Between new head coach Brad Larsen, promoted from his previous role as assistant, and newly hired assistants Pascal Vincent and Sylvain Lefebvre, the Blue Jackets will have a combined 15 seasons as NHL assistants, 13 seasons as AHL head coaches, 11 seasons as a junior head coaches, six seasons as AHL assistants, and over 1,200 NHL games played worth of experience behind the bench. The one thing they don’t have? Any experience as an NHL head coach. As Aaron Portzline writes for The Athletic, there is zero NHL head coach experience in the entire Columbus organization right now and while GM Jarmo Kekalainen isn’t worried, he also isn’t above addressing that issue. Kekalainen is at least considering adding an advisor to the coaching staff; a veteran NHL head coach to help guide Larsen and company through their first season with a the re-tooling Blue Jackets. Portzline believes that one name who could certainly be in the mix is Jacques Martin, as the 68-year-old with 16 seasons as an NHL head coach is believed to be looking for this type of role. Other candidates will also surely emerge if and when Columbus decides that they are officially looking to fill the position.
- Did Buffalo Sabres GM Kevyn Adams tip his hand in a recent interview with Pierre LeBrun for The Athletic? Discussing his team’s rebuilding plans, Adams stated the following:
(Rasmus) Dahlin, (Dylan) Cozens, (Casey) Mittelstadt, these are very, very young players… And I’ve been energized about this young core of Sabres we have that are hungry and they want to be part of the solution. … These guys are proud to be Buffalo Sabres, they want to fix this and get this right, they want to move forward together. So that’s the young core that we’re working to build around.
Sure, these are all key pieces for the Sabres in their rebuild. However, Adams did not mention the likes of Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart, or Victor Olofsson, who are only marginally older than that group. His use of the words “proud to be Buffalo Sabres” and “want to be part of the solution” also feels purposeful, as if there are others on the team who are not and possibly that is why they are no longer part of the rebuild plans. While rumors have been swirling around Eichel and to some extent Reinhart as well, perhaps this is a real indication that Buffalo will be making major changes this summer.
- The NHL’s buyout window opens 24 hours after the Stanley Cup is awarded, which could be as early as later tonight. In anticipation, Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli lists ten names (and some honorable mentions) who could be buyout candidates. While much of this is educated speculation, Seravalli does have a scoop on his No. 1 name on the list, New York Rangers defenseman Anthony DeAngelo. Seravalli reports that the Rangers officially finalized a plan to buyout DeAngelo last week, a move that has been a long time coming since he was placed on leave in January for off-ice conduct. What remains to be seen is when exactly the buyout will be executed. The Rangers don’t need DeAngelo for the upcoming Expansion Draft, with Anthony Bitetto meeting exposure criteria and not expected to be protected, however New York may want to leave him in case they are able to tempt the Seattle. Even if the Kraken don’t bite, DeAngelo’s skill is enough to make him an intriguing free agent this summer following his buyout, even after a year off and some character concerns.