NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 11, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 11, 2022

Leafs great Borje Salming diagnosed with ALS, an update on David Pastrnak’s contract talks, the latest contract signings as the arbitration period winds down, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Borje Salming released a statement yesterday revealing he’s been diagnosed with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He played 16 of his 17 NHL seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1973 to 1989.

Hall of Fame defenseman Borje Salming (NHL.com).

Salming, 71, indicated he’s receiving the best medical care and that there are treatments to slow the disease’s progression. He remains positive and asks the public to respect his privacy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My thoughts are with Salming and his family as he battles ALS. The Hall-of-Famer is one of the greatest players in Leafs history. He’s a pioneer for European hockey players, blazing a trail in the NHL in the 1970s.

Salming holds the Leafs franchise record for career assists (620) and sits fourth with 768 career points. From 1974-75 to 1979-80, he was a four-time finalist for the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman, was named to the First All-Star Team in 1976-77 and to the Second All-Star Team five times.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins general manager Don Sweeney characterized his contract negotiations with David Pastrnak as “ongoing”. He indicated the club is prepared to go into the coming season with the 26-year-old winger unsigned if the two sides cannot agree to a contract extension before then. Pastrnak is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Plenty of time remains for the two sides to reach an agreement on a new deal. Sweeney indicated Pastrnak is still in Europe and expects to get more clarification on a timeline for working out a new contract upon his return. He also said he’s been in regular contact with the winger’s agent.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The Red Wings avoided arbitration with Jake Walman by signing the 26-year-old defenseman to a one-year, one-way contract worth $1.05 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The arbitration period ends today. Of the 26 players who filed this year, all but one (Nashville’s Yakov Trenin) avoided the process by signing new contracts with their respective clubs before their scheduled hearings.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres signed free-agent forward Riley Sheahan to a one-year, $950K contract.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets reached an agreement with forward David Gustafsson on a two-year contract worth an average annual value of $775K at the NHL level. The first season is a two-way deal and becomes one-way for the second season.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Winger Johan Larsson reportedly signed a three-year contract with Swedish Hockey League club Brynas IF. The deal has yet to be officially announced. Larsson, 30, spent 10 seasons with the Minnesota Wild, Buffalo Sabres, Arizona Coyotes and Washington Capitals from 2012-13 to 2021-22.

CAP FRIENDLY: Goaltender Andrew Hammond signed a professional tryout offer with the Florida Panthers.

NHL.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins recently named Chris Butler as a player development coach, Greg Pateryn as a professional scout and Garrett Peters as a global crossover scout.

SPORTSNET: Oilers superfan Ben Stetler died at age six following a battle with cancer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My sincere condolences to Stetler’s family and the Oilers organization.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 3, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 3, 2020

Red Wings, Senators, and Jets could benefit from early NHL draft, plus the latest on Evander Kane, Borje Salming, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports a proposed change to the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery format could improve the Detroit Red Wings’ chances of landing the first-overall pick, which will likely be used to select top prospect Alexis Lafreniere of the QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic. Under the league’s proposal, only one draw would take place instead of three, meaning teams can move up no more than four spots in the draft order.

A handful of clubs could benefit from proposed changes to this year’s NHL Draft Lottery (Photo via NHL.com).

The league would use points percentage based on the standings when the schedule was paused on March 12 to determine the 15 clubs eligible for the lottery and their odds of winning. Under that scenario, the Wings (who have the league’s worst record this season) would fall no lower than second overall. 

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports teams could fall back only one position under the proposed change. The Senators (who also hold the San Jose Sharks’ first-rounder) have the second-worst record and would only fall back to No. 3 and No.4. The Sharks have the third-worst record.

WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck believes the proposal could also benefit the Jets. If the league goes by points percentage to determine the draft order, the Jets would be 12th in the draft order, with an opportunity to move up four spots in the lottery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While most NHL general managers are reportedly against staging the draft before the anticipated July resumption of the schedule, the league is pushing for it in hopes of generating excitement among hockey fans as it gears up for its potential return to action.

It’s believed the league set June 5th as its target date to allow time for preparation. A board of governors’ conference call is reportedly slated for Monday, with a decision expected by Tuesday. 

CALGARY SUN: Flames general manager Brad Treliving said the move toward a possible reopening of the season is good news but cautions the league is still reliant on health authorities to ensure the health and safety of all parties. He also said his players won’t get preferential treatment for COVID-19 screening because the team must follow Alberta’s health and safety guidelines.

TSN: San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane hopes the league and his fellow players do a better job of showcasing themselves when they return to business. “People need to see our faces,” said Kane. “People need to know who we are because, as biased as I may be, I think hockey’s the greatest sport by far on Earth and we don’t get enough credit as players and our league doesn’t get enough respect for what we do.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will require a significant cultural shift within a league and a sport long resistant to change. So many of today’s best players have public personas as bland as unbuttered toast. It could take another generation before we see the changes Kane is calling for. 

TORONTO STAR: Maple Leafs great Borje Salming spoke about his personal experience with the coronavirus. He was hospitalized in mid-March with suspected COVID-19 symptoms after having difficulty breathing. “When you get this, you can’t breathe. And you know when you can’t breathe, you die. So stay home, stay safe. It’s no fun to get it, so I’m lucky I’m home. But you have to be careful.” Salming has since made a full recovery. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Glad to see Salming has recovered. Follow his advice, folks. “This virus is really crazy,” he said. “So, what I wanted to say, is you have to stay home and be safe.”