NHL Rumor Mill – March 28, 2019
Latest on the Kings plus updates on Anders Lee and Cam Talbot in today’s NHL rumor mill.
LATEST KINGS SPECULATION
SPORTSNET: Mark Spector believes the Los Angeles Kings should replace interim head coach Willie Desjardins with former San Jose Sharks and Edmonton Oilers bench boss Todd McLellan. He said the word is McLellan is at the top of the Kings’ list of potential coaching candidates.
THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Pierre LeBrun said it’s his understanding McLellan is the clear front-runner to replace Desjardins. However, he could have other options on the table as there are half-a-dozen coaching positions presently up for discussion.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: McLellan had a good tenure with the Sharks and did the best he could with what he had in Edmonton, guiding the Oilers to their first postseason in 11 years in 2017. The Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators could also be interested in McLellan, as well as perhaps the Florida Panthers and Minnesota Wild.
Spector also suggested the Kings try moving defenseman Dion Phaneuf but acknowledged that won’t be easy. Phaneuf is 33, struggling to adjust to the league’s faster pace and has two more years at $5.25-million per season remaining on his contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see much of a market for Phaneuf. In addition to his remaining salary-cap hit and term, Cap Friendly indicates he still has a 12-team trade list.
He also noted the Kings are stuck with aging winger Ilya Kovalchuk, who has an annual average value of $6.25 million for two more seasons. “Would they take Milan Lucic and a defensive prospect like Ethan Bear for Kovalchuk from Edmonton?”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No, they won’t. I realize Mark (no relation) is just spit-balling but Kovalchuk has two years left on his contract while Lucic has four more ($6-million AAV) on his. Besides, Kovalchuk has a full no-movement clause and already indicated he’s not going anywhere.
LEE CONTRACT TALKS STALLED
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports contract discussions between the New York Islanders and captain Anders Lee may be stalled over the term of a new deal. Lee wants to re-sign and Isles GM Lou Lamoriello wants to keep him. The Lee camp prefers a seven- or eight-year extension while Lamoriello prefers below that.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After losing one captain to free agency last summer in John Tavares, it wouldn’t look good for the Islanders to lose another this year. Lamoriello is likely reluctant to give a seven- or eight-year contract to a player who turns 29 on July 3. Perhaps a compromise can be reached on a five- or six-year deal?
TALBOT FACING CLOUDY FUTURE IN PHILADELPHIA?
NBC SPORTS: John Boruk reports goaltender Cam Talbot has seen just 93 minutes of action with the Philadelphia Flyers after waiving his no-movement clause to accept a trade from the Edmonton Oilers. There’s been no movement toward a new contract for Talbot, who becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Talbot got lost in the shuffle with Brian Elliott returning from injury in late-February. The Flyers have stuck with Elliott and rookie Carter Hart as they try to keep their fading playoff hopes alive. Still, Talbot probably fits into their long-term plans. Elliott and Michal Neuvirth are also slated to become UFAs this summer and aren’t expected to be re-signed.