Scott Luce has been either the director of scouting or director of player personnel with the Florida Panthers since 2002. And like literally every other person in the talent evaluation business, he has some home runs and he has some skeletons in his closet.
So when the Panthers said they relieved him of his duties, saying they wanted a new voice when it came to scouting, there’s no reason not to take them for their word. Luce’s recent work has been splendid, but that many years in one position is a long time for anyone in this business.
The city council of Tucson, Arizona, has officially approved a deal that will bring the AHL’s Springfield Falcons to town, where they will continue to serve as the farm team for the NHL’s Coyotes. In a unanimous vote, the council signed off on a ten-year deal that city officials believe will shield taxpayers and the town from an undue financial burden.
While there is still work to be done before the team takes to the ice next season, the hurdles are being knocked down. There’s also fun stuff to figure out, such as the team’s name. The Coyotes are holding a contest to name the squad, but here are some ideas to get the creative juices flowing:
Right now, the Brandon Wheat Kings and Rouyn-Noranda Huskies are in control of their respective championships in the WHL and QMJHL, with 3-1 series leads over Seattle and Shawinigan. The Wheaties lost yesterday, the Huskies the day before.
The OHL’s London Knights, on the other hand, haven’t lost a hockey game since the first day of April.
The recent spate of coach signings has revealed two very clear notions. The first is that, as was the case with the players more than two decades ago, full salary disclosure would do wonders for the salaries of the 30 men behind NHL benches. The second is that all coaches and would-be NHL coaches should send Mike Babcock a Thank You card and box of chocolates.
The Minnesota Wild unveiled Bruce Boudreau as their new coach Tuesday afternoon and are paying him somewhere in the range of $3 million a year. This is the same Bruce Boudreau who was just fired in Anaheim, whose teams have won just five playoff rounds in nine years and can’t seem to win a Game 7 to save their lives. Dave Tippett, who hasn’t been involved in a playoff game in four years, won an organizational power struggle with GM Don Maloney and was rewarded with more responsibility as the executive vice president of the hockey department and a new five-year deal worth $4 million a season.
Twenty seasons with one organization is a nice round number, but veteran Shane Doan wants to make it 21 campaigns with the Arizona Coyotes.
Doan, 39, said during an appearance on the NHL Network Friday evening that he wants to return to the Coyotes for at least one more season, which would make for his 21st with the franchise that drafted him seventh overall in 1995. The only hurdle standing between the Coyotes and Doan, however, is that he’ll be an unrestricted free agent on July 1. That said, it’s hard to imagine the Coyotes will have much trouble figuring out a deal to bring back their longtime captain.
It’s not as if re-signing the veteran winger is a risky proposition, either. Though Doan will turn 40 on Oct. 10, he’s still productive for the Coyotes and is coming off of a 28-goal, 47-point campaign in 2015-16, which made him the third-highest scorer for Arizona this past season. Doan is finishing up a four-year, $21.2-million deal, and though it’s unlikely whatever deal he signs next would carry a similar cap hit, the Coyotes have more than enough cap space to sign him to a similar $5.3-million deal. Read more
Conventional wisdom sticks…until it doesn’t. The Blues could never beat the Blackhawks in the playoffs, nor could the Sharks beat the Kings…but this year they did. The Arizona Coyotes named 26-year-old John Chayka as the franchise’s new GM today. Chayka is an analytics man who quickly found favor with Coyotes ownership and now he’s getting the keys to the hockey department.
The Strome family has a tradition. Three sons have been drafted into the OHL over the years, and a couple nights before each one has left home, the family has thrown a big party featuring all their relatives. The son who was leaving would give a speech, and things would get misty. OK, fine. There were full-on waterworks. Ryan is the eldest and currently a member of the New York Islanders. Matthew is the youngest and just gave his speech last summer before departing the family home in Mississauga for Hamilton. And in the middle is Dylan, an Arizona Coyotes draft pick who has been tearing up the OHL as a member of the high-flying Erie Otters for nearly three seasons. “We thank everyone for the help and generosity they’ve given us,” Dylan said.
“They’ve followed us for so many years of our lives, and they know we’re going off to do what we love to do. For them to help us out so much, you get emotional when you talk about it. I was crying, Matt was crying, Ryan cried. I cried when Ryan said it, I cried when Matt said it. My parents were both crying. It’s OK to show emotion in our family.”
Stories about Arizona’s arena saga are rarely fun to read. The latest development in Glendale has AEG Facilities taking over as managers of Gila River Arena. The company is an offshoot of the firm that owns the Los Angeles Kings and has vast experience in arena management. As always, hope is high in some corners and not so high in others. But guess what? This is a minor development in a state on the rise in the hockey world.