NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 17, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 17, 2022

The reaction to the Penguins’ acquisitions of Jeff Petry and John Marino, what’s next for the Canadiens after trading Petry, David Pastrnak could get Johnny Gaudreau money, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes explained why he shipped Jeff Petry and Ryan Poehling to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday in exchange for Mike Matheson and a fourth-round pick in the 2023 draft.

Montreal Canadiens traded defenseman Jeff Petry to the Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL Images).

Hughes was acting on a trade request Petry made for family reasons during the season. He said the 34-year-old defenseman was appreciative that he was going to an American-based team that would be easier on his family, as well as one that’s going all in to try and win the Stanley Cup.

Matheson was a former client of Hughes’ from his days as a player agent. The Canadiens GM praised the Montreal native’s skating ability and character, adding that he’ll fit in well into head coach Martin St. Louis’ system.

The addition of Poehling in the deal was due to the Penguins’ belief that they’ll need a little more depth at center. With the Canadiens’ addition of Kirby Dach, Hughes felt they were solid enough at that position that they could afford to part with Poehling.

The move also freed up sufficient salary-cap space for the Canadiens to bring back Rem Pitlick on a two-year, $2.2 million contract. Hughes explained they had decided earlier this month not to qualify the 25-year-old center’s rights because their limited cap space would’ve made it difficult to meet what he might’ve received through arbitration.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those moves leave the Canadiens with over $1.2 million in salary cap space and 21 roster players under contract for 2022-23.

Shipping out Petry also leaves them short of a right-shot defenseman. Hughes indicated he’s open to adding that type of blueliner. He’s also still willing to make another cost-cutting trade.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Prior to acquiring Petry, the Penguins traded defenseman John Marino to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for blueliner Ty Smith and a third-round pick in 2023.

Dan Kingerski reports the move freed up the cap space the Penguins needed to add Petry, who is a bigger, more accomplished rearguard than Marino. He also cited Hextall expressing confidence in Poehling as a big-bodied forward who will have an opportunity to improve in Pittsburgh.

Hextall also thinks Smith has plenty of upside and the ability to regain the form from his promising rookie season after struggling through his sophomore campaign of 2021-22.

While the addition of Petry improves the Penguins’ right-side blueline depth, trading away Matheson to Montreal weakens them on the left side.

NHL.COM: Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald explained his addition of Marino by singling out his competitive nature and puck-handling abilities.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Hughes, Hextall might not be done making moves this summer. He could be in the market for an affordable left-side defenseman via free agency or the trade market as insurance in case Smith struggles to adjust with the Penguins.

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont believes Bruins winger David Pastrnak is in line to receive a contract similar to (or perhaps exceeding) Johnny Gaudreau’s $9.75 million average annual value with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Only five players have scored more goals than Pastrnak over the past six seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins GM Don Sweeney and the Pastrnak camp are currently in contract extension talks. Dupont believes he could get an eight-year, $80 million deal with the Bruins. If the two sides fail to reach an agreement, the 26-year-old winger will probably land a seven-year deal exceeding $10 million annually on the open market.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold admitted he’s feeling some nervousness over unconfirmed reports claiming winger Kirill Kaprizov is being detained in Russia while authorities investigate an alleged attempt to evade military service.

Leipold said Kaprizov is laying low and doing the right things, adding he just wants to be in his home country during the NHL offseason and visiting his family. The Wild owner doesn’t expect any problems with Kaprizov returning to his club in the coming season and remains hopeful there won’t be.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There have been no new developments regarding Kaprizov’s situation since it was reported over a week ago. Perhaps no news is good news in this case.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Panthers signed forward Chris Tierney to a one-year, two-way contract.










Canadiens Trade Jeff Petry to the Penguins

Canadiens Trade Jeff Petry to the Penguins

The Montreal Canadiens traded defenseman Jeff Petry and center Ryan Poehling to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for defenseman Mike Matheson and a fourth-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes had been patiently seeking a suitable trade partner for Petry since the 34-year-old blueliner requested a trade last season. He finally found one with the Penguins, but it’s not going down well with Habs fans on social media.

One complaint is that Hughes didn’t clear that much cap space swapping Petry’s $6.25 million average annual value through 2024-25 for the 28-year-old Matheson’s $4.875 million through 2025-26. That’s true over the long term given the extra year on the latter’s contract, but it does free up $1.375 million for the coming season. Poehling’s $750K for 2022-23 also comes off the Canadiens’ books.

While Petry has better offensive stats than Matheson, the latter also skates well, putting up a career-best 31 points last season with the Penguins. He’s a local boy who plays a solid all-around game and could maintain a reliable veteran presence on the rebuilding Canadiens’ defense.

Penguins management still has faith in their aging core and remains in “win-now” mode. Petry’s smooth-skating style, puckhandling skills and postseason experience should fit well within their system. He’ll take some of the offensive burdens from blueline stalwart Kris Letang.

Poehling, meanwhile, was hampered by injuries earlier in his career and struggled at times to establish himself as a roster regular with the Canadiens. He’ll get a fresh start in Pittsburgh and an opportunity to become part of their long-term plan.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 28, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 28, 2021

Jack Eichel changes agents plus the latest on John Tavares, Claude Giroux, Bo Horvat and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: Still in a dispute with the Buffalo Sabres over treatment for his neck injury, center Jack Eichel has changed agents. He will now be represented by Pat Brisson of Creative Artists Agency, who also represents high-profile players such as Sidney Crosby and John Tavares.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel’s former agents released a statement a month ago that was critical of the Sabres’ handling of their now-former client’s situation. With no end of the stalemate in sight, hiring Brisson has sparked speculation over its effect upon his trade status. I’ll have more in today’s Rumor Mill.

NHL.COM: Speaking of Tavares, the Toronto Maple Leafs captain said he’s “doing fantastic” in his recovery from a concussion and knee injury suffered during the playoffs. He’s expected to be ready for the start of training camp next month.

Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good to hear that Tavares is healthy and gearing up for the start of the new season. He’ll be under considerable pressure this season to lead the Leafs to playoff success after the club’s stunning first-round collapse against the Montreal Canadiens three months ago.

THE SCORE: After signing Sean Couturier to a contract extension on Thursday, Philadelphia Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher indicated contract talks with captain Claude Giroux will be held off until the end of 2021-22. Giroux, 33, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fletcher also said both sides are comfortable with that decision. It will allow the Flyers to evaluate their captain’s performance and his future with the club. Giroux will use this season to prove his worth to the Flyers (or other clubs) in his contract year.

THE ATHLETIC: Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat is determined to reach the playoffs this season. He believes they have the team to do it. “Enough is enough, we can talk all we want, at the end of the day we have to go out there and prove it on the ice,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Expectations were high for the Canucks entering last season after reaching the second round of the 2020 playoffs. A shortened season, an outbreak of COVID-19, the offseason departures Jacob Markstrom and Tyler Toffoli, and Elias Pettersson’s season-ending injury were critical factors that scuttled their 2021 postseason hopes.

General manager Jim Benning shook up the roster, bringing in Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Conor Garland, Jaroslav Halak and Jason Dickinson while shedding Nate Schmidt, Braden Holtby, Loui Eriksson and several others. Time will tell if those moves improve the Canucks, especially their porous blueline.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre believes some Jets fans are being overly critical of Josh Morrisey. While the 26-year-old defenseman was accused of slacking off last season after landing a big contract, he was in fact dealing with his father’s fight with brain cancer that eventually took his life on Aug. 8.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Morrissey didn’t use that as an excuse for his inconsistent play but McIntyre believes it’s a justifiable reason. “How could it NOT have impacted his on-ice performance?”, he asked his readers.

We fans and pundits are quick to criticize players when their performance is not up to their usual standard. Sometimes it’s justified, but more often than not there are genuine reasons behind the decline. Sometimes they’re dealing with a loved one’s life-threatening illness or death. Sometimes they’re trying to play through a serious injury.

Sure, a handful of them can find the physical and mental toughness to overcome those issues and continue playing at a high level of competition. Most, however, will struggle to cope. That doesn’t make them weak. It just makes them normal. We tend to forget that.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild signed defenseman Jordie Benn to a one-year, $900K contract.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers are reportedly close to signing defenseman Libor Hajek.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens signed center Ryan Poehling to a two-year contract. That leaves Jesperi Kotkaniemi as their only remaining restricted free agent.










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