NHL Rumors: Zuccarello, Cooper, Red Wings, Flyers, More

In today’s rumor rundown, there are updates on the talks between the Dallas Stars and injured forward Mats Zuccarello, the Philadelphia Flyers could be the busiest team in the summer, and one insider notes what led two of colleges most offensive forwards to lean towards the Red Wings organization when making their final decision. And, what is going on with Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper? Are the Bolts looking to extend his contract now or later? Or, will he walk at the end of the season and take money from the highest bidder?

Dallas Stars and Zuccarello to Hold Off Talks

Matthew DeFranks of the Dallas Morning News is reporting that Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill has decided the team won’t engage in contract extension talks with Mats Zuccarello until after the season has come to a close. Nill said, “We’ll wait until the season’s over.”

Dallas Stars Mats Zuccarello
Dallas Stars center Mats Zuccarello (Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports)

Zuccarello joined the Stars from the New York Rangers just prior to the NHL trade deadline but broke his arm in his first game in a Stars uniform. He has not returned to the lineup since. But, according to Nill, the lack of discussions is not exclusive to Zuccarello. “Right now, I’m in no rush with any contracts. I want to see how the team finishes, see what the player is. That stuff really kind of happens after the playoffs,” Nill explained.

Should the Stars end up re-signing Zuccarello, the Rangers will receive a conditional 2020 first-round pick instead of the conditional 2020 third-round pick that it is now.

Related: NHL Rumors: Lee, Kravtsov, Maple Leafs, Coyotes, More

Flyers Are an Offseason Team to Watch

Darren Dreger was part of a radio interview on Ottawa’s TSN 1200 and said he expects the Philadelphia Flyers to be urgent in their offseason deals and downright aggressive when it comes to making changes. “… it doesn’t matter if it’s Brayden Point or it’s Mitch Marner or you want to go lower-end to Kasperi Kapanen or Andreas Johnsson, go down the list… But Philadelphia and Detroit are among those teams rumored to be in that hunt, looking for that type of possibility.”

Tampa Bay Lightning, forward, Brayden Point
Lightning forward Brayden Point (Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports)

Dreger said, should Panarin get to free agency, he believes the Flyers would 100% be in those conversations and he also believes they could go after both Panarin and defenseman Erik Karlsson. “When it comes to Fletcher and the possibilities in Philadelphia, I think that anything is possible,” Dreger said.

Related: NHL Rumors: Hughes, Coyotes, Rangers, Oilers, More

Red Wings Got Two Free Agents Because of Their Rebuild

Craig Custance noted in a recent article on The Athletic that part of the reason the Detroit Red Wings were able to land both Princeton’s Ryan Kuffner and Michigan State’s Taro Hirose to entry-level contracts was that the team was going through a rebuild and that was attractive to the duo.

General manager Ken Holland
CHICAGO, IL – JUNE 24: General manager Ken Holland of the Detroit Red Wings landed two of the NCAA’s biggest forward free agents on Tuesday. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

Both Kuffner and Hirose share the same adviser in Allain Roy, it sounds like the rebuilding state of the organization was a selling point. Custance writes:

Both are expected to join the Red Wings this week and will stay with the team through season’s end. Some formal visa matters and the standard acclimation period make a projected debut date hazy, but that’s all just a matter of time…

source – ‘Why the Red Wings made Taro Hirose and Ryan Kuffner their ‘top two’ college targets’ – Craig Custance – The Athletic – 03/12/2019

Custance also noted that Red Wings GM Ken Holland said the team wouldn’t be adding any other college forwards this season but that he might look at options on defense should something present itself. The Red Wings certainly could use a good player/prospect ready to play NHL minutes on the blue line.

Related: NHL Rumors: Rangers, Oilers, Canucks, Kings, More

Jon Cooper to Hit Coaching Free Agency?

One year after Barry Trotz left the Washington Capitals and joined the New York Islanders (one year after also winning a Stanley Cup), head coach of the Tampa Bay Lighting, Jon Cooper could be the next big-ticket coach on the market available to the highest bidder.

Jon Cooper
Jon Cooper (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Pierre LeBrun recently wrote an article in The Athletic stating that he believes the Bolts will come to an extension with Cooper but that could all be done after the season. Cooper is already in for a large raise but if he wins a Stanley Cup, he launches his salary into a different stratosphere. Rumblings are, he’s making about $2.5 million this season.

LeBrun writes:

A few things to consider here. Babcock, Quenneville, Julien and Trotz all signed those deals with a Stanley Cup on their resume, in Quenneville’s case three of them, and in Babcock’s case two Olympic gold medals to boot… So if Cooper signs his next deal with Tampa before the playoffs, he’s doing it without a Cup on his resume. If he waits until after the playoffs and Tampa does in fact win it all, well that might change things for him.

source – ‘LeBrun Notebook: Jon Cooper’s next contract, the Jack Adams debate and Brayden Point’s waiting game’ – Pierre LeBrun – The Athletic – 03/13/2019

Expect the two sides to reach a deal after the season. If Tampa wins the Stanley Cup, this will just be icing on the cake for Cooper.