Back in January, the Edmonton Oilers announced the hire of Hall of Fame defenseman Paul Coffey to the position of Skills Development Coach. The move was completed when it was dead serious that the Canadian team had lost the season, after making it all the way to the second round of the playoffs last spring. After signing captain Connor McDavid to an eight-year extension with an average annual value of $12.5 million, making the former league MVP the highest paid player in the NHL on an annual basis. Ohh, and let's not forget the hefty extension they offered to top forward Leon Draisaitl, an eight-year, $68 million deal...
Everything was in place for a great season, but last month, an emergency plan was put in place and Coffey was brought on board.
"Make no mistake about it, Paul Coffey is not going into Edmonton to push pucks during practice, or take pictures in between periods,” had said Sportsnet's insider Nick Kypreos, when the announcement was made public.
“He wants to be a big part of turning this thing around in Edmonton.”
Though there is nothing to be done at this point for the current season, the Oilers are still closely looking at solutions for the future. In days leading to the deadline, general manager Peter Chiarelli made a few trades in hopes of landing picks and prospects to grow a better future in Edmonton. First, the Oilers sent out forward Mark Letestu in a three-team trade, as he was traded by the Oilers to the Nashville Predators for forward Pontus Aberg. Predators general manger David Poile then flipped Letestu to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for a fourth round pick.
Then, what everyone expected took place, as rental forward Patrick Maroon was shipped to the New Jersey Devils, in return of a third round pick in 2019, and young prospect J.D. Dudek, who currently plays in the NCAA.
But it won't stop there. Coffey is reportedly scouring the league for other options ahead of the NHL Entry Draft in June and has been spotted several times in the Toronto area. This is what NHL insider Elliotte Friedman reports in his latest 31 Thoughts column on Sportsnet:
"A couple amateur scouts said they are seeing more of Paul Coffey at junior games in the Toronto area. I’m really curious to see where this is going."
There could be something brewing between both clubs ahead of the summer. The two Canadian clubs could eventually make a deal of some kind, however, it might be wishful thinking. Let's not forget what Coffey himself had said when he was finally hired by the Oilers:
“I’ve got some (family) responsibilities still, back in Toronto,” had admitted Coffey to Sportsnet. “I still coach my 14-year-old boy (Christian, with the Bantam AAA Toronto Marlboros), and we’re going into the playoffs, but the way Peter has structured it my schedule should be flexible.”
Maybe Coffey is simply taking the time to look at Maple Leafs' prospects at the same time as he is coaching his son... mixing business and pleasure, professional matters and personal ones.
Although what decisions Coffey will make in his new role have yet to be seen, there seems to be something brewing in Toronto, and as Kypreos had said, you can be sure that the three-time Norris Trophy winner will make his voice heard.