NHL Rumor Mill – January 26, 2019
Latest on the Canadiens plus updates on Jake Muzzin, Chris Kreider, and Andreas Athanasiou in today’s NHL rumor mill.
WILL THE CANADIENS SWING A DEADLINE DEAL?
TSN: Pierre LeBrun noted some NHL clubs are adopting the mindset of Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin, who recently said he won’t give up future assets for a rental player at the trade deadline. However, he believes Bergevin is willing to explore a “hockey trade” and could be talking to teams about such a deal.
LeBrun dismissed the notion of the Canadiens pursuing Los Angeles Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin because the Kings’ asking price is a first-round pick and a top prospect. However, he sees Bergevin using the Canadiens’ $9.7-million in salary-cap space to his advantage at the deadline, just like they did last June in acquiring Joel Armia, goalie Steve Mason and two draft selections from the Winnipeg Jets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Armia move was an underrated one by Bergevin, bringing in a versatile checking line forward plus two additional draft picks whilst using his cap space to buy out the final season of Mason’s contract. He might be able to pry another quality player away from a club desperate to shed salary by deadline day.
If the Kings lower their asking price for Muzzin, who’s signed through next season with an affordable $4-million cap hit, perhaps Bergevin would be tempted. The Kings rearguard would be a great fit on the left side of the Habs blueline.
HIGH COST TO ACQUIRE KREIDER
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks recently suggested it would take a perfect deal to pry winger Chris Kreider away from the New York Rangers. Noting the 27-year-old Kreider is signed through next season with a below-market $4.625-million cap hit, Brooks suggests the cost for a contending team to acquire the winger should be a younger player of at least equal value.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: And as Brooks goes on to point out in detail, that’s unlikely to happen.
WINGS’ ATHANASIOU NOT AVAILABLE
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: cited Darren Dreger telling Buffalo’s WGR 550 he checked with his Detroit Red Wings’ sources regarding recent speculation regarding teams having interest in Andreas Athanasiou. The sources claimed there’s nothing to it. ” Unless it’s one of those can’t miss opportunities, they see Athanasiou as being part of their future, that development of a younger core.”
There was speculation perhaps Athanasiou might be unhappy playing for coach Jeff Blashill. Based on his sources, Dreger considered that talk to be a bit off-base.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I noted yesterday, the time for teams to inquire about Athanasiou was during his contract standoff with the Wings in 2017. With that situation long sorted out and Athanasiou under contract through next season, I don’t see the Wings parting with him.