NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 24, 2023
Patrick Marleau returns to the Sharks in a coaching and front-office role, Kyle Dubas outlines his offseason plans for the Penguins, the Devils re-sign Erik Haula and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Patrick Marleau is returning to the Sharks as a player development coach and hockey operations advisor. The club’s all-time leader in games played, goals and points as well as their first jersey retiree, Marleau played 21 of his 23 NHL seasons with the Sharks, announcing his retirement as a player in May 2022.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report indicates that Marleau, who’s lived in Florida since his retirement, will be based in San Jose. He will help develop the on-ice skills of Sharks players and those of the Barracudas, their AHL affiliate.
Dubas said he’s not going to get into signing expensive free-agent forwards this summer. However, he hopes to weaponize his $20 million in cap space by targeting cap-strapped teams looking to shed salary to be cap compliant for next season. He could be interested in players currently on short-term contracts with those clubs.
Don’t expect any contract buyouts for aging veterans such as Mikael Granlund. Dubas is also hoping for some of his younger players, such as Pierre-Olivier Joseph, to take on more prominent roles next season.
Dubas indicated that he’s reluctant to part with his 2023 first-round pick (14th overall) unless the return includes an impactful young player. He hopes to remake the Penguins’ bottom-six forwards. He must find a suitable replacement for goaltender Tristan Jarry if the latter departs via free agency on July 1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubas is not engaging in a roster rebuild. The plan is to retool around aging core players like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Dubas signs one or two affordable free-agent forwards to address that need to bolster his checking lines. As for cap-strapped clubs that he might target in the trade market, the Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles and Tampa Bay Lightning are possible candidates.
NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: The Devils signed Erik Haula on Friday to a three-year, $9.4 million contract extension. He’ll have full no-trade protection in the first two seasons followed by a six-team no-trade in the final season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Haula’s new contract is worth an average annual value of $3.15 million. The 32-year-old forward was a good fit this season with the Devils, tallying 41 points in 80 games.
SPORTSNET: NHL Players Association executive director Marty Walsh said the overwhelming majority of NHL players support the LGBTQ-plus community. Walsh’s comments followed the NHL’s announcement on Thursday curtailing the wearing of special tribute jerseys during warmups after a handful of players opted out of doing so during this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly was among the first players to express his ongoing support for the LGBTQ-plus community.
“With issues like that, and with movements like that, I’ll support them, no matter what, whether we wear jerseys or not,” said Rielly. “That support is not going away.”
THE PROVINCE: Gino Odjick likely suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in his latter years. The popular Vancouver Canucks enforcer passed away in January at age 52. In the weeks before Odjick’s death, doctors performed a series of tests that suggest it was highly likely he suffered from CTE.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The only definitive way to determine if someone has CTE is a physical examination of their brain after death.
WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Monumental Sports & Entertainment (MSE) has spoken with Virginia officials about moving the Capitals and the NBA’s Wizards to Arlington’s Crystal City neighborhood. The discussions were said to be “preliminary and exploratory”.
Both teams have been in the Capital One Arena, located in Washington’s Chinatown neighborhood, since 1997. It is owned by Monumental Sports & Entertainment.