The New Jersey Devils’ pursuit of a new head coach continues, and while they may once again come out and refute the latest reports, it sounds like we can cross off some names and promote another.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that John Hynes (coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton) may be the current front-runner. Meanwhile, McKenzie notes that one can probably cross former Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher (pictured) off the list of possible candidates, as it appears that he’ll continue to coach in Switzerland.
That last bit of news may be a bummer to some, as many found some entertainment in hypothesizing about the source of Boucher’s Bond villain-style scar. The guy also tended to make some humorously dramatic facial expressions, as you can see from this post’s main image.
(You could also make a joke about upping the use of the 1-3-1 trap in New Jersey, if you’re into especially nerdy hockey humor.)
Hynes certainly makes sense from a familiarity standpoint, as new Devils GM Ray Shero is quite familiar with him. Beyond that, he’s enjoyed quite a bit of success in the AHL and seemed to have a good chance to nab the Penguins’ gig last summer, at least according to betting odds.
By no means is this official, but McKenzie does discuss what would happen next if the Devils do make the decision:
If Hynes and NJ finalize an agreement, NJ will have to provide draft pick compensation to PIT.
Russo, 22, was a fourth-round pick (95th overall) in 2011. He just finished up his collegiate career at Notre Dame, where the team viewed the defenseman as a “key catalyst in the Irish attack.”
It seems like Russo is just getting lost in the shuffle, with what was not an especially impressive standing in the Islanders’ defensive prospect ratings at Hockey’s Future. Still, his numbers were solid at Notre Dame (41 points in 40 games last season), so perhaps he’ll draw some interest on the free agent market.
GM Ron Hextall and the rest of his staff deserve some serious kudos for focusing on the draft as a route of improvement, especially since the team’s past salary cap mistakes limit their ability to make the flashy additions that once seemed like annual occurrences for the franchise.
Just look at how many of their 2015 NHL Draft selections come from other teams (via General Fanager):
Of course, whenever Markstrom’s name crops up, people wonder about his future in the Canucks organization. (Their own GM wondered as much, while PHT speculated about the possibility of Markstrom being traded, for instance.)
Canucks Misconduct argued that Eddie Lack may be the one who gets traded, at least if Vancouver makes a movie with its three goalies.
Still uncertainty whether Markstrom can translate his AHL success to NHL level. Unfortunately for #Canucks fans, Lack has most trade value.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
The Tampa Bay Lightning making the 2015 Stanley Cup Final is bad news for New York Rangers and Garth Brooks fans, as those home dates prompted the country music star to cancel three shows in Tampa this coming week. He said he’ll watch the series, though, so that’s good! (Tampa Bay Tribune)