Former Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco isn’t going to be out of work very long.
According to John Vogl of The Buffalo News, Sacco is set to join Sabres head coach Ron Rolston on his staff as an assistant. Rolston has been looking for experienced help on his bench since former assistants Kevyn Adams and James Patrick were let go.
Both Rolston and Sacco have history together as they were assistants under Scott Gordon for Team USA during the 2010 World Championships. Sacco coached Team USA to the bronze medal at this year’s Championships.
Sacco was fired as head coach of the Avalanche following yet another disappointing season this year. He’ll join Teppo Numminen on Rolston’s coaching staff. Numminen was the only holdover from Lindy Ruff’s tenure in Buffalo.
Update (3:08 p.m. ET): Sabres make it official Sacco is on board. Press conference to come at 4:30 ET today.
Detroit is set to head into this offseason with some cap space and a hole to fill up the middle. Their potential shopping list of centermen gives Red Wings fans a reason to pay attention when free agency kicks off on Friday.
Ansar Khan of Mlive.com reports the team has a host of pivots they’re looking at to replace free agent-to-be Valtteri Filppula. Among them are some reasonably big names.
Stephen Weiss (Florida), Mike Ribeiro (Washington), Derek Roy (Vancouver), Tyler Bozak (Toronto), and Matt Cullen (Minnesota). New Jersey’s Patrik Elias is also on their short-list, but he’s close to re-signing with the Devils. While Vincent Lecavalier would seem like a logical fit here, Khan says his demands may be a bit too pricey for what GM Ken Holland is looking for.
Meanwhile, the team is still working on re-signing Damien Brunner and Danny Cleary to new deals. Should that not pan out, there are a host of veteran options on the market for wingers including Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow, Jaromir Jagr, and Michael Ryder (amongst others).
Toronto might have Tyler Bozak to kick around for quite a few years.
TSN’s Darren Dreger reports Bozak made an eight-year offer to the Maple Leafs for his services.
A deal like that would have him check in with a lower cap hit than Mikhail Grabovski, Phil Kessel, and Joffrey Lupul amongst forwards and leave Toronto with limited room to fill out the roster. To get around that, Dreger says there’s a possibility the team buys out Grabovski with his $5.5 million cap hit over the next four seasons to make it fit better.
Last season, Bozak had 12 goals and 16 assists in 46 games for the Leafs. Bozak has been a dependable, but not great, player through his career to this point. Committing to him for a maximum-length contract would be curious to say the least, but perhaps the team comes back with something far more reasonable.
The waiver wire picked up a little bit today and the Colorado Avalanche figured heavily into that.
The Avs placed defensemen Greg Zanon and Matt Hunwick on regular waivers. Both players played heavy minutes for Colorado last season and, eerily enough, both finished the year with no goals and six assists.
With these two going on waivers it makes Colorado’s decision to draft Nathan MacKinnon over Seth Jones a bit more intriguing. In truth, Colorado is likely clearing room for youngsters Stefan Elliott and Tyson Barrie to play more next season.
Elsewhere, Nashville placed 6’7″ defenseman Hal Gill on waivers while St. Louis did the same with Kris Russell. Predators GM David Poile said that by drafting Seth Jones they didn’t have room for Gill next season. Russell, meanwhile, is a restricted free agent so any team could grab his rights to sign him to a new deal.
Mikhail Grigorenko’s rookie season in Buffalo wasn’t exactly one to write home about.
While he came in with big expectations, he found himself buried on the Sabres’ lines and eventually sent back to junior hockey. Next year, things won’t be like that.
GM Darcy Regier told reporters today that Grigorenko will stay with the Sabres all season and will not be sent back to junior hockey. He is ineligible to play in the AHL as he’s 19 years-old.
Last season, Grigorenko had a goal and four assists in 25 games. That’s not impressive at all, but even less so was his average ice time of 10:14 per game. That kind of inaction is no way to properly develop a young player. Coach Ron Rolston will have to make sure to give him the proper linemates (not John Scott for instance) and ice time to help him better use his offensive abilities.