NHL Rumor Mill – October 25, 2017
Updates on Alex Galchenyuk, Sam Bennett, Oliver Ekman-Larsson & more in your NHL rumor mill.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports not a day goes by without a trade rumor involving Montreal Canadiens struggling forward Alex Galchenyuk. If he’s dealt now, however, Friedman believes it’ll be for “pennies on the dollar.” He thinks the Canadiens would move forward Andrew Shaw, “potentially keeping some part of his salary.” Shaw has four seasons left on his contract at $3.9 million annually and trading term isn’t easy.
NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis reports of trade speculation linking Galchenyuk with the New York Rangers. Like the Habs, the Rangers are stumbling through the opening weeks of this season. Cyrgalis points out it’s difficult for the Rangers to absorb the 23-year-old’s $4.9 million annual cap hit for a player who’s never proven himself at center, “the position the Blueshirts need the most.” He also points out the Rangers would have to send some salary the other way to take on Galcheyuk’s cap hit.
THE ATHLETIC: In his latest Calgary Flames mailbag segment, Kent Wilson addressed a reader’s question about pursuing Galchenyuk. While a swap of Galchenyuk for Sam Bennett makes sense for both teams on paper, he’s not sure if he’d make that move just yet. Bennett is something of a “mystery box” right now, who could become a difference maker or a mediocre player. Galchenyuk is slightly older, offensively capable but suspect defensively.
LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Jean-Francois Chaumount cites former Canadiens coach Mario Tremblay telling 98.5 FM Montreal’s Mario Langlois that Galchenyuk twice received treatment in the NHL’s drug and alcohol program. Neither Galchenyuk or the team would comment about the report. ” I do not know what you’re talking about, ” he told reporters yesterday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report points out a player who takes part in the league’s assistance program has the right to do so on a confidential basis and isn’t obligated to inform his team. If Galchenyuk did receive treatment, Tremblay’s remarks could be considered a violation of the confidentiality policy. If he didn’t take part in the program, Tremblay will be under pressure to explain himself.
I don’t see the Canadiens moving Galchenyuk or Shaw or anyone else right now, simply because they won’t get a return that immediately improves their performance. Unless they opt to go into tear-down mode (and I don’t see that happening), they will likely stick with those two for the time being.
Bennett is a promising young player but, like Galchenyuk, he’s struggled at center. As Wilson notes, he hasn’t developed yet into what he’s going to be. Galchenyuk, despite his current difficulties, has a couple of decent scoring seasons under his belt.
Shaw’s been a significant disappointment for the Habs with his loose-cannon act. I don’t see anyone being keen to take on his contract at this time, even if the Habs pick up part of the cap hit.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman also cites colleague Nick Kypreos recently saying teams are starting to monitor Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. He’s eligible in 2019 for unrestricted free agency, but Coyotes GM John Chayka told Friedman his captain is not available.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ekman-Larsson won’t be dealt this season. However, speculation over his future with the Coyotes will ramp up in the offseason. He’ll be a year away from UFA eligibility next July. If the Coyotes keep spinning their wheels, it could affect their efforts to re-sign him.
Friedman also noted Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba was recently dropped to the club’s third defense pairing, suggesting that’s something to watch.
No contract talks yet between the Detroit Red Wings and pending UFA defenseman Mike Green. There will be a long lineup for Green’s services if the Wings decide to shop him by the Feb. 26 trade deadline.
TSN: reports the Pittsburgh Penguins won’t rush to trade for a goaltender after placing Antti Niemi on waivers. For now, they’ll attempt to move forward with Casey DeSmith as Matt Murray’s backup. Niemi was winless in three starts with the Penguins and was plucked off waivers yesterday by the Florida Panthers.