In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Vegas Golden Knights are moving on from their head coach. Meanwhile, did the big three just play their last game together for the Pittsburgh Penguins?
The Dallas Stars have some big offseason decisions to make and will the Toronto Maple Leafs move on from a few of their depth pieces? One scribe thinks the team doesn’t have much choice.
Golden Knights Fire DeBoer
The Vegas Golden Knights announced Monday morning that the team has fired head coach Peter DeBoer. The team thanked him for his three years of service in a statement, and wrote, “After lengthy discussions over the last two weeks, we believe that a new coach will put us in the best position to succeed next season.” DeBoer had one year left on his deal at $3.25 million for next season.
Focus has already turned towards Barry Trotz as a possible replacement. He was released by the New York Islanders and replaced by associate coach Lane Lambert. Trotz is one of the most highly regarded coaches available this summer and while he’s coming off a poor season with the Islanders, had three big seasons prior.
Did Penguins Core Play Their Last Game Together?
After the Penguins were eliminated in Game 7 versus the New York Rangers on Sunday, there are questions about what happens with the core of the team. With Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang potentially becoming unrestricted free agents, it could be the end of an era and the trio of Letang, Malkin, and Sidney Crosby might have played their last game together.
Dan Rosen of NHL.com writes that when Crosby was asked if the group will be split up, he noted, “I mean, it’s a possibility.” Tristan Jarry was asked the same question and noted, “It’s something you never want to think about.” He added:
“They’re generational players and Pittsburgh is lucky enough to have three of them for the last 15 years. The bond they created throughout the team and throughout management is something that is irreplaceable. It’s a business, but I think if they’re able to come back, they definitely will. There is a bond between them, and I think that’s unbreakable.”
There is also Bryan Rust who needs a new deal and it’s not clear the Penguins want to commit big money on a long-term deal to a player who is often injured. ESPN.com’s Greg Wyshynski predicts only Letang will be back of the group of pending free agents.
Stars Have Big Decisions to Make
With the Dallas Stars also out of the playoffs, that organization will have some tough decisions to make. Pending RFA forward Jason Robertson needs a new deal and will be paid well based on a 79-point season. Is the team going to sign UFA defenseman John Klingberg and how what kind of contract will they offer Jake Oettinger as a pending RFA?
Oettinger just pulled off one of the greatest playoff performances in history, playing lights out hockey for an entire series and cementing himself as a goalie of the future in Game 7. The Stars will have options on an extension, but there are many thinking the team might be best served to give him a long-term deal right away and lock him in.
Oettinger said after the loss, “I’ve never been more motivated than I am right now. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that I get this opportunity again and I’ll make sure I’m on the other side of it the next time.” If Oettinger is the guy in Dallas moving forward, the team may move on from Braden Holtby in the offseason, letting him walk as a UFA.
More on the Maple Leafs
Terry Koshan of The Toronto Sun writes that major changes aren’t likely in Toronto, but that Justin Holl and Alex Kerfoot could be shopped in trade talks and that GM Kyle Dubas must also find a way to shed backup goalie Petr Mrazek’s $3.8 million cap hit. He explains:
Priority No. 1 should be re-signing Campbell, who will be due a significant raise from his AAV of $1.65 million US. There will not be a lot of viable options in net on the open market…Giordano should be welcomed back if he is affordable. Mikheyev, too, but there doesn’t seem to be much chance of that happening. If Spezza’s playing career is over, hire him for an off-ice role immediately.source- ‘KOSHAN: Off-season decisions for Dubas will be crucial, but foundation is in place for success’ – Terry Koshan – Toronto Sun – 05/15/2022
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.”