NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 21, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 21, 2022

Alex Ovechkin reaches 50 goals for the ninth time, the Golden Knights keep their playoff hopes alive while ending those of the Jets, the date for the 2022 Draft Lottery is revealed, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored twice, including his 50th goal of the season, but it wasn’t enough to prevent his club from dropping a 4-3 decision to the Vegas Golden Knights. Shea Theodore tallied the winner in overtime for the Golden Knights (89 points), who moved within two points of the Dallas Stars for the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

Ovechkin, meanwhile, reached an important scoring milestone, joining Hall-of-Famers Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy as the only NHL players to score 50 goals in nine seasons. His Capitals are tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins with 97 points but the Penguins still hold third place in the Metropolitan Division on the basis of regulation plus overtime wins.

The Golden Knights’ win over the Capitals officially eliminated the Winnipeg Jets from playoff contention.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Golden Knights head coach Pete DeBoer raised eyebrows by replacing starting goaltender Robin Lehner with Logan Thompson following the first period with the score tied at one after he gave up just one goal on 13 shots. DeBoer claimed the move was made to shift the momentum during the game.

Connor McDavid scored and collected two assists to lead the Edmonton Oilers over the Dallas Stars 5-2. The Oilers hold a four-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings for second place in the Pacific Division with 96 points while the Stars failed to widen their lead over the Golden Knights. McDavid regained first place in the NHL scoring race with 113 points, two ahead of Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau.

Seattle Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer made 25 saves as his club held on for a 3-2 upset of his former club, the Colorado Avalanche. Kraken rookie Matty Beniers picked up an assist to extend his points streak to four games. With the loss, the Avalanche drop to second place in the overall standings behind the Florida Panthers. Avs center Nazem Kadri returned to action after missing eight games with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Beniers only has four games of NHL experience but he’s not looking out of place with the Kraken. The second-overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft appears to be on his way toward a bright future in Seattle.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat’s 40th goal of the season was also the game-winner as his club nipped the Arizona Coyotes 4-3 in overtime. The Coyotes have dropped eight in a row.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The 2022 NHL Draft Lottery will be held on May 10 at 6:30 PM ET, setting the order for the 16 teams that failed to qualify for the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Central Scouting’s final rankings will be released on May 5 while the annual Scouting Combine is set for May 29 to June 4 in Buffalo.

TSN: Evander Kane’s grievance hearing over the San Jose Sharks’ termination of his contract will require a second day. The date has yet to be determined.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry’s status remains “week-to-week” with a lower-body injury. His right foot appeared to be in a boot cast during their recent annual team photograph.

The Penguins also announced Amanda Kessel will be joining their executive management program. Kessel, an Olympic gold medalist in women’s hockey, is the sister of former Penguin and current Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark is expected to return to the lineup this weekend. He’s been sidelined since last Thursday with an upper-body injury. The Bruins are still waiting on sidelined winger David Pastrnak and defenseman Hampus Lindholm.

MLIVE.COM: Longtime Detroit Red Wings Zamboni driver Al Sobotka was reportedly fired because another employee caught him urinating into a drain used for ice runoff at Little Caesars Arena. He’s filed a lawsuit claiming he was discriminated against due to his age and disability.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 15, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 15, 2022

The Penguins and Lightning clinch postseason berths, Auston Matthews hits the 100-point plateau, NHLPA votes to release findings of Kyle Beach investigation, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Jake Guentzel scored twice and set up two others and Sidney Crosby had a three-point game as they led the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 6-3 victory over the New York Islanders. With the win, the Penguins sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 97 points, securing a playoff spot for the 16th consecutive season. Zdeno Chara scored his first goal of the season for the Islanders while teammate Brock Nelson collected two assists.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel (NHL Images).

The Tampa Bay Lightning clinched a postseason berth by nipping the Anaheim Ducks 4-3. Anthony Cirelli scored in overtime after Nikita Kucherov tied the game for Tampa Bay in the final seconds of regulation. Cirelli, Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn finished the night with two points for the Lightning as they sit in third place in the Atlantic Division with 98 points. Adam Henrique scored twice for the Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy was pulled in the second period after giving up three goals on 13 shots, marking the first time he’s gotten the hook since March 2018. He’s 0-3-1 in his last five starts.

John Tavares collected three assists while William Nylander, Michael Bunting and Ilya Mikheyev each scored two goals as the Toronto Maple Leafs thumped the Washington Capitals 7-3. Auston Matthews picked up two assists to reach 101 points, becoming the third player in Leafs history to reach the 100-point plateau. The Leafs sit in second place in the Atlantic Division with 102 points. John Carlson had a goal and an assist for the Capitals, who hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 92 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews sits fourth among this season’s points leaders and remains in first place in the goal-scoring race with 58. He joins Darryl Sittler and Doug Gilmour as the only Leafs with 100-point seasons.

St. Louis Blues forwards Vladimir Tarasenko and Robert Thomas each collected five points in a 6-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Tarasenko tallied a hat trick and two assists while Thomas had five helpers. Pavel Buchnevich had a goal and two assists while Jordan Binnington got the win with a 35-save effort. With seven straight wins, the Blues sit in third place in the Central Division with 98 points.

Leon Draisaitl scored a hat trick and Mike Smith kicked out 30 shots as the Edmonton Oilers shut out the Nashville Predators 4-0. Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each had two assists for the Oilers as they sit in second place in the Pacific Division with 92 points. The Predators, meanwhile, cling to the first Western Conference wild-card berth with 89 points.

An overtime goal by Frederick Gaudreau lifted the Minnesota Wild to a 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars. Kevin Fiala scored twice for the Wild while Jason Robertson netted both goals for the Stars. The Wild are tied with the Blues with 98 points but hold second place in the Central Division with a game in hand. The Stars, meanwhile, are tied with Nashville but hold the final Western wild-card spot because the Predators have more regulation wins.

The Vegas Golden Knights remain two points back of the Stars after snuffing out the Calgary Flames 6-1. Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson each had a goal and two assists while Logan Thompson made 35 saves for the win. The loss prevented the Flames from clinching a playoff spot. They remain in first place in the Pacific with 99 points, sitting seven up on the second-place Oilers.

Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller picked up five assists in a 7-1 drubbing of the Arizona Coyotes. Quinn Hughes picked up three assists while Vasily Podkolzin and Alex Chiasson each tallied two goals. The Canucks remain in the Western playoff chase with 84 points, five behind the Predators and Stars.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks captain Bo Horvat left the game in the second period after taking an Anton Stralman slapshot off his right ankle. He was seen following the game wearing a walking boot. No word yet on his status but his potential absence from the Canucks’ remaining games could be a big blow for their postseason hopes. Head coach Bruce Boudreau remains optimistic over his captain’s condition.

The Ottawa Senators netted three unanswered second-period goals to defeat the Boston Bruins 3-2. Tim Stutzle led the way for the Senators with a goal and two assists while Anton Forsberg made 40 saves. Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark left the game with an injury following the first period after taking a shot to the mask. No further word on his condition following the game. With 95 points, the Bruins remain three points ahead of the Capitals for the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

Detroit Red Wings goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic turned in a 46-save shutout to upset the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0. Moritz Seider, Adam Erne and Filip Zadina were the goal scorers. The loss leaves the Metropolitan Division-leading Hurricanes just two points up on the second-place New York Rangers with 104 points.

The league-leading Colorado Avalanche picked up their eighth straight win by beating the New Jersey Devils 3-1. Pavel Francouz made 26 saves and Artturi Lehkonen had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche, who hold a four-point lead over the Florida Panthers in the overall standings with 114 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche need just two more wins to tie their single-season franchise record of 118 points.

Patrick Kane had a goal and two assists and Alex DeBrincat collected three helpers as the Chicago Blackhawks snapped an eight-game losing skid with a 5-4 victory over the San Jose Sharks to officially eliminate the latter from playoff contention. DeBrincat tallied the winning goal in the shootout as the Blackhawks handed the Sharks their eighth straight loss.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: The NHL Players’ Association executive board voted yesterday to release the findings of an independent investigation into the association’s handling of former Chicago Blackhawks winger Kyle Beach’s sexual assault allegations against the club’s video coach Brad Aldrich in 2010. PA executive director Donald Fehr was contacted twice about Beach’s allegations against Aldrich. Fehr said he couldn’t recall the conversations but didn’t deny that they had taken place.

THE ATHLETIC: Anaheim Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek defended Ducks center Trevor Zegras’ lacrosse-style goals he’s scored this season, which drew criticism from some circles amid the widespread attention and praise those goals have garnered.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some “old school” critics can’t handle the fact that the game, like everything in life, is evolving and changing. Zegras’ goals aren’t against the rules and require a certain amount of skill to pull off. His critics accuse him of disrespecting the game or “hotdogging” but what he’s really doing is using creativity to score goals, which is what the game is about. Those supposed gatekeepers of hockey should be appreciative of Zegras’ skill and the positive attention it’s bringing to the NHL in its efforts to grow the game while entertaining the current fans.

ESPN.COM: Minnesota Wild center Ryan Hartman is flattered by the outpouring of donations to help him pay his $4,500.00 fine for recently flipping off Edmonton Oilers winger Evander Kane in a recent game. He indicated he can afford to pay off the fine and will donate the money sent by the fans to a pediatric hospital located two blocks from the Wild’s home arena.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Former Minnesota North Stars forward Tom McCarthy passed away yesterday at age 61. McCarthy spent nine seasons in the NHL from 1979-80 to 1987-88, spending seven seasons with the North Stars and two with the Boston Bruins. He tallied 179 goals and 399 points in 460 games before injuries cut short his career, including a career-best 39 goals and 70 points in 66 games in 1983-84.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to McCarthy’s family, friends and former teammates.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 25, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 25, 2021

The Panthers tied a winning-streak record, McDavid and Draisaitl reach scoring milestones, Alex Ovechkin tallies his most assists through 20 games, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers picked up their 11th straight home win to start the season as they downed the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1. Aaron Ekblad tallied in overtime as the Panthers tied the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks for the longest season-opening home win streak at 11-0-0. The victory also propelled them into first overall with 31 points.

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (NHL Images).

Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid each scored two goals and collected two assists to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 5-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Zack Kassian also chipped in a goal and two assists while the Coyotes Clayton Keller had a three-point performance. Draisaitl has a league-leading 20 goals and 40 points, joining Wayne Gretzky as the only Oiler to score 20 goals in less than 20 games. McDavid, meanwhile, netted his 400th career assist. Earlier in the day, the Coyotes placed goaltender Carter Hutton in COVID protocol.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Draisaitl maintains a four-point lead over McDavid in the NHL scoring race.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin collected three assists in a 6-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Ovechkin (33 points) has 18 assists in 20 games, exceeding his previous best (17) in 2008-09. He joins Mario Lemieux, Johnny Bucyk, Gordie Howe and Martin St. Louis as the only players’ age 36 or older to reach at least 18 assists in their first 20 games of the season. Capitals defenseman Justin Schultz left the game with an upper-body injury. Canadiens rookie Cole Caufield potted his first goal of the season.

Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri had two points to extend his points streak to 10 games to help his club beat the Anaheim Ducks 5-2. Kadri has netted 21 points during that streak. Sonny Milano scored both goals for the Ducks. Earlier in the day, the Ducks listed Adam Henrique as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

The Toronto Maple Leafs netted four goals in the second period on route to a 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Auston Matthews and John Tavares each had a goal and an assist while Rasmus Sandin chipped in three helpers. The Leafs have won seven of their last eight. Earlier in the day, the Kings placed forward Andreas Athanasiou in COVID protocol.

A four-goal first period powered the Boston Bruins over the Buffalo Sabres 5-1. David Pastrnak, Charlie Coyle and Nick Foligno each collected two points for the Bruins, handing the Sabres their fourth straight loss. Bruins netminder (and former Sabre) Linus Ullmark didn’t start as he’s nursing a minor undisclosed injury but served as a backup in this contest.

Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala scored in the shootout as his club nipped the New Jersey Devils 3-2. Wild goalie Cam Talbot made 40 saves in regulation and overtime and was perfect in the shootout. The Devils overcame a 2-0 deficit on goals by Pavel Zacha and Yegor Sherangovich with Nico Hischier assisting on both.

A 36-save performance by Tristan Jarry carried the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks 4-1. The Penguins have won four straight while the Canucks have dropped seven of their last eight contests.

Elvis Merzlikins kicked out 36 shots for his first shutout of the season as the Columbus Blue Jackets blanked the Winnipeg Jets 3-0, spoiling Pierre-Luc Dubois’ return to Columbus for the first time since getting traded to Winnipeg in January.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets’ usually reliable offense has dried up of late, managing just four goals in their last four games. Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets continue to exceed expectations, winning seven of their last 10 contests.

The Detroit Red Wings got 35 saves from Alex Nedeljkovic to snap a four-game losing streak by doubling up the St. Louis Blues 4-2. Adam Erne broke a 2-2 tie while Robby Fabbri had a goal and an assist. Blues center Brayden Schenn returned to action after missing nine games with an upper-body injury. Earlier in the day, the Wings placed defenseman Danny DeKeyser in COVID protocol.

Chris Kreider and Kevin Rooney each scored twice to lead the New York Rangers to a 4-1 win over the New York Islanders, who had seven players in COVID protocol. The Isles have lost seven straight games. Adding to their misery, defenseman Noah Dobson is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Arthur Staple shot down a rumor claiming Isles general manager Lou Lamoriello asked the league for a postponement. NHL sources said they didn’t believe any such request came from Lamoriello. The league continues to monitor the Isles’ situation closely. Yesterday was the first time in a week the club had no new COVID cases.

Max Pacioretty collected an assist as the Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Nashville Predators 5-2. Pacioretty missed 17 games with a fractured foot. Filip Forsberg scored both Predators’ goals as he returned from a nine-game absence with an upper-body injury.

The Seattle Kraken got 35 saves from Philipp Grubauer and a late goal in the third period by Marcus Johansson to upset the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1. Jared McCann tallied the tying goal on a power play in the second period for the Kraken (6-12-1), giving them their second straight win. The Hurricanes (14-3-1) sit two points behind the first-overall Panthers.

A three-point effort by Timo Meier (one goal, two assists) gave the San Jose Sharks a 6-3 win over the Ottawa Senators. Sharks forward Nick Bonino also scored in what was his 700th career game. Brady Tkachuk had a goal and an assist for the Senators.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 4, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – October 4, 2021

Check out the latest Bruins speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment Fluto Shinzawa was asked about the odds of the Boston Bruins trading for a second-line center and the cost of acquiring someone like the San Jose Sharks Tomas Hertl. He believes the Bruins will turn to outside help if they can’t suitably address that issue internally. Someone like Hertl could cost at least a first-round pick and a prospect.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s also going to be the cost for every team interested in Hertl if the Sharks decide to move him before the March 21 trade deadline. The Bruins could get outbid by teams carrying a deeper prospect pool.

Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (NHL Images)

Shinzawa expects the Bruins will keep the door open for Tuukka Rask. The veteran goaltender’s recovery from offseason hip surgery, how much he’ll seek on a new contract, the club’s position in the standings and the playoff of Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman are among the variables to be considered.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ullmark’s shaky preseason has some Bruins followers concerned and looking forward to Rask’s return. His regular-season play, however, could be key to Rask’s future with the Bruins.

One reader asked if the Bruins might attempt to trade Ullmark for a second-line center if Swayman plays well and Rask is healthy. “No chance,” replied Shinzawa, pointing out the 28-year-old old Ullmark has a full no-movement clause for the next two seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Bruins decide to bring back Rask for another season, Ullmark becomes his backup and Swayman gets demoted regardless of performance because he’s waiver-exempt this season.

It’s doubtful the Bruins pursue Jack Eichel. There are too many questions about the health of the Buffalo Sabres captain. “It would be irresponsible to give up assets if he is at significant risk of a bad outcome,” writes Shinzawa.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That applies to every other team that expressed some interest in acquiring Eichel. They could all be waiting until he finally undergoes disc replacement or neck fusion surgery and makes a full recovery before making serious bids for him.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 19, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 19, 2021

The Blues express interest in Zdeno Chara, the factor that enticed Joe Thornton to the Florida Panthers, breakout candidates for 2021-22 and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford reports a league source said the St. Louis Blues expressed interest in unrestricted free agent defenseman Zdeno Chara. The former Boston Bruins captain spent last season with the Washington Capitals.

Free agent defenseman Zdeno Chara (NHL Images).

Rutherford believes the Blues landing Chara is a long shot. A source said the 44-year-old blueliner has yet to decide where he’ll play this season. His family remains in Boston and he intends to remain close to them this season. The option remains for Chara to return to the Capitals for another season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bally Sports Midwest’s Andy Strickland tweeted he was told the Blues aren’t an option for Chara. If he plays, his focus is to stay in the East to be close to his family.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers general manager Bill Zito credited his players for helping to lure Joe Thornton to the club. The 42-year-old center recently signed a one-year deal with the Panthers. Thornton cited how good the team looks and how well they played last season. He believes they’re close to Stanley Cup contention. Zito also said Panthers coach Joel Quenneville and Roberto Luongo spoke with Thornton.

ESPN.COM: Blues winger Pavel Buchnevich, Vancouver Canucks forward Conor Garland and Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark are among Greg Wyshynski’s breakout candidates for 2021-22.

NHL.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets signed Cole Sillinger to a three-year entry-level contract. Son of former NHL center Mike Sillinger, the 18-year-old was selected 12th overall in the 2021 NHL Draft.

LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights will be participating in next month’s Rookie Faceoff tournament. Their rookie squad will face off against those from the Arizona Coyotes, San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings from Sept. 17-20 in Arizona. There was no tournament last season because of the shortened schedule and lack of a preseason.

SPORTSNET: Wayne Gretzky recently launches his first NFT collectibles on the new DraftKings platform.










Reviewing Some Recent Notable NHL Trades & Free-Agent Signings

Reviewing Some Recent Notable NHL Trades & Free-Agent Signings

July 25 to 31 was a busy week in the NHL following the entry-draft weekend with the annual free-agent market opening on July 28.

I noted the top UFA signings of the opening day of free agency for Bleacher Report. Here’s a quick look at several other notable free-agent signings, plus some interesting trades that caught my eye over the past week.

July 26: Florida Panthers re-sign Sam Bennett to a four-year, $17.7 million contract.

Bennett quickly meshed well with the Panthers following his acquisition from the Calgary Flames at the trade deadline. He’ll provide them with solid second-line depth in their quest to become a Cup contender.

July 27: Chicago Blackhawks acquire Marc-Andre Fleury from Vegas Golden Knights.

The Golden Knights had to shed salary to improve their roster depth. With a younger Robin Lehner under contract for four more years at $5 million per season, the 37-year-old Fleury and the remaining year of his contract ($7 million) had to go. Unfortunately, he found out about it on Twitter before the club could inform him. His omission of team owner Bill Foley and general manager Kelly McCrimmon in his farewell statement to the team and the fans spoke volumes.

Blackhawks acquire Tyler Johnson from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Lightning shed Johnson’s contract for the next three seasons. In return, they get the contract of permanently sidelined defenseman Brent Seabrook to put on LTIR. In other words, Lightning GM Julien BriseBois immediately shed $5 million from his books and garnered another $6.875 million in cap wiggle room if necessary.

Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Points (NHL Images).

July 28: Lightning re-sign Brayden Point to an eight-year, $76 million contract.

It’s a big investment by the Lightning but that’s the price to be paid for keeping a core player who is becoming one of the best centers in the NHL. He’s deadly during the regular season and seems to find another gear when the playoffs roll around.

Starting in 2022-23, the Lightning has almost $45 million invested in just five players. Those five, however, are Point, former league MVP and scoring champion Nikita Kucherov, former Norris and Conn Smythe winner Victor Hedman, current Smythe winner and former Vezina winner Andrei Vasilevskiy, and team captain and former Richard winner Steven Stamkos. They’re the core that helped win back-to-back Stanley Cups. You can argue they’re paying too much to keep that group intact but at least they’ve got true value for those salary-cap dollars.

Colorado Avalanche acquires goaltender Darcy Kuemper from the Arizona Coyotes.

Avalanche GM Joe Sakic turned immediately to the Coyotes and Kuemper after starter Philipp Grubauer signed with the Seattle Kraken. The 31-year-old netminder has a year left on his contract with an affordable $4.5 million cap hit. He’s a terrific performer but has been plagued by injuries in recent years. Kuemper must stay healthy throughout this season if the Avs hope to win the Stanley Cup next June.

Calgary Flames sign Blake Coleman to a six-year, $29.4 million contract.

Coleman was an effective and versatile checking-line forward for the Tampa Bay Lightning in their back-to-back championship runs. His style of play should fit well with head coach Darryl Sutter’s system of grinding defensive hockey. Still, investing that much for six years on a middle-six forward who turns 30 this season could prove costly in the final half of the deal when his skills start to decline.

Boston Bruins sign Linus Ullmark to a four-year, $20 million contract.

Ullmark put up decent stats during his four years with the sad-sack Buffalo Sabres. Whether he’ll become a reliable starter on a better club in Boston remains to be seen. It’s an expensive gamble that could go sour. This signing also raises questions about the future of long-time starter Tuukka Rask once he returns from offseason hip surgery in February.

July 29: Columbus Blue Jackets re-sign Zach Werenski to a six-year, $57.5 million contract extension.

After seeing so many core players depart in recent years, the Blue Jackets had to ensure they could keep Werenski in the fold. The 24-year-old is an excellent puck-moving defenseman but they overpaid to keep him in Columbus. His $9.583 million AAV is higher than that of Colorado Avalanche rearguard Cale Makar ($9 million), who was a Calder Trophy winner in 2019-20 and a Norris Trophy finalist last season.