NHL Rumor Mill – November 28, 2019
Latest on the Canadiens, Bruins, and Sabres in today’s NHL rumor mill
LATEST CANADIENS SPECULATION
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan believes the Canadiens could soon reach an important crossroad that could affect them now and in the future. Mired in a five-game winless streak, there are troubling signs they might not bounce back as they did from a similar losing skid last November. They blew 4-0 and 5-3 leads to fall 6-5 to the New York Rangers on Saturday and seemed to give up during an 8-1 loss to the Boston Bruins.
With the possibility of the Canadiens missing the playoffs for the fourth time in five years, Cowan wonders if general manager Marc Bergevin might use his salary-cap space and prospect depth to make a big season-saving trade. He also mused about whether it’s time to consider shopping veteran stars Carey Price and Shea Weber for younger players and begin rebuilding for the future.
LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: cites a report by NBC Sports’ Charlie Roumeliotis claiming Bergevin took in Tuesday’s game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars. He’s also attended several games involving the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate in Rockford.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Bergevin making any major moves right now. As long as the Habs stay in playoff contention, he’ll give his players time to work their way out of their current funk.
With over $8 million in salary cap room, Bergevin has plenty of wiggle room to swing a major deal. However, he was in a similar position last season but only made a couple of minor moves. Expectations are higher this year, which could put pressure on him to swing a deal.
Bergevin isn’t trading Price or Weber, but if he decides to go that route he’ll do it in the off-season. Price would have to waive his no-movement clause. Weber lacks no-trade protection but carries a hefty contract (over $7.8 million annually through 2025-16). He could be tough to move unless it’s a one-for-one swap for another expensive player or the Habs pick up part of his cap hit.
The Canadiens don’t play the Blackhawks until Jan. 15. Bergevin has a trade history with the Hawks so we can’t dismiss the possibility he’ll do another deal with them. Chicago defenseman Erik Gustafsson has surfaced in trade rumors earlier this season. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
The Habs need help on the left side of their blueline but I don’t think Gustafsson would be the answer. He’s coming off a 60-point performance last season but has only eight points in 23 contests this season.
UPDATE ON KRUG
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: With the Bruins re-signing Charlie Coyle and Chris Wagner yesterday, Joe Haggerty wonders where this leaves Torey Krug. The new contracts for Coyle and Wagner mean there’s a little less in the Bruins’ payroll to re-sign the 28-year-old defenseman. They also have Zdeno Chara, Matt Grzelcyk, Jake DeBrusk, Kevan Miller and Jaroslav Halak to re-sign. Haggerty observers the Bruins have lots of talented defensemen who could fill in for Krug if he departs next summer, but none have his offensive impact.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Bruins have over $65 million invested in 15 players for next season. Krug said he’s willing to accept a hometown discount to re-sign with the Bruins, but it will probably be well over his current $5.25-million AAV. With three consecutive 50-plus point campaigns already under his belt, he could get over $8 million annually on the open market.
Don’t expect the Bruins to trade Krug this season. He’s still a crucial part of their push for a Stanley Cup this season. They could get him re-signed before July. Nevertheless, the longer he goes unsigned, the more questions will arise about his future with the Bruins.
@FriedgeHNIC reporting that the #Sabres have D in Marco Scandella and RH’s Colin Miller & Zach Bogosian potentially available for trade. BUF likely looking for forward help, but all three have significant salary and Miller has another two years left at $3.875 M AAV. @1270TheFan
— Michael Augello (@MikeInBuffalo) November 27, 2019