With the regular season slowly coming to an end, there have been plenty of speculation regarding what the Columbus Blue Jackets intend to do about their coaching situation. While the team still has head coach John Tortorella under contract, that deal will expire at the end of the season and so far there hasn’t been a new extension, suggesting the team may be looking in a different direction.
In his most recent mailbag, The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline (subscription required) writes while there is no guarantee that Tortorella is on his way out as the team could easily choose to re-sign him, the growing suggestions that the team will instead bring in former coach Gerard Gallant is highly unlikely. Gallant, who has become quite a big-name coach since leaving Columbus, could command a salary in the $4MM range, something the Blue Jackets likely would never meet with the scribe adding that the $2.5MM that Tortorella is making could be one of the reasons why Columbus may be looking for a new coach for 2021-22.
In fact, Portzline suggests that one candidate who could have some merit as a coaching candidate is former Columbus player Luke Richardson.
- Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said that forward Steven Stamkos remains on schedule with his recovery from a lower-body injury, according to The Athletic’s Joe Smith. While the initial diagnosis stated that he needed seven to 10 days, it’s already been eight days, suggesting he will not be ready to return on time. However, Cooper said that with three weeks left before the playoffs, Stamkos will be ready. He added that Nikita Kucherov also remains on schedule to return by the playoffs, although he has yet to be cleared for contact.
- The Atheltic’s Scott Powers (subscription required) writes that the Chicago Blackhawks are expected to sign a couple prospect in the coming weeks, including 2017 draft prospect Jakub Galvas. The defenseman must sign a contract before July 1 or the team loses his rights. He has spent the last two years playing in the Liiga and has scored four goals and 27 points combined over two seasons. Powers adds that the team is also working to sign their 2020 first-round pick, German forward Lukas Reichel, to an entry-level deal. Reichel has 10 goals and 27 points in 38 games in the DEL this season.