NHL Rumors: Mats Zuccarello, Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks and more

NHL Rumors: Mats Zuccarello, Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks and more

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Could Mats Zuccarello reunite in New York or does he stay in Dallas?
Should Mats Zuccarello and New York reunite?

Larry Brooks of the New York Post:  The burning question remains. Should Mats Zuccarello get an encore on the main stage at MSG? As much as there is a love affair from the fans to Mats Zuccarello, the forward may not have as much of one toward management. Remember, management designated the winger trade fodder for much of the season. There are some hard feelings.

Plus, if Mats Zuccarello re-signs in Dallas, New York gets a 2020 first-round pick. If he does not, New York gains a third. Why compete with oneself in a rebuild? Reuniting seems unlikely.

How Mike Babcock kept his job…

Kevin McGran of The Star (mailbag):  With Babcock able to keep his job, there is one huge question. How much heat is on him to adapt and coach the Toronto Maple Leafs?

The answer is clear. It may be as hot as a thousand suns. His regular season grade is probably a good bit higher than his post-season grade. A deep playoff run cures many ills.

James (Notes from Friedman, Dreger, etc.):  Apparently, Sheldon Keefe‘s window to coach in the NHL is very short. It is so short that the possibility grows likely that Keefe will just stay with the Toronto Marlies. Keefe earns $400,000 a year so a job would have to pay significantly more. Jim Hiller could leave for Nashville as an assistant perhaps and DJ Smith remains in play for the Ottawa Senators.

Chicago has cap space

Scott Powers and Mark Lazerus of The Athletic:  Now Chicago has $15-17 million in cap space. They must spend some of that on Alex DeBrincat for starters. Who could they sign? Long shots include Jeff Skinner and Erik Karlsson. Both would eat up a ton of cap space while alternatives like Ryan Dzingel and Anton Stralman would be more affordable. Alex Edler remains a possibility if Vancouver does not re-sign him. Maybe Chicago could look into a Mats Zuccarello.

The Calgary playoff flop

Scott Cruickshank of The Athletic (roundtable):  A general consensus of the panel was that Calgary was overwhelmed by the situation. Playoff flops happen and just look at Tampa Bay. The stars did not play like stars and the depth just was not enough. The problem is all the failures on the right wing mean a move is necessary. Trading away a T.J. Brodie for Jason Zucker, perhaps?