NHL Rumors: Coaching, Zaitsev, Neil and the New York Islanders

NHL Rumors: Coaching, Zaitsev, Neil and the New York Islanders

Nikita Zaitsev and John Tavares
On some potential coaching moves, Nikita Zaitsev and Chris Neil

Sportsnet: Hockey Night in Canada Headlines. Elliotte Friedman thinks there could be a significant number of coaching changes this offseason.

The Vegas Golden Knights still need to hire their first head coach and Friedman thinks GM George McPhee reached out Dale Hunter of the London Knights (OHL) to see if he’d be interested but Hunter said he wanted to stay in London.

The Florida Panthers will be making a change and Friedman thinks they could look at Jim Montgomery (University of Denver) and Dallas Eakins.

Kelly Hrudy is hearing that Darryl Sutter may not be back with the LA Kings.

Nick Kypreos said that Russia may not send any NHLers to the World Championships.

Kypreos says that the contract extension for Nikita Zaitsev and the Toronto Maple Leafs is done and that it’s for seven years at over $30 million. Agents are wondering about the money breakdown and if it’s lockout proof – front loaded or full of signing bonuses.

Kypreos says that today could be Ottawa Senators forward Chris Neil’s last NHL game.

On the New York Islanders …

Arthur Staple of Newsday: Looking at some offseason questions for the Islanders.

Islanders ownership has been looking to add to their top management, and if they find someone, will they want to keep GM Garth Snow and assistant GM/interim head coach Doug Weight?

If he got approval, would Weight want to be their head coach full time and give up his assistant GM title?

The Islanders are able to sign John Tavares to a contract extension after July 1st. Informal talks will happen before then. Ownership has been interested in bringing in Tavares agent Pat Brisson into the organization. An eight-year deal for Tavares could cost the Islanders upwards of $10 million a year. If they can’t get a deal done this offseason, do they play out next year and possibly lose him for nothing or do they trade him for assets?

GM Snow mishandled their goaltending situation this year. They waived and demoted Jaroslav Halak, but he was the one who almost got them back into the playoffs after his recall. They signed Thomas Greiss to a three-year extension.

Snow may try to make some offensive depth moves before the expansion draft so they don’t lose a key defenseman for nothing. Andrew Ladd and Johnny Boychuk are on long-term deals with no-movement clauses. Even if they would waive their NMC, they could lose someone like Calvin de Haan.