NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 27, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 27, 2022

Leon Draisaitl talks about how his ankle injury affected his postseason play, Joe Thornton won’t be returning with the Panthers, Mike Babcock intends to retire from coaching and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE SCORE: Kayla Douglas cited Leon Draisaitl telling Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman how his high ankle sprain during the playoffs forced him to change his style of play. The Edmonton Oilers center suffered the injury in Game 6 of his club’s first-round series against the Los Angeles Kings.

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (NHL Images).

Draisaitl usually relies on speed to beat his opponents. He explained that the injury forced him to slow down his game and evolve as a player. “I tried to find a way to be productive in a different way,” said Draisaitl. “I thought I did a pretty good job of that.”

For the remainder of the Oilers’ playoff run, Draisaitl scored twice and collected 22 assists in 10 games while playing a more stationary style.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was apparent Draisaitl was hampered by his injury yet his output was impressive. It’s bad news for opponents that he used the experience to evolve his style of play. This lesson could also help him remain productive when age inevitably slows his skating.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: On Wednesday, Joe Thornton’s wife posted to her private Instagram account that the family will be moving on from South Florida. He signed a one-year contract last summer with the Panthers but appeared in just 34 regular-season games and one playoff contest. It’s uncertain what the future holds for the 43-year-old free-agent forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After 24 seasons, Thornton’s NHL career has likely come to an end. His performance has been declining since his season-ending knee injury in 2017-18.

650 CKOM: Mike Babcock said he intends to retire from coaching after stepping down earlier this week as head coach of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. While he seemed to leave the door open for a possible return to the NHL coach ranks, the 59-year-old indicated retirement was best for himself and his family.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Babcock had a long and successful career in the NHL. He sits 10th all-time in wins (700) between 2002-03 and 2019-20 with the Anaheim Ducks, Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs, winning the Stanley Cup with the Wings in 2008. Babcock faced allegations of bullying players following his dismissal by the Leafs but he has denied those claims.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The Red Wings signed Filip Zadina to a three-year contract with an average annual value of $1.825 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chosen sixth overall in the 2018 NHL Draft, Zadina has struggled to play up to expectations as a top-six winger. The Wings appear intent on staying patient with the 22-year-old right winger. His affordable new contract could also make him easier to trade if the two sides feel he might benefit from a change of scenery.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning signed Philippe Myers to a one-year, $1.4 million contract extension. The 25-year-old defenseman was acquired from the Nashville Predators as part of the return in the Ryan McDonagh trade earlier this summer. Myers is entering the final season of his current contract with a $2.55 million cap hit.

DAILY FACEOFF: Vegas Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon said the club will go with the goalie tandem of Logan Thompson and Laurent Brossoit to start the upcoming season. There was speculation over how they would address the absence of Robin Lehner, who is undergoing double hip surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McCrimmon has no choice. There are no viable replacement options via free agency or the trade market for his cap-strapped club.

TSN: cited the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reporting Senators general manager Pierre Dorion saying he’s still talking with the agents for Erik Brannstrom and Alex Formenton. He anticipates the two restricted free agents to be signed before training camp opens next month.

In other Senators’ news, they recently reached an affiliation agreement with the ECHL’s Allen Americans. Speaking of NHL teams and ECHL affiliates…

CALGARY SUN: The Flames named the Rapid City Rush as their ECHL affiliate.

NHL.COM: The San Jose Sharks did the same with the Wichita Thunder as did the Arizona Coyotes with the Atlanta Gladiators.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 4, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 4, 2022

The Lightning traded Ryan McDonagh to the Predators, the Jets officially hire Rick Bowness, an update on David Perron and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning traded defenseman Ryan McDonagh on Sunday to the Nashville Predators in exchange for defenseman Philippe Myers and forward Grant Mismash.

Tampa Bay Lightning traded defenseman Ryan McDonagh to the Nashville Predators (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois indicated this was a cost-cutting move. The cap-strapped club clears most of McDonagh’s $6.75 million annual average value through 2025-26 from their payroll. However, BriseBois took pains to point out this was a result of a flattened salary cap. He obviously didn’t want to move McDonagh, who played a key role in the club’s recent championship successes.

Cap Friendly indicates the Bolts are over $933K above the $82.5 million cap, though they can get $6.875 million in cap relief with permanently sidelined defenseman Brent Seabrook on their long-term injury reserve list. It might not be the only move they make in order to find sufficient space to re-sign or replace pending unrestricted free agents such as Ondrej Palat, Jan Rutta and Riley Nash.

BriseBois also dismissed speculation he would buy out Myers, saying they’ve really liked the blueliner since his junior days. He carries a $2.55 million cap hit for 2022-23.

McDonagh put on a brave face on the trade, saying he believes the Predators have the pieces to win a Stanley Cup and accepting the move as a business decision. However, McDonagh’s agent said his client was crushed about being traded just days after the Stanley Cup Final.

The deal leaves the Predators with $18.1 million in cap space with 18 players under contract through 2022-23. A new contract for pending UFA Filip Forsberg could eat up over $8 million of it.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets yesterday officially announced their hiring of Rick Bowness as their new head coach. Terms and details of his contract weren’t revealed but TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported it was for two years at $2.5 million per season.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues management is hopeful of getting pending UFA winger David Perron under contract. The 34-year-old winger is coming off a four-year deal with an annual average value of $4 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The article goes on to indicate the problem isn’t finding room for Perron’s new contract within their 2022-23 payroll. It’s how it could affect their 2023-24 payroll when Vladimir Tarasenko, Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas will be due for new contracts.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Edmonton Oilers’ Ken Holland, Calgary Flames’ Brad Treliving and Winnipeg Jets’ Kevin Cheveldayoff are among the general managers under the most pressure this offseason.

Holland must sort out his goaltending and try to re-sign Evander Kane. Treliving must re-sign free agent forwards Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane. Meanwhile, Cheveldayoff must decide if he’ll trade Blake Wheeler or Mark Scheifele and determine what to do with Pierre-Luc Dubois after he signaled his intent to test the 2024 UFA market.

MLIVE.COM: Improving the Detroit Red Wings’ team defense and solving the special teams is among the challenges facing new head coach Derek Lalonde.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 15, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 15, 2022

A look at some potential contract buyout candidates in today’s NHL rumor mill.

KASSIAN, MURRAY TOP DAILY FACEOFF’S BUYOUT CANDIDATES LIST

DAILY FACEOFF: Edmonton Oilers winger Zack Kassian and Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray topped Frank Seravalli’s list of this offseason’s potential contract buyout candidates. The first contract buyout window is from July 1 – 12.

Kassian has two seasons remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $3.2 million. Murray also has two seasons remaining with a $6.25 million AAV.

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Seravalli that Kassian could be bought out as he could prove difficult to move this summer via trade. The Senators, however, are reportedly willing to carry three goaltenders (including Murray) into next season.

That’s understandable given Murray’s cap hit. While the Sens have the cap space to absorb the two-thirds’ buyout for four seasons, that’s a long time to carry dead cap space, especially the $2.5 million per season over the final two years.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, St. Louis Blues rearguard Marco Scandella and Vancouver Canucks winger Jason Dickinson fill spots three, four and five on Seravalli’s list. Vlasic has four more years at $7 million AAV left on his contract, Scandella has two more seasons at $3.275 million annually, and Dickinson has two more with an AAV of $2.65 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vlasic’s buyout will sit on the Sharks’ books for eight years, with years three and four biting deeply into their cap space. Nevertheless, The Athletic’s Corey Masisak said in a recent mailbag segment that he considered a Vlasic buyout more likely than trading a blueliner like Brent Burns or Erik Karlsson. As Seravalli observed, carrying the full $7 million of the fading Vlasic’s contract for four more years would be worse than the buyout cost.

I see Scandella and Dickinson as buyout candidates if their respective teams can’t find anyone to trade their contracts off their hands in the trade market.

Nashville Predators defenseman Philippe Myers, Chicago Blackhawks forward Tyler Johnson and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jason Zucker are six, seven and eight respectively on the list. Myers has a year remaining on his deal with an AAV of $2.55 million. Johnson has two more seasons at $5 million annually remaining while Zucker has a year left at $5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Myers appears a likely buyout candidate. As Seravalli points out, the blueliner is 25 so his buyout is one-third the remaining value instead of two-thirds. Because his contract is also backloaded, the Predators would get a cap credit of over $616K for this season and be charged only $633K the following season. Seravalli suggests that could make Myers’s contract enticing in the trade market for cap-strapped clubs.

I think the rebuilding Blackhawks can afford to carry Johnson’s contract for at least one more season. The Penguins could also ride out the remaining year of Zucker’s deal if they can fit new contracts for Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin into their current cap space. They could also retain up to half his cap hit in a trade or attempt to move him for another player with a comparable contract.

New York Rangers defenseman Patrik Nemeth and Boston Bruins winger Nick Foligno round out the top 10. Nemeth has two more years left with an AAV of $2.5 million while Foligno has one season remaining at $3.8 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers could attempt to trade Nemeth but the way his contract is structured could make a buyout likely. The cap hit is $1 million for each season except for the second year, where they won’t be charged anything. As for Foligno, Boston Hockey Now’s Joe Haggerty reports the Bruins aren’t leaning that way.