Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 3, 2022
In today’s NHL rumor roundup, Johnny Gaudreau’s on-ice success this season could affect his contract talks with the Flames plus Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau is among several notable bench bosses in line for new contracts.
CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane recently reported speculation that the Flames could trade Johnny Gaudreau over his contract status didn’t disappear until the March trade deadline passed. The 28-year-old left winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer unless he and the Flames reach an agreement on a contract extension.
Flames general manager Brad Treliving wants to sign Gaudreau long-term but the winger’s performance this season will make him expensive to retain. He’s earning an annual salary-cap hit of $6.75 million on his current deal. Gaudreau currently sits fourth among the league’s leading scorers with 92 points (with over 70 of those points at even strength) and was named the league’s second star for March 2022.
Both sides are keeping mum on the status of their contract negotiations. Nevertheless, Macfarlane believes Gaudreau is in line for a massive raise on his next deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: How massive? It could be an annual average value of $10 million on an eight-year deal. Barring injury, Goudreau’s going to break his previous career-high of 99 points and could be in the range of 110 points before the end of this season. He’s appeared in all 68 games for the Flames this season, garnering praise from head coach Darryl Sutter for his checking and all-around performance.
Treliving wants to keep Gaudreau and by all accounts, he and his wife love Calgary and want to stay put. $10 million annually over eight years could be what it takes to get it done.
SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek listed 11 full-time or interim coaches are on contracts that expire at the end of this season. They include the Anaheim Ducks’ Dallas Eakins, Chicago Blackhawks’ Derek King, Detroit Red Wings’ Jeff Blashill, Dallas Stars’ Rick Bowness, Edmonton Oilers’ Jay Woodcroft, Florida Panthers’ Andrew Brunette, Montreal Canadiens’ Martin St. Louis, Nashville Predators’ John Hynes, Philadelphia Flyers’ Mike Yeo, Vancouver Canucks’ Bruce Boudreau and the Winnipeg Jets’ Dave Lowry.
Marek expects this summer could be a turbulent one among the NHL coaching fraternity. Elliotte Friedman reported that Boudreau is on a one-year contract with an option for next season. If they don’t keep him, there’s a payment that goes to him. Boudreau can also opt out though he wouldn’t get that payment if he does.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how all these situations unfold.
Eakins was hired by the predecessor of the Ducks’ new general manager Pat Verbeek. He might have designs on bringing in his own bench boss. The Red Wings showed improvement this season but their second-half collapse has Detroit fans and pundits calling for Blashill to be fired. Detroit GM Steve Yzerman recently indicated he’ll meet with Blashill after this season to discuss his future.
The Blackhawks improved when King took over in November but their roster still needs work. Whether he’ll be part of the rebuild is anyone’s guess right now. Securing a playoff berth could earn Bowness an extension. The Oilers’ improvement since Woodcroft replaced Dave Tippett could turn him into their full-time coach next season.
Brunette’s done a fine job with the Panthers since taking over after Joel Quenneville stepped down last fall. A deep playoff run should ensure his return on a multi-year contract. Canadiens GM Kent Hughes recently said he’d like St. Louis to return as their full-time coach. The Predators’ better-than-expected effort this season could extend Hynes’ tenure behind their bench.
The Flyers’ sad decline this season could lead to a rebuild that probably won’t include Yeo. Boudreau’s done a good job with the Canucks since taking over from Travis Green last fall. I wouldn’t be surprised if they pick up the option year. Lowry could end up replaced if the Jets fail to reach the postseason.