NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Predators, Hot Seat Coaches, More

In today’s rumor rundown, the Toronto Maple Leafs have sent the message to William Nylander that they want him to stay, but left it up to him to make the next move. Meanwhile, the Nashville Predators are looking to upgrade their forward corps but not willing to sacrifice their top-tier defense to do it. The Detroit Red Wings are struggling with a decision about one of their young players and there is speculation a number of NHL coaches are already on the hot seat and could be out of work in the next two weeks.

Related: NHL Rumors: Duchene, Point, Rinne, More

Maple Leafs Put Ball in Nylander’s Court

Chris Johnston believes that Toronto Maple Leafs put the ball in William Nylander’s court when GM Kyle Dubas traveled to Switzerland to meet with their holdout forward. As December 1 creeps closer, the Maple Leafs may be more and more in the position to have to trade Nylander and some insiders believe we’ll start hearing discussions of contract offers coming out of the KHL and alternative options for Nylander that doesn’t include the NHL.

William Nylander, Toronto Maple Leafs
It’ll cost a pretty penny to catch William Nylander and the Maple Leafs at home during the playoffs. (Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports)

Johnston explained, “They’re looking basically at a short-term deal now, if he’ll sign one of those.” But, the trip to Switzerland was to make sure Nylander knew the team was not at the point they were already exploring trade options. Instead, it was about sending the message: ‘We want to keep you, William. What’s it going to take to stay?’

Kelly Hrudey said later on the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast that he thinks Nylander needs to just “take the best deal you can” and come back to the team. The problem for Nylander is that he’s up against Dubas, a man who has to win this deal and he has to win it big. There’s no chance Dubas gets anything less than an ideal contract for the Maple Leafs and Nylander has to know that.

One team keeping a close eye on things is the Carolina Hurricanes who are ready should Nylander become available.

Related: NHL Rumors: Ritchie, Panarin, Lee, Red Wings, More

Red Wings Uncertain About Young Rookie

Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press writes that the Detroit Red Wings are unsure what direction they should take with rookie forward Michael Rasmussen. The 19-year-old either has to stay with the team or be returned to juniors, but the Red Wings don’t want to send him back despite the fact Rasmussen has struggled to transition so far to the NHL game.

Michael Rasmussen - Detroit Red Wings
Detroit Red Wings center Michael Rasmussen (Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports)

Rasmussen only has three more games to prove himself to management before he burns off the first year of his entry-level deal. It sounds like the Red Wings are really struggling with the decision.

Related: Red Wings 5 Games in and Needing Evaluation

Predators Not Willing To Sacrifice for Offense

Elliotte Friedman was on Sportsnet 960 and was asked about the situation in Nashville, where the Predators are off to a great start and early Stanley Cup favorites. If there’s one area they could use some help it’s in their depth on offense and Friedman was asked if the Preds might trade a defenseman to bolster their scoring.

David Poile, Nashville Predators, NHL
Predators general manager David Poile (Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

It was noted Predators GM David Poile isn’t afraid to make a big trade if he thinks it will help his team but Friedman suggested the Predators won’t do anything to diminish their chances of winning it all and a strong defense seems to be the better path to winning.

Friedman did say that a defenseman might be on the move next year when the organization has to look at re-signing Roman Josi. “So as far as I’m concerned, that’s your countdown clock,” Friedman said. “If you have to move someone on the blueline, you can do it in a year, you can do it in two years, you can do it that way.”

He added that the only way the Predators trade a defenseman for a forward is if the forward they are getting back is “awesome.”

Related: NHL Rumors: Doughty, Nylander, Penguins, Senators, More

Coaches in Trouble Early

On Saturday’s Headlines, Nick Kypreos said there are a number of coaches on the hot seat already this season. Near the top of the list is John Stevens with the Los Angeles Kings, but he isn’t the only one.

John Stevens - Kings
John Stevens #32, Los Angeles Kings head coach – December 18, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Kypreos said, “I can’t recall, six games into a regular season, in terms of how much talk there is and attention there is to some coaching staffs.” Kypreos went on to suggest the St. Louis Blues, Philadelphia Flyers and Edmonton Oilers are teams being “closely watched by their ownership group.”

“They want results, now,” Kypreos said. He doesn’t get the sense teams will wait until American Thanksgiving like they have in year’s past.