The NHL rumours are heating up as the league heads towards what will be a very exciting summer. In this Wednesday edition of NHL Rumours, we recap all of the gossips from around the league this week. We’ll look at rumours surrounding the Tampa Bay Lightning, Edmonton Oilers, Philadelphia Flyers, and New York Rangers.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Rumour: During TSN’s Insider Trading, Pierre LeBrun discussed Tampa Bay’s future with head coach Jon Cooper. LeBrun reported that Cooper should see a significant pay raise when his contract expires this summer, although it might not be with Tampa.
Analysis: Cooper has been with the Lightning since the 2013 season, making him the longest-tenured coach in the league. During the last six years, he’s managed a record of 243-143-40 with the team. Under Cooper’s guidance, the Lightning have transformed into a true championship team. He’s done a great job of establishing himself as one of the best coaches in the league and has become invaluable to the Lightning in the process.
LeBrun reports that Cooper should be making between $3.5 to $4 million with his next contract. This salary would rank him third among all coaches whose salary is known. This might be too hefty of a price for a Lightning team that has already spent a lot of money in every aspect of their franchise. With that said, Cooper has made it clear that he wants to stay in Tampa.
Rumour: Bob McKenzie reported that Edmonton is in hot pursuit of a new General Manager. They supposedly have eight to 12 different names so far. They plan to interview some of them now and save the rest for the summer.
Analysis: The Oilers took the first step in pleasing their fan base when they fired their struggling general manager, Peter Chiarelli. Now they are adamant to continue what they started and rid of the unpopular interim, Keith Gretzky.
While none of these names are entirely known, there are a few former NHL general managers that come to mind. Sportsnet did an article in January looking at a few of these options. In it, they mention Dean Lombardi, Mike Gillis, and Ron Hextall as options. With eight to 12 names on the list, Edmonton clearly has a lot of narrowing down to do before they hire anyone.
Rumour: During Ottawa’s Sportsnet 1200, Darren Dreger had a lengthy discussion about the Flyers plans for this summer. He says that he believes the team will be very aggressive, possibly pursuing both Artemi Panarin and Erik Karlsson. He also says that they may be one of the most likely teams to offer sheet players like Mitch Marner.
Analysis: Dreger’s reasoning for the Flyers aggression was that they simply want to win now, instead of waiting any longer. They have players that they believe are in their prime and don’t want to waste them.
If there was ever an off-season to be aggressive, it’s this one. So many stars are going to be available and open to discussion with anyone and everyone. The Flyers have a great amount of cap space and it sounds like they will be using every bit of it to bring in star players for the 2019-2020 season.
New York Rangers
Rumours: While the Rangers clearly sparked a rebuild last season, Bob McKenzie reported on Edmonton’s TSN 1260 that they may not be fully engaged in it. Instead of waiting for five or six years to fully rebuild, the team may start making moves as early as this summer to get back to their old form.
Analysis: This is no surprise. Despite the Rangers being the newest team to openly start rebuilding, nobody can pass up the fire sale that is this upcoming summer. McKenzie claimed that the Rangers may also be heavily engaged with Panarin this summer. They’ll also reportedly be asking about any players that are available for trades. In short, the Rangers will be a very active team this off-season, beefing up to try to shorten their rebuild by as much as possible.
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