NHL Rumor Mill – May 4, 2022

by | May 4, 2022 | Rumors | 23 comments

A look at some of the notable off-season issues facing the Canucks and Flyers in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance took note of Vancouver Canucks hockey operations president Jim Rutherford’s willingness to play contract hardball with popular head coach Bruce Boudreau. Rutherford told a season-ending press conference yesterday that the team would like to bring the bench boss back on his current contract rather than on an extension. Boudreau’s current deal has an option for next season which he can opt out of by June 1.

Vancouver Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau (NHL.com)

Drance suggested it was a risky move by Rutherford. He pointed out Boudreau’s coaching stock is sky-high right now following the fine work he did in reverse the Canucks’ sinking fortunes when he took over from Travis Green last December. The Flyers and Vegas Golden Knights are two possible destinations if Boudreau decides to leave.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I pointed out in this morning’s headlines update, Rutherford’s decision gives the impression he’d prefer to bring in a coach of his own choice. He inherited Boudreau, who was hired three days prior.

Rutherford said the Canucks want to bring Boudreau back and the latter has indicated he’d like to stay in Vancouver. It’ll be interesting to see how this shakes out. It’s now up to Boudreau.

Meanwhile, Drance’s colleague Rick Dhaliwal tweeted that J.T. Miller’s agent Brian Bartlett said his client has made re-signing with Vancouver one of his goals. He wants to help the club go forward and would be happy to sign a contract extension this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller’s been the subject of considerable trade speculation this season. He’s a year away from UFA status and coming off a career-best 99-point season.

Miller is in line for a substantial raise over his $5.25 million annual cap hit. Whether a suitable agreement can be found with a Canucks management looking to bring in younger and affordable talent should ensure the 29-year-old center remains a fixture in the NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Charlie O’Connor reports Philadelphia Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher is hoping to replicate his 2019 offseason success this summer. Back then, Fletcher hired Alain Vigneault as head coach, acquired and signed center Kevin Hayes, swapped Radko Gudas for Matt Niskanen and acquired Justin Braun to bolster the blueline. He also traded down in the first round of the 2019 draft to select Cam York and used an extra second-round pick to select promising Bobby Brink.

Following that blueliner, O’Connor believes Fletcher will attempt one big acquisition, more of a traditional hockey trade (player-for-player) and a smaller buy using B-tier assets. He’ll also need to hire a new head coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: O’Connor also speculates that Fletcher will look toward a healthy Ryan Ellis and Sean Couturier and the improvement of key players between 23 and 26 already on the roster. He’ll also look to the incoming prospects (like Brink) to further improve their depth.

One big problem for Fletcher is the Flyers’ limited cap space for 2022-23. O’Connor pointed out they have about $8.9 million to address their roster issues. He anticipates that will shrink to $5 million once they re-sign restricted free agents like Owen Tippett, Morgan Frost and Zack MacEwen.

That’s prompted recent speculation suggesting defenseman Ivan Provorov ($6.75 million through 2024-25) or winger Travis Konecny ($5.5 million) could become trade bait. One of them could be swapped for a player with a comparable salary or shed in a cost-cutting deal to free up cap space to pursue free-agent talent.

Whatever Fletcher does this summer, he has to avoid repeating his miscues of the last two offseasons. His moves must at least turn the Flyers back into playoff contenders again. Otherwise, he could find himself unemployed by this time next year.


  1. Transparency here…. Not a Jimbo fan

    That out of the way…. Playing hardball contract negotiations with a veteran coach who seemed to turn the tide in the right direction for the ‘Nucks …. just a nutty move

    Jimbo, HexBurkie on line 4…. Want to know if you’re still good on the straight up swap of JTM (who you “inherited” ) for JZ…. your years long Bromance

    • Boudreau will exercise his opt out. Rutherford does not want him and is trying to not look like the bad guy. He’s hoping Boudreau will opt out,
      I think Detroit is the best spot for Boudreau. A team with good young players who need a solid veteran coach.

      • Good point Howard

        Boudreau is a good coach… will land where he wants, and is wanted

        Jimbo is gearing towards ego moves costly to ‘Nucks

      • Yzerman has a track record of hiring guys that do not have Head coaching experience at the NHL level, I bet he has someone earmarked for the role.
        BB may be a tempting option but I feel SYz already has this figured out.

    • Boudreau will exercise his opt out. Rutherford certainly hopes he will. He doesn’t want him but he also doesn’t want to look like the guy who caused the break up.
      I think Detroit is the best fit for Boudreau. A team with good young players who could use a veteran coach.

      • Not sure what Yzerman will do Howard. In TB when he needed a coach he promoted Cooper from AHL. He knew the players which was a plus, but had no NHL experience which was a minus.
        Worked pretty darn good.

        Has an experienced vet in Grand Rapids who has a winning record, but not outstanding.

        I like Beadreau, but IMO he looks for a long term solution and may consider Bruce a shorter term one. Also think he has a very specific skill set he is looking for as well.

        Philly seems like a good landing spot for Boudreau.

  2. Howard, what I’d LOVE to see is Dorion & Co. deciding to part ways with D. J. Smith and bring in Boudreau, which could be the catalyst for a young Senators team to taking the next step in becoming a serious playoff presence.

    The F positions are as promising as can be with Norris and Batherson (hampered by injuries that limited them to 60 odd games and still scoring 35 (a 43 goal pace for Norris) and 18 (a 30 goal pace for Batherson) , along with Tkachuk (30 goals), Stutzle (22 goals) and Formenton (18 goals).

    On D, all signs point to top pick Sanderson being a fixture next season, along with Chabot, Zub, Holden, Brannstrom, Zaitsev. and if Dorion can parlay that likely 7th overall pick + a prospect such as Thompson or Bernard-Docker into acquiring a solid top 4 D as is being rumored, a coach like Boudreau could mold that collection into a consistent winner (the one over-ridinbg caveat is in goal where Murray MUST rebound from his past 2 disastrous seasons in terms of nagging and always different injuries and be the starter they hoped for, with Forsberg backing him).

    But, alas, that’s wishful-thinking, and I fully expect to see Smith back behind the bench – albeit on a much shorter leash this time around.

    • Good point George. But I don’t see Smith being fired.

      Sorry for the double post. Thought the first didn’t post so I rewrote.

    • George,

      7th overall+ 2nd 23’+ Docker



      • good offer but they need a top 4 RD , both Chabot and Sanderson shoot and play leftside

      • mp, as Fergy22 says, Provorov is a LD and Chabot and Sanderson will be eating up the minutes on that side for years to come. Besides, adding Provorov to Zub and Zaitsev would give them 3 Russians on D – and with the way things are going over there and the often irrational and unpredictable actions of that lying wingnut SOB Putin, I’d be a bit wary of relying on too many from that country.

    • Hi George

      IF I’m Dorian…. I go ALL in …. building with 2 Stalwart D-Men…

      1st (‘22) , Sanderson , Pinto, and maybe something else….

      To Sabres for Power

      Can you imagine the up and coming forwards that Sens have; with Forsberg in net….. and almost all of Sens 5 on 5 playing time having with either Power or Chabot on the ice ?

      That would be an excellent future

      Sanderson is pretty good….. to me… Power has all the attributes towards being the next Hedman

      Certainly early and anything could happen…. But to me flipping Sanderson for Power at a cost of Pinto, a first, and maybe a mid-rounder…. Worth it

      • Tempting Pengy … really tempting … but Dorion (not Dorian) has never revealed any tendency to be that adventurous. Besides, I’m not sure Buffalo would go for that package. They showed down the stretch that they are not that far off and from what I saw of Power this guy will be DOMINANT in the NHL very soon. It would take someone with gonads the size of beachballs to trade him away at this stage.

      • Hate to bust your bubble but the Sabres aren’t trading Power, very small sample but the players welcomed him with open arms, Jokiharju and Dahlin playfully debated who was getting him as a partner. Adams would listen and respectfully say “No Thank You”.

        In saying that I’m not disrespecting the offer.

      • Well that is a really solid offer.
        Hard to say no to it, but one were you risk losing a perennial all star.

  3. Flyers if they are smart will trade JVR(eat half salary) and atkinson(stock high atm).

    These moves will free up cap space and most importantly will give ice time to our younger players.

    Also we need to find a sniper, either draft one or trade for one, but this team needs a shoot first player(laine comes to mind).

  4. I think there will be other opportunities for Boudreau. Dallas, San Jose, Chicago, as well as the obvious ones. Detroit would be a great choice, Ottawa too.
    If I were Bruce, though, I wouldn’t go anywhere near Vegas. Let Mikey try it first.

    • “ Let Mikey try it first”…. Is he still doing Cereal commercials ?

      • Yeah, only now he weight like 310 lbs from al that sugary crap.

    • What puzzled me was why it took a team so long to pluck BB off the shelve…I wanted the Sabres to hire him after that bum Krueger was fired.

  5. Penny, missed convo this morning. As a Ranger fan, of course I disagree with the disallowed goal. But, I could live with their decision had it not been for the fact that a game that went almost 6 full periods, the Pens where whistled for just 1 penalty? I’m all for letting them play but how about that soft call on Trouba that put Pens up 2 men? Ok. Maybe I can let that go. But, how about the 2 minute “roughing” call on Lindgren? Please somebody explain how refs review a 5 minute major call under assumption he targets head, but replays show him here wasn’t any. What exactly then warrants a roughing call? Too hard a hit? If you’re deeming the check clean, why any penalty?

    • Quit your whining, Kronwall got suspended for his last hit like that. It did not target the head, like Lindgren’s, but it eventually got there, like Lingren’s. He got off lightly.

    • Pens were one of the least penalized teams in the NHL regular season. I assume that will continue into the playoffs. Sully stresses discipline and the players don’t pull too much of the after the whistle stuff. I think the refs like that.