It’s Tuesday and we’ve got another edition of NHL rumours. There was one big move made in the league on Monday and that may make big ripples. However, there are plenty of other moves to talk about. Today’s NHL rumours focus on the Winnipeg Jets, Vancouver Canucks and New Jersey Devils.
All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.
Rumour: Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press said that recently fired coach Barry Trotz would be the perfect fit with the Jets.
It’s a match made in hockey heaven. A heartwarming homecoming story that writes itself.
Now the #NHLJets must do whatever it takes to make the suddenly available Barry Trotz their next head coach.
— Mike McIntyre (@mikemcintyrewpg) May 10, 2022
Analysis: The hockey world was stunned when Trotz was fired by the New York Islanders. It seemed rather harsh that Trotz would take the fall for a team that dealt with injuries and lineup shuffles due to COVID. However, it seems like Islanders General Manager Lou Lamoriello decided to make a change.
There are no shortage of suitors for Trotz with the Chicago Blackhakws and Philadelphia Flyers immediately springing to mind. However, the Jets may not be as far-fetched of a choice as one thinks. Trotz is from Dauphin, Minn. and did play junior hockey in Manitoba. McIntyre called it a “match made in heaven” for Trotz to come back home.
He would be the first step in fixing a Winnipeg roster that underperformed last season. Trotz is very proficient at putting together defensive systems like he did with the Nashville Predators, Washington Capitals and the Islanders.
There’s the still the matter of extending Pierre-Luc Dubois and tinkering with the lineup. However, Winnipeg General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff should at least kick the tires and ask about Trotz coming to the Jets.
Rumour: We go back to Saturday’s 32 Thoughts from Hockey Night in Canada. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said the Canucks are among five teams interested in KHL free agent Andrei Kuzmeko.
Analysis: The SKA St. Petersburg forward scored 20 goals in the regular season and added seven more in the Gagarin Cup Playoffs. He’s 26 years old and has double-digit goals in his last five seasons. However, he likely wants to see how he’ll do in the North American game.
Other teams that were interested in the Russian were the Edmonton Oilers, Vegas Golden Knights, Nashville Predators and Carolina Hurricanes. All five teams would love to have a goal-scorer like Kuzmenko to help fill out the lineup.
One interesting thing about Kuzmenko’s interview in Vancouver was that Bruce Boudreau was part of the process. This could be a good sign that “BBQ Bruce” is planning on sticking around and he’s close to a new deal. This could be a double-shot of good news if Kuzmenko and Boudreau are secured.
New Jersey Devils
Rumour: One last item from 32 Thoughts is Jeff Marek reports the Devils could be making a move in acquiring Kevin Fiala from the Minnesota Wild.
HNIC 32: Kuemper/Scheifele/Sharks, Burns & Karlsson/Devils & Fiala/Kuzmenko/Mikyla Grant-Mentis — https://t.co/ceut92DCP2 Enjoy!
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) May 8, 2022
Analysis: The Wild are going to have to deal with the fallout of the dead money from the Zach Parise and Ryan Suter buyouts. Minnesota will have over $12 million in dead money and over $14 million in 2023-24 and 2024-25. General Manager Bill Guerin is going to have some tough choices to make in the next few seasons.
One of those choices is parting with talented players like the upcoming restricted free agent forward. He currently makes $5.1 million and will likely get a raise after a career season. However, the Wild are going to after make the painful move of trading his rights.
This will open the door for a Devils team that could use some more consistent goal-scoring. New Jersey did have some games where its offence came alive, but there were times it went dry. Fiala could end up playing with Swiss countrymen Nico Hischier and form some chemistry.
There’s still the matter of signing RFAs like Jesper Bratt, Miles Wood and Pavel Zacha among others. Defenceman P.K. Subban is also an unrestricted free agent this off-season. General Manager Tom Fitzgerald also has to make some decisions, but he has more flexibility to land someone like Fiala.