Hello and welcome to the Wednesday edition of NHL Rumours. Fans continue to wait around the world for hockey to return. However, it is business as usual for general managers around the league. They can’t be sitting around and doing nothing during this time when nothing is happening on the ice. These general managers want to have a leg up on their competition. Similar to what is going here at the Last Word on Hockey. We will continue to bring the best analysis and news regarding rumours involving your favourite teams. Today’s NHL rumours feature the Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils, and Calgary Flames.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumour: The first of three NHL Rumours comes from an interview with Luke Fox of Sportsnet, where Toronto Maple Leafs forward Zach Hyman made it clear that even though he’s a free agent a year from now he wants to remain with the Maple Leafs.
“In a way, with everything that has happened now, I’m lucky I have another year on my contract.”
— luke fox (@lukefoxjukebox) April 16, 2020
Analysis: Since coming over from the Florida Panthers, Hyman has found his role with the Maple Leafs. Hyman is a grinding forward who plays in all situations for the team. He goes into the dirty areas, takes the hit, gets the puck, creates the screen, kills penalties, and scores his fair share of goals. Former Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock called Hyman the best forechecker in hockey. That is why it should not shock those that follow the team that Hyman wants to stay and bring a championship to Toronto. He is the type of player championship teams win with. The Maple Leafs are lucky to have him on the team. They need more players like that to get over the hump.
During the 2018-19 campaign, Hyman scored 21 goals and during 51 games this season, he matched his goal total of 21. And was playing some of the best hockey of his career before the pause. Not to mention the way he bounced back after ACL surgery this past off-season. He is eligible to ink an extension once the 2019-20 season is over. Hyman is a steal at just $2.5 million. On a team that is cap-strapped, Hyman will be entitled to a raise of some sort for his work, but he seems to indicate that he will take a discount to win.
New Jersey Devils
Rumour: On the Tuesday Edition of TSN Insider Trading, TSN Hockey Analyst Pierre LeBrun mentioned the New Jersey Devils are busy with the season on pause. Interim general manager Tom Fitzgerald interviewed former Vegas Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant and is one of the Devils top candidates. He also mentioned Alain Nasreddine is in the running for the job along with other candidates.
INSIDER TRADING: #TSNHockey Insiders discuss…
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) April 21, 2020
Analysis: The Devils have two interim tags they need to get rid of heading into next season. One is on the general manager and the other is on the coach. With Fitzgerald interviewing coaches this shows two things. First, ownership is giving Fitzgerald a vote of confidence and giving him a shot to make the Devils a contender again. Secondly, this also shows that Fitzgerald has the chance to be the permanent general manager going forward. Why let him hire or interview coaches if that wasn’t the case.
Moving over to Gerard Gallant. The Devils need a proven coach with a track record. Gallant guided the Vegas Golden Knights to the Stanley Cup Final in their first season. He also did a good job with the Panthers. Having a Jack Adams award-winning coach in the organization will do wonders to shape the minds of this very young team. Therefore he is a perfect fit for the Devils. While Nasreddine has been doing a good job, the Devils need something more to get them over the edge.
That be saying the Devils would be doing their due diligence if they did not interview Nasreddine. He has done a great job by turning the Devils around. Nasreddine brings a different style to the table that was much needed. They are playing a fast attacking style as well. Considering what Nasrddine has done this season, he needs to be in the running. LeBrun did say others were interviewed but did not give names. One has to wonder if Bruce Boudreau and Dan Bylsma are amongst those other candidates.
“I think my record shows that when I’m healthy and on top of my game I can be one of the best in the league.”
While @NHLFlames fans and management would love to see Cam Talbot return, he’s earned the chance to explore his options.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) April 17, 2020
Analysis: Talbot has been the backup to David Rittich this season for the Flames. He signed a one-year deal with the Flames to show the hockey world he still can be a number one goalie in the league. This season with the Flames Talbot has a 12-10-1 record. However, from January 1st until the season was paused, Talbot has been one of the hottest goalies in the league. He has a record of 9-3-1 with a 2.55 goals-against-average and .923 save percentage. Meanwhile, Rittich during that same time has a record of 7-7-1 with a 3.36 goals-against-average and .895 save percentage.
Talbot is not quite to journeyman status yet, but getting close. He made the NHL with the New York Rangers as the backup to Henrik Lundqvist. From there he went to the Edmonton Oilers and guided them to the playoffs in his first season. He has the ability to be a number one goalie the question will be how much and for whom. Talbot is making $2.75 million this season. You have to wonder what teams will be looking for a starting goalie. Then again his best chance might be in Calgary.
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