Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 22, 2018
Latest on the Minnesota Wild, New Jersey Devils and Calgary Flames in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
WILD COULD FACE OFFSEASON CHANGES
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Improving the offense, determining what kind of contracts can be expected for restricted free agents Matt Dumba and Jason Zucker, and perhaps shaking up the roster with a trade are among the questions facing the Minnesota Wild this summer.
Chip Scoggins believes Wild owner Craig Leipold faces two choices: standing pat and hoping things improve next season or make major changes to the roster and/or management. While the Wild reached the playoffs in six consecutive seasons they’ve also made quick postseason exits, with just 15 wins in eight series. The first order of business is determining if general manager Chuck Fletcher returns for a 10th season.
Scoggins also points out players the Wild counted on for production, such as Zucker, Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle, failed to score in their series against the Jets. “The Wild has had too many passengers in the playoffs, not just one or two guys falling short. Whether they underperformed or are just not talented enough, this situation requires a realistic assessment of where the organization stands.”
TWINCITIES.COM: Dane Mizutani suggests “guys like Coyle and Niederrieter might have finally worn out their welcome after following up disappointing regular seasons with scoreless postseasons.” He also notes the Wild face the decision on whether to re-sign Zucker and Dumba to high-paying contracts, pointing out Zucker’s lack of production against the Jets and Dumba’s “head-scratching plays on the blue line.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what Leipold does after his club made yet another early exit from the playoffs. If Fletcher returns, he could be under orders to shake things up and that could include moving Coyle or Niederreiter or Zucker.
As per Cap Friendly, Dumba and Zucker are both restricted free agents with arbitration rights. Dumba’s developing into a reliable puck-moving rearguard and should get a long-term contract. If Zucker isn’t traded he might only get a one-year deal from the Wild taking him up to unrestricted free agency next summer.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE DEVILS?
ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan lists adding defensive depth and making decisions on rental wingers (and pending free-agents) Michael Grabner and Patrick Maroon among her keys to the New Jersey Devils’ offseason.
Regarding the defense, she notes John Moore is an unrestricted free agent this summer while 35-year-old captain Andy Greene is showing signs of slowing down. Given their salary-cap space for next season, there’s room to make a splash on defense. Grabner was a bust but Maroon did put up 13 points in 17 regular-season games and could be worth re-signing if the money and term are reasonable.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils have $55 million invested in 17 players for 2018-19, with Stefan Noesen, Blake Coleman and Miles Wood as their notable restricted free agents. Even if they don’t spend to the projected $80 million cap ceiling they have sufficient space to re-sign their key players and perhaps add a top-four defenseman and perhaps a faceoff specialist.
I don’t see them re-signing Grabner. Maroon was disappointing in the playoffs with just one goal in five games. If the Devils are looking for offense they could pursue other options.
Hearing we can expect an announcement as soon as Monday on Bill Peters becoming the new head coach of the Calgary Flames.
— Aaron Ward (@NHL_AaronWard) April 21, 2018