Speculation over coaches on the hot seat plus latest on the Oilers and Flames in the final NHL rumor roundup of the regular season.
Which NHL coaches are on the hot seat?
SPORTSNET: Damien Cox reports there’s speculation head coach Claude Julien won’t be back with the Boston Bruins, who missed the playoffs for the second straight year. Elliotte Friedman suggests the possibility of Julien landing with the Ottawa Senators should they decide to replace coach Dave Cameron. He also said Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy will remain as the GM and head coach respectively of the Colorado Avalanche. Meanwhile, there are rumblings there could be changes coming for the Arizona Coyotes. Coach Dave Tippett hopes to stay, but there’s uncertainty over Don Maloney’s status as their general manager.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Julien or Tippett become available during the offseason they won’t be unemployed for long. Ottawa pundits have been stumping for Julien as a possible replacement for Cameron since mid-March.
Latest on the Oilers.
EDMONTON SUN: Jim Matheson recently listed the top-10 things the Edmonton Oilers need to do for next season. Among them is finding a suitable backup for starting goalie Cam Talbot, land a puck-moving defenseman (like St. Louis’ Kevin Shattenkirk or Anaheim’s Sami Vatanen or Cam Fowler), add a two-way blueliner like the New York Islanders’ Travis Hamonic or Minnesota’s Jonas Brodin by dangling winger Jordan Eberle or center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, ship out Nail Yakupov for the best return (likely a draft pick) and signs three big-bodied UFAs like Detroit’s Darren Helm, Colorado’s Shawn Matthias and Anaheim’s Jamie McGinn.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Plenty of experienced and affordable backups will be available via free agency this summer for the Oilers if they wish to go that route. Shattenkirk’s availability could depend upon the Blues’ playoff performance, while Vatanen’s depends upon his contract extension talks (he’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights) with the Ducks. I doubt Fowler will be available.
It’s been widely reported the Islanders’ asking price for Hamonic is a comparable defenseman with a cap-friendly contract, so that means they won’t have interest in Eberle or RNH. The latter, however, was linked to the Wild and Brodin earlier this season in the rumor mill. However, Brodin’s a left-handed shot. Jared Spurgeon might be a better target, but the Wild might not want to part with him. I agree with Matheson that the Oilers will likely only get a draft pick (likely a second rounder) for Yakupov, unless they bundle him into a larger deal. As for his projected UFA targets, I think McGinn could be the best fit.
More on the Oilers and James Reimer.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa believes changes are coming this summer for the Edmonton Oilers. He expects GM Peter Chiarelli will buy out the remaining year of defenseman Andrew Ference’s contract and let Nikita Nikitin, Eric Gryba and Adam Pardy depart via free agency. It’s expected Chiarelli will retain promising young blueliners Oscar Klefbom and Darnell Nurse, but every other defenseman’s job is up for grabs. Shinzawa also suggests forwards Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov and Jordan Eberle as prime trade candidates to bring in the blue-line help the Oilers needs.
Shinzawa also notes how well goaltender James Reimer has played since getting traded from the rebuilding Toronto Maple Leafs to the San Jose Sharks. “In eight starts in San Jose, Reimer has gone 6-2-0 with a 1.62 GAA and .938 save percentage,” he writes, suggesting those numbers as proof Reimer could be a worthwhile long-term investment for the Calgary Flames or Carolina Hurricanes. Reimer is eligible for UFA status this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reimer has proven capable of putting up decent stats on a bad Leafs team, but going to a good club like the Sharks has certainly improved his free-agent value. I can see the Flames or Hurricanes pursuing him this summer.