In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there are updates in Detroit where the team made big changes. Steve Yzerman was hired as the new GM, but Ken Holland will be sticking around. What’s their plan both short-term and long-term? There are also reports the Pittsburgh Penguins might look at moving Kris Letang and/or Phil Kessel. What is their value around the league?
What’s Next for Ken Holland?
Darren Dreger tweeted that it is believed that Ken Holland has withdrawn his name from being an option for the Edmonton Oilers vacant GM position and agreed to a multi-year extension to stay on in his new role as Senior VP. Holland and Yzerman will work together for the time being. Eventually, it is possible Holland moves over to Seattle.
John Shannon also reported that Holland was instrumental in bringing Yzerman back to Detroit. He had been working on it for the past three months and has been planning his future in hockey for much longer than that.
What’s on Yzerman’s Agenda?
Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press wonders what Steve Yzerman might have on his agenda for the Red Wings now that he’s the new man in charge.
On the idea of buyouts: Yzerman has a history of going that route but the few candidates the team might have to buy out don’t make a lot of sense. Buying out Justin Abdelkader would be an eight-year process at between $1.145 and $2.395 million per season. Buying out Jonathan Eriksson seems pointless considering he has only a year left on his deal. Maybe, the Red Wings look at buying out Frans Nielsen which would cost the Red Wings $6.3 million over six years, but even that’s iffy.
Of the pending UFA’s — the Red Wings have Niklas Kronwall, Thomas Vanek and Luke Witkowski — Holland had only really spoken of an interest in re-signing Kronwall.
Ansar Khan of MLive reports it is doubtful Yzerman will make any coaching and/or management changes. The name Pat Verbeek is out there as joining Yzerman, but if the current Tampa Bay Lightning assistant GM chooses to do so, it might wait until after next season.
The expectation, for now, seems to be that the franchise will be patient. John Niyo of the Detroit News believes Yzerman’s arrival buys the Wings some time to complete their roster rebuild
Penguins to Shop Kessel and Letang?
Sean Tierney of Charting Hockey tweeted that Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek were talking during the latest 31 Thoughts Podcast about the idea of the Pittsburgh Penguins collecting assets. To get the most assets possible, they’ll need to move Kris Letang and Phil Kessel.
Friedman speculates that the Arizona Coyotes could be a team that is interested in Kessel saying that his name came up in trade rumors earlier in this season and that the Coyotes were one of the teams that “kicked tires.”
Free Agents That Are Getting Expensive
Craig Custance of The Athletic examined a few players who are showing well in the playoffs and, in his opinion, are increasing their free agency value. Custance writes:
This is a big stage right now for potential free agents and a real opportunity to add value. “Having the success gives you credibility,” said one agent on Thursday. “Playing all the extra games gets you seen a little bit more too.source – ‘Potential free agents who are increasing their value with playoff success’ – Craig Custance – The Athletic – 04/18/2019
Among the names Custance focused on were Matt Duchene and Sergei Bobrovsky with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Mats Zuccarello of the Dallas Stars, Jordan Eberle and Robin Lehner with the New York Islanders.
As per one source on Eberle: “he’s not just scoring either. I think there was this thought that Eberle was going to get a little less than expected. That’s gone.”
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”