The final week of the regular season didn’t feature many significant headlines from NHL players but several college stars made some headlines of their own while there was plenty of coaching news around the league as well.
Schuldt To Vegas: Jimmy Schuldt, the top college defenseman made his decision, signing a one-year, entry-level deal with the Golden Knights. The deal is worth the maximum base salary, setting up his qualifying offer this summer at just under $875K. Schuldt, one of three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, had 10 goals and 25 assists in 39 games with St. Cloud this past season and is viewed as a player that isn’t far away from being able to step into an NHL lineup. However, he is not eligible to suit up for Vegas in the postseason.
Coach Firings: Three teams wasted little time making a decision to change coaches. The Panthers let Bob Boughner go after two seasons with the team while the Sabres did the same with Phil Housley. Meanwhile, the Kings decided to not give interim coach Willie Desjardins the full-time job. Early speculation is that Florida is trying to get veteran bench boss Joel Quenneville as their next head coach while Los Angeles has their sights set on Todd McLellan.
Blashill Staying Put: The Red Wings will not be among the teams making a coaching change. Instead, the team has given bench boss a two-year extension to ensure he’ll be back behind the bench in October. While Detroit hasn’t had much success in the standings in recent seasons (they’ve missed the playoffs for three years in a row), GM Ken Holland has continually stated that he is pleased with the development of some of their younger players. Their top four scorers to finish the season are all 24 years old or younger so there is clearly progress being made with their young core. That said, the two-year term suggests that there is a short-term expectation for getting back into postseason contention.
Sturm Signs With Minnesota: The Wild dipped their toes into the college free agent market, landing the most coveted forward in center Nico Sturm who signed a one-year, entry-level deal. Like Schuldt, the deal is worth the maximum base salary, setting up an offseason qualifying offer of roughly $875K. Despite a big season with Clarkson that saw him post 45 points in 39 games, Sturm isn’t believed to be a big scorer at the NHL level but is pegged as someone that could be a regular in their bottom six group before too long.
Fox Won’t Sign With Carolina: Harvard defenseman Adam Fox was a key part of the significant draft day trade that saw Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm go to Calgary with Dougie Hamilton and Micheal Ferland join Carolina. However, it appears that Fox isn’t likely to sign with the Hurricanes and the focus has shifted towards trading his rights. He has one year of college eligibility remaining so it will be interesting to see if a team can work out a trade and convince him to sign early or if he’ll be intent on becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2020.
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