NHL Rumors: Red Wings, Canucks, Golden Knights, McDavid Buzz

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there are updates on the Detroit Red Wings and their talks with head coach Jeff Blashill, there are rumblings out of Vancouver when it comes to Loui Eriksson and how they will approach free agency and the Golden Knights are already examining how they’ll make things work with William Karlsson after signing a huge contract with Mark Stone.

Finally, is there any truth to the buzz that McDavid is unhappy in Edmonton and could contemplate asking the Edmonton Oilers to move him?

Red Wings and Jeff Blashill Talks

TSN’s Bob McKenzie is reporting that regardless of where the Detroit Red Wings finish in the NHL standings, the organization will take a look at extending coach Jeff Blashill and their finish won’t weigh in on their decisions. Blashill’s contract expires after this season and speculation is the team and coach will start talking new deal before then.

Jeff Blashill Red Wings bench
Jeff Blashill, Detroit Red Wings, December 20, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

McKenzie explained, “So even though the Wings are 30th place overall right now, they’ve liked the way Blashill’s handled the young kids and that they’ve continued to develop.” He goes on to add that the organization thinks their record might not indicate how competitive, well-structured and well-coached a team they’ve been this season “So the fault of the Detroit Red Wings’ season is not being laid at the feet of the head coach.”

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

Canucks Won’t Hunt Huge Free Agents

Rick Dhaliwal wrote on Twitter that Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning said the team will not likely pursue big-ticket free agents in the summer. Specifically, Benning said, “I don’t think we go in that direction but if there are some players that I feel that can help and support our younger players, we are going to look at those types of players.”

The Canucks are going through a rebuild but potentially quicker than a number of people thought. With a good strong core, it might make more sense to simply surround those guys with value contracts that can help bring them along.

Louie Eriksson - Vancouver Canucks
Louie Eriksson (Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports)

Instead, the Canucks need to take a long look at what to do with contracts like Loui Eriksson’s six-year, $36-million deal that has backfired on the Canucks. The 33-year-old’s tenure in Vancouver has not gone well and on Wednesday he became a healthy scratch for the first time. Speculation is that the team will consider a buyout over the summer.

One thing the Canucks do want to do is dive into the college free agent market for defensive help. General manager Jim Benning told the Vancouver Province on Thursday that the Canucks are keeping an eye on the College playoffs.

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

Golden Knights Think There’s Room For William Karlsson

Jesse Granger of The Athletic writes that Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee doesn’t believe the eight-year, $76 million contract given to Mark Stone will affect pending restricted free agent William Karlsson. Saying they still have flexibility to do things, he says his capologist, Andrew Lugerner, says they won’t be hamstrung on anything.

William Karlsson #71, Vegas Golden Knights
William Karlsson #71, Vegas Golden Knights, October 13, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Even though the cap situation on paper doesn’t look like it gives the Golden Knights a ton of room to work with, once David Clarkson goes on LTIR, the Golden Knights could move players like Cody Eakin ($3.85 million), Ryan Reaves($2.775 million) and Colin Miller ($3.875 million).

Granger writes:

A long-term deal would provide Karlsson with the biggest payday of his career and financial stability. It would provide the Golden Knights with a cheaper contract, as Karlsson’s price will skyrocket if he reaches unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2020. But, it won’t be easy to work out unless the team makes several moves to open up the cap space. McPhee doesn’t seem too concerned.

source – ‘How Mark Stone’s $76 million contract could affect signing William Karlsson this offseason’ Jesse Granger – The Athletic – 03/09/2019

Karlsson’s qualifying offer alone will be $4.75 million, and he won’t accept that. That leaves the options of arbitration, another short-term deal or a long-term contract on the table.

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

Nothing to the McDavid Out of Edmonton Talks

After the question of whether or not Connor McDavid might ask to be moved out of Edmonton after the team will likely miss the playoffs for the third year in four since he’s been with the club, Bob McKenzie had a Friday morning radio hit on Montreal’s TSN 690 and said, “Listen, in no way, shape or form has he done or suggested anything or implied anything in terms of, ‘I don’t want to be here.’” Instead, McDavid has been an excellent soldier, is the heart of the team and takes it personally that the team is not good enough.

Connor McDavid - Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton Oilers centre Connor McDavid and Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Ron Hainsey (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn)

McKenzie said whoever the Oilers hire as the new GM, it’s really a big decision, “But even if the Oilers aren’t a playoff team a year from now, as long as they’re pointed in the right direction there would be no reason for a guy like Connor McDavid to push any panic buttons.”

That could all change in two or three years if the Oilers still aren’t improved. At that point, if McDavid has only made the playoffs once over eight years with the team, he might have to say, ‘What the hell is going on here. This isn’t working out.’

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