It’s the weekend and it’s time for another edition of NHL rumours. We’re past the March 21 trade deadline, but we’ve got plenty of things to discuss. Teams are thinking about the future from next season and beyond. General managers are going to have to think long and heard about the future. Today’s NHL rumours focus on the Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins.
All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumour: Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reports that Auston Matthews will likely re-sign with the Leafs when his contract expires. This was in Friedman’s latest 32 Thoughts column.
Analysis: There has always been the temptation for return home to Arizona, but the current situation with the club may make him hesitant to jump ship. Matthews makes around $11.7 million per season and the cap is always an issue for Toronto. However, the escrow situation ending the stunted salary cap’s growth should be ending in a couple of seasons.
This will help big-market teams be able to keep players and give them big deals. The ESPN deal will be a big boost, but the players will likely have ride this out another two or three seasons.
Friedman also added that Matthews would probably stay if he liked the direction of the team. All joking aside, the Maple Leafs have consistently made the playoffs and are in the mix in the Atlantic Division. Matthews likely stay put for this main reason.
The Coyotes arena situation and the team languishing at the bottom of the league are big red flags. Coyotes fans may want to temper their expectations about the hometown returning.
Rumour: The Athletic’s Charlie O’Connor looked at the planned “aggressive retool” of the Flyers by General Manager Chuck Fletcher.
Flyers Mailbag time. Breaking down the inherent challenges of the team's planned "aggressive retool," Mike Yeo and next year, Chuck Fletcher, what personnel risks on defense make sense to take, and which organization PHI should try to emulate:https://t.co/palbRIzsRe
— Charlie O'Connor (@charlieo_conn) March 26, 2022
Analysis: Wholesale changes are needed as this Flyers’ season has gone down the tubes after expectations surrounding the club. One of the main things that will be addressed is the fate of coach Mike Yeo. Things haven’t gotten better since Alain Vigneault was given the axe in December.
Some fans want a total rebuild and see Fletcher get the boot. However, some of the mess was inherited from what Paul Holmgren and Ron Hextall gave him. Fletcher has made some missteps, but he’ll likely be given one more coaching change before questions surround the GM.
O’Connor doesn’t expect the former Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues coach to be brought back next season. Yeo has been put in a bad situation, but it looks like it’s going to be a new direction behind the bench. O’Connor tossed out the idea that Yeo could stay around as an assistant due to his strong relationship with Flethcer.
Rumour: NHL on NBC’s Adam Gretz thinks the Penguins will try and deal defenceman Brian Dumolin in the off-season.
I am concerned about Brian Dumoulin. He is the guy to try and trade this offseason. Not Marino or Pettersson. https://t.co/ab5DXzeQM1
— Adam Gretz (@AGretz) March 27, 2022
Analysis: Pittsburgh values John Marino and Marcus Pettersson as cornerstones of their blue line. Veteran Kris Letang has played well and is looking for a new contract. Letang will likely snag a new deal albeit a short one with Pittsburgh.
Hextall and company are going to have to make some moves to keep their key players together. Evgeni Malkin, Bryan Rust, Evan Rodrigues and Letang are among the names that are unrestricted free agents for the Penguins.
Marino did get some looks from the Vancouver Canucks, but didn’t have the assets to make a deal happen. Dumoulin does have high trade value and could get the Penguins a nice return. He does make $4.1 million in the final year of his contract next season. Getting him off the payroll would be helpful in getting some money for other players.