NHL Rumors: Devils, Blackhawks, Ducks, Oilers

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the New Jersey Devils are trying to get a long-term deal done with Timo Meier. Meanwhile, the Chicago Blackhawks are the betting favorites to land a star player whose contract is coming due fairly soon. The Anaheim Ducks are already in the process of finding a new coach and Edmonton Oilers’ general manager Ken Holland confirmed he will honor the final season of his contract as the GM and return next year despite rumors he might be promoted and another GM hired.

Devils Talking to Meier About an Extension

As per Jim Biringer, New Jersey Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald said they’ve reached out to the agent of pending RFA forward Timo Meier about a long-term contract extension. The Devils paid a hefty price to acquire the forward ahead of this past NHL Trade Deadline and he’s due a qualifying offer of $10 million. Signing him to a long-term extension has the potential of bringing down the cap hit and avoiding unrestricted free agency concerns.

Timo Meier New Jersey Devils
Timo Meier, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

While the team could try to trade the forward ahead of the NHL Entry Draft and free agency, Fitzgerald noted that he believes New Jersey is the right place for Meier long-term. They’ll go through the process and hopefully work something out.

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Trade Matthews, Marner, or Nylander

There was also talk the Devils would try to get Jesper Bratt signed to a long-term deal as well and James Nichols of The Fourth Period quotes Fitzgerald when he said, “We paused talks prior to playoffs. There’s definitely progression, a framework of a deal to be done long-term if Jesper wants that. Jesper knows exactly what that framework looks like. I know Jesper wants to be a Devil long-term.”

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Pierre LeBrun tweeted this week: “Have been told that Ruff and the Devils are already negotiating a new deal. His contract expires on June 30th.”

Blackhawks the Betting Favorites to Sign Matthews

While Auston Matthews has noted his intent is to re-sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Terry Koshan reported a sports betting site had the Chicago Blackhawks as the favorite to land Matthews if the Leafs were to trade him this summer. The reason the Blackhawks are likely getting such high odds is that they recently won the NHL Draft Lottery and the right to draft Connor Bedard.

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It seems unlikely this bet will pay off considering Matthews isn’t likely interested in joining a rebuilding team.

Ducks Have Interviewed at Least Three Possible Coaches

According to Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff, not a lot of talk has surrounded the Anaheim Ducks and their search for a new head coach, but the process is underway and the team has interviewed a number of possible candidates. Among them, the Ducks have spoken with: Andrew Brune (Devils), Spencer Carbery (Maple Leafs) & Mike Vellucci (Penguins).

Holland Confirms He’ll Be GM Next Season

Ken Holland met with the media on Wednesday and was asked about his future as the general manager of the team. He noted that he’s got one more season on his deal and he will honor that year and return to manage the team. He said he wasn’t on social media but had heard whispers of rumors regarding his status as the GM and noted he didn’t know where the speculation was coming from. He’s still got passion, energy, and motivation to manage the team and try to win a Cup with the Oilers.

He was also asked about Steve Staois (who is rumored to be the next GM) and noted that he wants Staois to do more assistant GM-type work which will help both Holland Staois. Holland didn’t say that Staois was being primed to take over the role of GM, but it sounds a bit like that might be what’s going on.

As for changes to the roster, he said he can’t just overhaul the group because the season ended in disappointment. He’ll get back to work next week, figure out what needs to be changed and “dig in” and be ready for September so the Oilers can be back in the same position and try again.