We’re officially through the first month of the season, but the NHL rumours are still coming. Teams are stuck in salary cap limbo or trying to turn around their flagging fortunes. General managers are under a lot of pressure to make the right deal to keep their respective teams in contention. Today’s NHL rumours focus on the New Jersey Devils, Winnipeg Jets and some coaches that may be in trouble.
All NHL rumours are taken from the original source and are subject to change.
New Jersey Devils
Rumour: Chris Johnston reported during Saturday night’s Hockey Night in Canada Headlines segment that Taylor Hall and Devils’ general manager Ray Shero will meet when the team when it heads to Calgary later this week.
Hall is an unrestricted free agent and is looking for a big payday with his next contract. He currently making $6 million and he’ll fetch a lot more. His name has been tossed around plenty in the rumour mill over the last few months as many teams are trying to make his next contract fit under the cap.
Headlines: Sabourin/Hughes/Byfuglien/Puljujarvi/Hall/Seattle https://t.co/pGqDyXxBg9
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) November 3, 2019
Analysis: The Devils are currently in last in the Metropolitan Division with 10 points after many thought they’d be a sleeper playoff pick. New Jersey did try to shore up the defence by adding Louis Domingue from the Tampa Bay Lightning. However, will that be enough to turn around the club’s fortunes.
Hall would be an asset to any team and Shero would do well to lock him up before he hits the open market. The price tag would be a big one for the former Hart Trophy winner. This week’s meeting could be critical in taking one of the biggest free agent names off the market.
Rumour: Elliotte Friedman on HNIC’s Headlines segment said the Jets and defenceman Dustin Byfuglien will likely go to arbitration. Friedman said that things between the two sides have become “emotional” and “heated.”
Byfuglien recently had ankle surgery and discovered a broken bone in his foot. The Jets suspended him at the beginning of the season and the Minnesota native mulled retirement at the beginning of the season.
Analysis: Things look to be contentious between the two sides as arbitration looms. Winnipeg contends that the veteran defenceman didn’t let the club know that he was injured. They said he was deemed fit during that team’s exit physicals. However, Byfuglien’s representatives contend that he planned to play after being injured in the post-season but couldn’t make a go of it.
Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff has been very guarded regarding his comments regarding the situation. Byfuglien has already missed out on around $1.4 million this season and he would be due another $6 million for next year.
After this is settled, what would Byfuglien’s status be with the team? Would he want to come back and would the Jets have him back? Winnipeg’s defence has struggled through injuries this season and he would be a steadying force if healthy. Despite his age, he’d probably have a few suitors should the Jets try to deal him.
Rumour: Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic (subscription required) talked about potential coaches that could be on the move. He listed Jeff Blashill, Bruce Boudreau, Paul Maurice as coaches working on expiring deals while Peter DeBoer of the San Jose Sharks could be in trouble if the team underperforms.
On the three head coaches who could be free agents at the end of the season, plus re-visiting the Carey Price protocol situation from Wednesday night. My weekend column:https://t.co/KRP8XqDzoy
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) November 1, 2019
Blashill did sign a two-year extension with the Detroit Red Wings, but LeBrun points out that it’s a one-year deal with a club option for the second season. Boudreau’s deal with the Minnesota Wild is in its last season where he’d be paid as a coach. He has a backup clause where he’s got two more seasons to be a consultant. Maurice is in the last year of his deal with the Jets with no extra bells and whistles.
Analysis: Detroit general manager Steve Yzerman and Minnesota GM Bill Guerin will likely use this season to know what personnel they have. Both clubs have long rebuilds ahead of them and need to take stock of what they have. Yzerman has never rushed into decisions during his GM stint with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Guerin is likely going to be pragmatic in his first big gig.
Blashhill, Boudreau, Maurice and DeBoer
Maurice and Boudreau are both respected coaches that would likely have a new gig soon. Winnipeg has basically been built from scratch and Maurice has been a big part of the team’s success. Maurice has been great at nurturing talent and has dealt with a salary cap crunch. Getting rid of him would seem harsh.
Boudreau has had to deal with the fallout of bad decisions of Chuck Fletcher and Paul Fenton. He’s always been a coach that’s maximized his talent.
San Jose was thought to be a contender but has underperformed. Wilson may have to fire DeBoer in order to save the season.
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – NOVEMBER 21: Taylor Hall #9 of the New Jersey Devils is congratulated by teammates on the bench after he scored a goal in the second period against the Montreal Canadiens at Prudential Center on November 21, 2018 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)