Speculation of off-season coaching changes plus the latest on the Flyers.
Potential off-season coaching changes.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports this offseason could see some significant changing in the NHL coaching ranks. If Detroit’s Mike Babcock decides to move on, it could have a domino effect. Among those who could be fired or changing jobs include San Jose’s Todd McLellan, who could interest the Toronto Maple Leafs. There’s a vibe coming out of Boston suggesting the Bruins could make changes if they miss the playoffs, which could include replacing head coach Claude Julien. There’s talk the Philadelphia Flyers could fire current bench boss Craig Berube, and questions about Dave Tippett’s future with the Arizona Coyotes. It’s been rumored the Buffalo Sabres might replace Ted Nolan with Luke Richardson. The Edmonton Oilers must decide if interim coach Todd Nelson returns on a full-time basis, while the New Jersey Devils must decide if they’ll bring back their current coaching tandem of Adam Oates and Scott Stevens. Early playoff exits could threaten the jobs of Anaheim’s Bruce Boudreau and St. Louis’ Ken Hitchcock.
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox lists eleven NHL teams – Toronto, Philadelphia, New Jersey, San Jose, Buffalo, Boston, Detroit, Anaheim, Edmonton, St. Louis, Arizona – that could start next season with new head coaches.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That would be over a third of the league with new coaches next season. Of these, I expect Toronto, Philadelphia, San Jose and Buffalo will almost certainly have new bench bosses to start next season. I still expect Babcock to re-sign with Detroit. If the Bruins don’t fire GM Peter Chiarelli I expect Julien will also return. The futures of Boudreau and Hitchcock could well depend upon their respective teams’ playoff performances. I think Nelson has earned the right to return as the Oilers’ head coach next season. As for the Devils, I believe Oates and Stevens could be back, but one never knows what GM Lou Lamoriello has in mind.
Latest on the Flyers.
PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi recently speculated on possible changes coming to the Flyers this summer. In addition to deciding the fate of head coach Craig Berube, Carchidi suggests Hextall must decide if he’ll give his current roster another chance or whether to make some bombshell moves like acquiring a right winger (“Matt Beleskey? Chris Stewart? Michael Frolik?”) or dealing some core players.
COURIER-POST ONLINE: Dave Isaac wonders if the Flyers might have interest in LA Kings forward Justin Williams if he becomes available via free agency this summer. Hextall knows Williams from his days in the Kings organization.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Judging by what Hextall’s done so far, I expect he’s going to stick mainly with rebuilding via youth while trying to shed some unproductive players and free up cap space. Beleskey, Stewart and Frolik won’t help the Flyers and they’re best to just stay away from dud free agents. Williams is 33 and heading toward the downside of his career. Best to avoid him as well.