In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Winnipeg Jets will have to take a step back and look at what went wrong during their series with the Montreal Canadiens. What does it mean for offseason roster changes? Boston Bruins’ head coach Bruce Cassidy was fined for his comments on the officials and there are questions about whether or not the Toronto Maple Leafs will try to make a trade to protect a couple of players before the NHL Expansion Draft. Finally, which direction are the Edmonton Oilers leaning heading into the NHL Expansion Draft?
Jets Many Questions This Offseason
ESPN.com writers Emily Kaplan and Greg Wyshynski believe the Winnipeg Jets must focus on addressing their defense in the offseason. The two scribes examined who the team might keep, who they’ll focus on during the NHL Expansion Draft and whether or not they’ll use some of their $14.9 million in cap space to improve the blue line?
It is likely the Jets will protect Josh Morrissey, Dylan DeMelo and Neal Pionk in the expansion draft, meaning Logan Stanley could be scooped up by the Seattle Kraken. There’s talk the team might give prospects Dylan Samberg, 22, and Ville Heinola, 20, a longer look as potential full-time players and there are questions about where Nathan Beaulieu and Sami Niku fit on this team.
When it comes to UFAs. Paul Stastny, 35, could be retained on a low-cost one-year deal and Mathieu Perreault, 33, could be brought back because he still provides effective minutes for the team.
Neither scribe believes Paul Maurice will be let go as head coach, despite some chatter that the Kraken might be interested in reuniting he and Ron Francis. Maurice is in the first year of a lucrative new coaching contract.
Bruins Cassidy Fined For Blasting NHL Officials
Clearly, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy was unhappy with the NHL officiating in the Bruins loss to the New York Islanders on Monday. He took aim at the lack of consistent calls and in a rare instance this postseason, the NHL has snapped back. Cassidy was issued a $25,000 fine today.
He said of the fine by the NHL, “We’re told before we have to keep our comments civil. I thought it was. They didn’t see it that way.” This, of course, has led to all sorts of reaction from Bruins fans as to why Cassidy was fined but other coaches haven’t been, but have expressed their issues with officiating throughout the playoffs this season.
There’s also the debate about players being fined a maximum of $5K for dangerous on-ice plays, while Cassidy can be fined five times that amount. For example, Bruins forward Nick Ritchie was also fined $5,000 by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety (DoPS) for elbowing Islanders defenceman Scott Mayfield.
Could Maple Leafs Try to Protect Kerfoot and/or Holl?
Already tasked with some difficult decisions this offseason, Maple Leafs’ general manager Kyle Dubas is going to have ask himself if it’s worth trying to make a deal with the Kraken that will help him protect one, or both of forward Alexander Kerfoot or defenseman Justin Holl. Neither is likely to make the team’s protected list, but both can be valuable pieces for the team.
Kerfoot is signed for two more seasons at $3.5 million and was one of the better Maple Leafs’ forwards versus the Montreal Canadiens. Holl became one of the team’s more consistent defenseman and is signed to a reasonable contract with two years remaining at $2 million per season.
Oilers Likely to 7-3-1 at Expansion Draft
Daniel Nugent-Bowman writes that the Oilers have shifted direction with the NHL Expansion Draft plans and that they are leaning towards protecting more forwards. He writes:
The Oilers were thought to be leaning toward protecting eight skaters and a goalie a few weeks ago. They will almost certainly go the 7-3-1 route now. I’m told by a team source who has knowledge of the current protection plans that the only way they’ll revert to an eight-skater plan is if pending UFA defencemen Adam Larsson and Tyson Barrie are re-signed ahead of the expansion draft. That seems unlikely.source – ‘What I’m hearing about the Oilers’ plans for the Kraken draft: Protected list, possible re-signings and more’ – Daniel Nugent-Bowman-The Athletic – 06/08/2021
He notes the locks for protection are Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto up front and Darnell Nurse and Ethan Bear on the back end. The belief is that the Oilers will try to sign Larsson before the draft and not risk losing him in free agency. The downside of doing this is that it leaves one of Caleb Jones or William Lagesson exposed.
This will leave Oscar Klefbom exposed, which if his health is a huge concern is not a surprise.
The takeaway here is that the Oilers seemed to have prioritized one of Josh Archibald, Tyler Benson, Zack Kassian and Jujhar Khaira over Jones or Lagesson.
Jim Parsons is a freelance writer who covers the Edmonton Oilers and news and rumors posts here at The Hockey Writers.
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