NHL Rumors: Flyers, Capitals, Oilers, Canucks

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, following the firing of Chuck Fletcher and ahead of key executive offseason decisions for the organization, the team announced another big change in Philadelphia on Monday. After the Evgeny Kuznetsov rumors, is there another player possibly leaving the Washington Capitals organization?

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Will the Edmonton Oilers try to offload Jack Campbell in the offseason? Finally, who might the Vancouver Canucks target in the offseason?

Dave Scott Stepping Down in Philadelphia

The Flyers have announced that Comcast-Spectacor chairman Dave Scott is retiring as of April 17. Recently hired CEO Dan Hilferty will succeed Scott as chairman, notes Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff and Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet. In less than a year, the Flyers have a new coach, new assistants, a new GM, and a new chairman. It is expected that the team will also have several new players.

Is Anthony Mantha On His Way Out of Washington Too?

Following reports that Evgeny Kuznetsov might be looking for a trade out of Washington — reports he has now since denied — , The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir also noted Anthony Mantha’s on-ice struggles this season has made his future with the team uncertain. He’s been a healthy scratch several times this season and he may not be back if Peter Laviolette doesn’t return as head coach.

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El-Bashir writes:

I also mentioned I don’t think we’ve reached buyout territory with Mantha, who carries a cap hit of $5.7 million next season, the final year of a four-year $22.8 million contract he signed with Detroit in 2020. The Caps historically do their best to avoid dead money situations. But if they did go in that direction, Mantha’s dead money cap hit would be $1.367 million next season and $2.167 million the following season, per Puckpedia’s buyout calculator.

source – ‘Will Capitals trade Evgeny Kuznetsov? Keep Peter Laviolette? 4 offseason questions’ – Tarik El-Bashir – The Athletic – 03/27/2023

As for Kuznetsov, he responded to the report out of a Russian media outlet saying, “You know how this is. It’s just people trying to put whatever they want to get the likes and Instagram or Twitter, whatever. I talked to those people I said, ‘Where did this come from?'”

Oilers Will Give Campbell Another Year to Find His Game

While there’s still time that Jack Campbell can prove himself to be a viable backup this season, he’s certainly not going to be the starter at any point in Edmonton this season. That said, Daniel Nugent-Bowman of The Athletic believes Campbell will get a chance to find his game next season before the team considers a trade or buyout.

Jack Campbell Edmonton Oilers
Jack Campbell, Edmonton Oilers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Citing the inconsistencies of a player like Jacob Markstrom, he writes “though it may not look likely or even plausible now, there’s at least some reason to think Campbell can return to the form that got him named to the All-Star Game a little more than a year ago.” He adds:

The betting here is the Oilers will give him that chance. He has four more years on his contract and a buyout in June keeps him on the books until 2031. It’s hard to envision another team taking him on right now if the Oilers tried to offload him — at least, not without Edmonton paying a hefty price.

source – ‘What I got wrong: Jack Campbell hasn’t given Oilers a goaltending upgrade’ – Daniel Nugent-Bowman – The Athletic – 03/21/2023

After next season, if Campbell hasn’t figured it out, the Oilers will likely have no choice but to try and offload his contract.

Which Free Agents Will Canucks Target?

The Canucks have dipped into the college free agency market, signing Max Sasson on a two-year, entry-level contract and Aiden McDonough who made his debut this weekend, CHEK TV’s Rick Dhaliwal and Don Taylor recently discussed two possible NHL free-agent targets for the Vancouver Canucks this summer.

Dhaliwal says the Canucks want a third-line center and he believes Ivan Barbashev of the Vegas Golden Knights is worth keeping an eye on. He also thinks the team will be looking to upgrade its defense and could target Los Angeles Kings defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov.