Welcome to the Sunday edition of Full Press Hockey’s NHL Rumors! The Stanley Cup Playoffs are here and the action is hot and intense. While all eyes will be on the teams playing for the Stanley Cup, the teams that didn’t make the playoffs will focus on improving their squad for next season. Additionally, playoff teams also have work to do once their season is over. In this edition of NHL Rumors, we’ll take a look at the New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils and Vegas Golden Knights.
New York Islanders – Mike Babcock
Rumor: Per – Kevin Kurz – theathletic.com. Kurz points out that Lou Lamoriello has a habit of going with known amounts when appointing a new head coach. Could he consider Mike Babcock?
Lamoriello doesn’t like bringing in a coach he doesn’t know very well. Although Babcock was not hired by Lamoriello in Toronto, Lamoriello was signed approximately two months after Babcock took the position behind the bench on a long-term contract of eight years.
The two have a unique relationship, and that familiarity makes Lamoriello warm and fuzzy. Lamoriello may want a head coach who pushes his players more than Barry Trotz. Babcock is known for pushing his players hard, but he knows how not to cross the line.
Of course, with Lamoriello’s history of not dropping much information about his next move, it could take a while. Still, if Lou is to put that last season back in his memoirs, the hiring of someone like Babcock needs to be tackled as soon as possible.
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New Jersey Devils – Trade pick No. 2
Rumor: Per – Shane Seney – nhltaderumors.me. The New Jersey Devils find themselves in an ideal situation with their second overall pick. Swap it or keep it? If they trade it, what could they get in return?
There could be three possibilities here.
Option 1: Trade the pick for a leading scorer like Chicago Blackhawks forward Alex DeBrincat. Think about it. The Blackhawks are rebuilding and the No. 2 pick should be an attractive option even if it means losing DeBrincat. He has 73 goals in his last 134 games and that must have Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald licking his chops.
Option 2: Trade the pick to the Arizona Coyotes for Jakob Chychrun with forward Lawson Crouse. The Coyotes would then have the second and third picks with numbers 30, 31, 34, 36, 43 and 45! That would make GM Bill Armstrong’s strong writing skills that much better. Of course, that would mean the Devils kicking off by taking two experienced players from Chychrun and restricted free agent Crouse who has 20 goals, 14 assists in 65 games. Adding Chychrun to the Devils blue line with Dougie Hamilton on the right side must be appealing. The Coyotes would love this as they are in the midst of a huge rebuild.
Option 3: Trade the pick to the Vancouver Canucks for forward Brock Boeser. The Canucks will have more than $13 million in cap space next season, but must pay Boeser a $7.5 million qualifying offer to keep him. The Canucks could choose between center Logan Cooley or forward Juraj Slafkovsky. Not a bad thing at all.
Vegas Golden Knights – Reilly Smith
Rumor: Per – Danny Webster – lasvegassun.com. Webster thinks Reilly Smith will be a hot commodity this summer. Salary cap issues could prevent the Golden Knights from signing Smith. Will he go, or will others do so that he stays?
Smith was out for the final six weeks of the season with injury, but had 38 points in 56 games. Unfortunately, the Vegas club is already $500,000 over the cap which will increase to $82.5 million next season. They may have to decide whether to move Evgenii Dadonov, William Karlsson, Laurent Brossoit or even Robin Lehner to meet Smith’s salary needs. Difficult place.
So if they decide to trade Smith, who will be an unrestricted free agent, where could he go? The four teams that could afford it could be the Buffalo Sabers, New Jersey Devils, Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators.
Wherever Smith goes, his 98 goals, 132 assists in 321 games in Vegas is sure to be an attractive addition to the team.
That does it for this edition of NHL Rumors. Be sure to check out our next article!