NHL Rumors: Lightning, Penguins, Bobrovsky, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is a lot of talk surrounding the Tampa Bay Lightning after losing to the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 4-0 series sweep on Tuesday. There is also chatter in Pittsburgh where the Penguins got swept in four. Finally, is Bobrovsky cementing himself with a nice payday and is Evan Bouchard going to get some additional playing time with the Edmonton Oilers AHL team?

Don’t Expect Drastic Change in Tampa

Joe Smith of The Athletic wrote an article almost immediately following the Tampa Bay Lightning loss to Columbus and said while GM Julien BriseBois didn’t make any moves ahead of the trade deadline, he’s not likely to make a ton more now that the Bolts have been booted from the playoffs, even with the Lightning dumbfounded by what just happened.

Tampa Bay Lightning Cedric Paquette
Tampa Bay Lightning Cedric Paquette (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Smith writes:

The most popular, and emotional, hot take would be to shake everything up. But as mind-boggling, as this ending is, I don’t see drastic changes being made.

source – ‘‘Don’t know what to say’: More questions than answers following Lightning’s historic collapse’ – Joe Smith – The Athletic – 04/16/2019

Smith explained there will naturally be some different faces on the roster next year, especially with Braydon Coburn, Dan Girardi and Anton Stralman’s contracts up. He added that Ryan Callahan is a buyout/trade candidate considering he has one year left on his deal at $5.8 million.

In management, expect the Lightning to lose Steve Yzerman and assistant GM Pat Verbeek who is a potential GM candidate with the Edmonton Oilers. As for other changes, at most, they could look to move out a forward to create a slot for a young prospect.

Related: NHL Rumors: Lucic, Duchene, Senators, More

Bobrovsky Upping His Value

Sticking with the Blue Jackets win over Tampa, Pierre LeBrun wrote in The Athletic on April 11, 2019, that Bobrovsky was already guaranteed a hefty pay raise come July 1 and a seven-year deal, but his work in the postseason isn’t going unnoticed and is adding to the probability.

With the win last night and the playoff series sweep, Bobrovsky silenced a lot of doubters who called into question his playoff history.

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Penguins Could Make Huge Changes

The other team that was booted from the playoffs on Tuesday in a series sweep was the Pittsburgh Penguins. Unlike Tampa, they may make drastic changes to their lineup as a result. In fact, the only two players who may be guaranteed as safe are Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Pittsburgh Penguins Sidney Crosby Evgeni Malkin
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby speaks to forward Evgeni Malkin on the ice against the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)

Emily Kaplan and Chris Peters of ESPN write that, as part of the Penguins offseason, they may look to send out a defenseman or two, with Olli Maatta a possibility. The team may also try to shop Patric Hornqvist, even though his $5.3 million cap hit for four more years could make that hard to do.

Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette adds that six goals for the entire team and only one by Kessel over four games in the series is just not good enough.

Mackey writes:

Expect the Penguins to use this as sort of a transition year, moving some high-dollar players for cap space and trying to get younger, a rebuild on the fly. … Expect general manager Jim Rutherford to listen to offers on Kessel…

source – ‘Offense never comes, as summer arrives early for Penguins’ – Jason Mackey – Pittsburgh Post Gazette – 04/16/2019

Mackey reported Kessel expects there will be roster changes but doesn’t know if he’ll be part of them. Rutherford entertained offers before but felt no sense of urgency. This series may have changed that feeling.

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Oilers to Get Jump on Bouchard’s Development?

After the London Knights Game 7 loss, Jason Gregor of TSN is reporting the Edmonton Oilers will likely assign Evan Bouchard to Bakersfield of the AHL.

Evan Bouchard Oilers
Evan Bouchard, Edmonton Oilers, 2018 NHL Draft, Dallas, TX, June 22, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

With Ethan Bear banged up on Bakersfield’s blueline, Bouchard might get some playing time right away which is great for his development.