The morning after Halloween and the mask is coming off for some teams around the league. While Alain Vigneault and the New York Rangers stayed alive by fighting off the Vegas Golden Knights last night, seats are getting hotter for some coaches around the league. Frank Seravalli of TSN lists 13 potential hires should a team want to go in a different direction, including several very interesting names.
Along with the usual NCAA suspects like Jim Montgomery and David Quinn, Seravalli lists several options that are currently associate coaches in the league. It would be surprising to see any of them stolen away to coach a different team in the league mid-season, but don’t forget their names come springtime.
- Cody Franson has gone all the way from a professional tryout to the top pairing of the Chicago Blackhawks, as Chris Hine of the Chicago Tribune reports that he practiced alongside Duncan Keith yesterday for the team. Franson’s summer was one of the most surprising in free agency, as the 30-year old defenseman was unable to find an NHL contract for some time. Even with a rumored handshake deal with the Blackhawks, who waited until Marian Hossa could be put on long-term injured reserve before signing Franson, he will still earn just $1MM this season. The right-handed defenseman has always been a fairly productive offensive player, and has two points through three games for the Blackhawks this season.
- Jeff Marek of Sportsnet released his November prospect rankings, and there is no surprise at the top. Rasmus Dahlin continues to lead the pack in the race to be the number one pick, and his recent naming to Sweden’s Karjala Cup roster certainly won’t hurt. Marek is lower than many on Ryan Merkley of the Guelph Storm, who figures to have a broad range of rankings due to his size and defensive play. The OHL defenseman is only 5’11” 164-lbs, but has incredible offensive upside and can carry and distribute the puck as well as any prospect in the draft. With 15 points in 15 games, he has a real chance to lead all OHL defensemen in points this season (though he’ll have to quickly make up some ground on the current leader, Sean Durzi, who has been lined up at wing in the past).