NHL Notebook: New Jersey Devils fire Lindy Ruff as Tyler Toffoli appears on trade targets list, Jack Eichel returns for Golden Knights, and more

Photo credit:© David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
4 months ago
We’re four days away from the National Hockey League trade deadline, so this NHL Notebook will mainly be geared toward one of the most exciting times of the season.
A new trade target who is a winger has emerged, it appears another team has decided to sell, and a rival’s best player is returning to the lineup. Let’s dig into this edition of the NHL Notebook!


Tyler Toffoli climbs Daily Faceoff’s trade targets board

A new winger has joined Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli’s trade target board, and he’s on a team that was seen as a contender heading into the season.
The New Jersey Devils, who we’ll be discussing a lot in this article, sit eight points back of a Wild Card spot with several teams ahead of them. They haven’t lived up to expectations and it may be a better idea for the team to have a quick re-tool and trade pending unrestricted free agents.
One of these pending UFAs is Tyler Toffoli, who the Calgary Flames traded to the New Jersey Devils before the season started. This season, the 31-year-old right winger has 26 goals and 44 points after setting a career-high in 2022-23 with 34 goals and 73 points. 
Toffoli also has experience in the playoffs, playing 26 games and scoring seven goals and 14 points for the Los Angeles Kings when they won their cup in 2014. He also scored five goals and 14 points when the Montréal Canadiens made their improbable run to the finals during the cursed 2020-21 season.
With a cap hit of $4.25 million, Toffoli joins a fairly sizable winger market that includes Jake Guentzel (who ranked first on Frank Seravalli’s list), Rielly Smith, and Pavel Buchnevich as potential trade candidates.

Lindy Ruff fired by the New Jersey Devils

Sticking with the New Jersey Devils, the team relieved Lindy Ruff of his head coaching duties, replacing him with Associate Coach Travis Green, who’ll have the interim tag.
The 64-year-old has spent the past four seasons at the helm of the Devils, posting a 128-125-28 record in 281 games, helping turn the rebuilding team into a team that made a slight run in the postseason in 2023. That year, he earned a nomination for the Jack Adams Award, which he won all the way back in 2005-06.
Ruff has coached 23 seasons in the National Hockey League and started his tenure in 1997-98 with the Buffalo Sabres. He spent 15 years with the Sabres, with most of the time being as contenders (weird, I know). After leaving Buffalo, Ruff had a four-year tenure with the team that beat his Sabres in the 1999 postseason, the Dallas Stars.
He’s a good candidate to be picked up by a team that wants an experienced head coach to help lead a young core.

Latest on Jacob Markström

Hey look, another news piece involving the New Jersey Devils. On Daily Faceoff’s DFO Rundown, Frank Seravalli said that the Devils and Calgary Flames agreed to a trade with Markström agreeing to it. However, Seravalli believes that Don Maloney (Calgary’s President of Hockey Operations) nixed the trade on behalf of the Flames ownership.
Seravalli believes that the Flames will wait until the summer when there are more teams interested in Markström and it’s easier to move his cap hit of $6 million until the end of the 2025-26 season.
Markström, despite the rumours, has had a great season. In 38 games played, he has a 21-15-2 record, a .914 save percentage, and a 2.57 goals-against average. Despite being seen as sellers, the Flames are still around a playoff spot, as they’re the first team looking from the outside inward. They trail the Nashville Predators (who are on an eight-game win streak, more on them later) by seven points with two games in hand.

Jack Eichel returns to the Vegas Golden Knights lineup

The Edmonton Oilers sit three points ahead of the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, the Vegas Golden Knights with two fewer games played heading into Monday’s games. However, Vegas will get a boost in their lineup as 2015 consolation prize Jack Eichel will return to the lineup on Monday evening, according to Mark Scheig.
Before his lower-body surgery, Eichel led the team in points with 19 goals and 44 points. Mark Stone, who is out for the season with a lacerated spleen, ow, is out for the rest of the season and potentially the playoffs. They’ve also missed significant time from Shea Theodore, William Karlsson, and netminder Adin Hill.
It seems like the Oilers and Golden Knights are destined for a first-round playoff matchup, and with an additional $9.5 million being free due to Stone (eventually) heading to the long-term injured reserve, it appears that the Knights will also be looking to add a winger at the deadline.

Alexander Wennberg missing Monday’s game due to “trade-related issues”

We have Alexander Wennberg, from one player returning to a playoff team’s lineup to a player being removed from a non-playoff team’s lineup due to the deadline. On Monday, Seattle Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol said that Wennberg is being held out of the lineup due to “trade-related issues,” which Kate Shefte of Seattle Times Sports reported. Basically, the team plans on trading him and doesn’t want him to get hurt before the deadline.
This season, the 29-year-old forward has nine goals and 25 points in 60 games for the Seattle Kraken. His career-high in goals came with the Florida Panthers in 2020-21 when he had 17 of them with 29 points, while his career-high in points came in 2016-17 when he had 13 goals and 59 points with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Wennberg is a pending UFA and has a cap hit of $4.5 million. The third-line centre would be a good addition for any contender. Chris Johnston reported that the New York Rangers and Colorado Avalanche have interest in Wennberg.
This does beg the question: What about Jordan Eberle, another pending UFA? Well, TSN’s Darren Dreger points out that Seattle wants to extend the former Oiler and Eberle would like to stay with the Kraken. Of course, he’s been linked to the Oilers in the prior weeks and a reunion between the two parties would be awesome.
It’ll be an exciting week, but with the Kraken nine points behind the Nashville Predators, it looks as if they’ll be sellers this deadline.

Other notes:

Tommy Novak signed an extension with a cap hit of $3.5 million over the next three seasons with the Nashville Predators. The 26-year-old seemed like a potential trade candidate prior to the Predators long win streak, but he’s off the table now. Still, pending UFA Alexandre Carrier hasn’t signed an extension and could be on the move come Friday.
Dylan Larkin will miss two weeks with a lower-body injury, which is devastating for the potentially playoff-bound Red Wings. The heart and soul of the team has 26 goals and 54 points in 55 games and has already missed a couple of weeks this season after being cross-checked and knocked out. The Wings currently occupy the first Wild Card spot with 72 points, ahead of the New York Islanders (66 points), Washington Capital (65 points), New Jersey Devils (64 points), Pittsburgh Penguins (62 points) and Buffalo Sabres (62 points). Expect them to make a move or two by Friday.
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