NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 28, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 28, 2020

The latest on Colton Parayko, Dylan Strome, Erik Gudbranson, and Jaromir Jagr plus speculation on when the 2020-21 season might begin in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo believes Colton Parayko is ready to still up and fill his spot on the St. Louis Blues. Pietrangelo, who signed a seven-year deal with the Golden Knights last month, believes his former teammate has what it takes to become the leader of the Blues’ defense corps. The Blues haven’t indicated yet what Parayko’s role will be but the 27-year-old blueliner said he’s looking forward to the challenge.

St. Louis Blues defenseman Colton Parayko (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Parayko will have some big skates to fill. How well he adjusts to replacing Pietrangelo on the Blues’ top defense pairing will determine how the Blues perform in their own zone next season.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope reports the Blackhawks still plan to re-sign restricted free agent center Dylan Strome. One reason for the holdup could be due to Strome’s now-former agent, Mark Guy, left the hockey industry this week.

OTTAWA SUN: Ottawa native Erik Gudbranson is happy to be playing in his hometown after being recently acquired by the Senators. He and his wife are expecting their first child in March and are pleased to be close to family. Gudbranson is also looking forward to playing for what he considers a “really good, up-and-coming hockey team” in Ottawa.

NEW YORK POST: Former NHL great and future Hall-of-Famer Jaromir Jagr doesn’t want the pandemic to get in the way of his hockey planers. The 48-year-old winger hopes to continue playing for one more season in the Czech Republic with Kladno, the club which he is also the majority owner.

SPORTSNET (via KUKLA’S KORNER): Elliotte Friedman and Chris Johnston yesterday shared their thoughts on when they felt the 2020-21 NHL season might begin.

Return-to-play talks between the NHL and NHLPA cooled recently over the league’s requests for an increase in escrow and salary deferral rates. Nevertheless, Friedman believes the two sides will eventually work things out. He feels it would be disastrous for the owners and players if the NHL doesn’t play this season while other sports leagues (such as the NBA) are carrying on with their respective schedules.

Johnston said the players and coaches are preparing as though training camp could start on Dec. 15 but they want some clarity over when the season might begin. He feels the owners and players must start discussions soon.

Friedman postulates training camp could be shorter than we’re used to, suggesting it could be 10 days instead of 14 without exhibition games since the league can’t make money off them without fans. The players are already in good shape and ramping up in anticipation of camp. He also thinks there won’t be as many players invited to camp compared to previous years. If some players returning to Canadian teams miss the start of training camp because they have to quarantine for 14 days the teams may just have to live with it.

Johnston thinks it could take up to four weeks from the time an agreement is reached to when they drop the puck on the season. Friedman’s “educated guess” is the players are brought in right after Christmas and the puck drops between Jan 6 – 8.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A return-to-play on New Year’s Day or early January is possible if the NHL and NHLPA are willing to be flexible with the training-camp period. For now, discussions between the two sides have stalled for over a week. That could soon change coming out of the American Thanksgiving long weekend and the calendar flipping to December.

Many pundits maintain there’s a mutual desire among the NHL leadership and the players to stage a shortened season as soon as possible, with Jan. 1 often mentioned as the target date. The longer this stalemate between the two sides over escrow and salary deferral rates drags on, the less likely we’ll see a puck drop in early January.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 18, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 18, 2020

The NHL seeks more financial concessions from its players, the latest on return-to-play plans for 2020-21, and much more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

NHL RETURN-TO-PLAY UPDATE

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks cites multiple sources claiming the NHL is seeking financial concessions from its players in the form of a 13 percent deferral on their gross pay for 2020-21. The NHL Players Association agreed to a 10 percent deferral in the recent six-year extension of the collective bargaining agreement. That’s in addition to the 20 percent in escrow payments for this season being deducted from their salaries.

Brooks is unclear if this represents an ultimatum from the league or its initial position for a separate negotiation regarding player salaries for the coming season. He notes the CBA Memo of Understanding rules out prorating salaries for this season. It allows for clubs and players to negotiate additional deferments on a case-by-case basis, but what the NHL seeks is uniform and league-wide.

If the players agree to the 13 percent deferral, they would receive 61.6 percent of their ’20-’21 pay, with 23 percent to be returned at later dates.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman cited two sources saying the NHL hasn’t made an official proposal regarding an additional deferral. However, the subject did come up in conversations between the league and the NHLPA. It received a mixed reaction with some questioning altering a deal made several months ago while others believe that not playing is the worst result.

Friedman noted the short timeline to work out an agreement in time to reach the NHL’s tentative Jan. 1 start date. He sees this issue as part of the process of working toward an accord.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Deferral seems the only workable alternative if prorating salaries isn’t an option. While the PA membership has a right to question making changes to a recent agreement, this is not a normal situation.

The MOU was made in early July with an eye on starting the 2020-21 schedule by mid-to-late November. The pandemic, however, has changed those plans. All NHL teams face varying degrees of revenue losses even if they return on what’s expected to be a shortened ’20-’21 schedule with, at best, limited fan attendance.

Deferring payments could be better for the players than prorating their salaries. They’ll eventually get that money in installments over the latter years of the CBA extension as revenue improves once the pandemic has passed.

In a series of tweets, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports the league and the PA continue daily calls to put together a plan for this season. The 16-player return-to-play committee has convened internally almost daily over the past week but not with the league. Talks between the NHL and NHLPA remain at higher levels.

LeBrun said both sides still hope for a Jan. 1 start date with an eye on awarding the Stanley Cup by no later than July 15. Most conversations have focused on a 60-game schedule. The next seven-to-10 days will be crucial toward achieving a puck drop on New Year’s Day.

The players on the NHLPA return-to-play committee are David Backes, Darren Helm, David Savard, Justin Faulk, Lars Eller, Sam Gagner, Justin Abdelkader, Ian Cole, Zach Hyman, Ron Hainsey, Claude Giroux, Ryan Dzingel, Andrew Copp, Alex Biega, Chris Kreider and Mark Scheifele.

NOTABLE HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers named Brett Peterson as assistant general manager, making him the first black assistant GM in the NHL. Peterson, 39, played five years as a minor pro defenseman with the AHL, ECHL and IHL from 2004-05 to 2008-09. He spent the last 11 years as a player agent.

THE ATHLETIC: San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl said he’s recovered from the devastating season-ending knee injury suffered in January. He began skating in August and has been on the ice three days a week. Hertl said he’ll be ready to go for the upcoming season.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Alex Pietrangelo purchased a $6-million mansion in Summerlin, Nevada. The former St. Louis Blues defenseman signed a seven-year, $61.6 million contract last month with the Vegas Golden Knights.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues hired Ryan Podell as their new strength and conditioning coach. Podell was the sports science/conditioning coach with the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts. He also spent two seasons with the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers and six seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers organization, including four years with the Flyers.

 










Alex Pietrangelo Signs With The Golden Knights

Alex Pietrangelo Signs With The Golden Knights

Sportsnet and TSN report Alex Pietrangelo has agreed to a seven-year, $61.6 million contract with the Vegas Golden Knights. The annual average value is $8.8 million. Elliotte Friedman reports the deal comes with a full no-movement clause.

Alex PIetrangelo has joined the Vegas Golden Knights (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: To the surprise of no one, the Golden Knights land the big fish in this year’s UFA pond. Pietrangelo, 30, is among the NHL’s elite defensemen who captained the St. Louis Blues to their first-ever Stanley Cup in 2019. His experience, leadership and all-around skills will provide a significant boost to their blue line.

The contract is expensive and lengthy, with an annual cap hit and a no-movement clause that could become burdensome for Vegas should Pietrangelo’s skills decline over the latter half of the deal. In the short term, however, his presence should keep the Golden Knights among the Cup contenders.

Cap Friendly reports Pietrangelo’s contract pushes the Golden Knights above the $81.5 million cap ceiling by over $6.9 million. They can sit over the cap by 10 percent during the offseason but must be cap compliant when the 2020-21 season opens sometime next year.

The Golden Knights have reportedly been trying to shed salary by shopping goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury ($7 million AAV through 2021-22) and defenseman Nate Schmidt ($5.95 million AAV through 2024-25). One of them, or perhaps someone else (Jonathan Marchessault?) could be playing elsewhere when the regular season begins.

**UPDATE** The Golden Knights didn’t take long to shed some salary, trading Nate Schmidt to the Vancouver Canucks for a 2021 third-round pick. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 12, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 12, 2020

In today’s NHL morning coffee headlines: Alex Pietrangelo reportedly close to signing with the Golden Knights, the Blackhawks core aren’t happy with management’s recent moves, and the latest notable free-agent signings.

Alex PIetrangelo is reportedly close to a deal with the Vegas Golden Knights (NHL Images).

THE ATHLETIC’s Jeremy Rutherford reported hearing Alex Pietrangelo and the Vegas Golden Knights were getting close to a deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rutherford speculated it could’ve come as early as last night. Nothing so far as of this posting but they could reach an agreement later today. Cap Friendly indicates the Golden Knights currently have $1.875 million in salary-cap space. A new contract for Pietrangelo could cost over $8 million annually on a long-term deal.

They are allowed to exceed the cap by 10 percent during the offseason, but they’ll have to shed significant salary to fit that deal under the cap before the start of next season. I’ll have more about that in the Rumors section.

THE SCORE: cited The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus reporting the Chicago Blackhawks veteran core players (Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and captain Jonathan Toews) are fed up with management’s offseason moves. Lazerus cites a source claiming they’re “pissed off” and have “had enough”.

The Blackhawks let Corey Crawford depart for New Jersey via free agency, traded Brandon Saad to Colorado for Nikita Zadorov, and didn’t tender qualifying offers to Drake Caggiula and Slater Koekkoek. Toews said the recent moves came as a shock, adding he was never told the club was going through a rebuild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman deserves criticism for his management of the club’s cap payroll. They have little room to maintain a playoff-caliber roster. However, a big chunk of those cap dollars is invested in those core players. I can sympathize with their frustration, but they have no business being pissed off when their contracts annually eat up over $33 million in salary-cap space.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars re-signed center Radek Faksa to a five-year contract worth $3.25 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Faksa, 26, has become an effective shutdown center on the Stars’ third line. This is an affordable deal that’s pretty much in line with market value for a center of his skill set.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings signed forward Vladislav Namestnikov to a two-year, $4-million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another good, affordable signing by Wings GM Steve Yzerman. Namestnikov is a versatile two-way forward who can play center or wing. He also wanted to play for Detroit. He’s the nephew of former Wing Slava Kozlov and lives in the area.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues signed forward Kyle Clifford to a two-year contract worth $1 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues sit above the salary cap by $1.175 million with defenseman Vince Dunn to re-sign. While they could make a cost-cutting deal, they will likely start next season with Vladimir Tarasenko and Alex Steen on long-term injury reserve, allowing them to exceed the cap by their equivalent salaries until such time as they return to action.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets signed defenseman Derek Forbort to a one-year, $1-million contract and center Nate Thompson to a one-year, $750K deal.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs signed forward Jimmy Vesey to a one-year, $900K contract.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 11, 2020

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 11, 2020

The latest on Alex Pietrangelo and Taylor Hall plus updates on the Lightning, Leafs, Blackhawks, Avalanche and Canucks in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

LATEST ON PIETRANGELO AND HALL

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports defenseman Alex Pietrangelo flew with his wife yesterday to Las Vegas to meet with the Golden Knights and tour their facilities. LeBrun considers the Golden Knights as the front-runner.

Taylor Hall is still considering his options in the free-agent market (NHL Images).

Darren Dreger reports winger Taylor Hall and his agent spent yesterday paring down their list of potential destinations. Hall is considering roster fit, team quality and the variety of offers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It sounds like Hall has more suitors than Pietrangelo. That’s likely due to the winger’s reported willingness to accept a one- or two-year deal.

It certainly seems like Pietrangelo could be Vegas-bound. They’ll have to clear considerable cap space to sign him to what could be between $8 million and $9 million annually on a long-term deal. Both players are taking their time and it could be another couple of days before they make their decisions.

UPDATE ON THE LIGHTNING

TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois will have to attach an asset to Tyler Johnson if he hopes to move the winger’s contract. The constraints in moving money under a flattened cap make it difficult to swing a deal.

Lebrun feels they must cut $10 million from their payroll to re-sign restricted free agents Anthony Cirelli, Mikhail Sergachev and Erik Cernak. Johnson has a full no-trade clause but has submitted a list of 7-8 preferred trade destinations.

Frank Seravalli also reports the Lightning are trying to move defenseman Braydon Coburn. He has a year remaining on his contract worth $1.7 million but also has a no-trade clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: BriseBois could have little choice but to include a decent asset in a package with Johnson if he hopes to move him. Otherwise, Cirelli or Sergachev could become offer-sheet targets. Coburn carries an affordable cap hit for next season but the 35-year-old blueliner is also coming to the end of his career. A sweetener might also have to be included to move him.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE LEAFS?

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons reports the Maple Leafs have no money to spend on free agents unless they shed contracts. They still need a third-line center as Simmons doesn’t believe Alex Kerfoot can fill that role.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Leafs with $1.3 million in cap space with Travis Dermott and Ilya Mikheyev to re-sign. Unless they trade Kerfoot for a third-line center or find another way to free up cap room, they’ll have to stick with him in that role next season.

MORE MOVES TO COME FOR BLACKHAWKS?

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: In the wake of the Blackhawks trading Brandon Saad last night to the Colorado Avalanche for Nikita Zadorov, Ben Pope believes more moves are coming. He speculates Calvin de Haan, Connor Murphy or others could be traded to clear up their logjam on the blueline.

COULD THE AVALANCHE PURSUE A DEFENSEMAN?

THE ATHLETIC: Following the Avalanche’s acquisition of Saad yesterday, Ryan S. Clark speculates their next move could be adding a top-four defenseman. That blueliner would have to agree to a one-year deal with a starting price of $4 million. Otherwise, they could turn to a prospect like Bowen Byram or Connor Timmins to replace the departed Zadorov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not many UFA options available who could be had for that price. Maybe Sami Vatanen or Travis Hamonic.

LATEST CANUCKS SPECULATION

THE ATHLETIC: Harman Dayal believes the Vancouver Canucks could turn to the trade market to replace departed defensemen Chris Tanev and Troy Stecher. Right-handed trade options could include Florida’s MacKenzie Weegar, New Jersey’s Damon Severson and Columbus’ David Savard.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed the Panthers are shopping Weegar. Savard might not be available now that the Jackets added two centers in Max Domi and Mikko Koivu and have over $13 million in cap space to re-sign center Pierre-Luc Dubois. I don’t see the Devils trading Severson unless they’re planning to acquire an upgrade for the right side of their second defense pairing.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 10, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – October 10, 2020

Plenty of notable talent remains in the NHL’s UFA market. Check out the latest on Alex Pietrangelo, Taylor Hall and more in today’s rumor mill.

PIETRANGELO

STLTODAY.COM: Tom Timmermann took note of the Vegas Golden Knights trading center Paul Stastny to the Winnipeg Jets yesterday. He speculates it was done as part of an attempt clear sufficient salary-cap space to sign former St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.

Alex Pietrangelo remains available entering the second day of NHL free agency (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Golden Knights only have $1.875 million in cap space. They must shed more salary to come up with enough for Pietrangelo. The Las Vegas Sun’s Justin Emerson isn’t ruling out a splashy signing, suggesting Marc-Andre Fleury and defenseman Nate Schmidt could become cost-cutting trade options.

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reports Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas put in a call yesterday to Pietrangelo’s agent but that’s as far as it went. Dubas admitted the Leafs were never close to signing the former Blues captain, shifting instead to signing former Calgary Flames rearguard T.J. Brodie.

HALL

TVA SPORTS: reports Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin indicated former Arizona Coyotes winger Taylor Hall was a player he was watching closely in the UFA market. He added signing Hall would depend upon the number of years and the annual average salary. TVA Sports also speculated the Habs could have an interest in Dallas Stars winger Corey Perry.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss notes the Bruins have around $15 million in salary-cap space, suggesting they use it to pursue a forward. UFA options could include Hall, Tyler Toffoli, Mike Hoffman, Evgenii Dadonov or Craig Smith.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall is reportedly willing to consider one- or two-year deals with an eye on testing the free-agent market again for a more lucrative deal. That will undoubtedly make him attractive to playoff hopefuls like the Canadiens. The Bruins, however, could have the upper hand if they still feel their Stanley Cup window remains open.

BARRIE

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnson reports the Vancouver Canucks have been connected to former Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Tyson Barrie. The Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames were also linked to Barrie.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples notes conflicting reports among TSN insiders linking Barrie to the Oilers. Ryan Rishaug and Darren Dreger said the club is in the mix for the blueliner, but Pierre LeBrun said Barrie was too expensive for the Oilers. That view is shared by Staples’ colleague Jim Matheson, who also reported the Oilers could be interested in UFA goalie Thomas Greiss or trade with Carolina for Petr Mrazek.

LATEST ON THE RED WINGS

THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan reports Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman isn’t done making moves to plug some holes in his roster. He signed winger Bobby Ryan and defenseman Jon Merrill yesterday. The Wings need a goaltender as well as another defenseman and another forward.

MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan suggests Thomas Greiss would be the Wings’ best option for a short-term goaltender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Wings still have over $25 million in cap space. If yesterday’s signings are any indication, however, Yzerman doesn’t intend to make an expensive splash in the UFA market. With so many goalies coming off the market yesterday, Greiss is now the best of the remaining bunch.