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NHL Rumours: Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins

NHL Rumours

It’s time for another edition of NHL rumours. We’ve closed the book on the regular season and we’re starting the 2024 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. However, there are teams that need to make some big decisions in the offseason. It’s not just the players that are in the mix when it comes to NHL rumours. Things on the coaching front are getting just as h0t and heavy. Today’s NHL rumours focus on the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins.

All NHL Rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.

NHL Rumours

Ottawa Senators

Rumour: The Athletic’s Ian Mendes took a look at the coaching options for the club this offseason.

Analysis: General Manager Steve Staios has a big decision to make when it comes to replacing D.J. Smith. Ottawa finished out the season with Jacques Martin behind the bench for another stint. However, the club decided that Martin will move into an advisory role and will be moving in another direction.

The Senators will be in competition with the Buffalo Sabres as well as the Los Angeles Kings, St Louis Blues, and New Jersey Devils for a new coach. Staios could go a number of different ways in his quest for a new bench boss. He could go the experience route with someone like Dean Evason, Craig Berube, and Todd McLellan. In contrast, Staios might take a chance on a person looking for his first NHL gig.

Names like John Gruden, Joel Bouchard, Chris Kelly, and Doug Houda might get looks. Gruden and Bouchard are both AHL head coaches while Kelly and Houda are assistants at the NHL level. It’s been rumoured that Gruden is at the top of Staios’ wish list. Gruden is the head coach of the Toronto Marlies in the AHL.

This move will likely draw plenty of scrutiny as this will be one of the first major moves in Staios’ tenure. Ottawa would ideally like to have a coach in place in time for the NHL Draft lottery in May. There’s time to get a move done, but Senators fans hope to have an answer sooner rather than later.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Rumour: Rob Rossi of The Athletic reports on the status of Head Coach Mike Sullivan with the team.

Analysis: Pittsburgh missed out on the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second straight season. This was despite a valiant charge at the end, but the rival Washington Capitals got the last post-season spot.

Many wonder if General Manager Kyle Dubas would be tempted to make a coaching change. However, it doesn’t seem that Dubas is going to drop the axe on Sullivan. Dubas has seemingly given his backing to the Stanley Cup-winning coach. Sullivan has a three-year deal kicking in at the start of next season and the unwavering faith of Dubas to get the team one last deep post-season with its aging core.

However, there might be some changes behind the bench for the Penguins this offseason. Job security is not something that the other coaches on the Pittsburgh bench have. Associate Coach Todd Reirden and Assistant Coach Mike Vellucci are on expiring deals. Many tied Pittsburgh’s struggles on the power play to Reirden. The Pens’ power play problems came despite having talented players like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Erik Karlsson.

Sullivan has stayed around before while assistants have either moved on or been replaced. It seems that the longtime Penguins bench boss might be open to seeing some changes on his coaching staff for the upcoming campaign.

Rossi made comparisons to the Golden State Warriors of the NBA with the state of the team. Both clubs defined a long period of being the best in the sport with great star players. However, the two teams may be at the end of the line.

Despite this, Sullivan doesn’t seem to be going anywhere much like Warriors coach Steve Kerr. It seems like Sullivan and Dubas are in this for the long haul.

Main photo by: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports


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