Where Are They Now? 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins
The Buffalo Sabres announced today the firings of general manager Tim Murray and head coach Dan Byslma.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sabres owner Terry Pegula obviously decided the Sabres rebuild wasn’t heading in the right direction under Murray’s management and Bylsma’s coaching. Rather than building toward future playoff contention, the Sabres ended the season mired in controversy.
It was apparent the Sabres’ rebuild stalled this season. There was talk of a disconnect between the coaching staff and the players. Rising star Jack Eichel was openly critical of the club’s performance, slamming several teammates for their sub-par play in a season-ending interview with reporters.
A report yesterday claiming Eichel wouldn’t re-sign with the Sabres as long as Bylsma was head coach (which was swiftly denied by the center and his agents) may have been the last straw for Pegula. He will be looking for steadier hands in the front office and behind the bench.
Those hirings could come quickly. The Sabres must prepare not only for the annual NHL draft (June 23-24) but also prepare their list of protected players for the expansion draft by June 17.
One management option could be former Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi. Coaching options could include Jack Capuano, Michel Therrien or former Sabres bench boss Lindy Ruff.
Latest on Kevin Shattenkirk, Matt Duchene, Justin Schultz, the Stars head-coaching job & more in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports there’s a belief any kind of playoff success could prompt the Washington Capitals to try and re-sign pending unrestricted free agent defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. Given their limited salary-cap space, Garrioch speculates they’d have to try get Brooks Orpik and his $5.5 million annual cap hit off their books. The Caps also have to re-sign T.J. Oshie, Karl Alzner and Dmitry Orlov. Garrioch believes the New York Rangers could be the frontrunner for Shattenkirk’s services if he tests the market in July.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A couple of weeks ago, Capitals GM Brian MacLellan wouldn’t rule out the possibility of re-signing Shattenkirk. However, it’ll depend on how well he performs with the Caps over the remainder of the regular season and playoffs, as well as his asking price. It’s assumed he’ll seek a seven-year deal worth over $7 million per season. That’s far too expensive for the Caps, even if they somehow manage to clear Orpik’s contract from their salary-cap payroll.
Buffalo Sabre head coach Dan Bylsma has three years left on his contract but league executives believe he’s under the microscope. Garrioch expects Bylsma will return next season behind the Sabres bench but they better get off to a good start after this season’s disappointment.
If the Colorado Avalanche decide to re-tool by shopping center Matt Duchene, Garrioch believes they should also find a new goaltender because Semyon Varlamov isn’t getting the job done.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury, Washington’s Philipp Grubauer and the NY Rangers’ Antti Raanta could be trade options. Ben Bishop, Brian Elliott and Scott Darling could be available via free agency.
Garrioch expects the Dallas Stars will part ways with head coach Lindy Ruff this summer. Ruff’s contract expires at the end of this season.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson recently wondered if the Dallas Stars will replace Lindy Ruff at season’s end with former Stars bench boss Ken Hitchcock. He also considers former Edmonton Oilers coach Ralph Krueger and former Florida Panthers coach Gerard Gallant as possible candidates to take over for Ruff.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Stars hire a new coach, I doubt they’ll bring back Hitchcock. The current ownership and management likely want their own guy, not a blast from the past. Gallant could be on their radar.
While the Colorado Avalanche are seeking multiple pieces for Matt Duchene, Matheson suggested the easier deals are one-for-one, such as the Nashville Predators sending defenseman Seth Jones to Columbus for center Ryan Johansen.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs could be reduced to making a one-for-one swap this summer. No one’s paying their current high asking price of a good young NHL-ready defenseman or goalie, a first-round pick and a top prospect plus.
Speaking of the Preds, Matheson doesn’t see them moving Roman Josi, P.K. Subban, Ryan Ellis or Mattias Ekholm. The Anaheim Ducks, on the other hand, have the depth to move one of their blueliners. Their top four consists of Cam Fowler, Lindholm, Sami Vatanen and Josh Manson, with youngsters Shea Theodore, Brandon Montour and Jacob Larsson waiting in the wings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Expect the Ducks to be the top trade target this summer for clubs with depth in young forwards in need of blueline depth.
Matheson speculated it could cost the Pittsburgh Penguins three years and $12 million to re-sign blueliner Justin Schultz. They’ll also have to find some money to re-sign Brian Dumoulin.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins have over $59 million invested in 15 players next season. Inking Schultz to $4 million annually will take a significant bite out of that cap space, but it’s likely necessary to keep him in the fold. Dumoulin and Connor Sheary are RFAs in need of raises, which could cost a combined $8 million. Centers Nick Bonino and Matt Cullen are UFAs, as are blueliners Ron Hainsey, Trevor Daley and Mark Streit. Hainsey and Streit likely won’t be re-signed and Cullen could retire. Re-signing Bonino and Daley will also eat up valuable cap room, perhaps another $8 million combined. Of course, they will likely drop a salary via the expansion draft, but perhaps not enough to free up room to re-sign everybody.
Updates on Sidney Crosby, Mats Zuccarello, Niklas Kronwall, Dan Bylsma and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. (more…)
Ongoing playoff coverage, reaction to the Sabres hiring Dan Bylsma as coach, the projected Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2015 and much more. (more…)
Latest Conference Finals news, Sabres hire Dan Bylsma as head coach, plus updates on Nicklas Backstrom, Johan Franzen, Paul Kariya and more. (more…)