The vacant general manager position in Pittsburgh is a tricky but appealing role for many executives around the hockey world, and Pierre LeBrun rattled off an early list of candidates on the latest edition of TSN’s Insider Trading. Jason Botterill, Chris Drury, Mark Hunter, Tom Fitzgerald, Ron Hextall, Peter Chiarelli, Scott Mellanby, Mike Gillis, Laurence Gilman, John Ferguson, and Mike Futa are all on Pittsburgh’s radar and LeBrun believes the team wants to have the next GM in place over the next few weeks.
In the same segment, Darren Dreger speculates on the future of Pittsburgh’s star players and believes whoever comes in would owe it to Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang to have a conversation about the direction of the franchise. Don’t jump to conclusions and think that Crosby is all of a sudden on the trading block, given CEO David Morehouse’s claim that the team is still in “win-now” mode, but if Pittsburgh misses the playoffs this season they will be a fascinating situation to keep an eye on.
- One front office member likely not on that list of candidates? Martin Lapointe, who has signed a three-year extension with the Montreal Canadiens to continue as director of player personnel through the 2023-24 season. Lapointe will also take on the role of director of amateur scouting, making him even more integral to the operation in Montreal. The former NHL forward was first hired as director of player development in 2012 and has worked his way up the front office ladder. He is on track to be a GM of his own down the road if he wants to be.
- The WHL has been granted approval to return to play in the province of Alberta, starting their season on February 26. The five WHL clubs based in Alberta—the Red Deer Rebels, Edmonton Oil Kings, Lethbridge Hurricanes, Medicine Hat Tigers, and Calgary Hitmen—will form the Central Division and play a 24-game regular season entirely within the province. The league continues to work with the health officials in the other provinces and states to try and establish a start date for East, B.C., and U.S. divisions this season. There are WHL teams based in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Washington, and Oregon.