There are going to be several head coaching vacancies around the NHL this offseason, and fans have been wondering whether Joel Quenneville would be willing to get back behind the bench for 2019-20. The former Chicago Blackhawks head coach was fired earlier this year and has been away from the game, but is starting to get that itch again. That’s what Quenneville told Dan Roan of WGN9 recently:
It’s been a while now since we’ve been behind the bench, so I think there’s an appetite as we’re going along here to get back into the game. I watch a lot of games, I try to not watch as much Blackhawks as I used to, but I watch most of the games. It’s been a great [playoff] race, and it’s going to be fun to see how it all plays out.
The fact that Quenneville could be available will likely slow down the interview process for several teams, given his incredible resume. The 60-year old coach has an 890-532-77-137 record over his long career and won the Stanley Cup three times with the Blackhawks. He would be an easy selection for the Hall of Fame even if he retired now, given that he ranks second on the all-time wins list and is one of only four coaches to have been behind the bench for at least 1,000 games and maintained a winning percentage of .600 or greater.
- As we heard this weekend, the Columbus Blue Jackets will soon be signing goaltender Elvis Merzlikins to his entry-level contract. Aaron Portzline of The Athletic (subscription required) expects Merzlikins to immediately join the Cleveland Monsters and likely make his AHL debut the weekend of March 29-30. Portzline also notes that it is unlikely that Merzlikins will see any time with Columbus this season despite burning his entry-level deal, meaning he’ll become a restricted free agent this summer with no NHL experience (save a stint as one of the team’s Black Aces if the Blue Jackets make the playoffs and Cleveland does not).
- The injuries keep coming for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who today announced that fourth-line center Frederik Gauthier will not travel with the team due to a foot injury. The 23-year old Gauthier has finally started to show some of the potential that made him a first-round pick in 2013, suiting up for 62 games with the Maple Leafs and recording 12 points. In his absence, it appears as though Nic Petan will get another opportunity to show what he can do in the middle of the ice.