NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 9, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 9, 2022

The Bruins sign Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Pavel Zacha, the Rangers will reportedly name Jacob Trouba as their new captain, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins were very busy on Monday as they announced centers Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci will be returning for 2022-23.

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron (NHL Images).

Bergeron, 37, signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract along with $2.5 million in performance bonuses. The 36-year-old Krejci inked a one-year, $1 million deal with $2 million in performance bonuses.

The Bruins also avoided arbitration with Pavel Zacha, signing the 25-year-old forward to a one-year, $3.5 million contract.

All three will be eligible for unrestricted free agent status next July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A tidy bit of work there by the Bruins. It was widely assumed that Bergeron and Krejci would be returning for the coming season. Zacha’s arbitration hearing was scheduled for Aug. 11.

Bergeron told reporters there was no chance he was going to play for another NHL team, dousing rumors suggesting his former agent Kent Hughes might attempt to sign him now that he was the general manager of the Montreal Canadiens. He indicated Hughes did not approach him, adding the Habs GM knew the Bruins were the only team he wanted to play for.

Puck Pedia indicates the trio’s base salaries push the Bruins above the $82.5 million salary cap by $2.2 million. They can garner cap relief by demoting players to the minors and/or placing sidelined players like Charlie McAvoy and/or Matt Grzelcyk on long-term injury reserve to start the season.

If Bergeron and Krejci achieve their performance bonuses they could carry over against the Bruins’ 2023-24 salary cap if the club remains over the cap at the end of the coming season.

Zacha’s signing opens up a second buyout window but they’ll have 48 hours from the final day of the arbitration period (Aug. 11) to do so. Puck Pedia indicates only players who were on the roster at the last trade deadline carrying an annual cap hit of at least $4 million can be bought out.

RDS.CA: cites ESPN’s Kevin Weekes’ report on Twitter claiming the New York Rangers will name Jacob Trouba as their new captain today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trouba would become the first Rangers captain since Ryan McDonagh in 2018. I felt alternate captain Chris Kreider was the favorite for the role in part because he’s the longest-serving active Ranger.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes reached an agreement on a new contract with forward Lawson Crouse ahead of his scheduled arbitration hearing scheduled for Monday. It’s a five-year, $21.5 million contract with an annual average value of $4.3 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crouse, 25, is coming off a career-best performance last season of 20 goals and 34 points in 65 games. After shedding contracts last summer, Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong has been signing current young veterans this year that he believes will be key players in the club’s future.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The Golden Knights signed forward Nicolas Roy to a five-year, $15 million contract. The average annual value is $3 million.

DAILY FACEOFF: A case that claimed Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a former Boston Ballet dancer has been withdrawn because it was confirmed she was not a minor at the time of the alleged relationship. Katz denied the claim, as did Sage Humphries, the dancer with whom he was allegedly involved.

NHL.COM: The Seattle Kraken named Dave Lowry as an assistant coach. Lowry was the Winnipeg Jets’ interim coach last season. He spent six seasons as an assistant coach with the Jets, Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 29, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 29, 2022

Are the Penguins in danger of losing Malkin and Letang to free agency? What’s the latest on the Lightning? Could a couple of Golden Knights become offer sheet targets?

ARE MALKIN AND LETANG EDGING CLOSER TO FREE AGENCY?

THE SCORE: Josh Wegman cites The Athletic’s Josh Yohe reporting sources claiming the Pittsburgh Penguins haven’t had regular contract talks with Evgeni Malkin since mid-May. A number of agents and several people within the Penguins organization believe the 35-year-old center won’t be returning. He’s due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images).

Yohe also reported the Penguins offered Kris Letang a three-year deal. However, the 35-year-old defenseman wants a five-year contract worth over $8 million annually. Like Malkin, he’s due to become a UFA on July 13.

Malkin was reportedly willing to accept a pay cut from his current $9.5 million annual average value. Letang, meanwhile, seeks a raise over his current $7.25 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A recent report indicated management intends to turn its focus toward Malkin once they’ve sorted out Letang’s situation. That could explain the lack of discussions.

Letang could be pricing himself out of Pittsburgh. What he’s asking for is two years too long for the annual salary he’s seeking. Perhaps the Penguins would agree to $8 million annually for three years. If that’s not acceptable to Letang he could test the market but I don’t see many teams lining up to meet his asking price.

Re-signing both players will bite deeply into the Penguins’ $23.2 million in salary-cap space for 2022-23. Yohe indicated a defenseman such as Marcus Pettersson, John Marino or Brian Dumoulin could become a cost-cutting candidate. One assumes they’d move one of them after signing Malkin and Letang. No sense doing so if one or both end up departing via free agency.

LATEST ON THE LIGHTNING

THE ATHLETIC: Joe Smith reports Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois indicated during his post-Stanley Cup Final press conference that he’s hopeful of re-signing Ondrej Palat, Nick Paul and Jan Rutta. The trio is slated to become UFAs on July 13.

The Lightning, however, once again has limited salary-cap space. To retain at least Palat and Paul would mean shopping a salaried player to free up sufficient dollars.

Smith believes they have several players with value in the trade market. One of them is Alex Killorn, who has a year remaining on his contract with an annual cap hit of $4.45 million and a 16-team no-trade clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The one advantage the Lightning have, apart from their championship pedigree, is the lack of a state tax in Florida. That makes it possible for them to sign players for less than market value because their dollars will go further in that state.

Paul was traded by the Senators because he reportedly spurned a four-year, $10 million contract offer. He could seek something between $3.5 and $4 million annually. Palat was earning $5.3 million annually on his current contract. He could get as much if not more on the open market, but maybe the 31-year-old winger will accept a little less to stay put.

Killorn was a frequent subject of trade speculation whenever the issue of the Lightning needing to free up cap room comes up. This time, however, it could become a reality. The 32-year-old winger only managed four points in the postseason but enjoyed a career-high 25 goals and 59 points in the regular season.

COULD TWO GOLDEN KNIGHTS BECOME OFFER SHEET TARGETS?

THE ATHLETIC: Jesse Granger speculated over whether Nicolas Roy or Nicolas Hague will be targeted for offer sheets by rival clubs. Both players are restricted free agents with the Vegas Golden Knights.

Roy is coming off a career-best 15 goals and 39 points in 2021-22. The 25-year-old forward was on a two-year deal earning $750k annually. Hague, 23, had 14 points in 52 games. The defenseman is coming off his entry-level contract and lacks arbitration rights.

The Golden Knights lack salary-cap space at this time to sign both players after shipping out Evgenii Dadonov to Montreal earlier this month. Another cost-cutting move could be on the horizon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hockey News’ Ryan Kennedy recently reported at least two Eastern Conference clubs had “serious interest” in Hague. That could force the Golden Knights to make that cost-cutting move before he becomes eligible to receive an offer sheet on July 13.