We’ve got more NHL rumours for you as we close in on the start of the NHL season. The focus is on the 2023-24 campaign, but clubs can’t help but look ahead to the future. There’s plenty of uncertainty about how much the salary cap may go up. This means that general managers may be moving into unknown territory when it comes to the numbers they’re working with. Today’s NHL rumours deals with the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets.
All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.
Rumour: Wes Gilbertson of Post Media gave an update on the Mikael Backlund contract situation.
#Flames C Mikael Backlund on his contract status: “Just like I said at the end of last season, I kind of wanted to see what was going to happen here and I’m still feeling that way … I haven’t closed any doors. I’m excited to start the season and we’ll see how things shake out.”
— Wes Gilbertson (@WesGilbertson) September 12, 2023
Analysis: The veteran becomes a free agent at the end of the upcoming season. He’s one of the many Flames players that are going to be unrestricted free agents and could be on the move. General manager Craig Conroy would love to keep Backlund, Elias Lindholm and some of the other players coming up for a new deal.
However, there seems to be a growing noise that some players want out of Alberta. The Flames do have plenty of talent and could bounce back and snag a playoff spot. Winning seems to be a cure-all and a bounce-back season could make a new contract an easier proposition. Backlund hasn’t ruled out signing an extension. The veteran has given plenty to the organization and he feels he should get a nice raise on his next deal.
However, Conroy may have to make some moves if Calgary falls out of contention. Players like Lindholm, Backlund and others could be trade bait if the Flames struggle like they did last season. There’s plenty of uncertainty in Western Canada and the season will have to unfold first.
Analysis: Winnipeg is another team that has some great players, but they also may be at a crossroads. Scheifele and Hellebuyck are both UFAs at the end of the season. General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff also has a tough task in whether or not to cut bait. Both players are likely going to get big-time offers. However, the Jets could be a Stanley Cup Playoff team.
That balance is going to hard to navigate for the Winnipeg brass. Do they go all-in for a post-season run and risking letting both players walk for nothing? Or does management fold and start all over again? The duo could give the Jets some pieces they need to start their path back to the top a bit quicker.
It’s eerie how both the Flames and Jets have a lot in common. Both are coming off bad years, but also have a decent amount of talented players. However, will these players be around to finish the job for this season and beyond.
Main photo by: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports