NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 7, 2022
The 2022-23 schedule is released plus the latest on Kirill Kaprizov, Filip Forsberg, Kris Letang, Patrice Bergeron, John Klingberg, Evander Kane and more on the eve of the first round of the 2022 draft in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The league released its 2022-23 schedule on Wednesday. The regular season begins in Prague on Oct. 7 and 8 as the Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks face off in the 2022 Global Series. The first games in North America will be held on Oct. 11 featuring the New York Rangers facing the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Colorado Avalanche will raise their 2021-22 Stanley Cup banner in Denver on Oct. 12 prior to their home opener against the Chicago Blackhawks. That evening will also see the Toronto Maple Leafs travel to Montreal to face the Canadiens while the Vancouver Canucks will face the Oilers in Edmonton.
The 2023 Winter Classic will be held on Jan. 1, 2023, between the Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins at Fenway Park in Boston. Hockey Day in Canada featuring all seven Canadian teams in action will be on Jan. 21.
The Florida Panthers will host the 2023 NHL All-Star Game with the skills competition on Feb. 3 and the All-Star Game on Feb. 4. The regular season will end on Apr. 13.
THE ATHLETIC: Media reports out of Russia claim Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov is wanted in his native country for allegedly buying a fake military ID card in 2017 while he was playing in the KHL. The Wild and the NHL are gathering information to determine the credibility of the story.
Reports also claimed Kaprizov had fled Russia but Wild general manager Bill Guerin said he’s still in the country and is safe with family and friends. Guerin said he and the club have been in touch with Kaprizov’s agent and aren’t pushing the panic button.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a result of Russia’s war with Ukraine. Under Russian law, eligible men between 18 and 27 must serve a year in the military, though exemptions are provided for athletes. Russo cited a source claiming Kaprizov’s exemption ended on June 30.
Last week, Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Ivan Fedotov was detained under suspicion of dodging the draft and sent to a remote Arctic naval base. Fedotov broke his contract with KHL club CSKA Moscow to sign with the Flyers in May. It’s generated increasing concern over whether Russian players will be allowed to return to the NHL next season.
TWINCITIES.COM: Speaking of the Wild, they signed defenseman Jake Middleton to a three-year contract extension with an annual average value of $2.45 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Middleton was due to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights when the free-agent market opened on July 13. Acquired from the San Jose Sharks before the trade deadline, he proved to be a good fit with the Wild. He skated with Jared Spurgeon on their top pairing, providing an additional measure of grit to their blueline.
NHL.COM: Nashville Predators general manager David Poile said his club is closer to signing Filip Forsberg now than when they made their eight-year contract offer earlier in the offseason. The 27-year-old left winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It looks like Forsberg will stay in Nashville barring a last-minute collapse in negotiations before the free agent market opens next Wednesday. There’s no indication from the Forsberg camp of any disagreement with Poile’s assessment of their contract talks.
I assumed a sticking point was the lack of no-trade protection. Poile indicated Forsberg will get a full no-movement clause and a full no-trade if he signs with the Predators.
The Predators GM said the holdup was over money. It’s rumored that could be between $8 million and $9 million per season on an eight-year deal.
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins GM Ron Hextall said he’d be surprised if his club didn’t get defenseman Kris Letang signed to a new contract before July 13. However, he seemed less optimistic about re-signing Evgeni Malkin but said the two sides will continue working on it.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Letang is reportedly seeking a five-year deal worth between $8 million and $9 million annually. The Penguins are also said to have put the priority on re-signing the 35-year-old defenseman before turning to Malkin.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron hasn’t signed on the dotted line yet, but recent discussions indicate he’s considering a return with the Bruins next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: An earlier report last month had Bergeron agreeing to come back. Back in May, he indicated that he would either return with the Bruins or retire. If he’s leaning toward playing, I think we’ll see him suiting up for a 19th season in Boston.
DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports John Klingberg will be hitting the free-agent market next week. Talks between the 29-year-old defenseman and the Dallas Stars have been cordial but they don’t appear to be any closer to working out a new contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reports last fall claimed Klingberg sought an eight-year deal with the Stars worth between $7.75 million and $8.5 million per season. With Jake Oettinger and Jason Robertson due for big raises coming off their entry-level deals, the Stars won’t have enough cap room to pay them and Klingberg.
SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland said his club isn’t close to a deal with Evander Kane. He said they’ll continue to speak with his agent to see if something can be worked out. Kane, 30, is due to become a UFA next week.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane also has a grievance hearing over his terminated contract with the San Jose Sharks coming up sometime after July 13 unless he and the Sharks can work out an agreement before then. That could affect the Oilers’ efforts to sign him.
TSN: Washington Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said Nicklas Backstrom is determined to play next season after undergoing hip surgery last month.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Uncertainty over Backstrom’s status raised speculation the Capitals could be shopping around for a replacement. His determination to play is admirable but that will be decided by how well he recovers from hip-shaving surgery.
WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Capitals, they’ll get more clarity on the status of Carl Hagelin’s season-ending eye injury later this summer. Hagelin suffered the injury during practice in early March. He underwent two surgeries which permanently took away some of the vision in his left eye. It also affected his depth perception but that could return in time.
VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Canucks management indicated there’s not much to report on contract extension talks with J.T. Miller. However, they’re more optimistic about re-signing captain Bo Horvat.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both players have a year remaining on their contracts. Miller has been the subject of considerable trade speculation this season. There are rumors he could be traded either during the draft or before the start of the UFA market next week.
NHL.COM: New Jersey Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald said Jesper Bratt will not be traded and has received a qualifying offer from the team. The 23-year-old winger is coming off a career-best 73-point performance and is slated to become a restricted free agent next Wednesday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for the recent speculation claiming the Devils could shop Bratt if they couldn’t work out a suitable new contract.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: Speaking of the Devils, they hired Kate Madigan as their new assistant GM, becoming the first woman in franchise history to hold that role.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets signed defenseman Adam Boqvist to a three-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $2.6 million.
NHL.COM: Former NHL defenseman Bryan Marchment died suddenly on Wednesday in Montreal. Marchment, 53, was attending the upcoming draft in his role as a scout with the San Jose Sharks.
A physical blueliner during his playing career, Marchment spent 17 seasons in the NHL with the Winnipeg Jets, Chicago Blackhawks, Hartford Whalers, Edmonton Oilers, Tampa Bay Lightning, San Jose Sharks, Colorado Avalanche, Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames from 1988-89 to 2005-06. In 926 regular-season games, he had 182 points and amassed 2,307 PIMs. His son, Mason Marchment, plays for the Florida Panthers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Marchment’s family, friends, former teammates and the Sharks organization.