Ramblings: D.J. Smith Hired in Ottawa; Larkin Injury Update; Nelson Contract; Meier and Labanc – May 24

Michael Clifford



The big news from Thursday was Ottawa hiring their next head coach, D.J. Smith. That name might sound familiar to some as he ran both the defence and penalty kill of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He will be going into 2019-20 as Ottawa’s next bench boss.

You can read Cam Robinson’s take on the hiring here.

I don’t really have much to add here. The only real responsibility that Smith will have for the next two seasons is to develop all their young players. That includes Tkachuk, Chabot, White, and many others currently in the organization or on their way after the upcoming draft. This team could post 50-point seasons the next two years and it would not matter whatsoever as long as the young kids come along, and he can instill whatever systems he sees fit for his team. We’ll see if the owner has that kind of patience.  


So, uh, remember Dylan Larkin taking a slap shot to the testicles in the World Championships? He didn’t return to that game and he was taken out of the tournament altogether. Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill says Larkin will be fine, which is a big relief.


Brock Nelson signed a six-year, $36-million contract extension with the Islanders. In a nutshell, I don’t have a huge problem with this contract in the real world but it’s hard to see him being worth it in cap leagues. Fifty-point centres are pretty easy to find and you can find them for less than a $6M AAV.


The rumour mill around the Penguins has been going strong since they were ousted in four games in the first round of the playoffs, but Josh Yohe of The Athletic is reporting there is a deal more or less in place between Pittsburgh and Minnesota involving Phil Kessel and Jason Zucker. That Kessel has a partial no-trade appears to be one of the final hurdles to clear.

Both Zucker and Kessel have been part of trade rumours for a month now, so this isn’t unexpected. But Zucker is on a very team-friendly deal and is coming off a bad year driven by percentages and not poor play. Minnesota better be sure about what they’re doing, and the Niederreiter-Rask trade gives me cause for concern about the Wild making more big moves.


A pretty interesting tweet here from Steve Laidlaw on Wednesday night. Hi, Steve!