NHL Rumours: Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers, Chicago Blackhawks

NHL Rumours
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Welcome back to the Tuesday edition of NHL Rumours! First off, a Happy and Healthy New Year from everyone here at Last Word on Hockey to all over you. New Year means the Winter Classic has passed us by and we are looking forward to the NHL Trade Deadline. Even though the NHL has to reschedule a lot of games, teams are starting to position themselves for the stretch run. Some teams are looking to make changes in the management and coaching positions, while others are likely to be sellers. In this edition of NHL Rumours, we look at the Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers, and Chicago Blackhawks.

NHL Rumours

Montreal Canadiens

Rumour: According to Pierre LeBrun of TSN the Montreal Canadiens have begun the process of asking teams for permission to interview candidates for their general manager position. They include Roberto Luongo, Daniel Briere, and Mathieu Darche.ย 

Analysis: Ever since Jeff Gorton took over as the President of Hockey Operations with the Canadiens, they have been looking to replace Marc Bergevin. Back in November, it was noted in one of our rumour articles that Daniel Briere was on a list of potential candidates to be the next general manager. And it appears the Canadiens have taken the next steps in the process asking the Maine Mariners, the ECHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers, permission to speak to Briere about filling the role.ย  But Briere is not the only candidate on the list the Canadiens are going after.

Roberto Luongo of the Florida Panthers and of the Tampa Bay Lightning are two other candidates the Canadiens have circled to fill the position. And it appears those two candidates have been contacted by the Canadiens about the position. Outside of Briere, who is running the ECHL team, none of these men have experience at the NHL at that position. But the fact the Canadiens have started the process is a step in the right direction. Recall, Geoff Molson is looking to fill the position quickly, so the Canadiens need to move quickly on these candidates and others they have in mind so they can get someone in place by the end of the season.

Edmonton Oilers

Rumour: According to Elliotte Friedman on The Jeff Marek Show, there is speculation Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland could make a change at the coaching position bringing in Mike Babcock.

Analysis: As Friedman notes, this is only speculation, but who would have expected the Oilers to be in the second wild-card spot when the season began. The Oilers have some issues Hollands need to address. Goaltending and defence are two of them. However, the big question that is going to be circling Holland is head coach Dave Tippett. It is not fair to Tippett as he is still the head coach, but you know this was going to be talked about if the Oilers did not turn things around after their five-game losing streak prior to the pause. And now as things continue to spiral downhill for the Oilers, you have to wonder if the coach is the first domino to fall.

The fact that Mike Babcock’s name is still being brought up despite what happened after he left Toronto, shows that he could be the coach to take this Oilers team to the next level. Again, it is all speculation because of the ties Babcock has to Holland from their days in Detroit together. Many wondered if we would ever see Babcock again in the NHL, but the fact that his name is still coming up means there is always a chance. You can never say never. He has proven he can take talented teams to the promised land. Only time will tell.

Chicago Blackhawks

Rumour: David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period states that the Chicago Blackhawks will be sellers at the Trade Deadline. One player likely to be traded is defenceman Calvin de Haan.ย 

Analysis: Speaking with Mike Rupp on NHL Now on the NHL Network, Pagnotta stated the Blackhawks will be sellers. There will be multiple pieces in play at the deadline for Chicago. The first of whom will be defenceman Calvin de Haan. De Haan will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. He will be a depth defenceman for a contending team looking to sure up their blueline for a run at a Stanley Cup. De Haan currently has a salary cap hit of $4.55 million. That is a reasonable number for any team looking to add at the deadline.

Not to mention, the Blackhawks will most likely be eating some of that salary. That will entice teams even more to make a trade. De Haan is not going to light the world on fire. He has not done so with Chicago, but as mentioned earlier he is a good sixth or seventh defenceman. As we have seen you can never have too many defencemen come playoff time. He could be one of the first dominos to fall at the trade deadline.

That does it for this edition of NHL Rumours. Stay tuned for another edition this week.

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