NHL Rumours: Winnipeg Jets and Dallas Stars

NHL Rumours
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Welcome back to another edition of NHL Rumours on Last Word on Hockey. The off-season hasn’t completely started but the teams that aren’t in the playoffs are wasting no time. Today we will be discussing the Winnipeg Jets and Pierre-Luc Dubois, as well as their search for pieces for their coaching staff. And the Dallas Stars and whether or not they keep or move Denis Gurianov. All NHL rumours are from the original source and are subject to change.

NHL Rumours

Winnipeg Jets

Pierre-Luc Dubois

Rumour: Jeff Marek reported during the intermission of the Western Conference Final that the Winnipeg Jets and Pierre-Luc Dubois have not begun.

NHL free agent frenzy

Analysis: Dubios is a restricted free agent now that his two-year, five million dollar contract is coming to an end. He had a decently productive season offensively. Dubois scored a career-high 28 goals this season and recorded 60 points in 81 games played. The Jets have roughly 18 million in cap space going into this off-season. It seems they have the money to keep Dubois if they wanted. He also would be a good piece to use as a trading chip to get a couple of pieces in return. It is also likely that the Jets aren’t making any decisions on players until they’ve made some decisions behind the bench.

Hunt for Coaching Staff

Rumour: Jeff Marek reported during the intermission of the Western Conference Final that the Winnipeg Jets have interviewed Scott Arniel and talked to Rick Tocchet.

Analysis: Elliotte Friedman recently stated, “there seems to be some talk that Scott Arniel could end up with the Jets in some role on the bench, even if not the head coach.” Winnipeg has been one of the front runners for Barry Trotz for their vacant head coach position. Though they will probably not make any decisions on coaching staff until they’ve decided on a head coach, it appears they have started that process.

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Interviewing Arniel, who is the current assistant coach for the Washington Capitals was the first step. Arniel has bounced around in different coaching roles but did find himself as the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets from 2010 to 2012. At that time, his coaching record was 45-60-18. Though his time as a head coach was not as successful as had hoped, it seems that he has been successful in other roles. Arniel would be a good fit for the Jets.

It was also reported that the Jets had conversations with Rick Tocchet. Tocchet has been the head coach for the last four years with the Arizona Coyotes. In his career as a head coach, he has coached 438 games. His record for those games is 178-200-60. It is unclear what role the Jets would be inquiring about with Tocchet. It is hard to imagine he would be interested in anything other than a head coaching role at this point. Especially since teams like the Dallas Stars and Philadelphia Flyers have shown interest in their vacant head coaching positions.

Dallas Stars

Rumour: Elliotte Friedman reporting that Denis Gurianov is on a list of restricted free agents that other teams are watching for.

Analysis: It is no secret that feelings for Denis Gurianov have been both hot and cold among the coaching staff, as well as fans. As his two-year, 2.55 million dollar contract comes to an end, the future is unclear for the almost 25-year-old. Gurianov’s offensive production has been down since his break-out season in 2019-2020. He has seen coaching changes, philosophy changes, and role changes. As well as being a consistent healthy scratch, he also dealt with the line-shuffling that was the Dallas Stars offence. These could all be contributing factors or the lone season of scoring 20 goals could have been a fluke.

Gurianov has expressed wanting to stay in Dallas for the future but the question begs: is he more valuable to the Stars on the team or as a bargaining chip? With the Stars on the hunt for a new head coach, the hope is that if Gurianov stays, a new coach can find that offensive production again. But with big names like Jason Robertson and Jake Oettinger needing to be signed, there just simply may not be room for that gamble. On the other hand, another big name on the fence is John Klingberg. If the Stars let Klingberg walk and need to find a solid defenceman for cheap, Gurianov may be the best bargaining chip they have. There are a lot of maybes in the air for the Dallas Stars and Gurianov.

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