The TSN Hockey Insiders discuss why Maple Leafs assistant GM Laurence Gilman's stock is on the rise with many GM vacancies around the NHL, why a Gilman-Mike Gillis reunion could be a possibility in the Canucks' front office, how Jack Eichel's recovery timeline leaves open an Olympic possibility with Team USA, how NHLers are weighing their own Olympic decisions, and much more.
Is former Canucks assistant general manager Laurence Gilman in contention for the now vacant GM job in Vancouver?
Darren Dreger: Gilman, who is currently with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Marlies, is definitely in the mix with the Vancouver Canucks. His name won’t be unfamiliar to Canucks fans as he spent several years in Canucks’ management and 20-plus years in the National Hockey League. He has a good relationship with ownership and knows that market well.
But because of his experience, there’s also reason to connect him with the Chicago Blackhawks.
You can look at every team in the NHL and find qualified management people but Gilman’s stock is on the rise.
Pierre LeBrun: Francesco Aquilini during his press conference on Monday also mentioned, a few times, the possibility of president and GM hires, that there could be a couple of people hired in senior leadership. It made a lot of people think, when he talked about that tandem needing to work well together, that perhaps Mike Gillis and Laurence Gilman could be brought back in their old Canucks roles, although elevated. With Gillis as president and Gilman as GM.
Gillis presently is consulting with the NHLPA. I think he enjoys that work but it goes without saying that Gillis and Gilman are among the many possibilities that the Canucks owners are looking at.
Is it possible that Jack Eichel could play for Team USA at the Winter Olympics in Beijing?
Chris Johnston: There’s at least a possibility there. The fact that it’s gone quiet is not a reflection of how things are going. In fact, Jack Eichel is right on schedule in terms of his recovery, which leaves the sliver of a possibility that he could be available to Team USA at the Beijing Olympics.
At this point, I get the sense that no one wants to put pressure on this recovery. It was obviously a significant injury, he’s had the surgery, the trade’s gone through to Vegas and everyone just wants the process to play out. I don’t even think, necessarily that Team USA is banking on him, but it’s notable that with a little over a month before that team is chosen, it hasn’t been ruled out as a possibility for Jack Eichel.
Robin Lehner was the first NHL player to declare he won’t be playing in the Olympics. Will there be more players to follow suit?
Johnston: At this stage that does appear so. There are certainly a lot of conversations going on among players that were included on long lists, about whether it’s worth some of the hassle or trouble of going over to China.
Basically, in the deal the NHL and the NHLPA negotiated with the IOC, the players have the right to withdraw their participation at any point between now and the start of those games.
From the NHLPA perspective, I think they’re trying to get a handle on how many players we’re talking about. Is it five, is it 10, is it 30 that might pull out? I think it’s on the lower end of that scale and they’re waiting for the IOC’s updated playbook to come out in order to give the players more information. The key there is that if a player, at present, tests positive for COVID while in China he’s got to stay for three weeks and quarantine. There’s some hope that could come down but until they get that information the players probably won’t be making a decision.
What new role has Shane Doan taken with Hockey Canada?
Dreger: General manager and now an assistant coach. Thanks to the Vancouver Canucks who poached the coaching staff for Hockey Canada. The original staff of Claude Julien, Bruce Boudreau, and Scott Walker represented Canada on the bench and the Channel One Cup, now obviously two-thirds of that coaching staff is employed by the Vancouver Canucks.
So Doan is going to assist with Julien and Tyler Dietrich, who will also help on the bench for Canada.
What was the reason for Sheldon Kennedy’s expected absence from the NHL Board of Governor’s meeting?
LeBrun: But his presence will be felt at the Board of Governors. He was supposed to go but didn’t due to the new COVID variant. There are a lot of people who decided not to go because of it, and he’s one of them. But, he has been talking to Kim Davis of the NHL over the past several weeks. He traded messages with him today. Sheldon’s Kennedy’s message was that he is positive about what is going to come out of this and what Davis has to present to the Board of Governors. So we’ll see that when we’re there in Palm Beach.