TSN Hockey Insiders Darren Dreger, Pierre LeBrun and Frank Seravalli join host James Duthie to discuss the status of a few pending free agent coaches, who the Red Wings may move at the trade deadline and what the plan for Mike Babcock could be going forward.
What’s the latest on Brind’Amour’s future?
We spend a lot of time talking about free-agent classes with players. But what about behind the bench, specifically with the Carolina Hurricanes?
LeBrun: Ya, Rod Brind’Amour. One of five head coaches who is a pending unrestricted free agent, his contract expires at the end of the season but as far as I can tell, the only one who has commenced negotiations on an extension which is not to say that I think anything is imminent. I think there’s been back and forth, yes, but not close to a deal quite yet. They’ve got lots of time. Tom Dundon, the owner, has told me a few months ago that he will absolutely get Brind’Amour signed. He’s one of the lower-paid coaches in the NHL but a lot of people around the league are keeping an eye on this. You can bet Seattle and his old pal Ron Francis are keeping an eye on it just in case it doesn’t come to fruition. And I can think of a few teams that would make a vacancy where there isn’t one now if Rod Brind’Amour gets to market.
Dreger: Well no question that coaching contracts are more complicated in a pandemic than ever before. I mean, you look at Travis Green and the Vancouver Canucks situation. The Canucks have said they want to extend Green. He’s in the final year of his contract but they haven’t done that. The timing isn’t right. Limited revenue. You look at Rick Tocchet and the success of the Arizona Coyotes. There is no update there on negotiations to keep Tocchet. There’s a gamble that these owners and these clubs are risking when you’re looking at Green, Brind’Amour, or for that matter, Tocchet. So, we’ll see whether or not those teams are willing to let those guys walk at the end of the year.
Who’s on the market in the Motor City?
The Detroit Red Wings are almost guaranteed to be a seller at this season’s trade deadline. Who might be available?
Seravalli: I think teams are beginning to look at three potential targets from the Detroit Red Wings. All veteran presences, including Bobby Ryan, Luke Glendening and, on the backend, Marc Staal. Glendening leads the league in faceoff percentage. Bobby Ryan is scoring on a contract that every team could fit and Staal would certainly provide that experience on the backend that teams crave come playoff time. Just another way of saying that all three of those guys you can expect to see on the Trade Bait board when it debuts next week.
LeBrun: In the meantime, there’s been a lot of white noise around the Calgary Flames because of their recent slump and whether or not general manager Brad Treliving was up to something. Of course, we know about the Sam Bennett situation, but certainly from talking to people around the league it seems actually pretty quiet on the Flames’ front. Which is not to say Treliving isn’t talking to a lot of teams. He’s actually notorious among his peers for checking in on every single team in the league every 10 days or so, where is I think where some of this noise comes from. But I don’t sense anything is imminent, that solution has to come from within.
What’s the plan going forward for Babcock?
We know he’s taking the head coaching job at the University of Saskatchewan.
Dreger: In the short term, he’s going through a bit of a media tour this week explaining why he’s returning to coaching and returning to university-level hockey. Now, the plan moving forward will be for Mike Babcock to coach one year at the University of Saskatchewan. The U of S Huskies executives are going through a group of resumes right now and when they get it down to four or five, they’ll bring in Babcock and he’ll engage on the final decision. Ultimately hiring his successor for the final year.
Lundqvist back on the ice
In one of the best stories in the NHL this season, King Henrik got back between the pipes recently.
Seravalli: That’s right. Finally, some positive news. Forty-seven days after undergoing open heart surgery, Henrik Lundqvist is back on the ice taking shots. The Washington Capitals believe he is a long shot and unlikely to make it back for this season. But I think just the images of you seeing him on the ice means that at least Henrik Lundqvist, at this point, hanging up his skates just yet. We were all concerned that this could be how his illustrious career could end.