NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 2, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 2, 2019

Some of the fallout from a busy opening day of the 2019 NHL free-agent market in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Artemi Panarin signing a seven-year deal with the New York Rangers and Sergei Bobrovsky inking a seven-year contract with the Florida Panthers were just some of the notable moves that took place yesterday during the opening hours of the NHL free-agent period. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Follow this link for yesterday’s noteworthy unrestricted free agent signings. TSN has a complete list of the day’s UFA and restricted free agent signings. 

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell said he was taken by surprise by center Sebastian Aho signing an offer sheet with the Montreal Canadiens. During a press conference yesterday, he said he hadn’t had an opportunity yet to discuss the signing with team owner Tom Dundon. The terms of the deal would pay Aho over $21 million in signing bonuses in the first 12 months. 

Will the Carolina Hurricanes match Sebastian Aho’s offer sheet from the Montreal Canadiens (Photo via NHL Images).

The Hurricanes have seven days from the date of Aho’s signing to match the deal. Waddell said the club would make an announcement soon. He appeared unconcerned over the move, saying the signing means he won’t have to spend the entire summer negotiating with the Aho camp. 

THE ATHLETIC: Aho’s agent, Gerry Johannson, believes it won’t be easy for the Hurricanes to match the Canadiens’ front-loaded offer. He also believes his client wants to play in Montreal.  

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan wonders what “Plan B” will be for the Canadiens if the Hurricanes match the Aho offer sheet. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While most observers approved of the audacity of the Canadiens’ front-loaded offer, they expect the Hurricanes will match it. Waddell and Dundon could let the Habs twist in the wind until the last minute before matching. Because the Canadiens will be waiting for the Hurricanes’ decision, they’ll be reluctant to invest much more in other potential moves. That’ll hamper their efforts to make other roster moves as the free-agent market becomes depleted. 

THE SCORE: Goaltender Robin Lehner claims his departure from the New York Islanders had nothing to do with him. After signing a one-year, $5-million contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, Lehner denied rumors claiming he walked away from any contract offers from the Isles. “I took a couple of days to think about it, and when I came back and wanted to make something work, they already went for another goalie.”

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Lehner’s signing raises questions over the future of Blackhawks starter Corey Crawford. The 34-year-old Crawford was hampered by injuries over the past two seasons. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crawford is now in the final season of his contract. He could become an unrestricted free agent next summer if Lehner outplays him. 

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: In restricted free agent news, the San Jose Sharks re-signed winger Timo Meier to a four-year, $24-million contract. The annual average value is $6 million.

CBS SPORTS: The Columbus Blue Jackets re-signed defenseman Ryan Murray to a two-year. $9.2 million contract and goaltender Joonas Korpisalo to a one-year deal

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins re-signed defenseman Connor Clifton to a three-year, $3-million deal.