Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 12, 2017
Latest coaching speculation, possible offseason moves by the Rangers, Sabres & more in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks recently speculated on possible offseason moves by the New York Rangers to address their defense. He suggested GM Jeff Gorton could be forced to consider a buyout of defenseman Marc Staal, who struggled following his post-All Star break return from a concussion.
“The numbers, though, are staggering regarding a Staal buyout, under which the Blueshirts would carry $2.133 million of dead space in 2017-18 and 2018-19, $3.133 million in 2019-20, $3.933 million in 2020-21 and $1.433 million for the four years following that.”
Buying out Dan Girardi, however, would also be costly. “A Girardi buyout would cost the Rangers $2.611 million of dead space next season, $3.611 million in 2018-19 and 2019-20, and $1.111 million the three following years.”
Brooks also wondered if it could cost the Rangers a second-round pick to keep the Vegas Golden Knights from selecting backup goaltender Antti Raanta, or a first to retain forward Jesper Fast. If they keep Raanta, Brooks believes Fast, Michael Grabner and Oscar Lindberg could be exposed in the expansion draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Buying out Staal or Girardi will be expensive. Wouldn’t surprise me if the Rangers put off that decision for as long as possible. With Henrik Lundqvist starting to show signs of wear and tear, I can see Gorton trying to swing a side deal with Vegas to ensure Raanta isn’t selected in the expansion draft. It could come at the cost of losing one of those forwards Brooks listed, but it could be worth it to ensure depth between the pipes.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports several non-playoff clubs could face coaching changes in the offseason. There’s talk Willie Desjardins of the Vancouver Canucks could lose his job as management has said they’ll evaluate his performance at season’s end. Garrioch wonders when Dave Tippett starts taking real heat for the mess that is the Arizona Coyotes. He notes Lindy Ruff doesn’t have a contract next season with the Dallas Stars and feels it’s time they move on to a fresh voice behind the bench. He points out the New Jersey Devils haven’t made progress under John Hynes. Ditto the Florida Panthers with Tom Rowe and the Winnipeg Jets under Paul Maurice.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: At least one of those clubs will undergo a coaching change. Tippett seems safe in Arizona, as does Maurice in Winnipeg and Hynes in New Jersey. Rowe, the Panthers GM, stepped in behind the bench this season solely on an interim basis following their dumb, hasty decision to fire Gerard Gallant. The Stars could opt to hire a new bench boss rather than re-sign Ruff. Desjardins also seems likely to be replaced.
Garrioch also wonders why the Arizona Coyotes didn’t move winger Radim Vrbata when 10-12 teams were believed to have interest in him leading up for the recent NHL trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rumor has it the Coyotes sought a second-round draft pick for Vrbata and wouldn’t budge from that asking price. They’re also thinking about re-signing him this summer.
He speculates the reason the NHL hasn’t officially announced it won’t participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics is there’s “a strong belief” NBC, a major rights holder for the league and the Olympics, could exert pressure to allow the players to go.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe it’s also brinkmanship by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. He’s trying to squeeze the International Olympic Committee into sharing more of the revenue generated by the men’s ice hockey tournament. He’s also hoping to get some concessions from the NHL Players Association.
The Buffalo Sabres couldn’t drum up any interest in blueliners Cody Franson and Dmitry Kulikov at the trade deadline. Garrioch believes the Sabres could revisit trading left wing Evander Kane in the offseason. There was apparently some minor interest in Kane leading up to the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Kane’s solid play this season, his $5.25 million cap hit through 2017-18 and off-ice baggage hurt his trade value. Those factors could also hamper efforts to move him this summer.
Despite speculation over the future of Joe Sakic as general manager of the Colorado Avalanche, it’s believed he’s not going anywhere. The club is expected to move center Matt Duchene this summer.
If the LA Kings fail to reach the playoffs there’s talk GM Dean Lombardi could be kicked upstairs with either Mike Futa or Rob Blake taking over the management job.