NHL Rumor Mill – May 19, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 19, 2022

More conjecture on the Bruins’ offseason plans, the latest speculation linking the Senators to Kevin Fiala, and which troublesome contracts the Coyotes could target in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON THE BRUINS

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa believes finding a center and holding firm on Jake DeBrusk could be among the priorities of Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney, assuming he’s signed to a contract extension.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).

The need for a center will become more urgent if captain Patrice Bergeron retires when his contract expires in July. There’s no one within their system who can step up and adequately replace him, plus they still haven’t fully addressed David Krejci’s departure last summer.

DeBrusk signed a two-year contract extension in March. While his play improved down the stretch and in the playoffs, he hasn’t withdrawn the trade request made in November. Shinzawa believes Sweeney won’t be quick to move DeBrusk if he still wants out.

Shinzawa includes Bergeron among his list of Bruins he believes will depart this summer. He thinks the 36-year-old center is confirming to himself that it’s time to retire.

Nick Foligno, Matt Grzelcyk, Mike Reilly and Craig Smith are among Shinzawa’s list of trade candidates, though he acknowledged a buyout seems more likely for Foligno. He also recommended trading star winger David Pastrnak if there’s any sense of uncertainty over whether he’ll sign a contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergeron could retire and go out while still among the league’s elite players (especially if he wins the Selke Trophy this year) would cap a fine Hall-of-Fame career. Still, it wouldn’t be surprising if he returns for another season to buy the Bruins some time to find a suitable replacement or at least bolster their depth at center.

Pastrnak becomes eligible for unrestricted free agency next July. He loves playing in Boston and the Bruins obviously hope to retain him past 2023. However, Bergeron’s possible retirement and the club’s direction could leave him thinking carefully over his future. He’d be among the top players in the 2023 UFA market and would land a lucrative long-term deal. It’ll be interesting to see how his situation plays out.

There’s speculation the Bruins would welcome back Krejci if he felt like returning to the NHL next season. So far, however, there’s no indication he’s planning a comeback in Boston or anywhere else. As for DeBrusk, he said he hasn’t given much thought to his request but will spend some time considering it over the offseason before making a decision.

COULD THE SENATORS PURSUE FIALA?

THE ATHLETIC: Ian Mendes examined the pros and cons of the Ottawa Senators pursuing Kevin Fiala if the Minnesota Wild put the 25-year-old wing on the trade block.

The asking price could be the Senators’ first-round pick (seventh overall) in this year’s draft plus an affordable center or backup goaltender. A downside would be Fiala’s next contract as he could come in between $7.5 million and $8 million annually.

SPORTSNET: Wayne Scanlan recently suggested Fiala would check a lot of boxes as a fit with the Senators, though he also pointed out his next contract will be expensive. He also suggested Philadelphia Flyers winger Travis Konecny as another option, carrying three more years on his contract with a $5.5 million annual average value. He’s also familiar with Ottawa having played his junior hockey with the OHL’s 67s.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite the expense of Fiala’s next contract, he will draw lots of interest if the Wild decide to peddle him. However, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently reported several teams believe Minnesota general manager Bill Guerin will find a way to keep Fiala. If he can’t, Friedman mentioned the Senators, New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings as potential trade destinations.

Konecny could be a viable alternative for the Senators if they’re in the market for a scoring winger and lose out on Fiala. He lacks no-trade protection and the Senators have promising young prospects that could tempt Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher. That will depend on how much tinkering Fletcher intends to do with his roster this summer and whether he sees Konecny as a trade chip or part of the club’s long-term plans.

WHICH TOXIC CONTRACTS COULD THE COYOTES TARGET?

GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan recently looked at 31 NHL teams’ troublesome contracts the Arizona Coyotes could target in their quest to add more draft picks and prospects this summer. His suggested options include the Montreal Canadiens’ Shea Weber, Toronto Maple Leafs’ Petr Mrazek, San Jose Sharks’ Kevin Labanc, New York Islanders’ Josh Bailey and the Philadelphia Flyers’ James van Riemsdyk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Morgan listed many other notables, including the Chicago Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews, Boston Bruins’ Nick Foligno, Calgary Flames’ Sean Monahan, the Florida Panthers’ Sergei Bobrovsky and the San Jose Sharks’ Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Those players, however, have full or partial no-trade clauses and probably won’t waive them to go to the Coyotes.

Weber, Labanc, Bailey and van Riemsdyk, however, lack no-trade protection and would be prime cost-cutting candidates. Mrazek has a partial no-trade clause but might accept a trade to the Coyotes if he knows he doesn’t have a future with the Leafs.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 17, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 17, 2022

Will the Wild re-sign winger Kevin Fiala and who will be their starting goalie next season? What’s next for the Golden Knights? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE LATEST ON THE WILD

TWINCITIES.COM: Dane Mizutani listed Kevin Fiala’s contract situation and sorting out the starting goaltender position among the five things he believes Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin needs to address this summer. He also expects late-season acquisition Jacob Middleton will be re-signed but the restricted free agent defenseman will require a big raise.

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo also considers Fiala’s contract status and choosing between goalies Marc-Andre Fleury and Cam Talbot to be among Guerin’s offseason priorities. The 25-year-old Fiala is due for a big raise following his 85-point season but his poor performance against the St. Louis Blues in the first round could affect his negotiations with the Wild GM.

Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala (NHL Images).

The Wild’s limited salary-cap space also complicates Fiala’s contract negotiations. If Guerin decides to trade him, Russo noted the Ottawa Senators have long had an interest in the winger while the New Jersey Devils are seeking an impact forward.

Fleury, meanwhile, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Russo pointed out Guerin has a long history with the goaltender going back to 2009 when they were teammates on the Pittsburgh Penguins. He could bring back the Fleury-Talbot tandem for another season or trade Talbot and bring in a more affordable backup.

If promising Calen Addison is ready to play next season, Russo suggested they could shop a defenseman like Matt Dumba or Dmitry Kulikov. Forward Tyson Jost could also be a trade candidate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hanging over the Wild’s offseason plans is the salary-cap crunch they’ll face over the next three seasons because of last summer’s buyout of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. NBC Sports’ James O’Brien has the breakdown of its effect on their cap payroll. It could also force them to part ways with Fiala, Talbot or Dumba.

Following his playoff struggles, Fiala isn’t sure what the future holds. “There’s no other answer other than, ‘We’ll see’,” he said. “I don’t know.” Guerin could reach an agreement with the winger’s camp on a new contract, but it wouldn’t be shocking if he trades him this summer.

As for the goaltenders, Russo recently suggested Guerin must repair the relationship with Talbot after he was benched for all but one playoff game or trade him this summer. Following the Wild’s elimination by the Blues, Mizutani reported Talbot isn’t holding a grudge and wants to stick with the team. He also noted Fleury’s interest in re-signing with the Wild if the price is right.

That limited cap room for next season means someone – Fiala, Fleury, Talbot or Dumba – won’t be returning with the Wild. It’s shaping up to be an interesting summer for the Wild.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS?

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Prior to the Golden Knights’ sacking head coach Pete DeBoer, Owen Krepps examined some of the important questions facing the club in the offseason.

He wondered who the starting goaltender will be after Robin Lehner’s inconsistent, injury-riddled performance this season. Late-season call-up Logan Thompson’s solid play raised eyebrows, leading Krepps to wonder if Thompson will back up Leher next season or take over as the starter with Laurent Brossoit or someone else in the backup role.

Krepps also wondered how Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon will free up much-needed salary-cap space for next season. He could attempt to trade Evgenii Dadonov again, or try to peddle Lehner, Alec Martinez or William Karlsson. They also risk losing long-time Golden Knight winger Reilly Smith to unrestricted free agency in July.

THE ATHLETIC: Jesse Granger suggested Max Pacioretty could also become a salary-cap casualty. He remains the Golden Knights’ best pure scorer and his trade value could be done following an injury-plagued season. Nevertheless, they’ve shown they’re not shy about unloading expensive contracts for little-to-no value in return, and shedding his $7 million cap hit would free up a lot of room.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lehner, Pacioretty, Karlsson, Dadonov and Martinez each earn $5 million or more per season. Pacioretty, Karlsson and Dadonov each have 10-team no-trade lists, Martinez has a 12-team no-trade list and Lehner has an eight-team no-trade list. It’s going to take considerable skill on McCrimmon’s part to find a suitable trade partner for one of them given the flattened salary cap for next season and the high number of teams with cap issues of their own.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 13, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 13, 2022

A look at the Wild’s offseason priorities and the latest on Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith as he approaches UFA eligibility in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE WILD?

ESPN.COM: Kristen Shilton looks at the Minnesota Wild’s keys to the offseason following their first-round postseason elimination by the St. Louis Blues. General manager Bill Guerin goes into the summer with roughly 15 percent of his salary-cap payroll eaten up in dead cap space from last year’s buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.

Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala (NHL Images).

Contract negotiations with Kevin Fiala will be a priority. The 25-year-old winger is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights coming off a one-year, $5.1 million contract after a career-high 85-point performance.

Goaltending will also be an issue with Marc-Andre Fleury slated to become an unrestricted free agent. Cam Talbot has one season remaining on his contract but they’re in need of a reliable backup. Guerin must also re-sign RFA defenseman Jacob Middleton.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Wild have almost $79 million invested in 23 players for next season, with over $12 million of that going to Parise and Suter.

Fiala enjoyed a terrific performance, providing invaluable scoring punch to their lineup. However, he was held to just three assists in the Wild’s six-game series against the St. Louis Blues and appeared frustrated at times over his lack of production. That could have an effect on contract talks with Guerin.

Coming up with the cap space for Fiala, Middleton, and a new backup will mean shedding some salary via trades. Unless Guerin ships out Fiala and Middleton and goes with cheaper replacements, he might have to peddle Matt Dumba, who’s frequently surfaced in trade rumors over the past two years. Dumba is slated next summer for UFA status and carries a $6 million cap hit for 2022-23.

LATEST ON REILLY SMITH

LAS VEGAS SUN: Danny Webster reported Reilly Smith could be a hot commodity in this summer’s free-agent market. The 31-year-old winger is slated to become a UFA and had 38 points in 56 games this season until sidelined by injury for the final six weeks of the schedule.

Webster stated there was mutual interest between Smith and the Golden Knights on a contract extension. However, the club is already $500K over the $82.5 million cap for next season with only 18 players under contract. They’ll have to decide if trading someone like Evgenii Dadonov, William Karlsson, Laurent Brossoit or even Robin Lehner is worth bringing back Smith.

Smith is completing a five-year deal with an annual cap hit of $5 million. The Golden Knights won’t go that high but Webster suggested clubs like the Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils or Ottawa Senators might be willing to pay that much.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s going to be interesting to see what the Golden Knights do after missing the playoffs for the first time in their short franchise history. Smith could be allowed to walk away or they could shake things up with some cost-cutting deals that also enable them to bring him back if he’s willing to accept a bit of a pay cut to stay in Vegas.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 10, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 10, 2022

The Avalanche swept the Predators, the Penguins take a commanding series lead over the Rangers, the Flames and Panthers even their series 2-2, the Islanders fire Barry Trotz, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche has marched on to the second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs. They defeated the Nashville Predators 5-3 in Game 4 of their first-round series, sweeping the latter in four straight. Valeri Nichushkin snapped a 3-3 tie in the third period and Nathan MacKinnon added the insurance goal. Cale Makar and Andre Burakovsky each had a goal and two assists for the Avs while Yakov Trenin tallied twice and Filip Forsberg scored for the Predators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators played the entire series without starting goaltender Juuse Saros, who was sidelined late in the season by a lower-body injury. Even if he’d been healthy, he probably wouldn’t have prevented the sweep. The Predators struggled down the stretch and were no match for the powerful Avalanche, who await the winner of the Minnesota Wild-St. Louis Blues series.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists as the Pittsburgh Penguins rode a five-goal second-period outburst to a 7-2 drubbing of the New York Rangers in Game 4 of their best-of-seven opening-round series. Jake Guentzel and Kris Letang each had two points for the Penguins. They hold a commanding 3-1 lead in the series and can wrap things up in Game 5 back in New York on Wednesday night. Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin gave up six goals on 30 shots and go the hook following the second period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins have lit up Shesterkin over the past two games, tallying a combined 10 games against the presumptive favorite to win this year’s Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goalie. However, this was a complete team defeat by the Rangers, who have been neutralized at both ends of the rink by a veteran Penguins club with more in the tank than most observers (like me) believed when this series began.

An overtime goal by Carter Verhaeghe carried the Florida Panthers to a 3-2 victory in Game 4 to tie their first-round series at two games apiece. It was Verhaeghe’s second goal of the game. Sam Reinhart tied the game late in the third for the Panthers. T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov replied for the Capitals while Ilya Samsonov made 29 saves.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers outshot the Capitals 32-16 and seemed on the verge of stealing this one before Reinhart sent the game to overtime. The series returns to Florida for Game 5 on Wednesday. Florida coach Andrew Brunette wasn’t happy with Oshie for what he felt was a targeted hit to the head of Panthers forward Sam Bennett. There was no call on the play. Bennett remained in the game and got the primary assist on the winning goal.

The Calgary Flames burned the Dallas Stars 4-1 in Game 4 of their series. Johnny Gaudreau scored on a penalty shot in a three-goal third-period for the Flames. Stars netminder Jake Oettinger turned in a 50-save performance in a losing cause. The series returns to Calgary for Game 5 on Wednesday tied at two games apiece.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Calgary’s margin of victory would’ve been much wider if not for Oettinger, who did everything he could to give his club a fighting chance. The Flames dominated Dallas in this contest. The Stars made it interesting when Tyler Seguin scored on the power play late in the third to cut the Flames’ lead to 3-1 before Mikael Backlund put the game out of reach.

HEADLINES

NEW YORK POST: The New York Islanders fired head coach Barry Trotz yesterday. “I believe this group of players needs a new voice,” said general manager Lou Lamoriello. “This is not negative on Barry Trotz. He is a tremendous human being.” Assistant coaches Lane Lambert and Mitch Korn remain under contract for next season, though Trotz’s replacement will have a say over whether they’ll return for 2022-23.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a stunning move by Lamoriello. Under Trotz, the Islanders went to the Eastern Conference Final in 2020 and the semifinal in 2021. A season-opening five-week road trip while awaiting the opening of their new arena followed by a COVID-19 outbreak contributed to their failure to reach the playoffs this season. Nevertheless, the Isles GM felt his aging club needs a new bench boss going forward.

Changes could also be coming to the Islanders roster. Lamoriello indicated he’s like to bolster his blueline’s offense and he could make a trade involving his forwards. For now, however, whoever replaces Trotz and where the former Isles coach ends up are the hot topics of speculation. I’ll have more in today’s NHL Rumor Mill update.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning’s Victor Hedman, Nashville Predators’ Roman Josi and Colorado Avalanche’s Cale Makar are the finalists for the James Norris Memorial Trophy as this season’s top NHL defenseman. The winner will be announced later in the postseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprises there. All three are worthy nominees. Hedman won the award in 2018 and Josi in 2020 while Makar was a finalist last season.

The 2022 NHL Draft Lottery will be held at 6:30 PM ET on Tuesday. The Montreal Canadiens have the best odds at 18.5 percent, followed by the Arizona Coyotes (13.5), Seattle Kraken (11.5), Philadelphia Flyers (9.5) and New Jersey Devils (8.5).

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala is struggling to replicate his regular-season production in his club’s first-round series with the St. Louis Blues. The 25-year-old winger had a career-high 33 goals and 85 points this season but has managed only an assist in four games thus far against the Blues.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators have parted ways with Pierre McGuire after only nine months in his role as senior vice president of hockey development.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McGuire, a long-time TV hockey analyst and a former NHL general manager was hired by late Senators owner Eugene Melnyk last year. He still has two years remaining on his contract. General manager Pierre Dorion had no comment, which probably speaks volumes for his opinion of McGuire’s contributions.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks signed pending unrestricted free agents Alexander Barabanov and Jaycob Megna to two-year contract extensions. As per Cap Friendly, Barabanov’s annual average value is $2.5 million with a 10-team no-trade list while Megna will earn $762,500 annually.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens goaltender Samuel Montembeault underwent successful surgery on his right wrist last Friday. He’s expected to be ready for the start of training camp in September.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 8, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 8, 2022

Could the Sharks shop Erik Karlsson or Brent Burns this summer? Has Mark Scheifele requested a trade from the Jets?

WILL THE SHARKS TRADE KARLSSON OR BURNS THIS SUMMER?

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports it appears there were some “very preliminary” trade talks this year involving San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson and a couple of teams. He doesn’t believe those discussions got far but it seems the Sharks may recognize that having two elite, right-shot former Norris Trophy winners on their blueline hasn’t meshed as well as they’d hoped. That other defenseman, of course, is Brent Burns.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

The Sharks are currently searching for a new general manager after long-time GM Doug Wilson stepped down for health reasons earlier this year. They still wish to contend but carrying Karlsson and Burns may be a luxury they cannot continue to afford in a salary-cap world.

Friedman pointed out Burns has less term on his contract than Karlsson. He feels the Sharks will listen if a rival club makes an offer they like for one of them.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Sheng Peng last week also weighed in on the Sharks blueline with his takeaways of acting GM Joe Will’s remarks during his end-of-season press conference. He noted Will saying that players have choices, thoughts and prerogatives on where they are in their careers.

Peng noted that there were rumblings last summer suggesting Burns could be open to being traded to a contender. He also pointed out the long-time Sharks rearguard did little to quell that speculation during his exit interview.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks are pressed for cap space next season with Cap Friendly showing them carrying over $73 million invested in 19 active players for 2022-23. That’s not counting any penalty they might receive if an arbitrator rules against them in Evander Kane’s grievance hearing over his contract termination in January.

Karlsson is signed through 2026-27 with an annual average value of $11.5 million and a full no-movement clause. Burns’ deal goes through 2024-25 with an $8 million annual cap hit and has a list of just three acceptable trade destinations.

Moving either guy this summer could prove difficult. The Sharks might be forced to retain some salary or take back a toxic contract to make it happen.

Karlsson and Burns aren’t the only defensemen the Sharks could part ways with during the offseason. There’s talk of buying out Marc-Edouard Vlasic and the remaining four years of his contract. Meanwhile, Radim Simek claims he got the runaround from management and the coaching staff when he questioned the decline in his playing time over the second half of the season.

WILL THE DEVILS TARGET FIALA IN THE OFFSEASON?

Jeff Marek reported the New Jersey Devils could target Kevin Fiala as GM Tom Fitzgerald looks to add an impact player in the offseason and is willing to shop his 2022 first-round pick. The 25-year-old Minnesota Wild winger netted 85 points this season and Marek believes the Devils see him skating alongside fellow Swiss forward Nico Hischier.

The Wild face a salary-cap crunch after this season with over $12 million in dead cap space from last summer’s buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. That will make it challenging to sign Fiala as the 25-year-old winger is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Offering up that first-rounder could be enticing to Wild GM Bill Guerin if he knows he can’t afford to re-sign Fiala. The winger is completing a one-year, $5.1 million contract and is in line for a lucrative new deal.

If Fitzgerald can’t swing a trade, perhaps he’ll attempt to go the offer sheet route. Such moves are scarce and rarely successful but the Devils have the cap space to make it work provided Fiala is interested.

NO TRADE REQUEST FROM SCHEIFELE

Elliotte Friedman reports Mark Scheifele did not ask for a trade during his exit interview last week with Winnipeg Jets management. The 29-year-old center raises eyebrows earlier in the week with comments regarding his future. Friedman said we’ll see where everything goes in the offseason as the Jets have a lot of choices to make.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Winnipeg pundits believe Scheifele could be on his way out while some Jets fans on social media have called for general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff to trade him. There’s a belief of a lack of accountability within the Jets’ dressing room over their disappointing performance this season.

Scheifele has two years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $6.125 million plus a 10-team no-trade list. While his defensive game draws criticism, his scoring will ensure he attracts plenty of interest if Cheveldayoff shops him this summer.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 3, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 3, 2022

More speculation about the Jets plus an update on the Senators’ off-season plans in today’s NHL rumor mill.

JET GM CHEVELDAYOFF FACING A CHALLENGING SUMMER.

SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe believes how Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff proceeds with Mark Scheifele and Pierre-Luc Dubois will determine the club’s future.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images).

Meeting with the media yesterday, Cheveldayoff said Scheifele, who made eyebrow-raising comments on Sunday about his future in Winnipeg, has not submitted a trade request nor have the two held an exit interview yet. The Jets GM also attempted to diffuse Scheifele’s comments, as well as those of several of his teammates over their frustration and disappointment about the team’s failure to reach the playoffs. He chalked them up to their competitive nature.

Wiebe believes Scheifele would draw plenty of interest if Cheveldayoff were to put the 29-year-old center on the trade block this summer. He’s signed through 2023-24 with an annual average value of $6.125 million.

Dubois, meanwhile, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights completing a two-year, $10 million contract. Cheveldayoff met with the 23-year-old center yesterday and was encouraged by what he heard, though he added the contract negotiations will take time.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre believes this is a mess of Chevelodayoff’s making. With his new contract, he’s got three years to clean this up, suggesting the number of players making their frustrations public isn’t normal or healthy behavior.

McIntyre claims Scheifele isn’t the only player seeking an exit plan but he’s the only one to say so out loud. While he expects the center is likely a goner this summer, he also believes his frustration is a disturbing trend, citing the recent departures of several Jets including Dustin Byfuglien, Patrik Laine, Jack Roslovic, Jacob Trouba and Andrew Copp. He also pointed to head coach Paul Maurice’s unexpected resignation last December.

WINNIPEG SUN: Paul Friesen called on Cheveldayoff to ship out Scheifele, citing the latter’s comments about the club’s plans and whether he fits within them. He also believes the Jets GM should hire a tough coach who will demand accountability from the players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets’ woes appear tied to a broken culture within the dressing room that’s been ongoing for some time. Some of those earlier departures McIntyre mentioned could be put down to difficult contract negotiations. Some, like Laine, Roslovic and Trouba, weren’t happy with their roles with the clubs.

At the time Maurice stepped down as head coach, he claimed the team needed a new voice behind the bench. That suggests some of the core players may have been tuning him out while others could share the same concerns that led to some of those aforementioned departures.

Hiring a tougher coach could help provided he earns the players’ respect. As for trading Scheifele, he’s under contract for two more seasons. Cheveldayoff can afford to take his time to evaluate trade offers. Scheifele could return with the Jets next season unless he’s the main reason behind his teammates’ discontent. That could spur the Jets’ general manager to seek a trade sooner rather than later.

LATEST ON THE SENATORS

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said his club won’t spend to the $82.5 million cap next season but they will increase their salary budget. He also indicated he’ll be starting contract talks soon with restricted free agent center Josh Norris. The club has also held contract discussions with defenseman Erik Brannstrom, who shares the same agent with Norris.

Dorion said he would like to bring in a player to help his young talent play meaningful games by the end of next season. That player could be acquired via trade or free agency. Dorion didn’t rule out the possibility of shopping his first-round pick in this year’s draft provided the Senators don’t win next Tuesday’s draft lottery and they remain seventh in the selection order.

Garrioch said it’s no secret the Senators would like to add a top-six right winger to skate alongside center Tim Stutzle. While promising young defenseman Jake Sanderson could become an impact player, they might want to add a little more support around him by acquiring a veteran blueliner.

The Senators could be among the clubs interested in Ottawa native Claude Giroux if he hits the open market this summer. Garrioch reports they’ve also been linked to Kevin Fiala but Minnesota Wild GM Bill Guerin could find a way to re-sign the pending restricted free agent winger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Senators have $59.1 million invested in 14 active roster players for 2022-23 with Norris, Brannstrom and forward Alex Formenton as their notable restricted free agents. Re-signing those three could push their payroll closer to $69 million. They’ll still have room to add a veteran or two but they might be unable to chase someone like Giroux or Fiala if they’re not going to be a cap team next season.