NHL Rumors: Penguins fallout, D-day for Leafs, and more

Will there be changes if the Leafs fall today? (Mark Blinch/Getty Images)

The NHL Rumors keep on churning at The Daily Goal Horn. Today is D-day for the Toronto Maple Leafs. If they fall to the Columbus Blue Jackets, there could be some big changes coming for the club.

NHL Rumors: Is Kyle Dubas’ job safe?

Kyle Dubas was the NHL’s front office wunderkind when became the Leaf’s Assistant General Manager in 2014 at the tender age of 28. In 2018, he was given full control as the GM. During his tenure as the man in charge, the Leafs have yet to win a playoff round.

The young executive has done a great job of amassing talent, but is it the right mix? Leafs fans would be lying to themselves if they said this was a diverse group capable of playing anything but shootout hockey.

So why, fire him? This season, the Leafs had a glaring problem in goal and he did not address it. Instead of giving up Kasperi Kapanen for Alexandar Georgiev as was rumored, he went the cheap route and acquired Jack Campbell from L.A.

In the NHL, you have to give to get. And sometimes you have to overpay in a trade in order to do so. That seems to be a lesson Dubas refuses to learn. If the Leafs fall to the Jackets, that stubborn attitude may cost him his job.

NHL Rumors: Fallout for the Penguins

It certainly looks like we are seeing a change in net for the Penguins. Tristan Jarry appears to have supplanted Matt Murray for Pittsburgh. Both net-minders will be restricted free agents this summer and it would not surprise me to see Murray traded at the draft.

NHL Rumors Penguins
Could Matt Murray be traded at the draft? (Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images)

Of course, the big question is what the Penguins will do with their aging roster? That will get even more complicated if they win the lottery tomorrow and land Alexis Lafreniere with the first overall pick.

Could the Penguins try and move on from Evgeni Malkin? What about Kris Letang? You just get the sense that things may have gotten stale in Pittsburgh and some changes could be coming.

Top 5 Unrestricted Free Agents this offseason

Everyone keeps saying that Taylor Hall and the Arizona Coyotes are on a path to a new deal. I’m sorry, but until Hall drops his signature on that contract, I am still put him at the top of the list for most sought after UFA.

When it comes to Stanley Cup winning goaltenders, they are not often on the market when free agent frenzy begins. This summer it looks like there will be one by the name of Braden Holtby. The Washington Capitals goaltender is coming off a deal with a cap hit of $6.1 million and would need to consider giving the cap strapped Caps a hometown discount if he wants to stay.

The problem for the 30-year-old backstop is Ilya Samsonov. At 23 years old he is not only younger and cheaper, but also outplayed Holtby this past regular season. Which means Braden will need to be updating his equipment and getting a new paint job on his goalie helmet this offseason. Expect the Carolina Hurricanes to go all out for Holtby.

What makes this offseason so interesting is the cap being stuck at $81.5 million. There will be plenty of teams that want to make moves but could be handcuffed because of it. That’s why free agent frenzy will have a whole new look and feel to it.

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