One of the lingering questions surrounding the Manitoba Moose this off-season is whether captain Mike Keane will be back for a sixth season.
When the Moose cleared out their lockers in May, Keane expressed his desire to come back for another season but a few weeks later general manager Craig Heisinger wasn’t willing to officially commit to the three-time Stanley Cup winner.
When asked if he could provide an update on Keane’s status for next season, Heisinger offered a polite “no comment.”
New Moose coach Claude Noel was a little more forthcoming, but conceded he wouldn’t have much input into the final decision regarding Keane.
“I have a lot of respect for Mike Keane, I’ve coached against him and he’s won championships as well,” said Noel. “I don’t know the situation with Mike and I probably won’t be involved in any of that. I haven’t had a chance to talk to Vancouver or with Craig (Heisinger) as to what their plans are there.
“I’m kind of out of the loop there, as we speak (Monday).”
A decision on Keane’s future is expected shortly after free agency opens on July 1.
Keane, who turned 43 on May 29, is coming off his most productive season in antlers as he produced nine goals and 31 points in 75 games last season and added two assists in six playoff games.
The right-winger was a key member of the Moose penalty killing unit and spent most of the campaign on the shutdown line.
Keane also has 1,161 regular season games in the NHL (168 goals, 470 points) and 220 Stanley Cup playoff games (34 goals, 74 points) on his resume.