The Short List In Winnipeg Is Even Shorter

It has been reported four candidates are competing for the Winnipeg head coaching position. They are Blackhawks’ assistant coach Mike Haviland, Craig MacTavish, Claude Noel and Craig Ramsay. Everyone except Haviland has been employed as a NHL head coach.

Although there have been four people involved, my source indicates the position will likely go to Haviland or Noel as they are the only ones under strong consideration.That conclusion comes from the same person who informed me Haviland was getting an interview in Winnipeg before it was officially reported.

In these parts Haviland seems like an obvious choice because of his relationship with rookie general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff along with Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd. Ladd is still unsigned and there are some who believe Noel is actually the front- runner for the Winnipeg job.

If pror NHL head coaching experience is a main factor in the decision, Haviland will remain an assistant in Chicago. Noel doesn’t have a recent Stanley Cup win on his resume. But Noel does have ties with True North Sports and Entertainment after his most recent head coaching job with the Manitoba Moose.

It should be noted, besides having a very short stint with the Blue Jackets as their bench boss in 2010, Noel did win a Calder Cup with the Milwaukee Admirals in 2004. In the same season he was selected as AHL Coach of the Year.

Last season Noel steered the Moose, who played in Winnipeg and were the Vancouver AHL affiliate. For the upcoming season the Chicago Wolves will be the Canucks’ AHL affiliate as the relocated Moose will serve as the affiliate for the Winnipeg franchise.

In 2007, Haviland was also honored as AHL coach of the year when he guided the Norfolk Admirals to a 50-22-6-2 record. Haviland is well thought of around the league and has been instrumental in the improvement of the Blackhawks’ defense and special teams. No doubt the addition of former NHL defenseman Joel Quenneville as head coach also has positively influenced the young Chicago blueliners.

The path this summer to securing a head coaching positions has led candidates from the AHL to the NHL. Maybe one of the reasons Noel is the top choice of some is because of his NHL head coaching experience and the fact he was most recently an AHL bench boss.

Will a 24 game interim head coaching stint with the Columbus Blue Jackets be the deciding factor in favor of Noel? My guess is no, although it won’t his hurt chances.

Haviland toiled for seven years in the minors as a head coach and never missed the playoffs. Since Haviland has been an assistant the Blackhawks have also reached the post season in every season.

If Haviland lands the Winnipeg position it would be a loss for the Blackhawks, although Quenneville will then get a chance to pick his own assistant. Haviland was already promoted to the big club before Quenneville took over for Denis Savard in October of 2008.

Noel is older, has a longer coaching resume and has ties to True North Sports. Haviland has a relationship with some key players in Winnipeg as well as Cheveldayoff. Both have put in their time in the AHL and appear ready for a promotion.

If what I’m hearing is correct the short list of candidates has gotten even shorter and the decision should be coming soon.

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  1. Patrick says:

    Al – here’s hoping that Havy’s with the Hawks this coming year. He’d be a great “coach in waiting” for them (like they do in college football or the NFL), but my thinking is that that’s just a pipe dream.

    Hey – what’s your publishing plan for the rest of the week? I’ve got a trade scenario I’m dying to run past someone/anyone, but I want to put it in an appropriate thread, and with the draft and all coming up, I thought I’d check with you first.

    Could be an exciting week…

    • Al Cimaglia says:

      I will be writing again this week most likely…

      It would be fine to put out your trade idea now.

      • Patrick says:

        Al – okay, here goes, and it involves some familiar players…

        To Florida – Dylan Olson, Kyle Beach, Shawn LaLonde, Jake Dowell, Christobal Huet, and 1st Round pick in 2012

        To Chicago – Stephen Weiss, Erik Gudbranson

        Why would both teams do this? Familiarity with the players and the diverging directions of each team. Florida is in rebuilding mode (and will be for a little while) whereas the Hawks are still in their “win-now” window.

        How does this work out:

        For Florida – Dale hasn’t signed Gudbranson after drafting him last year and he could lose him if he doesn’t break the impasse (I have no idea what it is), so he gives up a player and a prospect and picks up three guys he originally drafted as part of the package. Other than Olson (who is comparable but may not have the quite the top end that EG has), I don’t think that Beach and LaLonde crack the lineup in Chicago, whereas they have the chance to become strong contributors to Florida over the next few years (Dale’s master plan) – he gets depth at D and a power forward to build around. Dowell gets thrown in because I don’t think he sticks in Chicago next year and he’ll replace Reasoner in FL next year (and for the short term). Huet is added so the Panthers can “meet the cap floor” and since he only has one year left on his deal, this gives Dale a solid amount to spend next year, when they’re closer to competing. The Hawks give the Panthers a first rounder next year to say thanks for eating Huet.

        For Chicago – they pick up the second line center in Weiss that they desperately need now to improve in 2011, and his reasonable contract is only for two years, allowing Kruger or Pirri to grow into that role. They also get a strong defensive prospect (and EG gets paired up with Leddy as the defensive paring of the future) in exchange for a volume of prospects with bright futures (although probably not with the Hawks – and it’s not that they’re not good, it’s just that they’re blocked by still young, and better, players). In my mind, the Hawks improve for both the short and long term, without mortgaging the future, but this deal really isn’t that lopsided.

        All in all, both teams match up to meet the other team’s needs for 2011 and beyond.

        Yea, it’s a long shot – thoughts?

        • Al Cimaglia says:


          A couple of things…Reasoner resigned in Florida.

          Tallon made huge mistakes when he was trying to rebuild the Hawks immediately following the Lockout.

          Khabibulin was one of those mistakes. If Tallon wants a big ticket goalie he can try hard to resign Vokoun.

          The big question for Tallon is how mauch time he has to make the playoffs.

          That team has been gutted the last few years…So he can get to the cap floor a few ways without Huet.

          EL contracts add up really quick so maybe he goes all young.

          The Hawks are not going to trade Olsen but maybe if it were for Weiss???

          Weiss I believe has a no trade…maybe not a big issue but….

          The Hawks can’t trade for Weiss without trading another similar salary.

          Tallon has nothing in his cupboard but picks and prospects.

          I don’t know how anxious he would be to take who the Hawks are dissapointed in…like Beach.

          Weiss is the best player on a bad team….Tallon doesn’t have many trading chips so he will be looking for a club to overpay.

          • Patrick says:


            If Weiss moves out, Reasoner becomes the 2nd center while Santorelli becomes the 1st. Dowell affordably slots in at 3rd or 4th.

            Even though Weiss has a no-trade, I think he agrees to move to the Hawks because of the chance to win a Cup, setting himself up for a bigger payday on his next deal (which probably wouldn’t be with the Hawks if Pirri or Kruger grow into the playmaking center roll we want them in). And the Hawks can fit Weiss under this year’s cap without dumping significant salary since it went up more than everyone expected (which I’m not really thrieed about), so Hjammer stays.

            I think that Tallon has 3+ more years based on his success with the Hawks, and the Hawks prospects are closer to making a team like the Panthers than the Hawks, giving him a faster dividend.

            The reason why Huet is more appealing than Vokoun is that he only has one more year on his deal, whereas Vokoun would require more. Jakob Markstrom is coming and he will be the full-timer in two years, so this is why he shares the load with a good guy like Huet (like Crawford did with Turco) instead of always bucking against someone like Vokoun. Anyone else he’d try to sign to get to the floor would probably require multi-year deals too, so Huet would have appeal to him if he’s thinking short-term and mid-term.

            Olson is expendable because the Hawks would get Gudbranson back to replace him.

            Just because the Hawks are disappointed in players, that doesn’t mean that Tallon is – he drafted them and may think that they’re being under-utilized right now, so he may think he’s “buying cheap” – he liked them at one point, so my guess is he likes them still.

            Yea, the Hawks may need to sweeten this a bit, but I think that the foundation puts both teams in good position for the short, mid and longterm future.

        • shruew says:

          “Dale hasn’t signed Gudbranson after drafting him last year and he could lose him if he doesn’t break the impasse ”

          Why are they in danger of losing Gudbranson?

          • Patrick says:

            To my knowledge, they have two years to sign him after drafing him since he isn’t in college, so with one year down, perhaps there are philosophical reasons why EG doens’t sign with Florida. This opens the door for someone to obtain his rights and then sign him.

        • Al Cimaglia says:

          There are a lot of players with infalted contracts who are available with only one year left…

          So let’s leave Huet out of the mix. He may wind up in Rockford.

          Would Tallon trade Weiss for Olsen, Lalonde, Dowell, Beach et al.???

          Maybe but the Hawks would have to move a salary out to comfortably fit Weiss in.

          There is no cap relief to the Hawks by making your deal so for it to happen there needs to be another piece.

          You have targeted one of the few 2nd line center possibilities who actually might be available.

          • Patrick says:

            Only way I would make that deal is if EG comes back, otherwise it’s too much – but I think I would do it for LaLonde and Beach alone (leaving Olsen with the Hawks).

            I was orignally thinking Scott as the “had to go”, but changed to Huet and the 1st rounder as compensation (I think someone would bite on a bonus 1st). You know, I’m flexible.

            What do you see Frolik, Campoli and Brouwer coming in at? I still see roughly $1.5MM cap hits for each of them, with varying lengths on their deals. Maybe slightly higher on average, but nothing that’s bank-breaking.

  2. djd says:

    I think tomorrow, once the B of G ok’s everything Manitoba, we’re likely to see a coach named and a new name for the team unveiled.

    Tough to deny Haviland, I think. Good luck to him.

  3. RJF says:

    In regards to the trade scenario above, I believe you could fit Weiss in if you sacrified one of either Campoli, Frolik, or Brouwer and replaced with a guy making less than $1 mil.

    • Al Cimaglia says:

      That would be a difficult trade off.

      • Patrick says:

        No need to get rid of either, in fact, they’d both get decent raises with some money to spare. Now, if the Hawks could only find a way to dump Scott.

        See my Cap Geek below:


        First line:
        Patrick Sharp ($3.900m) / Jonathan Toews ($6.300m) / Patrick Kane ($6.300m)

        Second line:
        Troy Brouwer ($1.725m) / Stephen Weiss ($3.100m) / Marian Hossa ($5.275m)

        Third line:
        Bryan Bickell ($0.541m) / Dave Bolland ($3.375m) / Michael Frolik ($1.475m)

        Fourth line:
        Viktor Stalberg ($1.000m) / Marcel Goc ($1.075m) / Ben Smith ($0.812m)

        Duncan Keith ($5.538m) / Brent Seabrook ($5.800m)
        Brian Campbell ($7.142m) / Niklas Hjalmarsson ($3.500m)
        Chris Campoli ($1.500m) / Brent Sopel ($1.200m)
        John Scott ($0.512m)

        Corey Crawford ($2.666m) / Alexander Salak ($0.612m)

        CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
        (these totals are compiled without the bonus cushion)
        SALARY CAP: $64,000,000; CAP PAYROLL: $63,352,171; BONUSES: $220,000
        CAP SPACE (21-man roster): $647,829

        And, yes, I’d bring back Sopel in a heartbeat – if you ever read his wife’s blog, my thinking is he’ll be back since he’s a huge family man and the family is sticking in Chicago next year.

        Finally, I think Leddy needs a year in the A to be “the man” before he comes up to the Hawks full time. Campoli is only keeping the seat warm.

        • RJF says:

          The problem is that I don’t know if you can get Brouwer, Frolik, and Campoli for those numbers- they are probably all looking for $2 mil+ each which is also probably why none of them have been signed by now.

          • Al Cimaglia says:

            Unless Frolik and Campoli are going to sign for 3 or 4 years they are not going to get $2 mill or more from the Hawks.

            Frolik has 0 leverage except for an offer sheet.

            Brouwer could earn about $2 mill.

            Campoli and or Brouwer could be headed for arbitration.

          • Patrick says:

            Yep, no one will get more than $2MM and the Hawks won’t want to pay these guys for more than 3 years. My thinking is that Campoli and Brouwer sign for one year each, two years tops, and I’m fine with that since Morin and Leddy are ready to step into their roles after some time in the A. My question is though, would both be RFA’s next year too? As for Frolik, I see him at three years, with his big deal coming at the end of his next contract. All should be affordable for at least this year, and the Hawks are set to remain fairly compliant with the cap.

  4. Living the Cup says:

    I’m of the opinion that the Hawks will fill the 2nd C position from within.

    Bolland would be my first choice, then Frolik and then Sharp.

    I don’t see adding a big contract for 2nd C and then have to unload Sharp.

    SB has been clear he wants to re-sign Sharp so adding Weiss and Laich seems too expensive. Adding however Belanger and Madden for 3rd and 4th C seems affordable and adds depth and grit.

    SB could add likewise a grittier winger and a D man maybe having to trade Campoli and or Stalberg to free up space and roster room.

    That’s what I see happening or something of a similar scale.

    I would like to see this team with some modest additions like mentioned above (nothing major like moving Hammer or Sharp or even Brouwer) and motivated from Day 1 – they could easily be back in serious contention.

  5. rock says:

    Even with current personnel they have some big questions before acquisitions can be made.

    Sharp: Center or wing?
    Bolland: Points or irritating shut down guy, maybe both? if they set him up with some legit talent could he be a Datsyuk type player (a light version obviously) and both shut down and score consistently…maybe win more than 40% of his draws?
    Brouwer (if resigned) is he a top 6 player?
    Keith/Seabrook pair and if they will be together again or not

    If Morin is healthy and looking sharp does that negate Brouwer or move him down the line? Is there a difference between Ben Smith or Brouwer or Frolik if Madden is their Center and they are only getting 10 mins a night?

    And then adding more bruisers to their 3rd and 4th lines… Does that kill the puck possession game they seem to favor?

    With the holes they have, depending on who you ask, there are several directions they can go but I wouldn’t put it past them trying to fill from within considering the big money they have dropped the last few years and leaning on the “core” again. Not a bad thing IMO but could disappoint a lot of fans.

  6. NotSoNewToHockey says:


    Assuming Haviland gets the job as is being reported, what is your take on Yawney’s decision to go back to the AHL as a means of getting an NHL head coaching job?

    • shruew says:

      I wouldnt mind someone in Rockford that could develop someone…

      • NotSoNewToHockey says:

        It’s not like the Rockford staff can take most of the credit for Leddy and Smith. Maybe some polishing, but most of their development happened elsewhere.

    • Al Cimaglia says:

      It is unusual to have so many AHL head coaching vacancies in one summer. There is going to be a lot of movement coming once the Winnipeg job is announced.

      The best path to the NHL has been as a head coach in the AHL or sometimes in Jr’s.

      Yawney probably has a lot of more options by leaving SJ.

      He could most likely get another assistant gig or could scout if the right AHL opportunity doesn’t open up.

      Yawney has taught and developed young players…He has a great resume.

      He will be employed this fall.

  7. Al Cimaglia says:

    That could be coming for Rockford….