In today’s NHL rumors rundown, on Wednesday, the Los Angeles Kings went all-in on Kevin Fiala. Where does this leave them in terms of their offseason plans and the speed at which they plan to try and compete? Meanwhile, there are updates coming out of Detroit, both in terms of coaching updates and contracts.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have made Ilya Mikeyev available in trade. Finally, the Edmonton Oilers and Jesse Puljujarvi may have come to an understanding that it’s best to part ways. What does that mean?
Kings Commit to Kevin Fiala
The Los Angeles Kings traded for Fiala and then immediately signed him to a seven-year extension worth $7.9 million per season. The Wild knew they couldn’t afford to give Fiala that kind of contract but the Kings reportedly didn’t waste any time making a good offer. Wild GM Bill Guerin said the Kings didn’t kick tires. They came into the discussion, made an offer, and gave the Wild what they wanted when Guerin asked for Brock Faber as part of the trade. Guerin said he didn’t feel the need to wait for the draft to make a deal. “I think we got fair value.”
Greg Wyshynski of ESPN writes, “Mentioned on multiple radio shows today that the @LAKings were getting to their “flipping futures for young established talents” phase. Apparently “getting to” meant “are now deep into.” This is a sign that the Kings might be prepared to go all-in this offseason and add pieces that will make them a contender. This is now two consecutive offseasons that the Kings have added impact players via trade or free agency — last season they added Phillip Danault signing and Viktor Arvidsson.
Maple Leafs Shopping Mikheyev
Multiple sources are reporting that the Maple Leafs have put forward Ilya Mikheyev out there on the trade block ahead of this year’s draft. Elliotte Friedman is reporting that teams who want to get a jump on trying to sign the forward as he becomes a UFA could trade for his rights and have an exclusive negotiating window.
Obviously, this means that Maple Leafs have come to terms with the fact that Mikheyev is not going to re-sign or that they cannot afford to keep him, something that most already knew.
Red Wings Contracts and Coaching Possibilities
Kevin Allen of Detroit Hockey Now joined Jeff Marek on the Jeff Marek Show and discussed all things Detroit Red Wings. When asked about what GM Steve Yzerman might have planned for the offseason, Allen said he believes Yzerman will be a bit more aggressive because he was angry about how little compete the team had at times during the 2021-22 season. He believes the Red Wings will try to add a bigger second-line center and improve their blue line.
He also notes that the team isn’t terribly worried about getting Dylan Larkin locked up to a long-term deal, but that there are still questions about Tyler Bertuzzi and a trade is definitely possible. Allen says:
“I don’t think negotiations went all that smoothly last time around and I think there’s been some issues there. I think they really want to know Bertuzzi’s intentions. They do want to know what Larkin is thinking and they will engage him immediately, but I don’t think they’re concerned.”
As per Dan Rosen of NHL.com, Steve Yzerman, the Red Wings general manager, might have eyes on staff from the Lightning when it comes to their coaching situation. Rosen writes:
Yzerman was the Tampa Bay Lightning GM when they hired Derek Lalonde and Jeff Halpern to be Jon Cooper’s assistants before the 2018-19 season. It’s reasonable to think Yzerman was waiting for the Lightning’s playoff run to end to interview Lalonde and Halpern, because each should be considered a candidate. If Yzerman is looking at the two Lightning assistants, Lalonde should have the inside track because he has head coaching experience.
Rosen adds that the Red Wings are trying to find a long-term replacement for Jeff Blashill and that the organization is viewing this hire in much the same way Yzerman handled the Cooper hiring in Tampa They want someone who will grow with the team. Rosen adds, “Lalonde is a coach with a track record of success, just like Cooper had before he got to the Lightning. Guessing here that Yzerman tries to follow the same script.” It is believed Yzerman wants to hire someone he has a history with.
Oilers and Puljujarvi Ready to Go Their Separate Ways?
As per a report by TSN’s Tom Gazzola, he mentioned while on The Oil Stream Podcast that he’s hearing the Oilers will move on from Jesse Puljujarvi this offseason. He also noted that the 24-year-old himself would welcome the change. Gazzola says:
“I would be very surprised if he ends up in an Oilers uniform next year. The topic of a fresh start is coming up again. And it’s not the Oilers just saying, ‘We’re done with Jesse Puljujarvi.’ I think there’s kind of a mutual understanding there that both sides are OK with moving on…It’s not, ‘Hey, they need him to play with skilled players.’ It just feels like it’s time to move on and everybody kind of agrees.”
The Oilers will likely still qualify Puljujarvi as it’s inexpensive to do so and then explore the trade market to see what teams will be interested. It’s too soon to know if there will be offer sheet interest in the player.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”