In light of the news coming out of Raleigh that long-time Carolina Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford could be stepping down or moving up at the end of this season, you can expect there will be lots or rumours around the Staal brothers and Jeff Skinner, not to mention goaltender Cam Ward.
That could add to the intrigue at the June draft in Philadelphia. With talk Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Kesler was available at the trade deadline and could be back on the market come summer, along with speculation about the future of Senators captain Jason Spezza in Ottawa, there will be lots of interesting names and scenarios in play.
The chatter around the Hurricanes is that general manager Jim Rutherford might be entering his final stretch at the helm. Rutherford is close to owner Peter Karmanos, but the Hurricanes haven’t qualified for the playoffs since 2008-09. The 65-year-old Rutherford must assume some of the blame for that drought. Rutherford has been too liberal with his owner’s checkbook.
Ted Nolan will likely be getting a three-year contract from the Buffalo Sabres when they return from their Western Conference road swing, which earns a two-thumbs up from Drew Stafford. “He’s a great motivator; he’s extremely simple on his philosophies,” said Stafford, who has been in Buffalo for eight seasons. “He tells us, ‘Look what you get to do for a living … it’s a special opportunity, don’t take it for granted. Show up and compete for a couple of hours.”
The market for James Reimer, restricted free agent, is limited. By my count, there are three teams he could start for — Islanders, Buffalo and Calgary. Three teams where he could compete for a starting spot — Winnipeg, Vancouver and Edmonton. All six of those teams will miss the playoffs.
And we have no idea what any of those teams think of him. If the Leafs choose to trade Reimer, and I wouldn’t necessarily do that, don’t expect them to reap much of a price for him. There is more supply than demand in the goaltending game … Sad to report that Roberto Luongo, the only NHL player worth following on Twitter, has decided to scale back on his social media activities. All I can say is @strombone1 please come home soon … Truth in numbers: Three of the 15 finalists for the Wooden Award (Heisman Trophy of basketball) are from the Greater Toronto area. Yet none of the 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award (Heisman of college hockey) are from the GTA … Not a bad time for Toronto area hockey players in the NHL, though: Wayne Simmonds is having a breakout year in Philadelphia (38 points in his past 35 games); Before he got hurt John Tavares was tearing it up with the Islanders and now Steven Stamkos is doing the same with the Lightning and Tyler Seguin is doing the all-star thing in Dallas. Not to mention what P.K. Subban or Alex Pietrangelo are doing on defence. For an area that has historically come under criticism for not producing players, this is Olympic quality … What Toronto, the city, doesn’t have: A signature local goaltender.