NHL Rumor Mill – November 10, 2016
Coaches on the hot seat plus latest on the Canucks, Islanders & Sharks in your NHL rumor mill.
TORONTO SUN: Michael Traikos lists Jack Capuano of the New York Islanders, Willie Desjardins of the Vancouver Canucks, John Tortorella of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Lindy Ruff of the Dallas Stars and Jared Bednar of the Colorado Avalanche as five NHL coaches on the hot seat early in this season.
Traikos cites Capuano “taking a shot” at Isles general manager Garth Snow for the loss of 134 points from their lineup, referring to the departures of Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin via free agency. He also notes the Canucks anemic offense, the Blue Jackets record, the Stars poor goaltending and the Avs spotty goaltending, poor defense and popgun offense as factors putting those coaches in their current plights.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Notice a common theme? All of those coaches are feeling the burn because of the rosters built by their general managers. But of course, it’s the coach that takes the fall for a GM’s mistakes. Capuano’s been with the Isles a long time and perhaps they need a change behind the bench, while the demanding Tortorella’s act can wear thin with his players after a while.
If I had to pick one from this list who’s most likely to be fired first, I’ll go with Desjardins. The Canucks have really struggled in recent weeks and a shakeup behind the bench is possible if they don’t snap out of their tailspin soon.
TODAY’S SLAPSHOT: Appearing on Vancouver’s TSN 1040, Darren Dreger reports Canucks GM Jim Benning’s been shopping for offense in the last couple of weeks. Benning told Dreger trade calls are increasing, which isn’t surprising given the league general managers will be meeting next week in Toronto. Benning’s getting calls for his promising prospects.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Benning’s not parting with any of his top prospects. As I’ve said, there’s no magic trade coming that’ll boost the Canucks offense. They’re pretty much stuck with what they’ve got for this season.
NEWSDAY: Asked by a reader if we can expect a trade that brings the New York Islanders a top-end forward to playing alongside John Tavares, Arthur Staple cites salary-cap constraints around the league as why he doesn’t expect such a deal to happen. He said GM Garth Snow is fielding calls and offers daily but didn’t elaborate. Staple also feels they’ll stick with goaltender Jaroslav Halak for now because they need wins and he’s best suited to provide them.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Snow failed to adequately replace the lost offense of Okposo and Nielsen. That’ll likely remain a problem over the remainder of this season. As for Halak, his $4.5 million cap hit through next season and injury history also makes him difficult to move right now.
CSN BAY AREA: Responding to a reader’s question on when the San Jose Sharks might ship forward Patrick Marleau at the trade deadline, Kevin Kurz replied it’s far too early for that speculation. He doesn’t see much of a market right now for “a 37-year-old winger with two even strength points in 13 games that carries a $6.67 million cap hit.” Kurz speculates Marleau could play out this final season of his contract with the Sharks, but nothing’s happened that makes him thing the long-time Shark will return next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Marleau is willing to accept a trade by the March 1 deadline, maybe he’ll be dealt to a playoff contender. Even then, that’s not a certainty. His production will have to pick up over the course of the season to attract interest from rival clubs.