Updates on the Canucks, Canadiens & Kings – November 3, 2016
Latest on the Vancouver Canucks search for a score and the Montreal Canadiens need for another defenseman, plus an update on the Los Angeles Kings’ goalie situation.
THE PROVINCE: Jason Botchford weighs in on a recent report claiming the Vancouver Canucks are in the market for a goal scorer, noting that’s been tops on GM Jim Benning’s to-do list for some time. He said they want a young, strong 20-goal scorer, but finding one isn’t easy.
Botchford claims the Canucks’ most asked-for players were Chris Tanev and Jannik Hansen, but he doesn’t see Benning moving either guy. The Canucks lack of depth at center means Bo Horvat’s not going anywhere. Defenseman Alex Edler won’t waive his no-trade clause, the Canucks can’t move any of their high-end prospects and they can’t afford to take on a bad contract.
Botchford notes they could have an extra second-round pick in 2017 (Columbus’) to use as a trade chip. He doubts that pick, plus a couple of prospects, will pry Evander Kane away from the Buffalo Sabres.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t be so sure regarding Kane. The Sabres were reportedly keen to move him this summer. He’s currently sidelined for weeks with fractured ribs so he’s not an option for the Canucks right now. Given Kane’s baggage and $5.25 million cap hit, however, he’s not a good fit for them.
The Canucks’ problem is it’s too early in the season to find the type of scorer they need. Not saying it can’t happen, but such moves as this point in an NHL season are rare in the salary-cap era. To get what they need means parting with a quality asset, and they don’t have that much to offer up right now.
TODAY’S SLAPSHOT: Elliotte Friedman appeared on the NHL Network Monday to discuss the Montreal Canadiens options for landing a top-four defenseman. He believes there’s blueliners available right now, but none that are top-four caliber other than Jacob Trouba of the Winnipeg Jets. Nobody’s sure if the Jets want to deal Trouba unless they get a king’s ransom in return. Friedman notes Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin has dealt for a defenseman in November, acquiring Sergei Gonchar two years ago from the Dallas Stars.
Bob McKenzie, appearing on TSN 690, said the word is Bergevin wants to acquire a defenseman but he’s not really prepared to give anything up. McKenzie notes NHL trade talks in general could pick up at the meeting of general managers in Toronto on Nov. 15.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergevin is among the most active GMs in the trade market. However, to find what he seeks could mean waiting until the March 1 trade deadline approaches. That’s when non-playoff clubs start ditching pending free agents they can’t or won’t re-sign. I doubt he’ll be able to pry Trouba away from the Jets.
NBC SPORTS: Jason Brough reports Los Angeles Kings head coach Darryl Sutter pour cold water on expectations his club will bolster its goaltending via trade. “There’s nobody coming in on a white horse to play goal for us or score goals or to come up from [the AHL],” said Sutter. This is our team. I’ve said it early, meaning two or three games ago, and I’ll say it again. Our responsibility is not to use the injuries as an excuse. The responsibility is to try and stay in the race.” The Kings are trying to make due with starter Jonathan Quick sidelined up to three months with a groin injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, don’t expect to see Jaroslav Halak or Ondrej Pavelec donning a Kings jersey anytime soon.