NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 22, 2018
Islanders hire Trotz as head coach, NHL releases schedule and salary-cap limits for 2018-19. Details and more in your morning coffee headlines.
NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders yesterday named former Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz as their new bench boss. Trotz recently stepped down as the Capitals head coach just over a week after guiding them to their first Stanley Cup title.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Terrific hire by the Islanders, as new president of hockey operations/general manager Lou Lamoriello continues to overhaul the staff. Trotz’s hiring should significantly improve the Islanders, as well as serving as yet another incentive for pending free agent star John Tavares to re-sign.
WASHINGTON POST: Speaking of the Capitals, they’ll be interviewing associate coach Todd Reirden as Trotz’s replacement.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: They could interview other potential candidates but Reirden appears the front-runner for this job. He’s been on the staff for four years and has a good relationship with the players.
NHL.COM: Start marking your calendars, NHL fans. The league released its full schedule for 2018-19.
The league also revealed next season’s salary-cap limits. The upper limit is set at $79.5 million, up $4.5 million from $75 million. The lower limit is $58.8 million. The league also announced the final escrow taken from players’ salaries is eight percent, down from 11.5 percent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHLPA likely voted to keep maintain the salary-cap inflator at the same rate (1.35 percent) as last season to ensure a lower rate of escrow claw backs next season. That would explain why the cap ceiling didn’t reach $80 million or more. Still, the new rate is the largest in four years and will provide cap-strapped teams with much-need wiggle room for signings or additions via trades.
WGR 550: cites TSN’s Bob McKenzie reporting the Buffalo Sabres are not expected to tender a qualifying offer to restricted free agent goaltender Robin Lehner. The due date for qualifying offers is June 25, making Lehner an unrestricted free agent after that date.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a surprising development, indicating the Sabres will be in the market for someone to share the goaltending duties with promising Linus Ullmark. Lehner posted decent numbers in three seasons playing for lousy Sabres’ rosters, but he has an injury history and his performance tends to be streaky. There are several other NHL clubs in need of goaltending help (including the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders) who could pursue Lehner via free agency on July 1.
TSN: The Edmonton Oilers yesterday placed defenseman Eric Gryba on waivers for the purpose of buying out his contract. He had a year remaining on his deal worth $900K.