Hockey bloggers share their 2010 Hockey Hall of Fame "ballots"

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adamoates.jpgNow that we provided our Hall of Fame choices, let’s get to some of our favorites from the hockey blogosphere. We’ll provide a “consensus” post later on, too.

Laura Astorian
http://www.thrashingtheblues.com/

1. Adam Oates – greatest assist man of all time and part of the best nicknamed duo in hockey: “Hull & Oates.”
2. Doug Gilmour – one of the best captains in Maple Leafs history, and there are quite a few to choose from.
3. Pavel Bure – he was fast, thrilling, and the hockey grandpappy of guys like Ovechkin and Kovalchuk.
4. Joe Nieuwendyk, because I’m contrarian and because he’s the “shoo-in.”

Every year Oates gets passed over drives me nuts. Nieuwendyk’s a lock regardless, but I like to live on the edge. (Ed note: someone purchased Aerosmith’s “Get a Grip” album in the 90s … besides ME!)

Ryan Porth
http://www.rldhockey.net/

Four choices: Joe Nieuwendyk, Doug Gilmour, Dave Andreychuk, and Pavel Bure
Honorable Mention: Cammi Granato
Nieuwendyk should get into the Hall in his first year on the ballot… no question! Gilmour, Andreychuk, and Bure are worthy of getting in, too. Granato would be a great story to get in as the first woman, but doubt she’ll be elected in her first year on the ballot.

andreychuk.jpg

Scotty Hockey
http://www.scottyhockey.com

1. Joe Nieuwendyk – Twenty seasons, three Cups, a Conn Smythe, a 0.90 point per game average over that span … this guy is a gimme for the Hall.

2. Hakan Loob – It is the Hockey Hall of Fame, right? Not the NHL Hall of Fame. Loob had a stellar career in the NHL, in Sweden and for Sweden – putting up solid numbers and bringing fans out of their seats. I would put Mats Naslund in as well for the same criteria but there are only four slots and, well, there are enough Canadiens in the Hall already. Induct him and they might want to retire his number… (Editor’s note: is Scotty Hockey trying to score points with John Buccigross?)

3. Alexander Mogilny – Like Loob, Mogilny is a Triple Gold member. Unlike Loob, he had to defect to come to play in he NHL and battled extreme xenophobia – he was a Soviet coming to take a job. It was a battle he won by becoming a star.

4. Lorne Chabotsky aka Lorne Chabot – By any name, the first goaltender in Ranger history was a great one. Lorne played 11 seasons, was traded six times, won two Stanley Cups (one with the Rangers, one with the Leafs), collected a Vezina Trophy (with the Hawks) and left the league with a winning record (201-148- 62).

Honourable Mention – Pavel Bure – A Russian Mike Bossy without the luck to end up on a dynasty team. Both were dynamic offensive talents who wowed with their skill and had their careers end too early due to injury. And Bure did it not in the open ’80s but the dead puck era.

Rob Yunich
http://stormingthecrease.com/

1. Joe Nieuwendyk
It may not be an original pick, but it’s hard not to start with him. He’s a proven winner who also looks like he’s going to have success as the Stars GM. A lock.

2. Dave Andreychuk
He’s one of 74 players all-time with more than 1,000 points and is 28th all-time in points overall. He’s a leader who played 1,639 games in a brilliant career.

3. Doug Gilmour
He’s 12th all-time with 964 assists in his 1,474-game career. Although he was somewhat overshadowed by Wayne Gretzky as a center, he certainly is worth of induction alongside the Great One.

4. Cammi Granato
If you’re going to include women on the ballot, why not start with somebody from a strong hockey family? Granato led the USA to two Olympic medals (a gold and silver) and a boatload of other international titles.

Honorable Mention — John LeClair: He may not be a sexy pick, but he’s certainly worthy of induction. He won a Cup on a great Canadiens team anchored by Patrick Roy and then nearly led the Phiadelphia Flyers to a title. And he won a silver Olympic medal too.

After the jump, picks from the remaining hockey bloggers.


ciccarelli.jpgMonica McAlister
http://www.thehockeywriters.com
http://sinbinchronicles.blogspot.com

Mike Vernon

Still holds the goaltending records for the Calgary Flames; and come on after so many years of battling it out with Patrick Roy between the pipes to finally pummeled him at center ice in the Fight Night at the Joe brawl on 26 March 1997 (which was also his 300th NHL victory) then back stopping the Detroit Red Wings to their first cup since 1955 and win the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Adam Oates

Probably one of the most overlooked players because he never won the Stanley Cup. Has the most points (1420 and what a pretty number that is) out of any eligible HHOF ballot members. After coming so close to winning so many different awards (Stanley Cup, Lady Byng, etc) isn’t it just time we finally let Oates be a bride and not the bridesmaid?

Dino Ciccarelli

Four time All Star game ranging from 1982 to 1997. The original goaltender annoyance before Tomas Holmstrom. Recorded 1,200 points (and 1,425 PIM) in 1,232 career games.

Alexander Mogilny

The original (OK not historically but we are talking hockey) Alexander the Great. A Triple Gold Club (Stanley Cup, Olympic Gold medal, and a World Championship Gold medal) member that just needs his Hockey Hall of Fame induction to complete his collection.

Honorable Mention:

Pavel Bure

Though he did not have a successful postseason career, he was flashy and enjoyable to watch. People tuned in to watch games they may have not normally watched to see what Bure might do. He was quick and flashy; and the people loved him but is that enough?

granato.jpgCornelius Hardenbergh
http://www.hockeyblogadventure.com/

1: Adam Oates. The only inactive non-hall-of-famer with more points than Oates is Joe Sakic, a first-ballot lock when eligible. That Brett Hull is in and Oates is not also breaks up the “Hull and Oates”
2: Doug Gilmour. If 1400+ games and points, many as a captain, doesn’t make you a hall of famer, maybe we should rethink George Armstrong. Both are former leafs who scored cup-winning goals…Gilmour just happened to do it for Calgary.
3: Dino Ciccarelli. Nearly a point per game through 1200+ games, he’s been kept out of the hall because of some questionable off-ice behavior. He’s been left to twist in the wind long enough, it’s time for him to finally get in.
4:John Vanbiesbrouck. Of eligible goalies, he’s the best. Tom Barrasso would also be acceptable, even if he did play for my high school’s rival before breaking into the NHL.
Honorable Mention: Phil Housley. One of the best American defensemen of all time, he’s cursed by a lack of Stanley Cups. I expect Messier to get into the Hall again before Housley does, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t.

First female inductee: Cammi Granato has been the first woman into 2 other hall of fames already – USHHOF and IHHOF – and with good reason. I see no reason to break the pattern. (USA! USA! USA!) (Editor’s note: Cornelius cheated! This won’t count but it’s still cool to have her in the post again.)

Scotty Wazz
http://scottywazz.blogspot.com/

1. Dino Ciccarelli: Aside from the off-ice shenanigans, Ciccarelli was a solid scorer and someone who was dependable for most of his career. 600+ goals and 1200 points is something that shouldn’t be left out of the Hall anymore.

2. Adam Oates: There wasn’t a better passer and probably never will be. Like Ciccarelli, the lack of Cup ring will definitely hurt him in the field of guys who have it– but even so; he should be able to get in on pointage alone.

3. Pavel Bure: While his career was cut short, the impact he had when it came to people looking at Russian players is something that paved that way for the likes of Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin. The only thing that will screw him over is the shortness of his career.

4. Joe Nieuwendyk: Three Cups and someone who was able to get into their role position after he was no longer the big fish in the small pond. While his stats were never flashy, he got the job done in the long run and contributed where needed.

Honorable Mention: Mike Richter: How he was passed up in his prior voting is a shock; but he will be again. NHL accomplishments aside, he did a lot of great international work with USA Hockey.

Bryan Reynolds
http://www.hockeywilderness.com

Joe Nieuwendyk – This guy has all of the numbers. 564 goals, 1126 points, three Stanley Cups. This guy is a mortal lock.

Phil Housley – Top scoring American born D-man ever. Second only to Mike Modano for highest scoring American regardless of position. If Housley doesn’t get in, the selection committee should be ashamed of themselves.

Dino Ciccarelli – The 600 goal club is a small one, and the fact that Dino is not in the hall is a travesty. I don’t think off the ice incidents (indecent exposure) should hurt a guy’s chance to get in the Hall. It’s about on ice success, and Dino was one of the best.

Dave Andreychuk – Another 600 goal club member left out of the hall. Stanley Cup, over 1300 points, in a relatively weak class of possible inductees. I’m not sure what a shoe-in vote looks like, but he has to be it.

Honorable mention:

Mike Vernon – No, he doesn’t have the greatest numbers of all time, but he beat the tar out of Patrick Roy. That has to count for something.

Cassie McClellan
http://www.rawcharge.com

1. Kevin Lowe – As much as I dislike him as the president of the Edmonton Oilers, there’s no denying that he was a presence on those five Cup winning Edmonton Oilers teams. And he managed to add a sixth Cup win when with the NY Rangers. Even if it was just luck on his part, those six rings speak volumes.

2. Cammi Granato – Manon Rhéaume may have broken the gender barrier in the NHL – even if it was only during the preseason – but Granato has accomplished far more on the ice than Rhéaume has. She’s won just about everything there is to win in women’s hockey, including the first-ever Olympic gold medal at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan. In 2007, she was one of the winners of the Lester Patrick Award, which is often awarded to NHLers; if that doesn’t say something, then I don’t know what does.

3. Alexander Mogilny – Mogilny’s on-ice accomplishments were many, but it’s his off-ice accomplishment that makes him HHOF-worthy. He was the first Russian to defect in 1989 as a junior player to the US to come play hockey in the NHL – the Soviet Union didn’t fall until two years later in 1991. Mogilny’s bravery led the way for other Russians to join him in North America, such as Sergei Fedorov and Pavel Bure.

4. Manon Rhéaume – She was the face of women’s hockey for many years, and inspired a generation of girls to toss their figure skates for a pair of hockey skates – or even just to learn to skate so they could play hockey. She broke the NHL gender barrier by playing two NHL preseason games with the Tampa Bay Lightning, one in 1992 versus the St. Louis Blues and the other in 1993 versus the Boston Bruins. She also participated in the first ever women’s ice hockey Olympic tournament in 1998 with Team Canada, winning the silver medal.

Honorable Mention, Mike Richter – Perhaps not the most successful goaltender on the list, but his accomplishments to grow the game here in the US were great. He was, for many years, the face of USA Hockey – and he lived up to that admirably. It doesn’t hurt that he also managed to win a Cup in 1994 with the NY Rangers as well.

Ivan Makarov (no relation to Sergei, though)
http://www.fearthefin.com

1. Joe Nieuwendyk
2. Eric Lindros
3. Pavel Bure
4. Sergei Makarov

Honorable Mention: John LeClair – consistent performer, but not quite the first-year inductee.

There is no question Joe should be elected on the first ballot – he has the numbers, the trophies and the rings. Lindros and Bure do not have the rings, but when we think of the players who dominated the game in the 90s, those two come up in all conversations. All young Canadian and Russian prospects with high potential are still compared to those two all the time. Finally, Makarov belongs to HOF too. No doubt he was one of the best players to ever play the game and it’s a shame he was in his prime when he couldn’t play with the best in the NHL.

Blogger Tally

Nieuwendyk 7

Oates 4

Gilmour 4

Bure 4

Ciccarelli 4

Andreychuk 3

Granato 2

Mogilny 2

Loob

Chabot

Vernon

Vanbiesbrouck

Housley

Rheaume

Lowe

Lindros

Makarov

Lightning need to ‘push back’ after missed opportunity in Game 6

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WASHINGTON — For the third time in four years the Tampa Bay Lightning find themselves facing one of the ultimate situations in the sport.

A Game 7 in the Conference Final with a trip to the Stanley Cup Final on the line.

It is obviously a familiar situation for most of the core group as 11 players on the roster, as well as head coach Jon Cooper, have been in place for all three of these recent runs. They split the previous two Game 7s, beating the New York Rangers in 2015 on their way to a Final showdown with the Chicago Blackhawks, and losing a one-goal nail-biter in 2016 against the eventual champion Pittsburgh Penguins.

Now they find themselves in a winner-take-all game on Wednesday night (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN) after dropping Game 6 in Washington on Monday night. It was a brutally physical, electrifying game that saw Capitals goalie Braden Holtby pitch his first shutout of the season and the Lightning find themselves trying to chase a more desperate team for much of the night.

[Related: Braden Holtby dominated when the Capitals needed him most]

It was probably a disappointing effort on the part of the Lightning after winning three consecutive games to push the Capitals to the brink of elimination. To be fair, it is awfully difficult to beat any team four games in a row, especially when you get to this point in the season when only the best of the best are still left standing. But anytime you have a chance to finish a team and deliver a knockout punch you want to take advantage of that. Sometimes you can’t control the result. Sometimes no matter how well you play things are not going to go your way on the scoreboard. Stuff happens. But you can control the way you play and the latter part was a big part of Cooper’s post-game presser on Monday night, as well as the situation it leaves them in.

“We didn’t play with near the desperation they did,” said Cooper. “Was it a fairly even game? There is no question. But what were the hits, 39-19? Somebody was engaged and somebody was not. That is a choice, and you can spin this anyway you want. You can say, ‘well good for Tampa they were down 0-2 and they pushed this to a Game 7.’ Or you could say ‘wow they blew a big opportunity to close this series out.’

“In the end there is a Game 7,” he continued. “It is at home. If you said to me you just have to go 2-2 at home in this series and you are going to win it, we will take that. We won two on the road, now we have to go home and make sure we take care of business there. Shame on us if we don’t.”

While home ice is all well and good, it isn’t necessarily something that has been a huge advantage in these playoffs, and especially not in this series where each team to this point has lost two of the three games in their own building.

“I think if you look at the statistics in these playoffs, pretty sure the playoffs the road team has won more than the home team,” said Cooper, who was correct in his assessment of playoff records, where the road teams own a 41-37 mark.

“You have an advantage of home. you get to squeak your matches a little better, there is face-offs, there is 20,000 people pulling for you. If you’re going to give me a game, and I have no idea what the results are going to be, but if you’re going to give me a game I’d rather play it at home than on the road. They earned that during the regular season and now we need it. Now we need to use it to our advantage.”

Still, the question remains as to why the Lightning, the top team in the Eastern Conference that had just pulled off three wins in a row, played so flat at times in a potential close out game. Cooper was asked on Monday night if he thought his team was maybe relying too much on the fact it knew it had Game 7 sitting in its back pocket and thus didn’t have the same urgency as the Capitals.

“I don’t know, is that human nature? Who knows,” said Cooper. “I guess in the back of your mind you know it’s going to be there. But did our guys try and win a hockey game? They did.”

He continued: “But with this time of year with only three teams left with a chance to play for the Stanley Cup your urgency level, your determination level, they have to make you so uncomfortable, that is what pushes you through. There were times we played like that, there were times we didn’t. It’s so hard to win and this group has been through these games before. Maybe winning three in a row and clawing back into this series, we were on life support, maybe it’s taken its toll on us. Maybe we exhaled a little bit. But I will tell you one thing, I’ve been so proud to coach this group over the past five years, every time they have been pushed against the wall, they have pushed back. It has been awesome to coach them, we are being pushed again, and now it is time to push back.”

These two teams are very similar in a lot of ways, so it’s probably kind of fitting that they find themselves in this situation where one game decides who moves on.

They each have one of the top-two goal-scorers from this generation in Alex Ovechkin (Washington) and Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay), both of whom are still searching for their first Stanley Cup ring.

While the Tampa Bay organization has won the Stanley Cup once in its existence (and been back to the Final within the past four years) this particular core — which is an outstanding one! — still hasn’t done it. They, too, have been painfully close only to have it fall just out of reach. After losing the Final to Chicago in 2015, they came back the previous season and let a 3-2 series lead slip away against Pittsburgh after missing an opportunity to close out the series on home ice. They had a 3-2 series lead this time around, missed an opportunity to close it out again with a game that probably was not their best effort, and now find themselves in another Game 7 with a trip to the Final on the line.

Both teams have a ton of pressure to come through and break through the glass ceiling that has been sitting above them. It should make for an outstanding game on Wednesday night.

MORE:
• Conference Finals schedule, TV info
• NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Wild’s new GM faces tough task in finding ‘finishing touches’

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If you look at NHL GM gigs like flipping a home, then some jobs call for a massive renovation, and it must be fun to deal with a “fixer-upper.” But what about when someone wants you to turn an already-expensive house into a mansion?

That’s essentially what’s being asked of longtime Nashville Predators assistant GM Paul Fenton as he takes over the Minnesota Wild job from Chuck Fletcher.

Wild owner (and former Predators owner) Craig Leipold at least had a sense of humor about his demands during the press conference that introduced Fenton as GM.

“Our goal is to bring a Stanley Cup to the State of Hockey. But, no pressure, Paul,” Leipold said, via The Athletic’s Michael Russo.

For those who are waiting to interject with a comment along the lines of “Yes, but every team talks about winning the Stanley Cup in these situations” … well, that’s true. Sometimes you can root out some semi-useful information in reading between the lines during these moments, though.

Take, for instance, the video clip below. On one hand, Fenton wants to “move the puck” and play an uptempo style that virtually every team discusses (aside from a relative outlier here or there, like Peter Chiarelli wanting “heavy and hard hockey”). On the other hand, there are some interesting kernels to consider. Fenton at least seems open-minded to making things work with head coach Bruce Boudreau, which is certainly a fair question since he wasn’t a bench boss handpicked by Fenton. Multiple comments also indicate that the Wild hope to ascend to the level of contender rather than going into a rebuild, as “finishing touches” indicate.

If anyone’s ready for a GM job, it’s Fenton. He’s been rising up the Predators organization since 1998, earning glowing reviews from Nashville GM David Poile. There’s a reason he’s been on plenty of GM candidate lists for years.

Minnesota could especially benefit if Fenton observed how Nashville flourished after making courageous trades such as the P.K. SubbanShea Weber swap. Not everyone has the stomach for such risks, but those gambles often separate contenders from pretenders.

There are a number of reasons why Fenton might fail, or at least could struggle. Let’s dive in.

Jumping right into the deep end

The 2018 Stanley Cup Final is nearly upon us. The draft isn’t far away on June 22, and free agency is right afterward. Wild fans have to hope that Fenton’s experience in scouting and his familiarity with the Central Division will come in handy, as this next stretch is a true “trial by fire.”

Fletcher left quite a mess of long-term contracts, most obviously in challenging deals for Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, so the Wild aren’t exactly bursting with cap space.

[A deep dive on the mess Fletcher left behind. It’s a mixed bag at best.]

It’s up to Fletcher to try to land pending RFAs Jason Zucker and Mathew Dumba to team-friendly deals after each player enjoyed easily the best seasons of their NHL careers. Over the years, the Predators have piled up some really nice contracts for players they developed, most notably Viktor Arvidsson, Roman Josi, and Ryan Ellis. Bargain extensions often come down to timing, however, as you can see in Ryan Johansen getting a Getzlaf-like deal. Fenton faces two challenges in getting Zucker and Dumba signed to affordable contracts, whether that means going short-term or trying to bring the annual price down by handing out more term.

If “finishing touches” boil down to small tweaks and savvy shopping in the discount aisle, that’s fine.

Something more drastic could be highly difficult to pull off …

Central issue

… Because the Wild are in a true meat grinder of a Central Division.

Consider this: Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck was being comically hasty in discussing his team becoming a “dynasty.”

That said, when you consider how young and talented that core is, you never know. At minimum, the Jets are structured in a way where they’ll be on-paper favorites against the Wild for the foreseeable future.

Fenton will need to make beautiful music to get his Wild to outmatch his old boss in Nashville, while it’s possible that the Blues and Stars are the ones who are “finishing touches” away from legitimate contention. You can’t totally count out the Blackhawks either (what if Corey Crawford was healthy all season?) and the Avalanche seem like they’re onto something.

One could envision Fenton making the right moves and the Wild still stalling in this first-round limbo. The Central Division is that tough, and there’s a genuine fear that Minnesota simply doesn’t have a high enough ceiling to break through.

***

There’s a school of thought that the Wild might be better off rebuilding, or if that’s too extreme, maybe a brief “reload.”

Minnesota definitely has some talent, and the Wild can look like a contender on better nights. Still, that series against the Jets felt telling; you wonder if they’re doomed to be stuck at good when they need to be great.

MORE:
• Conference Finals schedule, TV info
• NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Canadiens reward Antti Niemi with extension after turnaround

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There weren’t many positives in Montreal during the 2017-18 regular season, but Antti Niemi‘s play was certainly one of them. On Tuesday, the team announced that the veteran has signed a one-year, $950, 000 deal. He was scheduled to become a free agent on July 1st.

Niemi’s journey to the Canadiens organization was a bumpy one. After being bought out by the Dallas Stars last offseason, he signed a one-year contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He started the year as Matt Murray‘s backup, but he quickly found himself on waivers in October after a string of poor performances (he had an 0-3 record, a 7.50 goals-against-average and a .797 save percentage during his time with the Pens).

The Florida Panthers decided to put in a waiver claim on the 34-year-old netminder, but not much changed in his play during his brief time in the Sunshine State. He suited up in just two games with the Panthers before going back on waivers in November.

With Carey Price out of the lineup, the Canadiens decided to roll the dice on Niemi and that’s when things changed for the better. By reuniting with his former goalie coach in Chicago, Stephane Waite, Niemi was able to get his career back on the rails. The pair won a Stanley Cup together in 2010 and, again, they showed that they form a great partnership.

In 19 games with an injury-riddled Canadiens team, Niemi had a 7-5-4 record with a 2.46 goals-against-average and a .929 save percentage. Those numbers are remarkable when you consider just how bad the Canadiens were in 2017-18.

As great of a story as this is, this new one-way contract doesn’t guarantee that he’ll be one of the two goalies on the NHL roster come October. Carey Price will be the undisputed starter going into camp, while Niemi and Charlie Lindgren battle for the backup job. Both players are on one-way deals, so the Habs will be paying one of their AHL goalies a lot of money no matter who heads down to AHL Laval next fall. Both contracts can totally be buried in the minors without counting toward the salary cap.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Where will Mark Hunter go after leaving Maple Leafs?

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The hockey world hasn’t heard from Maple Leafs assistant general manager Mark Hunter since the team promoted Kyle Dubas to GM last week. Well, on Tuesday, the team announced that the two sides have mutually agreed to part ways.

“Following extensive discussions with Mark, he and the Toronto Maple Leafs have mutually agreed to part ways,” said Leafs president Brendan Shanahan. “I’d like to sincerely thank Mark for everything he’s done for this organization over the last four years and I wish him nothing but the best in the future.”

Many speculated that Hunter wasn’t happy about being passed over for the general manager opening that eventually went to Dubas, and this kind of confirms that theory. During his tenure with the Leafs, Hunter was in charge of the pro scouting, amateur scouting and player evaluation. He played a big part in Toronto’s rapid rebuild.

So now, Hunter is free to pursue other opportunities outside of the Leafs organization. But according to TSN hockey insider Bob McKenzie, he can’t join another team until after the NHL Entry Draft and free agency. That seems fair considering he has a lot of intel into Toronto’s off-season plans and because he’s departing with term left on his contract.

It’ll be interesting to see if Hunter decides to join forces with former Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello, who officially became the Islanders president of hockey ops on Tuesday morning. After all, current Isles GM Garth Snow is on thin ice, so there could be an opening for a new general manager in the near future. Assuming they move on from Snow, Hunter could be in line to get the job if he decides to go there. If Snow sticks around, he could still join the team in a different capacity.

If things don’t work out with the Islanders, Hunter could always join another NHL team with a front-office opening. Getting a GM gig might be a little difficult considering there aren’t any more openings right now, but that doesn’t mean he can’t get a good gig elsewhere. The Montreal Canadiens have already made some changes to their management group by allowing Rick Dudley to move on to Carolina. Could Hunter be a fit there? It would be a heck of a statement for him to go from Toronto to Montreal.

Of course, if Hunter doesn’t like the NHL offers on the table, there’s also a possibility that he could return to the OHL with the London Knights. When the Leafs came calling in 2014, Hunter was serving as part owner and general manager of the Knights (he remains a co-owner of the team with his brother, Dale, and Basil McRae).

MORE:
• 
Conference Finals schedule, TV info
• 
NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.