Author: Jason Brough

Paul Coffey, Dave Semenko

Two more changes to Oilers’ hockey ops


Two more names that won’t be back with the Edmonton Oilers next season:

This news comes a couple of days after it was reported the Oilers had fired both their head of amateur scouting, Stu MacGregor, and head of pro scouting, Morey Gare.

Amateur scouts Brad Davis and Kent Hawley were also reportedly relieved of their duties as part of the massive hockey-ops reorganization under CEO Bob Nicholson and GM Peter Chiarelli.


Related: MacT to remain with Oilers, will be Chiarelli’s ‘No. 2 guy’

NBCSN draft coverage starts Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET


Hey, did you hear the NHL Entry Draft is this week? It’s been in the news a bit.

For United States viewers, click here to read all about NBCSN’s plans for televising Friday’s first round.

Friday’s coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. ET with a 30-minute pre-draft special. Then comes the draft at 7 p.m., live from Sunrise, Florida.

Liam McHugh will host coverage alongside Emmy Award-winning analyst Pierre McGuire, NHL insider Bob McKenzie and draft analyst Craig Button. In addition, Kathryn Tappen will anchor coverage from the floor of the BB&T Center, conducting interviews with players, coaches and general managers. Darren Dreger will handle reporting duties, providing information on potential trades and developing storylines.

PHT will also be blogging from the draft floor.

Related: Here’s the full 2015 NHL Entry Draft order

UFA of the Day: Christian Ehrhoff

Marc-Andre Fleury, Christian Ehrhoff

Check PHT every day until June 30 for a new pending unrestricted free agent of the day. Today’s UFA of the Day is…

Christian Ehrhoff

Penguins GM Jim Rutherford insists he hasn’t ruled out bringing Ehrhoff back. However, it’s a safer bet the veteran German defenseman will be playing elsewhere next season.

Ehrhoff is coming off an injury-riddled campaign in which he registered just 14 points in 49 games. He joined the Pens last summer on a one-year, $4 million deal, days after he was bought out by the Sabres.

At his best, Ehrhoff is a good-skating, puck-moving defenseman who can jump into the rush at even strength and contribute on the power play. He was a big part of the successful Canucks teams a few years back, and though he was ultimately bought out, he was an analytical darling for much of his stint with the woeful Sabres.

Ehrhoff is not the staunchest, most physical defender. And considering he’ll turn 33 on July 6, his best days are probably behind him. But the things he does well are in great demand in a league where teams that can’t move the puck have little chance of success.

The wildcard may be his health. He’s apparently been given a clean bill, but suitors may be hesitant to offer much in the way of term for an older player who had concussion issues late last season.

Click here for more UFAs.

Next season’s salary cap to be revealed this week

Montreal Canadiens v Ottawa Senators - Game Six

Not sure exactly when the NHL will announce next season’s cap number, but the general managers will reportedly learn it tomorrow when they meet in Las Vegas.

The GMs have a media availability tomorrow, tentatively scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET. Perhaps they’ll share the details then. At some point, the league will make it official with a press release. They did it last year at the draft.

The 2015-16 cap has been the subject of intense speculation this season. A plunging Canadian dollar combined with ongoing player dissatisfaction related to escrow had many wondering if it could be significantly lower than the $73 million figure that commissioner Gary Bettman pegged in December.

In April, Bettman trimmed his prediction to $71.5 million. Considering the cap was $69 million this past season, we’re not talking about a big bump at all.

Related: A holdover from the ‘dark days,’ does Patrick Sharp have a future in Chicago?

Will the Blues make a big move this week?

T.J. Oshie, Marco Scandella

We all wondered what would happen to the St. Louis Blues if they suffered another first-round loss.

And then they went ahead and did it.

While the fallout in St. Louis ultimately didn’t include firing the coach, we may find out in the next few days if there’s a significant trade to be made, possibly one involving a forward.

From the Post-Dispatch:

The Blues ranked No. 5 in the NHL during the regular season with 2.92 goals a game, but among the 16 playoff teams, they were No. 9 at 2.33.

The trio of Alexander Steen, David Backes and T.J. Oshie teamed up for 177 points in the regular season but went silent in the postseason, combining for just eight. 

It’s the reason that entering this week’s NHL draft, a time on the calendar in which several significant trades are made around the league, the possibility of the Blues moving one of their household names shouldn’t be dismissed.

In addition to their playoff performances, Steen, Backes, and Oshie are also trade candidates because of their contracts. Backes is only signed for one more year before he can become an unrestricted free agent; Steen and Oshie have just two more years before they can do the same. (For that matter, ditto for Patrik Berglund.)

Perhaps another position to watch is goaltending. Though Ken Hitchcock called it “the least of our problems,” it wasn’t exactly a strength in the postseason. Jake Allen finished with a .904 save percentage in making all six starts. And that was after Brian Elliott was supposed to be the starter, but had the opportunity yanked at the last minute.

Think Elliott was happy about that? This is a guy that’s been waiting a long time to go into the postseason as the number one. Not saying he wants out, but for a team looking for a veteran netminder with an affordable cap hit ($2.5 million), he could make sense to target in a trade.

All that being said, GM Doug Armstrong insisted in April that he was wary of making a move just for the sake of making a move.

“What I don’t want to do is hurt the franchise long-term,” he said. “I don’t want to do something that is going to be a good headline tomorrow, and that we’re going to regret for five or six years.”

So far, Armstrong hasn’t made headlines, other than retaining Hitchcock and telling Barret Jackman that he won’t be re-signed.

We’ll see if that changes this week.