NHL Rumors: Jets, Blackhawks, Canucks, Penguins

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Winnipeg Jets appear to have hired an associate coach, which is odd considering they don’t have a head coach yet. Meanwhile, there are updates on the situation between the Chicago Blackhawks and pending RFA Kirby Dach.

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Would the Vancouver Canucks be willing to move Bo Horvat out to bring Vincent Trocheck in? Finally, are the Pittsburgh Penguins and Evgeni Malkin getting any closer to finalizing a contract extension?

Jets to Hire Scott Arniel

Murat Ates of The Athletic reports that Scott Arniel is a near-lock to be part of Winnipeg’s next coaching staff. The decision to bring him in as an associate coach is interesting because it means the club isn’t waiting to hire a head coach first. Barry Trotz is still high on Winnipeg’s radar, but will this affect his decision?

Derick Brassard, Nikita Filatov, Jake Voracek and CBJ head coach Scott Arniel (Dave Gainer/THW)

Ates writes:

Any announcement on Arniel’s hiring will likely be held until the Jets hire their head coach. A head coach typically hires their own assistants and, while the Jets retain Wade Flaherty’s services to work with Connor Hellebuyck, the new bench boss will likely be heavily involved in rounding out the staff.

ssource – ‘Latest on Winnipeg Jets coaching search, Scott Arniel and Barry Trotz’ – Murat Ates – The Athletic – 05/31/2022

One can only assume that the Jets are stoked about Arniel regardless of what Trotz decides to do, or they feel that having Arniel on staff will help tilt Trotz in their direction. It is speculated Trotz will choose either Vegas or Winnipeg so this is a bit of a risky move by the Jets unless they know something about an Arniel and Trotz relationship.

Blackhawks Working Out Specifics on Kirby Dach Extension

Scott Powers of The Athletic is reporting that the situation between the Blackhawks and Dach is fluid, with a two-year bridge deal (just under $5 million) having been discussed in the past. The alternative is a long-term deal at around $6 million per. All that said, there is a good chance the Blackhawks will simply qualify Dach and wait for him to prove he’s worth a long-term extension.

Kirby Dach, Chicago Blackhawks
Kirby Dach, Chicago Blackhawks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Powers also notes that it’s unlikely the Blackhawks will bring back Dylan Strome so that could change the situation on Dach. He explains:

As always, comparables will be part of the negotiations. Below is a look at some players who could be in the conversation. Strome is one of them. Davidson was part of the negotiations in Strome’s last contract, so he is familiar with this territory. Considering Strome had more offensive production at the time, Davidson will probably seek a lower cap hit for Dach’s deal.

source – ‘What will Kirby Dach’s next Blackhawks contract look like?’ – Scott Powers – The Athletic – 06/02/2022

Canucks Interested in Vincent Trocheck?

As per Rob Simpson of the Vancouver Hockey Now, the Canucks could use a right-handed center and he’s wondering if pending UFA Vincent Trocheck would be a good fit? He played with J.T. Miller for a bit while growing up in the Pittsburgh area and it’s 50/50 on whether he stays in Carolina this summer.

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Kadri, Campbell, Mikheyev & Goodbye

One thing Simpson notes is that if the Canucks were to Trocheck, it would likely mean the end of Bo Horvat with the team. He doesn’t believe Vancouver could afford to have both on the roster considering their salary cap situation.

Malkin and Penguins Meeting More than Halfway?

Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now reports that the Penguins and pending free agent center Evgeni Malkin could meet “more than halfway” on a new contract. His projection is that Malkin will get around $7 million annually on a two-year deal. Malkin wanted three years so the Penguins would have to come up in dollars for the shorter term.

As for Letang, Kingerski expects the defenseman will get a four-year deal worth an annual average value of $9 million somewhere else.