NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 16, 2022
Nathan MacKinnon could be getting close to a new contract with the Avalanche, an update on Brad Marchand’s recovery from hip surgery, Canadiens top prospect Juraj Slafkovsky plays well in debut game during Prospects Challenge and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
SPORTSNET: Nathan MacKinnon is hoping to soon have a contract extension with the Colorado Avalanche. Speaking with Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman on their “32 Thoughts” podcast, the 27-year-old center said he assumed the deal would be in place on July 13, the first day when he was eligible to re-sign.
While admitting it’s taken a little longer than he anticipated, MacKinnon believes the extension is “totally” on its way to completion. “It should be done shortly, I’m hoping,” he said. The long-time Avalanche superstar is earning a team-friendly average annual value of $6.3 million entering this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report suggests MacKinnon could become not just the highest-paid player in Avalanche history but also the highest-paid in the NHL. That honor is currently held by Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, whose AAV is $12.5 million through 2025-26.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Brad Marchand is hoping to return to action with the Bruins by late November, perhaps by the American Thanksgiving weekend. The 34-year-old winger underwent double hip surgery during the offseason. He’s set to begin skating on Friday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins will also be without defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk to start the season. McAvoy underwent shoulder surgery and is expected to return to the lineup by early December. Grzelcyk also had shoulder surgery and could be back by early November.
NHL.COM: Montreal Canadiens prospect Juraj Slafkovsky collected an assist and was named the second star in a 4-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres in the Prospects Challenge tournament on Thursday. The 18-year-old winger was the first-overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. He saw playing time at even strength and in special-team situations.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Slafkovsky’s progress will be closely monitored by Montreal fans and pundits. The Canadiens are rebuilding and the young Slovakian winger is expected to be a key part of the process. Whether he starts this season with the Canadiens or their AHL affiliate in Laval depends on his performance during training camp, which opens next week.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said league revenue exceeded $5 billion for the first time despite disruptions earlier in the 2021-22 season due to COVID-19. With the NHL returning to a normal schedule for 2022-23, Daly is optimistic that continued revenue growth will lead to a significant increase in the salary cap sooner instead of later.
The salary cap increased by $1 million to $82.5 million for 2022-23. Daly expects it will rise again by $1 million for 2023-24 but suggested it could increase further if revenues grow enough.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The cap is growing slowly because the players’ share of revenue exceeded the owners’ during the COVID-shortened 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons. As a result, the players have to make whole the owners’ share through escrow, which affects the salary cap’s rate of increase.
It’ll be interesting to see how much the cap could rise for next season if revenue increases exceed expectations. Earlier this year, Daly suggested it would take until 2024-25 before we’d see a significant rise in the cap.
TORONTO SUN: Michael Traikos reports Daly also indicated the NHL and NHL Players Association are committed to an international tournament calendar that would see the league participate in the next three Winter Olympics and an additional three World Cup of Hockey tournaments.
The deputy commissioner admitted there are challenges associated with that calendar and no guarantees given Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. However, it’s not necessarily dependent on Russian participation.
TSN: The Los Angeles Kings signed defenseman Sean Durzi to a two-year contract with an AAV of $1.7 million. Durzi, 23, had 27 points in 64 games as a rookie last season. Earlier this week, the Kings also re-signed blueliner Mikey Anderson to a one-year deal.
THE ATHLETIC: Speaking of the Kings, Alex Turcotte won’t participate in the club’s rookie camp and could miss the start of their main training camp next week due to concussion-related symptoms suffered during the 2022 AHL Calder Cup playoffs. The 21-year-old center’s bid to become a full-time NHL player has been hampered by injuries.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Turcotte was the fifth-overall pick in the 2019 Draft and is considered among the Kings’ top prospects. He played eight games last season with the Kings and 27 with the AHL’s Ontario Reign.
OTTAWA SUN: The Senators have invited forwards Derick Brassard and Michael Dal Cole to training camp on professional tryout offers.
DAILY FACEOFF: The Edmonton Oilers signed defenseman Jason Demers to a professional tryout offer.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: With goaltender Andrew Hammond deciding not to report to training camp on a PTO, the Panthers have brought in J-F Berube on a professional tryout offer.
WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets will unveil a statue of the late Dale Hawerchuk on Oct. 1 at True North Square. Hawerchuk was selected first overall by the Jets in the 1981 draft and spent nine of his 16 NHL seasons in Winnipeg. He won the Calder Trophy in 1982 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001. He passed away at age 57 from stomach cancer in 2020.