NHL Rumors: Senators, Oilers, Maple Leafs, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown there are updates on the Ottawa Senators, and Edmonton Oilers, as well as news on Taylor Hall and how the New Jersey Devils will approach his future. Finally, there are reports of a possible rif between Kyle Dubas and Mike Babcock of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Senators Looking for a President?

According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet who said during the Saturday Headlines report, the Ottawa Senators are looking to hire a president of hockey operations. “It’s not imminent, but the one thing they wanted to come out and say clearly was that this does not mean that Pierre Dorion is in trouble,” he said. He added that the Senators are supprting the work he’s done in building up their prospects and picks.

Pierre Dorion Ottawa Senators 2015
Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion. (Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports)

It is being reported that one of the people who has been approached about the job in Ottawa is Dean Lombardi.

Related: Oilers Bob Nicholson Making Critical Mistakes

Edmonton Oilers Management and Coaching Changes

It is also being reported the Edmonton Oilers might be looking for a President of Hockey Operations alongside their search for a new general manager. In the Oilers case, this would be someone who could come in and move Bob Nicholson exclusively to the business side of the Oilers Entertainment Group.

Drake Caggiula, Mikko Koskinen, Cooper Marody, Ken Hitchcock
Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen celebrates with left wing Drake Caggiula and center Cooper Marody in front of head coach Ken Hitchcock. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Jeff Chiu)

Nicholson was asked that question directly while a guest on the Jason Gregor on TSN1260 and he said that the priority of the Oilers is to find a GM and a coach. He wants to have one in place by the NHL Draft but he’s not going to rush the decision to make that happen. In relation to him stepping aside or hiring someone else to focus on hockey, Nicholson said it was in his plans to rearrange the time he’s allocating to hockey and intends to be more hands-on, while giving the new GM the power to make his own decisions.

Still with the Oilers, when Ken Hitchcock was asked about whether or not he wanted to return to coach the Oilers next season, he said, ”For the record, I feel if I’m good I can coach until I’m 99.”

Related: NHL Rumors: Kovalchuk, Tkachuk, Ducks, More

Devils Will Sit Down With Taylor Hall Before July 1

According to a report by Corey Masisak of The Athletic, the New Jersey Devils plan to sit down and talk the future of the team and how Taylor Hall fits into that future before he’s eligible to sign an extension on July 1, 2019. As per Masisak, GM Ray Shero said on Deb Placey’s NHL Executive Suite podcast:

“… it’s not like, ‘Hey, here’s the contract, sign it up.’ It’s like anything. If we’re getting into the longer term with a free agent, what are you selling, what are we doing? So they need to know that and I want to know that from their standpoint. I think the respect and relationship both ways has been really good, and he’s an important player for our franchise certainly. That will be the hope, sitting down and something that will work for both of us, longer term. If that’s meant to be, and we’d like to have that happen. And we’ll see what happens at the end of the season when we sit down.”

source – ‘What Taylor Hall’s next contract might look like, as a pivotal summer for him and the Devils beckons’ = Corey Masisak – The Athletic – 03/21/2019

Trouble Between Babcock and Dubas?

Kristen Shilto of TSN writes there is speculation in Toronto that Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock and general manager Kyle Dubas aren’t exactly on the same page these days.

Mike Babcock, NHL, Toronto Maple Leafs
Mike Babcock Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

When asked about the speculation, Babcock said, “Whatever people speculate or think, I don’t think that’s the case.” Babcock didn’t shoot down the idea that the two sides might not see eye-to-eye, but there’s not a rift between them and Babcock simply called a matter of a bit of storm hitting every professional relationship. You’d like to say everything perfect but sometimes it just isn’t he explained.

Babcock claimed that any comments he may have made were not directed at any one person. He knows that everyone on the team is trying to improve the depth of the team. “Dubie and my relationship isn’t as good as it’s gonna be four years from now. Mine with Ken Holland wasn’t as good in my first year as my 10th” he said.

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