NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 18, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 18, 2020

The Jets and Dustin Byfuglien agree to mutual contract termination, the Blue Jackets re-sign Joonas Korpisalo, neutral-site speculation and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets and Dustin Byfuglien agreed to a mutual termination of his contract. The move brings an end to the dispute between Jets management and the veteran defenseman over his injury status. It resulted in his suspension without pay for missing training camp and his subsequent season-ending ankle surgery that took place without informing management. Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff maintains the situation remains largely a private matter between the two sides but acknowledged it was emotional.

Dustin Byfuglien’s days with the Winnipeg Jets are over (Photo via NHL Images).

Byfuglien has forfeited the $14 million in actual salary remaining on his contract. He was slated to earn $8 million this season and $6 million in 2020-21. He’s not spoken publicly about the situation or his future plans.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can read the entire timeline of this saga here. With Byfuglien’s contract off the books for next season, Cap Friendly indicates the Jets have over $65.9 million invested in 13 players for next season, with all of their core players signed. That should provide Cheveldayoff with some wiggle room to bolster his blueline.

As for Byfuglien, there’s already speculation over potential destinations if he continues his NHL career. I’ll have more in the Rumors section.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets re-signed Joonas Korpisalo to a two-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $2.8 million. The 25-year-old goaltender will earn $2.2 million in actual salary next season and $3.4 million in 2021-22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a reasonable contract for Korpisalo, who’s coming off a one-year, $1.125-million deal. Given the uncertainty over next season’s salary cap, it’s probably a wise decision on his part to take that deal now, rather than risk a lower payday. He’s eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in 2022.

Fellow Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins is also a restricted free agent at season’s end, but The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline believes he’ll get a similar deal. Portzline noted there was speculation suggesting the Jackets made Merzlikins a three-year offer, but the netminder denied that report last month.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues re-signed MacKenzie MacEachern to a two-year, one-way contract worth $900K per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blues GM Doug Armstrong isn’t wasting time getting some business done during the pandemic shutdown. The MacEachern contract is the third deal he’s signed in as many days, inking Sammy Blais on Wednesday and Marco Scandella on Thursday. The Blues now have over $79.4 million tied up in 20 players, with defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and Vince Dunn to re-sign.

SPORTSNET: New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu admitted he’s had discussions with the NHL about staging neutral-site games in Manchester if the league returns to action in a reduced capacity this summer. “There is truth to that,” he said. “I have had discussions about that. Don’t know whether it’s going to happen, but we are talking about it.”

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell and his wife bought approximately 500 lunches for local sanitation workers in recognition of their efforts during this pandemic.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 13, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 13, 2019

The Panthers will retire Roberto Luongo’s number, the Hurricanes re-sign Don Waddell, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Roberto Luongo will become the first player in Florida Panthers history to have his number retired. The ceremony will be held on March 7, 2020, before a game against the Montreal Canadiens.

The Florida Panthers will retire Roberto Luongo’s number during a ceremony in March 2020 (Photo via NHL Images).

Luongo retired in June after 20 NHL seasons. He “ranks second in NHL history in games played by a goaltender (1,044), third in wins (489) and ninth in shutouts (77). He is one of only three goaltenders in NHL history to have played in 1,000 games.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A worthy honor for future Hall-of-Famer Luongo, who spent over half of his career with the Panthers. He’s their franchise leader for goalies in games played (572), wins (230), and shutouts (38).

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes yesterday signed general manager and team president Don Waddell to a three-year contract extension. Waddell recently raised eyebrows by interviewing with the Minnesota Wild for their vacant GM role.

Waddell also said unrestricted free agent winger Justin Williams remains undecided over his plans.

THE ATHLETIC: With Waddell out of the running for the Wild GM job, the front-runners appear to be “former Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall, current Pittsburgh Penguins assistant GM Bill Guerin and current New Jersey assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald.”

The Wild are also reportedly interested in speaking with Columbus Blue Jackets associate GM Bill Zito and New York Rangers assistant GM Chris Drury. So far, they haven’t been granted permission to speak with either man.

CALGARY SUN: Flames defenseman Juuso Valimaki could be sidelined six-to-nine months after suffering “suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee while off-season training in Nokia.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Valimaki was expected to become a third-pairing regular on the Flames blueline this season. His absence is already raising speculation over how the Flames will address this situation. I’ll have more in the Rumors section.

THE SCORE: Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Ceci and his common-law partner Jamie Thompson are being sued by a dinner-party guest who suffered second- and third-degree burns on May 2018. Thompson “tried to refill a burner on an outdoor tabletop fireplace and accidentally ignited Engel with flaming liquid fuel.”

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes will be donating $20,000 to the Arizona Bobcats youth hockey team after a trailer containing their equipment was stolen on Sunday.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 8, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 8, 2019

The latest on Auston Matthews, Dylan Larkin, Zach Werenski, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock yesterday indicated he expects centers John Tavares and Auston Matthews to average around 19 minutes of ice time per game this season. Babcock received criticism for not playing Matthews more during their Game 7 loss to the Boston Bruins in the opening round of the 2019 playoffs.

Auston Matthews could see a slight increase in his ice time with the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Juggling the ice time of two superstar centers is a problem every NHL coach wants to have. In Toronto, of course, every decision by Babcock is questioned by millions of armchair coaches. Because it’s the dog days of the off-season when there’s little real hockey news to report, Matthews’ ice time for the coming season is headline news.

Dylan Larkin believes he’s ready to take on the captaincy of the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings played without a captain last season after Henrik Zetterberg was placed on long-term injured reserve.

“A letter is a letter, but being a captain of a franchise like the Detroit Red Wings would mean a lot to me. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, I still get to play for the Detroit Red Wings and I get to play in the NHL and I’m going to try to play my best.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Larkin would make a fine captain for the Wings. The final decision rests with Wings general manager Steve Yzerman.

NHL.COM: Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen remains optimistic defenseman Zach Werenski will be re-signed before training camp opens next month. Werenski, 21, is among several notable restricted free agents around the league who remain unsigned. Kekalainen believes the agents for Werenski and the others are playing a waiting game to see who signs first.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s still early August and neither side is in a rush to get these deals done. Once the calendar flips to September and the start of training camps approach, I anticipate a flurry of signings.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov wants to play a final season in the NHL and reach a milestone 1,000 games, preferably with the Habs. Two years ago, the 40-year-old blueliner signed a two-year deal with the KHL’s Ak Bars Kazan after failing to reach an agreement with the Canadiens. He spent his entire NHL career in Montreal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens need depth on the left side of their blueline. I don’t know if Markov would be a fit at this stage of his career. Perhaps the Habs bring him to camp on a professional tryout offer if they don’t bring in another rearguard via trade or free agency.

THE SCORE: Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon said Don Waddell remains the club’s general manager. Speculation over Waddell’s future was raised earlier this week when he was reportedly interviewed by the Minnesota Wild for their vacant GM position. Waddell lacks a formal contract with the Hurricanes but Dundon insists he remains employed by the club.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 7, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 7, 2019

Update on the Wild’s GM search, the latest contract signings, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: A report indicating Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell has spoken with the Minnesota Wild regarding their vacant GM position is raising eyebrows. Waddell, a finalist for GM of the Year last season, remains without a new contract with the Hurricanes. He and team owner Tom Dundon attempted to downplay the situation, but the club could be flirting with front-office dysfunction.

Minnesota Wild interview Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dundon claims he’d allow Waddell to speak with other clubs even if he was under contract, saying he wasn’t going to stop him if he could get more money elsewhere. Waddell insists it’s still business as usual for him, claiming Dundon “doesn’t believe in a lot of contracts” and telling Waddell he had a job for life.

Nevertheless, I think this is Waddell’s way of trying to leverage a new contract out of Dundon. If he does sign with the Wild, it’ll only raise more questions about Dundon’s handling of his management team.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Wild also received permission to speak to Pittsburgh Penguins assistant GM Bill Guerin.

STLTODAY.COM: An arbiter awarded St. Louis Blues defenseman Joel Edmundson a one-year, $3.1-million contract. The Blues had offered $2.3 million while Edmundson sought $4.2 million after earning $3 million last season.

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators forward Rocco Grimaldi received a one-year, $1-million contract via arbitration.

NBC SPORTS: released their television schedule for the 2019-20 season.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 26, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 26, 2019

Updates on David Krejci and Vince Dunn, Don Waddell returning as Hurricanes GM and President, and the latest contract signings in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

Boston Bruins center David Krejci (illness) skipped practice yesterday (Photo via NHL Images).

  NBC SPORTS BOSTON: An illness sidelined Bruins center David Krejci from practice yesterday. Head coach Bruce Cassidy expects Krejci will be on the ice for today’s practice. The illness isn’t expected to keep him out of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues on Monday.

STLTODAY.COM:  Blues defenseman Vince Dunn (concussion symptoms) skated with his teammates yesterday in practice. It’s the first time he’s done so since taking a puck to the face in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final. No word if he’ll play in Game 1 against the Bruins tomorrow but he was traveling with the Blues to Boston. 

THE SCORE: Despite being without a contract for next season, Don Waddell confirms he’s returning as general manager and president of the Carolina Hurricanes. He’s working out terms for a new deal with team owner Tom Dundon. In his first season as Hurricanes GM, the club reached the playoffs for the first time since 2009 and advanced to the Eastern Conference Final. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens re-signed defenseman Brett Kulak to a three-year contract extension worth $1.85-million per season. He was slated to become a restricted free agent on July 1. 

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets re-signed goaltender Laurent Brossoit to a one-year, $1.225-million contract. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 30, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 30, 2018

Predators, Capitals even their respective series, update on Hurricanes GM search and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Kevin Fiala’s double-overtime goal gave the Nashville Predators a 5-4 victory over the Winnipeg Jets in Game 2 of their opening round series. Ryan Johansen scored twice for the Predators and teammates Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson each had three-point performances. Mark Scheifele tallied two goals and an assist for the Jets and Dustin Byfuglien had a goal and an assist. The series moves to Winnipeg for Game 3 tied at a game apiece.

Kevin Fiala was the overtime hero for the Nashville Predators in a 5-4 victory in Game 2 of their series against the Winnipeg Jets (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was one of the most thrilling games I’ve seen in this year’s playoffs. It was very evenly matched, and while the Jets lost this one they put forth a better effort than in Game 1, which they stole thanks to an outstanding performance by goaltender Connor Hellebuyck. The Predators’ best players, meanwhile, made their presence felt in this one. If this game is any indication, we’re in for a very exciting series between these two talented clubs. 

Braden Holtby turned in a 32-save performance to backstop the Washington Capitals to a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins to tie their second-round series at a game apiece. Alex Ovechkin opened the scoring and teammate Lars Eller collected three assists.

The Penguins thought they had narrowed the score to 3-2 in the third period but there was no conclusive evidence the puck crossed the goal line. They also lost defenseman Brian Dumoulin after he was struck in the head by the shoulder of Capitals winger Tom Wilson. No penalty was called on the play and there’s no indication he’ll face supplemental discipline. The Pens also played without center Evgeni Malkin, who remained sidelined by a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A strong bounce-back effort by the Capitals following a heartbreaking opening-game defeat. The series shifts to Pittsburgh for Games 3 and 4. Don’t be surprised if Malkin returns to the Penguins lineup by then. 

THE MERCURY NEWS: San Jose Sharks’ captain Joe Pavelski has been the club’s heartbeat since taking over from the sidelined Joe Thornton as their first-line center. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Golden Knights’ coach Gerard Gallant could keep his lineup changes for Game 2 intact for Game 3 on Monday. He moved “David Perron back with regular linemates Erik Haula and James Neal while dropping Alex Tuch down to play with Cody Eakin and Ryan Carpenter.”

BOSTON HERALD: Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy is showing improvement following a roller-coaster series against Toronto. One reason is his ongoing recovery from an MCL sprain in his left knee. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning forwards Brayden Point and Ondrej Palat skipped practice Sunday for “body maintenance.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers goaltender Michal Neuvirth will undergo arthroscopic surgery on both hips. He also said he will be changing trainers for the third straight year. 

SPORTSNET: Carolina Hurricanes interim general manager Don Waddell will remain in the role for the time being. The club couldn’t reach an agreement with Buffalo Sabres assistant GM Steve Greeley and there’s no other prospective hires in the near future. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed one reason behind the Hurricanes’ difficulty in attracting quality candidates is new owner Tom Dundon’s salary offer is considered too low.