It has been a busy week for the NHL with Phase 2 getting underway. With players returning to the rink, hockey is inching closer and closer to returning. But it is still a month or two away. However, the rumour mill continues to buzz and the team at Last Word on Hockey is keeping fans updated on the latest NHL rumours and rumblings around the league. Today’s NHL Rumours feature the New Jersey Devils, Vancouver Canucks, and the Detroit Red Wings.
New Jersey Devils
Rumour: The New Jersey Devils held a media call today with interim head coach Alain Nasreddine and he said his job status remains status quo. Pierre LeBrun was quick to follow up by saying the Devils have interviewed 8-10 candidates. They have narrowed the search down to four candidates including Nasreddine. Also, interim general manager Tom Fitzgerald is in the running for the permanent job.
The Devils spoke with 8-10 coaches and produced four final candidates, which includes Nasreddine, but the process itself in on pause right now until a later time. GM Tom Fitzgerald also still remains with interim tag and ownership is talking to candidates (and he’s one, too) https://t.co/yEI21m3pLR
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 9, 2020
Analysis: One of the busiest teams during this hiatus has been the Devils. Week after week, we find out some new information about their coaching and general manager situation. Let us start off with the coaching situation. Over the past few weeks, the Devils have been narrowing their coaching search down as they either look to keep Nasredinne around or replace him. Management has to like what he did with this group in the second half of the season or else, he may not be in the running as one of the four candidates for the job. As it stands right now Gerard Gallant, Peter Laviolette, Nasreddine and John Stevens are in the running. Or the fourth person is completely off the radar like a Rikard Gronborg.
However, with Gronborg coming out and saying he likes it in Switzerland and the uncertainty of the next NHL season, not to mention, he has one year left on his deal, it is hard to imagine him coming over to coach the Devils. As for the others, Gallant is the best fit followed by Nasreddine. Laviolette is too much like John Hynes. Stevens is a good assistant coach. As for the general manager’s position, the Devils have interviewed a few candidates. One of the reasons Fitzgerald is in the running is the work he did at the trade deadline. But that alone should give him the job unless the Devils want to go in a different direction. However, do not be surprised the Devils put a hierarchy in place in the hockey operations department once they get to doing business.
Rumour: Ian McIntyre of Sportsnet writes that Vancouver Canucks defenceman Chris Tanev feels comfortable in Vancouver and wants to stay with the Cancuks long-term. In addition, management will do everything they can to bring him back.
Analysis: Once the season is over, Tanev will be an unrestricted free agent. However, the veteran defenceman of ten seasons wants to remain with the Canucks. However, that may be a little tricky with the financial status unknown for next season. With global pandemic raging havoc across the league, more and more players will be taking one-year deals until the finances balance out. With Tanev being third on the Canucks priority list behind goalie Jacob Markstrom and recently acquired forward Tyler Toffoli, a one-year deal will definitely benefit the Canucks going forward. But Tanev will play the cards that are dealt with him.
However, the Canucks do not want to lose a player like Tanev. He has turned into a leader for the team. He has been a mentor to rookie defenceman Quinn Hughes. Tanev and Hughes have learned so much from each other. Not to mention he wants to be a part of what is going on with this young group of Canucks players. Tanev has gone through so many struggling seasons, now everything is paying off. It is hard to find a player that wants to be a lifer.
Detroit Red Wings
Analysis: Like all players, Howard wants to go out on his terms. Coming off the worst statistical year of his career, Howard is looking for redemption. Whether it is with the Red Wings or not, this past season left him wanting more. Howard knows he only has a few more seasons left to play. And in an ideal world, it would be with the team that drafted him in the second round of the 2003 NHL Draft. However, at 36-years old and the team getting younger under new general manager Steve Yzerman, there is a possibility he just does not fit with the Red Wings anymore.
The good thing for Howard is that he is already mentally prepared for a move out of Detroit. He knows hockey is a business and teams have to make tough decisions. Again the finances of the league will play a big part in whether Howard stays or goes. Nobody knows what the salary cap will be like next season. But for Howard, he knows the writing is on the wall but with the time off from this pandemic, he is ready to bounce back for any team that will have him. The worst thing an athlete can do is go out at their lowest point.
That does it for this edition of NHL Rumours keep your eyes posted for another edition this week.
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