NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 2, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 2, 2021

Marc-Andre Fleury will report to the Blackhawks, the Kraken’s contract with Philipp Grubauer rejected by the league, Evander Kane denies betting on NHL games, and 17 players file for salary arbitration. Get the details in today’s morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Marc-Andre Fleury confirmed Sunday he will report to the Blackhawks this season. “Hey, Chicago, it’s Marc,” he said via the club’s social media account. “Just wanted to let you know: I’m in. Let’s get to work.”

Marc-Andre Fleury will report to the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL Images).

The Blackhawks acquired Fleury from the Vegas Golden Knights last Tuesday. However, he took several days to discuss his situation with his family and consider his future. The 36-year-old goaltender has a year remaining on his contract with a $7 million salary cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury won the Vezina Trophy for the first time last season with the Golden Knights. He won’t have a solid defense in front of him in Chicago as he did in Las Vegas. Nevertheless, the Blackhawks could have a shot at a playoff spot in the Central Division this season if Fleury maintains his Vezina form.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Kraken have rectified an accounting error that resulted in the league rejecting the club’s first attempt to finalize its contract with goaltender Philipp Grubauer. The front-loaded contract violated the CBA’s 25 percent cap above the amount in the initial contract year.

Grubauer’s annual average value is $5.9 million for six seasons. He will earn $5 million in actual salary this season. It was originally slated to rise to $6 million in 2022-23 and $7.5 million in 2023-24, an increase of 30 percent. The deal has been restructured by shifting $250K from the third year to the second year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: When this was first reported some fans on social media wondered if the contract would be voided. Doesn’t work that way. The team gets the opportunity to fix the accounting error. In this case, it was an easily addressed minor detail.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane denied allegations made by his estranged wife claiming he bet on NHL games. “I have NEVER gambled/bet on hockey, NEVER gambled/bet on Sharks games, NEVER gambled/bet on any of my games and NEVER thrown a hockey game,” he said in a statement released yesterday.

The NHL announced it would investigate Kane based on the allegation made on an unverified Instagram account attributed to Angela Kane. She responded to Kane’s statement via that account yesterday, accusing him of abandoning her and their daughter to party and gamble in Europe. She also claimed he had a gambling addiction and claimed he was trying to use the media to control the narrative.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s personal life has been under growing media scrutiny since applying for bankruptcy in January. He was also the topic of trade speculation following a recent report claiming several of his teammates expressed frustration about him to management during their season-ending exit interviews. The Sharks released a statement on Saturday saying they supported the league’s intent to investigate the gambling allegations.

NHLPA: Seventeen NHL players applied for salary arbitration yesterday:

Zach Aston-Reese (Pittsburgh Penguins)
Ross Colton 
(Tampa Bay Lightning)
Andrew Copp 
(Winnipeg Jets)
Jason Dickinson 
(Vancouver Canucks)
Vince Dunn 
(Seattle Kraken)
Adam Erne 
(Detroit Red Wings)
Dante Fabbro 
(Nashville Predators)
Dennis Gilbert 
(Colorado Avalanche)
Adin Hill 
(San Jose Sharks)
Michael McNiven 
(Montreal Canadiens)
Victor Mete 
(Ottawa Senators)
Adam Pelech 
(New York Islanders)
Neal Pionk 
(Winnipeg Jets)
Zach Sanford 
(St. Louis Blues)
Juuse Saros 
(Nashville Predators)
Jakub Vrana 
(Detroit Red Wings)
Nikita Zadorov 
(Calgary Flames)

The deadline for club-elected arbitration is 5 pm ET on Monday, Aug. 2. The arbitration period is from Aug. 11 to Aug. 26.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Several notable names on this list include Dunn, Pelech, Pionk, Saros and Vrana. If history is anything to go by we can expect most, perhaps all of these players to reach agreements with their teams on new contracts before their scheduled arbitration hearings.

The Best and Worst NHL Trades of 2019

The Best and Worst NHL Trades of 2019


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 22, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 22, 2019

The latest on Mikko Rantanen, the Jets re-sign Neal Pionk, the Blues re-up Oskar Sundqvist, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE DENVER POST: Don’t expect anyone to sign away Mikko Rantanen from the Colorado Avalanche with an offer sheet. With the Avs carrying plenty of salary-cap space, the 21-year-old right-winger is poised to become the club’s highest-paid player. He could earn between $8 – $10 million annually on his next contract.

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen will soon receive a big pay raise (Photo via NHL Images).

Rantanen’s next deal won’t upset linemate Nathan MacKinnon, who currently carries the club’s biggest contract. Avalanche GM Joe Sakic said it’s a different landscape compared to when MacKinnon signed his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rantanen’s earned the big raise he’ll get on his next contract. The way MacKinnon’s played over the last two seasons, he’ll eclipse Rantanen’s salary when he’s ready for his next contract in 2023, either from the Avs or another club via the unrestricted free agent market.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets avoided salary arbitration with Neal Pionk, re-signing him to a two-year, $6-million contract. The 23-year-old defenseman will earn an annual average value of $3 million. The Jets acquired Pionk last month as part of the return from the New York Rangers in the Jacob Trouba trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets have around $19.8 million in salary-cap space with RFAs Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor, and Andrew Copp to re-sign. Copp had his arbitration hearing yesterday in Toronto and a decision is expected by Tuesday.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues avoided arbitration with winger Oskar Sundqvist, re-signing him to a four-year, $11-million contract. The annual average value is $2.75 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a big raise for Sundqvist, who earned $700K on his previous contract. His two-way style played a key role in the Blues rise from the bottom of the standings to the Stanley Cup last season.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Six years after leaving Western Michigan University to join the Red Wings, defenseman Danny DeKeyser recently earned his general studies diploma. “It was a real good feeling,” said DeKeyser of walking across the stage. “I felt like I had accomplished something.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to DeKeyser for completing his studies.

WGR550.COM: The Buffalo Sabres and Evan Rodrigues are about $1.15 million apart on a new contract. “Rodrigues is asking for a deal that will pay him $2.65 million per-year, while the Sabres are hoping to get him under contract with an average annual value of $1.5 million.” Rodrigues’ arbitration hearing is slated for Tuesday in Toronto.

THE SCORE: The Tampa Bay Lightning and Vegas Golden Knights top oddsmakers 2019-20 point projections.

Notable Trades Leading Up To the 2019 NHL Draft

Notable Trades Leading Up To the 2019 NHL Draft


Jets Trade Trouba To Rangers

Jets Trade Trouba To Rangers

The Winnipeg Jets have traded defenseman Jacob Trouba to the New York Rangers in exchange for defenseman Neal Pionk and the 20th overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. 

Jacob Trouba jets to the New York Rangers (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the history of difficult contract negotiations between Trouba and the Jets, it’s no surprise the 25-year-old defenseman is heading to the Rangers. His current one-year, $5.5-million contract was awarded by an arbiter last July. He’s once again a restricted free agent with arbitration rights, only now he’s a year away from unrestricted free agent status.

A 25-year-old top-pairing blueliner coming off a career-best 50-point performance, Trouba was in line for a lucrative new contract. With the Jets facing a salary-cap crunch this summer, he wasn’t going to get it from them. Young scoring winger Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor are RFAs coming off their entry-level contracts and in line for big raises of their own. With over $57 million invested in 14 players, there wasn’t enough room to re-sign all three and leave enough to fill out the rest of their roster.

Pionk, 23, is a skilled puck-moving rearguard who put up a respectable 26 points in his sophomore season with the rebuilding Rangers. He logged top-four defense minutes with the Blueshirts and can expect more of the same with the Jets. Like Laine and Connor, Pionk is a restricted free agent completing his entry-level contract. Unlike those two, he’ll be an affordable re-signing for the Jets.  In time, perhaps, he’ll offset the absence of Trouba.

Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff also got back the first-round pick he shipped to the Rangers at the trade deadline as part of the deal for center Kevin Hayes. With Trouba gone, Cheveldayoff could increase efforts to re-sign pending UFA defenseman Tyler Myers. 

Still, it’s a disappointing return for Trouba. There was an expectation he could fetch an established top-pairing defenseman or perhaps a scoring center to line up alongside Laine. However, this might not be the only move Cheveldayoff has in store in the coming days. Perhaps his recently reacquired first-round pick could be used in a package to bring in a better asset. 

Landing Trouba is a significant addition to a Rangers’ defense corps that struggled throughout 2018-19. He’ll automatically become their first-pairing, right-side defenseman.

The Rangers certainly got the better of this deal. Now, they have to re-sign him. Trouba could seek around $8 million annually on a long-term deal. With over $63 million invested in 19 players, they have the cap space to do it but it’ll push their payroll to over $71 million.

That could crimp their rumored efforts to pursue a high-scoring forward like Artemi Panarin or Matt Duchene via the UFA market. Recent speculation suggests the Rangers could attempt to cut costs by trading or buying out a veteran defenseman like Kevin Shattenkirk or Brendan Smith.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 18, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 18, 2019

Game recaps, Alex Ovechkin and Ryan Miller each reach notable milestones and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Alex Ovechkin reached the 40-goal plateau for the 10th time in his career but his Washington Capitals were beaten by the Anaheim Ducks 5-2. Ovechkin ties Marcel Dionne and Mario Lemieux for second on the all-time list (Wayne Gretzky leads with 12 seasons) and also tied Lemieux for the most 40-goal seasons with one team. Anaheim’s Ryan Miller picked up his 374th career victory, setting the record for American-born NHL goalies. 

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin reached another scoring milestone (Photo via NHL Images)

Vladimir Tarasenko extended his points streak to 12 games with a goal and two assists while Jordan Binnington turned in a 31-save shutout as the St. Louis Blues downed the Minnesota Wild 4-0. For the surging Blues, it was their 10th straight win.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild (60 points) remain one point up on the Vancouver Canucks for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. However, they’ve won just three of their last 10 games and seem on the verge of tumbling out of postseason contention.

General manager Paul Fenton has reportedly been given permission by ownership to shake things up for long-term gains even at the risk of hurting their playoff hopes this season. Fenton could become a seller leading up to next Monday’s trade deadline.

Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang each scored two goals and Sidney Crosby collected three assists as the Pittsburgh Penguins held on for a 6-5 win over the New York Rangers. Mats Zuccarello also scored twice for the Rangers while defenseman Neal Pionk was kept out of the third period as a precautionary measure after taking a stick to the eye. With the win, the Penguins (69 points) hold the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Aleksander Barkov’s hat trick powered the Florida Panthers to a 6-3 thrashing of the Montreal Canadiens. Antti Niemi gave up three goals on nine shots before being pulled in favor of Carey Price. The Canadiens (69 points) are winless in their last four contests (0-3-1) and cling to the final wild-card spot in the East, one point up on the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Buffalo Sabres failed to gain ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race, falling 4-1 to the New Jersey Devils. Kyle Palmieri had a goal and two assists while goaltender Cory Schneider picked up his second straight win. The Sabres (63 points) are six points out of a wild-card spot in the East. Earlier in the day, the Sabres revealed defenseman Marco Scandella would miss the game with an undisclosed injury but he is expected to rejoin the roster later in the week.

Oscar Lindblom tallied twice and Carter Hart made 37 saves for the Philadelphia Flyers to complete a home-and-home sweep of the Detroit Red Wings with a 3-1 victory. Wings goalie Jonathan Bernier left the game after the first period with an upper-body injury and didn’t return. Like the Sabres, the Flyers are six points out of a playoff spot.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers have recalled defenseman Andrej Sekera from their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield. Sekera has missed the entire NHL season thus far with an injured Achilles tendon.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes have assigned center Christian Dvorak to their AHL affiliate for a two-week conditioning stint. He’s recovering from a torn pectoral muscle.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: After Don Cherry called the Carolina Hurricanes a “bunch of jerks” for their elaborate post-game victory celebrations, the club had “Bunch of Jerks” t-shirts made up and ready for sale.