The rumours are flying right now in the NHL and the first big topic I want to touch on is coaching.
The Golden Knights stunned everyone when they announced that for the first time in their franchise’s history they had fired a Head Coach, replacing Gerard Gallant with former Sharks bench boss Peter DeBoer.
It was a stunning move. Ken Boehlke from SinBin Vegas was on TSN 1260 the other day and he said that this was a risky move by the Golden Knights front office and couldn’t understand why they felt it was the right move.
Now, there is talk that Gallant won’t be out of work for very long. The Dallas Stars are one team that currently has an interim Head Coach in Rick Bowness and they have done well under him with a record of 10-4-1 but Sean Shapiro put out that they might consider it.
Jim Nill said Stars were committed to coaching staff for the rest of the season, but "interim" tag exists for a reason and Gerard Gallant all of a sudden being available makes the wheels in your head start to turn, especially since other fired coaches are getting hired quickly
— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) January 15, 2020
The Flames have been doing well under Geoff Ward, but perhaps they could be enticed by the idea of adding a Head Coach who has had experience in the Pacific Division. The New Jersey Devils would make sense, as would the Montreal Canadiens who have a history with the french-speaking Gallant. Detroit is another obvious candidate.
Simply put: I don’t believe Gallant will be out of work for very long. Here are some other headlines I’m keeping an eye on:
OILERS NOT HAPPY WITH THE NHL
That headline seems obvious considering the events that have taken place over the last week but Darren Dreger pointed out on Inside Trading that Bob Nicholson called Bill Daly to voice some concerns that the organization had. Dreger reported that it wasn’t specific to officiating but was game-specific about the night vs Calgary.
Zack Kassian is heated and will be out for revenge on January 29th and I like that Nicholson let the NHL know the standard has been set.
THE LEAFS AND THEIR DEFENSIVE WOES
Morgan Rielly out eight weeks with broken foot https://t.co/Fql5YC0a61
— The Leafs Nation (@TLNdc) January 13, 2020
There are multiple reports out there that teams calling the Leafs about their need for defensemen. Morgan Rielly is out for roughly two months while Jake Muzzin is currently shelved, he could be back after the team’s bye week.
One issue that insiders have pointed out is that with the Reilly injury, the team needs left-handed defensemen but their long-term need is on the right-side. The Oilers have some extra-defenseman laying around but I’m not sure if there is a fit between these two teams right now.
I assume that Ken Holland would love to get his hands on one of Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson, or Alex Kerfoot. Each one would fill a hole that the Oilers currently have on their roster. At the same time, I’m not sure if the Leafs would be interested in any of the defensemen that the Oilers have available.
Kris Russell doesn’t seem like a player that Kyle Dubas would go after, although his ability to play both sides is interesting. I doubt the Oilers would want to trade reliable veteran Adam Larsson or the newly-signed Caleb Jones and obviously, the likes of Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse, and Ethan Bear aren’t going anywhere.
I don’t think William Lagesson would be seen as an upgrade to the Leafs and while they might like Matt Benning, he isn’t exactly healthy right now either. I could see these two teams talking in the summer, once the Oilers decide on what they’re doing with Darnell Nurse, but I don’t think an in-season trade would work.
- Pierre LeBrun reported that the Habs have no interest in trading either Carey Price or Shea Weber and that Bergevin wouldn’t listen if another GM called. Honestly, even if the Canadiens GM wanted to trade one of those players, their contracts would make it close to impossible to do so during the season.
- I do wonder how much the Habs would be willing to sell off though.
- Chris Kreider is a big-time target for a lot of teams and it’s being reported that the Rangers are willing to retain the maximum 50% of his cap hit to get the best return. Remember, it sounds like the seven Canadian teams are on his no-trade list but the Blues, Bruins, Penguins all sound interested.
- As the year goes on, it appears Brayden Holtby is on the outside looking in when it comes to the Capital’s goaltending situation. Holtby hasn’t been great this season while 22-year-old Ilya Samsonov has been stellar through his first 17 career starts. The recent Nicklas Backstrom extension, which carries a $9.2 million cap hit starting next season, also complicates their cap situation. Certainly seems likely that Holtby will be leaving the team he won a Stanley Cup with this summer.