According to the Vancouver Sun, the Canucks might turn back the clock in finding a replacement for Craig MacTavish, who recently left his heading coaching post with Vancouver’s AHL affiliate in Chicago.
Scott Arniel — the former Columbus bench boss who coached Vancouver’s farm team when it was in Manitoba — is being considered as the club’s next coach.
“Scotty would be on our list, for sure,” said Canucks assistant GM Lorne Henning. “There will probably be five or six guys and Scotty will be one.”
Arniel was fired by Columbus in January after a dismal 11-25-5 start to the campaign. He’s been out of work since, but sounded as though he’d relish the opportunity to get back in the coaching ranks, regardless of league.
“It is interesting,” Arniel told the Sun. “As a coach, you’re always looking at opportunities. I want to be an NHL head coach again but I don’t know if there is anything for me this year. Certainly there are some assistant jobs available but this one [Wolves] is intriguing.
“I know the organization very well and I’ve obviously worked with Mike Gillis and Lorne and Laurence Gilman. There is lots of respect there and I think we’ve had a really good arrangement in the past.”
Vancouver would need to speak with Columbus prior to officially contacting Arniel as he’s still under contract. That said, there does seem to be interest in having him coach the club’s prized prospects in Chicago, as Arniel has a reputation for working well with young players.
Current NHLers that played under him in Manitoba include Cory Schneider, Alex Edler, Mason Raymond, Jannik Hansen, Cody Hodgson and Michael Grabner.
There’s another Raffl in the NHL.
On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.
Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.
“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.
With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.
For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.
Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.
Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.
Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)
Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.
But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.
They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.
Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.
Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.
Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?
So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.