Mike Babcock, Nazem Kadri, NHL Rumors, Philadelphia Flyers, Top Story, Toronto Maple Leafs

NHL Rumors: Babcock, Canadiens, Flyers, More

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In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there are more conversations about the future for Nazem Kadri and, in some respects, that carries over to questions about the future of head coach Mike Babcock. There are also rumors that the Montreal Canadiens have made a shopping list of players for the offseason and the Philadelphia Flyers will look to improve their defense with a veteran either by free agency or trade.

Questions About Mike Babcock?

Kevin McGran of the Toronto Sun wrote in his mailbag segment, that while Nazem Kadri has obviously lowered his trade value and moved himself to the top of GM Kyle Dubas’ trade list, others are wondering what coach Mike Babcock’s future holds?

Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock
Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)

McGran answered one question about Babcock’s future with:

There are knives out for Babcock. Some who don’t like his approach, or his personality. Some think he’s over-rated. To be honest, his Detroit teams under-achieved after 2008. Some just want change. Some want to see a more progressive coach and feel that’s Sheldon Keefe. 

source – ‘Monday’s Mailbag: Nazem Kadri should have dropped the gloves’ – Kevin McGran-04/15/2019

McGran is not calling Babcock’s team a playoff dud yet but if they suffer another first-round exit in the playoffs, that opinion could change.

Related: NHL Rumors: Kadri, Zucker, Panthers, More

Montreal Canadiens Shopping List Might Include…

TVA Sports has listed a number of players on the wish list of the Montreal Canadiens. Among them are San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski, New York Islanders winger Anders Lee, Buffalo Sabres left winger Jeff Skinner, Columbus Blue Jackets left winger Artemi Panarin, and Blue Jackets center Matt Duchene as possible free-agent options for the Canadiens this summer.

Joe Pavelski Sharks
Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks, Nov. 28, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Don’t expect Pavelski to want to head east as he likely intends to finish his career with the Sharks franchise. The Islanders aren’t keen on losing another captain and will work hard to re-sign Lee and Panarin seems to have other options higher on his radar than Montreal. Duchene and Skinner are the most likely of the options for the Canadiens but at the same time, rumors are Duchene has a hankering for Nashville and the Sabres might pony up to keep Skinner as Jack Eichel’s line-mate in Buffalo.

Related: NHL Rumors: Eberle, Flyers, Kings, More

Flyers Looking to Add Veteran D-Man

Dave Isaac of The Courier-Post writes the Philadelphia Flyers blueline is a priority for general manager Chuck Fletcher and he’s looking for a veteran defenseman this summer.

Jacob Trouba – Winnipeg Jets vs Philadelphia Flyers – November 17, 2016 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

One of the reasons he’s thinks so is because Fletcher said:

“I think we spent too much time defending this year and that’s not all on our defensemen. Again, I think our forwards at times are very loose with the puck and we lose a third guy in the offensive zone all the time. We’re giving up odd-man rushes. We’re turning the pucks over. I think we put a lot of pressure on our defense at times by the way we play.”

source – ‘Why Chuck Fletcher is OK with Flyers getting older on defense’ – Dave Isaac- The Courier Post – 04/12/2019

Perhaps the most likely of targets will be Erik Karlsson, Tyler Myers, Alexander Edler, or Anton Stralman. That said, while free agency offers some options, Isaac seems to think that this defenseman might come via trade. Perhaps the Flyers will look to acquire the rights of Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba.

One player that may be moved to improve the blueline is Flyers defender Shayne Gostisbehere who had a disappointing season. Isaac suggests Gostisbehere has a friendly contract other teams will be excited to add and that as a one-time 65-point defender, teams will take a flyer on him (pun intended).

It is also possible the Flyers believe Gostisbehere had an off year and if he’s healthier could rebound next season.

Related: NHL Rumors: Krueger, Kings, Golden Knights, More

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