In today’s NHL news and rumors rundown, the Pittsburgh Penguins have hired Washington’s former coach, the Florida Panthers have hired a new GM, the Boston Bruins have some important decisions to make and only one Edmonton Oilers defenseman makes the TSN Trade Bait Board. Finally, in Montreal Jonathan Drouin is not happy about certain rumors surrounding Max Domi.
Reirden Hired By Capitals
On Wednesday morning, the Pittsburgh Penguins filled some of their vacant coaching positions when they hired former Capitals head coach Todd Reirden as an assistant coach and added Mike Vellucci to the staff.
According the team announcement, “Reirden, 49, will oversee the team’s defensive group and power-play unit. Vellucci, 54, will work with the team’s forwards and oversee the penalty kill.”
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford, recently fired Jacques Martin, Sergei Gonchar and Mark Recchi in somewhat surprising news but revealed on the Two-Man Advantage podcast that it was just about having new voices in the room. He said of the decision to hire Reirden and Vellucci:
I am pleased to add Todd and Mike to our coaching staff, and believe they will compliment Mike Sullivan’s coaching style. Todd is a Stanley Cup winning coach with a decade of NHL experience as both an assistant and head coach. Mike brings championship experience at both the AHL and OHL level, and is very familiar with how we function as an organization.
Panthers Hire Zitto as GM
In other news on Wednesday, the Florida Panthers have officially named Bill Zito the team’s next general manager. Zito comes over from Columbus where we served under Jarmo Kekalainen as an assistant GM and spent 20 years before that as a player agent.
Interestingly, Zito is believed to not have been among the 13 or so interviews the Panthers conducted during their search for a new GM. Owner Vincent Viola included an explanation for the move:
Bill is an excellent mind in our game today who proved during his time with the Columbus Blue Jackets that he possesses great prowess for evaluating talent and building success. He brings great experience to our club and possesses a strong business acumen.
Bruins Have Key Decisions Upcoming
We reported yesterday that the Bruins will have to wait and see what Zdeno Chara decides to do in respect to his future with the team, but Chara is not the only big decision facing the Bruins.
Emily Kaplan and Greg Wyshynski of ESPN note that the Bruins need to make a decision on Torey Krug. Both sides continue to say they are interested in working something out but how the Bruins squeeze in a new contract for the 29-year old is going to be a difficult, especially if he gets bigger offers from teams like the Detroit Red Wings.
They wonder if Taylor Hall might consider a one-year deal to chase a Stanley Cup and they suggest the future of goaltender Tuukka Rask is far from clear. With news that the NHL might be looking at more time in the bubble next season, it’s very possible Rask won’t want to return. If so, is he likely a trade candidate?
Oilers Most Likely to Trade Adam Larsson?
Debate continues as to whether or not Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland moves a defenseman this offseason. Many assume Kris Russell is an easy target based on where he’s projected to play, his salary and only having one year left on his current deal. That said, it was Adam Larsson who made Frank Seravalli’s TSN Trade Bait Board at No. 15 yesterday.
As covered in our Edmonton Oilers news and rumors report, Larsson has one season left at a $4.16 million cap hit and he’s not likely a player the Oilers will invest in long-term with the progression of younger prospects like Evan Bouchard, Philip Broberg, Caleb Jones and Ethan Bear. And, because he could potentially fetch the Oilers a decent return as a former high first-round draft pick who many might see as a consistent and affordable top-four option, the Oilers could flip him to help pick up a forward.
Drouin Not Happy With Domi Rumors
Jonathan Drouin held his annual Golf Tournament this week and took some time from his media availability to talk about Max Domi trade speculation.
According to the Journal de Montreal, Drouin took a shot at the Montreal market and said:
That’s the Montreal market. Last year he was our best player with 72 points. Everyone was ready for him to sign for eight years and $ 9 million. All of a sudden, everyone wants to get rid of him (translated).source – ‘Drouin pleads in favor of Domi’ – le Journal de Montreal – JONATHAN BERNIER – 09/01/2020
In respect to where Domi played in this year’s playoffs and his lack of production, Drouin said, “Max did what he had to do. Playing on a fourth line was not easy for him.” He added, “However, he had the right attitude. With Max, whether off the ice or on the ice, he’s always in a good mood. He gives energy to the group and he is there for his teammates (translated).”
Drouin is right to stick up for his friend but it’s not changing the speculation that Dmoi will be moved.
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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.”