In today’s NHL rumor rundown, we look at the leading candidates for the Ottawa Senators vacant coaching job, if the Red Wings will still be able to extend Jimmy Howard and if this offseason has the potential to be one of the busiest for franchise-altering player moves?
And the Next Senators Head Coach Is?
According to a report by the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, there are a number of candidates that could be considered frontrunners for the vacant head coaching job in Ottawa. Garrioch lists former New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, Columbus Blue Jackets assistant coach Brad Shaw, and Belleville Senators’ coach Troy Mann as top candidates.
Outside of those three, he mentioned the man who has been given the interim coaching gig in Ottawa, Marc Crawford, former Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, Todd McLellan (formerly of the Edmonton Oilers), Sheldon Keefe of the Marlies AHL club and Mike Yeo, former coach for the St. Louis Blues. Garrioch considers a guy like Dallas Eakins an option but thinks he’s going to get the head coaching gig in Anaheim.
Of those candidates, the question to ask is, who is the best developer of young talent, listener, and communicator, willing to take feedback? Those are the qualities GM Pierre Dorion said he wanted most in a new coach.
Wings Still Hope to Re-Sign Howard
Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News is reporting that Red Wings GM Ken Holland is still interested in re-signing goaltender Jimmy Howard even though there was little interest in Howard leading up to the NHL Trade Deadline. Because most of the contending NHL clubs had strong goaltending, Howard wasn’t high on many lists.
The Red Wings are expected to sit down with Howard right away and talk contract extension. Howard has played well for the Red Wings this season but with little interest in him around the NHL, perhaps Holland can get him on a two-year extension that is not all that costly for the club. There is a chance he’ll take less than the $5.29 million per season he’s making now.
Busy Off-Season for Franchise-Altering Moves?
The New Jersey Devils might be looking at a franchise-altering decision when it comes to Taylor Hall and his future with the organization. With only one season left after this one on his current deal and the Devils not really a playoff contending team, could the Devils try and use an offer sheet to lure in someone to help Hall? Or, will the club elect to trade him?
The Devils aren’t the only team that might face big decisions this summer. The following are some of the teams where big moves were hinted at during the season and things could pop back up this summer:
Stars’ Benn and Seguin
In Dallas, one of the stories of the season was the public call-out of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin by Dallas CEO Jim Lite. That made front-page news and while things have calmed in recent weeks, there are still some question marks surrounding Benn.
If the Stars are unhappy with Benn’s production or they regret that they signed him to such a big eight-year deal, could the team try and find a taker for his contract in the offseason? If the Stars don’t make the playoffs, the chances of that happening go up exponentially.
Seguin has produced nicely since the public lashing but Benn has only 41 points in 61 games this season.
Blues Have Some Big Names
Before they went on a magical run and now find themselves in the postseason hunt, the St. Louis Blues were ready to tear the team apart and big names like Vladimir Tarasenko, Alex Pietrangelo, Brayden Schenn and Colton Parayko were all potentially available in trade.
Third in the central right now, what has to happen in St. Louis for these names to be back on the block? Should the Blues fortunes reverse over the last 15 games or should they be ousted in the first round of the playoffs, how long before these names go on the trade block again?
Tarasenko garnered interest from a number of teams including the Carolina Hurricanes, the Bruins were linked to Schenn and the Leafs to Pietrangelo and Parayko. Would these teams be interested over the summer?
Jets and Laine
It would be hard to imagine the Jets trading Patrik Laine but a few days prior to the trade deadline, there was a report that the Winnipeg Jets didn’t hang up the phone when a team asked about his availability. Winnipeg could be a team to watch during the playoffs because if they underperform, what kind of changes might they make?
The latest rumblings are that the Jets want to keep him but do only a short-term deal because of his inconsistencies this season. On a recent episode of the Two-Man Advantage podcast, it was suggested the Jets would have been prepared to deal Laine if the team had acquired and signed Mark Stone at the deadline. This is the second year the team has moved its first-round draft pick for a rental and if they falter in the playoffs, they might want it back.
Blue Jackets Big Gamble
The Columbus Blue Jackets took some major gambles at this year’s trade deadline. What if these gambles don’t pay off? On paper, they look to be much stronger, but names like Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel, Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky and others are free agents. The idea behind these moves was to win at least one playoff round and right now the Blue Jackets are barely hanging onto a Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. If things go sideways, how many of these players will be gone?
Toronto Maple Leafs and Mitch Marner
Questions still surround what the Maple Leafs will do this offseason with their tight contract situation. Could a name like Mitch Marner be more challenging to sign than the team thinks? What if he goes on a tear in the playoffs?
Kings and… Everyone
Finally, the Los Angeles Kings are still looking to move a number of big-name players. They were unable to move names like Jonathan Quick, Tyler Toffoli, Jeff Carter, Alec Martinez, and others prior to the deadline. These names are all names they’ll still try and move this summer.