Michael Andlauer wins Senators sweepstakes, and new coaching hires in Calgary, New York: Around the League

Photo credit:Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Lachlan Irvine
1 year ago
Welcome back to Around the League — the column here at CanucksArmy in which we examine news from around the National Hockey League, oftentimes through a Canucks-tinted lens.
It’s been a busy few days in the National Hockey League.
The Stanley Cup could be awarded as soon as tonight, the draft is quickly approaching, and front offices are rounding out their last few major hires before hitting the golf courses for the summer.
But the biggest news in the league today is the story out of Ottawa, while a couple of teams have secured their new head coaches. Let’s jump in!

Michael Andlauer to become new Senators owner

The dramatic saga of the Ottawa Senators isn’t completely over yet, but it’s right at the finish line.
New owner Michael Andlauer arrives in Ottawa with plenty of hockey ownership experience, as a minority owner of the Montreal Canadiens since 2009 and has owned two different variations of the Hamilton Bulldogs. Starting as an AHL team from 2003 to 2015, Andlauer sold the team to the Montreal Canadiens before launching an OHL version of the Bulldogs which he still owns today.
Needless to say, Andlauer is a certified “hockey guy” and seems like he’ll be willing to show the patience required to build a Stanley Cup winner. But he’ll have his work cut out for him; the team still has to put shovels in the ground for their potential arena in downtown Ottawa, and the team is entering a crucial offseason with Alex DeBrincat entering restricted free agency and unlikely to sign long term.
The sale is still subject to approval by the NHL Board of Governors, but that’s likely a formality with the final price for the Sens likely to land close to the $1 billion mark. At least Senators fans can at least breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the exhausting process is finally over.
The price of NHL franchises is rising pretty rapidly, and with lots of people clearly interested in getting their foot in the door, we might see some current owners try to bring in new investors or even cash out entirely. But if I could give one piece of advice to the other 31 owners: if Ryan Reynolds or Snoop Dogg wants to buy a piece of your hockey team, don’t pass up that opportunity.

Rangers hire Peter Laviolette as head coach

The league’s coaching carousel continues on, with the former Washington Capitals head coach landing in the Big Apple.
The Rangers’ choice to hand the reigns to Peter Laviolette should come as no surprise. With New York fully in “win now” mode under general manager Chris Drury, Laviolette is expected to take the Rangers’ core to the championship level that Gerard Gallant couldn’t reach. And the winningest US-born coach in league history brings with him two appearances in the Stanley Cup Final, including winning it all as the coach of the Hurricanes in 2006.
For that to be possible, Laviolette has to be willing to give the team’s young stars a lot of leash. Alexis Lafrenière, Kaapo Kakko and Braden Schneider – among other Rangers prospects – have struggled to find their place in the lineup as Gallant all but refused to give them the ice time needed to play bigger roles. Now, Laviolette will be tasked with recovering their potential before it’s too late.
But Drury may also have another roadmap in mind. One that involves trading some of their depreciated assets for already established talents. The Canucks will obviously be keeping a close eye on the situation in New York; there have been enough rumours about Lafrenière joining his former agent Emilie Castonguay in Vancouver to fill a book.

Huska introduced as Flames’ new head coach

Meanwhile, one province over, the Flames have promoted long-time assistant Ryan Huska to head coach.
The Trail, BC native had spent the last five seasons as an assistant coach for the Flames, working alongside the previous three Flames head coaches: Bill Peters, Geoff Ward and, most recently, Darryl Sutter. Before that, Huska had been the head coach of the Flames’ AHL affiliates in Adirondack and Stockton from 2014 to 2018.
The Flames narrowly missed the postseason this year, thanks in large part to losing a league-high 17 games in overtime. In the aftermath, GM Brad Treliving was shown the door after a decade at the helm, and rampant rumours about players’ dissatisfaction playing under Sutter also led to his departure.
Calgary is now led by rookie GM Craig Conroy and former Canucks general manager Dave Nonis as Conroy’s assistant, dealing with a roster that’s undoubtedly better than their record last season indicated. Huska will receive ample time to get the roster playing the structured, but nonetheless “creative” up-tempo game he talked about in his introduction presser on Monday. But several Flames players will be on the clock to prove that they can return to the playoffs under this new coaching staff.
Either way, the path for the Canucks through the Pacific Division could look a lot tougher than it did this season.

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