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 New Jersey Devils are holding a contest to design a mask for Cory Schneider. (Devils.nhl.com)
The argument in favor of the Nashville Predators trading Shea Weber within the next year. (Puck Daddy)
Did you enjoy Jonathan Quick’s look at the league’s elite snipers? Because he’s doing a second part to it and is taking requests. (Quick on Twitter)
Leo Reise Jr. passed away at the age of 93. The former defenseman played in 494 NHL games and won the Stanley Cup with Detroit in 1950 and 1952. (Associated Press)
The Chicago Blackhawks are getting a new practice facility. (NHL.com)
Ken Daneyko wrote about Lou Lamoriello, who he feels is a “once-in-a-generation hockey mind.” (The Players’ Tribune)
Some former NHL stars might end up being added to the San Jose Sharks’ coaching staff.
The Sharks already announced that ex-NHLers Bob Boughner and Johan Hedberg would serve under head coach Peter DeBoer, but a team source told CSN Bay Area that there are plans to further bolster that group.
Two possible contenders include Adam Oates and Evgeni Nabokov. The prior has had conversations with DeBoer last month about a possible role with the Sharks. Oates, who ranks 17th on the NHL’s all-time scoring list, could serve as a power play specialist for San Jose, which is a role he once had under DeBoer when they helped lead the New Jersey Devils to the Stanley Cup Final in 2012.
Nabokov, who won 353 career games while playing primarily for San Jose, took part in the Sharks’ recent development camp as a guest coach, but perhaps that was a precursor for a more regular role within San Jose’s organization. That being said, the Sharks already have Hedberg to work with the team’s NHL goaltenders.
Steve Spott is another candidate for a coaching job with the Sharks. Unlike the Oates and Nabokov, Spott never played in the NHL, but he does have far more coaching experience. Spott, who was an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs last season, is another person that could run the power play.
Statistically speaking, the last two seasons have been among the worst in Buffalo’s history, but Sabres owner Terry Pegula sees great value in those painful years. In fact, he would list them as “two of the most successful seasons we’ve ever had,” per the Associated Press.
Obviously, those losing records allowed the Sabres to draft second overall in back-to-back years (having lost the draft lottery both times). They used those picks to select Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel, but general manager Tim Murray was also able to get plenty of other pieces for the rebuild over that span. He also acquired the likes of Evander Kane, Ryan O’Reilly, and Robin Lehner in trades while moving other players like Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek to get future assets, including first round picks.
A couple rough seasons in the service of a long-term goal can make sense, but the success of the Sabres’ rebuilding effort will be measured by how they do going forward. They don’t have to look any further than the Edmonton Oilers to know how hard it can be to transition from a rebuilding phase to a competitive one. Having a generational talent like Eichel on the roster certainly helps, but he and the Sabres have a lot to prove.
Given that, we can’t call the last two seasons successful for Buffalo in terms of on-ice accomplishments, we’ll have to let history judge if the off-ice moves are as beneficial as Sabres fans hope.
Related: Gionta: Sabres’ offseason ‘excites guys in the locker room’