NHL Rumor Mill – December 17, 2018
Are the Flyers on the verge of replacing coach Dave Hakstol with Joel Quenneville? Get the details plus the latest Leafs and Sabres speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.
QUENNEVILLE REPLACING HAKSTOL AS FLYERS COACH?
COURIER-POST ONLINE: Dave Isaac yesterday cited “multiple sources” claiming the Philadelphia Flyers would announce the firing of head coach Dave Hakstol “Sunday night or Monday morning.” Those sources also said Hakstol’s replacement would be former Chicago Blackhawks bench boss Joel Quenneville.
Following Isaac’s report, TSN’s Darren Dreger took to Twitter reporting there was “No communication with Joel Quenneville, yet. Anything is possible.”
PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi reports Dave Scott, the CEO of the Flyers’ parent company Comcast Spectacor, said it wasn’t true that Quenneville had been hired.
NBC SPORTS: John Boruk and Jordan Hall report two team sources said no moves have been made regarding the club’s coaching staff. They also cited FOX Sports Midwest’s Andy Strickland reporting Quenneville hadn’t taken the job.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Isaac isn’t a rumor monger and I don’t doubt his sources. However, the Flyers moved quickly to deny Quenneville was replacing Hakstol. Of course, we can’t rule out the possibility that the embattled Hakstol could be replaced and perhaps the Flyers have their eye on Quenneville. We’ll find out soon enough.
WHICH DEFENSEMAN MIGHT BEST HELP THE LEAFS?
THE ATHLETIC: Ian Tulloch recently conducted an in-depth analysis of the defensemen linked to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the rumor mill to determine which one would best suit their needs on the right side. Alex Pietrangelo of the St. Louis Blues is a legitimate No. 1 defenseman but the asking price could be comparable to what the New York Rangers got for Ryan McDonagh last season, which included two key prospects plus a first-round draft pick and a second rounder.
Tulloch considers Blues rearguard Colton Parayko one of the better two-way blueliners in hockey. He feels Parayko’s defensive skills could improve the Leafs’ shot suppression and cut down opponents’ scoring chances. The cost could be Kaspari Kapanen, prospect Timothy Liljegren and a 2019 first-round pick.
Tulloch also examined more defensive blueliners such as Chris Tanev of the Vancouver Canucks, Mark Pysyk of the Florida Panthers, and Radko Gudas of the Philadelphia Flyers, noting the decline of their respective performances. Other options include Brett Pesce of the Carolina Hurricanes, Nick Jensen of the Detroit Red Wings, and Jake Muzzin of the Los Angeles Kings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tulloch isn’t saying the Leafs are actively pursuing any of the aforementioned. He was also being realistic over the potential cost to acquire guys like Pietrangelo or Parayko. Time will tell if the Leafs attempt to bring in players of that caliber or opt instead for more affordable short-term options.
LATEST SABRES SPECULATION
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington isn’t impressed with recent trade proposals by some in the Toronto media involving the Buffalo Sabres. He noted a recent Sportsnet column including the Sabres among potential trade destinations for Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, proposing “a deal of Conor Sheary, Marco Scandella, Lawrence Pilut and the 2019 first-round pick originally acquired from St. Louis in the Ryan O’Reilly deal in exchange for Pietrangelo and fellow defenseman Robert Bortuzzo.” Harrington considered it “insanity” that the Sabres would give up so much for a player carrying a $6.5-million annual cap hit who’s due to become an unrestricted free agent in 2020.
Harrington also noted a recent proposal in The Hockey News in which the Sabres acquire Buffalo native Patrick Kane from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Sam Reinhart, Jason Pominville, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Brendan Guhle, Victor Olofsson and three first-round draft picks. “No truth to the rumor the deal also includes a partridge in a pear tree,” he scoffed, pointing out Kane’s $10-5-million annual cap hit for the next four years would be a problem.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I realize the good folks at Sportsnet and The Hockey News were merely spitballing about players who’ve popped up in the trade-rumor mill. Still, Harrington makes a good point about the silliness of those Sabres trade proposals.