Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 22, 2017
Latest on the Canadiens plus updates on Matt Duchene, Evander Kane and Sam Bennett in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
SPORTSNET: Despite the Montreal Canadiens poor start (1-6-1), Elliotte Friedman believes they’re determined not to make any panic moves. He also doesn’t think there’s a desire by ownership to replace general manager Marc Bergevin at this time. Chris Johnston feels the key for the Canadiens is goaltender Carey Price returning to his usually stellar form.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Friedman points out, whatever trade offers the Canadiens are getting right now won’t help them improve. Rival GMs are hoping to exploit the situation to their own benefit. Bergevin has come under criticism and some of it is justified. Still, I don’t think the Canadiens are a better team if he’d re-signed Alexander Radulov and Andrei Markov and didn’t trade away promising blueliner Mikhail Sergachev for forward Jonathan Drouin. They’d likely still have the same problems if Price is struggling between the pipes.
As Johnston points out, the key factor is Price, who isn’t playing as well as he usually does when he’s healthy. If he doesn’t rebound soon, the Canadiens will be in serious trouble. That could put more pressure on Bergevin to swing a major deal or put his job in jeopardy.
Friedman reports he doesn’t believe the Colorado Avalanche gave center Matt Duchene a timeline for when he’d be traded but there’s a sense everyone expected a deal would’ve been done by now. Nick Kypreos believes the Avs having a good start to this season means Duchene will have to remain patient. He said GM Joe Sakic wants as many as three pieces (current player, draft pick, blue-chip prospect) in return. There’s talk perhaps the Vancouver Canucks could get into the mix as they have a promising prospect in Olli Juolevi, though there’s a sense he’s not yet NHL-ready.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche are off to a better start to this season (4-4-0)than expected and that’s taken pressure off Sakic to move Duchene right away. That could change if they slip again in the standings. For now, however, Sakic can take his time and remain patient.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Darren Dreger’s Friday appearance on Buffalo’s WGR 550 discussing the future of Sabres left wing Evander Kane. Dreger doubts the Sabres will re-sign the pending unrestricted free agent and suggests interest will build for him in the trade market. He feels it’s a question of finding the right timing to move him, based on the offers the Sabres receive. If Kane keeps playing well, that value will keep rising as the trade deadline nears.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dreger also acknowledges it’s possible the Sabres could try retaining Kane but points out it could cost over $6 million annually, especially if he’s flirting with 30 goals in a contract year. Much depends upon where Kane sees himself spending the next seven or eight seasons. If he’s happy in Buffalo perhaps the two sides can work out a suitable deal. If he prefers playing elsewhere and wants to explore the UFA market, the Sabres will have little choice but to shop him for the best return near the trade deadline.
THE ATHLETIC: Kent Wilson recently addressed Sam Bennett’s trade value during his inaugural Flames mailbag segment. Given Bennett’s age (21) and affordable contract ($1.95 million annually through 2018-19), Wilson imagines there’s still a lot of interest in him. However, the longer he struggles the more his value will decline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In eight games this season, Bennett has no points, 12 PIMs and a plus/minus of minus-three. Still, there could be a club or two willing to gamble on his improvement if the Flames were willing to explore his trade value. However, at this stage they’re unlikely to get a decent return. My guess is the Flames will remain patient with Bennett over the course of this season.