Information coming out of Boston are reassuring for Claude Julien’s return but not as sure for Bruce Boudreau in Anaheim. But for Boston, they have player issues they will need to address sooner than later.
Claude Julien will stay as Boston’ Head Coach
According to Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald, the Boston Bruins and general manager Don Sweeney have confirmed that head coach Claude Julien will be back as the Bruins’ head coach. The announcement was made Thursday while Sweeney was at the NHL Combine in Buffalo. Julien’s entire coaching staff was also confirmed for next season in his announcement. At the NHL combine, Sweeney stated he would not apologize to anyone, particularly the media for not announcing the confirmation of his head coach sooner. Sweeney had several meetings with Julien since his own announcement as general manager earlier in June.
For Claude Julien, who has been their head coach since 2007, it is good news and a proof that he has done great work with the Bruins since his arrival. He is only 36 wins shy of the Bruins all-time winningest head coach Art Ross who leads with 387 wins. This year, Julien missed the playoff for the first since taking the head coach duties in Boston. The Bruins failed to qualify for the post-season during the last weekend of the season.
According to some sources in Boston, Sweeney contemplated a change of coaching staff despite the fact Julien has three years left on his contract at 2.5 million per year. The change of heart may have been financial and after a more profound analysis of the personnel in place on the roster, it was clear that the Bruins have more issues on ice than behind the bench. Injuries to key players and a lack of offense on the top six forwards resulted in the non-qualification of the Bruins for the post-season.
There is no doubt the leash will be shorter for Julien this year after missing the playoff and a new general manager in place.
Boudreau not guaranteed to return with the Anaheim Ducks
The Anaheim Ducks were very close to get into the Stanley Cup Final this year, but with game 7 on the line failed to send a poised Chicago Blackhawks packing for the summer. It is instead, the Ducks who were stunned in front of their fans losing to the Chicago Blackhawks last week. Many questioned the ability for Bruce Boudreau to win a deciding game 7 in the NHL and this latest loss confirms it once again.
From a Bruce Boudreau’s perspective, he is expected to be back next season. But for general manager, Bob Murray, it may be a different story. Like Sweeney in Boston, Murray has not made the official statement that his coaching staff would remain for next season. It should be expected but hasn’t happened yet. “I haven’t talked to the coaching staff one bit,” Murray said Tuesday after the Ducks had their exit interviews at Honda Center. I thought the coaching staff made strides this year. But I’ve still got to talk to them. I’m not ready to talk to them. We’ve got to meet later. “I’ve got to sort things out in my mind. I’m not one to do things quickly. I’m evaluating the whole hockey team. That’s not a yes or a no. I’ve got to evaluate everything.”
Boudreau is still under contract until 2017. he signed earlier in the season a two-year contract extension. The Ducks had a great regular season finishing with a 51-24-7 record and disposing of the Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames in the playoffs. Murray and Boudreau are expected to meet in the near future and go over the full analysis of the team and where it went wrong. With the Ducks, Boudreau has a 162-79-29 record in just over three seasons. Murray was concerned about his team’s ability to close the series against Chicago, particularly in game 6 and 7.
Player moves in Boston and goalie rumors
According to the Insider Trading panel on location in Tampa, FL for the Stanley Cup Final, Darren Dreger was mentioning the need for the Bruins to resign defenceman Douggie Hamilton before he is offered an offer sheet. Hamilton could be seeking a long term contract in the near 6M range, like Alex Pietrangelo of the St-Louis Blues and or Drew Doughty in Los Angeles, but the Bruins may not be inclined to offer him that much. They would look more at a bridge type of contract in the 3M range. But because they are near the cap, Hamilton may represent the ideal candidate to present an offer sheet. Hamilton will be entering the prime of his career and represent a nice asset on defence for a top 2 pair. Teams with cap space in need of a top 2 defenceman may be tempted to present an offer sheet
Also in Boston, the case of UFA Carl Soderberg is still pending and Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney will need to address that. Soderbeg in 2014-2015 played in all 82 games and recorded 13 goals and 31 assists for 44 points. he was a plus -10 coupled with 76 hits.
Meanwhile according to Bob McKenzie, the New York Rangers will have a serious look at whether to keep winger Rick Nash or not. Nash who had an average series against the Tampa Bay Lightning is 7.8M cap hit and under contract for the next three seasons. His current full no-trade-clause (NTC) turns into a modified one on 1 July this year. He states the Rangers who are close to the salary cap will need the space to resign forward Derek Stepan who is due for a substantial raise and Carl Hagelin.
Still with the Insider Trading panel, Pierre Lebrun mentioned that several teams are interested either in goalie Craig Anderson or Robin Lehner. Now stuck with three goalies, general manager will need to let go one especially after resigning Andrew “The Hamburglar” Hammond, to a three year contract. Teams have been inquiring about Lehner, since he represents the one with the most upside, being only 23 years-old. The Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames St-Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks are teams who are having interest in Lehner. Lebrun also added that the Oilers are looking at Anaheim Ducks’ John Gibson and the New York Rangers? Cam Talbot.
Could Alex Radulov return to the NHL?
Rumors are circulating that CKSA star Alexander Radulov may be joining the Colorado Avalanche. Radulov who played for head coach Patrick Roy when coaching the Quebec Remparts led the league in scoring in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) with 71 points. This information originated from NBC sports and is not confirmed. The rumor basically stated that the Avalanche have contacted Radulov’s agent inquiring of his availability. When asked about it, Avalanche vice-president Jean Martineau denied the rumor.
“Those are only speculations,” Avs vice president Jean Martineau told The Post.
Alexander Radulov played a total of 154 NHL games with the Nashville Predators recording 47 goals for 102 points. He was drafted in 2004 by the Predators 15th overall but has played the majority of his career in the KHL with the CKSA. Radulov, who will turn 29 in July ranks second all-time in scoring in the KHL with 427 points. While in the KHL, Nashville held his rights until last year.
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