With the Flyers going from finishing second in the Metropolitan Division a year ago (and then finishing first in the seeding games) to missing the playoffs this year, some wondered if head coach Alain Vigneault’s job may be in jeopardy. GM Chuck Fletcher put an end to that speculation, telling Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic (subscription link) that the veteran bench boss and his staff will be back behind the bench for Philadelphia next season. One element that Vigneault and his coaches will have to clean up is their defense as they went from being in the top ten in goals allowed a year ago to dead last this season as no team allowed more goals than the Flyers which, coupled with a mid-tier attack, made for a tough year on the ice.
More from the East Division:
- Speaking with reporters on a Zoom call earlier this week (video link), Bruins president Cam Neely expressed a desire to retain winger Taylor Hall but indicated they will see how things go with the playoffs first. The veteran has been a nice addition for Boston who acquired him from Buffalo just before the trade deadline and he has been productive, picking up eight goals and six assists in 16 games down the stretch, the types of numbers he was hoping to put up when he signed with Buffalo last fall. While a long-term deal at his current $8MM price tag isn’t likely in this environment, if he’s willing to accept something in line with their other top forwards (their highest-paid next year is Patrice Bergeron at $6.875MM), it would certainly make some sense to try to bring him back.
- After Pittsburgh was without both Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith due to injuries at the end of the regular season, the Penguins got some good and bad news on the goalie front today. Seth Rorabaugh of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that Jarry is ready to go but DeSmith suffered a lower-body injury in practice and his status for their series opener against the Islanders is uncertain. If he’s unable to dress, Maxime Lagace – who had a shutout in the season finale – would serve as Jarry’s backup.