NHL Rumor Mill – May 11, 2022
Are significant offseason changes in the cards for the Predators? Could the Senators and Islanders shop their 2022 first-round draft picks? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.
CHANGES COMING FOR PREDATORS?
THE ATHLETIC: Adam Vingan believes Nashville Predators’ ownership must react after getting eliminated from the opening round of the 2022 playoffs by the Colorado Avalanche. It’s the first time the Predators have been swept from a postseason series in franchise history.
The subdued atmosphere in Nashville during Games 3 and 4 of that series has to be a concern. So is a club getting outclassed despite carrying two 40-goal scorers in Filip Forsberg and Matt Duchene, a 90-point defenseman in Roman Josi, an All-Star goaltender in Juuse Saros and the rookie goal-scoring leader in Tanner Jeannot.
Vingan believes the blame lies with David Poile, suggesting it might be time to hire someone to work in tandem with Poile but has the final say over personnel decisions. He noted the club faces some critical decisions this off-season, including new contracts for pending free agent Forsberg and head coach John Hynes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators ownership could surprise us by following Vingan’s advice or perhaps even firing Poile. However, he started a “competitive rebuild” last summer with the club exceeding expectations when they weren’t considered a playoff contender to start the season. Those factors probably ensure there won’t be any shakeup in the general manager’s office this summer.
NHL.COM: John Glennon reports Forsberg said he wants to return with the Predators. He said there’s been a progression in contract talks throughout the season, adding there will be ongoing discussions. “We’ll just have to see where we end,” he said. Those talks were paused at the March 21 trade deadline but he said they’ll resume soon.
Forsberg is coming off a career-high 42-goal, 84-point performance. The 27-year-old winger said he likes the direction of the Predators and believes they can be a Stanley Cup champion in the future.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Poile wants to keep Forsberg but the latter’s asking price will be an issue. The Predators are already carrying two forwards (Duchene and Ryan Johansen) each carrying annual average values of $8 million. Forsberg will likely seek something comparable if not more.
COULD THE SENATORS OR ISLANDERS SHOP THEIR FIRST-ROUND PICKS?
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch noted the Senators will have the opportunity to add another promising talent to their roster with the seventh-overall selection in the 2022 NHL Draft. However, he noted there’s a belief GM Pierre Dorion could be willing to part with that pick if a rival club offers up a player who can help the Senators compete for a playoff spot. It’s unlikely any decision will be reached until the first round of the draft on July 7.
NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner wondered if the New York Islanders might use their pick (13th overall) to address more immediate needs. He pointed out GM Lou Lamoriello has talked about making hockey trades during this offseason.
This year’s draft isn’t considered a deep one. Rosner suggested that the pick could be used to acquire a top-four defenseman or a top-six forward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There will be some cap-strapped teams attempting to shed salary or rebuilding clubs looking to stockpile first-round picks in this year’s draft. Perhaps the Senators or Islanders can find some suitable trade partners among those clubs.