Earlier this month, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggested that Stars head coach Rick Bowness had a team option for next season on his contract. However, in his latest 32 Thoughts podcast (audio link), Friedman clarified that this is not the case; instead, his contract is simply expiring following this season. Dallas finds itself right in the thick of the battle for one of the last playoff spots in the Western Conference and how they fare on that front will likely go a long way in shaping what direction the team wants to go. That said, Bowness is 67 so there is a chance that he may not want to continue on in a top role anyway. With no team option on his deal, there’s a real possibility that whatever direction they go winds up being a mutual decision.
Elsewhere around the NHL:
- While Owen Power wasn’t in the lineup for the Sabres, the team plans to have the 2021 top pick make his NHL debut on Tuesday on Tuesday against Toronto, notes Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News. That will allow the defenseman to get a full practice in with the team instead of going directly from Michigan to Buffalo’s lineup. Power suggested he might get an opportunity to see some time on his off-side over their final few games as they will evaluate his ability to play on the right.
- Jets winger Blake Wheeler won’t play in tonight’s game in Ottawa and is listed as doubtful for tomorrow in Montreal due to his upper-body injury, relays Jeff Hamilton of the Winnipeg Free Press (Twitter link). The captain has been quite productive since the start of February, collecting 34 points in 30 games and his absence certainly isn’t helping Winnipeg’s quickly-decreasing chances of getting into the final playoff spot in the West.
- While the Ducks signed a key college prospect today when they inked Blake McLaughin, another of their NCAA prospects is still deciding whether he should turn pro or stay in school. Eric Stephens of The Athletic reports that defenseman Jackson LaCombe will likely need a few more days to decide if he’s going to return for his senior season with Minnesota. The 21-year-old was a second-round pick of Anaheim back in 2019 (39th overall) and had 30 points in 39 games with the Golden Gophers this season.