MONTREAL - The Montreal Canadiens have named Randy Cunneyworth the new head coach of the Hamilton Bulldogs, their American Hockey League affiliate.
The Canadiens also named Randy Ladouceur an assistant Tuesday, helping cover for the defections of assistants Daniel Lacroix and Martin Raymond. They joined former Bulldogs head coach Guy Boucher with the Tampa Bay Lightning in moves also announced Tuesday.
Cunneyworth becomes the franchise's ninth head coach.
"We were looking for a strong leader to coach our farm team in Hamilton," Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier said in a statement. "In Randy Cunneyworth, we get an individual who knows the game inside-out and who brings a wealth of experience, both as a player and as a coach, to the table."
Cunneyworth served as an assistant coach with the Atlanta Thrashers the past two seasons. He previously spent nine seasons with the AHL's Rochester Americans, seven of them as head coach.
The 49-year-old from Toronto was named the AHL coach of the year in 2004-05 when he led the club to first place overall with a 51-19-10 record.
Cunneyworth played 15 seasons in the NHL, appearing in 866 regular-season games with Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Winnipeg, Hartford, Chicago and Ottawa. The winger served as captain of the Senators from 1994 to 1998 and reached a Stanley Cup final with Buffalo in 1999.
Ladouceur, 50, was an assistant coach for the Ontario Hockey League's Niagara IceDogs last season. The Brockville, Ont., native spent 10 seasons as an assistant coach in the NHL—eight with the Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes and two with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
He played defence for 14 NHL seasons with Detroit, Hartford and Anaheim.
The Capitals are all-in and the acquisition of Kevin Shattenkirk put the rest of the Metropolitan on notice. Will the other top teams in the division answer back? And if so, how?
The Capitals seemed a long shot to land Kevin Shattenkirk at the deadline, so much so that Washington really wasn’t even all that much on the radar for the rearguard until mere hours before he was dealt to the Metropolitan Division leaders. And even when the rumor mill started to heat up speculating the Capitals could be in on Shattenkirk, it still seemed like there would be no way it actually came to pass.
But did the Capitals ever put the rest of the division on notice when they managed to pull the trigger on a deal that, in the eyes of many, could very well put them over the top. All it cost to pick up Shattenkirk at the cost of two drafts picks, Zach Sanford and Brad Malone. If that’s enough to put the Capitals into the winner’s circle come season’s end, it was more than worth the price.
Don’t go thinking the rest of the division will go without a response, however. The battle for Metropolitan supremacy has been the toughest in the league this season, and with four other teams from the group in the hunt for the playoffs, there’s no doubt going to be some moves made as a reaction to the Capitals’ splash with the trade deadline fast approaching.
The Capitals are tired of playoff disappointments. Already the best team in the league, they decided overkill was the smart strategy. That's why they went out and got the best player on the trade market.
The Penguins were actually the first squad in the division to make a move, but it was as much out of necessity as it was in effort to take top spot in the Metropolitan. With Olli Maatta hitting the shelf with a hand injury and Kris Letang sidelined day-to-day with an upper-body ailment, Pittsburgh GM Jim Rutherford looked to his old stomping grounds in Carolina and picked up Hurricanes blueliner Ron Hainsey. That likely isn’t everything the Penguins do with the deadline approaching, however.
Realistically, the Penguins could still do with adding another depth blueliner, even if he doesn’t see the ice all that often. Security on the back end would be a nice thing to have going into the playoffs, especially with the Capitals loading up. It’s clear that’s of interest to the Penguins, too, as they were reportedly in on Shattenkirk, as well.
It wouldn’t be out of the question for Pittsburgh to also look to see if there’s a way to add another depth scorer to the roster, either. One of the most important facets of the Penguins’ run to the Cup in 2015-16 was their depth scoring. Players such as Bryan Rust, Tom Kuhnhackl and Conor Sheary stepped up at the right time. Jake Guentzel has been playing lights out of late, but maybe there’s another cheap piece to be added somewhere. A cheap scorer, maybe Radim Vrbata or P-A Parenteau, could fit the bill.
The Penguins have all the top-end skill a team needs to compete in the post-season, but the make or break factor could be ensuring there’s not even the slightest hole in their lineup. That’s what it’s going to take to win the Metropolitan, too.
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Blue Jackets are having what projects to be the most successful regular season in franchise history. The shame is, though, the 16-game win streak has been followed by a 12-10-1 stretch. Columbus is above .500 since their outstanding run, sure, but few would put them in the same conversation as the Capitals or the Penguins. The question then has to be what the Blue Jackets can do to put them into true contention for the Metropolitan crown.
Up until Tuesday, the Blue Jackets had stood pat, and the only move the team has made to potentially improve leading up to the deadline was Tuesday’s signing of Marc-Andre Bergeron. The 36-year-old blueliner isn’t exactly the kind of player who’s about to come aboard and make all that much of a difference, though, and there’s no telling if he even gets any NHL games under his belt this season. This is to say the Bergeron signing, while nice for the veteran rearguard, doesn’t move the needle for Columbus.
The Blue Jackets could use another defender, though. It’d be tough to make any of the high-priced defensemen work, but one option could be New Jersey Devils defender Kyle Quincey. He’s not carrying a massive cap hit — $1.25 million and a UFA at the end of the season — and could easily skate middle- or bottom-pairing minutes for Columbus. He has playoff experience and he’s got some offense to his game, providing four goals and 12 points this season.
However, it wouldn’t be all that shocking if the Blue Jackets stand pat, for the most part. This is a growing team with a lot of talented, young pieces. Their window isn’t all the way open yet, and there’s no reason to go all-in yet. Building off this strong season would be as good as trading away assets in a division they’re unfortunately unlikely to win.
New York Rangers
The Rangers might just have to wait for the off-season to get Shattenkirk, but that doesn’t mean they’re not going to add the blueliner they’re after. New York was reportedly interested in Detroit’s Brendan Smith even before Shattenkirk came off the board, and the Rangers carried out the deal with the Red Wings Tuesday afternoon by sending a pair of draft picks the other way.
Smith isn’t Shattenkirk, that much is clear. The Capitals pulled in an 11-goal, 42-point rearguard, and the Rangers answered back with one who has two goals and five points. What Smith can do, however, is play significant minutes somewhere in the Rangers’ bottom two pairings. They desperately needed someone to do so, too. And even with Smith, it wouldn’t be the worst idea for the Rangers to keep looking at defensemen, even if it means sacrificing some offense in a trade. New York has 203 goals for, which is the second-best mark in both the league and division. Their 162 goals against are 11th in the league, though, and the back end doesn’t exactly strike one as the most fierce in the division.
What the Rangers need most is someone who can reliably share the top-pairing minutes with Ryan McDonagh. Right now, there’s a nearly four-minute gap between McDonagh’s average ice time and that of Nick Holden, who’s second on the club with 20:37 per game. Smith probably doesn’t skate alongside McDonagh or average near the same ice time. Quincey could be an option, or maybe the Rangers consider someone along the lines of Johnny Oduya.
Finding a top-two guy is almost impossible, especially with Shattenkirk off the board, but having someone to help share the top minutes with McDonagh would be a boon for the Rangers.
New York Islanders
Unlike the Penguins, Blue Jackets and Rangers, the Islanders aren’t in the conversation to win the Metropolitan. However, they stand a chance of competing against their divisional rivals if they sneak into the post-season in the second wild-card spot. That would mean a date with the Capitals, and if the Islanders want to be able to put up a fight, they’re going to need to make some additions.
The Islanders aren’t in the same position as the other teams within the division in that they’re quite set on the back end. Having a top three of Nick Leddy, Johnny Boychuk and Travis Hamonic, when he returns from injury, makes for quite the blueline, and while the bottom three of Dennis Seidenberg, Calvin De Haan and Thomas Hickey aren’t without their flaws, it’s not a bad way to round out the defense. Adding another piece back there could help, absolutely, but it’s not a big-time must.
Adding some scoring to the lineup is, however. The Islanders rank 10th in the league in scoring with 179 goals, but that’s almost entirely because of John Tavares and Anders Lee. More than a quarter of the team’s goals have come from those two players, both of whom have 23 markers this season, and a top three scorers that consist of Tavares, Lee and Josh Bailey isn’t exactly Murderers’ Row.
Making the money work wouldn’t be easy, but wouldn’t it be interesting to see Duchene land with the Islanders? Giving Tavares a speedy, 30-goal player to work alongside could give New York a solid 1-2 punch on offense. But if the Islanders want a short-term fix to try and get into the playoffs and make some noise, they wouldn’t go wrong with Vrbata or Parenteau. Maybe they even try bringing Thomas Vanek back. Just three seasons ago, he scored 17 goals and 44 points in 47 games while playing primarily with Tavares as his center.
Welcome to NHL trade deadline central 2017. Stay tuned to THN.com for up-to-minute analysis of every trade, as it happens.
Our team of experts will break down every trade, as they happen. As has become the case the last few years, several NHL teams got an early start on the trade front. So we decided to get the tracker going a little early. All the notable trades from the last few days are here. You can also check out a list of every trade made over the last year and beyond season in the Trade Log on our transactions page.
TO FLORIDA: LW Thomas Vanek TO DETROIT: D Dylan McIrath; 2017 third-round pick
THN's Take: Vanek was a polarizing trade commodity. On one hand, he's been the Red Wings' best offensive player this season, with 15 goals and 38 points in 48 games. On the other hand, he was a massive disappointment the last time he was a trade deadline rental in 2014 when the Montreal Canadiens acquired him. He had contract motivation that time, too, as he was a pending unrestricted free agent just like he is now. Still, the Panthers didn't have to pay much to get him: a third-round pick and defenseman Dylan McIlrath, who wasn't even taking a regular shift in their lineup. Vanek will add some offensive touch and power play ability and can play on any of the top three lines, though it's unlikely to be the No. 1 unit with Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov and Jaromir Jagr entrenched. Vanek will fit somewhere into a middle six that includes Vincent Trocheck, Jussi Jokinen, Reilly Smith, Jonathan Marchessault and Nick Bjugstad, probably bumping Denis Malgin down. This team has one deep forward corps. As for the Wings, McIlrath is a warm body who gives them size and snarl should they want to give him a crack in the NHL. He's only 24. The reality is that he's a UFA, though, and the Panthers likely just needed to move some salary. He may not have a future as a Wing. Detroit's return is all about the third-rounder, which was a bit underwhelming considering some less talented players have fetched more than that over the past couple days. – MATT LARKIN
TO MONTREAL: C Steve Ott TO DETROIT: 2018 sixth-round pick
THN's Take: A puzzling trade, even if it didn’t cost Montreal all that much to make the acquisition.
TO SAN JOSE: RW Jannik Hansen TO VANCOUVER: LW Nikolay Goldobin; 2017 conditional fourth-round pick
THN's Take: San Jose adds some speed as it chases that elusiva Stanley Cup, while Vancouver adds another good prospect. More here.
TO EDMONTON: C David Desharnais TO MONTREAL: D Brandon Davidson
THN's Take: It’s curious to see a team once desperate for defensemen trade one for a forward that doesn’t offer much in return, but the Oilers made this deal. There has been speculation that Davidson would have been exposed to Vegas in the expansion draft and likely taken, since he’s a youngish blueliner with a decent dollop of promise. In that sense, Edmonton got something for him in Desharnais, an undersized center who has been a frequent healthy scratch since Claude Julien took over the bench in Montreal. Quick and crafty, Desharnais gives Edmonton another option down the middle, but don’t look for a big impact. -- RYAN KENNEDY
TO CHICAGO: D Johnny Oduya TO DALLAS: RW Mark McNeill; 2018 conditional fourth-round pick
THN's Take: My colleague Ryan Kennedy said it best: "The Blackhawks are getting the band back together." And why not? Reacquiring Oduya cost very little: prospect Mark McNeill and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018. The Stars also eat half of Oduya's $3.75-million salary to get him under their cap. This is an easy win-win trade for both teams. The Stars have thrown in the towel on 2016-17 and are selling off Oduya, a pending unrestricted free agent who will be 36 when next season starts. Dallas wants to give its stable of young D-men, including Julius Honka, Esa Lindell, Patrik Nemeth and Jamie Oleksiak, more minutes down the stretch. It makes sense for Dallas to see what it has. In McNeill, it gets a 2011 first-round pick who was a pretty effective AHL center with good size but who just couldn't find a home on the Hawks' depth chart. Chicago wanted to give McNeill a fresh start. Oduya, obviously, can slide seamlessly back into coach Joel Quenneville's system in Chicago and helps provide depth with Niklas Hjalmarsson hitting the IR. It's not a guarantee Oduya reunites with old partner Hjalmarsson once he's back healthy, as the Hawks solidified a new top four by signing Brian Campbell in the summer. Oduya has shown signs of decline since signing with Dallas for last season and wasn't an effective possession player there. But he'd be a fine, experienced option to play on the bottom pair. That or Quenneville opts to recapture the Hjalmarsson/Oduya chemistry, which would give Chicago three solid pairings: Duncan Keith/Brent Seabrook, Hjalmarsson/Oduya and Campbell/Trevor van Riemsdyk. Regardless of how the Hawks use Oduya, he didn't cost much. Solid deal. – MATT LARKIN
TO OTTAWA: LW Viktor Stalberg TO CAROLINA: 2017 third-round pick
THN's Take: The Ottawa Senators bolstered their forward corps by acquiring the veteran Stalberg, who brings great speed and a big frame to the organization. A pending UFA, the left winger may very well be a rental, but in the wide-open Atlantic Division, the Sens can use him in the bottom six. Ottawa has a couple of injuries up front right now, including Bobby Ryan, so the more help the better. Stalberg may not contribute much offensively, but he can help out on the penalty-kill and has two shorthanded goals this season. For Carolina, the third-round selection goes into GM Ron Francis’ already-stocked coffers. The man is doing his rebuild the right way and now has seven selections in the first three rounds of the 2017 draft. -- RYAN KENNEDY
TO NEW YORK RANGERS: D Brendan Smith TO DETROIT: 2017 third-round pick; 2018 second-round pick
THN's Take: The Rangers again dealt their future in an effort to make one last run for a Cup with its current core. More here.
TO WASHINGTON: D Kevin Shattenkirk; G Pheonix Copley TO ST. LOUIS: 2017 first-round pick; 2019 conditional second-round pick; LW Zach Sanford; LW Brad Malone
THN's Take: The Capitals are going all in for a Stanley Cup with this move, as we wrote here.
TO OTTAWA: LW Alexandre Burrows To VANCOUVER: C Jonathan Dahlen
THN's Take: Well, we can at least give the Senators points for guts. The Burrows trade likely won't go over too well with the diehard, educated fan base – and it shouldn't. It's not like Burrows was a rental, acquired for a pick, as was the case with Brian Boyle and the Leafs. The Senators doubled down by extending Burrows for two more seasons at a $2.5-million cap hit. He turns 36 April 11. He'll be 38 when the deal ends. I get that the Senators have major injury woes to overcome on their wings, and that the Atlantic Division playoff race is wide open, but…yikes. Worse yet, the Sens surrendered left winger Jonathan Dahlen to Vancouver as the return. Dahlen, 19, rates as Ottawa's fifth-best prospect in our soon-to-be-releaseed Future Watch 2017. Dahlen was highly regarded enough to go 42nd overall in what was, keep in mind, a stellar 2016 draft class. It seems odd now that owner Eugene Melnyk balked at the Colorado Avalanche's asking price for Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog – only to mortgage an A-minus prospect for an agitator in Burrows. – MATT LARKIN
TO MONTREAL: D Jordie Benn TO DALLAS: D Greg Pateryn; 2017 fourth-round pick
THN's Take: We knew a defenseman acquisition for the Montreal Canadiens was likely, but Jordie Benn seems underwhelming. He has decent size and grades out as average defensively in the possession game. He's a legit NHL defenseman. But that's about it. He's just a tiny bit better than Greg Pateryn, not to mention smaller and older than Pateryn. Benn is also a left shot, and the Habs already have Andrei Markov, Alexei Emelin and Nathan Beaulieu as left shots, but Benn had played on the right side in Dallas with Dan Hamhuis on the left lately. Benn can do it and will likely play on Beaulieu's right, but it's not like the right side is Benn's natural fit, so it's a bit of a curious add. From the Stars' perspective, fans should hope Pateryn doesn't take a regular shift with the sinking squad – and that top prospect Julius Honka finds his away into the lineup instead. He showed some amazing possession numbers earlier this season when given 10 games at the NHL level. – MATT LARKIN
TO TORONTO: C Brian Boyle TO TAMPA BAY: C Byron Froese; 2017 second-round pick
THN's Take: We wrote about the Leafs going for it here.
TO MINNESOTA: C Martin Hanzal; RW Ryan White; 2017 fourth-round pick TO ARIZONA: 2017 first-round pick; 2018 second-round pick; 2019 conditional pick; C Grayson Downing
THN's Take: We wrote about Hanzal makes the Wild that much deeper here.
TO LOS ANGELES: G Ben Bishop; 2017 fifth-round pick TO TAMPA BAY: G Peter Budaj; D Erik Cernak; 2017 seventh-round pick; 2017 conditional pick
THN's Take: We wrote long stories about this deal here (on the Lighting's return) and here (on Kings' side).
TO CHICAGO: LW Tomas Jurco TO DETROIT: 2017 third-round pick
TO ANAHEIM: RW Patrick Eaves TO DALLAS: 2017 conditional second-round pick
THN's Take: This deal could be a win for both teams. More here.
Defenseman Brendan Smith is an upgrade for the Rangers, a team that is very much in win-now mode, but it again cost them a piece of their future.
The New York Rangers are fighting a war; a war they cannot win. But the Blueshirts must try anyway and in acquiring defenseman Brendan Smith from Detroit for a 2017 third-rounder and 2018 second-rounder, New York at least has a chance of making another run at the Stanley Cup.
The Rangers have been one of the best playoff teams in the East in the past five years, in a league with Tampa Bay and behind Pittsburgh. But the core is aging and there’s no reason to believe stalwarts such as Henrik Lundqvist, Rick Nash and Marc Staal will be better next season. So this is the window to win…but it’s only open a crack.
If the Rangers can finish fourth in the Metropolitan Division, they’ll cross over to the Atlantic playoff bracket as a wild card, thus avoiding Pittsburgh, Washington and Columbus, at least for two rounds. That’s a big advantage and one that must be taken.
New York still has to win those series however and with Smith, they get a puck-moving defender who was having a down year offensively on a bashed-in Red Wings squad. Smith is certainly an upgrade on the now-injured Dan Girardi and since only picks were traded away, New York comes out deeper here. Will it be enough to actually grasp that Cup for King Henrik and his court? The odds aren’t great, but with Kevin Shattenkirk already snapped up by Washington, Smith represents a needed consolation prize for New York.
The tough part to swallow here if you’re a Rangers fan is that once again New York mortgaged its future. Barring more deals, the Rangers will pick just once in the top-75 of the draft this summer. Last year, their first selection came at No. 81 when they landed controversial defenseman Sean Day.
With this year’s second-rounder already given up (last year’s ill-fated Eric Staal trade), the Rangers had to part with their 2018 pick. At the least, New York had an extra second-rounder thanks to the Derick Brassard trade with Ottawa, so the Rangers still have seven picks for 2018…for now.
The bigger problem is that New York already has one of the worst prospect pools in the NHL (Future Watch spoiler alert). Years of going for the Cup have seen the franchise shed picks and prospects at an alarming speed and there will be a gap very soon.
The team’s Manhattan address and recent run of solid play has helped entice young free agents (Jimmy Vesey and Kevin Hayes being prime examples), but that’s a stop-gap at best. Eventually, this organization will have to go back to drafting and developing talent. If the Rangers win the Cup this season, that restocking won’t be painful. If they don’t, the Smith trade will be remembered as another get-Cup-quick scheme gone wrong.
The NHL trade deadline is Wednesday, though there's already been lots of activity. Here's a look at the latest rumors surrounding some of the notable players still believed available in the trade market.
Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche reportedly seek a good, young NHL-ready defenseman or goaltender, a first-round pick and a top prospect as part of the return for either forward. TSN's Darren Dreger notes Duchene's been linked to the New York Islanders. He wonders if defenseman Travis Hamonic as part of the return might tempt the Avs.
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reports the Avs told interested clubs they have no intention of lowering that asking price at the deadline. That could ensure the pair remain in Colorado for the remainder of this season.
Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins. Jonathan Bombulie reports Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said last Friday he hadn't received a trade offer for Fleury, who lost the role of starting goaltender to Matt Murray. Still, Rutherford didn't rule out the possibility of moving the veteran netminder.
The combinations of Fleury's $5.75-million cap hit through 2018-19, his modified no-trade clause, and a soft market for goalies could make him difficult to move. Rutherford has also said he'd be content with keeping his tandem intact for the remainder of the season.
Tomas Vanek, Detroit Red Wings. TSN's Pierre LeBrun reports there hasn't been much interest in the 33-year-old. However, he expects that will pick up as the deadline draws near. With 38 points in 47 games, Vanek could be attractive to the Los Angeles Kings, Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers and San Jose Sharks. He also carries an affordable $2.6-million cap hit on an expiring contract.
Shane Doan, Arizona Coyotes. Sportsnet's Chris Johnston reports the 40-year-old Coyotes captain was unhappy about seeing long-time teammate Martin Hanzal dealt to the Minnesota Wild. That's increased speculation Doan could waive his no-movement clause, but GM John Chayka said the veteran winger hasn't requested a trade. Should Doan become available, the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch believes the San Jose Sharks could come calling.
Justin Faulk, Carolina Hurricanes. The Edmonton Sun's Jim Matheson cites scouts claiming the Hurricanes defenseman is in play. He believes their depth in young rearguards no longer makes Faulk their blueline mainstay. The Hurricanes need scoring depth, especially at center, and Faulk could land them a quality return.
Marian Gaborik, Los Angeles Kings. Friedman reports the Kings are looking into moving Gaborik. The 34-year-old winger's best years are behind him. His contract (four years remaining at $4.8-million annually) makes him almost impossible to move at the deadline.
Patrick Sharp, Dallas Stars. Having already shipped out one pending UFA winger in Patrick Eaves last week, the Stars could attempt to do the same with the 35-year-old Sharp. The Matheson speculates the Oilers could be watching the veteran winger
Jannik Hansen, Vancouver Canucks. Hansen recently submitted his list of preferred trade destinations as requested by Canucks management. LeBrun believes the winger is garnering lots of interest. The asking price could be a young player or top prospect.
Dennis Wideman, Calgary Flames. The recent additions of Michael Stone and Matt Bartkowski made Wideman the odd man out on the Flames' blueline. Wideman told the Calgary Sun's Wes Gilbertson he was open to waiving his no-movement clause. So far, he hasn't been asked to do so.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).