NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 14, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 14, 2020

The latest on the league’s 2020-21 plans plus updates on Brandon Saad, Brent Seabrook and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

RETURN-TO-PLAY NEWS

TVA SPORTS: Renaud Lavoie reports NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said yesterday the league’s goal remains to start the season on Jan. 1. “But if it has to be postponed for a week or two, it won’t change our plans,” he said.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly (NHL.com).

Lavoie believes it’s now impossible for the league to stage a full 82-game season. Daly wouldn’t confirm this but acknowledged the possibility of a shortened schedule.

Daly indicated they’re studying all financial models but the priority remains to ensure the health of the players. A baseball-style schedule that would reduce travel and the risks associated with COVID-19, including a Canadian division, would make the most sense.

Most observers believe the season will be at least 48 games. Lavoie feels a 60-game schedule seems logical, which would mean a club like the Montreal Canadiens would play 10 games against each team in the Canadian division.

Lavoie noted team owners want to play in their own arenas rather than in hub cities because they can generate more revenue.

The elephant in the room is whether the players would be paid in proportion to the number of games played in 2020-21. It was agreed under the new CBA they would receive 72 percent of their salaries for ’20-’21 regardless of the number of games played. Daly was reluctant to discuss the possibility of the league requesting the players be paid on a prorated basis, adding the priority is working toward a solution together to open the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An 82-game schedule is a fantasy. Most of the speculation ranges from as low as 48 games to as many as 72, though the sweet spot could be in the 60-68 game span.

Starting up on Jan. 1 could be difficult given the narrow time frame the NHL has to hammer out what next season will look like. Players also have to return to their teams and a training-camp timetable must be sorted out. I wouldn’t be surprised if the start of the season is pushed ahead to mid – or late January.

Reports yesterday indicated the NHL Players Association was against prorating players’ salaries, but there was talk the league could seek another deferral of a portion of their salaries. That would be more palatable for the players as they would still get their money but at a later date. How much of a deferral and for how long remains to be seen.

OTHER HEADLINES

THE SCORE: Brandon Saad said he’s hoping to remain with the Colorado Avalanche beyond his current contract. The 28-year-old winger was acquired last month from the Chicago Blackhawks. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will depend on how well Saad performs with the Avalanche next season, as well as how much he’ll seek for salary on his next contract and for how long. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $55.1 million invested in 12 players for 2021-22, with Gabriel Landeskog, Cale Makar, Philipp Grubauer and Tyson Jost among their other notable free agents. New deals for Landeskog and Makar alone will each up a considerable chunk of their cap space.

THE ATHLETIC: Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook told Pierre LeBrun he intends to play next season and silence the doubters. The 35-year-old blueliner’s performance has declined in part due to multiple injuries, but he’s resumed skating and has no plans to retire.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That would also eliminate the possibility of the Blackhawks placing Seabrook and his $6.875 million cap hit for 2020-21 on long-term injury reserve in order to bolster their roster via free agency.

LAS VEGAS SUN: Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore has created a fund in honor of his late grandmother who succumbed to breast cancer. The fund will pay for preventative cancer care for women without insurance coverage.

SPORTSNET: The Ottawa Senators signed forward Micheal Haley to a one-year, two-way contract.

 










NHL Playoffs: These 10 Players Are Shining In The Stanley Cup Spotlight

NHL Playoffs: These 10 Players Are Shining In The Stanley Cup Spotlight

 










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!

 










The Best NHL Players You Didn’t Know Played For Your Favorite Team: Central Division

The Best NHL Players You Didn’t Know Played For Your Favorite Team: Central Division

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 25, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 25, 2018

Golden Knights re-sign Shea Theodore, Brian Gionta retires, Islanders sign Luca Sbisa, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights have re-signed defenseman Shea Theodore to a seven-year, $36.4-million contract.

Vegas Golden Knights re-signed Shea Theodore to a seven-year contract (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for the assumption Theodore would get a short-term bridge deal. The annual average value of this deal is $5.2 million, which is a considerable raise over his entry-level contract.

The 23-year-old defenseman was a restricted free agent. He’s a skilled puck-moving blueliner with considerable upside who’s expected to develop into a reliable top-pairing rearguard. If he reaches his full potential this new contract could become a wise long-term investment by the Golden Knights. 

SPORTSNET: Forward Brian Gionta announced his retirement yesterday after 16 NHL seasons with the New Jersey Devils, Montreal Canadiens, Buffalo Sabres and Boston Bruins.

The 5’7″ winger debuted with the Devils in 2001-02 and helped them win the Stanley Cup in 2003. Gionta went on to captain the Canadiens and Sabres. He had seven 20-plus goal campaigns, including a career-high 48 goals in 2005-06, finishing with 291 goals and 304 assists for 595 points in 1,026 career games. He has accepted a developmental coach role with the Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best of luck to Gionta in his future endeavors. 

THE SCORE: The New York Islanders signed free-agent defenseman Luca Sbisa to a one-year, $1.5-million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sbisa was probably hoping for a more lucrative contract after playing a top-four role during the 2018 playoffs with the Vegas Golden Knights. If he pans out for the Isles this season he could earned a better contract with them. 

STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues forward Robby Fabbri is listed as day-to-day with a groin injury.

CBS SPORTS: The Florida Panthers released center Mark Letestu from his professional tryout offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline speculated Letestu could get a two-way contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

TSN: The Edmonton Oilers released forward Scottie Upshall from his PTO.

NBC SPORTS: The city of Seattle is one step closer toward an NHL expansion franchise after the city council “unanimously approved plans for a privately funded $700 million renovation of KeyArena.”

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers introduced their new mascot “Gritty” yesterday, generating considerable reaction on social media.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Behold! Good ol’ fashioned nightmare fuel!

 

 











NHL Rumor Mill – September 22, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – September 22, 2018

Recent updates on the status of the four remaining unsigned RFAs in your NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET/THE HOCKEY NEWS: Luke Fox and Jared Clinton recently updated the status of Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander, Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore, Anaheim Ducks winger Nick Ritchie and New Jersey Devils forward Miles Wood. The four are the final remaining unsigned restricted free agents.

No sign of an end to the contract standoff between William Nylander and the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo via NHL Images)

Nylander is the biggest name on the list. Fox notes the young Swede’s initial ask was $8 million per season while Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas would apparently settle for something comparable to the $6 million annual average value of Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers. 

Nylander remains in Sweden while Dubas remains patient. Fox believes the longer this goes the greater likelihood they’ll agree to a bridge deal. With Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner due for next contracts next summer, Larkin notes the Leafs must tread carefully, as Nylander’s new contract could set the parameters for negotiations with the other two.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The longer this standoff continues the more speculation could arise suggesting the Leafs consider trading Nylander. Dubas has said he doesn’t intend to go that route.

Given Nylander has no leverage other than to not report, the Leafs GM can afford to be patient, especially if the team isn’t significantly hurt by his absence. If this standoff drags into the regular season, however, it will raise questions over Nylander’s long-term future with the Leafs, especially if he ends up settling for a bridge contract.

The recent re-signings of Winnipeg’s Josh Morrissey and Edmonton’s Darnell Nurse have have not affected Theodore’s negotiations with the Golden Knights. Fox cites John Shannon’s Sept. 17 tweet indicating the two sides remains no closer to an agreement. Clinton suggests St. Louis Blues’ defenseman Colton Parayko’s contract ($5.5-million AAV for five years) could be along the lines of what the Theodore camp is seeking. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Golden Knights have over $9.4 million in projected salary-cap space, giving them more than enough room to re-sign Theodore to a Parayko-style deal. However, I think they’d prefer something comparable to Morrissey or Nurse because of his limited body of work.

Theodore still has considerable potential but only had parts of two NHL seasons on his resume before joining the Golden Knights. GM George McPhee might prefer evaluating his development over the next two years before committing to a more lucrative deal.

Fox also cites reports indicating a lack of progress in talks between the Ducks and Ritchie. He feels a short-term contract is Ritchie’s best bet, while Clinton believes the Ducks want to see more than they have out of the winger before investing long term. 

Fox and Clinton both noted reports indicating talks toward a short-term deal between the Devils and Wood broke down following the start of training camp. So far, there’s no indication they’ve picked up. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ritchie and Wood have potential to become better NHL players. However, they aren’t as valuable to their respective teams as Nylander and Theodore are to theirs, which is the only real leverage the latter two have.