NHL Rumor Mill – August 13, 2016
Possible coaching candidates to replace Patrick Roy in Colorado, plus an update on Martin Hanzal’s contract negotiations with the Arizona Coyotes.
SI.COM: Allan Muir reports Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic said he’ll meet with his staff today to begin the process of finding suitable candidates to replace Patrick Roy, who resigned as head coach on Thursday. Sakic’s indicated he’ll look outside the organization. While there’s talk of bringing back former Avs coach Bob Hartley, Muir claims the rumblings around the league suggests that’s unlikely.
The Avs could instead focus on assistant coaches on other clubs with out-clauses in their current contracts. Muir suggests Kevin Dineen (Chicago Blackhawks), Bob Boughner (San Jose Sharks), Paul MacLean (Anaheim Ducks and Todd Richards (Tampa Bay Lightning) could be possibilities. He also speculates Sakic could look at a younger coach such as Sheldon Keefe or Travis Green.
THE DENVER POST: Terry Frei reports the Avs must first seek permission from rival clubs to speak with coaches still under contract. That includes Hartley, who was fired at the end of last season but still has a year remaining on his contract with the Calgary Flames. When contacted for comment, Hartley politely declined. Frei also mentioned Dineen as a possible target for the Avs, along with Blackhawks assistant coach Mike Kitchen.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whoever the Avs hire must be able to work well with their young players and improve their overall defensive game. I expect Sakic prefers to have a new head coach in place before training camp opens next month.
ARIZONA SPORTS: Craig Morgan reports it’s unlikely the Coyotes will have center Martin Hanzal re-signed to a contract extension before the start of the upcoming season. Hanzal, 29, is eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency. He is “entering the final year of a five-year, $15.5 million deal that will pay him $3.5 million this season with a cap hit of $3.1 million.”
Coyotes GM John Chayka had preliminary talks with the Hanzal camp earlier this summer, but a busy offseason pushed those talks to the back burner. Chayka said it might not be a bad thing to see how things play out this season. Morgan speculates the Coyotes could shop Hanzal if he’s still unsigned,but they need his experience at center right now. He doesn’t think it makes sense for the Coyotes to trade Hanzal until they’ve secured a replacement.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: At 6’6″ and 225 pounds, Hanzal is a big, rugged center with good playmaking and two-way skills. He also has a lengthy injury history, which could explain Chayka’s reluctance to ink him to a lucrative long-term deal right now.
If Hanzal has a healthy 2016-17, that could help the Coyotes GM decide if he’s worth retaining. It will also improve his value at the trade deadline and in next summer’s unrestricted free agent market.