NHL Rumor Mill – April 23, 2022

by | Apr 23, 2022 | Rumors | 12 comments

In today’s NHL rumor mill, the Jets could face offseason changes following the disappointing outcome of this season plus a look at some potential decisions facing the Red Wings.


SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe believes the Winnipeg Jets must begin the process of repairing a winning culture that’s been in decline in recent years starting with their remaining games in this season. He feels the franchise’s foundation is showing cracks in need of repair.

The Jets have plenty of offensive skill but they’re not scoring on a consistent basis. They’re giving up too many quality scoring chances, they don’t defend well enough around their net while their special teams have struggled.

Wiebe feels some of those issues were papered over by goaltender Connor Hellebuyck’s play in recent years. However, they were exposed when he wasn’t playing at a Vezina-caliber level this season as the volume of shots and scoring chances against him increased.

WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck shares Wiebe’s concern that there are cracks in the Jets’ foundation. He pointed out that players such as Kyle Connor, Nikolaj Ehlers, Paul Stastny and Josh Morrissey have publicly admitted the team’s performance is not up to snuff, with Connor also admitting a culture change is needed.

Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff (NHL.com).

Billeck believes that will be up to general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff or his replacement if ownership decides a change is needed in the front office. It could also have an effect on contract talks with center Pierre-Luc Dubois, who’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre believes it’s time for the Jets to conduct a full examination to address the malaise gripping the club. He wonders if that will be conducted by Cheveldayoff or his boss, Mark Chipman. The Jets owner has to be seeing the effects on the ice and in the stands, where the Jets are averaging 1,500 – 2,000 empty seats per game.

McIntyre also pondered the possibility of the Jets bringing in an experienced and sharp hockey mind from outside the organization as other clubs have done in recent years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The focus of these pieces center on whether there will be changes in the front office after this season. Cheveldayoff’s been in the job since 2011. While he built them up into a Western Conference finalist in 2018, they’ve been steadily declining since then. Perhaps a change in management is necessary.

Whoever is the Jets general manager this summer must decide if a roster shakeup is required or if the problem could be addressed with a coaching change. Long-time bench boss Paul Maurice stepped down in December claiming the team needed a “new voice” to reach the next level. Assistant coach Dave Lowry took over on an interim basis but was no more successful than his predecessor.

Some roster changes could still be in order if the Jets replace Cheveldayoff and hire a new head coach. McIntyre has suggested moving out a couple of expensive veterans to clear roster and cap space for promising young defensemen such as Dylan Samberg and Ville Heinola.

Center Mark Scheifele recently surfaced in the rumor mill as an offseason trade candidate. Some Jets fans would like to see captain Blake Wheeler replaced but his age (35), $8.25 million cap hit through 2023-24 and full no-movement clause makes that option difficult to achieve.


DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Kevin Allen and Bob Duff recently addressed some questions about the Red Wings’ future plans. They don’t see Jeff Blashill returning as head coach, with Allen saying he’s heard GM Steve Yzerman could look at some tough, demanding coaching candidates if he replaces Blashill.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blashill’s been the Wings’ head coach for the past seven seasons. He couldn’t be faulted for most of the club’s struggles during the earlier years of its rebuild. However, they were expected to make significant improvement this season, perhaps even contend for a wild-card spot. Their second-half collapse amid ongoing concerns over their defensive play suggests it’s time for a fresh perspective behind the bench.

Allen and Duff both believe Yzerman’s roster priority is to bring in a second-line center. They also expect he’ll seek an experienced second-pairing defenseman. Possible forward options could include the New York Rangers’ Andrew Copp and the Carolina Hurricanes’ Vincent Trocheck via free agency. Duff’s also hearing Yzerman could target Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg if he hits the open market.

They also suggest Tyler Bertuzzi and Filip Zadina as trade candidates if the Wings don’t see them as part of their long-term plans. Bertuzzi is a year away from UFA status while Zadina is a restricted free agent this summer. They could retain the latter as they appreciate how hard he’s working to become a better player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yzerman’s shown a willingness to make bold moves, first by shipping Anthony Mantha to Washington for Jakub Vrana at last year’s trade deadline and acquiring goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic from Carolina last summer. I wouldn’t be shocked if he peddles Bertuzzi and/or Zadina to land that second-line center or second-pairing blueliner this summer.


  1. If you want to change the Jets Trade Scheifele for a good return and then think hard about buying Wheeler out.

  2. I’ve been saying the Jets season was over since late January, and, yep, that was correct. Time for a serious retooling. As a season ticket holder this season has been misery.

  3. Anything less than a management and complete coaching change in Winnipeg will spark a mutiny with Jets fans. Chevy is too loyal and entrenched to even a partial rebuild, and has brought the team as far as he is capable of. 2nd overall in 2018 and inconsistent, uninspired play since with no meaningful adjustments made except for those he was forced to make.

    I think there will be new management and coaches and less changes to the roster outside of the defense.

    • Absolutly correct.Chevy has missed the mark.As they say results are everything.Ownership best figure this out and quick.The faithful stay only so long.Fans patience dwindling fast!

  4. Trading Bertuzzi for a 2nd pair LDman would be stupid (you can also sign that on the UFA market without breaking the bank). He’s worth way more to the Wings than that. Wings can’t afford to lose one of the few gritty forwards they have and one that plays with heart. Trading Zadina might piss off Vrana since they are countrymen and play well together.

    Trocheck should be a prime target on the UFA market for the Wings. Unless they win the lottery (not happening), they likely won’t be getting that center in the draft yet again.

    Wings also need a top pair LD and there are none on the UFA market with Lindholm in Boston long term. This will have to be addressed on the trade market unless they think Edvinsson or Johansson can be that guy next season or the one after that. Chychrun, Sanheim and Provorov are all names that have been rumored that are/might be available for trade that would fit the bill of playing top minutes on the left side. Would like to see the Wings add Zadorov this summer too. Pair him with Hronek on the 2nd pair to add some size and physical play.

    Would also like them to add some size and toughness up front to deal with teams targeting the Wings top players. There is no price to pay what so ever for cheap shots on the Wings top players. I would love for Yzerman to trade for Lawson Crouse to add some size and physical play and he can play and kill penalties.

    These are all the things i hope will be addressed in the off-season (yeah a lot of things) along with Blashill and his coaching staff all gone right after the season ends.

    • I am a Wing’s partial season ticket holder, and Sam the pasting we took this afternoon. I think that it can be tough to evaluate Wing’s players under Blashill this season. I don’t see evidence of a sound defensive system, including positional play, defending the front of the net, breaking the other team’s cycle, pressuring the puck, or a break out system that works. Any changes need to start at the coaching staff level, and go on from there. Having said that, there are regulars here that are playing below their place on the team, and Bertuzzi is high on that list. Yes, he plays with some grit (although less so this season), but his skating and puck handling are not up to snuff. The only thing that makes more turnovers than him is Pillsbury. And Suter is far from a number two center, and I don’t see a place for him in the lineup going forward. The last regular who has lost my confidence is Hronek. He is a below average defender, and also turns the puck over far too often, as he did today, leading to a Pittsburgh goal.

      • A bit harsh, Iago.

        The Wings did defeat Tampa in Tampa this week, so that was a positive. 3 more games to a losing season and then a summer that will bring in some new faces and hopefully a better game plan for next season.
        A LD and a #2C would do a lot to improve this team. I don’t think trading Bert and Zadina is a cure, but if they bring in what becomes core pieces, then it will be done.
        Trocheck will cost over $7M x 7, I kinda think Ryan Strome will become available because NYR will sign Copp for less. I think Strome at $6.1 x 6 or 7 might be possible.

    • Due to the poor coaching and system in place currently I don’t think the Wings should trade Bertuzzi or Zadina. Zadina is one of my favorite players to watch because he has so much potential. Technically due to Covid he’s only in his 2nd full season and I think the Wings should give him more time to find his game at the NHL level. I think trading him would be a huge mistake. He strikes me as a player (and possibly person) who has never really faced adversity where he had to elevate his play above just coasting on his talent, but he put in the work this year and a break out year is coming. I think trading him would be like Nashville letting Fiala go (and Washington trading Forsberg to Nashville). To me, Bertuzzi’s spirit would be hard to replace. Reminds me Ryan Smyth. I also think he needs a shot to play under a more structured coaching system. His game clearly has another level. We’ve seen flashes of it this year, but Blash just isn’t the guy to bring it out.

      However if Yzerman can work magic and bring in the Vrana like return he got for Mantha I wouldn’t complain. (Personally I wasn’t a fan of a Mantha. He was talented, but his consistency was very bi-polar. Some weeks he’d be the best player on the ice, other times he was nowhere to be found.

      The fact that the Wings played as well as they did this year in the watery soup like system Blashill had in place is a testament to how good this team can be with a solid system in place. I agree they need a few more pieces to be playoff bound, but I wouldn’t sacrifice pieces like Bert or Zadina until we knew what they were capable of in a better system.

  5. Yes I feel your pain as a Jets fan.
    I am however a Chevy supporter. Overall I believe with what he was given to start with and being a small market he’s done a B+ job.
    We have had reasonable playoff success, drafted well and the cap structure is decent.
    Yes there are some contracts that are not going to age well but many teams have much worse, it’s the cost of doing business in the NHL I’d say.
    I don’t pretend to know the inside workings in the dressing room but with the talent I believe we have the results should have been a playoff squad this year.
    Chevy didn’t to my knowledge fire Maurice he walked out and Buff left the team in a terrible situation for 2 years.
    Personally I’m a tweak backroom GM. We had an off year. A few players under performed that are young enough to easily bounce back.
    New coach, one or two player upgrades are needed. No need to panic just chill out as Price would say. We have a good team here

    • Do you believe in Chevy’s ability to go further than he has already gone? I don’t mind any of the current contracts really but there isn’t room for much more without adding some 900,000 players and losing Stasny. But more than that – he sat and watched while the team struggled after losing Trouba, Buff, Myers, Chiarot, who did i miss, and Little all within a two month stretch. No trades or rumours of trades with exception of the trade he was forced to make by Laine. signings were replacement level players, no significant call ups from Moose.

      If it’s Chevy again next year the fan base is going to go full on Rick W Murray on the Jets.

  6. 2.0 I can’t argue with some of your points. We can play arm chair GM and pick our favorite Chevy good and bad moves there’s examples of each. The bottom line is making moves are not easy in this or any small market it’s just a fact. I don’t blame Chevy for the Buff, Trouba, Little or Myers moves do you?
    When I suggest that a few moves have to be made it would be more of a money out money in rearranging of the cast. For ex Schmit for another dman of different abilities.
    Like I said I believe we’re not far off. Just a few moves needed

    • Chevy is not the guy to make those moves. His best move to date has been’stay the course’ and we are past that part of the growth.