The situation in Vancouver surrounding the sudden resignation of President Trevor Linden continues to be murky at best. Francesco Aquilini and the ownership continue to avoid prying questions, while GM Jim Benning and coach Travis Green continue to be on the hot seat instead. Many would like to know what led to the departure of a young executive with deep loyalties to the organization, but answers have been few and far in between. Mike Johnson of Sportsnet talked to Benning and Green, but found out little. Benning spoke highly of Linden, but said “I don’t know all the reasons why (he resigned) and it’s not my place to comment on it.” Johnson suggests, as many have, that Linden’s departure may not have been as independent as it appears and that he may have been forced out due to conflicts with the ownership. For his part, Benning says that he never noticed any discourse and says that nothing has changed about the team’s vision and direction. Green added that he thought the best of Linden, but that his departure won’t change the organizations game plan. However, that could change and so could the dynamic of the team’s front office. Sportsnet’s Iain MacIntyre reports that Benning has been told that the Canucks are not searching for a replacement for Linden, implying that Benning would absorb some of the responsibilities that he has been given already in Linden’s absence. However, that directly contradicts another report that former Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi has already been connected to the vacancy. It seems that there is still a lot to be revealed about both the past and future conditions of Vancouver’s leadership.
- The Athletic’s Lisa Dillman wonders if Los Angeles Kings backup goalie Jack Campbell will be the second coming of Martin Jones for the team. Campbell, who endured a bust label for years as a Dallas Stars first-round pick in 2011 who struggled to find success early on as a pro, finally looked like a legitimate NHL goaltender in five appearances with the Kings last season in his second year since being traded away by Dallas. Campbell started four games and made one relief appearance, posting a save percentage of .924 and a goal against average of 2.48 and also played well in the AHL. Dillman reports that this performance has L.A. expecting Campbell to be the primary backup to Jonathan Quick next season, despite the presence of veteran Peter Budaj and promising prospect Cal Petersen. The Kings hope that by committing to the young keeper that they could end up with another reliable asset like Jones. Jones also struggled to stick out in his early pro seasons, albeit as an undrafted free agent, before putting up stunning numbers as Quick’s backup for two seasons once he was given a real shot. The Kings have Campbell locked up for two more years – and Quick for five – so they would love to get a repeat performance of Jones, with Campbell providing elite play as the backup until the point that they can trade him away. This time they just hope that he won’t get flipped back into the division like the Boston Bruins did with Jones, who now frustrates the Kings on a regular basis as the starter for the San Jose Sharks.
- The Calgary Flames received the salary arbitration award for defenseman Brett Kulak on Wednesday and also agreed to terms on extensions with forward Mark Jankowski and goalie David Rittich in the past 48 hours, avoiding arbitration, yet they still aren’t done. The next scheduled arbitration hearing is none other than another Flame: forward Garnet Hathaway. Hathaway and his side are set to sit down with Calgary and an arbitrator on Monday if nothing can be agreed upon by then. With the Flames preoccupied working out three other contracts over the past two days, it would be no surprise if the two sides at least exchange briefs and filing numbers over the next day or two which could perhaps speed up negotiations. Hathaway played in only 59 games with Calgary last season and has less than 100 NHL games total to date, so it would be a surprise to see the fourth liner actually go through the arbitration process without a deal. However, most would have made a similar argument about Kulak, whose case was actually farther apart in terms of perceived value than many would have thought given his somewhat minor role. Garnet could be the same way, as their has been little talk of an agreement, and the Flames could be destined for yet another hearing.