Thu. Feb 22nd, 2024

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, will the Winnipeg Jets take a closer look at Conor Garland after having lost Gabe Vilardi to a serious injury? Are the Dallas Stars the new favorite to land Patrick Kane? What is happening with Phil Kessel and will he sign with an NHL team? Finally, what is the latest on the NHL moving to a decentralized NHL Draft?

Jets May Look to Conor Garland to Fill Hole

In a significant setback for the Winnipeg Jets, forward Gabriel Vilardi will be sidelined for four to six weeks due to a sprained MCL. A club that already had some cap space to maneuver, Vilardi on LTIR gives the Jets another $3.4 million to work with. The team, facing this absence, is exploring internal options, although some wonder if their attention will be been drawn to Vancouver Canucks forward Conor Garland.

Gabriel Vilardi, Winnipeg Jets (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

Murat Ates of The Athletic writes:

Finally, it’s been reported that the Jets have expressed interest in Vancouver’s Conor Garland. I’m not sure that anything is imminent on that front but Garland is a right-shooting forward coming off of a 46-point season for the Canucks. He’s a solid playmaker and contributes enough offense to fit in the middle-six but is expensive, at $4.95 million AAV. 

source – ‘Jets forward Gabriel Vilardi out 4-6 weeks with sprained MCL: Who moves up to replace him?’ – Murat Atest – The Athletic – 10/18/2023

The Jets find themselves at a crossroads, weighing the immediate need for reinforcement against the financial implications, as they strategize their approach to bolster the team in Vilardi’s absence.

Is Patrick Kane Going to the Stars?

In the recent episode of the 32 Thoughts podcast, Elliotte Friedman bolstered the speculation surrounding star free agent Patrick Kane’s potential move to the Dallas Stars. According to a highly credible source, Friedman discussed the likelihood of Kane joining the Stars, emphasizing the favorable stylistic match for the seasoned veteran. “He said, if he was putting down money, he would put down money on the Stars.”

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This revelation has propelled the Dallas Stars higher in the rankings of teams expected to secure Kane, surpassing contenders like the New York Rangers, Florida Panthers, and Buffalo Sabres. Dallas has distinguished itself this season with a robust forward lineup, evenly distributing ice time among their top three lines.

Related: NHL Rumors: Predators, Maple Leafs, Kings, Oilers

The one area that could pose a problem is the amount of travel. Dallas is known as a team where the travel is not great.

Kessel Still Looking for an NHL Deal

NHL veteran Phil Kessel is eagerly awaiting a call from an NHL team, indicating his strong desire to return to the league. According to insider Chris Johnston, Kessel has been dedicatedly honing his skills, staying in condition despite opting out of training camps on a try-out basis. Recent reports from Johnston suggest that Kessel has been in discussions with teams in the past week or two, hinting at the possibility of his imminent return. While no contracts have been finalized, the prospect of Kessel joining a team is generating excitement within the hockey community.

Phil Kessel, Vegas Golden Knights (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Johnston highlighted Kessel’s open-minded approach towards contract offers. Although he declined to participate in an NHL training camp on a professional tryout agreement last month, Kessel is receptive to potential opportunities, even from teams that might not be considered top contenders. He recognizes his potential value to teams lower in the standings, raising the possibility of a trade before the March 8 deadline.

A Decentralized NHL Draft?

The NHL is considering a move to a decentralized draft format and the NHL has asked for votes from all of the teams. There is a lot of talk here and the league wants to know by Tuesday what teams are thinking about the idea of moving the draft to each team’s own respective offices instead of all being in one arena. The players will still be called in and walk up to the podium, but the teams won’t be there.

There are teams on both sides of the fence. Some teams hate it because there are too many teams knowing too much about another team’s business. But, others like this as a networking environment and that deals get done because teams are in the same room.

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The post NHL Rumors: Jets, Stars, Kessel and a Decentralized Draft appeared first on WorldNewsEra.

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