NHL Rumors: Senators, Red Wings, Avalanche, Canucks

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, is there a disconnect between the coach of the Detroit Red Wings and the players? How much rope does Jeff Blashill have before the Detroit Red Wings want to move on? Meanwhile, forward Artturi Lehkonen will finally be joining the Colorado Avalanche and the Vancouver Canucks are considering giving J.T. Miller a monster contract.

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Unfortunately, we start today’s report off with some sad news.

Eugene Melnyk Dies At Age 62

As per the Ottawa Senators and the NHL, Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk passed away yesterday after battling an illness.

Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk
Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)

Melnyk purchased the Senators in August of 2003, and, in many ways, turned the franchise around. A near-bankrupt club, by 2007, the team made a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. They’ve struggled since and are going through a rebuild, but Melnyk is largely responsible for keeping a team in Ottawa. GM Pierre Dorion was emotional at the GM meetings in Florida today and told the media: “If not for Eugene Melnyk the Senators would not be in Ottawa.”

National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman released a statement on the passing and as part of that statement wrote:

“While successful in business, it was our game and his Senators that he was most passionate about. Eugene was often outspoken but he maintained an unwavering commitment to the game and his roots and he loved nothing more than donning a Senators sweater and cheering on his beloved team.”

Has Blashill Lost the Red Wings’ Room?

Frank Seravalli on the DFO Rundown said he has heard there is “considerable friction” between Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill and some of the younger players on the roster. Despite the disconnect, Seravalli thinks Blashill will actually be retained by the Red Wings. Co-host Jason Gregor doesn’t agree and said that Blashill will likely not make it to next season.

Related: Canadiens News & Rumors: Harris, Drouin, Petry, and More

The Wings have rolled over and essentially given up in a number of recent games and it’s not a good trend. Blashill may have recently signed a new contract but Gregor says he’s been there long enough to show the team and the coach aren’t on the same page.

Lehkonen Will Finally Join Avalanche

Adrian Dater of Colorado Hockey Now reports that the Colorado Avalanche will finally have forward Artturi Lehkonen in their lineup as his work visa and immigration issues have been sorted out. He arrived in Colorado after finally getting clearance and will fly to Calgary to join the team and is expected to be in the lineup tonight.

Artturi Lehkonen Montreal Canadiens
Artturi Lehkonen, Montreal Canadiens (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

This is a big addition for Colorado who would have liked to have had Lehkonen in the lineup over the past week.

Miller Extension A Big One

CHEK TV’s Rick Dhaliwal reports that Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes the next contract for Canucks center J.T. Miller is going to be a huge deal. Friedman specifically said it “is going to be in the Mika Zibanejad area,” which is an annual average value of $8.5 million.

J.T. Miller, Vancouver Canucks
J.T. Miller, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

His next deal will start when he’s 30 years old and while Miller is a player that many teams would be interested in, $8.5 million is a lot of money to invest in a player who is likely going to see his performance decline over the next few seasons. Ideally, the Canucks don’t have to give anything more than a four-year deal but it’s more likely Miller asks for as many years as he can get.

Korpisalo Staying With Blue Jackets?

According to The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline, don’t be surprised if the Columbus Blue Jackets keep Joonas Korpisalo after this season. At 27, he is a pending UFA and has been the subject of frequent trade rumors.

Portzline writes:

It’s amazing how situations can change, isn’t it? Korpisalo’s name has been kicked about in trade rumors for two years now, never more than when Elvis Merzlikins signed a five-year contract extension last year. But over those two years, the NHL goaltending market was flooded with free agents and Korpisalo’s game started to do a slow slide.

source – ‘Blue Jackets Sunday Gathering: GM Jarmo Kekalainen will add skill, but toughness also must be addressed’ Aaron Portzline – The Athletic – 03/27/2022

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