NHL Rumor Mill – June 14, 2017
Updates on Alex Galchenyuk, Matt Duchene, Sami Vatanen, Dion Phaneuf and more in your NHL rumor mill.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites Darren Dreger’s appearance on Montreal’s TSN 690 discussing Alex Galchenyuk’s status with the Montreal Canadiens. Dreger notes the recent trade rumors about Galchenyuk stems from his “curious development” with the Canadiens, prompting the belief he could benefit from a change. Dreger said he hasn’t heard anything yet to indicate Galchenyuk’s in the trade market.
Dreger also said he hasn’t heard anything new regarding the Nathan Beaulieu trade speculation. He dismisses the notion that Carey Price could be moved, but thinks the Habs should look at every piece (other than Price) and determine the value in the trade market.
He also notes rumors continue to link Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene to the Canadiens. He knows the Avs won’t trade defenseman Tyson Barrie unless they get a blueliner in return. “So that’s just wild speculation, but those are the conversations that are taking place.”
Regarding the possibility of the Chicago Blackhawks shopping a key player, Dreger doubts they’ll move Brent Seabrook as he remains very valuable to the club. He said Niklas Hjalmarsson’s name is “kind of out there”, but thinks there’s a connection involving the Vegas Golden Knights and Marcus Kruger and Trevor van Riemsdyk.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s widely assumed Galchenyuk and Beaulieu could be traded by the Canadiens this month. Some rumors suggest packaging the duo to Colorado for Duchene, though that could be simply wishful thinking by some Habs followers. I certainly don’t see the Avs agreeing to a swap of Duchene and Barrie for Galchenyuk and Beaulieu. Even if they did, the Habs would be taking on $10 million in combined salary, leaving little room to re-sign Alexander Radulov and to fill out the rest of the roster.
The Blackhawks will definitely be trading somebody. They could be forced to move more than Kruger and van Riemsdyk if the salary cap ceiling fails to significantly rise for next season. My guess is it could be Artem Anisimov ($4.5 million cap hit) if they’re unwilling to move Seabrook or Hjalmarsson.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports defenseman Marc Methot’s future with the Senators could be in doubt if Dion Phaneuf doesn’t waive his no-movement clause for the upcoming expansion draft. The Sens have indicated they’ll protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender. Garrioch suggests they might have to consider protecting eight skaters and a goalie to protect Methot, Phaneuf, Erik Karlsson and Cody Ceci, though that means they risk losing a forward such as Zack Smith, Jean-Gabriel Pageau or Derick Brassard.
Senators GM Pierre Dorion could leave Methot exposed and offer up a draft pick to the Golden Knights to ensure they don’t select him. Otherwise, it might make more sense to trade Methot before the draft for an asset rather than lose him for nothing. They could leave Methot exposed and accept the possibility of losing him, or they could attempt to trade Phaneuf to one of the teams on his 10-team list of preferred destinations.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Phaneuf has until Friday to reach his decision, though it sounds as though he already has. I can see Dorion trying to swing a deal with Vegas to ensure Methot isn’t selected in the draft. I’ll be surprised if he trades Phaneuf, though we can’t full dismiss the possibility.
NBC SPORTS: Jason Brough lists the New Jersey Devils, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs as possible suitors for Anaheim Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen before the expansion draft. Acquiring Vatanen could affect their respective player protection lists. The Devils could be forced to choose between Ben Lovejoy or John Moore, the Lightning between Andrej Sustr or Jason Garrison and the Leafs Connor Carrick or Martin Marincin.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Brough points out, landing Vatanen means losing one of those players to the expansion draft wouldn’t be a big deal.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites NHL insider Mark Spector suggesting the Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames or Vancouver Canucks could outbid the Oilers for pending UFA defenseman Kris Russell.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Russell’s free-agent value will be better than it was a year ago. Spector believes Russell, who skated on a one-year, $3.1 million deal, is a $4 million per season defenseman now. I daresay he won’t have to wait as long for a new contract as he did last year and could get a multi-year deal for over $4 million annually. Remains to be seen if the Leafs, Flames or Canucks pursue him. Depends upon how things shake out in the trade market over the next couple of weeks.