NHL Rumors: Jets, Wild, Maple Leafs, Oilers

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, next on the agenda for the Winnipeg Jets will be roster changes now that the team is officially eliminated from playoff contention. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Wild are still in it thanks, in part, to the play of Kevin Fiala. Is he making himself too valuable for the Wild to keep?

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Finally, the Toronto Maple Leafs may have to think about life without Ilya Mikehyev when this season ends. He’s playing himself into a fairly nice contract in unrestricted free agency and one Toronto can’t afford.

Jets All-But Eliminated, Changes Coming

The Jets’ playoff chances all but ended on Tuesday evening with a loss to the New York Rangers and with that loss will come a lot of chatter about personnel changes. There is a realization that this team didn’t turn out to be as good as many had hoped it could be just a couple of short seasons ago and changes are required during the offseason. As for how big those changes are, that remains to be seen.

Winnipeg Jets Celebrate
Winnipeg Jets Celebrate (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Craig Button of TSN said:

“I think the Winnipeg Jets find themselves in a very similar place that the Calgary Flames found themselves in at the end of last year. And, there was a lot of talk about who they should trade, who they should keep and everything that goes with that. They made some additions. They address it, Calgary Flames are now one of the top teams in the Western Conference.”

Will the Jets look at trading Mark Scheifele? Will they completely reshape a blue line that needs a lot of help?

Can Wild Afford to Keep Kevin Fiala?

Dane Mizutani of Twincities.com took a look at Kevin Fiala’s gamble on himself this past offseason and suggests it has paid off handsomely. Fiala signed a one-year, $5.1 million contract with the Minnesota Wild and his production this season means he’ll get that a lot more in an extension. The only question is, will his new deal come with the Wild or will he have to go elsewhere to get his money?

Kevin Fiala Minnesota Wild
Kevin Fiala, Minnesota Wild (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Mizutani writes:

From the moment general manager Bill Guerin made the massive decision to part ways with high-priced veterans Zach Parise and Ryan Suter last offseason, he understood how it was going to affect the Wild moving forward. The buyouts will create $12.743 million in dead money for the 2022-23 season, and even worse,  $14.743 million in dead money for the 2023-24 and 2024-25 seasons…. Some basic arithmetic shows it’s going to be nearly impossible for the Wild to retain Fiala under those financial constraints.

source – ‘Can the Wild afford Kevin Fiala this offseason? They better hope so.’ – Dane Mizutani – Twincities.com – 04/18/2022

There’s a very good chance a team is willing to give Fiala $7 million per season on a long-term deal and he might ask for $8 million. Right now, he says he’s not thinking about his next deal as he wants to keep producing in the playoffs. But, if he continues to score his numbers will only go up.

Related: Oilers Can Only Hope Sharks Get Bit In Evander Kane Arbitration Case

The 25-year-old winger is a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights. The Wild could trade him prior to their hearing and get a decent return based on the interest level that will be out there for the player.

Could Mikheyev Get $4 Million Per Season?

Sportsnet’s Luke Fox wondered if the cost of Ilya Mikheyev‘s next contract is going to be too much for the Toronto Maple Leafs? This is a player who is starting to figure out the NHL game, can be used in multiple situations, works hard, and can play in and out of the top six of a competitive NHL club. He has 18 goals and 28 points in 48 games this season. He is completing a two-year contract that paid him $1.645 million annually.

Ilya Mikheyev Toronto Maple Leafs
Ilya Mikheyev, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Because he’ll become an unrestricted free agent in July, Fox speculates he could get between $4 million and $5 million on the open market and there were already rumblings that he made a trade request last summer. The Leafs have to find the money to pay Jack Campbell and, eventually, Rasmus Sandin.

Kane’s Hearing With Sharks Needs More Time

As per Pierre LeBrun of TSN, the Evander Kane grievance hearing with the San Jose Sharks will need a second day. It will need to be scheduled and the date is still to be determined. Kane needed to get back to the Oilers as they take on the Dallas Stars and look to clinch a playoff spot.

In other Kane news, his bankruptcy lawyer confirmed that he settled a lawsuit from a Buffalo-area woman who accused the then-Sabres player of assaulting her.

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