Dreger's Mailbag: Dudley's word, Oilers' coaching search

Darren Dreger
5/25/2012 11:53:16 AM
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Got a question on the latest news and rumours? E-mail Hockey Insider Darren Dreger and he'll answer your emails at!

Hey Darren,

You tweeted that Rick Dudley will be off to Montreal from the Toronto Maple Leafs prior to the draft, but won't be allowed to help the Canadiens at the draft table. That fine and good, but HOW THE HECK IS SOMETHING LIKE THAT ENFORCED? Are the Leafs just making sure he's not at the table across the draft floor? Will they be up in arms if the Habs happen to draft a guy who's on their radar? Or are they just relying on an honourable promise by Rick Dudley?


A:  The Canadiens confirmed the Dudley hiring this morning, however, Dudley won't be allowed to participate in the upcoming NHL Draft to benefit Montreal.  It's easy to be skeptical and very hard to appreciate how this relationship will manage through this event. Neither team can stop or control the speculation, but I know Rick Dudley to be a man of his word, who is leaving a collection of good and powerful friends in Toronto. It wouldn't do him, rookie GM Marc Bergevin or the Habs organization any good to begin a new management era with corruption. Montreal picks third and Toronto goes fifth, obviously the rivals have identified the same group of players likely to go in the Top 5. Here's an idea, since compensation is no longer allowed for poaching coaches or executives, maybe Montreal flips picks with the Leafs as part of a bigger package that secretly covers off the inconvenience Toronto is dealing with in losing Dudley, a key member of the Maple Leafs management and draft team? Just a thought and purely my own.


Hi Darren,

Dallas Eakins is making an incredible AHL Calder Cup run with the Toronto Marlies - do you think any NHL team is looking at him as a possibility as head coach this offseason?


A: James, I have no doubt Dallas Eakins name is on a few teams candidates list...if not for next season, then down the road. He's proven he's ready to make the jump. Eakins would have replaced Ron Wilson if not for Carlyle's availability and the Maple Leafs in-season decision to fire Wilson before the end of the year.  Toronto will work hard to keep Eakins in their system and he should expect a strong offer to stay on as head coach of the Toronto Marlies. This offer will be solid financially and likely provide end of the season "outs" so he can explore the NHL opportunities sure to come his way.  However, Eakins will take his time and will make sure the teams currently with coaching vacancies (Edmonton, Calgary, Washington) are not an option before he signs off on extending his term in the AHL.


I read your stuff consistently and now live in Switerland.  TSN keeps me in touch with the sporting world back home, which is really good to have. I grew up Edmonton watching the Oilers in the 80's and maintain my loyal fanship!

What is the scoop on where the Oilers are going with a coach? The persistent rumour I hear is Brent Sutter, but I don't know if that is based on his recent Hockey Canada work with Kevin Lowe, the timing of his departure from the Flames, or the fact the family farm is 80 km away from Edmonton (another Alberta adventure). Based on their recent drafting strategy it appears the Oilers want to get back the run 'n gun days. I don't know if Brent Sutter's coaching philosophy fits that approach or the players they currently have. If they draft Yakupov, it would only further cement that notion, at least in my mind.  Thoughts?

Brad Pearson

A: Hi Brad. I hope Switzerland is treating you well. I'm envious. The Brent Sutter connection to the Oilers is an easy one to make, certainly for the vast majority of media who jump-started the speculation very soon after Sutter and the Flames mutually agreed to part ways. I've discussed the possibility with Oilers management and Sutter and both insist there have been no discussions on the possibility or likelihood of Sutter replacing Tom Renney. Edmonton would like to have a coach in place by the Draft, but aren't setting any deadlines to make sure enough time exists to go through the lengthy process of identifying and interviewing top candidates. I'm sure Brent Sutter will make the short list, but the Oil intend on looking "outside the box" which could introduce a number of other possibilities such as the AHL or longshot - major junior. Brent is also in a very good position. As much as he wants to coach in the NHL next season and is willing to consider all opportunities, he's also looking forward to spending time with his family and his WHL team, the Red Deer Rebels.  As for Sutter's philosophy, he coaches to win and will adopt the style that best fits the players he has.  Edmonton definitely has the young offensive weapons to play an up tempo game, but defensively, the Oilers have to improve and not just on the back end.


Hi Darren,

How much of goaltender Viktor Fasth have the Ducks seen to sign the guy to a one-way contract for next season? A bit bold, isn't it???

Erik Naken

A: Erik - Well, the Ducks saw enough of Fasth, a two-time SEL goalie of the year, to pay him $1 million next season. At 29, he qualifies as a late-bloomer who statistically appears to be ready to make the jump as he recorded five shutouts and a .931 save percentage in 29 games this season. He's expected to back up Jonas Hiller, and yes it's a gamble, but the Ducks have ample cap space and a need for an affordable goaltender who may be worth the risk based on a one-year term. Anaheim wasn't the only team with interest in Fasth. There were others, but the majority of the teams in the mix were believed to be more interested in a two-way contract.

Mr. Dreger,

With the recent signing of Alexander Sulzer by the Sabres, their defence grows in size and number. Does this depth, the performance of Sekera at the World Championship and their high number of draft picks give them trade ammunition to target, say, a much needed first line centre? What are their plans/options
this offseason?

Thank you,
Joe Foegen
Buffalo, NY

 A:  Joe - your assessment is accurate. With the signing of Sulzer, the Sabres currently have eight defencemen under contract and seem comfortable with that stable and open to the possibility of moving one of the eight in the event the right centre is available via trade. Sabres GM Darcy Regier has publicly stated he is in the market for a centre to bolster what he has in Ennis, Roy and Hodgson. Regier is eager to deal and ready to listen to any interest teams have in the growing collection of assets Buffalo has assembled. It's quiet now, but once the Stanley Cup is awarded, general managers will aggressively begin talking about trades which will intensify in Pittsburgh at the NHL Draft. Regier's problem - a number of teams are in the market for the same type of player, so if acquiring a top centre is truly a priority, as Regier says it is...he and the Sabres must be prepared to overpay for him.  We're quickly approaching a fun time of year off the ice. Enjoy!
Got a question on the latest news and rumours? E-mail Hockey Insider Darren Dreger and he'll answer your emails at!

Darren Dreger


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