NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 6, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 6, 2021

Salary arbitration schedule set, the latest notable contract signings and an update on the salary cap in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHLPA.COM: The hearing dates have been set for players who selected salary arbitrations last week:

August 11
Adam Pelech (New York Islanders)
Michael McNiven (Montreal Canadiens)
Jakub Vrana (Detroit Red Wings)

August 12
Victor Mete (Ottawa Senators)*

August 13
Neal Pionk (Winnipeg Jets)

August 14
Vince Dunn (Seattle Kraken)
Zach Sanford (St. Louis Blues)*

August 16
Adin Hill (San Jose Sharks)*
Ross Colton (Tampa Bay Lightning)

August 17
Kevin Fiala (Minnesota Wild)

August 18
Juuse Saros (Nashville Predators)

August 20
Dante Fabbro (Nashville Predators)*
Jason Dickinson (Vancouver Canucks)

August 21
Adam Erne (Detroit Red Wings)
Dennis Gilbert (Colorado Avalanche)

August 23
Zach Aston-Reese (Pittsburgh Penguins)*

August 26
Andrew Copp (Winnipeg Jets)
Nikita Zadorov (Calgary Flames)
Travis Sanheim (Philadelphia Flyers)

*indicates player had settled.

New Jersey Devils sign Tomas Tatar (NHL Images).

  NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils signed Tomas Tatar to a two-year, $9 million contract. The 30-year-old winger spent the past three seasons with the Montreal Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bang goes my theory of the Devils acquiring St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko via trade. Tatar reached or exceeded 20 goals six times between 2014-15 and 2019-20 and 45-plus points five times. He’ll likely slot in alongside Nico Hischier or Jack Hughes on the Devils’ top-two lines. Tatar is the third significant UFA signing by the Devils this summer, joining Dougie Hamilton and Jonathan Bernier.

THE SCORE: Speaking of the Devils, they signed winger Yegor Sharangovich to a two-year, $4 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to Cap Friendly, these moves leave the Devils with $14.7 million in projected cap space with restricted free agent Janne Kuokkanen to sign. They still have plenty of room to make another significant addition if they so choose.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators avoided salary arbitration with Dante Fabbro, signing the 23-year-old defenseman to a two-year, $4.8 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators have over $17.6 million in projected cap space with Juuse Saros and Eeli Tolvanen to re-sign. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins avoided arbitration with Zach Aston-Reese, inking the 26-year-old winger to a one-year, $1.725 million deal.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports the NHL is projecting an increase in the salary cap by $1 million for 2022-23. It will be the first raise in the cap since COVID-19 affected the league’s business operations, delinking the salary cap from revenue and creating a $1 billion debt that players are still working to pay back to the owners.

Seravalli believes the anticipated increase in revenue when the NHL resumes a normal 82-game season in 2021-22 could trigger a “lag formula” agreed upon by the owners and players in the CBA extension. Starting in 2022-23, the cap will increase by $1 million each season until 2025-26, when the players’ debt is expected to be repaid should revenue rebound strongly over that period.

Should the debt be repaid by the end of 2025-26, Seravalli indicates the CBA would automatically extend by one season to 2026-27. The cap would revert back to the usual formula where it is tied to actual revenue projections.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The debt Seravalli refers to stems from the artificially set cap of $81.5 million for last season and this season. League revenue was far less than projected because of the pandemic. The cap would’ve been significantly lowered had it remained tied to revenue, forcing teams to shed salary. That would’ve been almost impossible because most teams would’ve lacked sufficient cap space to acquire those contracts. It also would’ve left a large number of free agents unsigned.

Instead, it was agreed the cap would be decoupled from revenue and artificially set at $81.5 million. That created an imbalance as the players were receiving most of the revenue. Because the CBA mandates a 50-50 split, the players have to pay back the excess via escrow to make the owners whole.

NHL’s coffers should receive a boost from its new broadcasting deals with ESPN and Turner plus the addition of the Seattle Kraken. Nevertheless, it remains largely a gate-driven league. The number of fans returning to the arenas post-pandemic will determine how much revenue increases. As Seravalli points out, short of a revenue bonanza, the cap will only slowly rise over the next five seasons.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 2, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 2, 2021

Marc-Andre Fleury will report to the Blackhawks, the Kraken’s contract with Philipp Grubauer rejected by the league, Evander Kane denies betting on NHL games, and 17 players file for salary arbitration. Get the details in today’s morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Marc-Andre Fleury confirmed Sunday he will report to the Blackhawks this season. “Hey, Chicago, it’s Marc,” he said via the club’s social media account. “Just wanted to let you know: I’m in. Let’s get to work.”

Marc-Andre Fleury will report to the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL Images).

The Blackhawks acquired Fleury from the Vegas Golden Knights last Tuesday. However, he took several days to discuss his situation with his family and consider his future. The 36-year-old goaltender has a year remaining on his contract with a $7 million salary cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury won the Vezina Trophy for the first time last season with the Golden Knights. He won’t have a solid defense in front of him in Chicago as he did in Las Vegas. Nevertheless, the Blackhawks could have a shot at a playoff spot in the Central Division this season if Fleury maintains his Vezina form.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Kraken have rectified an accounting error that resulted in the league rejecting the club’s first attempt to finalize its contract with goaltender Philipp Grubauer. The front-loaded contract violated the CBA’s 25 percent cap above the amount in the initial contract year.

Grubauer’s annual average value is $5.9 million for six seasons. He will earn $5 million in actual salary this season. It was originally slated to rise to $6 million in 2022-23 and $7.5 million in 2023-24, an increase of 30 percent. The deal has been restructured by shifting $250K from the third year to the second year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: When this was first reported some fans on social media wondered if the contract would be voided. Doesn’t work that way. The team gets the opportunity to fix the accounting error. In this case, it was an easily addressed minor detail.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane denied allegations made by his estranged wife claiming he bet on NHL games. “I have NEVER gambled/bet on hockey, NEVER gambled/bet on Sharks games, NEVER gambled/bet on any of my games and NEVER thrown a hockey game,” he said in a statement released yesterday.

The NHL announced it would investigate Kane based on the allegation made on an unverified Instagram account attributed to Angela Kane. She responded to Kane’s statement via that account yesterday, accusing him of abandoning her and their daughter to party and gamble in Europe. She also claimed he had a gambling addiction and claimed he was trying to use the media to control the narrative.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s personal life has been under growing media scrutiny since applying for bankruptcy in January. He was also the topic of trade speculation following a recent report claiming several of his teammates expressed frustration about him to management during their season-ending exit interviews. The Sharks released a statement on Saturday saying they supported the league’s intent to investigate the gambling allegations.

NHLPA: Seventeen NHL players applied for salary arbitration yesterday:

Zach Aston-Reese (Pittsburgh Penguins)
Ross Colton 
(Tampa Bay Lightning)
Andrew Copp 
(Winnipeg Jets)
Jason Dickinson 
(Vancouver Canucks)
Vince Dunn 
(Seattle Kraken)
Adam Erne 
(Detroit Red Wings)
Dante Fabbro 
(Nashville Predators)
Dennis Gilbert 
(Colorado Avalanche)
Adin Hill 
(San Jose Sharks)
Michael McNiven 
(Montreal Canadiens)
Victor Mete 
(Ottawa Senators)
Adam Pelech 
(New York Islanders)
Neal Pionk 
(Winnipeg Jets)
Zach Sanford 
(St. Louis Blues)
Juuse Saros 
(Nashville Predators)
Jakub Vrana 
(Detroit Red Wings)
Nikita Zadorov 
(Calgary Flames)

The deadline for club-elected arbitration is 5 pm ET on Monday, Aug. 2. The arbitration period is from Aug. 11 to Aug. 26.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Several notable names on this list include Dunn, Pelech, Pionk, Saros and Vrana. If history is anything to go by we can expect most, perhaps all of these players to reach agreements with their teams on new contracts before their scheduled arbitration hearings.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 2, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 2, 2020

The Hurricanes avoid arbitration with Warren Foegele, the Oilers sign Dominik Kahun, plus the updated arbitration list, the latest on Travis Green and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes avoided arbitration with winger Warren Foegele, reaching an agreement on a one-year, $2.15 million contract.

Caroline Hurricanes forward Warren Foegele (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A reasonable short-term deal for Foegele, who tallied 13 goals and 30 points in 68 games last season. He’ll be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer. Cap Friendly indicates the Hurricanes have over $80.5 million invested in 22 players for 2020-21.

NHLPA.COM: Five players have arbitration hearings slated for this month. New York Rangers center Ryan Strome’s hearing is on Nov. 5, Rangers winger Brendan Lemieux and New York Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock are on Nov. 6, Ottawa Senators defenseman Christian Jaros is set for Nov. 7, and Florida Panthers blueliner MacKenzie Weegar is on Nov. 8.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers have come to terms with free-agent winger Dominik Kahun. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported it’s a one-year deal worth $975K and will be officially announced today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kahun spent the last two seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres, netting a respectable 68 points in 138 games. The 25-year-old winger is a boyhood friend and former childhood teammate of Oilers star Leon Draisaitl. They were frequent linemates for Germany in several international tournaments, including the World Championships. It remains to be seen if they’ll get skating together with the Oilers.

THE PROVINCE: The effects of COVID-19 upon NHL revenue are affecting the Vancouver Canucks efforts to sign head coach Travis Green to a contract extension. Green has a year remaining on his current contract. “We’ll continue to work at it, but everybody is really in a holding pattern and we’re not the only team,” said GM Jim Benning.

EISHOCKEY NEWS: Korbinian Holzer has signed with KHL team Automobilist Yekaterinburg. He hasn’t ruled out returning to the NHL but would seek a role where he’d get plenty of ice time.

The 32-year-old defenseman said there are interested parties but everyone is being cautious.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holzer spent eight seasons since 2010-11 in the NHL, most of those with the Anaheim Ducks. He has 27 points in 206 NHL contests.

THE ATHLETIC: Seattle Kraken GM Ron Francis believes a flat salary cap for 2021-22 could be beneficial for his club as they build their roster. He noted some cap-strapped teams used contract buyouts and trades to alleviate their situations during the current offseason. Francis also indicated his club will remain patient in naming their first head coach.

NHL.COM: The National Hockey League yesterday honored Val James, who became the first American-born black player to play in the NHL on Nov. 1, 1981. James, now 63, played 10 regular-season and playoff games with the Buffalo Sabres in 1981-82 and four games with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1986-87. He also scored the goal that gave the Rochester Americans the 1983 Calder Cup. James credited the late coach John Brophy and former NHL coach Mike Keenan for believing in him and helping him during his playing career.










Five NHL Salary Arbitration Hearings Worth Watching

Five NHL Salary Arbitration Hearings Worth Watching

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 10, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 10, 2019

The salary arbitration hearing dates are released, the Sabres trade Alexander Nylander to the Blackhawks, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHLPA: The 2019 salary-arbitration schedule was released yesterday. 

St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington’s salary-arbitration hearing is set for July 20 (Photo via NHL Images).

July 20

Joel Armia

Jordan Binnington

Jason Dickinson

Alex Iafallo

Brock McGinn

Malcolm Subban *

July 21

Andrew Copp

July 22

Zach Aston-Reese

Christian Djoos

Ville Husso

MacKenzie Weegar

July 23

Evan Rodrigues 

July 24

Neal Pionk

Oskar Sundqvist

July 25

Connor Carrick

Jacob Trouba

July 26

Colton Sissons 

July 27

Sam Bennett

Chase DeLeo

July 28

Mirco Mueller

July 29

Pavel Buchnevich

David Rittich

July 30

Scott Laughton 

July 31

J.T. Compher

August 1

Remi Elie

Ryan Lomberg

Chandler Stephenson

August 2

Will Butcher

Charles Hudon

Linus Ullmark

August 3

Danton Heinen

Artturi Lehkonen 

August 4

Sheldon Dries

Joel Edmundson

Anton Forsberg

Rocco Grimaldi

Jake McCabe

Rinat Valiev 

NOTE: * indicates a settlement

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Scratch Boston Bruins winger Danton Heinen and Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Malcolm Subban from this list. Heinen signed a two-year deal with the Bruins worth an annual average value of $2.8 million. The Golden Knights signed Subban to a one-year, $850K contract. 

WGR 550/CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Buffalo Sabres yesterday traded forward Alexander Nylander to the Chicago Blackhawks for defenseman Henri Jokiharju.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nylander, the eighth overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, had a disappointing tenure with the Sabres, netting just six points in 19 games. Perhaps a fresh start with the Blackhawks can get his once-promising career on track.

Jokiharju, selected 29th overall in the 2017 draft, had a promising start with the Blackhawks but was returned to the minors midway through last season. His addition to an increasingly crowded Sabres blueline will stoke speculation that they’re planning to move another defenseman for a forward. 

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche signed head coach Jared Bednar to a two-year contract extension. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise here. Bednar’s done a fine job helping turn the Avalanche from a bottom-feeder into a rising power in the Western Conference.

SPORTSDAY: The Dallas Stars re-signed defensemen Gavin Bayreuther and Dillon Heatherington to one-year, two-way contracts.

SPORTSNET: Former Edmonton Oilers forward Ty Rattie has signed a one-year contract with KHL team Lokomotiv. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The NHL could shorten the free-agent interview period and move the start date for free agency up from July 1. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will require approval by the league and the NHL Players Association. The two sides are believed engaged in discussions regarding a new collective bargaining agreement. Perhaps shortening the interview period and tying the free-agency start date to the draft, as suggested in the article, will be part of the next CBA. 

THE TENNESSEAN: Former Nashville Predators captain Greg Johnson died Monday in his Michigan home. He was 48. An original member of the Predators, he played seven seasons in Nashville and was their captain from 2002-03 to 2005-06. Johnson also played with the Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Chicago Blackhawks, amassing 145 goals and 369 points in 785 career regular-season games. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Johnson’s family, friends, and former teammates. No cause of death was given. Johnson’s career ended in 2006 after an irregular heartbeat was detected during a physical examination. 










Potential NHL Salary-Arbitration Candidates

Potential NHL Salary-Arbitration Candidates