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Snapshots: Monahan, Chiarelli, Lauer, Trouba

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The Winnipeg Jets are reportedly looking to retain pending free agent Sean Monahan, shares Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman on the latest 32 Thoughts Podcast. The Jets acquired Monahan ahead of the trade deadline, sending a 2024 first-round and 2027 seventh-round pick back to the Montreal Canadiens. Monahan went on to score 13 goals and 24 points across 34 regular-season games with Winnipeg, adding one assist in five postseason games.

Monahan was one of Winnipeg’s two Trade Deadline acquisitions, alongside Tyler Toffoli, who the Jets sent a 2024 third-round and 2025 second-round pick. Toffoli has shared his interest in testing the open market. That decision should give Winnipeg much more freedom to allocate their $13.353MM in cap space between Monahan, pending restricted-free-agent Cole Perfetti, and William Jennings Trophy-co-winner Laurent Brossoit. The trio headline a list of 10 pending free agents on the Jets lineup.

Maintaining Monahan will give the Jets some stability down the middle, while moving on from Toffoli could open the door for top prospects Brad Lambert or Nikita Chibrikov to challenge the opening-day roster. The Jets will likely be removed from any jaw-dropping deals, with limited cap space and already-spent draft picks, but they’ll look to hold onto a playoff-caliber lineup with their signing this summer.

Other notes from around the NHL:

  • Friedman also shared in 32 Thoughts that expected incumbent to the Columbus Blue Jackets general manager role, Don Waddell, will be splitting responsibilities between GM and President of Hockey Operations through the early going. However, the Blue Jackets haven’t ruled out the idea of bringing in additional support, with Friedman naming Peter Chiarelli as a potential candidate. Chiarelli has received interest from front offices around the NHL, though he’s stayed put in an advisory role, and then a Vice President of Hockey Operations role, with the St. Louis Blues. He’s serving that role after a four-year tenure as GM and President of Hockey Ops for the Edmonton Oilers and a nine-year tenure with the Boston Bruins. Chiarelli has become notorious for his decisions with the Oilers and Bruins, though his role in Columbus likely wouldn’t involve final say. He’ll be a name to monitor, as the Blue Jackets look to pull themselves up from a challenging 2023-24 campaign.
  • The Winnipeg Jets have dismissed assistant coach Brad Lauer, and will retain Marty Johnston and Wade Flaherty as assistant and goalie coaches, per TSN’s John Lu (Twitter link). Lauer just wrapped up his second season as Winnipeg’s assistant. The pair of seasons brought him to 11 years spent as an assistant coach across the NHL, with his longest tenure coming during a four-year stretch with the Anaheim Ducks. Lauer played in 10 seasons between the NHL and IHL during his own playing career and has been coaching since his retirement in 2002. He served as the head coach behind the Edmonton Oil Kings to the 2022 Ed Chynoweth Cup, winning the WHL Championship. That accolade, and a long career in the pros, should be enough to land Lauer a new role quickly.
  • The NHL Department of Player Safety has fined New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba $5K for an elbow against Florida Panthers forward Evan Rodrigues in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final (Twitter link). The fine is the maximum allowed under the CBA. Trouba was assessed a minor penalty on the hit, though many fans argued the flying-elbow should have warranted a major penalty. He’ll now be assessed a fine instead, maintaining his eligibility for what will be a crucial Game 4. The Rangers are currently up 2-1 in the ECF series, in no small part thanks to Trouba’s three points in three games, including two assists in Game 3. He’s also recorded 12 hits and 16 blocks in the series.
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