In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is news the Chicago Blackhawks are keeping all key decision-makers which means the direction of the club is fairly clear. Meanwhile, the Vancouver Canucks are busy trying to sign college free agent and some of their own prospects. Plus, the NHL Coaches Association launched a program today to help develop coaches while the NHL is on pause.

Blackhawks to Retain Key Management and Coaching

Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun Times is reporting that the Chicago Blackhawks will be retaining all three of their key leaders— president John McDonough, general manager Stan Bowman and coach Jeremy Colliton — in 2020-21. This report comes from Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz, who told The Athletic on Thursday that all three will “absolutely” return next season.

Stan Bowman Chicago Blackhawks
Stan Bowman, Chicago Blackhawks, 2019 NHL Draft (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Pope also notes that the organization’s strategy to keep all three suggests the team is looking more to retool and not rebuild after a poor season. This means, keeping both Corey Crawford and Duncan Keith, while not contemplating the idea of moving Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad.

Pope writes:

He [Bowman] and Colliton spoke at length after the trade deadline about the importance of Dach and Boqvist’s development. Upcoming contracts for Dylan Strome and Dominik Kubalik presumably will flesh out the Hawks’ growing “young core,” which also includes players such as Alex DeBrincat and Connor Murphy. And rookies Nicolas Beaudin and Brandon Hagel impressed in their well-earned NHL debuts last week.

source -‘Bringing back Stan Bowman means Blackhawks committed to retooling, not rebuilding’ Ben Pope -Chicago Sun Times – 03/19/2020

Related: Scotty Bowman: A Coach’s Life

Canucks Busy Trying To Sign Players

Thomas Drance of The Athletic writes that Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning said the team had a shortlist of college free agents that they were interested in. That proved to be accurate as the Canucks already signed Marc Michaelis on Thursday. They also signed Will Lockwood on a two-year entry-level deal.

J.D. Burke notes that other sources were saying the Canucks were looking at Marc Michaelis’ teammate Connor Mackey but Rick Dhaliwal notes that is no longer the situation.

Drance also notes that Canucks GM Benning spoke to the agent for defenseman Jack Rathbone and quoted Benning who said the agent and the parents will talk and in the next week or so, will make a decision. “They’ll get back to us as far as what his intentions are going to be.”

Related: Looking Back on Montreal’s Pierre Gauthier Era

Could Compliance Buyouts Return?

With questions surrounding the salary cap for next season and a longer delay likely to affect the numbers next year, buzz in some circles, including from Brian Burke, is that one solution could be the “compliance buyout” the NHL used last time the league went on a long break.

The compliance buyout follows the same rules as a standard buyout, only the compliance buyouts do not count against the salary cap. When the NHL offered this in the 2013 and 2014 off-seasons, 18 teams took advantage and names like Christian Ehrhoff, Brad Richards, Ilya Bryzgalov, and Vincent Lecavalier were on the list.

Related: NHL Rumors: Oilers, Blues, Blackhawks, Seattle Expansion Changes

Coaches Program Launches Today

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun noted today that the NHL has launched its mentorship program early. He writes:

With the impact of #COVID19 being felt around the world, now more than ever we are committed to supporting the development of #hockey coaches. The #NHLCA Mentorship Program was slated to launch next #NHL season. We’re proud to announce it launches today!

The official statement by the NHL Coaches Association on the website reads that the program will include over 20 presentations from NHL head, assistant and goalie coaches over the coming six weeks, with representation from nearly every NHL team.

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