-year-old defenseman. The Sharks GM indicated he would understand if Burns wanted to join a Stanley Cup contender.
Friedman speculated the Dallas Stars could be a destination as they’re about to lose blueliner John Klingberg to free agency. Peng suggested the Carolina Hurricanes as an option after they traded away Tony DeAngelo. He believes the Sharks would have to retain part of Burns’ $8 million cap hit to make a deal work.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Burns is signed through 2024-25 so Grier could be reluctant to retain part of his cap hit over that period. Still, he might not have much choice if the hirsute blueliner wants out. It could also be worthwhile if the Sharks can get a solid return. Burns also has a three-team trade list but might expand it to join a contender.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples wonders if the Toronto Maple Leafs’ inability to sign Jack Campbell could lead to the pending UFA goaltender signing with the Oilers. He cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggesting the Oilers as the front-runners for Campbell’s services.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I would’ve considered Darcy Kuemper as a better option for the Oilers but he would prove more expensive to sign than Campbell due to his Stanley Cup win this season. If the Oilers aren’t interested in Campbell the Washington Capitals certainly will be. So could the New Jersey Devils.
UPDATES ON THE STARS AND RANGERS
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Matthew DeFranks recently examined what’s on the offseason “to-do list” for Stars GM Jim Mill. Find a top-four defenseman to replace the departing John Klingberg and adding a scoring forward are among his priorities, along with fending off possible offer sheets for goalie Jake Oettinger and re-signing scoring star Jason Robertson.
NEW YORK POST: Mollie Walker reports the Rangers could be in the market for a backup goaltender for Igor Shesterkin. They’re also trying to find a trade partner for defenseman Patrik Nemeth ahead of a possible buyout.
Kassian has two seasons remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $3.2 million. Murray also has two seasons remaining with a $6.25 million AAV.
Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Seravalli that Kassian could be bought out as he could prove difficult to move this summer via trade. The Senators, however, are reportedly willing to carry three goaltenders (including Murray) into next season.
That’s understandable given Murray’s cap hit. While the Sens have the cap space to absorb the two-thirds’ buyout for four seasons, that’s a long time to carry dead cap space, especially the $2.5 million per season over the final two years.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vlasic’s buyout will sit on the Sharks’ books for eight years, with years three and four biting deeply into their cap space. Nevertheless, The Athletic’s Corey Masisak said in a recent mailbag segment that he considered a Vlasic buyout more likely than trading a blueliner like Brent Burns or Erik Karlsson. As Seravalli observed, carrying the full $7 million of the fading Vlasic’s contract for four more years would be worse than the buyout cost.
I see Scandella and Dickinson as buyout candidates if their respective teams can’t find anyone to trade their contracts off their hands in the trade market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Myers appears a likely buyout candidate. As Seravalli points out, the blueliner is 25 so his buyout is one-third the remaining value instead of two-thirds. Because his contract is also backloaded, the Predators would get a cap credit of over $616K for this season and be charged only $633K the following season. Seravalli suggests that could make Myers’s contract enticing in the trade market for cap-strapped clubs.
I think the rebuilding Blackhawks can afford to carry Johnson’s contract for at least one more season. The Penguins could also ride out the remaining year of Zucker’s deal if they can fit new contracts for Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin into their current cap space. They could also retain up to half his cap hit in a trade or attempt to move him for another player with a comparable contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers could attempt to trade Nemeth but the way his contract is structured could make a buyout likely. The cap hit is $1 million for each season except for the second year, where they won’t be charged anything. As for Foligno, Boston Hockey Now’s Joe Haggerty reports the Bruins aren’t leaning that way.
The Oilers get their fourth straight win under interim coach Jay Woodcroft, Martin St. Louis gets his first win as Canadiens coach, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Leon Draisaitl scored twice as the Edmonton Oilers picked up their fourth straight win under interim coach Jay Woodcroft by thumping the Anaheim Ducks 7-3. Draisaitl leads the race for the Rocket Richard Trophy with 35 goals. Connor McDavid, Evander Kane, Warren Foegele and Derek Ryan each had two points for the Oilers, who sit in third place in the Pacific Division with 57 points. The Ducks, meanwhile, dropped their third straight and remain behind the Los Angeles Kings for the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 55 points.
Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a game of two teams going in different directions. The Oilers are surging since their coaching change while the Ducks have slid out of a playoff spot and are in danger of falling further behind if they don’t reverse their fortunes soon.
Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews tallied his 33rd goal of the season and Jack Campbell made 45 saves in a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, handing the latter their first loss in their last seven road games. Matthews also picked up an assist and Mitch Marner collected two helpers. The Leafs (67 points) are three points back of the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division while the Penguins sit atop the Metropolitan Division with 70 points.
The Montreal Canadiens picked up their first win under interim coach Martin St. Louis by beating the St. Louis Blues 3-2 in overtime. Cole Caufield tallied the tying and winning goals as the Habs snapped a 10-game losing skid. The Blues (62 points) are one point behind the second-place Minnesota Wild in the Central Division.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens have a better chance of winning this year’s draft lottery than they have of reaching the playoffs. Nevertheless, they’ve been more competitive since St. Louis took over as coach. Caufield in particular has thrived under his new bench boss, scoring four goals in his last four games after managing just one in his previous 30.
Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor each had a goal and an assist as the Winnipeg Jets beat the Seattle Kraken 5-3. Josh Morrissey scored the winning goal by snapping a 3-3 tie in the third period. With 52 points, the Jets moved within three points of the Kings for the final Western wild-card spot.
The Vancouver Canucks also reached 52 points as J.T. Miller’s overtime goal lifted them over the San Jose Sharks 5-4. Miller, Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes each had two points for the Canucks. Hughes returned to the lineup following a 10-day stint on the COVID protocol list. Sharks winger Timo Meier scored twice and picked up an assist.
Two third-period goals by Garnet Hathaway rallied the Washington Capitals to a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Hathaway finished the night with three points as the Capitals (65 points) widened their lead over the Boston Bruins for the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Speaking of the Bruins, they dropped a 4-1 decision to the New York Islanders. Ilya Sorokin made 26 saves for the win while Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson and Noah Dobson each had a goal and an assist. The Bruins (58 points) hold the second Eastern wild-card berth.
The Detroit Red Wings kept their thin playoff hopes alive by defeating the New York Rangers 3-2. Thomas Greiss made 37 saves and Pius Suter scored the winner in the shootout. The Wings are six points behind the Bruins, who have three games in hand.
Patrik Laine tallied his first hat trick with the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 7-4 drubbing of the Chicago Blackhawks. Laine is riding an eight-game points streak.
Goaltender Craig Anderson lost to his former team as the Ottawa Senators defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-1 on third-period goals by Austin Watson and Brady Tkachuk.
IN OTHER NEWS…
NHL.COM: Nashville Predators head coach John Hynes was fined $25,000.00 by the league for “inappropriate conduct” following Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals. Hynes was berating officials from the bench at the end of the game.
Calgary Flames forward Adam Ruzicka was fined $2,004.17 for elbowing Anaheim Ducks defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk on Wednesday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In the NHL, a coach telling off officials following a game is considered more egregious than a player attempting to injure an opponent.
NEW YORK POST: Rangers defenseman Patrik Nemeth was placed on injured reserve due to lingering effects of COVID-19.