NHL Rumor Mill – May 27, 2023

by | May 27, 2023 | Rumors | 5 comments

Are the Rangers waiting for Sheldon Keefe or Mike Sullivan to become available as coaching candidates? Could the Golden Knights buy out Robin Lehner? Will the Sharks attempt to trade Kevin Labanc? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks wondered why the Rangers’ search for a new head coach is on hold.

Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe (NHL.com).

One possibility is Rangers general manager Chris Drury is waiting to see what happens to Toronto Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe once that club hires a new GM. Another could be what happens with Pittsburgh Penguins’ bench boss Mike Sullivan if former Leafs GM Kyle Dubas becomes their new general manager.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Drury is waiting on Keefe he might not be the only general manager doing so. Other clubs, such as the Calgary Flames, Columbus Blue Jackets and Washington Capitals, are also in the market for a new head coach.

By his own admission, Brooks isn’t letting Sullivan’s possible availability go despite him telling his colleague Mollie Walker that he’s not going anywhere. His initial theory was Dubas would bring Keefe with him if the Penguins hired him but that’s not a certainty. For now, we just wait and see.

Brooks shot down the possibility that they’re waiting for Joel Quenneville to be reinstated by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. He claimed there’s “no expectation within the industry” that Quenneville (under indefinite suspension since 2021 for his role in the Kyle Beach sexual assault saga) would be reinstated in a timely manner that would make him a candidate for any open head-coaching job “in this current search cycle”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, not during this offseason.


VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski points out that Adin Hill is making a strong case to stick with the Golden Knights with his strong performance during their current playoff run. He wondered if they might consider buying out Robin Lehner’s contract and use part of the savings to sign Hill to a long-term deal.

The 27-year-old Hill is slated to become an unrestricted free agent. He’s completing a two-year deal with an average annual value of $2.175 million.

Lehner, 31, has missed the entire 2022-23 season recovering from potentially career-threatening hip surgeries. He has two seasons remaining on his contract with an average annual value of $5 million.

Kingerski suggests buying out Lehner would make sense if the Golden Knights can’t keep him on long-term injury reserve for 2023-24. His cap hit would then be reduced to $750K for 2023-24, rising to $2.25 million for 2024-25 and then falling to $1.75 million for the remaining two years of the buyout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lehner must be medically cleared to play in order for Vegas to buy out his contract. So far, there’s no indication yet that he will receive that clearance during the buyout period in late June.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Max Miller noted that trade rumors are starting to swirl about Kevin Labanc. The San Jose Sharks winger is a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility. With the club carrying so many high-salaried players with no-trade/no-movement clauses (Erik Karlsson, Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl), the 27-year-old Labanc could become a prime cost-cutting trade candidate.

Given Labanc’s offensive struggles since his career-best 56-point performance in 2018-19, Miller doesn’t expect the Sharks would get much in return for him. Maybe a team seeking some offensive depth such as the New York Islanders might take a chance on him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speculation over whether the Sharks will trade Karlsson has dominated the Sharks rumor mill. Nevertheless, we can’t rule out the possibility that GM Mike Grier can find a taker for Labanc. Given his salary and with just a year left on Labanc’s contract, Grier might be more receptive to retaining part of his cap hit to facilitate a trade than he would for Karlsson.


  1. .
    Sounds like Coach Q is Requesting a meeting with Gary Betman regarding lifting his Ban on chaching in the NHL…
    Dreger reported that it was a “strong possibility” Quenneville would return to the coaching ranks.

    Then a few weeks after that, it was reported that Quenneville would have an in-person meeting with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman after the Stanley Cup Final.
    Quenneville needs reinstatement from Bettman in order to return.

    A number of teams have been linked to Coach Q, including the NYR.. he would be very good for the NYR they need an established Coach ….⁉️

    • That whole situation is bulls**t to me no matter how they spin it.

      So the GM , Coach, Trainers and other people had knowledge of this but the owner didn’t?

      Such a crock of bs, when you own something you are responsible for it, no matter what he said he knew but he lied to bettman and now they Bedard.

      And i see NJ is still paying for 2 more years, but Chicago got no penalty for this. Heck Arizona talked to a kid and lost a first round pick wth is going on with this league?

      If the penalty applies for some it should apply for all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      rant over

    • Quenneville and all those enablers in the Beach case should be banned from the NHL for life and to be even considered to be a Head coach again is a joke. The fact that all involved covered it up in pursuit of a cup is just so wrong in every sense.

  2. Lebanc did the Sharks a big favour a Few years back. Signed a 1-1m after a big season. I wonder if the favour returned ? That is a rhetorical question. Players need to think what is best for them. The runway is short for most.
    Travis Green get a second shot ? Brunette ? Dave Tippett Babcock resurrected

    • Laviolette should be the top of most lists. Gallant right behind him.