Lyle Richardson is a contributing writer to THN. His Rumor Roundup has been a regular feature since 2007. He also runs the website spectorshockey.net. A Canadiens fan married to a Leafs fan, Lyle's Saturday nights during hockey season can get quite entertaining at his home.
Things certainly seem to be looking up for the Edmonton Oilers. After naming Bob Nicholson as their CEO, hiring Peter Chiarelli as GM and Todd McLellan as head coach plus winning the 2015 Draft lottery, there’s a sense this long-moribund team has finally turned the corner. While seemingly “winning” the off-season, the Oilers need to turn that into on-ice success.
Despite their plethora of promising youth, soon to be augmented by wunderkind Connor McDavid, significant roster issues remain to be addressed. The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson reports bolstering their porous defense is their main priority. Read more
A season in which the Washington Capitals returned to the playoffs after hiring a new coach and improving their defense still resulted in the club failing to advance to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time since 1998. Heading into the off-season, the Capitals’ roster will have a different look for 2015-16.
GM Brian MacLellan has over $19.4 million in salary-cap space with several key free agents to re-sign. Topping the list is goaltender Braden Holtby, whose performance throughout this season ranks the 25-year-old among the NHL’s top netminders. ESPN.com’s Craig Custance cites Columbus’ Sergei Bobrovsky and Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov as comparables, suggesting Holtby’s new contract could be a long-term deal in the range of $6 million per season. Read more
Following the Montreal Canadiens’ elimination from the 2015 playoffs by the Tampa Bay Lightning, the overwhelming media consensus indicates the Habs must improve their offense. It’s easy to understand why. The Canadiens were 20th in goals-for during the regular season, making them the lowest-scoring team to reach the playoffs. After two playoff rounds, the Habs were 12th out of sixteen teams in scoring and 15th in power-play percentage.
SI.com’ s Allan Muir was among those who believe the Canadiens must bolster their scoring depth. Muir suggests the Habs need a first-line center and “at least” two top-six scoring wingers. The Montreal Gazette’s Jack Todd also thinks the Canadiens need a scoring center and winger, while colleague Dave Stubbs feels GM Marc Bergevin will have to “shed a few assets” to find a scorer. Read more
Though the Calgary Flames were recently eliminated from the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs, they can move into the off-season feeling a sense of accomplishment. In the second season of their rebuild, the Flames confounded the experts by not only clinching a playoff berth but also upsetting the veteran-laden Vancouver Canucks in the opening round.
With a roster comprised of rising young talent (Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, T.J. Brodie, Sam Bennett) and skilled veterans (Jiri Hudler, Mark Giordano, Dennis Wideman), Flames GM Brad Treliving has a solid base upon which to continue the rebuild. With over $25 million in salary-cap space, Treliving also has the cash to add some experienced outside talent. Read more
For the third straight year, the Minnesota Wild were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs by the Chicago Blackhawks. Despite rallying in mid-season to reach the playoffs and upsetting the St. Louis Blues in the opening round, the Wild once again had no answer for the powerful Blackhawks.
Minnesota GM Chuck Fletcher enters this off-season trying to find ways to improve his club and narrow the talent gap with the Blackhawks. It didn’t take long for local pundits to speculate over his summer “to-do” list.
Star-Tribune.com’s Michael Russo and TwinCities.com’s Chad Graff agree re-signing goaltender Devan Dubnyk should top Fletcher’s list. Acquired in a mid-season trade with Arizona, the 29-year-old Dubnyk’s outstanding play turned the Wild into one of the NHL’s hottest teams during the second half. While Dubnyk struggled at times in the playoffs, the Wild are expected to re-sign the Vezina Trophy finalist. Read more
Another St. Louis Blues early playoff exit sparked speculation a roster shakeup could be in the works this summer. However, such moves might not be easy to pull off.
Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the combination of the Blues’ limited cap space this summer and a marginal increase in the cap ceiling for 2015-16 could force GM Doug Armstrong into salary-dumping trades for draft picks and prospects or dollar-for-dollar deals. Read more
The Vancouver Canucks’ season ended less than two weeks ago, but speculation over their off-season plans keeps percolating in the Vancouver media.
The status of their blueline remains the hot topic. Ed Willes of The Province believes something’s got to give this summer, noting GM Jim Benning’s willingness to ask players carrying no-trade clauses to waive them.
It’s believed a veteran blueliner like Kevin Bieksa or Dan Hamhuis, who each have full no-trade clauses and a year remaining on their respective contracts, could be approached about moving on. Benning intends to re-sign restricted free agent rearguard Yannick Weber, but he’ll have to free up some cap space to do so. Read more
Nearly a week following the Detroit Red Wings ouster from the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs, questions remain about their off-season plans. The future of coach Mike Babcock, whose contract will soon expire, dominates the conversation.
Speculation suggests he could move on to another NHL club. He’s been linked to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, Buffalo Sabres, Philadelphia Flyers and San Jose Sharks. Babcock promises he won’t drag his feet deciding on his future.
Once the coaching situation is resolved, Wings GM Ken Holland will turn his attention to his roster needs. MLive.com’s Ansar Khan reports the Wings have over $56 million invested in 18 players for 2015-16. With the salary cap projected to rise from $69 million to perhaps $72 million, Holland has sufficient space to re-sign his key free agents and add veteran depth via trade or free agency. Read more