It’s Saturday and we have a weekend edition of NHL rumours. Three of the “Original Six” teams are the centre of this edition of NHL rumours. There may be some long-term thinking in this one, but some things are work talking about. The two other rumours are front and centre at this moment. Today’s NHL rumours talk about the Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins.
All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumour: Chris Johnston of The Toronto Star discusses the impending Auston Matthews contract that ends after the 2023-24 season.
ICYMI: As the #leafs move forward from another quick playoff exit, they need to make sure they give Auston Matthews every reason to sign a contract extension at the earliest available opportunity.https://t.co/mnKyMi6FYM
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) May 16, 2022
Analysis: The Leafs are still smarting after another first-round exit, but they look to keep the core together. Doing some might be a hard thing to accomplish thanks to the Jack Campbell contract and other things. However, there seems to be one driving focus besides advancing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Matthews can officially sign a contract extension on July 1 and Mitch Marner and William Nylander will have their respective no-trade clauses kick in. It seems the top goal of general manager Kyle Dubas is to make Matthews as happy as possible that he’ll stay in Toronto. The Hart Trophy nominee currently makes a bit over $11.6 million and likely wants an even bigger payday.
Toronto is strapped up against the cap, but ESPN’s TV money could be its saviour. The players still have to pay off the escrow payments before salaries can really take off. Dubas wants to lock down his star player, but Matthews wants to play for a Stanley Cup. The next 13 months will be critical for getting an extension at the earliest possible point.
There’s always the worry that Matthews won’t sign and then use his no-trade clause to walk for nothing. However, Dubas will try and make sure that does not happen.
Detroit Red Wings
Rumour: The Athletic’s Max Bultman gave an update on the Red Wings’ coaching search.
Analysis: There weren’t any names given in regards to the search. However, general manager Steve Yzerman wants a coach that can be versatile. The team is expected to still have some roster turnover for the next couple of seasons. Detroit is trying to move on after the long Jeff Blashill tenure.
Yzerman was asked specifically about a defensive coach due to the Wings’ troubles at the back. However, Yzerman went back to the point of a coach that can adapt. Let’s not forget that he helped build the Tampa Bay Lightning roster that has won back-to-back Stanley Cups. His pick of Jon Cooper as coach seems to be the key to that dynasty.
Red Wings fans are hoping for a similar stroke of luck/genius. There is some good young talent on this Detroit roster, but the team needs the right coach in order to make it a post-season contender.
Rumour: Eric Russo of the Bruins’ official website said that Curtis Lazar wants to stay with the club next season.
B's Wrap 2021-22 Campaign with End-of-Season Media Availabilities: https://t.co/dYXYWnaxJo
— Eric Russo (@erusso22) May 17, 2022
One of these players that could be on the move is Lazar. He did talk to team general manager Don Sweeney and there seems to be interest on both sides for Lazar to return. The depth winger currently makes $800,000 and likely could be brought back at a similar low price tag.
However, the matter of finding money to pay Bergeron and David Pastrnak after next season will be on Sweeney’s mind. Lazar isn’t flashy but seems to be the type of player that fits the Bruins’ mould. He’s a hard worker that does whatever is asked of him. He’ll likely find a spot somewhere even if it’s not in Boston.