It’s Monday and it’s time to start the work week with another bunch of NHL rumours. The Stanley Cup Playoffs are down to the final eight and will get pared down further. Clubs that are in their off-season are getting ready to make moves and the NHL rumours are really ramping up. Today’s NHL rumours focus on the Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks.
All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumour: Elliotte Friedman appeared on NHL Now and the topic of John Gibson to the Leafs was broached.
Analysis: Jack Campbell has been the man in between the pipes for the last two seasons. However, many want some sort of blockbuster change to take place after another first-round exit. The negotiations between Campbell and the Leafs could be tough and general manager Kyle Dubas may want a backup plan.
Gibson’s numbers may not look the best with the 3.19 goals-against-average really jumping off the page. However, this is on a young Ducks team that’s gone through plenty of changes and wasn’t as solid as in Gibson’s best seasons. The Pittsburgh native has carded at least a 2.84 GAA since 2018-19. However, that also runs with the Ducks’ slide down the standings.
Friedman said that former Ducks GM Bob Murray and the Leafs talked about a Gibson trade in the past, but it never happened. He compared it to a high school romance where things don’t click. Friedman also added Toronto may be keen on a couple of blockbusters this summer. It may make sense for both sides as the Ducks look to still be a year or two away from contending again.
Analysis: The big concern isn’t going to be “Who’s going to take Backy to practice,” but if they want to sit through another rehab stint. Backstrom could be facing a second left hip surgery since 2015 and a long time out.
Team general manager Brian MacLellan said another year like this season wouldn’t be ideal. Backstrom only played in 47 games and only got six goals and 31 points. The Swede still has three years and $9.2 million per year left on his contract. This equates to 11.3-percent of the team’s salary cap.
Complicating matters further is Backstrom has a no-trade clause and that goes up to 15 teams for the last two years of his contract. Burying Backstrom’s contract on long-term injured reserve could be a possibility, but the 34-year-old’s time could be running out. Would someone take a chance on the future Hall of Famer?
Rumour: NBC Sports Chicago’s Charlie Roumeliotis said that the Blackhawks will take their time in hiring a new head coach.
#Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson said he doesn’t plan on fast-tracking head coaching search despite recent openings around the league: "We're going to run through our process on our end and we'll find the best candidate for us through that process."
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) May 16, 2022
Analysis: The Hawks seem to be one of the many teams in the market for a new bench boss. Chicago is still one of the big-ticket names in the mix to land a new head coach. Could someone like Barry Trotz be in line for an interview? General manager Kyle Davidson seems to be keeping his cards close to the vest, but Trotz would make sense.
Interim coach Derek King steered the ship after Jeremy Colliton was fired as part of the big front office clean sweep by the Wirtz family. The Blackhawks still have primetime players like Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Seth Jones. Chicago also has young stars like Alex DeBrincat and Kirby Dach to build around.
However, there may be some pain in this rebuild and the new coach may need to display some degree of patience. The Blackhawks’ opening will still draw plenty of interest and Davidson will have plenty of potential coaches to interview.