Welcome to another edition of NHL Rumours! Today, we have lots of Minnesota Wild news. There is news that Marc-Andre Fleury will like to play one more season and Kevin Fiala trade rumours. We also have rumours about Jay Woodcroft’s future with the Edmonton Oilers. Let’s dive in!
Rumour: In an NHL.com article, Marc-Andre Fleury was quoted saying, “I would like to play at least another season. I decided that recently, I still enjoy playing. I still have fun, my body is still holding up, most of the time. But yes, another season and we’ll see after.”
Analysis: There is no reason why Fleury can’t keep on playing. The 37-year-old goaltender has won 25 of 52 games and posted a 2.90 goals against average and a .910 save percentage. Since joining the Minnesota Wild at the trade deadline from the Chicago Blackhawks, Fleury has posted a .919 save percentage. Fleury is also 64 games away from hitting the 1,000 mark, which only three NHL goalies in history have hit – Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo and Patrick Roy.
The big question is where will Fleury play next year? With Zach Parise and Ryan Suter‘s buyout combined cap hit jumping from $4.73 million to $12.73 million next year, they may not have enough space to sign Fleury when they have Cam Talbot under contract for another season. In the past, Fleury has been linked back to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but their cap situation combined with Tristan Jarry’s strong season doesn’t bode well for a return. The Colorado Avalanche (if Darcy Kuemper doesn’t return), Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs are three strong teams who could need a starting goalie in the off-season.
We’re Wild about Minnesota rumours today
Rumour: Jeff Marek on the Jeff Marek Show wonders if Kevin Fiala could be an offer-sheet candidate this off-season.
Analysis: The Minnesota Wild has projected $8.18 million in salary-cap space this off-season according to CapFriendly. They will have a few depth forwards and a goalie to sign, but a lot of that money can go to Fiala if he wants to stay. But a team could pull out the Carolina Hurricanes’ playbook with the Jesperi Kotkaniemi offer sheet and offer Fiala a lot of money for one season. If Fiala gets offered in the $7.5 million or above range, then the Wild can’t match without moving out a player.
What makes a Fiala offer sheet the most threatening is the team that would provide an offer sheet won’t have to worry about his qualifying offer next season because Fiala will be an unrestricted free agent. It is up to Fiala what he wants to do next season. If he wants to stay in Minnesota for one more year, the Wild can offer him a good contract. If he wants to cash out, there could be an opportunity through the offer sheet route.
Rumour: On TSN’s Insider Trading, Pierre LeBrun said, “Let’s start with Jay Woodcroft in Edmonton, he’s done an amazing job. My sense is he will get signed and become the full-time guy. But I spoke with Ken Holland (general manager) of the Edmonton Oilers and he said he will address the coaching situation after the season.”
Analysis: Jay Woodcroft took over as interim head coach after Dave Tippett was fired on February 10th. At that point, the Oilers had a record of 23-18-3 and were in 18th place in the overall league standings. Since Woodcroft took over, the Oilers have a 21-8-3 record for the sixth-best record in the league over that span. The big change is they went from allowing 3.32 goals per game to 2.75. Their shots against and penalty kill percentage was middle of the pack in the league over that span. It was in the bottom twenties beforehand.
Dave Manson, who took over the defence coaching from Jim Playfair also deserves credit for how well Edmonton’s defence is playing. But with quite the turnaround, it’s not hard to see why LeBrun feels Jay Woodcroft will get re-signed. However, it seems Ken Holland is keeping all options open.
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