NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 18, 2020
The Jets and Dustin Byfuglien agree to mutual contract termination, the Blue Jackets re-sign Joonas Korpisalo, neutral-site speculation and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets and Dustin Byfuglien agreed to a mutual termination of his contract. The move brings an end to the dispute between Jets management and the veteran defenseman over his injury status. It resulted in his suspension without pay for missing training camp and his subsequent season-ending ankle surgery that took place without informing management. Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff maintains the situation remains largely a private matter between the two sides but acknowledged it was emotional.
Byfuglien has forfeited the $14 million in actual salary remaining on his contract. He was slated to earn $8 million this season and $6 million in 2020-21. He’s not spoken publicly about the situation or his future plans.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can read the entire timeline of this saga here. With Byfuglien’s contract off the books for next season, Cap Friendly indicates the Jets have over $65.9 million invested in 13 players for next season, with all of their core players signed. That should provide Cheveldayoff with some wiggle room to bolster his blueline.
As for Byfuglien, there’s already speculation over potential destinations if he continues his NHL career. I’ll have more in the Rumors section.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets re-signed Joonas Korpisalo to a two-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $2.8 million. The 25-year-old goaltender will earn $2.2 million in actual salary next season and $3.4 million in 2021-22.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a reasonable contract for Korpisalo, who’s coming off a one-year, $1.125-million deal. Given the uncertainty over next season’s salary cap, it’s probably a wise decision on his part to take that deal now, rather than risk a lower payday. He’s eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in 2022.
Fellow Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins is also a restricted free agent at season’s end, but The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline believes he’ll get a similar deal. Portzline noted there was speculation suggesting the Jackets made Merzlikins a three-year offer, but the netminder denied that report last month.
STLTODAY.COM: The Blues re-signed MacKenzie MacEachern to a two-year, one-way contract worth $900K per season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blues GM Doug Armstrong isn’t wasting time getting some business done during the pandemic shutdown. The MacEachern contract is the third deal he’s signed in as many days, inking Sammy Blais on Wednesday and Marco Scandella on Thursday. The Blues now have over $79.4 million tied up in 20 players, with defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and Vince Dunn to re-sign.
SPORTSNET: New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu admitted he’s had discussions with the NHL about staging neutral-site games in Manchester if the league returns to action in a reduced capacity this summer. “There is truth to that,” he said. “I have had discussions about that. Don’t know whether it’s going to happen, but we are talking about it.”
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell and his wife bought approximately 500 lunches for local sanitation workers in recognition of their efforts during this pandemic.