In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is news on Erik Karlsson and where he’ll land come free agency, talk about whether or not the Columbus Blue Jackets will try to find another goaltender if they lose Sergei Bobrovsky, and the Edmonton Oilers might still be a couple of weeks away from announcing a new head coach. Is Jeff Skinner ready to commit to the Sabres yet?
Rangers Frontrunners for Karlsson?
Chris Johnston said on Sportsnet 960 that the New York Rangers appear to be the early favorites to land Erik Karlsson in free agency. The Tampa Bay Lightning second.
The Lightning would have some work to do to make room but they have two things going for them. First, Karlsson would take a slight discount because of the tax situation in Tampa. Second, he has an interest in playing with his good friend Victor Hedman.
Blue Jackets Willing to Lose Bobrovsky
It appears if Sergei Bobrovsky leaves Columbus, the Blue Jackets are not only ok with it, they may not choose to replace him.
During an interview with Aaron Portzline of The Athletic, GM Jarmo Kekalainen indicated that the team is comfortable running with Joonas Korpisalo and rookie Elvis Merzlikins as their goalie tandem for next season He said:
It’s going to be a competition between those two unless something else happens. And if that’s what we have for our two goalies at the start of the training camp, we’re totally fine with it… “We have a goalie (Merzlikins) who a lot of people think is the best goalie outside the NHL.”source – ‘Blue Jackets insist Elvis Merzlikins and Joonas Korpisalo — in some order — could be 1-2 punch next season’ – The Athletic – Aaron Portzline – 05/16/2019
Oilers Coaching Search
New Edmonton Oilers GM, Ken Holland, told Postmedia’s Jim Matheson that he’s working off of a list of 12-14 potential candidates for the head coaching job. He said he has no desire to interview that many candidates but as he gathers information and listens to Ken Hitchcock, he’ll narrow down the list to those he wants to chat with further.
Holland acknowledged that it could still be a couple of weeks before they have their new bench boss in place.
Mark Spector of Sportsnet writes that the belief is Holland has already spoken to Dave Tippett and Todd Nelson about the job. But, “the already-delayed scouting meetings have put that coaching quest on the backburner for a few days.”
Jeff Skinner and the Sabres
John Vogl reports that Jeff Skinner’s agent said it’s too early to say that the Sabres hiring Ralph Krueger will mean that Skinner will remain in Buffalo. Meanwhile, Lance Lysowski of Buffalo News writes that Buffalo Sabres GM Jason Botterill said the team had been talking with Skinner during their coaching search and Skinner and the Sabres are expected to have more contract talks after the scouting combine that takes place on May 31st and June 1st.
When Skinner spoke to reporters during locker cleanout last month, he downplayed the role the hire would have in his decision to return to Buffalo. Instead, he beamed when discussing the roster’s pillars, including Eichel, Reinhart and Rasmus Dahlin.source – ‘New Sabres coach Ralph Krueger aims to build relationship with Jeff Skinner’ – Buffalo News – By Lance Lysowski – 05/15/2019
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.”