Panthers to Speak with Scott Mellanby about GM Position

The Florida Panthers have been granted permission to speak with Canadiens’ Assistant GM Scott Mellanby:

Mellanby, who played 8 seasons with the Thrashers, has been Montreal’s Assistant GM since 2014.

GM Rutherford: “Changes Need to be Made” in Pittsburgh

Penguins GM Jim Rutherford spoke about his club’s loss to the Montreal Canadiens in the play-in round.

Rutherford stated he plans to move forward with the club’s current core, figuring to include at least Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Jake Guentzel. It seems unlikely the Penguins would move on from Jason Zucker, who fit in well after the trade deadline move from Minnesota and is signed through 2022-23 at a reasonable cap hit of $5.5 million.

It’s probable the Penguins will move one of Matt Murray or Tristan Jarry, both of whom are RFAs, this summer. Murray seems more likely, but the trade market as well as each goalie’s contract demands will play a factor.

The Penguins likely won’t bring back UFA defenseman Justin Schultz. They will likely continue to try to get out from the three seasons remaining on Jack Johnson’s contract at a cap-hit of $3.25 million, but that would have to be through a buy-out or taking on another burdensome contract.

The Penguins have the 15th pick in the 2020 Entry Draft. They have the option of moving this year’s pick or their 2021 first to Minnesota to complete the Jason Zucker trade and smart money is on them keeping the 2020 pick.

Strickland: Tallon Out As Panthers GM

Andy Strickland reports that the Panthers are prepared to move on from GM Dale Tallon, following their 3-1 series loss to the Islanders in the play-in round:

Tallon’s tenure with the Panthers featured two stints as general manager. After being removed when the Panthers moved Tom Rowe to the position as a signal towards an increased use of analytics, he was re-instated as GM after only a year away, undoing many of the moves done by his replacements. His most criticized move after re-taking the reigns was giving the Vegas Golden Knights Jonathan Marchessault as enticement for taking on Reilly Smith and his contract. Tallon tried to re-acquire Erik Gudbranson, who was sent to Vancouver in his year away, but the potential trade fell through when Jason Demers exercised his no-trade rights.

The Panther made the playoffs in two out of ten of Tallon’s seasons with the club.

Ducks Sign Jacob Larsson

The Ducks have signed defenseman Jacob Larsson to a 2-year extension:

Larsson, 23, was set to be a RFA with no arbitration rights. He had 2 goals and 9 assists in 60 games for the Ducks in 2019-20.

Bruins Re-Sign Anders Bjork

The Bruins have signed Anders Bjork to a 3-year extension with a cap-hit of $1.6 million.

Bjork will have one more RFA season after he plays out this 3-year contract.

In 58 games with the Bruins this season, Bjork put up 9 goals and 10 assists.

Ducks Re-Sign Sonny Milano

The Anaheim Ducks have re-signed Sonny Milano to a 2-year deal:

Milano, 24, will be a RFA at the conclusion of the 2-year deal. He split 2019-20 between Columbus and Anaheim, registering 7 goals and 16 assists in 55 games.

31 Thoughts: Athanasiou, Granlund, Goaltenders

In the newest edition of 31 Thoughts, Elliotte Friedman wonders about a number of players and what might happen with them following the conclusion of the playoffs:

- He wonders about Andreas Athanasiou, now with the Oilers, as he approaches restricted free agency with arbitration rights. As the Oilers cap situation is tight, they need to make a decision on if they could fit in Athanasiou’s potential arbitration award. Should they decide they can’t, they could try to trade him or simply not extend him a qualifying offer, making him a UFA.
- Friedman also questions whether it might be Semyon Varlamov or Thomas Greiss who works alongside rookie Ilya Sorokin in the Islanders’ crease next season. Greiss is a pending UFA, and Varlamov is signed for 3 more seasons at a cap-hit of $5 million. Given the Islanders’ cap position, he wonders if they might offer Greiss a more affordable deal in hopes of moving Varlamov’s contract out–which I would suggest would be difficult in the today’s cap environment.
- He also wonders about Mikael Granlund as he approaches unrestricted free agency. Granlund was having a quiet season for the Predators before exploding for 7 goals in 14 games in February. His value on the free agent market might be set by his play in the upcoming play-in and play-offs.
- He wonders about retirement for Wild captain Mikko Koivu. Koivu opted to use his no-trade clause is order to stay with the Wild at the trade deadline, despite interest around the league.
- Friedman hints that pending UFAs Evgenii Dadonov and Mike Hoffman might be casualties as the Panthers make an effort to trim payroll. Hoffman is a big part of Florida’s powerplay attack.
- Friedman quotes Penguins GM Jim Rutherford about how one of Matt Murray or Tristan Jarry doesn’t necessarily need to be the one moved in Pittsburgh. I’ll still bet on Murray being moved.
- He wonders if strong performances from David Rittich and/or Cam Talbot might convince the Flames to stay the course in net rather than a bold move to bring in a goalie from outside.

Sabres Fire GM Botterill

The Sabres have announced they have let GM Jason Botterill go:

Three weeks ago Sabres co-owner Kim Pegula declared Botterill’s job was safe.

Assistant GM Randy Sexton was also let go.


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