NHL Rumor Mill – December 4, 2017
The coaches of the Red Wings and Flyers are on the hot seat plus the latest on Jacob Trouba in your NHL rumor mill.
TROUBA TIME AGAIN?
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cited NHL insider Elliotte Friedman’s Friday appearance on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960 discussing trade and free-agent topics. Among the notable subjects was the status of Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba, who becomes a restricted free agent next July with arbitration rights. Friedman believes Trouba likes playing in Winnipeg and playing on the right side of their defense, adding the only time the blueliner seems to get upset is when he’s shifted to the left side.
“I just think on Trouba they let it play out. They see how they do, and they take a stab at signing him long term. And I think they’ll see if they can do it,” said Friedman. Based on conversations with other hockey people, he believes as long as Trouba’s getting lots of minutes playing on the right side, “he’s not a guy with a problem.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trouba was a hot topic in the rumor mill through the summer and early autumn of 2016. At one point, his agent requested a trade from the Jets before agreeing on Nov. 7, 2016, to a two-year, $6-million contract.
The assumption persists that the 23-year-old wants out of Winnipeg at the first opportunity and could set an outrageously high contract demand next summer to force the issue. But the Jets are a team on the rise and Trouba’s been a solid contributor to their success thus far in 2017-18.
While it’s certainly possible his next round of contract talks could get contentious, a strong showing by the Jets this season could perhaps lead to less heated negotiations between the two side.
HAKSTOL AND BLASHILL ON THE HOT SEAT?
PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi wonders if the slumping Philadelphia Flyers upcoming Western Canadian road trip could decide the fate of embattled head coach Dave Hakstol. The Flyers have dropped 10 straight games and looked listless in their last two contests. Flyers GM Ron Hextall has stood by Hakstol but could feel pressure to replace him if the Flyers fail to snap out of their tailspin. Former NHL coaches Darryl Sutter and Dave Tippett are being mentioned as possible replacements.
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan suggests Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill could be feeling the heat. The Wings are winless in seven straight games, including a humiliating 10-1 thrashing at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. If the Wings fall to the Jets on Tuesday, Khan speculates a coaching change could be in order. GM Ken Holland has confirmed he’s has trade talks but feels the solution to their woes must come from within.
Khan also notes the Wings have a lot of underachieving players carrying hefty contracts with no-trade clauses. “Their tradable commodities are talented young forwards Anthony Mantha, Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou and their first-round pick. But it makes no sense for a team that has no realistic chance of competing for the Stanley Cup to sacrifice part of its future.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Firing the coaches is easier to do than trading players, especially at this point in the season. The Flyers and Red Wings are struggling and won’t get much help in the trade market from rival GMs hoping to exploit them. Those in touch with the Flyers and Wings want their good young affordable talent, not their aging, expensive veterans. If a trade could be made to snap those clubs out of their respective swoons they would’ve happened by now.
Of the two, Hakstol could be the first to go. Hextall’s been patient but that long losing streak is putting significant pressure on him.