Welcome to a Pacific Divison edition of NHL Rumours. Today we look at options for the new coach of the Vegas Golden Knights. We also touch on if Filip Forsberg will be a good fit for the Los Angeles Kings. And we explore the Seattle Kraken‘s plans for free agency. Let’s dive in!
Vegas Golden Knights
Rumour: The Athletic’s Jesse Granger explores coaching options for the Vegas Golden Knights.
Analysis: Granger writes that he doesn’t expect the Golden Knights to let go of a veteran coach in Pete DeBoer just to hire an up-and-comer. Vegas will probably aim for a veteran coach. I agree with him. The Golden Knights are focused on winning a Stanley Cup at all costs. The coach they will want to hire must have previous success. Let’s look at the candidates.
Barry Trotz is at the top of the list. He won a Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals in 2018 and led the New York Islanders to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2020 and 2021. Trotz’s teams play a heavy and defensive game which has worked for Vegas over the past few years. However, in Washington, Trotz’s system still allowed Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov to have strong offensive production. A big, heavy team with firepower in Vegas could be a perfect fit.
John Tortorella is another name Granger brings up. Tortorella also likes heavy defensive hockey and has coached the Columbus Blue Jackets further in the playoffs than expected in 2019 and 2020. He also coached the Tampa Bay Lightning to a Stanley Cup in 2004. Joel Quenneville is also on the list. His three Stanley Cups speak for themself, he needs approval from Gary Bettman to work in the league again. Rick Tocchet is another candidate. He doesn’t have the same resume as the other three but was an assistant coach during the Pittsburgh Penguins‘ back-to-back Cups.
Los Angeles Kings
Rumour: On 32 Thoughts the Podcast Summer of Kawhi episode, Elliotte Freidman says,” One thing I’m really curious about is: does LA make a run at Filip Forsberg?”
Analysis: It is no secret the Los Angeles Kings have had trouble scoring over the past few seasons. Even with making the playoffs this year, the Kings scored the 20th most goals in the league. Only the Dallas Stars scored fewer goals among playoff teams. Forsberg can certainly help boost their offence if he doesn’t re-sign with the Nashville Predators. He’s just under a point a game player and scored 42 goals last season. The problem is how much money do the Kings want to have for players entering or in their thirties? They have Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar and Phillip Danault locked up in expensive contracts. This summer, they will have to re-sign Adrian Kempe, Sean Durzi, and Michael Anderson. Not to mention that Los Angeles will want cap space when it comes time for Quinton Byfield, Alex Turcotte and Arthur Kaliyev to get paid.
Rumour: Also on the Summer of Kawhi episode, Elliotte Freidman says the team to watch this summer in free agency is Seattle who will try to improve offensively from both the defence and offence positions.
Analysis: According to CapFriendly, the Kraken are expected to have $22.8 million in salary-cap space this summer. They do have nine players on expiring contracts, some of that money will have to naturally be spent. However, they should have room to do some shopping. Freidman says the Kraken could target John Klingberg and Kris Letang on defence. They’re alright at centre with Yanni Gourde, Matthew Beniers and Alexander Wennberg down the middle, a priority on offence should be filling out the wings. Filip Forsberg, Bryan Rust, Reilly Smith, Phil Kessel, Max Domi, and Andre Burakovsky could be targets.
Seattle has to watch out for locking themselves in a salary cap problem for over-paying for free agents in their thirties. Many unrestricted free agent signings don’t live up to expectations or start to slow down over time. The Kraken are trying to win now presumably as a business strategy to get the market hooked early on a winning team. But building a core group through free agency has its risks.
Thanks for reading NHL rumours.