NHL Rumor Mill – May 3, 2022
More speculation about the Jets plus an update on the Senators’ off-season plans in today’s NHL rumor mill.
JET GM CHEVELDAYOFF FACING A CHALLENGING SUMMER.
Meeting with the media yesterday, Cheveldayoff said Scheifele, who made eyebrow-raising comments on Sunday about his future in Winnipeg, has not submitted a trade request nor have the two held an exit interview yet. The Jets GM also attempted to diffuse Scheifele’s comments, as well as those of several of his teammates over their frustration and disappointment about the team’s failure to reach the playoffs. He chalked them up to their competitive nature.
Wiebe believes Scheifele would draw plenty of interest if Cheveldayoff were to put the 29-year-old center on the trade block this summer. He’s signed through 2023-24 with an annual average value of $6.125 million.
Dubois, meanwhile, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights completing a two-year, $10 million contract. Cheveldayoff met with the 23-year-old center yesterday and was encouraged by what he heard, though he added the contract negotiations will take time.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre believes this is a mess of Chevelodayoff’s making. With his new contract, he’s got three years to clean this up, suggesting the number of players making their frustrations public isn’t normal or healthy behavior.
McIntyre claims Scheifele isn’t the only player seeking an exit plan but he’s the only one to say so out loud. While he expects the center is likely a goner this summer, he also believes his frustration is a disturbing trend, citing the recent departures of several Jets including Dustin Byfuglien, Patrik Laine, Jack Roslovic, Jacob Trouba and Andrew Copp. He also pointed to head coach Paul Maurice’s unexpected resignation last December.
WINNIPEG SUN: Paul Friesen called on Cheveldayoff to ship out Scheifele, citing the latter’s comments about the club’s plans and whether he fits within them. He also believes the Jets GM should hire a tough coach who will demand accountability from the players.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets’ woes appear tied to a broken culture within the dressing room that’s been ongoing for some time. Some of those earlier departures McIntyre mentioned could be put down to difficult contract negotiations. Some, like Laine, Roslovic and Trouba, weren’t happy with their roles with the clubs.
At the time Maurice stepped down as head coach, he claimed the team needed a new voice behind the bench. That suggests some of the core players may have been tuning him out while others could share the same concerns that led to some of those aforementioned departures.
Hiring a tougher coach could help provided he earns the players’ respect. As for trading Scheifele, he’s under contract for two more seasons. Cheveldayoff can afford to take his time to evaluate trade offers. Scheifele could return with the Jets next season unless he’s the main reason behind his teammates’ discontent. That could spur the Jets’ general manager to seek a trade sooner rather than later.
LATEST ON THE SENATORS
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said his club won’t spend to the $82.5 million cap next season but they will increase their salary budget. He also indicated he’ll be starting contract talks soon with restricted free agent center Josh Norris. The club has also held contract discussions with defenseman Erik Brannstrom, who shares the same agent with Norris.
Dorion said he would like to bring in a player to help his young talent play meaningful games by the end of next season. That player could be acquired via trade or free agency. Dorion didn’t rule out the possibility of shopping his first-round pick in this year’s draft provided the Senators don’t win next Tuesday’s draft lottery and they remain seventh in the selection order.
Garrioch said it’s no secret the Senators would like to add a top-six right winger to skate alongside center Tim Stutzle. While promising young defenseman Jake Sanderson could become an impact player, they might want to add a little more support around him by acquiring a veteran blueliner.
The Senators could be among the clubs interested in Ottawa native Claude Giroux if he hits the open market this summer. Garrioch reports they’ve also been linked to Kevin Fiala but Minnesota Wild GM Bill Guerin could find a way to re-sign the pending restricted free agent winger.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Senators have $59.1 million invested in 14 active roster players for 2022-23 with Norris, Brannstrom and forward Alex Formenton as their notable restricted free agents. Re-signing those three could push their payroll closer to $69 million. They’ll still have room to add a veteran or two but they might be unable to chase someone like Giroux or Fiala if they’re not going to be a cap team next season.