NHL Rumor Mill – May 8, 2021
Check out the latest on the Ducks, Blackhawks and Coyotes in today’s NHL rumor mill.
THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens recently wondered if this season will be the last for Ryan Getzlaf. The 35-year-old Anaheim Ducks captain becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. He and general manager Bob Murray intend to meet following this season to discuss his future.
Murray has indicated he’s interested in bringing Getzlaf back but Stephens wonders if that’s a good idea. The Ducks are rebuilding with younger players, Getzlaf’s best seasons are behind him, he was slowed by a bad back this season and no longer skates among their top-six forwards or their top power-play unit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This season was the worst in Getzlaf’s 16-season career, tallying a career-low 17 points in 47 games. He could face three choices. He returns for a final season with the Ducks, he considers signing elsewhere, or retirement.
THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers recently examined which forwards are expected to be in the Chicago Blackhawks lineup next season. Dylan Strome fell into the category of “most likely” while Pius Suter’s future was unknown.
Strome faces an uncertain future with the Blackhawks after struggling this season. Powers believes he’ll return next season in part because his trade value is low coming off a down year plus he’ll require a new contract after next season. He could be exposed in this summer’s expansion draft.
The Blackhawks would like to keep Suter but that could depend on his contract negotiations. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. He played well this season but benefited from a larger role with other key players sidelined. Powers speculates the Blackhawks could trade him or let him walk via free agency if a new contract isn’t worked out early in the offseason.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hawks could try to trade Strome if they feel they could lose him for nothing to the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft. A rival club seeking depth at center could make a pitch for him but I agree with Powers’ assessment. The Kraken could pass on him too.
Suter’s contract situation could get dicey if the two sides reach a stalemate that could require an arbiter to sort it out. However, this could end up quickly sorted without much hassle. If negotiations go sideways I expect the Hawks would shop him in the trade market in hope of getting a decent asset in return.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell pointed out Michael Bunting became an important player for the Arizona Coyotes in recent weeks. The 25-year-old winger is slated to become a Group VI free agent (UFA) this summer unless the Coyotes re-sign him. Head coach Rick Tocchet sang Bunting’s praises, calling him “a guy we sorely need in this organization”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bunting has 10 goals and 13 points in 20 games since joining the Coyotes’ roster in late March. He would be an affordable re-signing on a one-year “show-me” contract. Bunting could also become a worthwhile, low-risk signing by another club on the open market.