NHL Rumors: Oilers, Flames, Islanders, Canucks

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Edmonton Oilers have a couple of key pieces missing from their morning skate. Will Leon Draisaitl and Brett Kulak be playing tonight in Game 7 versus the Los Angeles Kings? Meanwhile, will the Calgary Flames have to make a go of Game 7 without Nikita Zadorov? The New York Islanders might have their eyes on an interesting name as a coaching replacement and Bruce Boudreau is officially returning next season to coach the Vancouver Canucks.

Oilers Missing Draisaitl and Kulak

Tweets on Saturday morning from media members covering the Oilers note that neither forward Leon Draisaitl nor defenseman Brett Kulak were skating at practice. Draisaitl has been dealing with an ankle injury throughout the series and it was aggravated in Game 6 when he was pulled down in a scrum by Mikey Anderson. Warren Foegele took Draisaitl’s spot at the morning skate and while this could mean Draisaitl is out, the Oilers might also just be keeping him out to rest him.

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It’s not clear why Kulak wasn’t on the ice as there were no reports of an injury he might have been dealing with. If he’s not playing, it might indication a last-minute development as Philip Broberg was reassigned to the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL. If Kulak was out, Broberg would likely be playing.

Zadorov to Have Hearing

The Calgary Flames are also headed to a Game 7 against the Dallas Stars and they may have to play that game without defenseman Nikita Zadorov. Zadorov will have a hearing with the Department of Player Safety regarding a hit to the head of DStars forward Luke Glendening on Friday night.

It was an obvious call that was not given a major in the game and then Zadorov got into it with Stars’ forward Jamie Benn to end the game, saying “I’m coming for you. I’m coming.” Some fans are arguing Zadorov is being punished for being big. Others don’t see it that way and think he’ll get at least one game.

Could Islanders Have Interest in Babcock?

After firing Barry Trotz, the New York Islanders will need a new head coach and Mike Babcock’s name has popped up. There’s been no indication by GM Lou Lamoriello as to which way the Islanders are leaning, but The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz names Babcock as a potential fit.

Related: Penguins News & Rumors: Crosby, Malkin, Rust & Domingue

Kurz explains:

But the change from Robinson to Constantine, along with a few soundbites that Lamoriello gave in his conference call Monday, could be an indication of which direction the general manager is leaning. And they could very well be pointing to Mike Babcock. It starts with familiarity. Lamoriello has a history of going with known quantities when appointing a new coach.

source – ‘Islanders coaching search: Do clues point to a Mike Babcock-Lou Lamoriello reunion?’ – Kevin Kurz – The Athletic – 05/13/2022
Mike Babcock Toronto Maple Leafs
Mike Babcock, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Kurz talked about Lamoriello’s hiring history and how he’s repeatedly brought back familiar faces with the teams he’s managed. He also referenced Lamoriello’s history with Babcock in Toronto, and how he likes tougher, more aggressive voices in the room when a team is underperforming.

Boudreau Officially Returning to Coach Canucks

The Vancouver Canucks officially announced on Friday that head coach Bruce Boudreau will be back to coach the team next season. Many figured he would sign the option on his current deal and come back, but there was chatter he might explore other opportunities since the Canucks weren’t prepared to commit to anything beyond next season. Boudreau elected not to make a move.

Boudreau said in a statement: “My desire was always to come back to coach this team. I love the organization, the city, the fans and the players. I’m also grateful for the opportunity provided to me by Jim and Patrick to continue building what we started.”

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