NHL Rumor Mill – March 24, 2023
NHL Rumor Mill – March 24, 2023
Could tension between Flames coach Darryl Sutter and center Nazem Kadri force management to make offseason changes? Could the Flyers end up shopping some right wings in the summer trade market? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
COULD FRICTION BETWEEN SUTTER AND KADRI SPARK OFFSEASON CHANGE?
CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve MacFarlane cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently reporting of possible friction between Flames head coach Darryl Sutter and center Nazem Kadri having an adverse effect on the latter’s production this season.
Friedman cited Kadri’s limited minutes in three recent games where he saw less than 14 minutes of ice time, including their 8-2 blowout loss to the Los Angeles Kings. He believes Kadri’s blunt nature could be behind the reduction in his playing time and led to frustration between the center and Sutter boiling over in that Kings’ game.
MacFarlane noted Kadri’s been in a scoring drought since Feb. 18 and had just two goals in his previous 23 games before scoring on Thursday against the Vegas Golden Knights. He wondered if that means it was time for a change and if the Flames’ ownership has the stomach to make the right ones.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kadri downplayed the conjecture about tension between himself and Sutter, claiming his relationship with the Flames coach was fine. He also observed that there’s lots of speculation in Canadian NHL markets but was putting his focus on the game.
MacFarlane pointed out that Kadri was acquired last summer to help improve the Flames, especially during this point in the season when they’re jockeying for a playoff spot. His reduced playoff time and popgun offense could be attributable to age, the wear and tear of a long season or an ongoing adjustment to a new team and coach.
Whatever the cause, Kadri’s struggles are among the reasons why the Flames are in danger of missing the playoffs. That could spark some offseason changes but I doubt Sutter or Kadri will be part of it. It could be in the front office starting with general manager Brad Treliving, who built this club, brought back Sutter and signed Kadri last summer.
WILL THE FLYER SHOP SOME RIGHT WINGERS THIS SUMMER?
PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Sam Carchidi reports the Flyers possess a deep group of right wingers. They include Travis Konecny, Cam Atkinson, Owen Tippett, Tyson Foerster, Wade Allison and Bobby Brink.
If the Flyers move one of them this summer, Carchidi believes it’ll be to bolster their depth at center, left wing and defense. The center position, however, could improve if Sean Couturier is healthy for next season and promising Cutter Gauthier is ready to make the jump to the NHL.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers head coach John Tortorella’s recent cryptic comments about the need for subtraction before adding in younger players could provide grist for the rumor mill. He felt that some of the young players had improved and some hadn’t. “Some of the veteran guys hadn’t,” he added.
I still believe the more likely trade candidates are veterans like center/left winger Kevin Hayes and defenseman Ivan Provorov. Still, we don’t know yet what interim general manager Daniel Briere has in store for his roster.
Maybe Briere will move one of those right wingers mentioned by Carchidi. Konecny would draw the most interest and has the best trade value but he played very well under Tortorella so I can see them hanging onto him. Atkinson was sidelined by injury for the entire season so they might want to see how he performs in 2023-24.
They’ll likely hang onto Tippett and Foerster but Allison could become the odd man out here, especially if they’re looking at promoting Brink next season.