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Insider Trading: Fedotov expected to join Flyers


TSN’s Hockey Insiders discuss the status of Philly’s goaltending prospect Ivan Fedotov, the latest on the Senators’ coaching search and other teams with interim head coaches, and the Sabres’ tough decision ahead with Don Granato.


James Duthie: Chris Johnston and Pierre LeBrun on your insider desk today. The Philadelphia Flyers continue to be one of the NHL's surprise stories of the season, still in a playoff position with nine games remaining, and about to get some potential help in net all the way from Russia, CJ?

Chris Johnston: Yeah, and this one's a long time in the making with Ivan Fedotov, a player the Flyers drafted nine years ago. You may remember two seasons ago he signed an entry-level deal back in May of 2022, the intention was for him to come over at that time and he ended up being arrested and forced into a military service in his country, missed an entire season. This year he played in the KHL with CSKA and had his contract terminated there this week. The intention is for him to join the Flyers before the end of the season. He is able to play right away by virtue of that contract he signed back in 2022 and it comes at an interesting time. For one, he's won everywhere he's played. He won an Olympic gold medal in 2022, he's a 6-foot-8 goaltender and there's a lot of promise there, but he could be an unrestricted free agent this summer so the Flyers are going to get a look at him before that decision comes. They also have a decision of course on Carter Hart, whether he gets a qualifying offer or not before July 1.

Duthie: Amazing story if he becomes a factor in the playoffs if the Flyers do indeed get there. The Ottawa Senators are kind of the opposite of the Flyers, a team that had real playoff expectations and did not come close whatsoever. Jacques Martin's been filling in on an interim basis but what's the timeline for the search for a full-time coach, which is a critical hire for this franchise, Pierre?

Pierre LeBrun: It sure is James, and they are in no rush, so far. General manager Steve Staios, and he's talked about this, has a list that he's working on, a list of candidates that he's working on. John Gruden, the Toronto Marlies coach that coached for Staios in OHL Hamilton is obviously on that list but other, bigger names such as Todd McLellan, Dean Evason, Craig Berube, among others we believe are also on this working list. And I say working list because the Senators may add to it at two critical junctures: one at the end of the regular season, when perhaps some coaches become available depending on what happens elsewhere, or at the end of the first round of the playoffs, when we know some coaching decisions are made. So that's why Ottawa doesn't want to rush through this, ultimately they'd love to have a coach named by the draft in Vegas. As for Hall-of-Famer Daniel Alfredsson, they'll sit down with him at the end of the season and see what he feels might make sense in terms of his role moving forward in the organization.

Duthie: Ottawa one of a quarter of teams with coaches with that interim tag right now, the others being the New Jersey Devils with Travis Green, the St. Louis Blues and Drew Bannister and Jim Hiller with the Los Angeles Kings. Is Green a 'slam dunk' to be the full-time guy in New Jersey, Pierre?

LeBrun: Not quite, and my sense from talking to the Devils is that Green is a serious candidate, absolutely. They love what he's done since taking over for Lindy Ruff. The Devils feel that they're a different team, they play differently, but GM Tom Fitzgerald will probably still look at some different candidates, just to have a thorough process here in terms of naming a head coach at the end of the year. So bigger names, perhaps, like Berube, McLellan, Gerard Gallant, who hasn't coached all year, those are all possibilities but yes, Green is very much a possibility. As for the other two cases, in LA, word out of LA was that they would evaluate things at the end of the year. The team's playing much better hockey under Hiller, but no decision there. Pretty similar in St. Louis, I checked in with the Blues this week and they said "we'll make a decision at the end of the season when it comes to what happens with Bannister and the head coaching position."   

Johnston: Speaking of head coaches, the heat went up considerably in Buffalo with the Sabres' tough loss at home against the Senators on Wednesday. A lot of local media, some of the fans, talking about the future of Don Granato - my sense of where the Sabres are at is they're certainly not of a mind at this time to make a change at the coaching position, but let's face it, this team is on its way to missing the playoffs for the 13th straight year. It's three seasons now that Granato's been behind the bench so I think they have to look top to bottom in their organization for where they could find improvement. It would be a tough decision to fire Granato, he's still got two years left on his deal. I think the organization likes a lot of what he's done, but they can't shy away from tough decisions given where that organization is at at this time.

Duthie: Frankly, Buffalo is right there with Ottawa as a team that was expected to take a big leap forward this year and instead, kind of just got stuck.