NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 2, 2023
NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 2, 2023
The Penguins hire Kyle Dubas as team president, Leafs introduce Brad Treliving as their new GM, Patrick Kane undergoes hip procedure plus the latest on the Stanley Cup Finalists and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins yesterday announced the hiring of former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas as their new president of hockey operations.
There is no word yet on who will become the Penguins’ new general manager. Three current assistant general managers (Tampa Bay’s Mathiew Darche, Dallas’ Steve Greeley and Seattle’s Jason Botterill) are believed in the running.
There’s speculation Jason Spezza could be a candidate. Spezza worked last season with Dubas as a special assistant. He quit that role after Dubas was fired by the Leafs.
During his introductory press conference yesterday, Dubas indicated he’ll be handling the role of Penguins general manager until July while he searches for someone to fill that role permanently.
Dubas indicated he’ll try to meet with goaltender Tristan Jarry, who is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He said that winning the Metropolitan Division is a top priority and has no plans to replace head coach Mike Sullivan, who’s signed through 2026-27.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those aren’t the only issues facing Dubas with the Penguins.
He and whoever he hires as GM must build up the roster depth around aging stars Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. They must also rebuild their depleted prospect pool.
Dubas must also decide whether he’ll keep his club’s 2023 first-round pick (14th overall) and use to to select a promising young player or attempt to trade it for more immediate roster help. While the Penguins have over $20 million in cap space this summer, he should still attempt to create more cap flexibility by finding a way to shed the contracts of Jeff Carter and Mikael Granlund.
THE SCORE: The Toronto Maple Leafs formally introduced Brad Treliving as their new general manager to the Toronto media yesterday.
Among Treliving’s priorities is signing Leafs superstar Auston Matthews to a contract extension. He also intends to meet with Sheldon Keefe to discuss his future as Leafs head coach. Like Matthews, Keefe has a year remaining on this contract.
Treliving also addressed the notion of trading one of the Leafs “core four” forwards of Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander and captain John Tavares. He didn’t rule out a trade but also sounded like he’d be fine with heading into next season with those four in the lineup.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, Treliving’s going to evaluate everything before making any big decisions. That’s understandable as he’s just taking over and needs time to consider all his options and what might work best for the Maple Leafs.
Whatever Treliving wants to do will require the blessing of team president Brendan Shanahan, who reportedly would prefer to give the core four and Keefe another opportunity to make a run for the Stanley Cup. It’ll be interesting to see how things unfold in the coming weeks.
SPORTSNET: Free agent winger Patrick Kane underwent hip resurfacing surgery on Thursday. His recovery is four-to-six months which could see him miss training camp in September but could see his return to action early in the 2023-24 season.
Kane’s agent, Pat Brisson, said his client is expected to make a full recovery. It’s not immediately clear how that surgery will affect the 34-year-old winger’s value in the free-agent market when it opens on July 1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interested clubs could take a wait-and-see approach. Some might attempt to leverage his surgery to sign Kane to an affordable one-year “show me” contract with the promise of a more lucrative extension if he plays well following his return to action.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Turning to the Stanley Cup Finalists, Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone is held in high regard by GM Kelly McCrimmon, head coach Bruce Cassidy and his teammates. McCrimmon calls him “the straw that stirs the drink.”
DAILY FACEOFF: Golden Knights goaltender Adin Hill’s performance in the 2023 playoffs will earn him a significant pay raise over his current contract. He could get a three or four-year deal worth between $4 million and $5 million annually.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hill is completing a two-year contract with an average annual value of $2.175 million. He’s due to become a UFA on July 1.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Meanwhile, Panthers head coach Paul Maurice has maintained a simple motto for his players: “Work your ass off and have fun.” He’s also let his guard down from time to time and allowed his players to see him having fun as well.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers have been a “loosey-goosey” bunch throughout this postseason because they’ve been the underdog against more heavily-favored opponents. When you’re not under as much pressure to succeed as your opponent, it can work in your favor. We’ll find out soon enough if that will help carry the Panthers over the Golden Knights in the upcoming Stanley Cup Final.
THE SCORE: Good news for Vancouver Canucks fans as Elias Pettersson’s agent believes contract extension talks will start this summer. Pettersson is a year away from becoming a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. His current average annual value is $7.35 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pettersson will be due a substantial pay raise on a long-term contract. The 24-year-old center is coming off a career-best 102-point season, becoming the first Canuck to reach the 100-point plateau since Daniel Sedin in 2010-11.
TVA SPORTS: Montreal Canadiens winger Juraj Slafkovsky, 19, graduated from high school on Wednesday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The past year-and-a-half has been a whirlwind of achievements for young Slafkovsky. He was named the MVP of the 2022 Men’s Olympic Hockey tournament helping Slovakia win the bronze medal, became the first-overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, and made his NHL debut with the Montreal Canadiens in 2022-23 before a knee injury cut short his season.
SPORTSNET: The NHL and NHL Players Association reached an agreement on a one-summer trial arrangement amending the collective bargaining agreement to allow for limited on-ice training from coaching staff in the offseason. The current rule stipulates that clubs are not allowed to have coaches or hockey operations staff participate in on-ice offseason training sessions.
This comes after the Vancouver Canucks were fined $50,000.00 in May for violating the CBA as they hosted on-ice training sessions with Daniel and Henrik Sedin, who also hold player development roles within the organization. This penalty will not be rescinded by this trial agreement.
THE MERCURY NEWS: Long-time San Jose Sharks radio play-by-play man Dan Rusanowsky is the latest recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster. Sports journalist Mark Mulvoy was also honored with the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for excellence in hockey journalism.