NHL Rumor Mill – June 10, 2023
WHY DOES DUBOIS WANT TO LEAVE THE JETS?
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre believes the Jets should look inward as to why Pierre-Luc Dubois doesn’t want to sign a contract extension and is seeking a trade this summer. He thinks the club would be wise to discover the reasons and fast, even if it reveals some uncomfortable truths.
McIntyre notes that Dubois is coming off the most productive season of his young NHL career with 27 goals and 36 assists in 73 games. He pointed out that the 24-year-old center was a fan favorite for his passion and emotion and was increasingly relied on by the Jets coaching staff in big moments.
Dubois is a Canadian player in a Canadian market, one where his father is an assistant coach for their farm team that plays in the same arena. The Jets would open the vault to re-sign him and he’s bound to take on a greater role within their leadership.
McIntyre acknowledged part of the problem could be Dubois himself, pointing to his departure from the Columbus Blue Jackets. However, he also believes the young center has seen plenty of dysfunction within the Jets’ dressing room over the past three seasons. McIntyre also doesn’t buy into the theory that Dubois doesn’t enjoy playing under a big spotlight when his preferred destination is reportedly his hometown of Montreal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some of this could be on Dubois but the Jets’ internal issues among their leadership group have been well-documented over the past two seasons. Perhaps what he needs is a good work environment with the right coach and teammates.
Whatever the reason, Dubois has made it clear that his future iS not in Winnipeg. Once the Jets front office addresses that issue, they must do something about the rumored toxic atmosphere behind the scenes that have plagued this club for some time.
DEBRINCAT OPEN TO STAYING IN OTTAWA
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Steve Warne cites a source claiming Alex DeBrincat remains open to staying with the Ottawa Senators despite the recent trade rumors. However, he is looking for contract term like the eight-year deal that Cole Caufield got with the Montreal Canadiens.
The source claims DeBrincat likes head coach DJ Smith a lot and loves the team. Nevertheless, Warne noted the winger provided the Senators with a list of trade destinations.
Warne finds it curious why the Senators would need an answer from DeBrincat regarding his contract by draft day. He pointed out that the Senators have made solid trades in the recent past at other points on the calendar.
If the Senators truly want to keep DeBrincat long-term, Warne believes it would be sensible to wait a while longer. He thinks it wouldn’t dramatically affect the ability to make a good trade with the winger later on if they need to go that route.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeBrincat said during his end-of-season press conference that he’s open to anything. However, he wants to wait and see what happens with the sale of the club. That could explain why the Senators want to find out about his intentions by June 28.
As Warne noted, the new ownership could also affect whether the current management and coaching staffs remain in place. DeBrincat might not want to commit long-term only to end up with a Senators team that fails to improve and a new head coach that he doesn’t get along with.
KINGS ATTEMPTED TO ACQUIRE SAROS FROM THE PREDATORS
NASHVILLE HOCKEY NOW: Michael Gallagher recently reported that the Predators had discussions with the Los Angeles Kings before the March trade deadline about Juuse Saros. The 28-year-old Predators goaltender was a finalist in 2022 for the Vezina Trophy.
Gallagher indicated the Predators’ asking price was two first-round picks in 2023 plus more. The Kings balked at that and instead acquired Joonas Korpisalo from Columbus.
It’s unlikely that the Kings will revisit their interest in Saros. Nevertheless, Gallagher believes the netminder’s future in Nashville is fuzzy under new general manager Barry Trotz. He noted that trading a Vezina-caliber goalie with two years left on his contract with a reasonable average annual value of $5 million could fetch a haul of prospects and draft picks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trading Saros would be a shocking move. It depends on whether Trotz intends to retool or rebuild the Predators roster. If it’s the former, Saros will be a key piece of that program. If Trotz is rebuilding, he could view Saros as a valuable trade chip that kickstarts the process.
KRAKEN COULD USE THEIR CAP SPACE TO LAND ANOTHER IMPACT PLAYER
THE SEATTLE TIMES: Geoff Baker recently speculated that the Kraken could seek to use their cap space this summer to add another impact player. That’s how they acquired winger Oliver Bjorkstrand last year from the Columbus Blue Jackets.
With the cap projected to rise by just $1 million to $83.5 million, Baker noted the Kraken are well-positioned with an estimated $20.3 million in cap space to target cap-strapped clubs looking to dump salary.
Trade targets could include New York Rangers winger Alexis Lafreniere or Vancouver Canucks winger Conor Garland. The Boston Bruins, Dallas Stars, Toronto Maple Leafs and Los Angeles Kings could also attempt to shed salary.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Baker wrote this piece before the Kings shed salary by trading Cal Petersen and Sean Walker to the Flyers in the Ivan Provorov deal. However, the other clubs on his list could be targeted by Kraken GM Ron Francis.
BLACKWOOD AND PULJUJARVI ARE AMONG THOSE WHO MIGHT NOT GET QUALIFYING OFFERS.
DAILY FACEOFF: New Jersey Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood and Carolina Hurricanes winger Jesse Puljujarvi topped Frank Seravalli’s list of restricted free agents who might not get qualifying offers this summer.