NHL Rumor Mill – April 26, 2023
What’s the latest Flames speculation? Would Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic be a good fit with the Canucks? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
LATEST ON THE FLAMES
SPORTSNET: Pat Steinberg recently looked at the big questions facing the Calgary Flames in this offseason. Who might be the club’s next general manager following Brad Treliving’s departure and how that might affect head coach Darryl Sutter topped his list.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sutter’s fate will be tied to whoever becomes the next GM. That person could prefer bringing in his own head coach. However, I think Treliving’s replacement will be stuck with Sutter for at least 2023-24 as his two-year contract extension kicks in on July 1.
Another disappointing performance next season, however, could spell the end of Sutter’s second tenure behind the Flames’ bench. I think the club’s ownership would be more comfortable with that scenario rather than firing him now and having to pay him not to coach their team for two years.
Steinberg also wondered about the future of notable Flames with a year remaining on their contracts. They include Elias Lindholm, Mikael Backlund, Tyler Toffoli, Noah Hanifin, Nikita Zadorov and Chris Tanev.
Lindholm and Backlund were non-committal about their futures beyond next season. The other four, however, seemed more positive about staying in Calgary.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The new GM could meet with those players as soon as possible to find out whether they’re willing to open extension talks after July 1. Those that aren’t or are at least reluctant to do so could end up on the trade block before the NHL Draft on June 28-29.
Steinberg also wondered if a forward who can play well alongside Jonathan Huberdeau will be brought in via trade or free agency. After a career-best 115-point performance with the Florida Panthers in 2021-22, Huberdeau managed just 55 points with the Flames this season.
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Julian McKenzie suggested Lindholm would fetch the best return if the Flames were to shop any of those players eligible for UFA status next summer. He believes any deal involving Lindholm should fetch a first-round pick and a top-six forward or a top-four defenseman.
Backlund might get the Flames at best a second-round pick and a prospect. He wonders if the high cost of re-signing Hanifin might force them to trade him regardless of whether he wants to come back.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe that linemate for Huberdeau can be found by using Lindholm or Hanifin as trade bait.
WOULD ROSLOVIC BE A GOOD FIT WITH THE CANUCKS?
THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma mused over whether Jack Roslovic would be a good fit with the Vancouver Canucks as a third-line center. The Blue Jackets’ depth in promising young centers plus the big contracts they’re paying Johnny Gaudreau and Patrik Laine could make the 26-year-old Roslovic expendable.
Kuzma noted the Canucks’ previous management had an interest in Roslovic during his tenure with the Winnipeg Jets. He now has a year remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $4 million. That’s pricey for a player who struggled to reach 44 points in 77 games this season.
The Blue Jackets have a glut of wingers so that’s not a trade option for the Canucks. Kuzma believes the Canucks would need the Jackets to retain $1 million of Roslovic’s salary. He suggests offering up a draft pick (the Canucks have two third-rounders and three fourth-rounders in this year’s draft) might get it done.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It might even cost two draft picks depending on how keen the Canucks would be to get Roslovic. However, we don’t know at this point if they’re interested in the Jackets center given his inconsistent play and defensive miscues.