Updates on Loui Eriksson and Dennis Wideman, plus the latest on the Senators, Canadiens, Avalanche & more in your NHL rumor mill.
Highlights from Friedman’s latest “30 Thoughts.”
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman notes the speculation suggesting the Ottawa Senators pursue Claude Julien as their new head coach if the Boston Bruins fire him in the offseason. However, Julien would be a $3 million hire and Friedman wonders if the Senators are prepared to go that route.
Friedman also believes Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin wants to make moves but doesn’t want to do one that addresses one problem while creating another. If he were to trade defenseman P.K. Subban, who would replace him? Ditto left wing Max Pacioretty.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Bergevin is going into a complete teardown and rebuild mode, he’s not moving Subban or Pacioretty.
He notes Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning admitted possible interest in Boston Bruins right wing Loui Eriksson, but the Bruins might have a problem with it.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s what Benning said, courtesy of The Province: “We’re going to look … I’m not going to comment on other teams players right now but if there’s a player who is around 30 and has a connection with our group and we think is going to be a good fit playing with our players and is going to be part of helping our young players develop then we will look at everything.” Draw your own conclusions about Benning’s intent.
Forward Vladimir Sobotka suffered an injury in the KHL playoffs, which also quashed a rumor he might return to the St. Louis Blues in time for the playoffs.
Noting Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli acquired and trade Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman during his tenure as Boston Bruins GM, Friedman wonders if a Wideman-to-Edmonton trade makes sense to anyone.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No, it doesn’t make sense. Wideman, 33, only has a year remaining on his contract at a cap hit of $5.25 million, but in my opinion he’s not the top-two defenseman the Oilers want or need. That’s assuming, of course, he’d agree to waive his no-movement clause to go to Edmonton.
NHL coaching carousel to begin.
TSN: Gary Lawless lists Boston’s Claude Julien, St. Louis’ Ken Hitchcock, Calgary’s Bob Hartley, the New York Islanders’ Jack Capuano, Anaheim’s Bruce Boudreau and Minnesota’s John Torchetti as coaches on the hot seat this spring. Among the names to watch who could fill some coaching vacancies include former NHL coaches Marc Crawford, Randy Carlyle, Guy Boucher, Todd Richards and Mike Yeo.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Julien’s a goner, but if the Bruins are determined to replace him, I hope they don’t leave him twisting in the wind again for two months like they did last spring. I think Hartley’s job is safe. If the Blues fail to stage a lengthy playoff run, Hitchcock won’t be back. Isles GM Garth Snow’s been very patient with Capuano, but it could be time for a change there. An early playoff exit probably means Boudreau gets canned. Not sure about Torchetti’s status. The Wild rallied for a few weeks following his hiring but stumbled in the final two weeks of the season.
Latest on the Avalanche and Red Wings.
NBC SPORTS: Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic said he intends to listen to trade offers this summer. “We have to explore different options to see how we can become a better team,” said Sakic. No one is untouchable, including captain Gabriel Landeskog and goaltender Semyon Varlamov. Sakic also expressed interest in re-signing trade-deadline acquisitions Mikkel Boedker and Shawn Matthias, who are eligible for UFA status this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs need to bolster their blueline, but I think they’d be better served by a coaching change. Of course, that’s not gonna happen this summer. If the Avs struggle again next season under head coach Patrick Roy, will that finally convince Sakic that a change behind the bench is necessary? Or does he keep making the players the scapegoats for Roy’s mistakes? What say you, Avalanche fans?
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Helene St. James joins the chorus suggesting the Red Wings find a way to trade Pavel Datsyuk’s $7.5 million cap hit for next season (provided Datsyuk intends to play in Russia next season) and use the savings to pursue Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos via free agency.