With the firing of Dave Tippett in Edmonton and hiring of Jay Woodcroft as his replacement, Oilers' GM Ken Holland's work is just beginning. The TSN Hockey insiders discuss what moves the Oilers may make next; the potential of Vincent Lecavalier joining the Canadiens; Claude Giroux's future in Philadelphia and more.
Duthie: Here are your Insiders. Pierre LeBrun, Darren Dreger and Chris Johnston. Well, now that the Edmonton Oilers have done the obvious first move for a struggling, desperate team. Fire the coach. What do they do next to try and fix their problems?
Oilers D more of a concern than goaltending
Dreger: Well, goaltending of course could become a real priority one more time for Ken Holland and the Edmonton Oilers. That seems pretty obvious given the storylines that have swirled around the crease of the Oilers. But you’ve got to look much deeper than that and look at the defensive core of the Edmonton Oilers. What they need is a top three, top four right shot defence, because their defence collectively has not been good enough. They give up Grade ‘A’ chances night after night, which obviously puts more stress on the Edmonton Oilers. So you can’t afford to give the assets to upgrade your goaltending and add a top three, top four defenceman. So tough decisions ahead for Holland but that right shot d-man is a priority.
Could Vincent Lecavalier join Habs organization?
Duthie: As soon as Marty St. Louis was named the coach in Montreal, I think all hockey minds moved quickly to Vinny Lecavalier, his old teammate in Tampa Bay. And in Montreal, radio reports said that Lecavalier could become the assistant general manager. Lecavalier denies this. But Pierre, is there a possibility he joins the Habs in some capacity?
LeBrun: Yeah, there is a possibility. He’s not going to be an assistant general manager, that’s a different type of job that requires a different type of commitment and the bottom line is Vincent Lecavalier is happy and his family living in Tampa Bay. But we just saw Scotty Niedermayer accept the front office job, an advisor role in Anaheim where Scotty Niedermayer and his family can stay in British Columbia. I believe that that’s what Kent Hughes, the new GM of the Canadiens, has talking to Vincent Lecavalier about, is a potential role in the Habs organization where Lecavalier can remain based in Tampa but has something to offer to the Montreal Canadiens. It’s not a done deal, it’s not a slam dunk that Lecavalier will end up with the Habs but it’s certainly something that’s being talked about so stay tuned.
Giroux taking time to survey deadline options
Duthie: Less than 40 days and 40 nights until TradeCentre and CJ, with the Flyers in the basement or near the basement, Claude Giroux’s name keeps coming up. Is it possible the career-long Flyer does indeed move?
Johnson: Well at this stage, it doesn’t seem like Claude Giroux really wants to think too much about that James and look, he’s coming up on a 1,000 game milestone all in that uniform, he’s been the captain there for a long time. And with that 40 days and 40 nights you mentioned, I don’t get the sense at all that Claude Giroux is in a rush to make a decision to clarify his future. He has that no-movement clause. Obviously, the Flyers have indicated their willingness to do right by him to take the lead from what he wants to do here, if he wants to move on and have a chance to win a Cup somewhere else. But it doesn’t seem like even coming out of the All-Star break that there’s any more clarity on his situation. I think he wants to see if there’s some miracle perhaps over these next few weeks and the Flyers can climb back in that playoff race.
Conversation coming between Francis and Giordano
LeBrun: And from one captain to another, Mark Giordano of the expansion Seattle Kraken also a pending UFA just like Giroux. And the plan is for Kraken GM Ron Francis in the very near future to sit down face to face with Mark Giordano and discuss the future to see what Giordano wants to do. He’s got a 10-team no-trade list but the reality is I think they want to do well by Mark Giordano who took on this commitment to be the captain of this first-year team. I think he ends up getting dealt and certainly there’s some contenders keeping a close eye on him. Florida Panthers, among them.
Sens open to all options with Paul
Johnson: And Pierre, Nick Paul is another UFA that would draw some interest from other teams. At this point, we’re not adding him to the TSN Trade Bait List, at least not yet. That’s because Paul would like to sign an extension in Ottawa. He’s certainly open to that, there’s been a few discussions on that front. But on the Senators’ end of things, they’re having those discussions but also keeping open the option on the idea he could be traded before that March 21st trade deadline. As much as they like the player here, I think that they’re looking to balance the fact that they have a number of younger guys that are going to need contracts coming off their entry-level deals and they don’t want to tie up too much future cap space in doing so.
Duthie: He’s become a really good player the last couple of years has Nick Paul. The remarkable skill of players like Trevor Zegras has got a lot of people thinking Dregs, that if he can do what he can do holding that puck, how long is it going to be before Zegras or someone else can just carry the puck up lacrosse style instead of just scoring a lacrosse style goal. How would the NHL deal with that if it happens?
League has discussed extended puck carrying on stick
Dreger: Well, players are talking about it and there are some that believe it is just a matter of time before it happens, whether it’s Trevor Zegras, maybe it’s Connor McDavid. Imagine McDavid with the speed that he has coming through the neutral zone with a puck on his stick, as long as it is below his shoulder. It can be mid-air, there’s nothing illegal about that. The National Hockey League has talked about it. There’s really nothing the NHL can do. How do you defend against it without taking a penalty? You can’t slash. How do you get body position on a player as skilled as McDavid or Zegras? So, just a matter of time but the league has considered it to be sure.
Duthie: I agree, it’s coming and it’s terrifying for defenders to think of the possibility of McDavid or Makar or someone doing that.