NHL Rumor Mill – April 8, 2022

by | Apr 8, 2022 | Rumors | 38 comments

In today’s NHL rumor mill, speculation on how the Wild might make room to re-sign Kevin Fiala plus a look at what might be in store for the Sharks under a new general manager.

DAILY FACEOFF: Chris Gear recently examined ways for the Minnesota Wild to escape their salary cap hell following 2021-22 when the buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter bite deeply into their payroll for the next three seasons. The most immediate effect will be felt in the club’s efforts to sign winger Kevin Fiala to a new contract.

Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala (NHL Images).

Fiala, 25, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’s a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. He’s completing a one-year, $5.1 million deal and is enjoying a career-best performance with 61 points in 69 games.

Gear speculates it could cost the Wild $6.5 million to sign Fiala. He wondered if they might part with Jordan Greenway or Marcus Foligno or perhaps consider moving defenseman Matt Dumba or winger Mats Zuccarello.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wild GM Bill Guerin knew full well he was putting his club into a cap crunch over the next three years when he bought out Parise and Suter. I daresay he’s got several options in mind to address this issue for next season.

Guerin could simply trade Fiala this summer if unable to reach an agreement with the winger on a new contract and use the savings to invest in younger, cheaper talent. Otherwise, he’ll have to make a cost-cutting deal or two to keep Fiala in the fold. Greenway or Foligno would be easiest to move given their affordable contracts and lack of no-trade protection.

Dumba’s been a fixture in the rumor mill over the past two seasons. He’s a year away from UFA eligibility. While he should draw interest in the trade market, his $6 million cap hit and 10-team no-trade clause are potential stumbling blocks.

Zuccarello also carries a $6 million annual average value and a full no-movement clause. However, the no-trade portion becomes modified after this season to a 10-team no-trade list. Nevertheless, teams could be reluctant to take on a 34-year-old winger with two years remaining on his contract.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the San Jose Sharks will conduct an extensive external search for a new general manager after Doug Wilson announced yesterday he’s stepping down for health reasons. They intend to take their time as several candidates might not be available until the summer.

Ownership has faith in the current management to handle the draft and free agency until a suitable replacement for Wilson is found. They’re not interested in a full rebuild and that could affect which candidates are interested in the job.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Sheng Peng also noted the Sharks’ unwillingness for a full rebuild, pointing to their recent signing of Tomas Hertl to an eight-year contract extension. He also believes the reason they’re not handing the role to assistant GM Joe Will, noting they’re seeking an infusion of new ideas as well as different types of candidates. Will also didn’t deny interest in the job.

Peng also thinks Bob Boughner’s job as head coach remains safe for now. That could depend on who eventually takes over for Wilson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Will did a good job filling in for Wilson. He re-signed Hertl, terminated Evander Kane’s contract and acquired promising goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen before the trade deadline. If he doesn’t end up with the GM job, he’ll likely remain in the front office as assistant GM.

The Sharks have several aging stars carrying expensive contracts that could prove difficult to move. With ownership uninterested in rebuilding, Wilson’s replacement will have to find suitable players to incorporate with those veterans in order to build a serious playoff contender.

As noted in yesterday’s rumor mill, the Sharks could trim some payroll to make room for younger talent. Kahkonen’s addition means James Reimer or Adin Hill will be shopped this summer. They could attempt to move Kevin Labanc and his $4.75 million cap hit or Radim Simek and $2.25 million annual average value.


  1. Back (I hope)…. Covid (after whole fam was triple vaxxed and we always mask up AND Social distance)….we all got it…. Finally out of bed (7 days straight ) ; still not over it… but at least out of bed…still have to quarantine…. Don’t wish this on anybody

    Been reading the posts here, just had no energy, and was waaaaay too foggy headed to post before this

    I wanted to post after all the Hart trophy posts and focus being on AM (highly touted by the reporters from two Canadian media giants that in effect get their paycheques from the same coffers as AM does

    Fantastic that he’s breaking Leaf records…. But , by definition of the trophy… most valuable to HIS team…. AM’s record breaking year does not define him ahead of the following

    #1 for sure should be Shesterkin…. and I’m not just saying that because he shutout Pens last night, or that he saved 72 of last 75 Pens shots (960) and carried the team to at least 2 of those 3 victories, or that he’s the best goalie in the league…. He IS

    It is because his value (to Rangers) is greater than ANY other player to THEIR teams

    Rangers are a good team… no doubt…. But Shesterkin can carry them to first place in Metro (NOTE they have 2 remaining games v Canes)…. He’s that good. He is spectacular

    The argument that Hart “should” go to a forward is flawed and biased…. They are oft the most visible… but most deserving???

    Some had posted on here…. Goalies have their own individual trophies, as do D

    Yes…. Only a goalie can win Vezina and only D’s can win Norris….

    But…. Only a Fwd can win the Selke…. AND…

    Since the best hockey player of al, time is now 74 years old….. a forward, annually, is all but guaranteed to win the Art Ross and the Rocket Richard awards

    So forwards are all but guaranteed to take home at least 3 individual awards each year

    In that mindset and logic….Shesterkin deserves the Hart in 21/22

    I also believe

    Josi value (to Predz) > AM value (to Leafs)

    Hoobie (Cats) > AM (Leafs)

    and one could argue Johnny Hockey (Flames) = AM (Leafs)

    For those misguided members who mistakenly vote on Hart as “League Most Outstanding Player” (which many have admitted to doing in past, including Freidman) vs “Most valuable to HIS team”…. AM is NOT the best player in the League…. That is McD… no one can fly with or without the puck like him; no one can deke like him; no one can pass like him; no one can receive a pass like him…. He’s the best overall player in the NHL

    AM IS the top goal scorer… and will very likely win the RR award…. But one could challenge the moniker “best pure goal scorer” moniker for 21-22

    He has more EN goals than the other two 50 G scorers (I’m including Kreider as he’ll get there for sure) …. And AM (17.8 %) is behind both Krieder ( 20.8 %) and Draisaitl (20.1%) for 50 goal scorers in shooting percentage

    That said….

    1)Like it or not… the PHWA votes on the Hart….. PHWA…. Has a massively disproportionate representation by Leafs reporters (22…. Some franchises have 2!!)…. last year PHWA chose 100 to vote on Hart…. 10 worked for either TSN or SN and one for the Star

    2)Many PHWA past voters have admitted to (in the past) voting on Hart as Best player in League or MOP; vs “most valuable to his team”

    3)Recency bias , and high profile certainly affects voting

    So…. AM has a high chance of winning the Hart… but IMVHO…. This award has been earned by Shesterkin; and if he were not to get it; Josi or Hoobie deserve it more than AM

    • Hey Pengy … glad you’re feeling better. How’s the rest of the family? Damned thing is on the upswing here in the Ottawa region too – to be expected, I suppose, following all the mandate relaxations, including restaurants, sporting events, etc.

      Now they want us old crocks to go for a booster booster. Jaysus.

      • Thanks George

        Better but still have it

        Whole fam but 1 got it …. and first in fam to get it (my daughter) still has it (day 13)…. and was triple vaxxed

        6th waive…. Yikes

    • @pengy welcome back

      • Thanks ds

    • write a book next time …

      • Will try Ed… sorry will have to wait until I’m feeling better

    • Glad youre feeling better Pengy.

      My Hart list:


      Any of them is a deserving winner IMHO but without Josi the Preds would be a lottery team. The Harts for the most valuable player, not the best player and I think sometimes people forget that.

      • Thanks Ron

        Agree re Josi

        They still may miss…. But without him…. Forgeddabiwdid

        I believe tgat Rangers sans Shesterkin …. Would be jockeying with Caps

        Yes Hart is MVP…. But more importantly…. Most valuable “to HIS team”…. Meaning a more valuable player (to league) could logically be voted 2nd in Hart to a player who may be less in value to league; but far more relative value to their team

        I’m good with Jossi or Shesterkin getting the Hart; but I feel if AM wins…. Jossi and/or Shesterkin got ripped off

    • Sorry to hear about the Covid Pengy. My wife and I both had it, although our symptoms sound like they were much milder than yours – get well soon. I think that there are 6 legitimate Hart candidates this year, and I am having a tough time picking a winner. AM and McD, yes, but I could also make a strong case for Shesterkin, Huberdeau, Josi, and Gaudreau.

      • Thanks Iago

        None of our fam has underlying conditions…. All tripled vaxxed…. 3rd doses New Year’s eve (Mrs Pengy and I); first week Jan (our kids)…. None of us with mild (or short lived ) symptoms…. more depressing than anything

        I’m glad that no one from my firm (as at now) got it from me…. Was last in office 10 days ago

        Fingers crossed we’re through this soon

    • Pengy, glad you are feeling better.
      I agree with everything you just posted.

      • Thanks KevJam

    • Glad you’re feeling better too Pengy.
      I think most of understand it is the player judged to be most valuable to his team.
      Rant warning.

      IMO that is a ridiculous measurement for one of the most prestigious trophies in the game, which will in turn make it less prestigious.
      So hockey writers need to decide which team would drop the most if they didn’t have player X or Y on their team?
      Totally subjective.
      You can base it on statistics and say this guy has way more points than the next guy on his team.
      This goalie or D man is better than the next best one on his team. Fine, but that doesn’t mean he is more valuable.

      I can’t figure out how the obvious best player in the NHL, McDavid, isn’t the most valuable to his team, when he is the best player on the planet. How can you be more valuable than that?

      He shouldn’t win because Draisaitl is good too?

      That is like saying $1M is more valuable if I have it than if a guys with a little more $ has it. Nope, it’s still has the same value: $1M.

      The current language for this trophy makes for great debate, but the debate and gaps between how folks view the language proves that it is too ambiguous IMO.

      To me this is pretty simple, the best player has to be the most valuable because he is the best player.

      • The Ted Lindsay, which is voted on by the players, goes to the most outstanding player, which is pretty much the best player in that season.
        IMO because it’s the media that vote on the Hart trophy they pay all attention to the Hart and they don’t give the Lindsay the attention it deserves.

      • Thanks Ray

        Agree…. Definition change is warranted

        A few years ago (geez could be a couple decades now… time flues)…. CFL changed wording from “Valuable” to “ Outstanding”

        Yes still subjective but less confusing (value to what/which team; how do you compare team to team)

        McD no question, no ifs ands or buts…. Most outstanding

      • Thanks Ray

        Agree…. Definition change is warranted

        A few years ago (geez could be a couple decades now… time flues)…. CFL changed wording from “Valuable” to “ Outstanding”

        Yes still subjective but less confusing (value to what/which team; how do you compare team to team)

        McD no question, no ifs ands or buts…. Most outstanding

      • Pengy, you just made me Google the Merriam-Webster definition of valuable.
        If changing it to outstanding works, I’m all for it.
        Or just get rid of the Hart and make the Lindsey the most prestigious individual award.

        having monetary value
        b: worth a good price
        2a: having desirable or esteemed characteristics or qualities
        valuable friendships
        b: of great use or service
        valuable advice

      • I’d certainly think “outstanding” would be much more palatable to most

        I still think …. Voting on all player awards should be done by players

  2. Wild- Zuccarello seems to be KK’s running mate. Guerin has to be smart enough to not move him.

    An obvious smart signing for them would be Dryden McKay.

    • @ds, I happened to be watching one of Minnesota’s last few games during which the commentators said just that about Zuccarello – I would try and find a taker for Dumba. If for some reason they aren’t on his no trade list, Buffalo (and Owen Power specifically) would certainly benefit from his presence.

      Is this McKay supposed to be good enough to possibly step in as a back up next season? I suppose it never hurts to have depth in that position, but the Wild drafted Jesper Wallstedt to be their future franchise goalie.

      As for the Hart conversation, perhaps it is time to strip the PHWA of their right to vote on the awards, and let the players vote on all of them. Even after all the brain-jarring hits, they could probably still figure out how to read the criteria for the awards .. Shesterkin or Josi would get my vote. Taking a page out of the PHWA book, like they did when they finally awarded Doughty a Norris, Josi might get it first because of the time he’s put in, and the fact he’s consistently proven to be Nashville’s MVP year in and year out.

      Shout out to Pengy, hope you’re 100% soon.

      • Only way the Sabres trade for Dumba is a sign and trade. No way they give up assets for a guy that could be one and done

  3. Austin Matthews 55+ goals this season is impressive, nobody can dispute that. However the endless ballwashing and hype by LeafsNet and the TorontoSportsNetwork is a little over the top even by their own Leaf biased standards.

    Is is 92 goals in a season? No.
    Is it 50 goals in 39 games? No.
    Is it top ten all time? No.
    Top 20? No.

    Its a Leafs record, not a league record. Not even close to being an all time great season.

    Even if Matthews gets to 65 goals its only 25th all time.


    Its an impressive total for sure but its not the world beating accomplishment Luke Fox and the other Leaf ballwashers at LeafsNet, TorontoSportsNetwork and the HNIC panel make it out to be.

    • Ron, I watched the part of the game last night where he got the 55th – whatever the pundits after the game were saying, I don’t know, but at least the play-by-play guys were focused on the fact that he had passed Vaive, and had broken a team record. They didn’t jump out of their seats shrieking like Pierre McGuire after a Dion Phaneuf hit saying he’s the best player in history for reaching 55.

      It’s easy to say that any Leafs chatter is biased Leafs chatter, but I’d say let them enjoy this one, it’s just a team record.

      Nobody calls out Predators TV/radio personalities for celebrating Filip Forsberg being the Predators’ all time goal-scoring leader, even though he barely has over 200 in his career.

    • Agree fully Ron

    • Hi Augustus

      Yes reasonably (relatively) “tame” on it

      But…. They are over-all over-hyping it though IMHO

      “The Quizz” panel seems locked in on AM for Hart…. some going out of their way to mention the “unworthiness” or “not in the league of Mathews” for Shesterkin

      But they are all “beholden” to the same “owners” as AM

      Re Maguire…. There will never be a more Hypo- Hype-Up commentator

      He just comes up with massively exaggerated comments to make himself be heard…. Not a fan

      I am an AM fan…. But have to temper that evaluation , just in comparing the leagues other two top scorers…. Both with less ENGs this year; and better shooting percentages

      If Krieder and Leon had the same number of shots on net as AM….

      Right now they would be at:

      CK-65 Gs
      LD- 63 Gs

      • Hey, there, Pengy! Just wanted to add my voice to those welcoming you back after overcoming COVID. Glad to hear that you’re on the mend.

      • Oh man. Been a while since I saw a rendition of The Quiz… which needs Torts back!

        Since I got rid of my TV hookup years ago I just watch using SportsnetNow, and tune out between periods for the most part. So I don’t see the other stuff.. but I can imagine this situation being like that Simpsons cutaway showing the party after the US declaration of independence, where the rest of the league is the poor shopkeep saying, “please sir, you’re destroying my establishment”, and Leafs media is the guy saying, “we just created the greatest democracy on earth, you low life commoner!”

      • Thanks Lyle

        Fingers crossed

        This morning was first breakfast in 10 days

        Still very congested; coughing; fog headed

        Fever and body aches mow gone

        # 1 son (last to get)..,. Full on bad right now
        Cheers and thanks

  4. Austin Matthews is the Hart winner!

    • Hart and conn smythe
      Matthews/ AKA – Clark Kent

  5. Pengy
    U R a very knowledgeable honest fan
    Hope all is well with U

    • Thanks Ken

      I’m hoping this is all over soon

  6. Mo Seider for Hart (next year), Calder and Norris (next year)!

  7. Glad to hear you’re on the mend Pengy!

    Welcome back!

    • Thanks BosBrn32

  8. Pengy. A side effect of COVID … and working in a hospital in Pittsburgh I see it all the time… is that people develop an overwhelming infatuation with the defensive works of one chad ruhwedal.

    There is no cure.

    • Ahhh!

      Dang, I must have had Covid since the beginning of the Pandemic… just feeling the physical symptoms now

      There is a cure….send CR to WBS…. With thank-you card to Sully….

      Can you get the paperwork started? I’ll go on-line (still in quarantine) to pick out a thank-you card