NHL Rumor Mill – November 25, 2016
Latest on Jarome Iginla, Alexander Radulov and more in your NHL rumor mill.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun speculated over the futures of aging stars such as Colorado Avalanche right wing Jarome Iginla, Arizona Coyotes forwards Shane Doan and Radim Vrbata, Buffalo Sabres right wing Brian Gionta and Vancouver Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller. All are eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer and approaching the end of their NHL careers. He speculates all but Doan could become trade candidates for the right price to playoff contenders by the March 1 trade deadline.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports Iginla, who has a no-movement clause, isn’t worrying about accepting a trade to a playoff contender right now. He said he’ll cross that bridge when he comes to it, remaining hopeful of helping the Avalanche reach the postseason.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whatever happens with the Coyotes this season, Doan’s not going anywhere. The rest, however, could hit the trade block by March 1. The question, of course, is if they’ll attract sufficient interest from playoff contenders. All were terrific players in their respective heydays, but Iginla, Gionta and Miller have steadily declined. Regardless of their past accomplishments, their performances this season will affect their trade value.
SPORTSNET/LA PRESSE: Luke Fox and Richard Labbe report winger Alexander Radulov is already considering the possibility of re-signing with the Montreal Canadiens. Radulov is off to a terrific start to this season, with 17 points in 19 games. His agent said his client enjoys living and playing in Montreal. The earliest the Habs can open contract extension talks with Radulov is January 1.
Fox notes Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin recently stressed patience regarding contract talks with Radulov, preferring to see how the season unfolds. Labbe notes Radulov plays well in Montreal, but has only two assists in six road games this season. Radulov reportedly sought as much as $7.5 million per season last summer but eventually accepted a one-year, $5.75 million offer from the Habs.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan believes the Canadiens need to find a No.6 defenseman with staying power, or at least one who has the confidence of head coach Michel Therrien. He believes Bergevin is shopping around to see what blueline help is available.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Bergevin will wait until season’s end before opening serious contract talks with the Radulov camp. Granted, he’s looked terrific thus far, but it’s still early in the season. Should the Habs reach the playoffs, Bergevin will likely want to evaluate Radulov’s postseason play.
As for the Habs blueline, speculation that Bergevin is looking for defensive depth has kicked around for about a month. That’s an issue I expect he’ll address at some point, though he might have to wait until the New Year to find what he’s seeking.