NHL Notebook: Peter Chiarelli expected to interview for Leafs general manager, the Neko Sparks group solicits more funding in Senators bid, and more

Zach Laing
10 months ago
Peter Chiarelli continues to get looked at as an option to be a general manager again.
Last year, Chiarelli interviewed for the then-vacant GM role with the Chicago Blackhawks, and earlier this month did the same with the Pittsburgh Penguins as they look to replace Ron Hextall. He’s now believed to be preparing to interview with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
It was reported by both Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli on Friday that Chiarelli, Jason Botterill, Marc Bergevin
The search for Kyle Dubas’ replacement in Toronto is picking up steam largely due to the fact that the Leafs are facing a major time crunch. While teams like the Penguins and Calgary Flames made moves to dismiss their GM’s right after the regular season — a move that gave both clubs lots of time to look for candidates.
As insider Chris Johnston noted on his own show Thursday, that’s something that luxury wasn’t afforded to the Leafs given the fact that Dubas’ dismissal came well into the playoffs. Nonetheless, he added in that the Maple Leafs were likely close to hiring a new general manager “within days.”


Alarm bells ring in Ottawa over bid

We’re now weeks into the official bids to buy the Ottawa Senators have been placed.
Three of the four bids belong to former Hamilton Bulldogs owner Michael Andlauer, Canadian billionaire Steve Apostolopoulus as well as the Kimel family, who are involved in construction and real estate.
But it’s concern about the fourth bid, one by the Neko Sparks group, that is building some concern.
According to Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli, the group is still soliciting financing reportedly saying to prospective investors “this is somewhat of an urgent matter.” Among those involved in that group is iconic rapper Snoop Dogg, Canadian artist The Weeknd, as well as Canadian comedian Russell Peters.
Other names involved are former NHL’ers Grant Fuhr, James Neal, Georges Laraque, and Trevor Daley.
Here’s some of what Daily Faceoff’s Colton Davies wrote about the group:
The Neko Sparks Group bid is represented by Goldman Sachs, the world’s largest banking institution. They are also backed by British businessmen David and Simon Reuben. It was reported that during the first round of bids, the Sparks Owernship Group’s offer was as much as $925 million. Perhaps, the reasoning behind soliciting more funding is the ownership group has placed a bid of more than $1 billion.
It was also reported that the Sparks Group has been aggressively soliciting partnerships from investors who are no longer affiliated with any rival bids. It has been noted that the Sparks Group is trying to add more Canadian investors to their portfolio. At the same time, they acknowledged they had received international funding; they are now targeting Canadian investors specifically.

Red Wings’ offseason plans

It should be an interesting offseason in Detroit as the Red Wings look to build off some negligible gains in the standings last season.
Detroit finished the 2022-23 season with 80 points and a .488 points percentage — an increase of three wins, six standings points and a 0.037 percentage points.
On Friday’s edition of Daily Faceoff Live, Frank Seravalli and Colby Cohen took a look at what this offseason could entail for the organization:
Seravalli: Speaking of an offseason of turmoil, I don’t think it will be that way, but as we continue our offseason previews, we take a look at the Detroit Red Wings and what’s on tap for them. Colby, when you look at this team, I think anyone would agree that they have made strides this past season, they wanted to be playing meaningful games in March, and I don’t know that they accomplished that, but being a team, that’s on the rise I think they made a bunch of smart moves and an intriguing one like trading Filip Hronek who seemed to fit their age scheme exactly what they were building and trending towards. Colby, what would priority number one be for you this offseason and you were Steve Yzerman in charge of the Red Wings?
Cohen: Yeah, so just looking at everything they have, they have a ton of cap space, a lot of draft capital and one of the best prospect systems in the NHL. There are a number of players that are on the cusp of becoming fulltime NHL players. Their roster they have flexibility; they’ve got Larkin signed for eight years, Copp signed for four years, and then there are only two other players that have three years on their deals, there is a lot of opening.
One of the first things I’m doing is getting a long term deal done on Mortiz Seider. He is a restricted-free agent. I love his game; I am getting him locked up for the next eight years and might be able to give him a discount. Look, I think they need to be aggressive this year. I think it’s time for Yzerman to realize that the rebuild has worked in a way; you’ve got Simon Edvinsson, a 6-foot-6 defenseman who’s ready for the NHL; Berggren, he’s also ready to go. Marco Kasper taken 8th overall; he’s 19 years old and looks ready for the NHL, same thing with Soderblom and Wallinder. Big guys, 6-foot-8 and 6-foot-4, ages 20 and 21, they are ready to be NHLers.
Let me tell you what Yzerman needs to do after locking up Seider. He needs to go get a deal for Auston Matthews; he needs a STAR player on that team, he needs some serious help. Larkin is not going to be the guy who is going to lead you to the Cup. You need a guy like Matthews. Maybe look at Bunting in free agency; Alex DeBrincat is from Michigan, and he’s dragging his feet in Ottawa; it’s time. It’s time for them to go out and get some ammo. You have drafted well; you have developed well, now go get a couple stars and see if you can become a team that can compete for a Stanley Cup. They have two picks in the first two rounds this year, three next year, and a lot of capital, and you can be aggressive with that. If you want Matthews, it will take first-round picks, prospects and money; they have all those things.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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