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NHL Notebook: The Edmonton Oilers have two days to sign this prospect, two teams name head coaches, and more

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Zach Laing
8 months ago
The Edmonton have under two days left to sign prospect Patrik Puistola or the team will lose his rights.
Puistola, who was drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 3rd round of the 2019 draft, was acquired by the Oilers when they sent off forward Jesse Puljujarvi. The jury is largely out on Puistola as a prospect and truth be told, I’d be surprised if the Oilers signed him as the trade was really just about getting Puljujarvi off the teams’ books.
The 22-year-old Puistola has spent the last number of years playing for Jukurit in the Finnish Elite League and this past season scored 16 goals and 40 points in 60 games. He re-signed with them to a one-year extension for next season.
After the deal, our prospect guru Bruce Curlock took a look at Puistola and had this to say about him:
So what do the Oilers have in Puistola? No question, the Oilers have an above-average prospect in terms of offensive skills. I say only above average because we need to remember that his scoring rates as a 21-year-old in the SM Liga, while good for this year, do not match totals put up by Jesse Puljujarvi when he returned home. Also, we have potentially a “tweener” who isn’t big enough and lacks some of the required skating ability at this time to compete with larger players on the North American ice surface.
Finally, there is the question of whether Puistola is even a prospect after June 1, 2023. Due to his draft year, Puistola needs to be signed by June 1 or he becomes an unrestricted free agent able to sign with any team.
News of Puistola hitting free agency if unsigned was confirmed by NHL salary resource site PuckPedia.

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Nashville Predators fire John Hynes, hire Andrew Brunette

Barry Trotz has struck in Nashville with his first move as the Predators general manager.
First reported Tuesday morning by Kevin Weekes, the club fired head coach John Hynes and have replaced him behind the bench with Andrew Brunette.
Here’s some of what Daily Faceoff’s Scott Maxwell wrote about the move:
Hynes had one year remaining on his current contract with the Predators at the time of his firing. However, with Trotz replacing longtime Predators GM David Poile this offseason, he likely has a different vision for how he wants the team run and saw a better candidate for fulfilling that vision than Hynes.
It also comes in the wake of the Predators missing the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons, and just the fourth time since the 2003-04 season. The Predators barely missed out on a playoff spot, finishing 10th in the Western Conference with a 42-32-8 record, only three points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the final wild card spot.
Brunette joins the Preds after a season with the Devils, helping them to a breakout year that saw them end a six-year playoff drought with a 52-22-8 record, good enough for second in the Metropolitan Division, and helped end their 11-year series win drought before their exit in the second round. He oversaw the power play for the Devils, which ranked 13th in the league in efficiency at 16.7% and ranked 11th in PP expected goals for per 60 minutes with 8.88.
Brunette was also the interim head coach of the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Florida Panthers in 2021-22, replacing Joel Quenneville after he resigned from the position. The Panthers went 51-18-6 in 75 games when he was in the role, and they also saw their 26-year series win drought end before they were swept in the second round by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Washington Capitals hire Spencer Carbery

The Washington Capitals got in on the coaching mill Tuesday as well naming former Toronto Maple Leafs assistant coach Spencer Carbery as their own head coach.
Carbery, 41, has been with the Leafs for the last two years and was previously the AHL Hershey Bears’ head coach between 2018 and 2021. The Bears are the Capitals AHL’s affiliate.
Here’s some of what Daily Faceoff’s Mike Gould wrote about Carbery:
Carbery will be tasked with helping the Capitals return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after they failed to qualify at the end of the 2022–23 regular season.
Laviolette guided the Capitals to a 35-37-10 record in his final year behind the bench in Washington. The Capitals finished sixth in the Metropolitan Division with 80 points and were eliminated from playoff contention relatively early in the race.
Carbery won the Louis A. R. Pieri Award as AHL coach of the year in 2021, shortly before he left the Bears to join the Maple Leafs. He is also a John Brophy Award winner from his time with the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingers, with whom he began his professional coaching career upon his retirement as a player in 2010.
A Division III NCAA winger with St. Norbert College during his playing days, Carbery suited up for the Bakersfield Condors, Stockton Thunder, Fresno Falcons, and South Carolina Stingrays before retiring with 181 games and 73 points under his belt in the ECHL.
Carbery will become the 20th head coach in Capitals history, just five years after Barry Trotz — the 17th man to hold the job — helped guide the team to its first-ever Stanley Cup.

What’s next for the Dallas Stars?

The Stars put up a fight against the Vegas Golden Knights, but ultimately fell short of any kind of significant comeback.
They dropped each of the first three games to Vegas, but managed to rally for wins in game four and five. That would all be for naught as the Golden Knights took care of business in game six Monday night.
Now, the Stars will spend the rest of their offseason like 31 other teams asking what went wrong. According to Daily Faceoff’s Mike McKenna, multiple tweaks will be needed.
I could keep going through the Dallas roster and providing examples of why the team should be good for years to come. Which I believe is likely. The Stars have a roster laden in young talent, a testament to how well the team has drafted in recent years.
But make no mistake, there are holes. And with a projected 23.2 percent of Dallas’ 2023-24 salary cap space being chewed up by the contracts of Benn and fellow forward Tyler Seguin, it won’t be easy rounding out a roster that simply didn’t have the depth to compete with the Golden Knights.
That problem? Depth? Yeah, it’s not going away just yet, either. As it stands, Nill only has about $7.4 million in cap space to work with ahead of the 2023-24 season. And the way I see it, he needs to fill out at least three roster spots.
It’s not like the Stars are far off. With DeBoer behind the bench, and young talent growing into bigger roles, Dallas should be competitive for years to come. But while I don’t think the team’s window has closed by any stretch, I do think some roster surgery is in order.
The Stars took positive steps this year. Nill and company should be pleased. But until Benn’s contract finishes up after the 2024-25 season, the team’s cap crunch will always be a difficult hurdle to overcome.
Dallas has work to do in free agency. Value pieces need to be added. And I think the defensive core needs a rethink with DeBoer in charge. But as long as Robertson, Hintz, Heiskanen, and Oettinger are in Dallas, bet on the Stars to remain near the top of the Central Division.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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