NHL Rumors: Rangers, Flyers, Canadiens, Oilers

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, just hours after being eliminated from the playoffs, the New York Rangers have already signed an extension with one of their forwards. And, now that they are out of the playoffs, what’s next? The Philadelphia Flyers have narrowed down their candidates for a new head coach and the one former Montreal Canadiens defenseman might be interested in returning.

Rangers Sign Kravtsov

Dan Milstein’s Gold Star Hockey announced on Sunday that winger Vitali Kravtsov has signed a one-year, one-way contract extension with the New York Rangers. A player who was unhappy that he didn’t make the roster out of camp this past season, Kravtsov took off for the KHL and had a relatively productive season.

Clearly, he’s interested in returning to the NHL as Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that the one-year deal carries an $ 875k cap hit, which is a decrease from the $ 925k cap hit he carried on his entry-level deal. It’s not clear if the idea is to get a forward onto the roster that is inexpensive and replace a potential winger leaving in free agency, or if the Rangers believe he’ll be easy to trade at this low cap hit.

That this signing came so quickly suggests the Rangers had the deal in the bag and just wanted to wait until the end of their season to announce it.

Rangers Next Moves

With Kravtsov signed, ESPN.com’s Greg Wyshynski took a look at the Rangers’ offseason plans. He notes the team has some intriguing free agents, including Ryan Strome and Andrew Copp. Whyshynski wonders if the Rangers will find a creative way to free up cap space to retain both on multi-year contracts.

Among the options could be dealing Alexandar Georgiev and finding a less expensive backup, or the Rangers might consider signing Kaapo Kakko to a low-cost bridge deal. When Rangers coach Gerard Gallant made Kakko a healthy scratch for Game 6 of the Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning, it immediately had insiders speculating that his future with the Rangers isn’t set in stone.

Flyers Narrow Down Coaching Candidates

According to Frank Seravalli of the Daily Faceoff, the Flyers have reportedly narrowed down their list of candidates for their vacant Head Coach position to two people: Barry Trotz and John Tortorella. These two finalists have emerged from an extensive list of former coaches the Flyers interviewed. Not surprisingly, they are among the most experienced candidates the team talked to.

Seravalli writes:

According to sources, the Flyers interviewed a list of candidates including but not limited to Mike Vellucci, Jim Montgomery, Rick Tocchet, Jeff Blashill and David Quinn. The Flyers were also believed to have engaged in at least a conversation with recently-departed Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy later last week, though it was unclear whether that constituted an ‘interview’ or not. Cassidy is in the mix for other head coaching opportunities.

Could Kulak Return to Canadiens?

While the Edmonton Oilers have publicly declared they are interested in bringing back Brett Kulak on an extension, Jonathan Bernier from the Journal de Montreal reports that the blueliner isn’t just looking at the Oilers as a UFA this summer. Kulak did not rule out the possibility of going back to the Montreal Canadiens in free agency on July 13.

When asked if he could see himself returning, he responded, “Of course, there’s a chance that I could be back in Montreal.” He added, “I loved my time with the Montreal Canadiens. From Day 1, they treated me with class. It felt special to be part of that organization. ”

If Jeff Petry is traded, the Canadiens will certainly be looking for a serviceable and experienced defenseman to play more minutes. Meanwhile, Oilers General Manager Ken Holland is expected to meet with Brett Kulak’s agent Gerry Johannson this week.

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