It’s been an interesting coaching season for Edmonton Oilers head coach Ken Hitchcock, who retired from coaching in April last year. Instead, he returned to coaching in November to take over for Todd McLellan for a struggling Oilers’ squad and has led the team to a 24-24-7 record so far, despite the team surging to a 7-2-1 start when Hitchcock took over.
Since then, the team has moved on from general manager Peter Chiarelli and there remain lots of questions of whether Hitchcock would even want to come back. Pressed for an answer about whether he’d be interested in returning next season, Sportsnet’s John Shannon writes that Hitchcock would be open to coming back.
“For the record, I feel if I’m good I can coach until I’m 99,” Hitchcock said.
Of course, with the team looking for a new general manager once the season ends, there is a good chance that the new GM will want to hire his own coach, which could end Hitchcock’s tenure in Edmonton.
- Speaking of Chiarelli, The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford reports that the former GM has been seen in the Blues’ management booth alongside St. Louis general manager Doug Armstrong. While there is no word on whether Armstrong is considering bringing Chiarelli aboard or what role he might have in St. Louis, Rutherford points out that Armstrong has a history of hiring former GMs, including Bob Gainey and Dave Tippett.
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jim Thomas notes that he saw St. Louis Blues goaltending prospect Ville Husso in a walking boot walking through the press box of Enterprise Center, suggesting that the San Antonio Rampage goaltender is out for the season. It’s been a rough season for the 24-year-old, who was considered the heir-apparent to Jake Allen last season. Instead, Jordan Binnington has surpassed him on the team’s depth chart, while Husso struggled with a 6-17 record with a 3.67 GAA and a .871 save percentage.
- TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that the Carolina Hurricanes remain hopeful that they can sign Harvard University star defenseman Adam Fox to a contract once his season is over, but there are no guarantees. Harvard has a good chance to make the NCAA tournament, which means the Hurricanes will have to wait until the blueliner’s season is over. The 21-year-old is in his junior year, posting 10 goals and 48 points so far this year but due to signability issues, was already traded once when the Calgary Flames sent him to Carolina as part of the Dougie Hamilton–Elias Lindholm deal last summer.
- The Calgary Flames’ AHL affiliate, the Stockton Heat announced that they have signed undrafted college free agent forward Sebastian Vidmar out of Union College. The 25-year-old just wrapped up his senior season with 10 goals and 22 points and finished a career with 40 goals and 63 assists in 137 career games. The 6-foot-3 forward joins a struggling Stockton team that is currently sixth in the AHL Pacific Division.
- Isabelle Khurshudyan writes that the Washington Capitals will likely have even more salary cap problems next year as the team is currently tight on cap space, but with bonus expected for both Jakub Vrana, who triggered a $212K bonus for reaching 20 goals recently and could get another bonus if he finishes among the top six forwards in ATOI (he’s currently sixth). Throw in the $500K that Brooks Orpik will get and the team will go over the cap at the end of the season, which will count against their cap space next year.