NHL Rumor Mill – April 21, 2018

by | Apr 21, 2018 | Rumors | 19 comments

Latest on the Minnesota Wild, Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks in your NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE WILD?

ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan reports scoring depth and the power play was a problem throughout this season for the Minnesota Wild, who were bounced from the opening round of the 2018 playoffs by the Winnipeg Jets. She also noted general manager Chuck Fletcher faces an uncertain future. His contract expires at the end of this season and the club has failed to advance beyond the second round over the past six seasons. Considering the plethora of injuries the club endured this season, perhaps Fletcher will get another chance.

Kaplan also believes the Wild roster must continue to get younger. Re-signing restricted free agents Matt Dumba and Jason Zucker should be no-brainers.

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo also wondered about Fletcher’s future with the Wild. While team owner Craig Leipold was happy with the way the Wild’s regular-season ended, their ghastly finish against the Jets could make him think twice about re-signing Fletcher. Even if he returns as general manager, Fletcher will have to be give an honest evaluation to a roster that isn’t good enough to get past the top teams in the Central Division (Winnipeg and Nashville) or advance beyond the second round.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Regardless of who’s in the Wild general manager’s chair, transitioning toward younger talent won’t be easy. Cap Friendly indicates they’ve got over $67 million invested in 22 players for next season. Re-signing Dumba and Zucker could push that to $77 million. Over $22 million is tied up in aging veterans Ryan Suter, Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu, who also carry full no-movement clauses. They’ll likely free up additional cap space by attempting to trade Tyler Ennis ($4.6 million) or buying out the final season of his contract.

Younger forwards Zucker, Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle are supposed to be part of the Wild’s core but they were held scoreless by the Jets. If a roster shakeup occurs this summer it could involve one of those guys. The Montreal Canadiens were reportedly interested in Coyle leading up to the trade deadline.  

Drew Doughty insists he wants to remain with the Los Angeles Kings (Photo via NHL Images)

UPDATES ON THE KINGS AND DUCKS

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Chris Zupke reports Kings GM Rob Blake said re-signing defenseman Drew Doughty is his top priority this summer. The 28-year-old blueliner is a year away from qualifying for unrestricted free agent status but the Kings can open contract extension talks with him on July 1. Doughty insists he “always wanted to be an L.A. King and I want to stay an L.A. King.” Zupke notes a new contract for Doughty, who could command far more than his current $7-million annual salary, could impact the Kings’ roster flexibility.

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Duhatschek also reported on Doughty’s desire to stay with the Kings and their hope of re-signing the Norris Trophy nominee. He speculates it could take a deal similar to that of teammate Anze Kopitar (eight years, $10-million annually) to get it done.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Doughty’s contract status will be of considerable interest in this summer’s rumor mill. The longer he goes without a contract extension after July 1, the more speculation over his future with the Kings. If they re-sign him it will bite deeply into their cap payroll. The Kings have over $32 million invested in Kopitar, Jonathan Quick, Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown and Dion Phaneuf. Assuming he gets a deal similar to Kopitar’s, they’ll have $42 million tied up in just six players. That will adversely affect efforts to transition toward younger, faster talent. 

FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cited Elliotte Friedman’s appearance Friday on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960 discussing possible moves by the Anaheim Ducks. He doubts they’ll replace general manager Bob Murray but wondered if they’ll look at their coaching staff. They also have to think about their goaltending depth given starter John Gibson’s injury history.

Friedman also wondered if they might approach veteran winger Corey Perry about waiving his no-movement clause for a fresh start elsewhere. Asked by his hosts about Perry playing for the Calgary Flames, Friedman said they could be one of the places where it might work, especially if the Ducks absorbed part of Perry’s $8.6-million cap hit. He thinks Perry might benefit from playing alongside younger, faster players like Paul Stastny has with the Winnipeg Jets. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Perry’s willing to accept a trade (and so far that’s a big “if”), the Ducks will either have to pick up part of his cap hit or take back an expensive contract as part of the return. Even so, Perry could be a bit of a tough sell at this point in his career. His production has declined over the past two seasons. Given his age (32), that could dampen his trade value. 

 








19 Comments

  1. The Kings are a very good example of the danger of handing out long term contracts to players. the game has passed the Kings by, no longer being a “bang it out, heavily physical” game in favor of speed and skill. It will be a few years before the Kings will be a factor in the playoffs, specifically because of those long term, NMC contracts they handed out to guys like Carter.

    • LA will be fine. They are making a slow transition similar to SJ adding kids, Muzzin only played 2 games & Forbert Doughty’s partner didn’t play at all. Yes SJ took them out in 4 straight but all were low scoring & incredibly close. LA even outplayed Vegas substantially in games 3 & 4 but Fleury stood on his head.

      Iafello & Kempe were added this season at forward & both are great skaters, Carter missed 55 games significantly impacting Pearson & Toffoli, LA had no 2nd line C ready to feed these 2 younger players. The acquisition of Rieder for a bag of pucks another young player all 3 of these players are 25 & have great foot speed.

      LA finished 16th in GF this season with 237 compared to a tie last season with Buffalo at 199 & again did that without Carter. Stevens opened it up a bit this season without compromising his defensive game, LA was still elite in all defensive categories.

      There is no shame in losing in the 1st round, parity is alive & well, the line between winning & losing in this series was injuries. LA couldn’t overcome the loss of Muzzin for 2 games & Forbort for the entire series. Few teams can overcome such when the line is so fine at playoff time.

    • Pardon me, Vgs not SJ, brain cramp

    • First off LA didn’t hand out any contract to Carter, that was Philly. Second of all Carter doesn’t have a NMC or a NTC so if the Kings decided to peddle him out, teams would be lining up for a perennial 30 goal scorer with 2 cups to his resume. Getting all that at $5.2 Million per season is a steal.

      It is widely known that Muzzin and Carter were playing with injuries (seperated shoulde and ankle respectively) and Forbort was out indefinitely with an MCL injury. Add these 3 players at full health and this is a different series. Not too mention that complete bogus Doughty suspension.

      I agree with Striker, Kings will be fine, they just need to add more skill/speed in their bottom six.

      • Rieder addressed just that.

        Next seasons 3rd line in LA should be.

        Rieder, Kempe, Lewis.

        That should give LA the following line combinations baring injuries & coaches shake-ups as required over the course of the season.

        Iafallo, Kopitar, Brown.
        Pearson, Carter, Toffoli.
        Rieder, Kempe, Lewis.
        Clifford, Andreoff/Thompson, ?.

        Rempal, Viardi, Amadio & Brodzinski will all be battling for NHL playing time next season.

        I see no issues with team speed. Injuries & drawing the 5th best team in the NHL are what ailed LA in round 1. This series was great to watch I wish we had been given the opportunity to watch more than just 4.

  2. Carter was a zero factor in the playoffs and he has been one of their faster players. They have to move him. Brown had decent year and if he maintains his salary is tolerable they can’t move him. Like most successful teams they have to draft their way out of it to get younger and faster. Doughty should be the highest paid defence in the league and is going to demand 10. you might get away with Subban money which is just under either way LA has some tough decisions

    • LA will do little to nothing this summer. The core is set & it isn’t being torn down. 20 players signed with 4.2 at today’s cap ceiling & another 5 to 7 coming with the cap increase. LA’s prospect depth although not elite is solid, help is coming but their NHL roster is essentially set for next season. They have room for 1 new forward until injuries hit.

      They could possibly look to move Martinez but I assume that won’t happen till they know Clague is NHL ready on the left side, that is most likely a year away. Ladue & Fattenberg are both ready to start seeing sheltered minutes in the NHL on the right side & both need to clear waivers next season, Fattenberg to start the season & I believe Ladue has 24 games to go.

    • Silverseven, Carter reaggrevated an injury just prior to the payoffs. Just prior to this Carter was ripping up the league since he returned from his ankle surgery. Moving out Carter would be ridiculous imo.

      • You need not worry, at 5.2 & change Carter provides incredible value in today’s salary world he isn’t going anywhere until someone is ready to replace him & that’s at least 2 years away.

        LA’s system is well stocked to move in a player as Carter starts his decline & moving him out in trade after the next round of expansion or just before will provide a significant return even at 35.

    • 10?!?! with the cap going up DD might, I repeat might, let a team pay him slightly less than mcdavid. maybe.

  3. Fletcher isn’t going anywhere. He has built a very good team across the board. Min lost to the 2nd best team in the NHL this season, without their #1 Dman; Suter & their # 2 playing injured; Spurgeon.

    The patchwork D they were forced to piece together didn’t have a hope against what is my Cup winner against my favorite team Bos & even though they finished 2nd to Nashville by 3 points in the NHL standings I believe Win is a better team, especially with the addition of Stastny at the trade deadline giving them 3 solid scoring lines.

    I just wish they could get Kulikov back as well, his defensive presence, especially on the PK is missed. Win is dominating with 2 of their bottom Dman Kulikov & Enstrom injured, nice to have that quality of Dman at the 5 & 6 spots & the depth to plug in Morrow; thank you for the GW in game 1, acquired from Mon for a 4th as depth insurance, & Poolman stepping in to replace them.

    Minny had to let Scandella go for cap reasons & had no replacement available this season. Kunin, Greenway, Eriksson EK, & Seeler will all be NHL regulars next season.

    Like LA, Min’s roster is essentially set for next season. Ennis will be bought out, freeing up essentially 3.4 giving Minny 15 to 17 mil to sign RFA’s Zucker & Dumba, that should leave enough money for 1 solid UFA signing or significant trade to flush out Min’s 23 man roster.

    Minny could be in on Pacioretty as rumoured. Coyle would make a solid 1B, ideally a 2B centre for Mon but he has 2 years remaining at 3.2 & Pacioretty 1 at 4.5, other assets would have to move in this deal to make it work for both teams but there is a solid fit here.

    The issue in that type of deal is Mon’s D is so bad that help has to come from moving patches & Minny can’t help there. As I said to start this past season, bad D’s create bad goalies & not a chance Mon could compete with that D, that was assuming a healthy Weber.

  4. The NHL needs to get away from this stupid bracket formula & ridiculous points system. 1 should play 8, 2 plays 7, etc., reseeding after each round.

    All games should be worth the same # of points. I don’t really care which system the NHL uses to do so but pick 1. Eliminate a point for an OT or SO loss or make wins in regulation worth 3.

    This would alter the standings & when coupled with proper seedings make a far fairer & balanced opportunity for all teams to reach the cup.

    This having some of the best teams face off against each other in the 1st round & guaranteed in the 2nd is beyond insane. It shocks me that such bright men make such stupid decisions.

    I had the opportunity in NJ on Monday night to express just such to Bill Dailey in a very nice calm way after getting a picture, between the 2nd & 3rd periods. I had the honour to bump into him as he was sitting just a few rows away down in the lower bowl with friends.

    • Then he called security and had you removed?

    • Not happening, I would explain but I know you already know the answer.

    • the only way to eliminate the loser point is to eliminate the gimmicky shootout and 3 on three ot. a team losing to a gimmick shouldnt be handed nothing. the three point regulation win would be a way to do this but that in itself adds a bunch of potential quandaries.

      The seeding system right now is great. better first round matchups increase interest in the games while the later rounds garnish natural interest due to them being closer to the end.

    • Wasn’t it always a point for a tie? OT makes game more exciting for fans… maybe the answer is not giving any points for OT win. Just keep separate column of OT wins as a tie breaker, after head to head…

  5. AV coaches Anaheim or Calgary next season?

    Where will Peters go? He probably di not re-up in CAR bc he had a wink-and-nod with a team already for a position.

    Claude Giroux to MTL for Patches?
    (Philly”s 1st line ,except for Coutourier, and goaltending…and their bottom 6 have been ugly)

    Some great hockey watching so now I am dreaming

    Vegas vs. Pitts

    Fluery steals the show in Game 7 and wins the Stanley Cup and 1st to raise the cup.

    • I would love the match up but pens outmatch Vegas even though fleury outplays Matt proltby Murray is how it plays out.

    • Hoping AV ends up in Calgary. I want Dougie Hamilton on Rangers. Maybe AV will take Smith and Kampfer. Lol. Seriously, maybe Zuc plus some other pieces gets it done.