NHL Rumors: Canucks, Islanders, Hall, Chayka, Babcock, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, Jim Benning commented on a few items related to the Vancouver Canucks roster, the New York Islanders could lose Sebastian Aho to Sweden, and the Arizona Coyotes are having a busy news week, specifically when it comes to Taylor Hall and former GM John Chayka. Finally, what is Mike Babcock up to? He’s been brought in to help coach a University team.

Benning Comments On Virtanen and Markstrom

Canucks’ GM Jim Benning joined David Amber in the first intermission of the Canucks vs. Winnipeg Jets game and said that he fully intends to sign Jacob Markstrom and that his play in the postseason won’t contribute much to the team’s negotiations with their goaltender.

Jacob Markstrom Vancouver Canucks
Vancouver Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson)

Benning responded:

“We’re gonna get something figured out for him. We both decided ‘let’s just wait until after the playoffs are done.’ We’ll sit down with his agent Pat Morris… We want to keep him on the team. He’s been a good goalie for us here these last couple years and a big part of our team.”

On the topic of Jake Virtanen not playing in the game Wednesday night, Benning cautioned not to look too much into it. The GM said Micheal Ferland had some good practices and they wanted to see what he could do. There’s not much more to it than that.

Brian Burke said after the Winnipeg win, it will likely come down to who Vancouver feels is a difference-maker in the playoffs. Ferland may get the edge in that department based on his playoff experience.

Related: 2010 NHL Entry Draft: 5 Forgotten Picks

More On Chayka Situation In Arizona

As part of Elliotte Friedman’s 31 Thoughts article, the NHL insider gave an update on what he’s heard in respect to John Chayka leaving the Arizona Coyotes in such an odd fashion. When asked why he would leave when he did, Friedman said:

The timing is awful, completely foreign to what sports are (and should be) about. The only logical explanation I’ve been given is that Chayka was given legal advice to do it this way. 

“Like him or not,” another NHL exec said, “he’s detailed. There’s a reason.”

General manager John Chayka
BUFFALO, NY – JUNE 24: General manager John Chayka of the Arizona Coyotes. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

Friedman also noted that speculation is that Chayka is being offered a job in New Jersey where David Blitzer and Joshua Harris, (owners of the Devils) also run the Philadelphia 76ers and Crystal Palace of the English Premier League. Friedman says, “The theory is that this is some kind of analytics/sports science/leadership position across some or all of those (potential) platforms.”

Related: The 5 Most Memorable Pavel Datsyuk Moments

Coyotes Offer to Taylor Hall

In other Coyotes news, Friedman says he thinks the Coyotes’ offer to Taylor Hall was five years, $7.25-million AAV. He says that’s not a final offer, but a starting point.

That said, there are some questions as to how aggressive the team will get when it comes to negotiations. Friedman thinks the situation is as important to Hall as anything and that would suggest if Arizona feels that Hall doesn’t think the situation is right, why keep making offers?

Mike Babcock Joins Vermont Coaching Staff

Former Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock has found another coaching job… sort of. The job is a volunteer position so as not to go on another team’s payroll, but he’s now going to be working with the University of Vermont hockey team, as per a report from NHL.com.

The position is being classified as an advisor for the 2020-21 season.

Babcock joins the team under the leadership of first-year Vermont coach Todd Woodcroft, most recently an assistant with the Winnipeg Jets and former defenseman Marc Stuart is also joining the team in a coaching/advisor capacity.

Islanders Likely to Lose Aho

Arthur Staple of The Athletic said during a mailbag segment that he believes the New York Islanders could be without defenseman Sebastian Aho next season.

Staples says:

I think he might go back to Sweden, at least to start the year. Maybe he’d sign there long term. Hard to see how he breaks through at this point since he hasn’t gotten a sniff in two years now.

source – ‘Live Q&A: Arthur Staple answers your Islanders questions‘ – Arthur Staple – The Athletic – 07/28/2020

Staple also noted that if the Islanders are looking to move out salary, the order of people they try to move would be Nick Leddy, then maybe Johnny Boychuk and if they get desperate, maybe Josh Bailey.

Catch up on all the latest NHL Rumors