NHL Rumors: Devils, Canadiens, Blackhawks, Phase 3, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is a favorite for the head coaching position in New Jersey, the owner of the Montreal Canadiens has spoken on a few issues, and the Chicago Blackhawks look at items on their to-do list. Finally, how set in stone is the July 10 date as the start of Phase 3 for the NHL?

Laviolette the Favorite to Coach Devils

TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that former Nashville Predators coach Peter Laviolette has emerged as the favorite for the head coaching position in New Jersey. It makes sense considering he’s probably the hottest coaching free agent and actually had a winning record when he was let go by the Predators.

That said, Laviolette’s hiring is not a given. Dreger notes that the uncertain status of interim GM Tom Fitzgerald could delay an official hiring by the franchise.

Canadiens Geoff Molson Speaks to Media

Montreal Canadiens owner and team president Geoff Molson spoke with reporters Wednesday and a partial transcript of the 90-minute call was posted on the team’s official website. Apparently, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Marc Bergevin Montreal Canadiens
Marc Bergevin, Montreal Canadiens, 2019 NHL Draft (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Despite the fact the Canadiens could miss the playoffs again and their recent performances have been inconsistent, Molson gave a vote of confidence to GM Marc Bergevin. Molson believes the team is on the right track and noted Bergevin’s remaining two years on his current deal, calling him one of the most respected” GMs in the league.

He also discusses the 14 draft picks the organization has for the upcoming draft, and said that there may be some movement with some of those picks. The team might be more apt to make moves now that they are not hosting the NHL Draft.  

Molson also noted that, despite speculation, he has no intention of bringing in someone else to serve as a president of hockey operations.

In other Canadiens news, Arpon Basu of The Athletic discussed whether or not Torey Krug of the Boston Bruins might be a player the Montreal Canadiens should target this offseason. Basu writes:

Krug is a player I would definitely target this summer. He would slide in perfectly next to Shea Weber on the top pair, would help an awful power play immediately and has a prior relationship with Claude Julien, the man who believed in him, looked past his size and gave him an opportunity. I think it’s a natural fit, assuming he doesn’t re-sign with the Bruins of course.

source – ‘Ask Arpon: Some personal reflection and your Canadiens questions’ Arpon Basu – The Athletic – 06/04/2020

Basu also noted that Bergevin could consider Mikhail Sergachev if he’s not able to land Krug. He doesn’t believe the Tampa Bay Lightning could match an offer sheet if one was extended.

Related: Blackhawks Memories: Stanley Cup Brings Out the Jerks

Latest On the Chicago Blackhawks

Scott Powers and Mark Lazerus of The Athletic report Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has stayed in contact with pending free agents like Corey Crawford and Dylan Strome. That said, his conversations with those players haven’t been about new contracts.

Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks
Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks, Nov. 9, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Bowman notes it is a priority to sign these players and the scribes write:

Re-signing Corey Crawford, Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome are certainly on Bowman’s to-do list, but he can’t really do that until he knows what next season’s salary cap will be in the wake of the devastating financial losses the league is suffering as a result of the prematurely ended season and a postseason without fans.

In a mailbag segment, Lazerus was asked who he felt would be the Blackhawks’ starting goalie next season and he believes it will still be Crawford.

Lazerus writes:

He badly wants to stay in Chicago and is coming off a terrific season. I don’t know how exactly the Blackhawks will make the money work, because they have to re-sign Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome, too, but Crawford remains the best option (a two-year deal worth, say, $4 million a season would be fair all around) by far. 

source -‘#HeyLaz Blackhawks mailbag: The time for (not) talking is over’ – Mark Lazerus – The Athletic – 06/11/2020

Phase 3 Start Date Could Change

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun notes that the official date for the start of Phase 3 could be pushed back to August 1st. The reason for the July 10 date announcement was so players could start making plans on when they may need to leave for their team’s city. But, there is still a lot of hurdles to jump first.

LeBrun notes:

“Now. It has to be said that that date could still change if negotiations drag on Phase 3 and Phase 4, and those negotiations are just at its infancy right now, although there’s a lot of back and forth happening hopefully over the next two, three, four weeks, they do get an agreement on return to play, finally. As far as the games and the protocols and everything else. The league and the players did not commit to announcing a start of those games, because that’s the last being negotiated.”

The NHL is still hoping Phase 4, (the start of playoff games), will happen around August 1st.

Catch up on all the latest NHL Rumors