Author: Cam Tucker

‘Canes hire ex-Florida assistant Morris for AHL gig

The Carolina Hurricanes on Friday announced the hiring Mark Morris for the head coaching job with their AHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers.

Morris joins the Hurricanes organization after spending the 2014-15 season as an assistant with the Florida Panthers.

Before joining the Panthers, Morris spent eight years with the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs, where he established a career record of 338-224-66, qualifying for the playoffs in seven of those seasons, and Clarkson University, where he had a combined record of 306-156-42.

According to the Hurricanes, he is the only coach to record 300 wins at both the collegiate and professional levels.

“Mark is an experienced head coach whose teams never had a losing record in 21 seasons at Clarkson and with Manchester,” said Hurricanes’ executive vice-president and general manager Ron Francis in a statement.

“He is a proven teacher of the game who has been a part of developing successful NHL players.”

The Hurricanes have also re-signed Geordie Kinnear as an assistant coach in Charlotte.

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    Sweeney has his ‘ears wide open’ heading into first draft as Bruins GM


    Don Sweeney is approaching his first NHL Draft as the Bruins new general manager, with a chance to make his first big mark for the future of that organization in his position.

    After missing the playoffs, the Bruins have the 14th overall pick in next Friday’s first round, but Boston has been in discussions about trying to move either up or down in the order, according to

    “I’m going to look at every option. I’m not really going to turn down anything,” said Sweeney, according to “I think this situation I’m in now, I have to have my ears wide open.”

    One thing Sweeney is faced with is a cap crunch, and that appears to be one of the reasons why Carl Soderberg very likely won’t be re-signing in Boston for next season.

    But could Sweeney be in a dealing mood in his first draft as Boston’s GM?

    “It has been busy. [There have been] a lot of conversations with all the teams, everybody sort of trying to get a real good solid view of the landscape ahead of each and every one of us heading into the draft,” said Sweeney, as per

    Report: Islanders’ Okposo could be on trading block


    Trade speculation leading up to next week’s NHL Draft now includes New York Islanders forward Kyle Okposo.

    From Newsday Long Island:

    Kyle Okposo, who is entering the final season of a five-year, $14-million contract, could be on the trading block, according to two league sources outside the Islanders’ organization.

    The 27-year-old wing has posted the best back-to-back seasons of his career, but Snow might not be interested in ponying up for a long-term deal for Okposo, who missed 22 games after emergency surgery to repair a detached retina in January.

    Both sources indicated that nothing appears to be imminent.

    Despite missing the aforementioned length of time this past season, Okposo still finished second on the Islanders in total points, with 18 goals and 51 points in 60 games.

    The Islanders currently don’t have a first or second-round selection. As of right now, their first pick in this year’s draft is at 72nd overall in the third round.

    Benning: Canucks waiting ‘for the domino effect’ in goalie market


    In 2013, the Vancouver Canucks, then under former general manager Mike Gillis, had goalies Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo and decided to send the former to New Jersey for the ninth overall pick.

    In 2015, Jim Benning, entering his second year as the Canucks’ GM, is facing a similar decision in the goaltending department with the first round of the NHL Draft now just six days away. It’s not a Schneider-Luongo situation, but with Vancouver needing draft picks, and three goalies with varying degrees of NHL experience and success in Ryan Miller, Eddie Lack and Jacob Markstrom, a decision looms.

    The Canucks select 23rd overall, but as of right now, they don’t have another pick until the fourth round in what is considered to be a deep draft.

    Benning made it known immediately after the trade deadline that he’d like to recoup picks for the draft.

    Markstrom, who was the backbone for the Utica Comets in their run to the AHL championship series, is a pending restricted free agent. Lack has one year remaining on his current deal, which is cap-friendly at $1.15 million.

    Ben Kuzma of The Province reported this week that Benning has taken trade calls from other teams on both Markstrom and Lack.

    Any potential move the Canucks make at this position might be dependent on what, if anything, happens with New York goalie Cam Talbot. Previous reports had as many as six teams having “some interest” in Talbot.

    “There’s good depth in the second round and I’d like to have a second-round pick but it’s a balancing act for us,” Benning told The Province newspaper in Vancouver.

    “It might not be a pick but a way of making our team better — we’re looking at all options. But I think I’ll be able to figure something out on that (draft pick) because when one goalie goes, they’re going to move on to the next guy. We’re waiting for the domino effect.”

    Related: Canucks might move a goalie, but it won’t be Ryan Miller

    Blue Jackets plan to draft ‘best player’ available, but will that be a defenseman?


    After losing prospect defenseman Mike Reilly, the Columbus Blue Jackets enter next week’s NHL Draft with the eighth overall pick and it will be interesting to see if they use that on another young blue liner to bolster that position within their organization.

    Then again, general manager Jarmo Kekalainen may decide to go in a different direction when it’s that club’s turn to announce its first-round selection next Friday.

    One name bandied around recently by the club’s director of amateur scouting Paul Castron on the Columbus website was right winger Mikko Rantanen, the top-ranked European skater heading into the draft, according to Central Scouting’s final rankings.

    “Rantanen is a player who wouldn’t surprise me if he stepped in right away with his size (6-3, 211) and strength,” Castron told the Blue Jackets website. “He’s got tremendous upside. It’s not as high-end in Europe as we’ve seen in the past. But again, those guys tend to develop a little later.”

    As per Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, Kekalainen conceded the organization is short of prospect defensemen. Reilly, selected in the fourth round of the 2011 draft by the Blue Jackets, opted this week not to sign with Columbus.