NHL Rumors: Stars, Capitals, Wild, Canadiens, Canucks, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, it appears Dallas Stars head coach Rick Bowness has all the leverage when it comes to the head coaching job. Meanwhile, in Washington, the GM has said Braden Holtby will be testing free agency, as might Jacob Markstrom in Vancouver. The Montreal Canadiens could be gearing up for a big trade, and are the Minnesota Wild looking at moving Matt Dumba?

Rick Bowness Has Job If He Wants It

Stars GM Jim Nill said interim head coach Rick Bowness “has definitely earned the right to come back as the coach.” Nill confirmed during an interview with Scott Oake that he and Bowness have agreement to sit down at end of year to discuss the interim coach’s future. His hope is Bowness chooses to stay.

Dallas Stars Rick Bowness
Dallas Stars interim head coach Rick Bowness (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)

For Bowness, he was given the interim tag in December and has done a wonderful job with the team since taking over. Specifically, his coaching in this year’s playoffs has been top notch and with every win, he’s making himself more valuable.

Elliotte Friedman noted on the latest 31 Thoughts Podcast that the interesting thing about Bowness is that he’s very honest and direct and that if Nill gives him an offer he doesn’t think is fair, he’ll say, ‘I don’t think this is right.’ and walk away. If accurate, that should put him in a good position in terms of coaching salaries around the league.

Related: Prospects News & Rumors: NHL Loans, Sobolev, Berdin & More

Holtby Will Test Free Agency

Washington Capitals GM Brian McLellan confirmed on Tuesday during a media call that goaltender Braden Holtby will test unrestricted free agency in October. McLellan explained:

“I think the goalie market is probably a little unusually deep this year. I talked to his agent last week briefly about where he’s at and the kind of opportunities he’s looking for. I would assume he goes to free agency and we’ll keep in contact with him throughout the free agency and see if he’s getting what he wants.”

Braden Holtby Washington Capitals
Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

While he didn’t say as much, it sounds like this is a strategical tactic by the Capitals to get Holtby to consider staying on at a lower salary. Prepared to let him walk, if Holtby goes out into free agency and finds the offers aren’t attractive in a deep goaltending pool of free agents, he might circle back which gives the Capitals the leverage in any negotiations.

Washington is going to run with Ilya Samsonov as the starter and the lower they can get Holtby in as a backup, the better.

Related: Canucks News & Rumors: Re-signing Key Free Agents Toffoli & Markstrom

Wild to Move Matt Dumba

With Jonas Brodin now signed to a long-term contract in Minnesota, speculation is that defenseman Matt Dumba will likely be moved.

The Wild now have allocated over $27 million in cap space to its top four defenders — Jared Spurgeon, Ryan Suter, Matt Dumba and Brodin and that could mean clearing out of space to improve their forward corps. GM Bill Guerin said he likes his defense the way it is, but he’s not opposed to looking at changes if it helps up front. He explained:

Matt Dumba #24 of the Minnesota Wild
COLUMBUS, OH – NOVEMBER 29: Matt Dumba #24 of the Minnesota Wild (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

“We could always think about doing that, but we’re really happy with our ‘D’ core the way it is. Not saying I won’t try to do anything else. It was kind of first things first with Jonas. Let’s get him locked up then see where we are.”

source – ‘Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin gets $42 million contract extension’  Sarah McLellan Star Tribune -09/16/2020

Michael Russo of The Athletic reports the Wild are receiving plenty of calls on Dumba’s availability. Teams likely understand that the Wild will be forced to leave Dumba exposed in the expansion draft so the Wild are more apt to move him than lose him for nothing. Russo writes:

If Dumba’s the type of right-shot, hard-shooting defenseman that could lure a top-six forward — preferably a center — in return, Guerin may be enticed to trade the four-time double-digit goal-scorer and recent King Clancy Trophy winner for his humanitarianism.

source -‘Jonas Brodin’s deal sets the stage for a Wild offseason that should be eventful’ Michael Russo – The Athletic – 09/15/2020

Canadiens Gearing Up for Blockbuster?

According to Charlie Lajoie of TVA SPORTS, he believes Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin could be preparing for a big trade after landing the negotiating rights to defenseman Joel Edmundson. Friedman said the two sides are working on a deal and that when complete, Lajoie speculated that defenseman Ben Chiarot could be part of a package deal to land a scoring winger.

Could Markstrom Test Free Agency?

Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning was on Hockey Night in Canada and noted when discussing the talks between the team and goaltender Jacob Markstrom that the Canucks may not be able to offer what the netminder is looking for. Benning seemed to hint that Markstrom might test free agency when he said, Jacob has earned that right if he needs to test the market, if he’s not happy with where we end up.”

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