NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 20, 2020
Wayne Gretzky believes the season will resume, plus the latest on Cam Talbot, Evgeny Svechnikov, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
SPORTSNET: Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky believes the NHL will be able to resume the 2019-20 schedule later this summer. “I really believe somehow, someway, that the leadership in this country and in Canada, that we’re going to figure this out,” Gretzky said. “And I really believe that we’ll see hockey and some sort of other sports in June, July and August, albeit in a different way, but I really see it coming to fruition. I think it’s going to happen.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If there’s any possible chance of resuming the schedule, crowning a Stanley Cup champion, and recouping some of their revenue lost from the current pandemic shutdown, the league and the NHL Players’ Association will give it due consideration. The logistics will be difficult, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Ultimately, the course of this pandemic will be the deciding factor.
Goaltender Cam Talbot believes he’s proven his worth after salvaging his NHL career with a solid bounce-back performance with the Calgary Flames this season. However, his future with the Flames remains uncertain.
Talbot, 32, is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. The Flames can afford to re-sign him, but his value could be driven up by other teams bidding for his services this summer.
CBC.CA: UFAs like Talbot, however, could find lucrative new contracts difficult to come by in this year’s free-agent market. The same goes for the top restricted free agents. NHL player agent Allan Walsh said it’s too early to tell how the market will be affected by the current shutdown of the schedule because of coronavirus concerns.
“When I talk to GMs, when I talk to people at the NHLPA, when I talk to players, when I talk to coaches, no one has answers. No one. No one knows what the market is going to look like,” Walsh said. He added there cannot be free agency until the upper limit of the salary cap for next season is established.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s ongoing speculation the league and the PA will agree to an artificial cap of at least $81.5 million for next season. While that will make things difficult for cap-strapped clubs, it won’t be as devastating to teams and pending free agents as a reduced cap would be. Most of the best players will still get healthy raises, but perhaps not as much as they would’ve had the cap risen to the original projection of $84 million to $88 million.
THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings forward Evgeny Svechnikov is hoping for a shot at establishing himself as a full-time NHL player. The 23-year-old has appeared in 20 games with the Wings over the past three seasons but struggled to stick in part because of injuries and inconsistency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Svechnikov’s situation could be worth watching. Perhaps he’ll be shopped in the off-season if Wings management feels he’s not progressing as hoped.
CBS SPORTS: Defenseman Artyom Sergeyev has informed KHL team Salavat Yulaev Ufa that he will sign with the Florida Panthers when his contract expires at the end of April.