With Sam Bennett reportedly wanting out of Calgary, the TSN Hockey Insiders discuss why the Flames are in no rush to trade the forward, the Penguins being granted permission to speak to a trio of assistant GMs from around the NHL about their vacant GM job, the IIHF confirming that NHL-sized ice will be utilized in the 2022 Beijing Olympics, and much more.
Flames in No rush to trade Bennett
Darren Dreger: Trade speculation always generates a buzz, particularly in Canada. But the Flames’ position on Sam Bennett is no different than it was a year ago: They are in absolutely no rush to trade him. It has to be the right fit. It’s got to work best for the Flames, otherwise, GM Brad Treliving is willing to stand pat and use Bennett as a potentially impactful player for Calgary. Meanwhile, keep an eye on Tony DeAngelo of the New York Rangers. We know that he’s been told to go home and await a trade, and there’s a ton of interest in him all of a sudden. I’m told, according to source, that DeAngelo could be moved within the next few days.
Penguins get permission to interview three AGMs
Frank Seravalli: The Pittsburgh Penguins have formally sought and been granted permission to speak to a trio of assistant GMs from around the NHL, including Chris Drury from the Rangers, Chris MacFarland from the Colorado Avalanche, as well as John Ferguson Jr. from the Boston Bruins. It’s important to point out that it’s still relatively early in the process. The Penguins have received more than 20 expressions of interest. They didn’t hear from some people that they actually still have on their list, so they’re hoping to whittle that list down to potentially six or seven authentic candidates hopefully by the end of the week and then hire their next GM to replace Jim Rutherford within the next two weeks.
North American-sized ice for Beijing Olympics
Pierre LeBrun: Rene Fasel confirmed to me a couple of days ago that it’s going to be North American-sized ice for the 2022 Beijing Olympics. In fact, the ice was put in for the first time in the two Olympic arenas on Jan. 21 and 22. Fasel had talked about this a couple of years ago at the World Juniors that on one day in the near future, he was hoping to go to North American-sized ice for some major IIHF events including potentially the Beijing Olympics. That is indeed happening. It’s important to remember how the larger ice affected the way Canada played in Sochi in 2014. Yeah Canada won gold, but we know about that keep-away game that they played. It was a low style that, nonetheless, saw Canada win gold but now I think you’ll see a different style of hockey because of the NHL-sized ice being used in Beijing. Speaking of Team Canada, TSN mentioned last month on Insider Trading that Doug Armstrong would likely be named the 2022 Team Canada GM. That announcement is expected on Wednesday from Hockey Canada.
Postponements remain manageable, for now
Dreger: The postponements are developing into an issue. You’re more than likely going to see scenarios of five games in seven nights. The clubs aren’t going to like that, and the NHL doesn’t want to do it because of the fatigue factor but the reality is if things get worse, the NHL isn’t going to have a choice other than to condense the season and use up that buffer week at the end of the year. If it doesn’t get worse, then, the NHL is confident that it can get the 56 games played in the allotted amount of time.
Mrazek’s absence perhaps not as long as feared
LeBrun: At first, the Carolina Hurricanes thought goaltender Petr Mrazek would be gone up to two months with that thumb injury, but, in fact, after speaking to a number of specialists the Hurricanes were told that Mrazek could be back in a couple of weeks. The goaltender is actually getting on a plane Wednesday to go see a specialist to take care of it. The Hurricanes believe they’ve avoided a major injury to their No. 1 netminder in a season in which they expect to contend for the Stanley Cup.