One of the best things when it comes to rumors and news in the NHL is the fact that it is always so unpredictable and catches you by surprise. Let’s dive into today’s edition of Bargain Bin on Thursday, June 22nd.
Toronto Maple Leafs
It is no secret that the Toronto Maple Leafs have a lot to consider in the 2023 offseason, forward Michael Bunting is certainly a player they must consider bringing back into their lineup. With cap space being limited and Brad Treliving being in his first year as Leafs GM, expect to see a lot of changes in minor ways for the Leafs this offseason.
Michael Bunting can easily gauge interest from most teams for his playstyle on the ice. Bunting went from fringe NHL player to top six star the season he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Bunting took his two-year, $900,000 annual contract with the Leafs and ran with the opportunity. Bunting has produced incredible numbers with the Toronto Maple Leafs and could be a massive loss if he signs elsewhere this offseason.
Per Elliotte Friedman on the latest 32 Thoughts podcast, Treliving and the Leafs have engaged in contract talks with Michael Bunting.
“They’re having their meetings right now and I think their plans are going to come out of this. I hear they had a really short meeting/conversation with Bunting. I think everybody knows here that it’s going to be very hard to do but I don’t think they’ve specifically said no yet. I think they’re going to get through this week and kind of have a better idea.”Elliotte Friedman – 32 Thoughts: The Podcast – June 19th (OEL UFA)
It will definitely be interesting to see where Bunting ends up, but I don’t think the Leafs will be able to meet his demands unfortunately. I do see Bunting being signed by the Pittsburgh Penguins if Kyle Dubas is able to move cap space for the forward. This will be an interesting story come July 1st.
Leafs Searching For New Assistant Coach
After Spencer Carbery was hired as the head coach of the Washington Capitals, the Toronto Maple Leafs are in need of a new assistant coach. Marc Savard is currently the head coach of the Windsor Spitfires and has been gauging the interest of the Toronto Maple Leafs for their vacant assistant coaching role.
Savard has been to the Stanley Cup Finals and won a Stanley Cup in his playing career. This addition could provide incredible experience behind the bench for the Toronto Maple Leafs and could be a step forward that has been long needed for the team. (Per Sportsnet)
The decision to keep Sheldon Keefe as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs is starting to shape up as a good decision. With rumors that Kyle Dubas had always been involved with the lineups, Sheldon Keefe could prove that he’s been the right coach for the team all along.
Per Darren Dreger of TSN, Keefe is staying where he is as head coach of the Maple Leafs. Dreger also notes that if Treliving thought Keefe wasn’t suited for the position, the change would’ve happened sooner rather than later.
“Sheldon Keefe and Brad Treliving spent some time together and got to know each other, and Treliving feels confident that Keefe is the right coach for the Maple Leafs. A very likely scenario is that Keefe will receive an extension this summer.”Darren Dreger – First Up – June 19th.
While the decision to keep Keefe may sit in a negative light with some fans, there is always a new understanding as time passes. Keefe may need this final opportunity to prove himself as the head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
There has been an interesting development that the Boston Bruins are interested in acquiring Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele. The Bruins will be looking to add an experienced center into their group with the future of captain Patrice Bergeron up in the air.
Boston is also up against the cap, Mark Scheifele is making just $6.125 million and will be a free agent at the end of the 2023-24 season. If Winnipeg is willing to retain salary or make the dollars work, Boston will be more inclined to make this deal happen.
The Calgary Flames have been receiving interest in defenseman Noah Hanafin. Hanafin is in the final year of his six year contract worth $4.95 million annually. Hanafin’s lucrative contract will certainly bring back a big haul, especially with the flat salary cap.
Calgary also has some considerations to make with goaltending, do they go with Wolf and Vladar? Or do they keep Markstrom and trade one of Wolf of Vladar? This will be an interesting story as it develops over the next few weeks.
Related Article: Calgary Flames Defenseman Could Be on the Move
Finally, Calgary has given permission to unrestricted free agent Milan Lucic to speak to other teams ahead of July 1st. Lucic has received interest from the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vancouver Canucks, and the Boston Bruins. While Lucic isn’t the biggest name on the UFA market, he is one of the most interesting names available on July 1st.
Related Article: Lucic to the Leafs?
Hockey Hall Of Fame Inductees
The Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2023 has been announced today. This list of names is a three-goalie class, see below.
It is really sad that Henrik Lundqvist never won a Stanley Cup despite finding multiple Conference Final Appearances and one Stanley Cup Finals appearance. Lundqvist played just only 15 seasons in the National Hockey League but was a staple in net for the New York Rangers. Lundqvist was named to the All-Rookie Team in 2005-06, was a two-time All-Star, and won the Vezina Trophy in 2011-12. Lundqvist is certainly one of the best goaltenders to play that has never won the Stanley Cup. The King has finally received his crown with his nomination to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Related Article: Rangers “King” Lundqvist Gets Elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame
Tom Barrasso won two Stanley Cups in the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons. Barrasso also won the Calder and the Vezina Trophy in the 1983-84 season. He would also be named to the 1983-84 All-Star Rookie Team in the same season. He would not take his foot off of the gas, winning the Jennings Trophy in 1984-85. Barrasso played in 19 seasons and was a great goaltender for whichever team he played on.
Related Article: Barrasso Finally Gets His Due
Pierre Turgeon is one of few NHL players to have scored 500 goals and 1300 points in their NHL career. Turgeon enjoyed a 19-year career where he posted 515 goals and 812 assists for 1327 points. Turgeon also won a Lady Byng in 1992-93. The former Buffalo Sabres first overall pick in 1987 has earned his spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Mike Vernon won two Stanley Cups in 1988-89 and 1996-97, he also won the Conn Smythe trophy as Stanley Cup Playoffs Most Valuable Player. Vernon also won the William Jennings trophy in 1995-96. An illustrious career that spanned 19 years, something most goalies don’t get to say they have done.
Caroline Ouellette is one of the most decorated women’s hockey players to enter the Hockey Hall of Fame. 12 IIHF Women’s World Championship Medals (six gold and six silver), four Olympic Gold Medals, 12 Four Nations Cup Medals (eight gold and four silver), and four Clarkson Cup championships. Caroline Ouellette currently serves as the associate coach for the Carolina Stingrays women’s ice hockey program.
Coach Ken Hitchcock (Builder)
22 seasons as an NHL Head Coach is not as common as people think. Ken Hitchcock found jobs up until he retired in the 2018-19 season. Notably, Hitchcock won the Stanley Cup with Dallas in the 1998-99 season and was the Western Conference Champions in the 1999-00 season. To top his coaching career off, Hitchcock won the Jack Adams as the league’s best coach in the 2011-12 season. Hitchcock held a coaching record of 849 wins, 539 losses, 88 ties, and 127 overtime/shootout losses. Hitchcock coached 13 teams that finished either first or second in their division, a feat that will go unmatched for some time.
GM Pierre Lacroix (Builder)
Pierre Lacroix is one of those GMs that built successful teams and fostered a winning culture that big-name players wanted to be a part of. Lacroix won the Stanley Cup in 1995-96 and 2000-01 season with the Colorado Avalanche franchise. Lacroix, who was originally a part of the Quebec Nordiques team that moved to Colorado, stuck to what he knew best, building a winning team. Eventually, Lacroix’s work paid off, and he won the Stanley Cup in two seasons with the Avalanche.