NHL Rumor Mill – May 1, 2021

by | May 1, 2021 | Rumors | 36 comments

In today’s NHL rumor mill, we take a look at the recent speculation over the futures of several head coaches.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun recently examined what the future could hold for several NHL coaches on expiring contracts or holding interim roles.

Carolina Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour (NHL.com).

LeBrun believes the Carolina Hurricanes will sign Rod Brind’Amour to a new contract, citing team owner Tom Dundon’s recent reiteration that a deal will get done. His next contract could be worth over $2 million per season but reaching an agreement isn’t a slam dunk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman also reported the negotiations between the Hurricanes and Brind’Amour were more of a grind than expected. Like LeBrun, Friedman doesn’t see Brind’Amour moving on but the talks turned out to be more of a challenge.

I’ll be shocked if the Hurricanes fail to re-sign Brind’Amour. It’s no coincidence they rose to become a league powerhouse during his tenure behind the bench. Letting him walk would be a huge blunder on their part.

LeBrun chided the Vancouver Canucks for allowing head coach Travis Green to enter this season on an expiring contract as it garnered unwanted media attention. He believes they want to bring him back and suggested there could be news on that front sooner rather than later.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman also weighed in on Green’s contract status, saying he expects negotiations will get serious soon. Canucks general manager Jim Benning’s most recent comments indicated there was nothing new to report. Perhaps those discussions pick up later this month once the regular season ends.

Turning to the Arizona Coyotes, LeBrun speculates general manager Bill Armstrong could replace Rick Tocchet with his own bench boss. Armstrong inherited Tocchet when he took over last fall as GM.

As for the Detroit Red Wings, LeBrun doesn’t know if Jeff Blashill will return or not. Blashill has earned the opportunity to return but there could also be time for a fresh voice behind the bench.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tocchet and Blashill did the best they could in difficult situations with rebuilding clubs. They’ve earned the right to return but their respective general managers could see things differently. They shouldn’t have much difficulty finding other NHL coaching gigs if they depart from their current jobs.

Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen didn’t tip his hand as to what’s in store for head coach John Tortorella in a recent interview with LeBrun. This could come down to what Kekalainen feels is right as much as what Tortorella feels like doing. It could be headed for a split.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s been some speculation suggesting Tortorella could test the market this summer. I think the Jackets are ready for a change behind the bench. While “Torts” did a good job with them through most of his tenure it seemed like the players were getting weary of his system this year. Wingers Patrik Laine and Max Domi struggled throughout this season, raising more questions about Tortorella’s future in Columbus.

The Seattle Kraken and Buffalo Sabres are searching for a head coach. Gerard Gallant would be an obvious choice for the Kraken. Brind’Amour, Tocchet or Green could also fit the criteria.

If the Montreal Canadiens reach the playoffs, Dominique Ducharme could have his interim tag lifted.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun noted Kraken GM Ron Francis wanted to be patient making his coaching selection to see who might become available after this season. Sabres GM Kevyn Adams seems to be following suit.

I still think Gallant would be the best choice for the Kraken but Brind’Amour could jump to the top of the list if he and the Hurricanes fail to work out a deal. Francis and Brind’Amour were teammates and associated during their days in Carolina.

Making the playoffs might not be enough for Ducharme to become the Canadiens’ full-time bench boss. They’ll have to at least win their opening-round series to make that happen. Getting swept by the Leafs could spell the end of Ducharme’s tenure and perhaps that of Marc Bergevin as the Habs’ GM.


  1. So, extrapolating from the Headlines thread, I gather the pundits don’t think Maurice is in any danger of being replaced?

    • Not yet, but let’s check back in a couple of weeks if the Jets haven’t pulled out of their tailspin.

    • George O, replacing Maurice wouldn’t be a bad thing.

      For the first time ever he broke up Wheeler and Scheifele this season, heck only a couple of games ago against Toronto he benched Scheifele for his lack of effort resulting in a Toronto goal making it 3-1 Toronto.

      Yes it’s time for a change but won’t happen.

  2. There is quite a pool of former head coaches floating about in jobs elsewhere – although some, I would guess, have seen their last NHL head coaching gigs

    Gerard Gallant, Dan Bylsma, Jack Capuano. Bob Hartley, Paul MacLean, Mike Babcock, Kirk Muller, Claude Julien, Todd Nelson, Adam Oates, Lindy Ruff, Michel Therrien, Marc Crawford, Dave Tippett, Mike Keenan, Jacques Martin, Guy Boucher

    Who have I missed?

    • scratch Ruff , he is head coach of the Devils, Tippet bench boss for the Oilers .
      I would add Bruce Boudreau to your list ….
      I have to think Keenan’s NHL days are done

      • Yeah, thanks Fergie – brain farts on Ruff and Tippett – but should certainly have included Boudreau. I’m sure you’re right on Keenan – soon to be joined by Tortorella I would think.

      • Eddie olcyck about to be outta a job.

      • Olcyck? Isn’t he a racing analyst now? He hasn’t coached in the NHL in over 14 years … what am I missing here – lol

  3. One has to ask what makes fired coaches who are out of the game more adequate or desirable.

    Clearly they weren’t considered good enough or were unable to elevate their clubs to desired levels.

    Meet the new boss
    Same as the old boss.

    Go figure, The Who was doing a hockey song

    • Most re-cycled head coaches

      Head of the class is Rick Bowness -currently in Dallas, he previously coached Winnipeg (the original Jets), Boston, Ottawa, NYI, Phoenix and was an “associate” head coach with Vancouver and T.B.

      Then Peter Laviolette – currently with Washington – NYI, Carolina, Nashville, Philadelphia

      Tortorella now in Columbus, previously with Vancouver, NYR, TB and NY again

      Darryl Sutter – now with Calgary – where he was once before, and also SJ and L.A.

  4. Getting rid of Paul Maurice would be a huge mistake … he has gotten more out of less than any other head coach in the league, for God’s sake take a look at his blueline … he’d be unemployed for all of five minutes …

    • your not wrong….

  5. It would be a huge mistake if the Hurricanes do not sign Brind’Amour to at least a 3 year contract at 2-3 million per. This may be the only time in franchise history that the Canes are in and out of the #1 spot in the NHL. What more does Dundon want? He let John Forslund walk without even saying good bye or thank you for all the great years of play by play. I understand business is business but if Dundon is that miserly perhaps the coach should go where he would be appreciated.

  6. Why does everyone think Rick Tocchet has done a good job in Phoenix? IF some of you posters would follow the Coyotes consistently, not a game here and there, you will see RT getting outcoached on most nights. Great player, terrible coach.

    • As a Coyotes fan…totally agree RT has not been a success. Several “star” players have really struggled under his system (Keller and OEL) have regressed considerably from where they should be. Add to that the fact that the coyotes rarely play a full 60 minute game and have 5-10 minute lapses that cost them games or where they have to be bailed out by their goaltender. Horrible mismanagement of personnel keeping some players out of lineup in favor of other grinder types who fail to out up points. Blown leads where the opposing coaches make adjustments and the Coyotes fail to modify their game. And although Kessel is playing better this year the “Kessel whisperer” didn’t get much out of him last year. All of these are results of coaching. We often hear in press conferences “several of the guys just aren’t getting the job done” …isn’t that also the coaches ultimate responsibility?

  7. It’s hard to find anyone in or around Columbus who doesn’t think Torts is gone, once the season ends. To the contrary, pretty much every CBJ blog has been speculating about who will be the next Jackets coach for over a month.

  8. Lots of former coaches available….Claude Julien, Gerard Gallant, and Bruce Boudreau are a few. I would say that the cream of the crop of current coaches are Barry Trotz, Bruce Cassidy and Joel Quenneville. I also feel Paul Maurice, DJ Smith and Travis Green deserve to be re-signed.

    • Frank, Smith has 1 more season to go on his 3-year deal … if the team continues to show progress next season – even if it’s limited to being a playoff bubble team – he’ll get a renewal.

  9. Frank I agree on all your pick especially Smith. He is a solid blue collar coach who emphasizes hard work. Ottawa has had a string of uninspiring coaches since Bryan Murray. Paddock , Hartsburg, Clouston, Maclean, Cameron, Bouchard, Crawford. Maclean did well but he lacked the out going personality that DJ Smith has.

  10. The Canucks new G.M. may want to hire his own guy as coach. No way Aqualini signs Green then fires Benning only for the new G.M. to fire Green and sign his own guy. Makes no sense for the notoriously cheap owner to do that.

  11. Sportsnet 650 in Vancouver dedicated almost an hour yesterday trashing Wayne Simmonds for beating up on Alex Edler. On air guest Don Taylor bemoaning “the code” and the no need to do that, Edlers not a fighter etc etc etc. Compared the Leafs to the 74 Flyers (ha, Toronto wishes).

    All that from a guy that spent countless hours on air defending Todd Bertuzzis neck breaking cheapshot as justfiable retribution for a socalled cheapshot in Markus Naslund.

    Yet another in a long long line of weaka** Vancouver media takes.

    • I really like Wayne Simmonds, but that was a poor look for him. That was a great chance for Tavares or Matthews to show some different leadership skills and square up with Edler. I was hoping it would be Matthews to force a little retribution to be quite honest.
      Luckily for Edler, Simmonds took it very easy on him.

      • It was a total cheap shot for a fighter to goat a guy who never fights.

        Knee on knee hits happen much more often than we care to admit and are frequently not even called, KK got one last night and the ref just stared him down.

        Edler doesn’t have a reputation as a dirty player or a fighter and there was no reason for a mismatch fight.

        Simmonds came off as an ass and Edler came off as a stand up guy. Mission accomplished? nope

      • Yep. Poor look. You want retribution on a non fighter? Send another non fighter after him.

  12. I think MB has done more than enough this year to keep his job into next season. His trades and acquisitions keep paining out. When has has blow it, he has (so far) managed to correct it. Enough to earn a chance to see what he’ll do to fix whatever. The big question to ask anyone who thinks the Habs should fire a GM or coach, who is the replacement? Critics make noise about why to fie MB (great arguments in many cases) but seem to always have a clear idea of who the replacement is and why they are the better option. I also think this is a nutty year and not a great one for evaluating either players, coaches, or GMs.

    • If nothing else Bergevin has shown his ability to adapt in improving the team.

      He has changed along with the league, adding different types of players to the mix as well as coaches, always with an eye to improving.

      He can be described as the James Brown version of the busiest man in hockey.

      His rejigging of the organization has brought success to the Laval Rocket who are grooming players for the NHL.

      Coaches like Joel Bouchard and Domenic Ducharme are the future and I hope that Andre Tourigny and Benoit Groulx get brought into the organization.

      As for this year, there is still no way to know how it will end, as of today the Habs are closer to 3rd than the Flames are to 4th, that’s why they play the games.

      Last night was a good example, one of their better games despite the numbers of regulars missing and recent additions carrying theload.

    • I am a long time Habs fan and have been reading comments on this site for a few years now. This is Bergevin’s team. I think we can all agree he has made some very good moves and some very bad ones as well. So has every GM. My problem with Bergevin is his inability to assess his team’s talent as well as the talent of the teams he is competing against. We have missed the playoffs 4 out of the last 5 years (yes, I am including last year because but for COVID they would not have made the playoffs) After a lousy regular season, we played one good series against Pittsburgh and then lost to Philadelphia and his interpretation of that was we are close so we are going for it. Now all the changes he made worked very well but we are still no where close to competing for a cup (could you imagine this team without the 5 new additions?) A new GM who is not emotionally invested to any one is needed to divest the team of any players that likely won’t be a significant contributor in the next 5-7 years when hopefully some of these young prospects develop into caliber NHL players. Price, Weber need to go. And before anyone thinks they are untradeable, remember Phaneuf and Clarkson from Toronto.

  13. Re

    . I think the Jackets are ready for a change behind the bench…..

    1000000000000000000000% agree

    If I’m any other club ….. I also don’t look at Torts

    Retirement is what is best

  14. Probably time to never mention Jake Virtanen for Jake Debrusk ever again. What the heck was he thinking?
    Here’s one of the places I agree with cancel culture.

  15. Before the crowd lynches Virtanen, can we at least have an investigation?
    You know, that annoying innocent until proven guilty thing.

    A few points.

    Sexual assault against anyone is a criminal offense and the guilty should be in jail.

    I am a retired Detective Lieutenant for the NYPD.
    Not every case is open and shut. Let’s have all the facts come out BEFORE we hang someone.

    I’ve seen these cases by the hundreds and they are not always as they appear to be. I strongly believe that a person should be able to defend themselves before judgement is passed.

    I am the last person in the world that is soft on crime. I’ve seen the worst things imaginable.

    Rape is a crime and a horrible one at that. Guilty
    Offenders must be punished to the maximum extent of the law. PERIOD!

    But, just because someone makes a complaint doesn’t mean that it’s true.
    Our systems of justice may not be perfect, but I believe in them with my entire being.

    Virtanen deserves his day in court, just like you would if you were the accused.
    And exactly where does Virtanen go to get his good name back if the accusation is untrue?

    • Agree completely and I know personally of a colleague whose reputation was ruined by someone who later said the whole thing was made up.
      Let’s wait and see what happens with Virtanen.

    • Fair and valid points, and I agree wholeheartedly. I should have finished my thoughts before hitting submit. I too know someone who was falsely accused of sexual assault and later was found not guilty. I mentioned to my wife that he should be considered innocent until proven otherwise. I just hastily submitted my thoughts before finishing them.
      Apologies to all whom I’ve offended with that last post.

    • Thank you for your service sir

    • Virtanen’s good name? Folks been bashing his character here for quite some time. But you’re right about the criminal allegations. Let the evidence decide.

  16. Shoreorr[park, No apology necessary. I’m just pointing out that there are 2 sides to a story.
    An old time detective once told me that “God gave you two ears. He wanted you to hear both sides”

  17. There’s one side to a story and then there are a number of rationalizations, excuses, interpretations, omissions,additions etc,

    One version has been released.

    I’ve reached a point where I question if allegations should even be released if there is any intention of getting at the truth.

    Allegations are made, sides are chosen purely on the basis of preconceived notions and we point fingers.