Oilers coaching change adds another Connor McDavid connection

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The NHL trade deadline is March 8 and already a few moves and other transactions are trickling in.

The latest was the Minnesota Wild moving out one defenseman to bring in a different style of blue-liner in a separate trade.

General managers will be guided by another year of a tight salary cap, but it’s expected to rise next season, possibly by $4 million. Last summer, a lot of players signed low-cost, one-year deals, increasing the pool of potential unrestricted free agents who could be moved out for draft picks or prospects.

Follow along this season for news and analysis on deals, major transactions and other announcements that have happened in the months leading up the trade deadline:

Nov. 12: Edmonton Oilers fire coach Jay Woodcroft

The Edmonton Oilers fired coach Jay Woodcroft on Sunday after a 3-9-1 start and replaced him with Kris Knoblauch, the Hartford Wolf Pack coach and Connor McDavid’s former junior hockey coach. That’s the third recent move with a connection to three-time MVP McDavid. His agent, Jeff Jackson, was hired earlier as CEO of hockey operations and the team also signed his former junior hockey linemate Connor Brown.

McDavid said Monday he was surprised by the move and said Woodcroft ‘never lost the room.’

The Oilers were a trendy pick to go far in the playoffs, but have disappointed this season. Last season’s No. 1-ranked offense is 26th this season, with McDavid possibly slowed by an injury that cost him two games. Their goaltending issues have been worse. Jack Campbell was sent to the American Hockey League in the second year of his five-year contract. Stuart Skinner, a rookie of the year finalist last season, ranks last in the league in goals saved above expected, according to MoneyPuck.

Knoblauch – and newly hired Oilers legend Paul Coffey coaching the defense – will be tasked with getting the Oilers back to a playoff spot. There’s precedent: Woodcroft went 26-9-3 down the stretch in 2021-22 as a midseason replacement and led the team to the Western Conference final. 

Also: The Colorado Avalanche announced that goalie Pavel Francouz (lower body) will miss the rest of the season. He has yet to play in 2023-24 and will return to the Czech Republic to be with his family. The team also signed forward Joel Kiviranta to a one-year deal.

Nov. 10: Pittsburgh Penguins to retire Jaromir Jagr’s number

Jaromir Jagr, drafted fifth overall in 1990, won Stanley Cup titles in his first two seasons and ranks fourth in franchise history with 1,079 points in 806 games. He played 11 seasons with Pittsburgh before being traded to the Washington Capitals. He ranks second all-time in NHL history in points and fourth in goals. His No. 68 will be retired on Feb. 18.

Nov. 8: Minnesota Wild trade Calen Addison to San Jose Sharks, acquire Zach Bogosian from Tampa Bay Lightning

Addison was sent to the San Jose Sharks for forward Adam Raska and a 2026 fifth-round draft pick. The defenseman is a power play specialist, but he is unreliable in his own zone. That led to him being a healthy scratch often down the stretch last season. With the Wild getting Jared Spurgeon back soon from injury (he was activated from long-term injured reserve on Friday), the power play opportunities will dwindle. Addison will be more valuable to the Sharks, who dealt Erik Karlsson last summer. He will be a restricted free agent at season’s end.

Bogosian lacks Addison’s offense, but the veteran takes care of his end of the ice. He’s a right-handed shot, like Addison.

“He’s a big guy,’ Minnesota general manager Bill Guerin told reporters. ‘He still skates well. He brings heaviness. He brings some grit and we need that.”

The trade buys the Lightning a little bit of salary cap breathing room. Bogosian, in the final season of a three-year contract, has a $850,000 cap hit.

Nov. 7: Edmonton Oilers place goalie Jack Campbell on waivers

Campbell, who signed a five-year, $25 million free agent deal in 2022, hasn’t played well since arriving. Stuart Skinner surpassed him last season and was a rookie of the year finalist. This season, Campbell was chased in the season opener and has gone 1-4 with a 4.50 goals-against average and .873 save percentage. He cleared waivers and will work on his game in the American Hockey League as the struggling Oilers try to get into a playoff spot. Edmonton recalled Calvin Pickard from Bakersfield (California) to back up Skinner.

Oct. 13: Colorado Avalanche sign defenseman Devon Toews to seven-year extension

He’ll average $7.25 million in the deal, which begins next season. Heading into the season, Toews led the league with a +120 plus-minus rating since he was acquired from the New York Islanders in 2020. He’s right behind defenseman Cale Makar in average ice time during that time.

Oct. 10: Carolina Hurricanes acquire forward Callahan Burke from the Colorado Avalanche for defenseman Caleb Jones

The Hurricanes loaded up on defense this offseason and Jones was the odd man out. Both players will play for the American Hockey League’s Colorado Eagles.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY