Latest on the Canadiens and Coyotes – November 21, 2017
Updates on the Montreal Canadiens plus the latest on Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson in your NHL rumor mill.
NO BIG CHANGES COMING FOR CANADIENS?
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Darren Dreger’s Monday morning appearance on Toronto’s TSN 1050 discussing the latest Montreal Canadiens trade speculation. Despite all the recent chatter, Dreger doesn’t expect the Habs to do very much.
While teams remain interested in winger Alex Galchenyuk, Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin is reluctant to give up on the youngster. Dreger acknowledged the whispers of captain Max Pacioretty being shopped could grow louder if the club fails to improve but doesn’t see Pacioretty’s situation as comparable to that of Phil Kessel’s during his final season with the Leafs. He also thinks Bergevin isn’t in any danger of being fired.” I believe he’s safe as general manager of the Habs.”
Dreger’s colleague Bob McKenzie, appearing Monday on Montreal’s TSN 690, also believes Canadiens ownership hasn’t reached the stage yet where they’re ready to relieve Bergervin of his duties.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Responding to speculation suggesting Edmonton as a trade destination for Canadiens goalie Carey Price, David Staples says such a move wouldn’t make sense for the Oilers in terms of managing the salary cap and building a winning team. Given the expensive contracts of such notables as Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Milan Lucic, the Oilers cannot afford to take on Price’s $10.5 million annual cap hit on his upcoming new contract.
Staples also doesn’t see the Oilers giving up Draisaitl. If they opt to move center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and his $6 million annual salary, Staples believes it could be for a more affordable return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: All the Canadiens trade chatter is currently based upon media musings. No one’s citing any sources claiming Galchenyuk, Pacioretty or Price are being shopped. In most trades, of course, we usually don’t have any inkling ahead of time that the move is coming. While I think Bergevin is shopping around, I feel his intention is not to blow things but to find help for his struggling roster.
Unless Price wants out, and I don’t believe that’s the case, he’s not going anywhere. If Pacioretty gets traded it’ll likely be in late-June, when teams have more cap space and willingness to make significant moves. Galchenyuk could be moved by the Feb. 26 trade deadline if the Habs are out of playoff contention by then, but I can also see Bergervin waiting until the offseason to make that deal.
Yes, things can change over the course of the season. Bergevin could lose his job and his replacement could have very different views on how to reverse the club’s fortunes. For now, however, the Canadiens probably haven’t reached that point yet.
LATEST ON EKMAN-LARSSON
Chatter seems to be picking up about #OEL @ArizonaCoyotes A couple of known insiders talking about possible William Nylander for OEL deal. What a great deal that would be @MapleLeafs Obviously on the flip side that would be a disaster for @ArizonaCoyotes as elite D R a rarity!!!
— Brian Lawton (@brianlawton9) November 20, 2017
TSN: With the Arizona Coyotes in town yesterday to play the Toronto Maple Leafs, Bob McKenzie was largely dismissive over recent speculation suggesting the Leafs pursue Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson by offering up Nylander. Despite the Coyotes’ struggles, McKenzie notes the blueliner remains upbeat over the club’s future and of re-signing with them.
Based on his information, McKenzie said there hasn’t been a single conversation between the Coyotes and Leafs regarding Ekman-Larsson. If the two clubs were discussing such a deal, he doesn’t think the Coyotes see Nylander as an NHL center. For that matter, he doesn’t believe the Leafs want to move any of their top three young forwards.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I recommend reading McKenzie’s article in its entirety, as he lays out a lengthy and convincing case for rejecting the Ekman-Larsson to Toronto speculation. Sure, it’s possible things could change over the course of the season that could make that proposed deal a reality. But as things stand now, the Coyotes apparently want to retain Ekman-Larsson and he would like to stay in Arizona. If the Leafs want a top-two defenseman, they’ll have to look elsewhere to find one this season.