Could this finally be the week the New Jersey Devils name their head coach? While it certainly isn't unheard of for GM Lou Lamoriello to wait until mid-July to name his coach, the Devils are once again the last team to name its head coach in the NHL for the upcoming season.
Does it truly mean anything to be last? No, unless it's after training camp has begun, then there truly isn't any concrete issue.
With rookie camp starting July 11th, you would think that might be a internal deadline (but not requirement) for Lamoriello, but he's made a career out of doing the unexpected when the expected was the easy choice.
Rumors first circulated over the weekend about the possibility of University of Wisconsin men's ice hockey head coach Mike Eaves being the leading candidate for the Devils job, first mentioned by Tom Gulitti in both the Bergen Record and his Fire & Ice blog.
The rumor only gained steam over draft weekend, likely because Eaves would be the kind of off-the-radar type of hire that Lamoriello has done so many times before (Jacques Lemaire, Pat Burns, Brent Sutter, etc).
That alone, does not make Eaves the hire, but if not Eaves, then who is realistically left to potentially be the next Devils head coach?
There also allegedly was a conversation between Lamoriello and Eaves at the draft, although that could be easily explained by the Devils drafting Wisconsin-bound Patrick Daly in the seventh round of this weekend's draft.
The other candidates that have been circulated through the rumor mill like Kirk Muller, Craig Ramsey, Mike Haviland, Marc Crawford or Ken Hitchcock seem to have been written off for one reason or another.
Stan Fischler tweeted about a "Mister Surprise" candidate, but who knows if that is just more than an educated guess on his part.
Usually Lamoriello works ahead of the rumor mill, which is an amazing accomplishment in itself during this age of technology and instant access, so one might think that since it leaked, Lamoriello's interest in Eaves may have already passed.
The only other real rumor I've seen has been that Michel Therrien interviewed with Lamoriello for the job many weeks ago, but if he was such a prime candidate, wouldn't he have been hired by now?
The "fact" is at this point Mike Eaves is the leading candidate by default, because its been the only (seemingly) credible rumor that has surfaced. However, as the Devils and Lou Lamoriello have shown in the past, if it gets out in the media, its likely just someone's guess until the press conference is announced.