Assessing Five Recent Notable NHL Player Moves
Mike Hoffman joining the Blues and two significant trades by the Senators highlights this roundup of the notable Christmas holiday weekend news in the NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford reports the St. Louis Blues signed free agent Mike Hoffman to a professional tryout offer. Hoffman can negotiate with other clubs while training with the Blues. However, Rutherford believes the two sides have in place a one-year deal worth between $3.5 million and $4.5 million, and they’re waiting to officially announce it because of salary-cap implications.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubted the Blues would sign Hoffman unless he was willing to reduce his rumored asking price of between $5.5 million and $6.5 million. He’s apparently done so to join a Stanley Cup contender.
Hoffman will provide some much-needed short-term offense with sniper Vladimir Tarasenko sidelined by offseason shoulder surgery. A solid performance could improve Hoffman’s chances of a more lucrative deal in next year’s UFA market.
Cap Friendly shows the Blues with $1.175 million in cap space with Vince Dunn to be signed. They will get cap relief by placing Alexander Steen and his $5.75 million annual average value on long-term injury reserve at the start of the season.
Rutherford points out having Hoffman on a PTO gives Blues general manager Doug Armstrong time to determine how much it’ll cost to re-sign Dunn. It could also allow time to make a cost-cutting trade, though they could also get some wiggle room if necessary by placing Tarasenko ($7.5 million AAV) on LTIR.
ARIZONA SPORTS/OTTAWA SUN: The Senators were busy in the trade market on Sunday. Their first move saw them ship a 2021 second-round draft pick (originally owned by the Columbus Blue Jackets) to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for center Derek Stepan.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A good move by both clubs. The Coyotes wanted to shed some salary and the rebuilding Senators sought some short-term experience and leadership at center.
PuckPedia pointed out this deal gives the Coyotes a projected $3.7 million in salary-cap space without having to place Marian Hossa on long-term injury reserve (LTIR). They can accrue cap space to put toward this season’s trade deadline and their performance bonuses earned won’t automatically carry over into next season. That extra second-rounder will offset their lack of a third-round pick in the ’21 draft.
Some folks wondered why the Senators took on Stepan when (in their minds) they could’ve pursued better options. One reason is Stepan will get more playing time with the Sens than he was getting with the Coyotes. Another is he lacked no-trade protection. His actual salary is another factor. While his annual average is $6.5 million annual average value for this season (the last of his contract), his actual salary is just $2 million.
Critics feel the Senators gave up too much for Stepan by parting with a second-round pick. This, however, was a move they could afford to make. They still have two second-round picks in the ‘21 draft and could land another second-round pick if they decide to peddle Stepan at the trade deadline. Failing that, they could get a third-rounder. Some will scoff at that notion but one must never underestimate the willingness of general managers to overpay at the deadline.
OTTAWA SUN/TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Senators’ second deal saw them send the contracts of winger Marian Gaborik and goaltender Anders Nilsson to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for defenseman Braydon Coburn, forward Cedric Paquette, and a second-round pick in 2022.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gaborik hasn’t played since 2017-18 while Nilsson is expected to miss this season with concussion symptoms. The Lightning will place their combined salaries ($7.5 million) on LTIR, allowing the club to become cap compliant when this season begins.
Like Stepan, Coburn and Paquette will provide the Senators with short-term experience and leadership. Both will be unrestricted free agents next summer, though there’s a chance the Sens could sign the 27-year-old Paquette to an extension if he plays well this season.
OTTAWA SUN: The Senators also signed top prospect Tim Stuetzle yesterday to a three-year entry-level contract. He was given his release by Adler Mannheim in the German league Sunday in order to sign with the Sens.
SPECTOR’ S NOTE: This signing isn’t surprising considering how well Stuetzle’s performed for the COVID-ravaged German squad thus far in the 2021 World Junior Championship. The 18-year-old winger is expected to finish the tournament with Germany and join the Senators’ training camp following a seven-day quarantine in Ottawa.
TSN: Ilya Kovalchuk has officially signed a two-year contract with KHL club Avangard Omsk.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That should bring Kovalchuk’s second tenure in the NHL to a permanent close. He’s no longer the scoring threat he once was, bouncing last season from the Los Angeles Kings to the Montreal Canadiens to the Washington Capitals.
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks signed free-agent center Carl Soderberg to a one-year contract worth $1 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move comes after Blackhawks promising young center Kirby Dach suffered a fractured wrist last week playing for Canada at the World Juniors.
THE SCORE: The Capitals signed free-agent goaltender Craig Anderson to a professional tryout contract. This signing comes less than two weeks after Henrik Lundqvist was sidelined for the season by a heart condition.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed free-agent defenseman Slater Koekkoek to a one-year contract worth $850K.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets signed free-agent defenseman Michael Del Zotto to a professional tryout contract. He’ll compete for either a roster spot or a place with the Jackets’ taxi squad.
TSN: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Casey Nelson has opted out of playing the 2020-21 NHL season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The deadline for player opt-outs was Dec. 27.
THE SCORE: Forward Mark Letestu announced his retirement yesterday after 11 NHL seasons. He tallied 93 goals and 210 points in 567 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Columbus Blue Jackets, Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Letestu in his future endeavors.
The latest on Sidney Crosby, Corey Perry, Aleksander Barkov, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Sidney Crosby had his No. 87 retired by the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Crosby spent two seasons with the Oceanic (2003-04, 2004-05) before being drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins. In 2005, he led them to the QMJHL President’s Cup championship.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The QMJHL has retired his No. 87 league-wide. I caught a few games with Crosby’s Oceanic whenever they came to Charlottetown and he was always the best player on the ice. It was obvious he was headed to NHL superstardom.
THE ATHLETIC: Florida Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville believes Aleksander Barkov and Brett Connolly should be fine after leaving Thursday’s preseason game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The pair were reevaluated on Friday. Meanwhile, Lightning center Cedric Paquette was fined $2,500.00 for high-sticking Panthers winger Frank Vatrano.
TSN: A broken foot could delay Corey Perry’s debut with the Dallas Stars. Perry signed a one-year contract with the Stars this summer after being bought out by the Anaheim Ducks. The injury sidelined him throughout training camp and could keep him out of their season-opener.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Victor Rask could be the odd man out among Minnesota Wild centers. Acquired from Carolina midway through last season, Rask managed just three points in 23 games with the Wild.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rask’s stats have tumbled since reaching 21 goals and 48 points in 2015-16. If he can’t cut it in Minnesota he could end up on the trade block again.
THE SCORE: The Calgary Flames signed free agent winger Tobias Rieder to a one-year, two-way contract worth $700K.
TSN: Ottawa Senators forward Rudolfs Balcers is sidelined indefinitely with a lower-body injury.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins forward Joakim Nordstrom’s foot injury could keep him out of the club’s season-opener.
THE DETROIT NEWS: Former Red Wings coach Nick Polano died Thursday of Alzheimer’s disease at age 78. He was the Wings’ bench boss from 1982 to 1985 and was Steve Yzerman’s first NHL coach. He went on to become an assistant GM with the Wings and held scouting jobs with the Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Palono’s family, friends and the Wings organization.
Forty players filed for salary arbitration, the latest free-agent signings, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHLPA: St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington and New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba were among the 40 players selected salary arbitration by the 5 pm ET deadline yesterday. Arbitrations hearings will be held in Toronto between July 20 to August 4.
Chase De Leo
Los Angeles Kings
New Jersey Devils
New York Rangers
St. Louis Blues
Tampa Bay Lightning
Vegas Golden Knights
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The dates for each hearing will be released before July 20. As soon as it is, I’ll post it up. Paquette yesterday re-signed with the Lightning to a two-year, $3.3-million contract.
TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins yesterday re-signed head coach Mike Sullivan to a four-year contract extension.
TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets re-signed defenseman Scott Harrington to a three-year, $4.9-million contract.
VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks re-signed winger Josh Leivo to a one-year, $1.5-million contract.
WGR 550: Forward Zemgus Girgensons signed his one-year, $1.6-million qualifying offer with the Buffalo Sabres. Speaking of the Sabres, 2019 first-round pick Dylan Cozens underwent surgery on his left thumb and will require two-three months to recover.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens signed UFA forward Nick Cousins to a one-year, $1-million contract.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks signed winger Andreas Martinsen to a one-year, two-way contract worth $750K at the NHL level.
SPORTSNET: Ontario sports minister Lisa MacLeod has apologized for harsh comments aimed at Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk at a recent Rolling Stones concert. MacLeod said she was giving Melnyk some “feedback”. According to Melnyk, she said, “I am your minister and you’re a f—ing piece of s–t and you’re a f—ing loser,”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: And that, ladies and gentlemen, was Friday’s most bizarre sports story. On the one hand, some Senators fans will probably applaud MacLeod for ripping into the cantankerous Melnyk. On the other hand, she’s among the most despised members of Premier Doug Ford’s cabinet.
Forty-four players elect arbitration, Shea Weber sidelined by knee injury, latest contract signings, the date for next season’s trade deadline and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHLPA: Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck and defenseman Jacob Trouba, Vegas Golden Knights center William Karlsson, Ottawa Senators forward Mark Stone and Minnesota Wild winger Jason Zucker and blueliner Matt Dumba were among the forty-four players who elected salary arbitration yesterday. The deadline for club-elected arbitration is 5 pm ET today. The arbitration period runs from July 20 to August 4 in Toronto. The complete list is below:
*Trevor van Riemsdyk
Player/Club settled on a contract 07/05/18
New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders
New York Rangers
San Jose Sharks
St. Louis Blues
Vegas Golden Knights
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind that players who file for arbitration usually end up re-signing with their respective clubs before their hearings. Case in point….
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Shortly after filing for salary arbitration, Trevor van Riemsdyk agreed to a two-year, $4.6-million contract with the Carolina Hurricanes.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens received bad news yesterday, as defenseman Shea Weber underwent surgery to repair a meniscal tear in his right knee. He’ll be sidelined five-to-six months.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: And with that, the Canadiens odds for reaching the 2019 playoffs just got longer. Weber is their top defenseman and missed half of last season to injuries, which contributed to the Habs missing the postseason for the second time in three years.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets yesterday re-signed forward Boone Jenner to a four-year, $15-million contract. They also signed unrestricted free agent winger Anthony Duclair to a one-year, $650k deal and named former NHL goaltender Manny Legace as their new goalie coach.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: The Red Wings re-signed winger Andreas Athanasiou to a two-year, $6-million deal.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Anaheim Ducks signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Andrej Sustr to a one-year contract worth $1.3 million.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning agreed to a one-year, $1-million contract with forward Cedric Paquette.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens re-signed forward Jacob de la Rose to a two-year, $1.8-million deal.
NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders hired Lane Lambert as their top assistant coach.
If you think there’s a deadline for Erik Karlsson to be traded, think February 25,2019. That’s next season’s trade deadline.
— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) July 5, 2018
Game recaps, latest Senators news, injury updates, waiver moves and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Daniel Sedin netted his 1,000th career NHL point with the game-tying goal as the Vancouver Canucks downed the Nashville Predators 5-3 to snap their four-game losing skid. Brock Boeser also scored twice for the Canucks, who learned earlier in the day that gritty forward Derek Dorsett was forced to retire due to a back injury.
Brendan Gallagher scored twice and set up another and Carey Price made 28 saves as the Montreal Canadiens extended their winning streak to four with a 6-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings, handing the latter their sixth straight defeat. The Canadiens were playing without sidelined center Jonathan Drouin and defenseman Shea Weber. Earlier in the day, the Habs made a minor trade, shipping forward Peter Holland to the New York Rangers for forward Adam Cracknell.
Marian Gaborik tallied his first two goals of the season and Jonathan Quick made 27 saves to give the Los Angeles Kings a 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals. Evgeny Kuznetsov netted both of the Capitals’ goals.
Eric Staal scored twice as the Minnesota Wild overcame a 2-1 deficit to double up the Vegas Golden Knights 4-2. Earlier in the day, the Wild claimed defenseman Nate Prosser off waivers from the St. Louis Blues after learning blueliner Jared Spurgeon will be out for two weeks with a groin strain. The Knights had activated defenseman Luca Sbisa off injured reserve but placed forwards David Perron and William Carrier on IR.
Mark Jankowski scored a pair of goals and Mike Smith had a 28-save shutout as the Calgary Flames blanked the Arizona Coyotes 3-0. It was Smith’s first game against his former club since being dealt to Calgary in the offseason.
Edmonton Oilers defenseman Kris Russell accidentally scored the winning goal into his own net as his club fell 6-4 to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Prior to his gaffe, Russell had a goal and an assist. The Leafs William Nylander scored and set up two others. The Oilers were playing without starting goalie Cam Talbot, who’s out at least two weeks with an upper-body injury.
Mattias Janmark scored twice, including in overtime, to lift the Dallas Stars to a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
OTTAWA SUN: Senators captain Erik Karlsson said he won’t accept a hometown discount on his next contract. Karlsson is eligible in 2019 for unrestricted free agency and intends to seek market value. He was responding to comments on Wednesday by Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty suggesting he could touch base with Karlsson for advice during his own contract talks. Like Karlsson, Doughty is eligible for UFA status in 2019.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson is one of the league’s very best defenseman, a two-time winner of the Norris Trophy as the league’s best blueliner. He could command over $11 million annually.
Speaking of the Senators, team president and CEO Tom Anselmi denied rumors claiming team owner Eugene Melnyk was planning to sell the club. “I have no idea where it’s coming from. There’s nothing to it and I just have no idea where it’s from,” Anselmi said Thursday.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Rangers center Mika Zibanejad has been diagnosed with a concussion and is sidelined indefinitely.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning forward Cedric Paquette received a one-game suspension for boarding Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres placed defenseman Matt Tennyson on waivers.