NHL Rumors: Flyers, Capitals, Predators, Oilers, Maple Leafs

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, what kind of changes will the Philadelphia Flyers make this off-season? Meanwhile, Marc-Andre Fleury has confirmed the Washington Capitals were interested, but he elected not to approve a trade there. Might the Nashville Predators try to move Ryan Johansen? Injuries hit the Toronto Maple Leafs hard on Tuesday and finally, what are the Edmonton Oilers going to look for this summer in terms of options in free agency?

Flyers Unlikely to Keep Coach

Charlie O’Connor of The Athletic writes he doesn’t expect the Flyers to bring back interim head coach Mike Yeo next season. He’s not blaming Yeo for the Flyers’ struggles or suggesting he’s done a poor job. Instead, it’s more about a new look and a new start for everyone involved.

Mike Yeo, Philadelphia Flyers
Mike Yeo, Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

O’Connor writes:

I also have a hunch the Flyers organization as a whole is looking at next season as something of the start of a new era — Giroux is gone, they’re gearing up for that “aggressive retool” — and bringing back a holdover from the Vigneault days to lead it doesn’t really match up with that overarching mentality. Finally, I do suspect Comcast would prefer a fresh face as head coach next season, for multiple reasons.

source – ‘Flyers’ next captain? Chuck Fletcher criticism? What’s the key to rebuilding? Mailbag’ – Charlie O’Connor – The Athletic – 03/26/2022

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Matthews, Mrazek, Campbell & Giordano

O’Connor also doesn’t think forward James van Riemsdyk will be back. He carries a $7 million salary cap hit and finding a trade partner could prove difficult, but the Flyers may also elect to buy him out.

Fleury Confirms He Said No to Capitals

Tarik El-Bashir writes that Marc-Andre Fleury confirmed during a television spot with NHL on TNT that he respects the Washington Capitals but wasn’t interested in playing there. After a long run with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Fleury said: “It just didn’t seem right.”

Will Predators Trade Johansen?

Adam Vingan of The Athletic isn’t sure Ryan Johansen’s bounce-back season in Nashville is going to be enough to attract a team to consider a trade for him. The forward will soon turn 30 and has three more seasons left on his deal with an annual cap hit of $8 million. Vingan writes:

Unless Predators general manager David Poile is willing to retain salary, which he has never done, I doubt he will have many takers.

source – ‘Will Roman Josi score 100 points? How can the second line get going? Predators mailbag’ – Adam Vingan – The Athletic – 03/25/2022

Maple Leafs Lose Three

Head coach Sheldon Keefe says he doesn’t know the severity of Petr Mrazek’s groin injury yet but “he’s going to miss some time.” The good news is, Jack Campbell is close to returning. The bad news is, it might take him a minute to get back up to speed.

Petr Mrazek, Toronto Maple Leafs
Petr Mrazek, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

In the second period of Tuesday’s game, right-shot defencemen Justin Holl took a puck to the head and Ilya Lyubushkin took a Taylor Hall sucker punch to the head, and both left injured. Neither returned and it’s not clear how long either will be out. All three players are being further evaluated today.

Oilers Offseason Free Agent Targets

Allan Mitchell of The Athletic took a look at some free-agent options for the Edmonton Oilers this summer and listed a few goalies, a scoring left-winger, and a shutdown defenseman. He writes:

Assuming the Oilers buy out Kassian (saving $2.5 million for next year), and trade Barrie with some savings (say, $1.5 million), Holland would have about $7 million in cap room entering free agency.

source – ‘Lowetide: Early look at Oilers free-agent targets for 2022 offseason’ – Allan Mitchell – The Athletic – 03/30.2022

Among the names he mentions, Ville Husso of the St. Louis Blues might be the most attractive goaltending option, suggesting the other two clear upgrades would be Darcy Kuemper and Campbell. Mitchell suggests if the Oilers go after Husso — which has an element of risk to it based on his inexperience — a buyout of Mike Smith is necessary.

Mitchell doesn’t actually think the Oilers will sign another left-winger, even if Evander Kane leaves in free agency. He writes, “The Oilers have Hyman for the big line, and may spend next season auditioning men like Ryan McLeod, Foegele, and rookie Dylan Holloway on the top lines.”

He also mentions that the shutdown defenseman will likely come via trade and not a free-agency signing.

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