NHL Rumors: Blackhawks, Panthers, Avalanche, Islanders, Oilers, Bruins

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, there is a ton of news related to the report findings by Jenner & Block on Tuesday who investigated the Chicago Blackhawks and the results of those findings could reverberate around the NHL in a major way. Executives, coaches, and players are having to answer for what they knew, saw, and heard and it’s unclear how their futures will be affected. In other news, one reported believes the Colorado Avalanche should beat Vegas to the punch on Jack Eichel, while the Edmonton Oilers and Boston Bruins could be keeping tabs on a specific goaltender. Finally, the New York Islanders are looking for blue line help, but won’t be in a rush to acquire anyone.

Kyle Beach Shares His Story

Wednesday was a heavy day for the NHL, the Blackhawks, and personally for Kyle Beach. He revealed himself to be “John Doe” from the reports and findings related to the sexual abuse allegations of former goalie coach Brad Aldrich in 2010.

The dominos that fell from that report and the dominos that may continue to fall after Beach spoke to Rick Westhead on TSN’s SportsCentre could be felt for some time. Al MacIsaac was relieved of his duties and Stan Bowman stepped aside as GM of the Blackhawks. Joel Quenneville of the Florida Panthers will be questioned today by Gary Bettman, as will Kevin Cheveldayoff of the Winnipeg Jets on Monday. Both were named in the report and Beach believes knew about the abuse.

Beach called out Don Fehr of the NHLPA and said he’s not sure how he can be a leader moving forward when his one job was to protect the players and he failed to do so knowing what he knew.

Will Quenneville Be Gone as Coach?

There is a real belief that Quenneville should not be working as the Panthers’ head coach while this process plays itself out. In fact, there’s a lot of conversation that he should no longer be in a position of power or leadership in the NHL.

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According to interviews with Bowman and former Blackhawks mental skills coach Jim Gary about a May 23 meeting that Quenneville was said to be a part of and the abuse was discussed, both said that Quenneville was concerned with the idea of upsetting team chemistry during the playoff run.

What Did Kane, Toews and Keith Know?

Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith all spoke about the report to the media on Wednesday as well. Keith said he knew nothing about what happened, only that Aldrich didn’t return the next season and the team told him it was because of the incredible workload and hectic schedule.

Toews said, “I don’t wish to exonerate myself in any situation by saying I didn’t know.” He admitted he found out about the incident the next season and by then Aldrich was gone. He defended Bowman and executive Al MacIsaac, calling them “good people” who weren’t “directly complicit in the activities that happened.” He said he wished he could have done something differently adding, a “lot of us were focused on just playing hockey.”

Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews – Photo Credit: Andy Martin Jr

Kane called Beach courageous and said he “wishes he knew more” and “could have done something to help him.” He said he did not know John Doe was Beach until Wednesday.  

GM Replacements for Stan Bowman

Chris Johnston of TSN is reporting that with Stan Bowman out of the picture on the US Olympic team, it could be Bill Guerin who steps in to take over. Johnston notes:

“There is some belief within the industry that Bill Guerin, who has been his assistant general manager in the Olympic process, will step into the big chair. But no confirmation from USA Hockey on that, it would make sense of course, Guerin has been a part of this right from the beginning.”

Jeff Gorton
BUFFALO, NY – JUNE 25: Jeff Gorton during the 2016 NHL Draft on June 25, 2016 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

As for who might take over as GM of the Chicago Blackhawks, Mark Lazerus and Scott Powers of The Athletic took a look at some of the potential candidates and listed Patrick Burke, Meghan Chayka, Kyle Davidson, Mark Eaton, Michael Futo, Mike Gillis, Jeff Gorton, Ryan Hardy, Meghan Hunter, Norm Maciver, Eddie Olczyk, Ryan Stewart, Eric Tulsky and Kevin Weekes.

Related: NHL Rumors: Blackhawks, Jets, Panthers, Canucks, Golden Knights

They talked about the qualifications of each candidate and wrote:

The Blackhawks may look for someone to fill both roles again, but it’s also possible they search for two people, one for each role.

source – ‘Blackhawks general manager search: Potential candidates to replace Stan Bowman in Chicago’ – Mark Lazerus and Scott Powers – The Athletic – 10/27/2021

Darren Dreger of TSN believes the Blackhawks need experience in the GM’s chair and may look to a veteran like Jim Rutherford, Jeff Gorton, and former Penguins and New Jersey Devils GM Ray Shero.

Should Avalanche Block Eichel Trade to Vegas?

A good chunk of the chatter on Wednesday in relation to a Jack Eichel trade involved the Vegas Golden Knights. Still, there are other teams kicking tires and Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post believes the struggling Colorado Avalanche should acquire Eichel first.

Nazem Kadri Colorado Avalanche
Nazem Kadri, Colorado Avalanche (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Admitting it would be difficult to do from a salary cap perspective, he suggests the thought of Eichel playing for Vegas should be a situation Colorado should try to stop. Asking if someone like Nazem Kadri is the right person to trust in the postseason, Kiszla writes:

OK, we know a trade for Eichel, boldly pushing to become the hockey test case for disk replacement surgery, wouldn’t pay immediate dividends for Colorado. Between the dicey nature of a serious injury and the hefty financial obligations remaining on his $80 million contract, I acknowledge that Eichel might not be a risk worth taking.

But seven months down the road, if Eichel scores a clutch goal for Las Vegas in a playoff showdown against the Avs, don’t come crying to me.

source – ‘Kiszla: “Stumbling, bumbling” Avs need to take serious look at trading for Buffalo center Jack Eichel’ Makr Kizla – Denver Post – 10/26/2021

Islanders Looking for Blue Line Help

While the New York Islanders aren’t making any roster changes right away, The Fourth Period is reporting that GM Lou Lamoriello will explore the defensive market closer to the March 21 trade deadline. The team has just over $2.26 million in salary cap overage space to play with.

During NHL Now on NHL Network, David Pagnotta noted the Islanders would be looking for help on the left side of their blueline after the Olympic break wraps. “They like the way things are structured for the time being. But my sense is, as the season progresses, this is a team that’s going to be looking to bring in somebody mobile on that backend, preferably on the left side.”

Oilers and Bruins Keeping Eye on Korpisalo?

Pagnotta also reported that Joonas Korpisalo is a goaltender that will garner some interest closer to the NHL trade deadline. He said, “If this team is in their rebuild process, he’s going to be a guy that clubs are going to be looking at.”

How Korpisalo plays this season will greatly affect the interest from other teams. Pagnotta said the Boston Bruins explored Korpisalo’s availability in the off-season and the Edmonton Oilers, who have kicked the tires on Korpisalo in the past, could revisit those discussions later in the season if they desire a change in goal. The Oilers got their first taste of lackluster goaltending in a loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night as Mikko Koskinen did not play well.