NHL Rumor Mill – November 23, 2019
Check out the latest on the Canadiens, Predators, and Senators in today’s NHL rumor mill.
ARE THE CANADIENS PLANNING TO MAKE A BIG MOVE THIS SEASON?
THE ATHLETIC: Arpon Basu wonders if the Montreal Canadiens are hoarding their salary-cap space for a big move at some point in the season. Noting the Habs have over $6.3 million in salary-cap space, Basu points out general manager Marc Bergevin will have plenty of room to go on a spending spree near the Feb. 24 trade deadline if he so chooses.
Mitch Melnick, meanwhile, believes the Canadiens’ recent struggles are indicative of a team in trouble. With Jonathan Drouin sidelined, Max Domi mired in a goalless drought, and Jesperi Kotkaniemi battling a sophomore slump, Melnick feels it’s time to make a significant move for scoring punch before the season goes sideways.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergevin could be stockpiling that cap room in anticipation of a big trade at some point. Then again, he also had lots of cap space last season and made only minor moves that did little to boost his club’s playoff chances. If there’s a deal to be had that can help his club, one that won’t gut his depth in draft picks and prospects, Bergevin will make it. Otherwise, he’ll bank that cap space and seek more affordable options.
WHAT’S BEHIND TURRIS GETTING SCRATCHED?
NASHVILLE POST: Michael Gallagher recently wondered where Kyle Turris stands with the Predators after being a healthy scratch in consecutive games this week. Unless he’s nursing an undisclosed injury or the Predators are saving him for a potential trade, Gallagher finds it puzzling Turris is being scratched in favor of less-productive players such as Mikael Granlund, Craig Smith, and Austin Watson. He feels it’s a situation that could be worth monitoring in the coming days.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Turris was the subject of frequent trade speculation throughout the calendar year. Despite his improvement this season while bouncing around the Predators’ lineup, his $6-million annual average value is considered a deal-breaker.
Unless the Preds pick up a healthy chunk of that cap hit or take back a toxic contract, they’ll have a difficult time finding suitors for Turris. Banishing him to the press box will keep him healthy if a deal is being worked on, but it could also hurt his value if interested teams can’t evaluate his performance.
SENS SEEK A DEFENSEMAN
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators GM Pierre Dorion’s been shopping around for a defenseman for his banged-up blueline. Christian Wolanin (shoulder), Andreas Englund (lower-body), Erik Brannstrom (hand), and Cody Goloubef (undisclosed) are currently sidelined. Meanwhile, Nikita Zaitsev is in Russia attending to a personal matter but should return Monday. The Sens recalled Max Lajoie and Christian Jaros on Friday.