There was never any real chance of Darryl Sutter going elsewhere, but his extension as coach of the Los Angeles Kings still needed to go through a process of chatting with general manager Dean Lombardi about the future of the team.
It really never was ever about the money, although Sutter's new deal will pay him north of $3 million, which will make him among the top-paid coaches in the league. It’s a two-year deal plus a club option for a third year; Sutter has money coming to him even if the third year isn’t picked up, so it's a good deal for the two-time Stanley Cup-champion coach.
This is just the first step in what will be an interesting offseason for the Kings, with Lombardi committed to getting this team in a better place. Much of the past few weeks has been spent with the veteran GM meeting with different front-office staff, dissecting what’s working and what isn’t, and forging a new path ahead.
There’s a renewed commitment to do things with a fresh approach, to get back to being one of the top clubs when it comes to drafting and developing.
In the meantime, pending unrestricted free-agent winger Milan Lucic remains unsigned and with each passing day a deal isn’t done, it gets more and more likely he heads to market.
Panthers shuffle the suits
As early as Monday, as has been reported elsewhere, Tom Rowe is expected to be named GM while Dale Tallon gets promoted to president of hockey operations. Now, whether or not this is a promotion for Tallon is open for interpretation.
Rowe had been named Florida’s associate GM in midseason, so the writing was on the wall.
This is about ownership, which took over the team three years ago, getting the guys in there they want to run the team.
Some believe Rowe will be grooming Eric Joyce to be the future GM of the team. Joyce was the team’s AHL GM and also stands to get a promotion next week, likely to Panthers assistant GM.
Hey, I’ve got no problem with owners picking whom they want running their hockey team. Just seems odd timing-wise, given the success of this past season, a division title, plus the overall rebuilding effort under Tallon. The veteran hockey man has done incredible work since arriving in South Florida in 2010.
Team Canada fine-tuning
Team Canada GM Doug Armstrong and his management staff, plus head coach Mike Babcock, held another conference call on Wednesday to fine-tune their bubble list for the remaining seven spots on the Canadian roster.
Team Canada needs to add four forwards and three defensemen before the May 27 roster deadline.
Babcock and Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin flew to Russia on Friday to scout bubble players playing on Canada’s world championship team, the likes of Taylor Hall of the Edmonton Oilers, Brendan Gallagher of the Montreal Canadiens, Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche, Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins et al.
The playoffs have helped some players' stock, to be sure, most notably three right-handed defensemen: Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Alex Pietrangelo of the St. Louis Blues and Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks.
They’ve all helped their respective teams reach the conference finals with outstanding play. While I wouldn’t totally rule out P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens or Brent Seabrook of the Chicago Blackhawks making it, to me it’s coming down to Pietrangelo, Burns and Letang for the final two spots on the right side of defense, behind already named Drew Doughty of the Kings and Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators.