In today’s NHL rumors, the Winnipeg Jets appear to be the favorites to land Barry Defiance as head coach. Meanwhile, an insider suggests the Toronto Maple Leafs will be considering at least one big change. Does that mean one of the four core forwards will be substituted?
There’s an update on the Edmonton Oilers’ injury situation ahead of Game 1 vs. the Calgary Flames, and Ivan Provorov had some harsh words for those criticizing his work with the Philadelphia Flyers. Finally, Evgeni Malkin addresses the idea of moving away from the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Jets The obvious fit for defiance
While the Flyers and Vegas Golden Knights are both teams that have been linked to former Islandesr head coach Barry Detroit, after Andy Strickland, “A few days ago it was said that Barry Defiance is the obvious pick for the slam dunk for the Winnipeg Jets. Probably the obvious choice for defiance as well. Makes too much sense coming from there.”
Furthermore, Elliotte Friedman notes in his latest article in 32 Thoughts, “If he’s more interested in management, which has been speculated, a return to Nashville may suit him best. (It’s also possible that his next coaching job will involve a move to the front office later in the tenure.)”
Draisaitl plays game 1
Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland confirmed during an Oilers Now spot with Bob Stauffer that Leon Draisaitl, Evander Kane and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will all play Game 1 against the Calgary Flames. Neither of those players had trained for Oilers skates this week or on the ice, and Draisaitl is reportedly struggling with a severe ankle sprain. Head coach Jay Woodcroft added, “Anyone who hasn’t skated is available.”
The Oilers also called up seven players from Bakersfield from the AHL: Stuart Skinner, Philip Broberg, Markus Niemelainen, Dmitri Samorukov, Dylan Holloway, Seth Griffith and Brad Malone. There’s pressure for Holloway to see some playoff action from the fans, especially when Draisaitl can’t play at all.
Dubas considers big changes
According to Friedman, while Maple Leafs President Brendan Shanahan said, “We’re not going to make changes just to make changes,” Kyle Dubas will “think big” because the team believes they have a fatal flaw to fix. Friedman adds:
“That doesn’t mean he’ll end up making a massive franchise-changing trade, but I think he’ll take a close look at what’s out there. He’ll think about things he wouldn’t have considered a year ago. He doesn’t have a lot of share capital but thinks a lot about the potential base.”
As for negotiations with specific players, Friedman doesn’t think much has been negotiated with UFA future Jack Campbell. He believes there has been discussion with Mark Giordano to return on a lower salary. “There is a way for that,” he adds.
Provorov isn’t necessarily done with flyers
According to Friedman, Ivan Provorov’s media conference at the end of the season gave some people the impression that he wanted to leave the organization as he angrily defended his game to those who were critical of him. Friedman isn’t sure if that means both sides will part ways. The Flyers don’t like the idea of him fulfilling his potential outside of Philadelphia and would love to see him alongside a healthy Ryan Ellis.
At the same time, there’s a belief that the Flyers could still sell him high, and teams are paying a premium for defense. Perhaps the Flyers could get him a first-round pick if the right team shows interest. If the Flyers are considering a switch and Provorov isn’t happy with his role, the Flyers could move him for a high-level prospect.
Malkin ready to continue by Penguins, Letang Lowballed
According to Friedman, Malkin and the Penguins were definitely discussing a three-year term so he could match his contract with Sidney Crosby’s, but the two sides were far, far apart on numbers. So far apart, Malkin touched on the idea of starring elsewhere in his Media Avail earlier this week.
He said, “Pittsburgh is my second hometown. I’ve been here for 16 years. It’s hard to understand what’s going on right now – we just lost a few days ago. I hope we find a way to make everyone happy.” He added, “I want to play in the NHL… I hope I stay here. I hope I retire here.” However, he noted that if it doesn’t work out, he’s willing to relocate with his family and try to find a new place to play good hockey.
Speaking of low offers, there was a report by Rob Rossi who reported that the Penguins’ best offer to keep Kris Letang was three years and $15 million. There’s no way he can sign that. Friedman then said he heard Letang was offered four years, but slightly less than his average salary of $7.25 million.
Jim Parsons is a senior freelance THW writer, part-time journalist, and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps, and breathes NHL news and rumor while also writing features about the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source at The Hockey Writers for more than five years, but beyond that, his mission is to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL gossip and tech talk. Jim is a daily must-read for readers who want to be “in the loop.”
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