The hockey world is chattering about the Buffalo Sabres. Has interim coach Don Granato done enough to get the permanent gig? And just who will make that decision, sign players, and make decisions on the NHL Trade market for the embattled franchise?
A trio of Boston Bruins forwards may find themselves on the NHL Trade market this coming offseason, too.
Will Ryan Getzlaf stay in Anaheim or circle back with teams, including the Pittsburgh Penguins, that were interested in him at the NHL Trade Deadline?
That and more in the latest ‘Off The Record’.
1. Will Sabres Keep Granato? What About Adams
The Buffalo Sabres are 7-10-3 since rookie GM Kevyn Adams fired Ralph Krueger and names Don Granato the interim head coach. There has been a crystal clear difference in effort and no-quit attitude from that previously underachieving youth core since Granato took over. Regardless if Adams is still calling the shots after this season, Granato has earned serious consideration to be the official head coach and lead that young core to the next level.
Unfortunately, and given the recent history of this organization, that doesn’t mean much and recent buzz amongst NHL management and pro scouting sources indicating that not only will there be some serious names considered for the bench boss, but also for who will navigate the franchise out of the NHL’s ten-part (2011-21) version of ‘The Perfect Storm’.
Off the record:
“Anything is possible in Buffalo man,” an NHL scout told OTR. “Granato deserves a shot but it won’t matter because no one knows who’s calling the shots anymore. Something really big or maybe not much at all. It’s anyone’s guess. You may hear names like [Mike] Babcock or [Jim] Rutherford coming in. …there’s just so much that can happen there. I read what you wrote on [Umass Head Coach] Greg Carvel and I agree. I would think they reach out to him maybe too.”
One current NHL GM and one former AGM both reinforced that “something big” sentiment to Off the Record. The rival GM believes Mike Babcock is likely to receive a call from Buffalo management.
2. Are Coyle, Ritchie, And DeBrusk All Bruins Next Season?
On Thursday, the Boston Bruins lost their first game since the April 12 NHL Trade Deadline. After acquiring winger Taylor Hall, the Bruins won six straight before they lost to the Buffalo Sabres 6-4. One of the biggest reasons for the Bruins’ hot stretch has been the consistency in three of their four lines. ‘The Perfection Line’ continues to do their job but the reassembled second line of Taylor Hall-David Krejci-Craig Smith and the fourth line of Sean Kuraly-Curtis Lazar-Chris Wagner have jelled and been productive at both ends of the ice.
However, the third line of Nick Ritchie-Charlie Coyle-Jake DeBrusk has struggled. If management decides to extend pending UFAs Hall, Kuraly, and David Krejci, could one or more of Ritchie, Coyle, and DeBrusk be out the door?
Off the record:
“I think one, maybe even two of that trio isn’t on that roster next season,” an NHL source told OTR. “If they want to keep that top 6 together, they’ve got to lock up Krejci and Hall. Plus they have kids like [Jack] Studnicka and [Zach] Senyshyn coming. Plus the expansion draft too. If you’d have asked me a month ago if I thought Krejci would be back, I’d have said ‘hell no!’, but man he’s just a different man when he has a real top 6 winger playing with him. Ritchie has been solid but too streaky and he’ll want a raise. DeBrusk is invisible and I don’t see it happening there for him. They could also try and move Coyle’s contract but not sure they can.”
3. Does Getzlaf Follow Carter?
On the April 12 NHL Trade Deadline, my colleague Dan Kingerski reported for Pittsburgh Hockey Now that the Pittsburgh Penguins were one of several teams which inquired about the availability of Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf. The Penguins acquired another Western Conference and longtime Pacific Division center, Jeff Carter. If the Ducks and Getzlaf decide to part ways, could Getzlaf end up reuniting with his 2005 Hockey Canada World Junior teammates Carter and Penguins captain Sidney Crosby for one final shot at the Stanley Cup next season? It’s one of several possibilities that is still drawing chatter, though Pittsburgh will not be in a position to do so unless they made other significant changes, including moving one of their centers.
Off the record:
“I think you could see (Pittsburgh)” an NHL management source told OTR. “They want to retool not necessarily rebuild just yet. I think ‘Burkie’ goes back there and sees where ‘Getz’ is at but obviously, there would be some cap juggling. Either way, I think Getzlaf wants to win one more Cup and that’s not happening in Anaheim right now.”