NHL News and Rumors: Flames, Penguins, Leafs, and more

NHL News and Rumors: May 22, 2023

The Calgary Flames will name Craig Conroy as their new general manager this week, TSN reported on Sunday.

Per TSN, the official announcement likely will be on Tuesday.

Conroy, 51, currently is the team’s assistant general manager. He also spent parts of nine seasons with the club during his playing career.

Conroy will replace Brad Treliving, who mutually parted ways with the Flames last month.

The Flames finished 38-27-17 in 2022-23, two points out of the wild card in the Western Conference.

Conroy totaled 542 points (182 goals, 360 assists) and 603 penalty minutes in 1,009 career NHL games with the St. Louis Blues, Flames and Los Angeles Kings.

Kyle Dubas out in Toronto, heading to Pittsburgh?

nhl rumors
Dec 1, 2018; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Kyle Dubas addressed the media before the start of the game against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Maple Leafs split with general manager Kyle Dubas, per a club announcement last Friday.

Dubas’ contract was set to expire on June 30.

“I would like to thank Kyle for his unwavering dedication over these last nine seasons with the organization, including his last five as general manager,” team president Brendan Shanahan said in a news release. “Kyle fostered a great culture within our dressing room and staff, and consistently pushed to make our team better season over season. We wish Kyle and his family the best moving forward and thank him for his valuable contributions.”

The move comes after the Maple Leafs were eliminated in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Florida Panthers in five games.

Dubas, 37, joined the franchise in 2014 as assistant general manager, and he concurrently served as GM of the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League. He was promoted to Maple Leafs GM in 2018.

He hinted Monday in his end-of-season news conference that it might be time for him to take some time off. He had been linked to the general manager opening with the Pittsburgh Penguins but said Monday he wasn’t seeking another franchise.

He said it would be a “family decision” as to whether he returned as GM in Toronto.

“It will either be here, or it will be taking time to recalibrate on the season here,” Dubas told reporters Monday. “You won’t see me next week popping up elsewhere.”

Toronto finished more than 10 games above .500 in each of his campaigns.

They logged 111 points this season, fourth best in the Eastern Conference. The Maple Leafs finally won a playoff series for the first time since 2003-04 by eliminating Tampa Bay before the loss to the Panthers.

The latest news has the Pittsburgh Penguins being granted permission to speak with Dubas.

Lindy Ruff coming back

New Jersey Devils head coach Lindy Ruff will return behind the bench for the 2023-24 season, general manager Tom Fitzgerald announced last Wednesday.

“He’ll be back behind the bench,” Fitzgerald said of Ruff, whose current contract expires on June 30.

“He’s still the right coach for this group. He deserves that. We deserve him. He’s a great partner for me and those kids love him.”

Ruff, 63, guided the Devils (52-22-8, 112 points) to franchise records in wins and points during the regular season. The 112 points marked a 49-point gain from 2021-22.

New Jersey defeated the Hudson River rival New York Rangers in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs before falling to the Carolina Hurricanes in the second.

A Jack Adams Award finalist for the fourth time for a third different franchise, Ruff won the honor with the Buffalo Sabres in 2005-06.

Ruff is 98-98-24 during his three seasons with the Devils. He is 834-652-149 with 78 ties in 1,713 career games with the Sabres, Dallas Stars and Devils.

Joel Quenneville to meet with NHL

joel quenneville
Aug 7, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Florida Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville during the first period against the New York Islanders in the Eastern Conference qualifications at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will meet with Joel Quenneville to review the veteran coach’s status with the league following the Stanley Cup Playoffs, per TSN.

Quenneville has been out of the NHL since October 2021, when he resigned as head coach of the Florida Panthers. His resignation came after an independent investigation into how the Chicago Blackhawks handled a sexual assault allegation in 2010 implicated Quenneville and other then-Blackhawks leaders for their inaction in the case.

Quenneville was the head coach in Chicago when then-player Kyle Beach said he was sexually assaulted by Brad Aldrich, who was the video coach. The report found that Blackhawks officials didn’t want to take any action against Aldrich at the time because they didn’t want to disrupt the team’s path to the Stanley Cup title.

TSN reported in November that Quenneville — the second-winningest coach in NHL history — wanted to coach again after a year off. Five NHL franchises have openings: the Anaheim Ducks, Washington Capitals, Columbus Blue Jackets, Calgary Flames and New York Rangers.

If any team wants to hire Quenneville, the team will have the get permission from the Panthers to speak with him, and Quenneville must have a bigger conversation wtih Bettman, who must approve his return to the league.

Quenneville, 64, has a career 969-572-150 mark with 77 ties in the regular season with the St. Louis Blues (1994-2004), Colorado Avalanche (2005-08), Blackhawks (2008-19) and Panthers (2019-21).

In the playoffs, his record is 121-104 with three Stanley Cup titles, all with Chicago — 2010, 2013 and 3015..

–Field Level Media