Coaches feeling the heat, plus updates on Zdeno Chara, Jonathan Drouin, Nail Yakupov and more in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

Highlights from Garrioch’s “Insider Trading.”

Another early playoff exit by the Blues could prove costly for coach Ken Hitchcock.

Another early playoff exit by the Blues could prove costly for coach Ken Hitchcock.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch speculates this year’s playoffs could determine the futures of head coaches like Anaheim’s Bruce Boudreau, St. Louis’ Ken Hitchcock and the New York Islanders’ Jack Capuano. San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson could also feel the heat if his team comes up short again in the postseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Early playoff exits could be costly for Boudreau and Hitchcock. Not so sure about Capuano as Isles management still appear to have faith in him. Wilson’s been around a long time with the Sharks. Building them back into playoff conteners after missing the postseason last year will likely ensure he sticks around even if the Sharks bow out early again.

Garrioch claims there was “discussion” last month about the future of Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara but no one contacted the Bruins before the trade deadline to inquire into his availability. He claims Chara isn’t going anywhere because the Bruins know what he means to them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m also sure Chara’s contract ($6.917 million cap hit for 2016-17 with a full no-movement clause) was also a factor. 

While Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin has ended his holdout and returned to the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch, his trade request apparently remains on the table. Garrioch expected the unhappy winger will be moved by the NHL Draft in late-June. It’s believed the Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators and Minnesota Wild expressed interest in Drouin before the trade deadline but the right fit couldn’t be found. The asking price from the Senators was believed to be defenseman Cody Ceci and the Wild’s was blueliner Matt Dumba.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see the Senators parting with Ceci or the Wild giving up Dumba. I have a feeling the Buffalo Sabres could get into the bidding for Drouin this summer. The St. Louis Blues could also revisit their earlier interest in him.

The Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars all showed “genuine interest” in Vancouver Canucks blueliner Dan Hamhuis before the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Canucks decide to part ways with Hamhuis, one of those clubs could be his ultimate destination via free agency.


Highlights from Matheson’s “Hockey World.”

EDMONTON JOURNAL:  Jim Matheson recently wondered if the New York Islanders might trade for a goaltender with starter Jaroslav Halak sidelined for the remainder of the regular season. A player acquired by trade at this stage in the season is ineligible to play in the postseason. Matheson suggested Buffalo’s Chad Johnson and Calgary’s Jonas Hiller as trade options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So far, the Isles haven’t felt the need to go that route, sticking with backup Thomas Greiss. Still, it could be worthwhile keeping an eye on their goaltending situation over the remaining weeks of this season. 

Matheson claims the Montreal Canadiens were never interested in struggling Edmonton Oilers right wing Nail Yakupov.  “They know he played junior with Alex Galchenyuk but question his on-ice savvy.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Habs weren’t interested in Yakupov before the deadline, they won’t be interested in him this summer. 

Like most observers, Matheson expects the Tampa Bay Lightning to trade left wing Jonathan Drouin by the NHL Draft in June.

Noting the “rampant” talk of the Winnipeg Jets swapping defenseman Jacob Trouba for New York Islanders blueliner Travis Hamonic, Matheson noted Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers are “1-2” on the Jets’ right side. Unless Hamonic, a right-handed shot, can move to the left side, Matheson thinks it makes no sense to acquire him to be a third-pairing rearguard.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless, perhaps, they do a swap of Myers for Hamonic? 

Speaking of Trouba, his agent may be seeking big money but the young defenseman (who’s coming out of an entry-level contract) didn’t have a good year compared to his previous seasons. Matheson speculated Trouba could get a two-year bridge deal at $2.75 million annually.

The Montreal Canadiens would love to bring back winger Dale Weise as a free agent this summer, but that could prove expensive. Matheson thinks he’ll look at Calgary’s Lance Bouma ($2.2 million per season) as a comparable.