Welcome to the Wednesday edition of Full Press Hockey’s NHL Rumors! The Stanley Cup Playoffs are here and the action is hot and heavy. While all eyes will be on the teams playing for the Stanley Cup, the teams that did not make the playoffs will be focused on improving their team for next season. Plus, the teams who failed in the playoffs have work to do now that their season is over as well. In this edition of NHL Rumors, we will take a look at the Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Philadelphia Flyers.
Toronto Maple Leafs – Offseason Changes
Rumor: Per – Terry Koshan – torontosun.com./John Matisz – thescore.com. Koshan doesn’t feel the Leafs need to make any front office changes since they took the defending Tampa Bay Lightning to the limit in the first round of the playoffs. He also thinks Dubas, who will have about $8 million in cap space, needs to shed at least three players.
Matisz has the opinion that at least four Leafs need to go to save about $14.2 million in cap salary.
While the Maple Leafs are no strangers to cap space nightmares, they have managed it pretty well, They most definitely want to keep Jack Campbell who earned $1.65 million and deserves a raise. With four restricted free agents and five unrestricted free agents, Dubas needs to work miracles to attempt to keep his team intact.
By trying to move Alexander Kerfoot ($3.5M through next season), Jake Muzzin ($5.625M through 2023-24), Pierre Engvall ($1.25M, RFA), and Petr Mrazek ($3.8M through 2023-24) it will provide some breathing room.
But… it won’t be easy. Kerfoot and Mrazek may be the two with easier exits from Toronto. Kerfoot may be the most attractive candidate with his two-way skills and manageable contract. Then, the Leafs should really investigate moving Mrazek’s contract to the Arizona Coyotes who not only need a backup goalie but want to take on other teams’ contracts.
There are options for Dubas, and he has plenty of time to explore them with his team’s early exit (AGAIN) from the playoffs in the first round.
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Pittsburgh Penguins – Offseason Changes
Rumor: Per – Nick Horwat – si.com. GM Ron Hextall could be moving on. It involves the low-ball contract offers to Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin. Plus, the playing status of Sidney Crosby for Game 6.
According to Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff, Letang’s camp wants a contract that lasts for a minimum of five years and a salary that starts with a 7. Malkin currently makes $9 million and Letang makes $7.25 million. Unless both players lower their salary expectations along with the term length, Hextall is not going along with it.
That has in turn not settled well with Sidney Crosby. He would prefer they both be extended at least as long as Crosby’s deal runs for three more years. The other thing sticking in Crosby’s craw is the team’s decision (more like Hextall’s) that he sit out Game 6 after concussion issues in the previous game. However as Mike Sullivan stated during the Penguins year-end availability, the team doctors had the final say on whether Crosby played in Game 6 or not.
Don’t forget that in today’s NHL star players are pretty much running the major decisions from behind the scenes. Is it time for Crosby to admit that the Pens are no longer the powerhouse team they were?
This may be a hot NHL rumors topic, so stay tuned here to see what happens.
Philadelphia Flyers – Head Coach Search
Rumor: Per – Jordan Hall – nbcsports.com. Could Paul Maurice be convinced to take the head coaching job with the Philadelphia Flyers?
There’s no doubt that Maurice has had some continued success as a head coach in the NHL. Maurice has coached the fourth-most games in NHL history (1,684), behind only Scotty Bowman (2,141), Barry Trotz (1,812) and Joel Quenneville (1,768). He’s seventh in all-time regular-season wins (775), 53 ahead of the eighth-placed Alain Vigneault (722).
That’s a pretty impressive record. With Maurice behind the bench, the Winnipeg Jets scored the NHL’s seventh-most goals per game (2.98) and were tied for the 14th-fewest goals allowed per game (2.79). While those are great numbers, will he have the talent to get the Flyers out of the doldrums?
He left his job in Winnipeg admitting they he had lost some passion and excitement for the game. Has his viewpoint changed? Because if he expects to step in and have instant success with the Flyers, he is sadly mistaken. On the other hand, perhaps he is seeking a challenge like that and is ready to go.
Don’t forget that there are some pretty talented former head coaches looking for work in the NHL. Among them, a local favourite like Rick Tocchet will give Maurice a run for his money. Another very excellent choice could also be Barry Trotz or the newly dismissed Peter DeBoer.
That concludes this edition of NHL rumors. Be sure to check back for the Sunday edition!
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