Good morning, Buffalo Sabres fans and hockey fans alike. It’s a great morning if you’re a New York Rangers fan, as they were able to stave off elimination last night and live to see at least another day.
We can safely say that the NHL season will definitely be over in less than a week now. I know, that’s depressing… but just think of all the things coming up in the offseason! Rumor has it that the NHL schedule will be released on June 22. There’s also the awards, the draft, buyouts, free agency, rookie camps and more. The withdrawal is strong, but hey — at least it’s only a few months.
NHL GMs have several things to discuss, as the league is weighing its options on a number of matters. One of the topics being talked about is the draft lottery. The league hopes to change the format of the lottery to help avoid teams getting the first overall pick repeatedly. See also: the Edmonton Oilers, who selected first in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
While it’s uncertain at this point how they will change the format or when these alterations would go into effect, Tim Murray said he doesn’t believe it would be in place for next year.
I think it’s a good idea to consider this. While I’m not sure “tanking for a high pick” is a legitimate thing, it’s a possibility, and you’re basically rewarding a team for being awful year after year. It’s like a consolation prize and you don’t want that to become a norm for teams. “Fail for Nail” and “Quit Winnin’ for MacKinnon” may soon be things of the past.
In other news, Jason Spezza has requested a trade from the Ottawa Senators, as confirmed by GM Bryan Murray. Spezza has been with the Sens organization since 2002, and his departure will certainly signify the end of an era. Murray isn’t thrilled with the idea of trading Spezza, but he’s willing to honor his request.
This was speculated for weeks, and the confirmation will only make the next few months even more interesting in the NHL world. What will the Sens be able to get in return for their captain? Spezza is set to make $4 million next season with a cap hit of $7 million.
When the time comes, it will definitely be strange seeing Spezza in a different jersey. In my eyes, he’s been one of their franchise players as of late, and it’s always odd when they leave. First it was Alfredsson last year, now Spezza…. the 2000-era Sens are slowly, but surely, breaking apart.
Meanwhile, there are still several NHL teams without head coaches, including the Florida Panthers. The Panthers are rumored to be considering five candidates for their position, including former Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma. Bylsma will meet with the Panthers brass this week in NYC.
The other candidates are believed to be Ron Wilson, Marc Crawford, Tom Renney, Bill Peters (DET) and Gerard Gallant (MTL). It’ll be interesting to see who the Panthers end up selecting for the job — it’s reported that they’ll announce their decision on Monday. Of course, that also leaves the Penguins without a head coach. Could John Tortorella wind up in the Steel City?
In addition to Florida and Pittsburgh, the Carolina Hurricanes and Vancouver Canucks are also without head coaches.