NHL Rumor Mill – April 9, 2022
In today’s NHL rumor mill, more speculation linking Claude Giroux to the Senators, questions about possible offseason moves by the Red Wings and Lars Eller’s future with the Capitals.
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Ian Mendes was asked if Kevin Fiala or Claude Giroux would be easier for the Ottawa Senators to obtain in the offseason. He believes it could be Giroux, as the Florida Panthers forward is slated to become an unrestricted free agent whereas the Minnesota Wild winger is a restricted free agent.
Mendes noted Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently reported the 34-year-old Giroux is doing some homework on the Senators and their situation in Ottawa. If the former Flyers captain can win a Stanley Cup with the Panthers, it could nudge him toward signing with his hometown club.
Fiala, meanwhile, would prove expensive to acquire via trade and to sign as he also has arbitration rights and is in line for a significant raise.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The uncertainty over the Senators’ ownership situation following the recent death of Eugene Melnyk could affect the club’s efforts to attract free-agent talent. No one knows yet whether Melnyk’s heirs will maintain control of the franchise or sell to another ownership group willing to keep the club in Ottawa.
As for Giroux, I don’t rule out the possibility of him coming home to Ottawa. Nevertheless, it’s not a certainty that’s what he wants to do or that the Senators would be interested in signing him. If the Panthers fail to win the Cup and they’re unable to re-sign Giroux, he could opt to sign with a contender for next season.
THE ATHLETIC: Max Bultman was recently asked by a reader if the entire Detroit Red Wings core had to be remade (except for Moritz Seider). He suggested Filip Hronek could be a good trade candidate if management wanted to shake things up and get a solid return. However, he could prove difficult to replace, making it more worthwhile to keep the 24-year-old defenseman unless someone’s willing to make a big offer for him.
Asked about the future of winger Filip Zadina, Bultman suggested a possible coaching change by the Wings could factor into their decision to keep or trade him. Ultimately, it comes down to their evaluation of the former first-round pick and whether they feel they’ve done all they can to tap into his potential.
Bultman also doesn’t expect Wings general manager Steve Yzerman to pursue a big-ticket UFA such as John Klingberg this summer. A good second-line center option via free agency could be Carolina’s Vincent Trocheck, who wouldn’t break the bank or be a signing that goes over five years.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what Yzerman does this summer. He’s been building patiently with promising youth over the past three years. Nevertheless, the Wings are at a point where he could attempt to accelerate the process via trade or free agency. Then again, he could also decide a coaching change would be more beneficial.
THE ATHLETIC: Tarik El-Bashir was asked if the Washington Capitals might part with center Lars Eller in the offseason. He doesn’t consider it a slam dunk but didn’t rule it out if the Capitals decide to shed some salary and free up a roster spot for promising Connor McMichael. Eller, 32, has a year remaining on his contract with an annual cap hit of $3.5 million.