NHL Rumors: Latest Buzz on Nikita Zadorov, Devils, Hurricanes

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IApril 30, 2021

NHL Rumors: Latest Buzz on Nikita Zadorov, Devils, Hurricanes

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    The 2020-21 NHL regular season is on the homestretch. The Stanley Cup playoffs will get underway shortly thereafter, with 16 teams battling it out for a championship while the rest of the league's teams shift focus to the offseason.

    But even for teams with Stanley Cup aspirations, it's important to look forward to the future too. That's why there's always buzz about the offseason, potential moves and extensions and more, even as the postseason draws nearer.

    Here's some of the latest noteworthy buzz from around the NHL.

Zadorov's Price Was Too High for Trade Suitors

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    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    Nikita Zadorov is set to be a restricted free agent this offseason, which could mark the end of his time with the Chicago Blackhawks. He's only been with the team since October following a trade with the Colorado Avalanche, but he may have been dealt again prior to the trade deadline earlier in April.

    Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times recently reported that Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman "considered offers" he received for Zadorov ahead of the deadline, but he "asked a higher price than any suitors would meet." So if Chicago is going to part ways with the blueliner, it will have to wait until the offseason.

    "Lowering the price and moving Zadorov in July would represent waving the white flag on the much-criticized Brandon Saad trade with the Avalanche last October," Pope wrote.

    It still may be the decision that the Blackhawks make considering Zadorov may not have a spot on the team moving forward. They recently signed a similar defenseman in Riley Stillman to a three-year extension, which may have been an indication that Zadorov won't be back in Chicago for the 2021-22 season.

    Zadorov, an eight-year NHL veteran, likely still has plenty of productive seasons ahead of him wherever he ends up playing.

Devils Working on Extension for Fitzgerald?

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    The New Jersey Devils have been eliminated from playoff contention this season, marking the eighth time in nine seasons that they have missed out on the postseason. However, the team has some talented young players to build around, and it will add more to its core this offseason.

    It appears the Devils are happy with the job that Tom Fitzgerald has done since he became general manager in January 2020. According to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, it sounds as if New Jersey is working toward an extension with Fitzgerald.

    Friedman noted that Fitzgerald still "has term on his contract" heading into the offseason but "only this season as GM," as he first held the position on an interim basis before losing the interim tag in July. In his first season as permanent general manager, the Devils have gone 16-27-7, which has them in seventh place in the East Division.

    Those aren't great on-ice results, but Fitzgerald seems to be getting the opportunity to try to keep pushing the franchise in the right direction. And perhaps that will lead to an upturn in results soon enough.

What Will Brind'Amour's Extension Look Like?

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    Karl B DeBlaker/Associated Press

    Rod Brind'Amour has strong ties to the Carolina Hurricanes. He spent 10 seasons with the team from 1999-2010 until the end of his NHL playing career, and he's in his third season as Carolina's head coach. And it appears Brind'Amour isn't set to part ways with the Hurricanes anytime soon.

    Friedman reported that Carolina is "working on an extension" for Brind'Amour, who doesn't want to leave for another team. However, Friedman also noted that negotiations have been a "tougher grind than anyone hoped or wanted." And it's possible that the reason could be salary-related.

    "For a while now, teams have indicated they'd like to rein in coaching/front-office salaries, and we're going to get an indication of how serious that really is over the next little while," Friedman wrote. "Carolina's Tom Dundon is one owner who's mentioned it."

    Brind'Amour has led the Hurricanes to the playoffs in each season he's been at the helm, including this year, as Carolina has gone 33-10-7 and is in first place in the Central Division. So it makes sense why the Hurricanes and Brind'Amour would want to keep the relationship going. But if the franchise legend feels the salary on offer isn't commensurate with the work he's done, it's no guarantee it extends beyond this season.