NHL Rumors Roundup: Flyers, Ducks, Canadiens, and Rangers
The NHL Rumors mill has naturally slowed down at this time of the year. As the focus shifts to the playoffs and potential matchups, there appears to be less and less regarding trades or signings.
Here’s a quick catchup on some of the latest buzz around the league, mostly concentrated on teams out of postseason action.
NHL Rumors: Flyers will use offseason to improve at center
This has been a difficult season for the Flyers thanks to injuries and a disconnect with now fired head coach, Alain Vigneault.
After trading away center Claude Giroux, Philadelphia must look at a new path forward for the franchise. According to The Fourth Period, GM Chuck Fletcher will gauge the trade and free agent market this summer to find a pivot.
According to a team source, the Flyers will look at “all teams and the UFA market” in the club’s search for a top nine pivot.
In terms of free agents, Colorado’s Nazem Kadri and Carolina’s Vincent Trotchek are the two most attractive/realistic names the Flyers could pursue. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman has tied the Flyers to Kadri’s name on 32 Thoughts recently, although it seemed to be in more of a speculative manner.TFP
Other centers mentioned include Winnipeg Jets’ Mark Scheifele and Detroit Red Wings’ Dylan Larkin.
It should be noted that Habs’ defenseman Jeff Petry has been strongly connected to the Flyers as well.
NHL Rumors: Ducks
After trading pending UFAs Josh Manson, Hampus Lindholm, and Rickard Rakell, it’s crystal clear that the Ducks are building with youth.
Aging veteran Ryan Getzlaf will also retire at the end of this season, which makes you wonder about the future of John Gibson.
Gibson, 28, has 5 seasons remaining on his contract with an AAV of $6.4 Million. For his career, Gibson is 165-145-50-23 and has an excellent .915 SV% to go with a 2.66 GAA.
There are three or four teams that I could see being in on him in the summer. Keep your eyes on the Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals, Colorado Avalanche, and Toronto Maple Leafs.
NHL Rumors: Canadiens
When the Habs hired Martin St. Louis to replace Dominique Ducharme, they did so by giving him the interim tag. It was indicated then that both would see how it goes before finalizing a decision.
“I think at the end of the season,” St. Louis said about coaching beyond this year. “Right now, it wouldn’t be fair for the players, for anyone, for me to focus on that.”
Indeed, both sides will wait to discuss his likely return but there are other factors that may play in the decision. The most obvious question has to do with MSL being away from his young family for long periods of time.
Other offseason business for the Habs could be the futures of some veterans. It’s well known that Petry is likely to be traded, but what about Brendan Gallagher? And of course, what is Carey Price’s future?
All big questions to answer.
NHL Rumors: Rangers second line center in 2022-23?
Next season, the Rangers will have only around $12.5 million to fill out their roster. All that cap space they enjoyed at the NHL trade deadline evaporates once Mika Zibanejad’s $8.5 million and Adam Fox’s $9.5 million contracts kick in.
Chris Drury will ultimately be faced with the decision on whether he should re-sign Ryan Strome or Andrew Copp. It will be almost impossible to keep both and fill out a competitive roster with limited space.
Strome, 28, is making $4.5M on his current deal and is due a nice pay increase. Artemi Panarin’s favorite center would likely fetch well over $6M if he hits the open market. Of course, a deal of that size will hinder the Rangers cap maneuverability and make them prone to future offer sheets.
The Rangers are still talking with Strome about an extension but there hasn’t been any reportable progress to date. With Copp coming off a contract that has an AAV of $3.64M, he may be more inclined to a deal in the Rangers sweet spot of around $5M per season.
It’s an intriguing dilemma for Chris Drury as both are capable of playing in the middle.
The Rangers are cap crunched in 2022-23 and have to plan for Kaapo Kakko’s next deal this summer. They also have to reserve money for Alexis Lafrenière and K’Andre Miller in 2023-24. If Strome is willing to sacrifice money for security, maybe something can be done, otherwise Copp could be Artemi Panarin’s new middle man.