NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Flames, Devils, Flyers, Blue Jackets

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Toronto Maple Leafs are reportedly bringing in Shane Doan as an assistant GM. Meanwhile, the Calgary Flames are close to naming their head coach and one insider thinks there’s a clear frontrunner. The New Jersey Devils are trying to get deals done with Jesper Bratt and Timo Meier, plus, they’ve traded a big-name defenseman, and the Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets might not be done talking trades.

Maple Leafs to Hire Shane Doan

According to multiple sources, including Kevin Weekes, former NHL player Shane Doan is expected to be named an assistant to Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brad Treliving. He’ll replace Jason Spezza, who previously served as a special assistant to the GM during Kyle Dubas’ tenure and the move will go down as Treliving’s first big hire as the new GM.

Arizona Coyotes Shane Doan
Arizona Coyotes right wing Shane Doan (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)

The connection between Treliving and Doan stretches back to their time with the Coyotes, where Treliving held the position of assistant GM dating back to 2003 and Doan was a player. The significance of Doan’s addition is rumored to go beyond his executive role, particularly for star player Auston Matthews. Matthews grew up idolizing Doan, and now having him join the team as an assistant could potentially be seen as a strategic move to help pave the way for a contract extension for Matthews.

Ryan Huska Considered Frontrunner For Flames Coaching Job

As per Elliotte Friedman, “As mentioned during the second intermission tonight, nothing is done until it’s done, but Ryan Huska is the leading contender to be the next head coach of the Calgary Flames.” Huska served as an assistant coach for the team over the past five years. Prior to that role, he held the position of head coach for the Flames’ AHL affiliate team for four years, and had a successful tenure as the head coach of the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL, leading the team to the final of the Memorial Cup in 2009.

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Along with the New York Rangers opening, this is one of the last coaching vacancies that needs to be filled in the NHL. In previous reports, it was mentioned by Friedman that there were several other candidates being considered by Craig Conroy, the new general manager of the Flames. Among them were Mitch Love, Kirk Muller, Travis Green, and Andrew Brunette.

The Sport Aux — an online platform that allows for anonymous reviews of professional coaches — notes that players see him as a detail-oriented coach who holds players accountable to play in a way that will push their development.

Devils Trying to Get a Jesper Bratt and Timo Meier Deals Done

According to sources, the Devils have made a max-term extension offer to Jesper Bratt, a move that demonstrates their belief in his value to the team but also suggests a savvy financial strategy is at play. Bratt, still in his prime and considered a legitimate first-line winger, is seen as an integral part of the Devils’ roster.

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Meanwhile, reports suggest GM Tom Fitzgerald is aiming to establish a salary hierarchy, with top-end forwards like Jack Hughes earning around $8 million AAV, and other players falling below that threshold. However, sticking to that plan while negotiating contracts with Bratt and possibly Timo Meier presents challenges. Discussions between Fitzgerald and Bratt’s camp are ongoing, with the situation being categorized as status quo by The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta. Ryan Novozinksi of NJ.com tweeted that he asked Bratt’s agent about where things are at the response was there has been “talking” and they are “in communication.”

Timo Meier New Jersey Devils
Timo Meier, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

As for the status of Meier, Fitzgerald said to Mike Zeisberger of NHL.com at the NHL Combine that he plans to talk to Meier’s agent, Claude Lemieux this week about a long-term contract extension. He noted, “We would love nothing better to tie him up long-term. That’s our goal. That’s what Claude and I will go through.”

Devils Trade Damon Severson

The Devils have also signed defender Damon Severson to an eight-year deal before trading him to Columbus. New Jersey is receiving a 2023 3rd-round pick (Calgary’s) in exchange for facilitating the sign and trade of Severson. The contract will pay Severson $6.25 million per season.

The only way Severson was going to get that eighth year was by signing a deal with a team he was already a part of. The Blue Jackets have been busy reshaping their blue line, adding Ivan Provorov earlier in the week.

Flyers and Blue Jackets Still Talking Possible Trade

According to The Fourth Period’s recent report, the Flyers and Blue Jackets have continued talking trade, particularly regarding a potential deal involving Kevin Hayes. Both sides wanted to get the Ivan Provorov trade taken care of first, but they are now poised to resume negotiations after completing a three-team deal.

The key factor in a potential Hayes trade appears to be salary retention. Now 31, he had an impressive season and would provide help at center for the Blue Jackets. That said, his cap hit of approximately $7.1 million may be considered a bit high.