NHL Rumours: Boston Bruins, Columbus Blue Jackets and Carolina Hurricanes

Bruce Cassidy

Another Thursday, another round of NHL Rumours. The start of rookie and training camps are fast approaching, and teams are ratcheting up the rumour mill as they try to complete negotiations and trades in preparation for the start of the season. There are still big names that sit unsigned, but many smaller names and front office staff are in need of new contracts too. Today we’ll cover the Boston Bruins, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Carolina Hurricanes.

All NHL rumours are from their original source and are subject to change.

NHL Rumours

NHL Rumours #1: Boston Bruins

Rumour: The Athletic’s Joe McDonald writes that Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy and the team are starting to talk about a potential contract extension. Cassidy has one year left on his current contract.

Analysis: Coach Cassidy has done nothing but offer success for Beantown’s team since being named interim head coach on February 7, 2017. He helped lead the Bruins on a late drive to the playoffs after replacing former head coach Claude Julien, but they lost to the Ottawa Senators in the first round. In the two seasons since then, the B’s have compiled 112 and 107 points respectively, making it to the second round and Stanley Cup Finals.

Cassidy is an obviously wonderful fit with the team culturally, and he’s smart enough strategically to lead a team, albeit a talented one, to Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals. He’s no longer a possible anomaly who had a good run at the end of a season. He’s taken this team and run with it, something that’s not easy to do in a challenging city to play in like Boston. There’s no reason that the Bruins should think of parting ways with him at this point.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Rumour: Brian Hedger at the Columbus Dispatch reports that RFA defenceman Zach Werenski is looking for a three-year pact worth at least five million dollars a season.

Analysis: If those numbers pan out, this is an absolute steal of a deal for the Blue Jackets. At only 22 years old, Werenski is already putting up 40+ points a season (he had 44 points last year). Compared to the brand new contract of a player like Samuel Girard, it could be argued that Columbus would be getting Werenski for under market value. This provides Columbus with a cap-friendly stalwart on the back-end. This allows for more monetary flexibility to rebuild their team all around.

If Werenski becomes the first in his class to sign, players like the Bruins Charlie McAvoy and the Philadelphia Flyers Ivan Provorov have to start shaking their heads. If teams can begin using Werenski as a comparable for around $5.5 million a year, that’s trouble for McAvoy and Provorov. Their asking prices have to become much more realistic than they were, driving down their potential payoff.

Carolina Hurricanes

Rumour: In The News & Observer, beat writer Luke DeCock signals that Justin Williams has not decided on whether he will play next season, and that the Hurricanes are losing patience.

Analysis: The Hurricanes have a right to push here. It’s now less than a month from the start of training camp, and Carolina is unsure if they’re going to have their most important leader in the room. Williams’ leadership isn’t his only quality either, he is still expected to tally around 35-40 points.

It’s also very well documented that the ‘Canes are not a team that really likes to spend money. Not knowing whether they will have an extra cost on their payroll is an issue at the moment for the team’s financiers.

The free-agent talent pool is mostly dried up. However, there are still a few players out there that Carolina would want to consider if their captain doesn’t return. More holdout from Williams decreases their chances of being able to fill his gap. It’s getting close to the breaking point for the Hurricanes. Hopefully, both sides of the negotiation understand where the other is at.

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