Latest on the Canadiens and Devils – February 6, 2017
The Canadiens need for a center and musing over the New Jersey Devils pursuing Kevin Shattenkirk in your NHL rumor mill.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Jack Todd observes the Montreal Canadiens lack of depth at center could affect their hopes for a long playoff run this spring. He notes that Alex Galchenyuk’s been injured, Tomas Plekanec is showing the miles, David Desharnais is a “perpetual whipping boy for anglo fans” and Torrey Mitchell is their most consistent faceoff man.
The best available center is Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche. Given the reported asking price of a top-four defenseman, a first-round pick and a top prospect, Todd speculates defenseman Nathan Beaulieu would have to be part of the return.
A more affordable option is Martin Hanzal of the Arizona Coyotes, though it could cost the Habs big young center Michael McCarron. If Galchenyuk can regain his scoring touch, Todd suggests pursuing a scoring center might not be necessary.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens would be very lucky to get Duchene with Beaulieu as the centerpiece of the deal. I don’t see the Avalanche agreeing to that offer.
It could cost McCarron to get Hanzal right now, but if Habs management is patient, they might be able to get him for a lower price. Still, there’s rumored to be 10 teams interested in Hanzal, so maybe that price won’t drop by much come deadline day.
NJ.COM: Chris Ryan wonders if the New Jersey Devils could be a suitor for St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. He cites an NHL scout claiming Shattenkirk would be an upgrade for the Devils, especially on the power play.
Devils GM Ray Shero has said he’s not interested in rental players, but Ryan wonders if a sign-and-trade scenario is possible.The scout suggests it would cost the Devils more in that situation, perhaps a defenseman and either a draft pick or a good young prospect. He also speculates a playoff-bound club, such as the New York Rangers, might be a more likely destination.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The only way this works for the Devils is if they can get assurances from Shattenkirk that he’ll re-sign with them. Otherwise, they’re wasting assets on a player who could bolt in July via free agency. His preference could be to join a playoff contender. Perhaps the best option for the Devils, who have a lot of salary-cap space (over $21 million) next season, is wait until the free-agent market opens in July and attempt to land Shattenkirk then.