NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 19, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 19, 2020

The Canadian government clears the way for allowing hub cities, a CBA extension could be part of the return-to-play plan, plus updates on Seth Jones, Sean Couturier, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE SCORE: Josh Gold-Smith cites a Canadian Press report indicating the Canadian government has issued an order-in-council that would allow Edmonton, Toronto, or Vancouver to serve as one of the NHL’s two hub cities for its 24-team playoff tournament later this summer.

Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena could be among one of two host arenas for the NHL’s playoff tournament.

The order, which now awaits the Governor-General’s signature, would allow the NHL to work around Canada’s mandatory 14-day quarantine protocol for individuals entering the country. The league had to provide a plan that adhered to Canada’s public health requirements before the government went ahead with the order.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those three Canadian cities are among 10 in the running to host the tournament. Las Vegas is reportedly considered the front-runner, but it’s also believed the league prefers placing one of those hosts in Canada.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Pierre LeBrun cites a source claiming the NHL and NHL Players Association are attempting to negotiate the layers for Phase 3 and 4 of the return-to-play plan while also trying to hammer out an extension to the collective bargaining agreement.

LeBrun’s source, who’s close to the negotiations, suggested the return-to-play plan and a CBA extension (or a memo of understanding for the latter) could be presented as one package to the players before the end of this month.

LeBrun also reports there are players with questions about such issues such as health concerns in their respective NHL cities, life under quarantine conditions during the tournament, and economic issues such as escrow payments.

Should the playoff tournament go off without a hitch, the Stanley Cup could be awarded in early October, with the draft and free agency beginning later in that month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A CBA extension (perhaps to 2026) would be a silver lining in the COVID cloud hanging over the NHL. Because of the effects of the pandemic upon hockey-related revenue, both sides must work together to ensure labor peace in the coming years. Given the limited timeline and the myriad of issues to be discussed, it remains to be seen if they can work out an agreement by the end of June. 

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports if an NHL  player tests positive for COVID-19 we won’t know what team they belong to. Instead, the league could simply say a player has tested positive. McKenzie speculates it could be part of a weekly report going forward indicating how many players have or haven’t tested positive.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will raise questions over which teams those players belong to, how many of them could be sidelined, and the effect upon the proposed playoff tournament. 

McKenzie thinks most of the players understand the need to return to action is an important one but there is a vocal minority raising concerns. He feels a player could be allowed to opt-out of returning if he had strong objections of doing so.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McKenzie and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported the league and the PA are believed to be working on opt-out language in the plan for players who don’t want to return. Friedman also said part of the pitch will be the quarantine bubble the teams will be under will be safer than in some parts of North America.

McKenzie also said a decision on the two host cities could come next week. The league’s preference is a home team doesn’t play in its own hub. In other words, if Las Vegas is selected, the Vegas Golden Knights could play in the other hub city.

ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan reports the NHL has assured its coaches they won’t face any restrictions preventing them from doing their jobs. Those of a certain age or in an at-risk demographic won’t be prevented from being behind the bench. Health and safety protocols for coaches and their interactions with players are still being discussed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The coaches could be required to wear masks behind the bench and elsewhere in the facility. We’ll learn more details when the league and the PA release their health protocol plans for Phase 3 and 4.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets defensemen Seth Jones (right ankle fracture and sprain) and Dean Kukan (knee injury) have been activated off injured reserve.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild forward Luke Kunin knows he’s at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 because he’s a type-1 diabetic. Nevertheless, he remains focused on joining his teammates for the playoff tournament. “I don’t think it’s going to stop me from suiting up,” said Kunin.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Sean Couturier and Ivan Provorov are among the Flyers that have taken part in small-group training at the team’s practice facility.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Goaltender Darcy Kuemper is among several Coyotes skating at Gila River Arena in preparation for the league’s return-to-play tournament.

TSN: Vancouver Canucks forward Nikolay Goldobin signed a two-year contract with KHL club CSKA Moscow. He’s slated to become a restricted free agent at the end of this NHL season.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Former NHL player Dan Carcillo is one of two former CHL players to file a class-action lawsuit alleging they were routinely hazed, bullied, physically and verbally harassed, and physically and sexually harassed and assaulted during their junior careers. This comes days after a former Kitchener Rangers player claimed he was forced to do cocaine in a team bathroom during his rookie season in 2016.










Flyers Bandwagon A Welcoming Place as Philly Surges Up NHL Standings

Flyers Bandwagon A Welcoming Place as Philly Surges Up NHL Standings

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 13, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 13, 2019

Shea Theodore reveals cancer diagnosis, Logan Couture named Sharks captain, the latest contract signings, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

REVIEWJOURNAL.COM: Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore revealed he was diagnosed with testicular cancer over three months ago. General manager Kelly McCrimmon said Theodore has fully recovered following treatment and will participate in training camp on the first day of practice today.

Speaking of the Golden Knights, winger Ryan Reaves is listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Theodore in his ongoing recovery. Check out this link for information on diagnosing and treating testicular cancer. 

Logan Couture is the new captain of the San Jose Sharks (Photo via NHL Images).

  NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks named center Logan Couture as their new captain. He replaced Joe Pavelski, who signed with the Dallas Stars this summer. Brent Burns, Joe Thornton, Erik Karlsson and Tomas Hertl were named alternate captains.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets yesterday announced defenseman Josh Morrissey signed an eight-year, $50-million contract extension. The annual average value is $6.25 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the deal comes with a full no-movement clause from 2022-23 to 2024-25 and a modified no-trade for the remaining years. He’ll also earn $8 million annually in real salary in three of the first four years of the deal.

A terrific signing by the Jets. Morrissey, 24, has developed into a solid top-pairing defenseman. As Dustin Byfuglien ages, Morrissey will take over as the linchpin of Winnipeg’s blueline. Given his youth and ongoing development, this contract will be considered a steal for the Jets in a few years. 

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers have reportedly reached an agreement with defenseman Ivan Provorov on a six-year contract. The annual average value is said to be $6.75 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The deal is expected to be officially announced today. It’s less than the $8 million per season his side was reportedly seeking. I don’t doubt the three-year, $15-million contract inked by Columbus Blue Jackets rearguard Zach Werenski affected these negotiations.

It’s still a solid deal for Provorov, though he might’ve been better served inking a bridge contract similar to Werenski’s. Should Provorov continue to improve, he’ll be locked into a deal that could potentially pay him less than his true value over the next six years. The Blue Jackets’ blueliner, meanwhile, can pursue a more lucrative deal in three years time. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed defenseman Marcus Pettersson to a one-year contract worth just over $874K.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins would’ve preferred paying Pettersson more on a long-term deal but their limited salary-cap space handcuffed them. They’ll reward him next season for agreeing to this affordable contract. The signing pushes the Penguins above the $81.5-million cap ceiling by just over $1 million but they could get cap compliant by demoting one or two of their nine defensemen. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: A degenerative back disc has brought Oilers center Kyle Brodziak’s playing career has come to an end after 15 seasons. With one year remaining on his contract at an annual average value of $1.15 million, he’ll be placed on long-term injury reserve by the Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Brodziak in his future endeavors. He finishes his career with 129 goals and 296 points in 917 career games. Not bad for a gritty checking-line forward who was a seventh-round pick by the Oilers in 2003. 

OTTAWA SUN: Senators defenseman Christian Wolanin suffered a torn labrum earlier this week. He will undergo surgery and is expected to be sidelined for four months.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings won’t name a captain this season. Jusitn Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin, Frans Nielsen and Luke Glendening will be the four alternates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is just postponing the inevitable. Give Larkin the “C” already!

 










NHL Rumor Mill – September 11, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – September 11, 2019

Update on the Justin Faulk trade rumors plus the latest on Mitch Marner, Patrik Laine, Ivan Provorov, Brayden Point and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WILL FAULK ACCEPT A TRADE TO THE DUCKS?

SPORTSNET: In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman reports the Carolina Hurricanes and Anaheim Ducks have a deal in principle but it’s up to Justin Faulk to decide. The Ducks are among the clubs on Faulk’s “no-trade” list. The deal would send the 27-year-old defenseman to the Ducks with winger Ondrej Kase as part of the return to the Hurricanes. 

Will Justin Faulk waive his no-trade clause for the Anaheim Ducks? (Photo via NHL Images)

The Hurricanes interest in Kase stretches back to last season. Friedman notes several clubs expressed surprise over Kase’s availability. He speculates the Ducks could be concerned about his health.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reports last evening by Pierre LeBrun, Eric Stephens, and Sara Civian indicate a deal still wasn’t done. LeBrun said there still wasn’t a contract extension between the Ducks and Faulk, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He believes a trade is contingent on a new contract for the blueliner.

In his three NHL seasons, Kase was sidelined for a total of 28 games by concussions and 34 games last season to a shoulder injury. That would explain why the Ducks are willing to part with him.

RFA UPDATES

Friedman believes talks between Mitch Marner and the Toronto Maple Leafs are “tense and personal.” He feels the Leafs are willing to pay $11 million annually if he agrees to a seven-year deal. Sources dismissed rumors claiming both sides would accept a two-year deal. The Leafs and the Marner camp discussed a three-year deal with the third season going as high as $15 million in actual salary, but that was months ago and no longer relevant.

He also reported the Vancouver Canucks and Brock Boeser discussed different contract lengths. It is difficult to get a read on their negotiations…Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine prefers a three-year bridge deal.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall wonders how defenseman Zach Werenski’s new contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets could affect the Flyers negotiations with blueliner Ivan Provorov. Earlier this week, Werenski inked a three-year, $15-million contract. Hall suggests $6 million annually for five years seems reasonable.

THE SCORE: Matt Teague recently cited The Athletic’s Joe Smith reporting contract talks between center Brayden Point and the Tampa Bay Lightning remain at an impasse.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lots of speculation but nothing to suggest those notable RFAs are any closer to new contracts with their respective teams. Still, that could change with training camps opening later this week.

All eyes are on Marner as it’s believed most of his fellow RFAs are waiting to see what he gets before signing with their respective clubs. However, if his impasse looks like it’ll drag into training camp and preseason, most of his peers could be unwilling to wait that long.

NO MARLEAU IN EDMONTON?

Friedman cited reports out of Edmonton last week claiming the Oilers had interest in Patrick Marleau. He doesn’t think that’s going to happen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marleau turns 40 on Sept 15 and his performance noticeably declined last season. An aging winger in decline isn’t going to help the Oilers.










Blue Jackets Re-sign Werenski

Blue Jackets Re-sign Werenski

The NHL Network’s Kevin Weekes reports the Columbus Blue Jackets re-signed defenseman Zach Werenski to a three-year, $15-million contract. Weekes’ report is corroborated by Aaron Portzline, The Athletic’s Blue Jackets’ beat writer.

Columbus Blue Jackets re-sign defenseman Zach Werenski to a three-year deal (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Werenski’s annual average value will be $5 million, putting him just below defense partner Seth Jones’ $5.4 million AAV. Both contracts will expire at the end of 2021-22, with Jones slated to become an unrestricted free agent while Werenski will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

I’m not surprised that Werenski accepted this deal. Reports emerged several weeks ago claiming the 22-year-old blueliner wanted to be re-signed before training camp opened. There was speculation he would accept less than Jones, who is the Jackets’ best all-around rearguard as well as their highest-paid.

Werenski is getting a healthy pay increase from the $1.775-million AAV (bonuses included) of his entry-level contract. Should the skilled puck-moving defenseman continue to improve, he can seek much more from the Jackets by 2022.

Werenski’s new deal could affect fellow RFA blueliners like Boston’s Charlie McAvoy and Philadelphia’s Ivan Provorov. The latter was reportedly seeking $8 million per season but the Flyers could use Werenski as a comparable.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 9, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – September 9, 2019

Updates on Taylor Hall, Torey Krug, and Ivan Provorov in today’s NHL rumor mill.

HALL

NORTHJERSEY.COM: Abbey Mastracco wonders what the future holds for New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall. He’s a year away from unrestricted free agent status and there’s no certainty he’ll re-sign with the Devils. Earlier this summer, Hall said he wanted to take his time before reaching a decision but that’s making Devils fans nervous as training camp approaches.

This season could be Taylor Hall’s last with the New Jersey Devils (Photo via NHL Images).

Mastracco feels it is tough to think of the Devils trading Hall in the middle of a playoff run if they don’t have the framework for an extension in place by then. They might be best served to move him for some type of mega-return but they could also keep him for the remainder of the season if they’re in the postseason chase.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Much will depend upon the Devils’ performance this season. He could stic around If the offseason additions of P.K. Subban, Wayne Simmonds, Nikita Gusev, and first-overall pick Jack Hughes significantly improve the club’s overall play. If they struggle again and he still hasn’t re-signed, they could entertain offers leading up to the Feb. 24 trade deadline.

KRUG

BOSTON HERALD: Torey Krug’s future is among Steve Conroy’s half-dozen questions facing the Bruins this season. The club loves his play and he loves being a Bruin, but the cost of re-signing the pending UFA could make him difficult to retain.

Another strong performance like last season could see Krug command between $7-$9 million annually on the open market. While he recently suggested he could accept a little less than market value to stay in Boston, he’ll still be expensive to re-sign.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin believes it’ll be difficult for the Bruins to retain Krug, especially as they still haven’t yet re-signed young defenders Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo. He wonders if they could trade Krug at some point for a top-six forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another solid performance by Krug will only bolster his UFA value.  If he hasn’t re-signed by the trade deadline I think they’ll retain him if they’re still among the Stanley Cup favorites and worry about his contract afterward.