Winnipeg Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs and St. Louis Blues
Welcome to another Tuesday edition of NHL rumors! The regular season draws to a close as the push to the playoffs is on. With the schedule flipped back to May, we’re getting closer to the draft lottery and expansion draft. Not to mention the free agency. Some teams are up to the task as the end of the season approaches, while others are on the losing side. There’s still plenty of news out there and the Last Word on Hockey team has you covered. In today’s edition of the NHL Rumors, we take a look at the Winnipeg Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs and St. Louis Blues.
Rumor:Athletic in his most recent mailbag speculates on the future of Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice.
Analysis: It’s no secret that when a team like the Jets loses six games in a row, there’s a target on the head coach. Obviously, there is something wrong with the current system. But in those six games, it’s not like they played badly, except to be outscored by the Edmonton Oilers. In the other games, they weren’t able to finish the games holding the lead. It’s up to the head coach. Even though Maurice may be one of the most underrated coaches in the league, he’s used to not changing things. During that losing streak, he deployed the same roster. Not wanting to change could cost him his job.
However, the owner and general manager as well as the players love Maurice as a head coach. He demands a lot from his players, especially his top players. One thing that could save Maurice from the hash block this season is the fact that the Jets are not yet at full strength this season. Winnipeg always seems to have injuries at the worst times. Look at Nikolaj Ehlers. He was on a tear before injuring himself and will miss the rest of the regular season. Not to mention one of their best defenders Nathan Beaulieu is out until next season. And while the team may be underperforming, it remains a lock in qualifying for the playoffs. And as the writer says, is there a better option to replace Maurice?
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumor: Athletic’s James Mirtle is in his most recent mailbag writing that he could see Joe Thornton return with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Analysis: If there is one player who can still play and be effective, it’s Joe Thornton. Thornton was what the Maple Leafs desperately needed. The presence of the veterans in the locker room and on the ice has helped the young players grow within the team. And as he’s set to retire, Thornton is on the hunt for that elusive Stanley Cup. At times this season, Thornton has shown he can skate with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, but where he’s been most effective is with Jason Spezza and Adam Brooks. Thornton isn’t a spring chicken, but he’s showing off the intangibles you need as the Maple Leafs head to the playoffs.
And while there may be better options in the free agent market, the Maple Leafs will face the salary cap next season, especially if Zach Hyman and Frederik Andersen both stay. And where are you going to find depth for that cheap who wants to play in Toronto? Nowhere. If the Maple Leafs don’t get the job done this season, don’t be surprised to see Thornton and Spezza return next season. It is just too logical not to bring them back, especially in terms of the wages paid to them.
Blues de Saint-Louis
Rumor:of the Athletic are speculating on what will be the next contract for St. Louis Blues forward Jaden Schwartz.
Analysis: Much like last season, this summer isn’t a great time to be a free agent in the NHL. Whether it is a striker or a defender. Teams will still face a fixed salary cap of $ 81.5 million this season, even with the influx of money, but that won’t happen until next season. So a lot of free agents may not get the money they expect this season. Many will be forced to make shorter-term deals. And for a player like Jaden Schwartz who just struck a five-year deal that carried an average annual value of $ 5.35 million, he could get a lot more in the open market or with the Blues. St. Louis has already committed $ 63.4 million for 15 players for next season. And given Schwartz’s production this season, he could fall just under that number on his next contract.
Head coach Craig Berube loves the player and thinks he fits well into the system. Not to mention that General Manager Doug Armstrong has an interest in signing it again. But the numbers are just not there. Schwartz has scored four goals in 28 games this season, including two in his last 21 games. But like most Blues players, he is very streak. Even with the struggles, Schwartz is a guy who wants to play in St. Louis. And if it wasn’t for his playoff production, the Blues won’t win a Stanley Cup in 2019. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out. But given the market and the weather, if any, Schwartz signs a short-term deal and maybe gets another once the cap is raised.
That’s it for this edition of NHL Rumors! Stay tuned for another edition coming up this week.
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