NHL Rumours: New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators

NHL Rumours

Hello and welcome to a Sunday edition of NHL Rumours! The playoffs are underway, but many teams are busy with offseason plans. The expansion draft is nearing and coaching changes will start to happen in the coming weeks. Today’s NHL rumours feature the New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens, and the Ottawa Senators.

NHL Rumours

New York Rangers

Rumour: Rick Carpiniello of The Athletic recently explored the idea of John Tortorella joining the team as its new head coach.

Analysis: There is little doubt that John Tortorella can be a successful coach, but New York should not hire him. Tortorella failed to mesh with the Columbus Blue Jackets‘ talent and it’s not clear he would do any better with New York’s. It could seriously set back efforts to build a consistent winner.

That is because Torts is notoriously prickly about a particular way of playing hockey that doesn’t seem to mesh with the talent in the Rangers’ system. Some players might benefit from his overall experience, but he is fond of benching players for relatively small reasons. A young roster like New York’s has very little benefit in arbitrary benchings.

Such a roster might benefit from a coach that is willing to play a risky style and play to the high skill level of the current roster. One possible coach of that sort is Patrick Roy. Obviously, Roy has some concerns surrounding his general temperament, but there is little doubt that he was very innovative in his first season with the Colorado Avalanche. Even if Roy isn’t New York’s pick, it could scarcely be any riskier than Tortorella.

Montreal Canadiens

Rumour: The Athletic’s Arpon Basu also broke down whether or not the Habs should fire Marc Bergevin based on playoff results.

Analysis: Under no circumstances should Montreal base its general manager decision on this postseason run. Bergevin has built a consistent winner that has made the postseason in six of his nine seasons in the position. The fanbase is certainly tired of no Stanley Cups, but it’s not as though the current leadership is any less effective than the regimes that failed to win since 1992-93.

Bergevin has built a consistent winner that is one of the NHL’s deepest and most talented. It has been built in an impressive fashion when you remember that the team also has just three picks in the lottery since 2012. The only high pick from the Bergevin era not on the roster is Mikhail Sergachev and he turned into Jonathan Drouin. There should be little doubt that Montreal is one of the most well-built teams in the league.

Now there is a very real reason that Montreal’s ownership won’t extend him. That is fine. Eventually, a lack of deep postseason success is enough to find a new leader. However, it would be an overreaction for Bergevin to not return after navigating the strange seasons that were both 2019-20 and 2020-21.

Ottawa Senators

Rumour: The final NHL rumour for today comes from Chris Johnston. He revealed that Ottawa will move on from Marcus Hogberg this offseason. 

Analysis: This move would certainly make sense after the team extended Anton Forsberg earlier this month. Hogberg was easily the worst goaltender that Ottawa used in 2020-21. The team is far better off letting the 26-year-old netminder test free agency.

That is because Hogberg was almost the worst goalie in the entire NHL this year. His .876 save percentage and 3.74 goals-against were better than only Curtis McElhinney among goaltenders who appeared in at least 10 games. There were several players worse based on the goals saved above average metric, but it was truly a putrid year for the former third-round selection.

And yet, Hogberg should still secure a job for 2021-22. He has an NHL size at 6’5″ and has appeared in just 42 NHL games. One should not write him off entirely for three very underwhelming seasons on one of the league’s worst teams. There is still plenty of time for the Swede to find a new home and set his career back on the right path. There will several opportunities for him to sign a new deal after the expansion draft when rosters change drastically.

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