NHL Rumors: Alain Vigneault done in Philadelphia, Devils looking for a younger coach, and cost to re-sign Brady Tkachuk

Mar 4, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; /Philadelphia Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault (left) talks to left wing James van Riemsdyk (25) and center Sean Couturier (14) against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Teams are now entering the final week plus of the NHL season. As many battle to get in or jockey for position, some have long been eliminated. That usually means coaches on the hot seat. In today’s NY Post, two East Division coaches could be relieved of their duties.

Alain Vigneault and Lindy Ruff on the outs?

Larry Brooks’ Sunday Slapshots has been a staple for years in the NY Post. The latest edition features a small yet interesting section on two out of the playoff veteran coaches.

We’re hearing that it is no sure thing at all that Alain Vigneault will return for his third season in Philadelphia next year. Hasn’t 2020-21 in Philly smelled a lot like 2017-18 in New York? And if not Vigneault, who in the organization is going to answer for the debacle that became Carter Hart? Told too, but we can’t cross our heart and swear on it, that the Devils might be seeking a younger man than Lindy Ruff to shepherd the flock of youngsters flowing through the organization.

NY Post

After the trade deadline, GM Chuck Fletcher was asked about making a coaching change he quickly answered “No.” At the time it sounded like AV was safe, but this does cast doubt. As for Lindy Ruff, this news is surprising when you consider what Tom Fitzgerald said upon his hiring.

“The group needs a teacher,” Fitzgerald said back in July. “I was looking for experience: NHL head coaching experience. Two, presence: someone who has been there, done that and could walk into a room and actually grab the attention of our young team.”

When it comes to Ruff, I don’t see the Devils removing him this offseason. That doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a change of heart in Jersey and a quick hook could come next season.

A Look at Brady Tkachuk’s next contract

Brady Tkachuk
May 1, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Ottawa Senators forward Brady Tkachuk (7) prepares for a face off against the Montreal Canadiens during the third period at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Brady Tkachuk is just 21 years of age and leads the Senators in scoring with 34 points on the season. His contract is up, so what will the Sense opt to do here? Will they go longterm or take a chance by going with a short or mid-term deal? Ken Warren of the Ottawa Sun gave his thoughts.

If the Senators go down the long-term road, buying Tkachuk out of years of unrestricted free agency, the contracts of New Jersey’s Nico Hischier (seven years, $50.75 million), Winnipeg’s Kyle Connor (seven years, $50 million), Arizona’s Clayton Keller (eight years, $57.2 million) and Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen (six years, $55 million) could come into play.

Ottawa Sun

That may be the safest, but also represents the most expensive route for Ottawa. Another way is to do a shorter deal like the Islanders did with Matthew Barzal, but that runs the risk of the next deal being even more expensive. What they need to avoid is any contract situation that leads to his eventual departure as a UFA as soon as the opportunity arises.