NHL Rumor Mill – April 6, 2019

by | Apr 6, 2019 | Rumors | 23 comments

Latest on the Canadiens, Coyotes, and Hurricanes in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

WHAT NEXT FOR THE CANADIENS? 

ESPN.COM: In the wake of the Montreal Canadiens’ elimination from postseason contention, Greg Wyshynski and Chris Peters believe they must bring in some puck-moving offensive punch to their defense. They also believe Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin should add some more scoring to the forward lines. 

Will Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin face another busy summer? (Photo via NHL.com)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thanks to Bergevin’s moves last summer (acquiring Max Domi, Tomas Tatar, and Joel Armia, drafting Jesperi Kotkaniemi), the Canadiens significantly improved this season. Nevertheless, they’re still not good enough to be a playoff team in the Eastern Conference. Even if they’d qualified this season, they would’ve been a first-round-and-out club.

The Canadiens lack skilled depth on the left side of their defense and they need a better backup goalie behind overworked starter Carey Price. They also need another established scoring forward and must improve a god-awful power play that ranks 30th overall. I anticipate Bergevin will be busy making moves this summer to address those issues.

Cap Friendly indicates the Canadiens have over $64.3 million invested in 17 players with all their core players signed through next season. Assuming an $83-million cap for 2019-20, Bergevin will have around $19 million to re-sign or replace his depth free agents and still have sufficient room to make a significant addition if possible.

Don’t expect the Canadiens to entice top-tier UFAs like Erik Karlsson, Artemi Panarin or Jeff Skinner to Montreal. It’s not going to happen. Bergevin could have better luck with second-tier talents like Gustav Nyquist, Kevin Hayes, or Jake Gardiner, though I don’t see him being keen to overpay for their services after the Karl Alzner debacle.

Bergevin could instead target clubs with limited cap space in need of shedding salary to re-sign young players. He could get bold and go the offer-sheet route but his recent remarks suggest that isn’t likely. Given his solid wheeling-and-dealing last year, I think he’ll be busy again in the trade market this summer. 

WHAT WILL THE COYOTES DO THIS SUMMER?

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Richard Morin was asked if Arizona Coyotes general manager John Chayka will go shopping this summer to improve his roster. Morin believes that will depend upon the Coyotes’ budget restraints.

If there’s sufficient payroll to make some additions, Morin feels adding at least one bona fide scorer is a priority. He suggests someone like Buffalo’s Jeff Skinner could alter the complexion of the team. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes have over $74.3 million invested in 17 players for 2019-20. Over $5.2 million of that belongs to the all-but-retired Marian Hossa. Nevertheless, I don’t see the Coyotes being big spenders in the UFA market.

Chayka could be forced to go the trade route to bring in a scorer like he did earlier this season by acquiring Nick Schmaltz from Chicago. Had Schmaltz not suffered a season-ending knee injury, I believe his production would’ve propelled the Coyotes into the postseason.

If the budget constraints are too tight and he can’t shed salary, Chayka could be forced to remain patient and hope promising young forwards Clayton Keller, Christian Fischer, and Christian Dvorak start reaching their full potential next season. 

HURRICANES STILL TRYING TO SIGN FOX

TSN: cited Raleigh News & Observer’s Chip Alexander reporting Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell said his club is still trying to sign prospect defenseman Adam Fox. This comes a few days after team owner Tom Dundon indicated the plan was to trade Fox, who could become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Fox is a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Fox isn’t willing to sign with the Hurricanes, they’ll have little choice but to trade his rights to a team that he’s willing to sign with. Earlier this week, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun said the Hurricanes had held talks with the New York Rangers. He believes the Hurricanes would be interested in the first-round pick the Rangers received from the Winnipeg Jets in the Kevin Hayes deal at the trade deadline. Still, LeBrun added not to rule out the possibility of the Hurricanes convincing Fox to change his mind. 







23 Comments

  1. Spector is the biggest Hab hatter. Always talking Montreal has no chance at any top tier player. Montreal is a great hockey market. They have the best goal tender and some other very good pieces. Domi, Tartar, Weber and Petry. Not sure why you believe players want to stay away. Maybe the high tax.

    • Shhh, you’ll ruin the opinion of those who believe I favor the Habs over everyone else! 😉

      • Despite the bias by Canadian (country) hockey media against the Boston Bruins in general, you are one of the most level headed hockey analyst including Boston. I don’t participate in the forum but every day I check your hockey rumors. I appreciate your honesty about not only all NHL teams but your team in Montreal. Your summaries are the best, thanks.

      • Thank you!

    • Maybe the weird language culture thing.

    • Not speaking for anyone else, but maybe one reason, if you happen to be anglophone, is seeing your language OFFICIALLY barred – by law – from general use. Hard on a family. Put it another way, how many francophone players would want to go anywhere where French is similarly barred – or severely limited – by law? I’m not talking about a place like, say, Calgary or Los Angeles as examples where you just won’t see a lot of French in use in everyday life – but somewhere where it’s prohibited or limited by law? How many, if given options, would choose to look elsewhere?

    • Best goalie? Did they make a trade? Surely youre not referring to Scarey Price with that comment.

  2. Montreal fans must feel better today than they did a year ago – the Habs are definitely heading in the right direction. The problem with the power play is a mystery to say the least and it was likely the biggest factor in the team failing to make the playoffs. Fix that and Montreal becomes a legit contender.

  3. Non Hab fan observations

    Good things done this year….cleared room of guys who appeared not to want to be there…..really big deal….played as a team another big deal….did well on the trades made last year…best fan support in the league seemed encouraged by the year as team exceeded expectations

    Problems…..the winning window does not seem in harmony….Weber and Price have big age gap over good younger players…As a team they are too small which is hard to change but so was cleaning up the room….I only watched 5 or 10 Hab games but Weber looked a lot slower to me than I expected.

    I read Hab fans are down on Drouin but there are teams, Edmonton, Minnesota, Carolina who need that type of offensive skills. Petry was good but maybe he should be traded while he still gets something of real value back. Are these reasonable observations?

    Would be interested in what Hab fans thought of their winning window…..who should stay ….who should be traded and when….

    I listen to some Hab games on radio….home games are electric….

    • I agree on moving Petry and his cap while he still has value. What replaces him then? That is always the dilemma. Petry is a right hand D man that cup contenders look for….so perhaps with 2 yrs at 5.5 m left…someone contender may take a chance this summer.

      Perhaps GM MB can offer a good draft pick and player or solid prospect for GHOST from Philly to be the D partner for Weber. Philly will need more caproom to lock up Provorov & Sanheim long term and still get a goalie to compliment Hart. They also need to balance out their scoring too.

      • I agree Ghost from Philadelphia would be a nice pick up. However not because of cap space, but because of the need of Philadelphia of a more solid defensive minded D man.
        Trade ghost then Philly goes after Trouba

      • Flyers have plenty of cap space to resign all their fa and rfa players plus a high end fa.

  4. Gardiner could help the Habs PP. definitely wouldn’t make it any worse. They made out well with Pacioretty and Galchenyuk deals. I don’t think the Drouin acquisition was that bad either. A couple of tweaks a young addition stepping up and Domi having a repeat season they will make the post season.

  5. Wonder if Rangers are interested in Karlsson, ( especially with Sather stepping down and Yzerman rumored to be on short list)as mentioned here the other day.would they look to move Shattenkirk? I thought they’d look to move him at deadline. Honestly, if he where a free agent, would Canadians be interested? With 2 years remaining on current deal, how much would they be willing to pay if Rangers agreed to retain salary? I don’t see NY going another season with patchwork D… not with Lundqvist having 2 years left on his deal. They could also pursue Trouba if he is made available.

    • You want an NHL D who’s seeking in the range of $10-12 mil long-term and who will be 29 on May 31?

      Last season, without him, SJ finished with a record of 45 27 10 100 pts with 252 gf and 229 ga

      This year, with him (albeit for just 52 gp) they are 45 27 9 99 pts with 284 gf and 219 ga with 1 game left

      In what way would he turn the Rangers fortunes around?

      • Hi George. I was referring to article from a couple days ago. For a player like Karlsson, I don’t think his age is the problem. Burns older and doing just fine. Karlsson struggles more to do with health and adapting. Not sure Rangers would be interested, but sooner or later they have to add some elite players. Not sure anyone they drafted will be. Either way, they still need to upgrade defense. My comment was more about Shatty to Montreal. With DeAngelo developing nicely and Pionk also, there’s really no need to keep Shattenkirk.

      • I agree Karlsson’s age isn’t the problem … now. But if someone forks over that kind of coin for 7 or 8 years, it sure will be when he hits 33 to 37.

      • As a Ranger fan, I am with George. I do not see the benefit at this stage to sign EK, especially for the price tag and term he is seeking.

        Noone will be taking Smith or Shatts. Most of the league have young men they appear to be leaving room to be able to sign. Seems the league has shifted to the NSH model of signing them young long term for potential on team friendly deals and riding the wave.

        As for grabbing Yzerman that would be a coup for NY. He has help made TB a competitive team for a long time.

  6. I don’t understand those who are dumping on Habs and see them as underperforming and/or not where they should be.

    Remember…. I’m lived in the GTA all my life ( closing in on 6 decades) and a Leaf fan and in that I’m supposed to (by birthright; civic duty and ingrained paternal bias) hate the Habs

    The reality is this … putting aside some significant blown calls recently that were not favourable to Habs…. tonight’s game Leafs vs Habs would have been for last WC spot …. loser out ; if not for two hit posts…. that’s it ….. two posts both in the last minute of the game.

    I was at the opening night game and was in Montreal for the First Leaf game in Feb and in both of those games they were tied in the third and in both Habs hit the post with less than 60 seconds left in the game ; both games Leafs won in OT. In fact in the opening game; Habs also hit the post another time late in that game.

    Post and in for both of those shots …. Habs then have 96 points; Leafs have 95 at the drop of the puck tonight

    Two friggin posts and people are dumping on Habs?????

    I, as a Leaf fan , am so very thankful for those posts

    Habs ARE on the right track

    Leafs, I still believe; will be lucky just to get to a game 6 vs Bruins (3 home gates) in the next couple of weeks; and will absolutely be in the very same boat next soring unless they can move WW and/or Marleau to free up enough space for a D upgrade.

    Habs are blessed with Cap space; and in the right track.

    GMKD…. hello , wake up, Habs are coming next year.

  7. Maybe the posts are bigger on the nets Montreal shoots at lol my God Ive heard it all now. Every team hits posts and crossbars and misses wide open nets. There are 82 to games don’t leave it to two posts in game 81.

    • Well, Obe, we’re talking about a Leafs/Pens fan here, don’t forget….

    • Hi Obe and BC Leafs fan

      Sorry if I misdirected or misconveyed my intended sentiments.

      I’m certainly not al all disregarding that (all teams’ missed open nets/hitting posts etc.). I would guess that more than 3/4 of all NHL games have at least one “just missed” goal due to hitting posts and/or a flubbing at an open net

      What I was trying to convey is that characterizing Montreal as “way behind “ the others in development including Leafs is IMO mistaken

      I am also very firm that IMO Leafs can’t get out of the position they are in now (not built to win the East) until they upgrade their D and the only way to get cap space to do that for next year IMO, is to move either/both WW and/or Marleau.

      It can be done, but Dubas has some work to do.

      Bergevin has the advantage of a great deal more in Cap flexibility

      Cheers

  8. The Canadiens’ first objective into the offseason is firing Marc Bergevin. Bergevin made moves. Those moves are not enough for the Canadiens to be in postseason contention.