NHL Rumor Mill – April 14, 2023
What could the future look like for Jonathan Toews? What’s the latest on the Kings’ Anze Kopitar and Joonas Korpisalo? Could the Oilers shop Evan Bouchard this summer? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor mill.
WHAT NEXT FOR JONATHAN TOEWS?
TSN: Jonathan Toews has played his final game for the Chicago Blackhawks but Chris Johnston isn’t sure that it means it’s the end of his NHL playing career. The 34-year-old center is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Toews’ health will be the deciding factor. He missed a recent season with some long COVID symptoms but Johnston believes that the now-former Blackhawks captain is determined to continue his career.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I’ve previously noted, Toews turns 35 on April 29, making him eligible to sign a one-year, bonus-laden contract with a low base salary if he’s determined to continue his playing career. I think there will be teams interested in him this summer if he’s willing to accept such a deal.
THE LATEST KINGS SPECULATION
TORONTO STAR: Nick Kypreos reports of lots of speculation over what the future holds for Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar when his contract expires at the end of next season. He’ll be 37 by that point and Kypreos claims he “quietly remains uncommitted to the Kings past next year.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see this as an issue for the Kings. Their 35-year-old captain is once again their leading scorer with 74 points (though he would’ve finished second had Kevin Fiala not missed some time due to injury) and remains their best two-way forward. Both sides are likely willing to wait and see how things go next season before opening contract extension talks.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes it’s “certainly possible” that the Kings re-sign trade deadline acquisition Joonas Korpisalo. The 28-year-old goaltender had a .921 save percentage in 11 starts with the Kings (7-3-1). There’s been a couple of short conversations with Korpisalo’s agent but both sides agreed to wait until after the playoffs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Goaltending was an issue for the Kings this season given Jonathan Quick’s decline and Cal Petersen’s struggles. Pheonix Copley played well and earned a one-year contract extension but their acquisition of Korpisalo at the deadline signaled their concern about their depth between the pipes.
A strong playoff performance by Korpisalo will entice the Kings to re-sign him. Dollars and terms, however, will be the sticking points. The club could prefer an affordable short-term deal but the pending UFA netminder could prefer something more lucrative.
COULD THE OILERS SHOP BOUCHARD?
OILERS NATION: Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli said he doesn’t see a path for a long-term contract for Evan Bouchard. He believes the Edmonton Oilers would prefer a bridge deal for the 23-year-old defenseman in the range of two years worth between $3.5 million and $4.5 million annually.
If Bouchard is unwilling to sign a bridge deal, Seravalli doesn’t see it out of the realm of possibility that the Oilers trade the blueliner this summer. It’s not something they want to do but they are dealing with a tight salary cap.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bouchard reached the 40-point plateau for the second straight season. Coming off his entry-level contract, he’s in line for a significant raise. However, he also lacks arbitration rights. If he genuinely wants to remain with the Oilers, he’ll have to accept the bridge deal with the promise of a much bigger payday on his next contract, when he’ll have the leverage of arbitration.
The Oilers could trade Bouchard if he digs in his heels this summer but I doubt it’ll get that far. They’ll likely move out a defenseman like Cody Ceci or Brett Kulak in a cost-cutting deal this summer to free up additional cap space for next season. They won’t want to further weaken their blueline by shopping Bouchard.
Or Bouchard could be offer sheeted at 5 x $5.25M and the Oil would get a 1st and a 3rd
Pens clear house, wow a bloodbath.
I think Hextall enters the top 10 worst GMS of all time after another terrible job but honestly when the team goal is to roll out 3 future HOFers at the end of the careers with no youth or cap space…..and then watch your GM acquire more old players…
the only bad luck was the health of the goaltenders. the rest is the roster
And that “bad luck” could have been anticipated by precedent. After all hextalls bad moves he at least seemed to realize it and got kap and mcginn out at the deadline… opening up space to fix issues in the offseason. Only to trade for grandlund!
Yeah Hextall didn’t do enough. He made a couple of good moves and some really awful ones. 2 of the 3 trade deadline acquisitions played 5 games between them and the headliner had 5 points in 20 games and most of those were in garbage time. That really took the focus off of the fact that Makin and Crosby both were point a game players and didn’t miss a game for the first time ever. The top 6 was great, Letang was his future hall of fame self. The goaltending was brutal and the supporting cast didn’t show up. It’s not the end of an era but it’s ridiculously close to the end of an era and not just the Penguins, there is big changes afoot across the whole league.
Hextall and Burke out in Pittsburgh
You wouldn’t have known Treliving was a good GM until Burke left. Was firing Hextall justified?
Eakins out too with Ducks
How Chicago handles the obvious necessity of a total re-build: trade DeBrincat and Kane and say sayonara to 15 year mainstay Toews. No “sentimentality” – do what’s necessary to start building for the future.
How Pittsburgh handled the obvious necessity of a total re-build: tinker by trading away picks and loading up on aging veterans – be interesting to see what the new management team – whoever they may be – does with the coaching … and then the roster.
Yes, Crosby and Malkin are still dominant players and on ridiculously ideal cap hits for what they bring … but can you imagine what they’d bring in separate deals?
Short-term pain for long term gain.
You didn’t think that analogy through all the way george. The situations are not really comparable.
Why. Kane doesn’t rate right up there with Crosby in terms of being a lifetime player for his team?
Pittsburgh’s not facing the same fading trend as has Chicago over the past couple of seasons?
Toews isn’t as regarded as a lifelong Blackhawk in the same manner as is Malkin?
DeBrincat isn’t as good as Guentzel?
Dach isn’t as valuable as Rust?
I’d say they are exactly comparable. But then, I’m not a diehard fan of either – just a cold-blooded observer.
Chicago is going about it the right way – Pittsburgh is not. That will eventually dawn on even the most diehard of fans by this time next season.
Chicago lost toews for nothing and Kane for very little. Saying the pens should do the same sounds bogus.
Where did I say the Penguins should do the same – i.e., trade away Crosby and Malkin for the same sort of returns Chicago got for Kane and zilch for Toews?
What Chicago gets, in effect, is $16.8 mil to spend elsewhere, in addition to the modest returns for Kane. But the point is, both long-time Hawks could have been – and likely were – regarded by the more “sentimental” of their fan-base as “lifelong” Hawks. Management didn’t.
Should the Penguins ever deal Crosby and Malkin, not only would that free up their cap space to spend on younger talent, but the returns they’d get would dwarf those of the Hawks, and consequently speed up their re-build accordingly. Hanging onto them out of sentimentality because they’re seen as “lifelong Penguins” goes against all professional logic.
What they’ll be are fading veterans on a team that’ll wind up like San Jose.
The hawks have been last or second to last in their division for 5 or more years. The pens made the playoffs until this year and only missed by a couple points. They are not comparable organizations for where they are at. Now if you lauded Chicago for dumping Kane and toews five years ago to avoid sentimentality then maybe.
Heh. To turn your words around 4 or 5 years from today “Now if you lauded Pittsburgh for dumping Crosby and Malkin in the summer after the year they missed the playoffs, instead of hanging onto them like Gunga Din to his bugle out of sentimentality, they wouldn’t be wallowing in the nether regions of the league.”
Yeah, starting with the year after Chicago finished 1st with 109 points (2016-17), they sank like a rock and now they realize the errors of their ways by trying to “tinker” their way out of the downfall while hanging onto Kane and Toews when the returns would have been much greater.
Those elements of Ottawa’s fan base who were apoplectic when Karlsson and Stone were dealt, and vowed never to return because Dorion moved out “lifelong” stars are now beating the drums for the new “stars.”
Hell, two of perhaps the greatest ever – Orr and Gretzky – were dealt.
Until Ottawa turns into a cup winner or at least perennial contender then they are also irrelevant. One thing Chicago and Pittsburgh do have in common I guess. But again your analogy is off. Chicago would have had to sell off their stars when still being competitive…what team would do that?
But I guess your argument is the only way to have success is to bottom out for a long period and then shine briefly then bottom out again? Maybe you are right. As a pens fan I guess that hard to argue cause that’s how we got all 5 cups. But it’s a hard sell for me. Might as well by your argument tell Tampa Boston vegas among others to clean house. They are obviously next with aging stars.
Toews would be a good add for a young up and coming team, ready to compete, like Buffalo. Buffalo’s problems aren’t goaltending, as evidenced by Ullmarks success in Boston. They need team defense big time. Perhaps he can mentor some guys and show them that players like Olofsson have to go.
You could have paid Nurse a million or so less. He’ll makes more than Draisaitl
Kulak gone and Brosberg full time. You don’t let Bouchard go anywhere
I know toews would likely want to be on a contender but wonder if he would consider joining the lucky team that’s drafts Bedard. He would be a great mentor.
Then how well did he mentor Dach?
Toews should just retire and not say anything. It’s what he’s good at.
That and winning, Ed.
🤔 Comparing the Oilers Evan Bouchard to the NYI Noah Dobson, both are 23 yrs old….
Dobson has had 2 better years scoring 51& 49 points and has a 3 year deal for $4.M
I think Bouchard will get $3.2M to $3.4M for a new 2-3 year Deal he has scored 43 & 40 points this year and when the Oil have cap space in 2 or 3 years they will lock him up for 8 years ✔️
EB, has not had a great year this season and has had lots of chances on the PP