NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 27, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 27, 2020

A placeholder team wins the first-overall pick in a chaotic opening phase of the draft lottery, a new CBA extension may be getting close, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

WINNER OF NHL DRAFT LOTTERY STILL TO BE DETERMINED

NHL.COM: A placeholder team won the first-overall selection in the first phase of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery on Friday evening. The Los Angeles Kings will select second overall while the Ottawa Senators will pick third. The Senators also hold the fifth-overall pick which was acquired from the San Jose Sharks in the Erik Karlsson trade in 2018.

The Detroit Red Wings slid to fourth overall despite having the worst regular-season record. The Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils, and Buffalo Sabres will pick sixth, seventh, and eighth respectively.

The placeholder team will be one of the eight eliminated from the qualifying round of the 24-team tournament. That club will be decided in a second lottery held following the completion of the qualifying round and before the opening round of the playoffs. All eight of those eliminated teams will have a 12.5 percent chance of winning the first-overall pick and the right to select Rimouski Oceanic winger Alexis Lafreniere, considered this year’s top prospect.

Picks No. 9 to 15 will be determined based on inverse order according to points percentage. The remaining picks will be determined by the playoff results.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the worst possible outcome, but what else did we expect in this crazy NHL season? There is now a real chance that a team already loaded with superstars – like the Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins, or Toronto Maple Leafs – will win the lottery and select Lafreniere.

The Leafs traded their pick last year to Carolina in the Patrick Marleau trade, but it was a top-10 protected pick. If the Leafs are eliminated from the qualifying round and win the lottery, the league would have to honor the conditions and allow the Leafs to keep that selection.

There is also a chance the Chicago Blackhawks or Montreal Canadiens could win that pick. Both clubs were all but eliminated from postseason contention before COVID-19 forced the league to come up with a season-saving playoff tournament allowing those two to compete for the Stanley Cup. Winning the first-overall selection could be one helluva consolation prize for one of them if they end up eliminated from the qualifying round.

This result sucks for rebuilding teams like the Wings and Senators, who need a franchise player to build around. That’s not to say they won’t get good players, perhaps even a future superstar, in their current spots, but Lafreniere is considered a “can’t-miss kid”. The Kings, meanwhile, have to be pleased to move up from fourth to second overall.

This one-off draft lottery plan wasn’t going to please everyone, but there was a sense that Detroit or Ottawa could end up with the first-overall pick. The results will only stoke criticism, not only of the way this particular lottery was planned but also of the format in general.

NHL, NHLPA GETTING CLOSER TO A NEW CBA?

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski reports the NHL and NHL Players’ Association are closing in on a new collective bargaining agreement that would address the league’s revenue losses stemming from pausing the schedule because of COVID-19. A memorandum of understanding is expected soon, perhaps by Sunday at the earliest.

The framework being discussed is a six-year CBA that would also cover 2020-21 and 2021-22, the final two years of the current agreement. It could see a cap on escrow at 20 percent for the first two years, after which it would revert to the traditional system as league revenues are expected to rise following a new U.S. television agreement and the addition of Seattle as the league’s 32nd franchise.

The salary cap would reportedly freeze at $81.5 million for the next two seasons and potentially rise by $1 million for year three. One source told Wyshynski the cap might not be linked back to revenue until the latter years of the agreement.

Both sides are said to agree with a 10 percent one-time salary deferral for the players. That money is not a rollback and would be paid back to the players at a lower rate of escrow in two years.

Wyshynski also reported the possibility of a delay in starting training camps on July 10 as part of Phase 3 of the return-to-play plan. That’s because of the enormity of what’s on the table and players still making their way back to their respective NHL cities for Phase 3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman have also reported on the CBA talks included in the return-to-play plan. Friedman also said it’s possible the start of training camps could be changed by perhaps two or three days but it wouldn’t upset the remaining timetable. The playoff tournament under Phase 4 is slated to begin on July 30.

A CBA extension would be an unexpected silver lining to emerge from this delayed season. Both sides were engaged in ongoing discussions for a new agreement before the pandemic struck. With the current agreement set to expire in September 2022, the possibility of six more years of labor peace would be welcome news. 

IN OTHER NEWS…

ASSOCIATED PRESS: The NHL and NHLPA aren’t considering placing players under quarantine bubbles when training camps open next month. The players will be instructed to remain at home when not at the rink. They will also undergo frequent testing and maintain health protocols in the hope of preventing any coronavirus outbreaks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I’ve said before, Phase 3 will determine if the playoff tournament under Phase 4 takes place. The league insists a handful of positive tests won’t derail its plans, but that could change if some players on several teams come down with the coronavirus in the coming weeks.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports we’ll have to see what develops over this weekend regarding an announcement of the two hub cities for Phase 4. He believes it’s extremely close between Edmonton and Toronto as both cities seem to have provincial health clearance. Las Vegas remains an expected choice for one of the two cities.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring unforeseen issues, it appears Edmonton or Toronto will be named as one of those hub cities within the next several days.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars general manager Jim Nill said there’s a good chance defenseman Roman Polak won’t rejoin the team to finish this season. He indicated he’ll honor Polak’s decision but left the door open if the blueliner changed his mind. Nill said no other Stars have expressed reservations about returning to Dallas.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 16, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 16, 2020

Sabres fire GM Jason Botterill, league commissioner Gary Bettman talks about the return-to-play plan, plus the latest on Patrick Kane, David Pastrnak, Braden Holtby, Josh Anderson, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

**UPDATE** 

The Buffalo Sabres have relieved Jason Botterill of his duties as general manager. They’ve named Senior VP of Business Administration Kevyn Adams as Botterill’s replacement. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This news broke earlier this morning. I hope to have more about this in tomorrow’s update. It was only three weeks ago that Botterill received the backing of Sabres ownership for another season. It’ll be interesting to find out what brought about this sudden change of heart, as well as what it could mean for the coaching and scouting staffs.

LATEST RETURN-TO-PLAY NEWS

ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan reports NHL commissioner Gary Bettman believes the league’s return-to-play plan will maintain the integrity of the playoffs without being too gimmicky.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (Photo via NHL.com).

“I think everybody can feel good, based on the combination of the play-in round and the way we’re going to run the playoffs, that this will be a full competition which will bring out the best in our teams and our players,” said Bettman.

The NHL intends to return later this summer with a 24-team tournament involving a round-robin for the top eight teams and a qualifying round for the other 16.

Bettman indicated the league has worked closely with the NHL Players’ Association since games were paused in mid-March. The two sides continue to negotiate key details, including playing under a quarantine bubble and the location of the two host cities for the tournament.

The commissioner also said the league intends to test every player and member of each team’s 50-person traveling party daily for COVID-19. A player testing positive will be isolated and contact tracing will monitor everyone in close proximity of that player. Bettman said the league has been told an isolated case or two won’t affect their plans to go forward.

Bettman also said the league is in discussions with the Canadian government regarding easing restrictions for the country’s 14-day quarantine period for visitors.

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports Bettman admitted 56 percent of the league’s players remain outside of their respective NHL cities, with 17 percent of them still in Europe. So we’ve got a lot of people to move around and we have to get people back from outside of North America.” 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The round-robin and qualifying rounds are a bit gimmicky, but necessary given this unusual situation. Once the playoffs begin, it’s the usual four-round, best-of-seven tournament.

The discussions with the Canadian government will affect the location of one of the two host cities. It’s believed the league wants one in Canada, but that won’t be possible if the government maintains its strict border protocols. That will also affect training camps for the six Canadian teams (Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Montreal) participating in the tournament. There’s already talk that some of them could hold training camps in the United States.

Phase 3 of the return-to-play plan involves training camps opening on July 10. The league has a limited time to get their players back to their respective NHL cities.

SPORTSNET: Hockey analyst and former NHLer Kevin Bieksa said several players he’s spoken to remain skeptical of the return-to-play plan. He said they don’t have their equipment and still have skated.

Bieksa added there remains several issues to be sorted out. Not only with the safety measures and protocol and everything but I don’t even know if it’s been discussed with the (NHLPA) and the league how they’re going to divide HRR (hockey-related revenue).”

Some critics have dismissed the proposed tournament as the NHL putting the players at risk solely for the sake of profit. What the league is doing is attempting to recoup roughly half of its $1.1 billion in lost revenue from pausing the schedule. This depends, however, on the willing participation of the players.

With the salary cap tied to hockey-related revenue, the majority of players (based on the 29-2 vote by NHLPA player reps approving the return-to-play plan) are agreeable to this tournament. They aren’t being forced into this. If a majority aren’t confident their health and safety can be assured, they have the power to shut this down at any time.

AWFUL ANNOUNCING: cites a report in Sports Business Journal claiming the NHL is halting all negotiations for its next television contract until the end of 2020.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE SCORE: Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane doesn’t believe whoever wins the 2020 Stanley Cup should have an asterisk beside their name.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There are no asterisks beside the NHL teams that won the Stanley Cup during the Second World War when some of the league’s best players were serving overseas. There’s no asterisk beside the 1994-95 New Jersey Devils or 2012-13 Chicago Blackhawks for winning the Cup during lockout-shortened seasons. There shouldn’t be, and won’t be, an asterisk beside the potential 2020 Cup champion.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins winger David Pastrnak is more upset about missing the 100-point plateau than the 50-goal mark. With 48 goals and 95 points in 70 games, Pastrnak was on pace for his first 50-goal, 100-point campaign when the schedule was paused.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals head coach Todd Reirden said the starting goaltender role is Braden Holtby’s to lose in the playoff tournament. “Braden Holtby’s body of work in playoff games speaks for itself and how he definitely helped our team to win our first-ever Stanley Cup and was a huge, huge part of that,” Reirden said.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Aaron Portzline reports Columbus Blue Jackets winger Josh Anderson will remain sidelined by shoulder surgery until after September.

LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights re-signed Ryan Reaves to a two-year, $3.5 million contract extension. The 33-year-old winger is completing a two-year, $5.5-million deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers suggest Reaves’ accepting less money to re-sign with the Golden Knights could be a harbinger of what many of this year’s unrestricted free agents could face when the season is over. However, he likely would’ve had to accept a similar deal from the Golden Knights even without the possibility of a flat salary cap for next season. Before re-signing Reaves, the Golden Knights had over $73 million invested in 15 players for 2020-21.

SPORTSDAY: Dallas Stars defenseman Roman Polak signed a three-year contract with Czech club HC Vitkovice. He’s still under contract with the Stars for this season but told a Czech paper he might not return if the NHL stages its playoff tournament. Stars general manager Jim Nill said the team can’t make a player return against their wishes. If anyone wants to stay home, that is their decision. His contract expires at the end of this season, so no issues there.”

SPORTSNET: The American Hockey League has formed a return-to-play task force to prepare for its 2020-21 season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 5, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 5, 2019

Game recaps plus updates on Cory Schneider, Roman Polak, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers edged the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 in the 2019 Global Series at the 02 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic. Travis Konecny scored twice for the Flyers while teammate Carter Hart made 28 saves. Patrick Kane had a goal and two assists for the Blackhawks.

Blake Wheeler’s shootout goal gave the Winnipeg Jets a 5-4 victory over the New Jersey Devils (Photo via NHL Images).

Blake Wheeler’s shootout winner completed an impressive comeback by the Winnipeg Jets, overcoming a 4-0 deficit to defeat the New Jersey Devils 5-4. Mark Scheifele, Mathieu Perreault and Neal Pionk each collected two points for the Jets. Blake Coleman tallied twice for the Devils, who also lost goaltender Cory Schneider with an apparent injury early in the third period. Teammate Taylor Hall believes Schneider was dealing with cramps.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner scored twice and collected an assist in a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly picked up three assists. Blue Jackets winger Cam Atkinson tied an NHL record by scoring in his sixth consecutive season-opening game.

The Vegas Golden Knights downed the San Jose Sharks 5-1 to sweep their home-and-home season-opening series. Golden Knights netminder Marc-Andre Fleury made 34 saves in his 800th career NHL contest while teammate Tomas Nosek netted two goals and added an assist. Tensions boiled over late in the third period, adding another chapter to what’s become a heated rivalry between the two clubs.

Rookie goaltender Ilya Samsonov kicked out 25 shots for his first NHL victory as the Washington Capitals nipped the New York Islanders 2-1. T.J. Oshie’s second-period tie-breaker held up as the winning goal.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE SCORE: Player agent Allan Walsh called out Boston Bruins play-by-play man Jack Edwards for insensitive comments toward client Roman Polak when the Dallas Stars defenseman was injured during Thursday’s game between the two clubs. Polak crashed head-first into the boards after missing an attempt to shove Bruins forward Chris Wagner from behind.

Color commentator Andy Brickley suggested Polak’s collision was “self-induced” while Edwards replied it was “bad hockey karma”. Incensed, Walsh took to Twitter deriding the Bruins broadcaster as “truly a piece of shit and an absolute disgrace.”

Edwards stood by his real-time call, adding he felt Brickley was correct in calling the incident “self-induced”. Polak was stretchered from the game, spent the night in hospital, and was released after being diagnosed with a small fracture in his sternum.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Listening to the call, I don’t believe Brickley and Edwards were mocking Polak or making light of his injury. They made the remarks matter-of-factly immediately after Polak missed the check on Wagner and hit the boards, and well before the seriousness of the blueliner’s condition was known. I didn’t get the impression they were suggesting Polak deserved to be injured.

Edwards has an obvious bias when calling Bruins games and draws well-deserved criticism for some of his over-the-top calls. In this instance, however, I don’t believe his comment deserved such a harsh public response from Polak’s agent.

NHL.COM: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly claims the league and the NHL Players Association want to bring back the World Cup of Hockey tournament. They’re also committed to staging more Global Series games involving NHL clubs in cities outside North America.

Daly also said there have been no further talks with the PA regarding participation in the 2022 Beijing Olympics. He pointed out the team owners consider it very disruptive to their season, puts the players at risk of injury, and has no financial benefit for NHL clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The players would love to take part in future Olympics but I don’t think that’s the hill they’re willing to die on in their ongoing collective bargaining negotiations. If the owners don’t want to take part in the Olympics, it’s not going to happen.

THE WASHINGTON POST: The NHL is partnering with Russian tech giant Yandex to stream all its games in Russia this season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 7, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 7, 2019

The Blues take a 3-2 lead in the Stanley Cup Final, Stars re-sign two players, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues are one victory away from their first-ever Stanley Cup following a 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins in Game 5 of the Final. Ryan O’Reilly scored the game-opener and set up David Perron for the winner while Jordan Binnington kicked out 38 shots.

St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington backstopped his club to victory in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final (Photo via NHL Images)

The winning goal was controversial as an obvious trip on Bruins winger Noel Acciari by Blues center Tyler Bozak went uncalled before David Perron’s tally. Bruins president Cam Neely and coach Bruce Cassidy were furious with the officials. Following the game, Cassidy said the non-call was “egregious”, calling it a “black eye” for the league.

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara suited up for this contest despite a broken jaw suffered in Game 4. He played over 16 minutes, blocked three shots and led all Bruins defensemen with four hits.  

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That missed trip by Bozak on Acciari was just the latest embarrassment for the league in the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs. If the Blues go on to win this series, Bruins fans could point to that missed penalty as the reason. The officiating has been terrible, so much so that league commissioner Gary Bettman recently promised some changes in the off-season. 

That call overshadowed Binnington’s outstanding performance. The Blues were dominated through most of Game 5, especially in the first period. Binnington, however, made the difference.

O’Reilly also deserves his share of plaudits for his efforts in this contest. While Binnington will be considered the Blues’ front-runner for the Conn Smythe Trophy, O’Reilly also deserves consideration. He’s been impressive throughout this postseason. 

SPORTSDAY: The Dallas Stars re-signed defenseman Roman Polak and winger Mattias Janmark to one-year contracts yesterday. Polak, 33, will earn $1.75 million for 2019-20. The 26-year-old Janmark will make $2.3 million.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators officially hired Jack Capuano yesterday as an associate coach.  His role will be improving the club’s young defense.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets inked forwards Seth Griffth and JC Lipton to one-year, two-way deals worth $700K at the NHL level.

NEW YORK POST: Overhauling their AHL affiliate will be the priority of the Rangers under new team president John Davidson.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 10, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 10, 2019

Game recaps, injury updates, Canadiens and Flyers swing a four-player trade, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Philadelphia Flyers rookie goaltender Carter Hart collected his eighth straight win backstopping his club to a 6-2 drubbing of the Anaheim Ducks. Hart tied Jocelyn Thibault as the only two goalies in NHL history to win eight straight games before their 21st birthday. Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher confirmed Hart would remain with the club for the remainder of the season. While the Flyers have points (9-0-1) in their last 10 games, the Ducks have just two victories in their last 21 contests, sending them tumbling to the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hart’s the biggest reason behind the Flyers’ recent resurgence, providing them with the quality goaltending that was lacking earlier in the campaign.

As for the Ducks, injuries and a lack of scoring depth have crippled them this season, but I also believe general manager Bob Murray’s reluctance to fire head coach Randy Carlyle is another contributing factor. It’s apparent the players have tuned out Carlyle. Big changes are required in Anaheim and they should start behind the bench as soon as possible.

**UPDATE** The Ducks fired Carlyle this afternoon. Murray will take over as the coach on an interim basis for the remainder of the season. 

John Tavares’ overtime goal lifted the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 (Photo via NHL Images).

John Tavares’ overtime goal gave the Toronto Maple Leafs (71 points) a 4-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens, opening a two-point lead over the latter for second in the Atlantic Division. Earlier in the day, the Canadiens shipped David Schlemko and Byron Froese to the Philadelphia Flyers for Christian Folin and Dale Weise, placed defenseman Karl Alzner on waivers, and placed Paul Byron (forearm) on injured reserve as winger Andrew Shaw returned to the lineup. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A bit of tinkering here for both clubs, with Schlemko and Weise as the notable players in this deal. By moving Schlemko to the Flyers, the Canadiens shed his $2.1 million salary-cap hit through next season while bringing back Weise ($2.35 million through 2019-20), who was a popular checking line forward during his previous tenure in Montreal.

The Canadiens sent Weise to their AHL affiliate but there’s talk they’ll try to bring him up into the roster soon. Schlemko, meanwhile, is expected to skate alongside promising Philippe Myers on the Flyers’ blueline.  

The St. Louis Blues picked up their fifth straight win by nipping the Nashville Predators 3-2. Blues rookie goalie Jordan Binnington picked up his ninth win in 11 starts and teammate Vladimir Tarasenko stretched his points streak to seven games. The Blues (57 points) maintained their grip on the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. 

San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton collected two assists to tie Gordie Howe (1,049) for ninth on the all-time list in a 5-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Kevin Lebanc tallied a hat trick for the Sharks. Following the game, Oilers head coach Ken Hitchcock criticized his players’ performance. “At this time of year, the coaches can’t want it more than the players,” he said. The Oilers (53 points) are four points out of a playoff berth. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The players are a disheartened bunch right. They’ve tried their best since the All-Star break but their lack of depth is hampering those efforts and hurting morale. Scolding them won’t overcome those issues. 

Jacob Markstrom made 44 saves and Elias Pettersson scored the winner in a shootout to give the Vancouver Canucks a 5-4 win over the Calgary Flames. Pettersson also collected two assists in regulation. Flames winger James Neal lost some teeth after being struck in the mouth by the stick of Canucks defenseman Alex Biega but he was able to finish the game. Biega received a double-minor penalty. Earlier in the day, the Canucks revealed sidelined winger Sven Baertschi is dealing with post-concussion syndrome

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby surpassed Mario Lemieux for most games played in franchise history (916) in a 5-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Penguins (63 points) have dropped four straight and cling to the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. 

An overtime goal by Patrice Bergeron gave the Boston Bruins a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Before the game, the Bruins honored Bergeron for recently playing his 1,000th career NHL game. The Kings also activated forward Trevor Lewis off injured reserve.

Third-period goals by Conor Sheary, Connor Mittelstadt, and Kyle Okposo carried the Buffalo Sabres to a 3-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. The Sabres (61 points) sit two points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference

The Minnesota Wild snapped their four-game losing skid by doubling up the New Jersey Devils 4-2, handing Devils goalie Cory Schneider his 20th consecutive loss. With the win, the Wild (59 points) hold the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference

Ryan Pulock scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the New York Islanders edged the Colorado Avalanche 4-3. It was the Avs’ sixth straight defeat, putting them three points behind the St. Louis Blues (57 points) for the final wild-card berth in the West. 

Ottawa Senators goaltender Anders Nilsson made 44 saves as his club downed the Winnipeg Jets 5-2. Mark Stone scored twice against the Jets, who’ve dropped three straight games. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe the Jets’ recent slump puts more pressure on GM Kevin Cheveldayoff to swing a deal before the trade deadline. 

The Arizona Coyotes ended a five-game losing skid by holding off the Dallas Stars 3-2. Alex Galchenyuk scored twice for the Coyotes (53 points), who sit four points out of a Western Conference wild-card spot. Stars defenseman Roman Polak left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury and is listed as day-to-day. 

Mike Hoffman’s overtime goal gave the Florida Panthers a 5-4 victory over the Washington Capitals, giving the Panthers their sixth win in their last eight contests. Brett Connolly scored twice for the Capitals. 

Cam Atkinson scored the game-tying and winning goals as the Columbus Blue Jackets rallied to down the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3. 










Notable NHL Free-Agent Signings – July 1, 2018

Notable NHL Free-Agent Signings – July 1, 2018

The NHL free-agent market opens today at noon ET. Here’s a list of today’s notable signings, which will be updated throughout the day. 

Toronto Maple Leafs signed center John Tavares to a seven-year, $77-million contract

Toronto Maple Leafs sign John Tavares to a seven-year contract (Photo via NHL Images)

Philadelphia Flyers reportedly signed left wing James van Riemsdyk to a five-year, $35-million contract. 

Tampa Bay Lightning re-signed defenseman Ryan McDonagh to a seven-year contract extension worth $6.75 million per season.

Arizona Coyotes officially announced the signing of defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to an eight-year contract extension worth $8.25 million AAV. They also re-signed defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to a two-year contract extension worth $5 million AAV, and signed free-agent winger Michael Grabner to a three-year deal worth $3.35 million per season. 

Vegas Golden Knights will sign center Paul Stastny to a three-year contract. The annual average value is $6.5 million. They’ve also signed defenseman Nick Holden to a two-year deal worth $2.2 million annually. 

Pittsburgh Penguins will reportedly sign defenseman Jack Johnson to a five-year, $16.25-million contract. They’ve also signed Matt Cullen to a one-year, $650K contract

St. Louis Blues expected to sign winger David Perron to a four-year deal worth $4 million per season. The Blues have also signed center Tyler Bozak to a three-year contract with an AAV of $5 million and goaltender Chad Johnson to a one-year, $1.75-million deal. 

Colorado Avalanche reportedly close to signing defenseman Ian Cole to a three-year contact worth an annual cap hit of $4.25 million.

Chicago Blackhawks sign goaltender Cam Ward to a one-year, $3-million contract with a full no-movement clause. They’ve also signed winger Chris Kunitz to a one-year, $1-million contract and defenseman Brandon Manning to a two-year deal. 

Boston Bruins expected to sign goaltender Jaroslav Halak to a two-year contract worth $2.75 million annually. They also signed winger Joakim Nordstrom to a two-year, $2 million deal and defenseman John Moore to a five-year contract worth an AAV of $2.75 million.

Columbus Blue Jackets sign center Riley Nash to a three-year contract worth $2.75-million per season. 

Buffalo Sabres will reportedly sign goaltender Carter Hutton to a three-year, $8.25-million contract.

New York Islanders have an agreement in place to bring back defenseman Thomas Hickey on a four-year deal worth an AAV of $2.5 million. They also signed forward Leo Komarov to a four-year, $12-million contract.

Detroit Red Wings expected to sign goaltender Jonathan Bernier to a three-year deal worth around $3 million annually and forward Thomas Vanek to a one-year, $3-million contract. 

Edmonton Oilers will sign forward Kyle Brodziak to a two-year deal with an AAV of around $1 million and forward Tobias Rieder to a one-year, $2-million contract.  

Dallas Stars expected to sign forward Blake Comeau to a three-year deal worth $2.4 million per season. They’ve also re-signed winger Valeri Nichushkin to a two-year deal worth $2.95-million annually. Roman Polak is reportedly heading to the Stars on a one-year contract worth $1.3 million.

Vancouver Canucks are expected to sign center Jay Beagle to a four-year contract worth $3 million annually and forward Antoine Roussel to a four-year deal worth $3.25 million per season. 

Calgary Flames expected to sign center Derek Ryan to a three-year deal worth an AAV of $3.125 million and center Austin Czarnik to a two-year deal worth $1.25-million annually. 

Carolina Hurricanes sign goaltender Petr Mrazek to a one-year deal worth $1.5 million. 

Montreal Canadiens are expected to announced the signing of center Tomas Plekanec to a one-year deal worth a base salary of $2.25 million plus bonuses. 

Minnesota Wild will reportedly sign defenseman Greg Pateryn to a three-year contract and signed goaltender Andrew Hammond.