NHL Rumours: Calgary Flames, Arizona Coyotes, Florida Panthers

NHL Rumours

It’s the start of another week and we have more NHL rumours. Players aren’t the only ones to have rumours swirling around them. Teams are on the hunt for a new general manager or head coach to spark success. Today’s NHL rumours surround the Calgary Flames, Arizona Coyotes and Florida Panthers.

All NHL rumours are taken from the original source and are subject to change.

NHL Rumours

Calgary Flames

Rumour: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said the Flames will make a decision on interim coach Geoff Ward’s future soon. Friedman mentioned this on the Saturday Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada.

Analysis: Calgary did reach the post-season after dumping former coach Bill Peters after the revelation of the Akim Aliu incident from years past. Friedman said that Ward stabilized the Flames under difficult circumstances. He went 24-15-3 to finish fourth in the Pacific Division and beat the Winnipeg Jets in the qualifying round.

Friedman added that the team would not let the situation linger and will decide in the next week or two. Ward is a respected assistant coach that worked for the Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils. However, there are coaches like Peter Laviolette, Gerard Gallant and others that are on the market. Calgary also has to contend with the Washington Capitals and Seattle Kraken looking for coaches.

The Flames also might be in the middle of a ruild. Last weekend’s NHL rumours speculated on if Johnny Gaudreau is on the trading block. Calgary also could have a new-look defence with young players. Ward won’t be out of work long if general manager Brad Treliving goes in a new direction.eb

Arizona Coyotes

Rumour: Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston said the general manager search for the Coyotes and Panthers is heating up. Both clubs are interested Kevin Weekes, Mike Futa and Bill Armstrong.

Weekes has been a broadcaster since 2009 after his playing career finished. He would become the first black general manager if hired. That would go a long way to making a positive statement to the Hockey Diversity Alliance, who is looking for more hirings.

Futa was part of the Los Angeles Kings success of the 2010s in the scouting department. He served as assistant to general manager Rob Blake. Armstrong has also been assistant general manager for the St. Louis Blues and also has a scouting background.

Interim general manager Steve Sullivan is also being allowed to interview for the club. He was installed in him as interim GM after John Chayka quit the team. The longtime NHL veteran may be able to bring some continuity to the position. However, it will be a hard task after the NHL punished the team in the draft combine scandal. Arizona will only have one pick in the first three rounds of the next two drafts.

Florida Panthers

Rumour: Larry Brooks of the New York Post also weighed in on the Panthers’ general manger search. He said Chris Drury of the New York Rangers front office has dropped out. However, NBC broadcaster Eddie Olczyk has emerged as a candidate. Friedman also added that the Panthers are cutting down their list and coach Joel Quenneville will have input.

Analysis: Drury has been a key part of the quick rebuild of the Rangers by Jeff Gorton. He’s also the general manager of the AHL Hartford Wolf Pack. His hire of Kris Knoblauch had been an immediate hit.

Olczyk was expected to be among the finalists according to Brooks. He’s been in the broadcast booth with NBC most of his off-ice career. He coached the Pittsburgh Penguins for two seasons in the early 2000s, but was let go 31 games into 2005-06. The Chicago native is well-respect for his acumen and intelligence. Rangers president John Davidson took a similar career path before becoming an executive.

Brooks also added that Peter Chiarelli and Scott Mellanby could be finalists. Chiarelli will no doubt want to erase his awful tenure with the Edmonton Oilers. Mellanby is one of the original Panthers and works in the Montreal Canadiens front office.