NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 30, 2020
The New York Rangers will buy out Henrik Lundqvist, Sabres GM Kevyn Adams addresses Jack Eichel trade rumors, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NEW YORK POST: The Rangers are expected to announce the contract buyout of Henrik Lundqvist later today. The 38-year-old goaltender spent his entire 15 NHL seasons with the Rangers. He won the Vezina Trophy in 2011-12, backstopped the Blueshirts to the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, three Eastern Conference Final appearances in four years, and set franchise records with 459 wins, 64 shutouts and 61 playoff victories.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The buyout will mark the end of an era for the Rangers. Lundqvist was the face of the Blueshirts through most of his tenure and the greatest goalie in franchise history. All that’s missing from his resume is a Stanley Cup, though it certainly wasn’t due to lack of effort on his part.
Lundqvist’s performance declined over the last couple of seasons, losing the starter’s job in 2019-20 as the Rangers gave more playing time to Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev. He has only a year left on his contract (with a hefty annual value of $8.5 million) but it’s clear the Rangers aren’t willing to carry three goalies next season.
We all knew the buyout was coming but it’s still a sad end to Lundqvist’s long career with the Rangers. There could be interest from other clubs but I daresay they’ll want him in a backup/mentor role.
WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams shot down recent trade speculation swirling around team captain Jack Eichel. Adams acknowledged receiving phone calls from other GMs but indicated they were just asking questions. “It’s something that I want to make very clear that we have no intention, and we’re not shopping Jack or talking to teams looking to do anything with Jack,” said Adams.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Adams is new on the job so rival general managers are going to inquire about his plans, especially for his top players. It’s always possible a GM could call with an offer for Eichel too good to pass up, but I don’t think that offer exists for Adams. Unless Eichel asks to be traded (and his agent recently said that hasn’t happened), the Sabres aren’t trading him.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Tampa Bay Lightning arrived home yesterday and celebrated their Stanley Cup championship with family, some sponsors and select fans at Amelie Arena. The Lightning won the Cup on Monday night with a 2-0 win over the Dallas Stars in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.
NHL.COM: The order of selection for the 2020 NHL Draft has been released. The draft will be held on Oct. 6 and 7.
THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators GM David Poile said unrestricted free agents Craig Smith and Mikael Granlund won’t be coming back.
NEWSDAY: New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello said the club will play its home games next season at Nassau Coliseum. They are expected to move into their new arena at Belmont Park for the 2021-22 season.
SPORTSNET: The 2020 Spengler Cup has been canceled because of COVID-19 concerns. The invitational tournament is held during the December holidays and is made up of mostly Europe-based players.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Many of those players are former NHLers now playing for European teams. The Christmas holidays won’t be the same for me without the Spengler Cup.