NHL Rumor Mill – January 26, 2019

by | Jan 26, 2019 | Rumors | 41 comments

Latest on the Canadiens plus updates on Jake Muzzin, Chris Kreider, and Andreas Athanasiou in today’s NHL rumor mill.  


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.

The high asking price for LA Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin likely takes the Montreal Canadiens out of the bidding for his services (Photo via NHL Images)

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. 


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.


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.


  1. The price on Muzzin needs to come down big time if Mtl will be a player on him. Mtl is in a rebuild/retool. No need to trade away the future for a short term solution. If they are not happy with Mete playing with Weber, I would look elsewhere for a defenseman. I read about Fowler, Gostisbehere (that may be wishfull thinking) and Matheson.

    • The price won’t be coming down on Muzzin, and the value for guys like Fowler won’t be much cheaper either, so MTL will have to go dumpster diving I guess.

  2. I’d love to see Muzzin end up in T.O. I know he doesn’t fit their need for a righty but he’s the exact type of 2 way dman they need. They should trade Gardiner now and use the assets to bring in Muzzy. I get that playoff teams don’t trade away players but I think it was a big mistake to let JVR walk. If they made that move last year they’d have more assets to get the dman they need now. Hindsight always being 20/20 of course

    • I’m not sure if I’d give up Gardiner for the asset s to aquire Muzzin seems to me if you are getting less for Gardiner than you’d give up for Muzzin then you are wasting assets that could be used to aquire what is really needed which is a top 4 rhd, in other words it’s a sideways move still leaving a hole. I think the idea is if Gardiner walks at season end the hope would be Dermott takes that spot going down the road and a younger developing D would take Dermott spot on the bottom pairing.

      • To me Dermott is the guy people should be talking about replacing Gardiner with and I think its not all that far off

      • Exactly.Toronto should make a deal with Edmonton for Adam Larsson. He’s signed for $4.16 for two more years. Oilers are looking for McDavid’s permanent winger (Kapanen or Nylander). There’d have to be some extra pieces in there from both sides to even it out but not an impossible trade scenario.

    • your right–i said that last year–but people get mad when they have to face reality that their team has glaring weeknesses–jvr was a waste–and theyll miss the opportunity to trade gardiner probably too–

  3. With Renewed hope in MTL (I really was not expecting this one) I pray to God Bergie does not mortgage young assets. Finally our pantry is not empty of prospects. But we have no Elite ones in the Farm (Top 3 fwd , Top 2 D). I Agree 200% about a deal using up cap spaces. Some teams are getting back into the race and if they want to add they need to shed salary (Ana, STL ) or Teams all the way in or out ( Pitts, WSH, LA , DET ) There are alot of opportunities for deals like this.

    He needs to keep in mind we are Cinderella this year , but next year regression can hit. Some assets are good ones for window open teams (Petry, Shaw , Benn even Danault , Tatar ) We need to keep all ideas on the table (Maybe even send mette in a muzzin or Parayko deal )

    • @James

      Romanov, Primeau, Ylonen, Suzuki and Poehling are on the farm. They are pretty much the most highly touted and not chopped liver by any means.

      Danault is going nowhere: he is a C which remains an area of (improving) team weakness, he himself is improving still, he is signed to a great contract and (not unimportantly) is a francophone.

      Similarly Petry, trading him would create another (RD) area of weakness.

      With the rest, I agree.

      Still, you have to give to get. It may be local sacrilege, but I would be OK with trading Gallagher.

      He and Tatar, Mete and Suzuki to the Oil in some sort of configuration that brought us Klefbom, Pulju and Bouchard would work for me. I would even take on Lucic’s contract (worse and for an extra year) in return for them taking Alzner’s.

      • So very happy that you are not the Habs GM, rattus. Giving away Gallagher, Tatar guts goal scorers on a team that has too few. And for the only regular NHLer, Klefbom? Mete is better than Klefbom, and Bouchard has untested promise. Hard to think of a worse suggestion on this site.

    • I give a lot of credit to Montreal’s success to Julien. I always liked the way Boston played when he coached there and now seeing the odd game the Hans play I can see that same style. They are small but aggressive and fun to watch. It’s funny how Bergevin has gone from goat to hero in a short 4 month span, but he works well with Julien who can mold certain players to work as a team that has far exceeded the sum of the parts.

      I think Bergevin should stand pat at the deadline and keep building his team in the off season through the draft and using his cap space.

      • @LJ

        I respect your opinion as your own, but to say “Mete is better than Klefbom” is not only laughable in itself, it is also not true.
        Do you think that, if the two of them were left available to all teams, that even one NHL GM would choose Mete first?

        Pinch yourself, and I am glad that YOU are not the Habs’ GM.

        Not only is Kbom better than Mete, but Bouchard is also.

        For the rest, you do have a point that the O would be weaker.
        But, as I said, you do have to give to get.

        I really appreciate Gallagher, but he is small (as is Tatar) and is getting on in time.
        He will start to get injured because of his style of play. His value will never be higher.

        Build the D first, it’s harder to do.

        Then flesh out the O.

        This team is NOT a contender yet in terms of personnel.

    • Leaf fan and I hope not a biased one….Montreal has done great job and I have written here the Leafs could learn how to play like a team from Montreal..

      Here is my source of skepticism regarding Montreal…the elite talent guys Price and Weber are too old….the new high skill guys are all toosmall….

      The skeptic wonders if implies that the total success is not sustainable

      • Yes, Old Blue, there is an age gap between the two best players, the current crew, and the two – three years it will take for their best prospects to make an impact. So TO is a lot closer to the Cup than the Habs.

      • Weber does not need to be young you can’t teach outstanding defense like Weber has not unlike chara who is playing into his 40s! Forward size does not matter anymore in the the nhl, your thought would be that marner,gaudreau and numerous other small players are too smal for the nhl?

  4. “A young players of at least equal value.” Doesn’t say of potential equal value; so if you a contending team you are going to trade a younger version of Kreider for Kreider and this helps your run at the Stanley Cup apparently.
    First off there isn’t many Kreiders out there and why wouldn’t NYR want him as part of the rebuild?
    Kreider is a player that can be a difference maker for any club but the cost for him, with a year left on his contract would be very expensive.

    • I agree. I don’t believe he’s being shopped, then again I didn’t think Miller was either.

      The only way I’m trading Kreider is if the return is gross overpayment. I’d prefer they retain and re-sign him next year.

  5. Simmons & McQuaid would be nice adds for the Bruins would give them at least a shot against TB

    • Joe, here is my concern. I want the cup! would Simmonds and McQuaid move the needle enough for that? No.
      McQuaid is one of my favorite bruins of all time; however if Boston traded for him, he be watching from the press box. I say this because Boston felt they didn’t need him and all the d they had when Adam got traded are still there, so he be an insurance addition.
      Simmonds I like but the cost for him is going to be high because there is a lot of competition for his services. Simmonds by himself doesn’t get Boston by Tampa IMO; however would give them a better shot at Toronto and potentially Boston could play TB in the first round as a wildcard team.
      If Boston wants to run at the cup they need a second line RW (Stone, Simmonds) and a C (Schenn) that would be the types of move I believe Boston would need to make to be competitive with Tampa and go on a cup run.
      If they can’t do both maybe they shouldn’t do either.

      • Caper, not much I can add to that, pretty spot on.
        As always it will come down to cost, and I think Sweeney and the B’s view the next 2-3 season like we do, so what is he willing to give up?
        Ain’t gonna be cheap.

      • A guy I’m kinda surprised who’s name doesn’t come up alot who I think would be a nice pickup for a team like the Bruins is Blake Coleman.

    • I’d target Staal and JT Brown in Minny this year.
      And/Or wait till Hall is available and sign him to a ridiculous contract.

  6. Muzzin would be a good add on a lot of teams.

    Most players don’t love their coach.

    A purely fabricated trade scenario
    Gardiner and Kapanen for A .Larsson Reider and Talbot
    Next year the Leafs let the latter two walk.

    Gardiner market is going to demand $5m or more regardless of his strengths and faults

    • imo, Gardiner will be in the $7mill range on a long term contract, should he go to UFA.

      He is the #2 LD in Toronto.

      On a team (hello MTL) needing a #1 LD, with the Cap going up and with Expansion going to further dilute the pool of players, he will get that.

      • Any gm who gives gardiner 7million is setting up fir an anchor contract, if he is Toronto’s #2 that is bad!

      • $7 million for Gardiner? No GM is giving Gardiner that much money. No chance. Seth Jones makes 5.4 and Gardiner isn’t in the same ball park. JG is a million dollars overpaid as is.

  7. I believe the canadiens are trending in right direction they need get little bigger and a big Center plus another left defenceman would be awesome but I surely would get up the drafts that canadiens have accumulated future looks great

  8. Well it is too late now, because Peter Chiarelli is gone, but wouldn’t it have been funny if the Oilers traded Oscar Klefbom and Jesse Puljujarvi to Montreal for Victor Mete and Brendan Gallagher.

    Classic whac-a-mole Oilers, would help the right side up front a bit but further decimate a brutal D corps.

    As a Flames fan, I will miss ol’ Petey.

    • Keep hope alive! It wasn’t like PC was any better than the previous front office.

      Maybe Mike Milbury or Neil Smith are on their way!

      • Praise the lord and pass the cornbread! Milbury would be perfect haha.

        If the Flames go for Zuccarello at the deadline, what would you want from Calgary? Keeping in mind that the Flames lack a 2nd round pick in the 2019 draft.. no way they give up their 1st rounder for a rental… it is looking like Austin Czarnik and a 2020 draft pick, maybe a 4th or 5th, because it is unlikely Zuccarello re-signs with Calgary.

      • His value is tough to gauge. But I think he should fetch a 2nd and prospect. Austin Czarnik I don’t see as a fit. He’s 26 and pretty much topped out.

        It’s a shame NY didn’t trade him in last years purge. I think they could have got a much better deal

    • Well, @Augustus, I agree.

      But you may have read that I was told that the offer was ludicrous – yet in the other direction!!

      So, I kind of agree with you.
      Is why I threw in Tatar and offered to take Lucic for Alzner.

      Maybe Claude could work some of his magic on Looch.

  9. Bigbadbruin: Yes I do worry about whether Marner, Gaudreau, Nylander Tatar, Domi,Gaudreau, , and even Gallager who has more guts than anyone in the league are too small to sustain what they are doing…

    Even though his stats. are so good and I do admire much about his game…I think Marner could be vulnerable to hit from the guy like so much Shea Weber. Same with other small guys.

    My opinion is the Leaf roster is imbalanced in that they have too much talent upfront, not enough on the backend…while Montreal’s roster is imbalanced in that too much of the speed and skill is small and young

    • Montreal is 4th in the league for hits given, ahead of a lot of much bigger teams, the nhl has changed its grit not size nowadays! The leafs are 29th in hits given.

      • who cares

      • Good comment shows your intelligence! Just shows how soft the leafs are, and how they won’t win in the playoffs with that lineup

  10. Neither will the Crabs bigbear…neither will the habs

    • *habs

    • Good input with that comment shticky! Keep it coming

  11. If Dubas tries to keep Gardener, then he may get some help from Matthews and Marner. I doubt it would be a crazy number, but if this team can get right before the playoffs and Gardener contributes, then I’d expect to see his team-mates trying to leave some space for Gardener and Kapanen…Johnsson is likely 50/50 to be dealt. Hainsey is likely to be offered a lot less than he gets this year. The Leafs have 3 or 4 dmen who could fill NHL spots next Fall: Rosen,Borgman, Sandin and Lilegren, are all close. My money is on Rosen and Sandin being sure-bets.