Author Archives: Trade Man
As the Washington Capitals enter another offseason that arrived too soon, ownership and management must confront a number of difficult decisions that could determine the future of a franchise that hasn’t advanced beyond the conference semifinals in 13 years, despite possessing one of the game’s most talented rosters the past four.
When Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon fired coach Pete DeBoer the day after the season ended, he said there was no sense of urgency to find a replacement, but only that they find the “right guy.”
A month later, with Tallon expected back from Europe, where he had been scouting junior players as well as watching the IIHF World Championships, the interview process will begin in earnest this week.
So the name this time, the coach several sources have told Slap Shots that Lou Lamoriello intends to hire this summer, is Ken Hitch*****. And that makes perfect sense because the Devils general manager, who in the previous six summers since the lockout hired Larry Robinson, Claude Julien, Brent Sutter, Jacques Lemaire and John MacLean, has to go for the safe pick this time, has to go for a coach who will grab every one of his players’ attention and command every one of his players’ respect the moment he walks in the room the first day of training camp.
Are they worth relinquishing four years of first-round draft picks for? Are any one of them enough to turn the Leafs from also-rans to Stanley Cup contenders? That’s something general manager Brian Burke has to be considering — with three of hockey’s young stars heading to restricted free agency on July 1 — and knowing the kind of impatience he has shown in trying to build the Leafs the old-fashioned way. While Burke has previously spoken out against going after restricted free agents, he has said recently he has no objection to going that route if he deems it necessary.
No player in the Blue Jackets’ dressing room is more obsessed with winning than winger R.J. Umberger. And no player has established deeper roots with central Ohio than Umberger, who went to Ohio State, lives in Delaware year-round and plays with a workmanlike effort that many respect. Those truisms will be weighed against each other beginning this summer.