NHL Rumor Mill – November 7, 2018
The fallout from the Blackhawks’ firing head coach Joel Quenneville plus the latest on Matt Duchene in your NHL rumor mill.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE BLACKHAWKS AND QUENNEVILLE?
THE HOCKEY NEWS: In the aftermath of the Chicago Blackhawks firing Joel Quenneville as head coach, Jared Clinton said the move won’t resolve the lack of depth on their roster.
Salary-cap limitations brought about in part from big contracts for Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Brent Seabrook led to Teuvo Teravainen, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Artemi Panarin, Vinnie Hinostroza and Jordan Oesterle being moved in cost-cutting trades that saw the Blackhawks get back little in return. Management also made short-sighted deals that cost them a first-round pick in 2015 and 2016, two seconds in 2016 and center Philip Danault.
Unless those underlying issues are addressed, Clinton doesn’t expect the coaching change will improve the Blackhawks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The majority of fans and pundits believe Quenneville was the scapegoat for general manager Stan Bowman’s mistakes. Quenneville wasn’t totally blameless for the Blackhawks’ decline but he was dealing with a roster being steadily depleted of talent in recent years. If the Blackhawks fail to improve under new bench boss Jeremy Colliton there could be other changes coming.
If Bowman and his staff remain in charge beyond this season they could be forced to consider rebuilding the roster but that won’t be easy to do. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $61 million invested in 14 players for 2018-19, with nearly $50 million invested in just seven players: Toews, Kane, Brandon Saad, Artem Anisimov, Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, and Corey Crawford. All but Saad carry no-trade or no-movement clauses.
Clinton also lists the St. Louis Blues, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, Edmonton Oilers, Detroit Red Wings and Seattle’s expansion team as seven potential destinations for Quenneville.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t expect Quenneville to be out of a job for long. Yes, the Kings just hired Willie Desjardins but he’s there on an interim basis so there’s no certainty he’ll survive the season if the Kings fail to improve. I don’t think Oilers coach Todd McLellan is in danger of being fired but that could change if the club falters over the course of this season. The other teams mentioned by Clinton, however, are all viable destinations.
LATEST ON DUCHENE
TSN: In the wake of a secretly-shot video showing Ottawa Senators center Matt Duchene and several teammates mocking assistant coach Martin Raymond, Bob McKenzie noted this comes at a time when Duchene’s agent is actively involved in contract talks with Senators GM Pierre Dorion.
While McKenzie said he can’t say if the center will re-sign with the Senators, he indicates there appears to be good faith bargaining on both sides. ” The Senators want him back and he has interest in staying if it’s the right deal. We’ll see how it goes from here.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ottawa Sun reporter Don Brennan pondered what the Uber incident means for Duchene. He wondered if Duchene really believes in the team’s direction, if he wants to stay and if the clubs wants to keep him.
If McKenzie’s report is anything to go by, both sides still seem willing to work out a new contract. Time will tell if this episode has any effect upon those negotiations.