Breaking Down the Biggest Rumors Buzzing Around the NHL
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
As the NHL conference finals get started, there are still a lot rumors coming from the other 26 teams around the league as they start their offseason.
Whether it's coaching changes, possible player buyouts, new free agents or potential trades, rumors are running rampant throughout the league.
Here is a look at the biggest rumors buzzing around the NHL as the month of June gets underway.
Feel free to comment on any of these or mention any hot rumors that do not appear in this article.
Rumor: Messier and Gretzky Both Express Interest in the Rangers Coaching Job
After the dismissal of John Tortorella, there is a coaching vacancy on Broadway.
According to the New York Post, both Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier are interested in becoming the next coach of the New York Rangers.
There is an important difference between the two. Gretzky has NHL coaching experience, having a very average four-year run with the Phoenix Coyotes from 2005-2009. Phoenix did not reach the playoffs in any of those years.
Messier, on the other hand, has never coached at the AHL or NHL level before. Still, he is an icon in New York City for leading the Rangers to the Stanley Cup in 1994. He has also worked in the Rangers' front office as a special assistant to general manager Glen Sather since 2009.
Does Messier get the job because of his history as a leader and captain, or does his lack of coaching experience prevent him from being a serious candidate?
There are plenty of other candidates to take over behind the Rangers' bench, but having two Hall of Famers who played together for the team in 1996-97 and helped them reach the conference finals is special.
According to the New York Post, other candidates for the job include former Vancouver bench boss Alain Vigneault, Toronto Marlies coach Dallas Eakins and ex-Sabres leader Lindy Ruff.
Rumor: The Flyers Will Not Buy out Ilya Bryzgalov
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
It may make sense economically, but according to the Courier-Post, the latest rumors coming out of Philadelphia say that the Flyers will be keeping Ilya Bryzgalov, at least for one more season.
Bryzgalov has been inconsistent in net for the Flyers over his first two seasons, posting GAAs of 2.48 and 2.79 and save percentages of .909 and .900.
It's not that these are terrible numbers. The problem has been that Bryzgalov has a cap hit of $5.6 million per year and his production just doesn't match it. He is also under contract for the next seven seasons.
Each NHL team has two amnesty buyouts, which will not affect their salary cap. The Flyers would be wise to use one on Bryzgalov and to find a less costly option in net, but it appears they will wait at least one more year before deciding to use the buyout on Bryzgalov.
Rumor: The Avs Are Willing to Trade the Top Pick in the Draft
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
The Colorado Avalanche have the top pick in this year's draft. The team needs a defenseman, and the top-rated prospect is defenseman Seth Jones.
But that doesn't mean the Avalanche will keep the pick.
Newly hired coach Patrick Roy recently said, "Regardless of what we're going to do, we have to make the best decision. Maybe the best is to trade it. Maybe the best is to keep it. At the end, we'll see what's on the table."
It makes sense for the Avalanche to entertain offers and to encourage other teams to start a bidding war for the top pick.
It's not clear whether Roy is serious about trading the top pick or just putting out feelers, but essentially, he is telling NHL general managers to make him an offer he can't refuse.
The Avs may or may not keep the pick, but keep in mind they are open to making a deal.
Rumor: The Canadiens Will Part Ways with Michael Ryder
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
The latest rumor out of Montreal is that the Habs are prepared to let Michael Ryder walk away as an unrestricted free agent this summer.
According to CBS Sports, Montreal general manager Marc Bergevin's plans don't include bringing Ryder back next season.
The 33-year-old winger didn't play badly this past season. In 27 games with the Habs, Ryder scored 10 goals and 21 points. His cap hit was $3.5 million.
Still, the salary cap is going down next season, and Montreal feels they can fill Ryder's role for less money. As a result, Ryder will almost certainly be playing elsewhere in 2013-14.
Rumor: The Islanders Are Intersted in Roberto Luongo
Rich Lam/Getty Images
It's believed NYI would, under right circumstances, have interest in VAN G Roberto Luongo, tho 1st order of biz is to gauge cost on Nabokov.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) May 30, 2013
This tweet by TSN's Bob McKenzie started the wheels turning in the hockey world: Could Roberto Luongo be headed back to Long Island, the place where his NHL career began?
There is some logic here. Evgeni Nabokov, the Isles' starter this year, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. There is little doubt that Luongo would be an upgrade over Nabokov.
The Islanders are also one of the few teams with enough cap room to add Luongo's salary, although they would probably ask the Canucks to pay Rick DiPietro's buyout as part of the deal, according to McKenzie.
It's unclear if a deal between these two teams could be worked out, but it makes sense in a number of ways and remains a very interesting rumor at this point.
Rumor: Alexander Burmistrov Wants out of Winnipeg
Sean Rudyk/Getty Images
According to the Winnipeg Free Press, Alexander Burmistrov of the Jets has no intention of re-signing with the club. He will be a restricted free agent this summer.
Burmistrov has apparently had an up-and-down relationship with Jets' coach Claude Noel. His numbers dipped last season to just four goals and 10 points in 44 games. The tools seem to be there, but the 21-year-old Russian just hasn't put it all together at the NHL level.
It will be interesting to see how the Jets handle Burmistrov, who was the franchise's top pick (eighth overall) in the 2010 NHL draft.
The Jets would have trouble getting full value for Burmistrov if the rest of the league knows he won't sign with the team.
Rumor: The Rangers Will Buy out Brad Richards
Paul Bereswill/Getty Images
Brad Richards sees the writing on the wall. He was demoted to the fourth line during the playoffs and then made a healthy scratch for the final two games of the series against Boston.
The salary cap is going down this summer, and Richards has a $6.67 million cap hit. That's pretty steep for a player who is 33 years old and scored one point (a goal) in 10 playoff games.
Richards himself is aware the Rangers could use their second buyout on him to free up cap space to sign Henrik Lundqvist and several other younger stars to new deals over the next two years.