NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 5, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 5, 2023

The Capitals sign Tom Wilson to a contract extension, Penguins winger Jake Guentzel suffers an ankle injury, an update on Ducks center Trevor Zegras and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: The Capitals announced Friday they reached an agreement with Tom Wilson on a seven-year contract extension for Tom Wilson worth an average annual value of $6.5 million.

Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson (NHL Images).

Wilson, 29, is entering the final season of a five-year deal worth an AAV of $5.16 million. As per Cap Friendly, his new contract is comprised of a total of $23 million in signing bonuses and $22.5 million in base salaries. He also has a 15-team no-trade list through the first four seasons, dropping to a 10-team NTC in the final three years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wilson’s new contract has generated a mixed reaction among observers.

Some believe it will benefit the Capitals over the long term given Wilson’s rise from a fourth-line grinder to a versatile top-six power forward and team leader. Others believe this contract won’t age well given his age, his recent injury history and the projected decline of his performance over the term of the contract.

If Capitals winger T.J. Oshie’s response is anything to go by, Wilson’s teammates are not only thrilled about his new contract but also consider it well-deserved.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins winger Jake Guentzel underwent surgery on Wednesday to repair his injured right ankle. He will be re-evaluated in 12 weeks. There was no immediate word as to the severity of the injury and when it occurred.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could be a serious setback for the Penguins. Their best left winger, Guentzel could miss at least the start of their season. This news could affect whether management uses its current 48-hour contract buyout window to shed the contract of forward Mikael Granlund. It could also affect the Penguins’ reported interest in San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson.

NHL.COM: Anaheim Ducks forward Trevor Zegras is hopeful of getting a new contract signed soon. Linemate Troy Terry inked a seven-year, $49 million contract earlier this week. Zegras, 22, completed his entry-level contract last season, leading the Ducks with 65 points.

Hopefully, we get something done soon,” said Zegras. He acknowledged that this situation is up to his representatives to sort this out with Ducks management.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks have over $20 million in cap space for 2023-24 with Zegras and defenseman Jamie Drysdale left to sign. It’s not unusual for players coming off ELCs to have their negotiations drag out through the summer. There’s still plenty of time for both players to sign new deals before training camp opens next month.

Some assume Terry’s new contract could act as a cap for someone like Zegras. Terry, who turns 26 next month, is nearly four years older than his young linemate, who has considerably more upside. What will be interesting is whether Zegras gets a long-term contract worth $1-$2 million more per season than Terry or a shorter one for around the same cap hit in order to cash in on a much higher salary cap within the next three or four years.

CAP FRIENDLY: Speaking of Zegras and Drysdale, they’re among the 14 unsigned restricted free agents still remaining in the market. Other notables include New York Rangers winger Alexis Lafreniere, Edmonton Oilers defenseman Evan Bouchard and Ottawa Senators center Shane Pinto.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: According to a study conducted by US Betting Report, the Toronto Maple Leafs led the NHL last season in Fan Cost Index (FCI), that is the metric that calculates the total cost for a family of four to attend a sporting event. The Leafs topped the list at $697.75.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some fans will point at the Leafs’ high salary-cap payroll as the reason why their FCI is so high. However, it’s the market that determines the cost of attending a Leafs game, not the players’ salaries.

TSN: Former NHL defenseman and Winnipeg Jets coach Bob Murdoch passed away at age 76. He played 757 games over 12 seasons (1970-71 to 1981-82) with the Montreal Canadiens, Los Angeles Kings, and the Atlanta/Calgary Flames, netting 60 goals and 278 points as well as winning two Stanley Cups with the Canadiens in 1971 and 1973.

Murdoch was also head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks in 1987-88 and the original Winnipeg Jets from 1989 to 1991, winning the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year in 1989-90. He also spent six seasons coaching in Germany.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Murdoch’s family, friends, former teammates and players who played for him.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 24, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 24, 2022

A scoring milestone for Patrick Kane, the Canucks keep their playoff hopes alive, the fallout for the Golden Knights after the league invalidates the Dadonov trade, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Patrick Kane reached a career milestone with a goal and two assists as the Chicago Blackhawks doubled up the Anaheim Ducks 4-2. Kane reached the 20-goal plateau for the 14th time, tying Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby for second among active players for the most 20-goal seasons.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

Speaking of Crosby, he scored his 23rd goal of the season as his Penguins dropped a 4-3 decision to the Buffalo Sabres. Tage Thompson scored twice for the Sabres and netted the only goal in the shootout. The Penguins (88 points) picked up a point to move within two points of the first-place Carolina Hurricanes in the Metropolitan Division.

The Vancouver Canucks kept their playoff hopes alive by holding off the Colorado Avalanche 3-1. Jaroslav Halak made 32 saves and J.T. Miller scored what proved to be the winning goal. With 70 points, the Canucks are three points behind the Dallas Stars for the final Western Conference playoff berth. The Avalanche, meanwhile, remains atop the league’s overall standings with 95 points.

Shorthanded goals by Ilya Mikheyev and Pierre Engvall gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Mark Giordano saw over 18 minutes of ice time in his debut as a Maple Leaf following his acquisition from the Seattle Kraken on Sunday. Nico Hischier had a goal and an assist for the Devils. The Leafs (85 points) sit one point ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning for second place in the Atlantic Division.


NHL.COM: The NHL has invalidated the Vegas Golden Knights trade of forward Evgenii Dadonov to the Anaheim Ducks. In a statement, the league indicated the trade could not be concluded because the deal didn’t comply with the forward’s modified no-trade clause.

LAS VEGAS SUN: Danny Webster reports the Ducks were on Dadonov’s 10-team no-trade list, which was filed last June 30 while he was a member of the Ottawa Senators. He was acquired by the Golden Knights on July 28. The Golden Knights claimed it didn’t receive Dadonov’s no-trade list and they and the league believed it hadn’t been filed correctly or had expired. However, documentation subsequently revealed it was filed on time.

Moving Dadonov to the Ducks would’ve freed up $3.4 million in cap space, enabling the Golden Knights to activate Mark Stone or Alec Martinez off long-term injury reserve. It’s expected they will attempt to trade Dadonov to a non-playoff club. Teams can still make trades after the deadline but the player becomes ineligible to play for the remainder of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reports several NHL clubs would listen to offers by the Golden Knights but the price could be at least a first-round pick.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng reports there’s still no hearing date set for Evander Kane’s grievance against the Sharks for terminating his contract in January. There doesn’t seem to be much of a hurry on either side to get it done during this season.

Kane subsequently signed with the Edmonton Oilers and apparently enjoys playing with them. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent in July. The Sharks need clarity regarding their salary-cap payroll for next season but they don’t really need it until the offseason. A league source told Peng they will try to schedule the hearing before the NHL Draft in Montreal on July 7-8.

THE ATHLETIC: Bill Shea examined this season’s NHL Fan Cost Index by Team Marketing Report, which annually measures the fan costs for the major US sports leagues. The average cost for a family of four to attend an NHL game this season is $462.58, up from $439.91 in part because of the expansion Seattle Kraken joining the league.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have the highest FCI at $697.75 USD while the Arizona Coyotes have the lowest at $314.70 USD. The Kraken has the second-highest at $672.89 USD.

Shea considers the Florida Panthers as the best deal for NHL fans. The top team in the Eastern Conference standings has the second-lowest FCI at $319.74.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind that teams charge their fans what the market will bear. That’s why it’s so expensive to attend a Leafs game and so affordable to go to a Coyotes or Panthers game.