NHL Rumor Mill – March 2, 2019
Possible coaching candidates for the Senators, plus the latest on the Islanders, Red Wings, and Devils in today’s NHL rumor mill.
SENATORS COACHING CANDIDATES
OTTAWA SUN: Former New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, Columbus Blue Jackets assistant coach Brad Shaw, and Belleville Senators’ coach Troy Mann top Bruce Garrioch list of potential coaching candidates for the Ottawa Senators. Other possibilities include interim coach Marc Crawford, former Chicago Blackhawks bench boss, former Oilers coach Todd McLellan, and former St. Louis Blues coach Mike Yeo.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per the Senators’ press release, they’re looking for a bench boss who will be a teacher (especially to their young players), a good communicator and a skilled tactician. Most on Garrioch’s list would fit the bill, but many of them could be reluctant to join a club with a meddling and cantankerous owner.
CONTRACT TERM AN ISSUE FOR ANDERS LEE?
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports hearing the New York Islanders are concerned about the term in a new contract for captain Anders Lee, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. “That’s all I’ve heard. No questions about the player or the willingness to keep him, it’s all about the term on him,” said Friedman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lee will turn 29 on July 3, which explains the Isles’ rumored concern about the term of his next deal. General manager Lou Lamoriello probably prefers a five-year deal while Lee could seek a seven- or eight-year contract. I doubt Lamoriello wants to see another captain depart via free agency for the second straight year. However, it’s understandable if he doesn’t want to invest too long in a player who’ll soon be turning 30 in a league trending toward younger talent.
WINGS STILL HOPE TO RE-SIGN HOWARD
THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan recently reported Red Wings GM Ken Holland said there was little to no interest in goaltender Jimmy Howard leading up to the recent trade deadline because all the playoff contenders have stable, healthy goaltending. He added he intends to meet with Howard in the coming days to discuss a new contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite a recent slump, Howard’s played very well for the rebuilding Wings this season. I expect they’ll want him to accept a two-year deal and for less than the $5.29-million annual average value of his current deal.
UPDATE ON THE DEVILS
NJ.COM: Abbey Mastracco recently reported the New Jersey Devils depth in draft picks could make them major players at the NHL Draft and beyond. Thanks to GM Ray Shero’s moves leading up to the recent trade deadline, the Devils now have six picks in the first three rounds of the 2019 draft, including three second-round selections and two third rounders. They also have two fourth-round picks in 2020. Shero isn’t ruling out using some of those picks as trade bait.