NHL Rumor Mill – May 9, 2022
The latest on John Klingberg’s contract talks with the Stars, a difficult postmortem could face the Predators if they’re swept by the Avalanche, and the Blue Jackets’ offseason focus in today’s NHL rumor mill.
STARS GM STILL HOPES TO RE-SIGN KLINGBERG
NHL.COM: Tracey Myers reports Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill would love to re-sign John Klingberg. However, he understands the 29-year-old defenseman has to look out for himself as he approaches eligibility for unrestricted free agent status this summer. Nill said he intends to speak with Klingberg’s representatives once the playoffs are over.
Klingberg felt underappreciated by Stars management and expressed his frustration over the lack of progress in earlier contract discussions during an interview in January. However, he’s now indicated he refocused on his game since the All-Star break and has been happy with his performance. Nill is also happy with Klingberg’s play, claiming he’s had many discussions with the blueliner and the two have “a great relationship.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It appears the two sides have patched things up from where they were in the first half of the season. However, it will still come down to what Klingberg seeks on his next contract and whether the Stars are willing to meet his expectations.
Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek last fall indicated Klingberg sought an eight-year deal worth between $62 million and $68 million. That’s between $7.75 million and $8.5 million annually.
THE TENNESSEAN: Gentry Estes believes the Nashville Predators could face “a tough postmortem” if they’re swept by the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night in Game 4 of their first-round series. They face losing the fifth consecutive postseason series.
The Predators opted not to trade Filip Forsberg in hopes of a playoff run. The 27-year-old left winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Considering how overmatched the club has been against the Avalanche, it should mean more questions for the roster beyond Forsberg.
Head coach John Hynes’ contract expires at the end of this season. Estes suggested he could be retained given the Predators exceeded expectations this season but wondered why it hasn’t been announced yet. He also doubted a healthy Juuse Saros would’ve significantly altered the course of this series with the Avalanche.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Predators GM David Poile last summer indicated his club was undergoing a “competitive rebuild”. If he meant remaining in playoff contention while making changes to his roster with a long-term goal of returning to Cup contender status, then it’s mission accomplished for this season.
Whether Forsberg will be part of that process beyond this season remains to be seen. He’s completing a six-year deal with an annual cap hit of $6 million and is coming off a career-best 42-goal, 84-point performance in 69 games. That could push the annual average value of his next contract to well over $8 million per season.
There were reports prior to the March trade deadline that there wasn’t much progress in contract talks between the two sides. Unless that changes, we could be seeing the last of Forsberg in a Predators jersey.
WHAT’S IN STORE FOR THE BLUE JACKETS THIS SUMMER?
THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline believes the Columbus Blue Jackets face heightened expectations for next season after overachieving in 2021-22. General manager Jarmo Kekalainen must get restricted free agent winger Patrik Laine under contract and shed some salary to make room for the younger players set to join the lineup next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Laine is completing a one-year, $7.5 million contract and has arbitration rights this season. Portzline indicated the 24-year-old winger wants to stay with the Jackets. However, Kekalainen will have to pony up some big bucks to keep him in the fold long term.
The Laine camp could seek over $9 million annually on a seven- or eight-year deal. They could also prefer a short-term deal to take their client up to UFA eligibility and a shot at a major contract on the open market.
Laine’s new contract will also bite deeply into the Jackets’ cap space. Cap Friendly shows them with over $54 million committed to 15 players.
A likely trade candidate is Gustav Nyquist. The 32-year-old winger has a year remaining on his contract with an annual cap hit of $5.5 million. He enjoyed a bounce-back performance this season with 53 points. Perhaps a playoff contender seeking offensive depth on the wing would be interested in his services.
Thanks again Lyle…hope all is well. Given the better than anticipated results in 21-22, this will be an intriguing off season for CBJ. Although management praised the culture and reinforced their belief in the overall direction & young core, both Jarmo and Larsen spoke to the need to strengthen the defense at the end of season media session. John Davidson also made some interesting (and surprisingly direct) comments about fans not getting too attached to players as changes are likely in store. The draft lottery tomorrow is huge for the future of the CBJ due to the CHI pick. It appears D, C (seemingly a constant CBJ need), and adding toughness are focal priorities in the offseason. It will be interesting to see what kind of moves they are able to make.
Deacon Frost, when I read your post and the sentence ” John Davidson also made some interesting (and surprisingly direct) comments about fans not getting too attached to players as changes are likely in store” it brought immediately to mind the same situation here in Ottawa when the late Eugene Melnyk sat down with Dorion and both agreed that major changes needed to be made to the roster and that, if certain players turn down the team’s top offer, or if deemed expendable in terms of a re-build, they needed to go for the best returns possible.
Of course that hero-worshipping element of the fan base immediately became incensed when Hoffman, then Karlsson were dealt, followed by Stone, and to a lesser degree Duchene and Dzingel – not to mention letting Borowiecki walk away to Nashville as a UFA.
Imagine where they’d be if all of the above were retained – some at the bloated salaries they were demanding – or offered in a couple of cases – rather than the young rising players they received in exchange or through draft picks obtained.
Hi George…it’s been a while good to hear from you! Good observation. It will be very interesting to see who they are referring to. The have a surplus of F (particularly W) so something has to give there. As Lyle pointed out Nyquist is 1 yr out from UFA. Some names that come to mind for me on F are Bjorkstrand, Roslovic, Texier & D Gavrikov; Bean; Boqvist. Not to say any would/should be on the block but one has to given to get if they are truly looking to trade for impact D and C. BTW I find Ottawa an intriguing team, they really seemed to be finding their way in the 2nd half of the season. I was also selfishly pulling for them to pass CBJ to increase the value of their draft capital 🙂
Hard to be in a worse position isn’t it george? The sens could have been in better position had they kept those players.
Not – a – chance.
Really? They’d have been at 18.5 percent this year?
Hey DeaconFrost – good to hear from you again too – and LOL – I hear ya. I found myself getting antsy when Ottawa kept getting closer to Detroit, Buffalo, Anaheim and San Jose thinking “what the heck are you doing?” (shades of Penguins’ GM Eddie Johnson in the year of the Mario Lemieux draft!). Now, unless they get fantastically lucky tomorrow and win the lottery, they figure to draft 7th – which Dorion will readily trade if it can bring in a term RW sniper – otherwise he likely keeps it.
To this observer, Columbus was one of those teams which, like Ottawa, got off to a horrible start and then about mid-season when they began to knock off a top team or two, I’d think “here they go.”
Cap-wise they have a ton, with $54,370,833 committed to 15, leaving $28,129,167 to sign 8. And although they have 8 RFAs to deal with, 4 of whom have arbitration rights, Only 2 or 3 should see big raises led, of course, by Laine (arb. rights) who will get substantially more than his expiring $7.5 mil. But even if he comes in at close to $9 mil, that still leaves them around $19 mil to sign 7. Roslovic (also with arb. rights) had a fairly decent season and will likely get a bridge deal at around $2.5 per (he’s coming off $1,838,362). Now they’re down to around $16.5 mil to sign 6. An interesting one is RD Blankenburg out of Michigan U who only played 7 games at a cap hit of $1,688,452. Another bridge there at $2.5 should be doable and now they have $14 mil to sign 5. None of Bemstrom, Meyer or Carlsson will be looking at big raises beyond their ELCs and will likely be in the AHL anyway.
A key will be what happens in goal back of Elvis! Both Korpisalo and Berube are UFAs and if RFA Tarasov is healthy he’ll likely be the back-up with a modest increase over his expiring $925,000 ELC.
Bottom line, they’re going to have around $12 mil to either spend on UFAs and/or players obtained in deals should they decide to move a Nyquist or Voracek – or perhaps their 1st round pick.
Doing what Lou does best!
2 eastern finals, Lou does nothing but weaken the team, then Barry is the fall guy.
May Lou live forever!!!!
God this guy is brilliant!
I’m not surprised Trotz was canned, he would rather lose 2-1 then generate some offense and scoring chances. Lamoriello realized that horrible style will only go so far and forget about attracting skill guys, who wants to play in a system like that? Most boring team in hockey.
TRotz wont be out of work long.
Winnipeg is looking for a coach, he is from Manitoba.
Probably just what the Jets need to get that team right
Trotz to the Flyers please. Doubt it though, why would he want to do that?
Who wants to coach a team that a Chuck Fletcher constructed?
Trotz wont touch this current Flyers roster.
Yzerman will be hot on this.
The Jets would be solid bet too-his home and that roster is better than the results
I am not sure about Trotz and Yzerman. The question is, have the Wings acquired/drafted players that can play Trotz style hockey ? Is that the style that Yzerman envisions the Wing’s becoming, or is his preference to play more like Tampa ? My gut feel is that there is not a good match between Trotz and Detroit.
I thought the same thing about Tampa. If they see an early exit, Cooper will be out the door.
It was speculated that Yzerman had a favorite for the HC in mind but that he was waiting for him to be disengaged assumedly with his duties in the play-offs. Does Trotz now become a favorite? I imagine he will be considered. How can you NOT consider Trotz? He took the WORST defensive team in the league and made them the BEST Defensive Team and that made them competitive! Yes! with the defenders Stevie has posed to come up I think Trotz would be a very good choice!
with Seider and the swedish kid on the Wings blueline for the next decade Trotz could make sense but i am sure he will get offers from teams with playoff expectations asap
DS. I am wondering why Trotz was fired. Not emough of an offensive coach ? Would Yzerman have the same issue with Barry ?
Pierre McGuire fired too…and possibly hired by the Isles?
That certainly came out of the blue Dark G – we’ll likely never know the full reasoning behind the decision, although his hiring was a Melnyk initiative. Is the Islanders thought your speculation or have you seen something to that end somewhere?
Given how Jim Rutherford handled Bruce Boudreau ‘s status at year end, I could see Barry Trotz in Vancouver next. He lives in Kelowna now, I believe, and there’s a lot to like about the Canucks’ young core. One way or another, Trotz should be unemployed for about five minutes.
I guess Dorian won the power struggle between him and Mc Guire.
Trots coming to the Peg is a great fit. And while we are stealing from Lou let’s add in a Dobson – MS trade. Jets biggest need is a young stud RH dman. I’ll let better talent evaluators figure out the final trade details
That could well have been the case in Ottawa Isotopes (love that nick). As I say elsewhere, his hiring was purely a Melnyk initiative and now that he’s gone perhaps his daughters – now technically the “owners” are simply letting Dorion have full rein as GM without the uncomfortable feeling of having an eminence gris peering over his shoulder at every turn. For now anyway.
Maybe McGuire will reveal something – he’s certainly not shy when it comes to speaking out.
Interesting observation: Barzal has 1 year left on his contract. Getting him to sign while Barry is there may prove much more difficult!