We’re into the month of February and we still have plenty of NHL rumours. Teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins have already made a general manager change. The Detroit Red Wings are off to another slow start and some want a coaching change. Travis Konecny was surprisingly scratched by Philadelphia Flyers coach Alain Vigneault on Saturday.
Today’s NHL rumours focus will all give you wings with items on the Penguins, Red Wings and Flyers.
All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.
Rumour: The Athletic’s Charlie O’Connor reports that Konecny is not on the trade block despite the recent benching.
— The Athletic Philadelphia (@TheAthleticPHI) January 31, 2021
Analysis: Konecny did play in Sunday’s win over the New York Islanders, but managed only one shot in the game. The London, Ontario native was replaced by Samuel Morin for Saturday’s game against the Isles. Vigneault was not pleased with his forward group in a 3-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday.
The talented forward’s benching was shocking as he’s got eight points so far. However, he’s struggled in advanced metrics and made questionable plays like leaving the defensive zone early, failed clears and questionable efforts. The benching doesn’t mean anything more than Vigneault holding his forwards accountable.
There is concern about the scratch and that stems from the Shayne Gostisbehere saga. The puck-moving defenceman has fallen out of favour with the staff. However, there doesn’t seem to be the right trading partner for him. Some worry this can cause drama, but Vigneault pointed out that Konecny is one of his top three forwards. There’s no reason to get excited.
Detroit Red Wings
Rumour: The Athletic’s Max Bultman fielded questions on Jeff Blashill’s job security with the club.
The latest Red Wings mailbag has a bit of everything — Anthony Mantha, Jeff Blashill, prospects in Europe, unsigned prospects, 2021 draft, bricks… enjoy!https://t.co/QVx5mBMocq
— Max Bultman (@m_bultman) January 28, 2021
Analysis: Bultman pointed out the Wings won’t make a change this season unless things are dire. The stagnant hockey economy factors into that decision. Detroit hasn’t even filled the vacant assistant job made by the departure of Adam Nightingale.
Blashill is entering the last year of his contract, but it seems general manager Steve Yzerman will let this season play out. Detroit is already struggling at 2-6-2 after Sunday’s loss to the Florida Panthers. However, the Red Wings are showing some signs of progress. Many of their losses have come by a single goal and they are 16th in xGA/60 at 5-on-5 (2.08).
It seems like a low bar, but Detroit does have some forward progress at the start of the season.
Headlines: Bennett/Dubois/PIT GM/COVID Challenges/Konecny:https://t.co/g3CvwqSKOC
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) January 31, 2021
Analysis: Toronto Maple Leafs fans are having flashbacks to Ferguson Jr. making the Tuukka Rask for Andrew Raycroft trade that gave the Boston Bruins their goalie of the future. However, Friedman pointed out that Ferguson was only 36 when he took the high-pressure job. The situation would be similar to how the team gave Mike Sullivan a chance after an early-career setback.
Mellanby has been a hot candidate over the last few seasons and the Penguins have connections to Marc Bergevin of the Montreal Canadiens. Pens owner Mario Lemieux is friends with Bergevin, who is Mellanby’s boss in Montreal. Lemieux will be hands-on during the process.
Pittsburgh has gotten plenty of interest with more than 20 candidates interested. The Pens could also make history by looking at Theresa Feaster, who made history earlier this month as the first female assistant coach at the world juniors and won gold with the U.S.