NHL Rumor Mill – December 10, 2016
Updates on the Colorado Avalanche, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators in your NHL rumor mill.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Pat Hickey reports there’s no urgency for Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin to shop for a short-term replacement for sidelined centers Alex Galchenyuk and David Desharnais. That’s because they’re in good position in the standings. The situation is also different compared to last season, when Carey Price, P.K. Subban and Brendan Gallagher were among several notables sidelined for lengthy periods.
Hickey notes Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins keeps surfacing in the rumor mill, but he’s expensive in terms of salary ($6 million per season) and the Oilers’ potential asking price. He also dismisses Arizona Coyotes center Martin Hanzal as an option, noting he’s never scored more than 16 goals in a season and only reached 40 points twice.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Hickey’s take on RNH and Hanzal. The former is far too expensive and the latter is often injured and won’t provide a significant offensive boost to the Habs. Perhaps Bergevin will find better options in the new year.
I’ve also heard Dallas Stars center Jason Spezza floated by some observers as an option, but he’s aging (33), past his prime, carrying any expensive cap hit ($7.5 million) and has a no-movement clause with a modified no-trade clause. He won’t be suiting up for the Habs anytime soon.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson believes the Colorado Avalanche “have a crushing need for two or three defensemen”, especially after losing Erik Johnson to a broken leg. While he believes they could easily land a blueliner by shopping left wing Gabe Landeskog or center Matt Duchene, Matheson observers the Avs aren’t very deep at forward either.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avs GM Joe Sakic recently said he’d remain patient with his club. If he does decide to move out a core player like Landeskog or Duchene for a defenseman, that deal likely happens in the offseason when there are better options available and more teams willing to deal.
TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran reports the latest 2-4-2 funk of the Toronto Maple Leafs isn’t prompting GM Lou Lamoriello to make trades to bolster the roster. “Right now, we’re building,” he said. “Determining who the players are that will be part of the future, and who are buying into what it takes to have the success you want to have.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, Lamoriello won’t trade away his club’s promising youth for a quick fix. He did trade Peter Holland yesterday to the Arizona Coyotes for a conditional pick in 2018, but that move was made simply to ship out a little-used player who no longer fit into their plans.
OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren reports the return from injury of winger Bobby Ryan takes some pressure off Senators GM Pierre Dorion to make a deal to bolster his forward lines. “I’m still making calls, but with Bobby back, there might not be as much need immediately,” he said.