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NHL Rumours: Arizona Coyotes and Winnipeg Jets

NHL Rumours

It’s time for another round of NHL rumours as we start off another week. There are a lot of changes afoot and we’re not just talking about team rosters. An entire franchise is about ready to pick up stakes and move their operations. The Arizona hockey experiment may be on hold for the time being. However, what does the future hold for the new club? Today’s NHL Rumours focus on the Arizona Coyotes and the Winnipeg Jets.

All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.

NHL Rumours

Arizona Coyotes

Rumour: On Friday’s 32 Thoughts podcast, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek said that the new Utah franchise is going to be aggressive in the free agent and trade markets.

Analysis: Barring a last-minute change, the Coyotes are heading off to Salt Lake City. Ryan Smith is going to take ownership of the franchise and completely change it. The Coyotes branding is going to stay for now while owner Alex Meruelo tries to give hockey another go in Arizona.

However, the future will soon be now for the new team in the Beehive State. Smith and company are expected to go after players in the free agent and trade markets. They want to put a competitive product on the ice right away for the new market. The franchise will likely no longer be a dumping ground for teams to move their giant salaries to. Smith wants to give Utah a strong product that can challenge for a Stanley Cup Playoff spot. General Manager Bill Armstrong is going to likely be busy this coming offseason.

As for Arizona, it’s always disappointing when a team leaves any market. Fans in the market hope that Meruelo and his ownership group can find a place to play within the Greater Phoenix market. Hockey in the desert has gotten numerous chances, but some time might be needed before trying again. Friedman mentioned that one of the routes could be that the franchise is declared inactive. Conversely, Utah is ready to become a player this coming summer if things do come together.

Winnipeg Jets

Rumour: Saturday night’s Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada talked about if the Jets can get college standout Rutger McGroarty to sign his entry-level contract.

Analysis: We move on from the former Winnipeg Jets to the current incarnation. McGroarty played a large part in Team USA’s gold-medal victory at the most-recent IIHF 2024 World Junior Championships. The 20-year-old is said to be weighing his options on whether to return to the University of Michigan or to go pro.

McGroarty was drafted 14th overall of the 2022 NHL Draft by the Jets. The Lincoln, Nebraska native recorded 16 goals and 36 assists for the Wolverines in his sophomore season. He has two main options with one of them in going pro and likely joining the Manitoba Moose. In contrast, McGroarty could be in the mix to be captain of Michigan. The lure of being captain of a major Division I collegiate program could be a great one.

He’s been a very strong player on the international level, as he’s played on the American team at the World Junior level. McGroarty totaled five goals and four assists for nine points in seven games during Team USA’s gold medal run. He also got a bronze in the 2023 tournament.

Winnipeg is looking for young players to help keep the flow of talent going. The Jets and General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff are hoping to stay at the top of the Central Division standings for years to come. A forward like McGroarty could bolster the team’s ranks for a team with Stanley Cup dreams.

Main photo by: Gabriel Mayberry – USA TODAY Sports


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