The New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings have been the two most-linked teams to Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel on the NHL Trade market. Still, multiple sources tell OTR that the Arizona Coyotes have gone from a dark horse to a serious contender to acquire the disgruntled star center.
The Montreal Canadiens limped into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Barring a major upset of the Toronto Maple Leafs and a magical playoff run, Dominique Ducharme is unlikely to return as head coach of the Habs next season. One of the top candidates to be the next head coach of the storied franchise is a name well known to hockey fans, especially in Montreal. Patrick Roy.
It wouldn’t be a Boston Bruins postseason without some Tuukka Rask drama and speculation. That drama could very well likely come to a welcome conclusion for all after this season, and other NHL teams will be waiting.
That and more in the latest ‘Off The Record’:
1. Coyotes Targeting Eichel
We have and will continue to hear the usual suspects like the Rangers and Kings regarding the NHL trade market for Sabres captain Jack Eichel, but has another team become a major contender to acquire the center that made it clear he expects a change of scenery soon?
In March, an NHL source told OTR ‘Don’t sleep on the Coyotes’ when asked about dark horse teams in the NHL Trade sweepstakes for Jack Eichel. According to that same source, the Coyotes have escalated the process. Not only let it be known they’re interested in trading for Eichel but that Coyotes GM Billy Armstrong has engaged in ‘extended conversations’ with Coyotes interim GM Kevyn Adams over what the Sabres would want from the Yotes for Eichel.
Off the record:
‘Out of respect to the players, because their names aren’t out there, I won’t tell you who the Sabres want, but I can tell you that trade scenarios have been and continue to be discussed between the two teams,” the NHL source said. “Anyone that knows their prospects know that the Coyotes have the type of young players the Sabres need and want. They also fulfill the Sabres’ desire to ship him out west.”
The source noted that he expects Adams, even though Eichel doesn’t have any trade protection, to be upfront with and in constant communication through the process until Eichel is off the NHL trade market.
2. Get Ready For The Habs-Patrick Roy Rumors
If, as expected, the Toronto Maple Leafs take care of the Montreal Canadiens in their first-round Stanley Cup Playoffs series that begins Thursday night in Toronto, you can expect a decision on interim head coach Dominique Ducharme quickly. According to a well-placed source, unless the Habs pull off the upset over the Leafs and make a 1993-like run to their 25th Stanley Cup, the team will reassign Ducharme and hire a new head coach. If and when that happens, you can also expect the Patrick Roy back to the Habs as head coach rumors to reach a loud roar instantly.
PBI, the agency that represents Roy and other coaches, went on a campaign last month to let the NHL know the Hall of Famer and former Canadiens goalie wants to be back in the coaching ranks. Roy won the Jack Admas Award in 2014 as head coach of the Colorado Avalanche and wants another shot behind an NHL bench.
Off the record:
“As of now, it really doesn’t seem like Ducharme will be back as head coach,” the source said. “That means Patrick Roy will instantly become the leading candidate with the media and fans, but there will be other candidates that fit Bergevin’s plan for sure. The question is, can Molson resist the allure of Roy and the moneymaker he could become as the team emerges from COVID lockdown in Montreal?”
3. ‘Teams Will Line Up For Rask’
On Friday, Boston Bruins Team President Cam Neely was non-committal when asked about the future of Tuukka Rask with the Boston Bruins. Then almost immediately after surrendering the overtime winner to Washington Capitals forward Nic Dowd in Game 1, Rask was asked about playing on an expiring contract and made his future between the Bruins’ pipes and the NHL murkier. Well, if the two sides do indeed part ways, but Rask chooses to keep playing and hit the unrestricted free agent market, you can expect a multitude of teams to line up for the winningest goalie in Boston Bruins history.
Off the record:
“Teams will line up for Rask,” one NHL management source told Off The Record over the weekend. “Not only will they lineup, they will still back up the Brink’s truck for him. He obviously won’t get much term, but there will be more than a few teams that will want to show him the money on a 1-2 year deal provided he’s healthy and still wants to play.”
As reported here, the Bruins had the chance to trade Rask last offseason and didn’t; now they may end up getting nothing for the potential future hall of fame goalie.