As soon as the Los Angeles Kings hoisted the Stanley Cup, the attention of the NHL world immediately turned to the impending offseason.
After all, with free agency rapidly approaching (July 1), teams have a limited amount of time to formulate their plans of attack. Throw in the NHL draft, and it promises to be a busy offseason, even if the free-agent crop isn’t loaded with game-changing talent.
With that in mind, here are some of the latest rumors from around the NHL.
Dan Bylsma Heading to Florida?
William DePaoli of InsidePittsburghSports.com filled fans in on the latest regarding Dan Bylsma:
NHL source contends Dan Bylsma prepared to take much less from FlaPanthers than he's due next two seasons from Penguins (around $2.3MM per)— William DePaoli (@TIOPS_DePaoli) June 17, 2014
Bylsma was recently fired by the Pittsburgh Penguins, but he has an impressive overall resume. He won a Stanley Cup in 2009 and NHL Coach of the Year honors in 2011 and is as close to a proven commodity as a team like the Florida Panthers could hope to land.
Where should Bylsma coach?
Bylsma and Pittsburgh finished 51-24-7 last year but suffered a disappointing loss to the New York Rangers in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Penguins also got a scare from the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round.
Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! Sports projected the following regarding Bylsma:
If Bylsma’s made it this far in the process, one assumes he has to be the top choice for the Panthers; then it’d be on him to decide whether he wants to take part in the burgeoning rebuild or wait out the chance to be the fixer for a contender next season.
As for Florida, the Panthers finished 29-45-8 and looked far away from being a contender. However, landing a coach like Bylsma could change things sooner rather than later.
Detroit Makes A Move
John Wawrow of The Associated Press reported the following on the Detroit Red Wings:
A person familiar with the move has confirmed to The Associated Press that the Detroit Red Wings have placed forward Jordin Tootoo on waivers with the intention to buy out the final year of his contract.
The person spoke on the condition of anonymity on Wednesday, because the Red Wings have not announced the move. TSN first reported the move earlier the day.
Jordin Tootoo was set to make $2 million next season but would become an unrestricted free agent if he clears waivers and the Red Wings then buy out the remainder of his contract.
Tootoo only played in 11 games during the 2013-14 season and registered one assist and zero goals. This is not exactly a tremendous loss for Detroit here, and he was even sent to the minors for a time.
General manager Ken Holland commented on the move, via Helene St. James of USA Today: "Jordin wants to be back in the NHL. This gives him an opportunity."
Thomas Vanek is arguably the biggest name that will be available July 1, and Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports filled fans in on the latest:
As usual Marc Bergevin refuse to talk about contracts. But sources told me that Thomas Vanek, Douglas Murray and George Parros won't return.— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) June 11, 2014
Vanek was traded to the New York Islanders and then the Montreal Canadiens last season, but he was a longtime Buffalo Sabres mainstay. Despite his status as a goal scorer, he caught some flack during the postseason in Montreal for failing to come through when it mattered most. Whether that impacts the demand for Vanek remains to be seen.
It appears as if he will not be back in Montreal, which raises the question of where will he end up.
The Minnesota Wild are a possibility just given the fact that he attended the University of Minnesota and played alongside Jason Pominville in Buffalo.
There will be plenty of teams lining up to make a pitch though in hopes of boosting their goal-scoring production on the ice. This will be an interesting story to watch throughout the summer.
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