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Lightning Round: Current Bolts executive a frontrunner for NHL GM job

And trade rumors abound

2022 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series - Nashville - Ice Truck Arrival & Build Out
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - FEBRUARY 24: A crew member is seen in the stands during the build out ahead of the 2022 Navy Federal Credit Union Stadium Series between the Nashville Predators and the Tampa Bay Lightning at Nissan Stadium on February 24, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

Tampa Bay Lightning Director of Hockey Operations, Mathieu Darche, has been singled out as one of three frontrunners for the vacant GM job in Chicago. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet is reporting that Darche, current interim GM Kyle Davidson, and Chicago Cubs assistant GM Jeff Greenberg are the candidates. [Sportsnet]

2. Chicago’s GM finalists appear to be incumbent Kyle Davidson, Tampa Bay director of hockey operations Mathieu Darche and Cubs assistant GM Jeff Greenberg.

This has been an interesting process. One of the things we’re all trying to get a handle on is how serious the Blackhawks were about non-hockey candidates Greenberg and Raptors Vice-President Teresa Resch? Were they legit candidates, or performative optics? Multiple sources at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment indicated Resch didn’t think this was the right thing for her, but felt Chicago was legit in its interest. (One thing about the Raptors, they pay very well.)

My thinking on this exercise is that the baseball guy is just to show people Chicago can think outside the box, Darche might only be there to show Chicago that they know who the best organizations look like, and then they’re going to pick their guy which was the plan all along. This is how most of these things go, I’ll be surprised if they prove me wrong.

I also like that Teresa Resch told Chicago she’s too good for them. She’s right, she’d make less as a GM in the NHL than as an assistant in one of the biggest NBA markets (yeah I know it’s Canada, but the Raptors pull).

I wouldn’t expect the Lightning to be significant buyers this March ahead of the trade deadline. They like their team, and they don’t have the cap space to bring in anyone of note without someone going the other way. Maybe the Lightning will be able to snag another Blake Coleman or Barclay Goodrow? Brandon Hagel, and Alexandre Texier are two names in this realm of player and cap hit.

Last but not least, the Lightning finally passed the Leafs in Hockey Viz’s standings point projections chart. Toronto has been ahead for most of the season due to their games in hand and how much the model likes them, but Tampa Bay finally caught up and passed them. The Leafs won last night after losing three in a row while the Panthers lost last night, so we’ll see what the projections look like tomorrow.