NHL Rumor Mill – July 23, 2018
An update on Max Pacioretty plus the latest on the Vancouver Canucks in your NHL rumor mill.
NO COMMUNICATION BETWEEN PACIORETTY AND CANADIENS MANAGEMENT?
LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Marc de Foy reports sources claim Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin ignored captain Max Pacioretty for months last season. Last month, a deal that would’ve sent Pacioretty to the Los Angeles Kings during the NHL Draft fell through. An unrestricted free agent next July, Pacioretty has been linked to the Florida Panthers, Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders. de Foy notes Bergevin apparently doesn’t want to negotiate a contract extension with Pacioretty. He said relations appear tense between the two sides and it seems like a matter of time until Pacioretty is traded.
de Foy also claims former Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov contacted his ex-teammates last November telling them he was unhappy playing in the KHL and wanted to return to the Canadiens, but Bergevin turned a deaf ear. Noting the Habs GM also shipped out P.K. Subban to Nashville two years ago, de Foy wonders about Bergevin’s attitude toward the club’s popular players.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree Pacioretty seems destined to be dealt between now and next February’s NHL trade deadline. Bergevin’s failed attempt to ship the left winger to the Kings indicates the Habs GM no longer sees his captain as being part of his club’s long-term future.
Teams are undoubtedly interested in Pacioretty, who carries an affordable $4.5-million cap hit for 2018-19 and lacks no-trade protection. However, those clubs probably want to ink the winger to a contract extension. His apparent unwillingness to do that (which is considered the reason why the deal with the Kings fell through) could adversely affect his trade value.
de Foy also said those sources claim Bergevin makes life difficult for players who struggle on the ice. However, we should probably take this with a grain of salt.
Carey Price had his difficulties and is very popular with Canadiens fans yet he and Bergevin had no problem agreeing last summer to a lucrative long-term contract. The Canadiens GM also doesn’t seem to have any issues with scrappy fan favorite Brendan Gallagher.
Subban’s trade was said to be based in part upon some friction between the flamboyant blueliner and some of his teammates. Markov’s departure and that of winger Alexander Radulov appears based upon on Bergevin’s misguided attempt at playing hardball in contract talks, forcing the two players to accept other offers.
LATEST ON THE CANUCKS
THE ATHLETIC: JD Burke suggests New Jersey’s Damon Severson, Carolina’s Justin Faulk and Dallas’ Julius Honka as three players from the “secondary trade market” for the Vancouver Canucks to explore.
Burke admits it’s hard to imagine why the Devils would part with Severson but noted TSN’s Blake Price last month linked the Canucks to the New Jersey blueliner. The Hurricanes are loaded with right-side defensemen and Faulk’s frequently come up in the rumor mill. Burke feels somebody has to give Honka a break, as he struggled to establish himself as a full-time NHLer under former Stars coaches Lindy Ruff and Ken Hitchcock.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt teams called about Severson. The fact he hasn’t been moved yet suggests Devils GM Ray Shero has no interest in trading him or no one is willing to meet his asking price.
The Hurricanes could seek a scoring forward for Faulk. Rumors linking him to the Chicago Blackhawks claimed the asking price was left wing Brandon Saad or center Nick Schmaltz. Based on that, the Canucks could be asked to part with Bo Horvat or Brock Boeser.
Honka could be more affordable and was mentioned as part of a suggested return for Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson. But with the Stars hiring Jim Montgomery as their new bench boss, maybe Honka gets another chance to stick with the Stars.
THE PROVINCE: Jason Botchford recently noted the Vancouver Canucks expressed their desire to be active in this summer’s trade market but so far no deal has materialized. He wondered if they have a defenseman they can package for a beneficial return. He notes
Alex Edler reportedly won’t waive his no-trade clause. Chris Tanev’s injury-ravaged 2017-18 campaign hurt his trade value and interested parties want the Canucks to absorb part of his $4.45-million cap hit. Botchford considers Erik Gudbranson almost untradeable as many teams “see him as a third-pairing defenseman making $4 million.”
Ben Hutton’s poor season and $2.8-million cap hit makes him “as close to untradeable as anyone.” Botchford also notes teams aren’t lining up for Michael Del Zotto and his $3-million cap hit. He also doesn’t see Derrick Pouliot or Troy Stecher getting moved.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, the Canucks lack the defensive depth to use as bait to land a quality return to help them elsewhere on the roster.