NHL Rumor Mill – March 3, 2020
What does the future hold for Henrik Lundqvist? Could the Canadiens attempt to trade Jonathan Drouin this summer? What the latest on the Devils? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.
COULD THE RANGERS TRADE LUNDQVIST THIS SUMMER?
TSN: Travis Yost wondered what the future holds for Henrik Lundqvist. The long-time New York Rangers starter is now the third wheel in their goaltending tandem behind youngsters Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev. The 38-year-old Lundqvist isn’t the dominant goalie he was once, but Yost believes he’s still capable.
Lundqvist carries a full no-movement clause, but he only has a year left on his contract with an $8.5 million salary-cap hit. Yost feels that makes him a tradeable asset, but it’s uncertain if he’s willing to accept a trade or if the Rangers want to move him. Yost doesn’t believe they’ll move Shesterkin, but Georgiev could be an intriguing trade asset.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Until Shesterkin’s recent injury, he and Georgiev were seeing the bulk of the games since early-January. I think that says all we need to know about Lundqvist’s future in New York.
If Lundqvist is open to getting traded this summer, the Rangers could explore it. They’ll probably have to absorb part of his contract or take back a salaried player in return. Failing that, they could buy out that final season before the end of the two-week buyout period on June 30.
COULD THE CANADIENS PUT DROUIN ON THE TRADE BLOCK?
TVA SPORTS: Jean-Charles Lajoie recently speculated over the possibility of the Montreal Canadiens shopping Jonathan Drouin this summer. He wondered if the 24-year-old winger might be shopped for a left-side defenseman. He mentioned the Colorado Avalanche’s Samuel Girard as a potential trade target, noting they have promising rearguards like Bowen Byram, Connor Timmins and Drew Helleson in their system. Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin scouted two Avalanche games in Colorado before last Monday’s trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t rule out the Canadiens moving Drouin this summer for a defenseman, but I don’t see him as a fit in Colorado. While he skated alongside Nathan MacKinnon during their junior days in Halifax, MacKinnon already has solid chemistry with wingers Mikko Rantanen and captain Gabriel Landeskog.
The Avs possess promising young rearguards, but I don’t believe GM Joe Sakic is keen to move Girard. Most of the speculation concerning the Avs this season suggested one of those prospects being packaged for a second-line winger. Should the Avs stage a deep playoff run, Sakic might become less inclined to tinker with his lineup.
LATEST ON THE DEVILS
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Corey Masisak said he doesn’t expect the New Jersey Devils to pursue this summer’s top UFAs if acting GM Tom Fitzgerald takes over the role full-time. He’ll likely seek younger players to skate alongside Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes. He could also add some veterans to work with his younger players.
Defense UFA options could include Calgary’s T.J. Brodie and Erik Gustafsson. Goalie targets could include Jaroslav Halak, Thomas Greiss, Anton Khudobin or Cam Talbot. UFA forwards options include Florida’s Evgenii Dadonov or Vancouver’s Tyler Toffoli. Masisak speculated they could buy out the final two years of Cory Schneider’s contract.
Masisak also suggested potential trade targets like the New York Islanders’ Devon Toews or Ryan Pulock, or the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Rasmus Sandin, Travis Dermott or Timothy Liljegren.
NJ.COM: Chris Ryan recently reported Devils winger Kyle Palmieri hasn’t give much thought yet to signing a contract extension, but he’s willing to keep an ear open. He’s slated to become a UFA next July.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils have over $56 million invested in 14 players for 2020-21. They’ll have sufficient room to re-sign RFAs like Mackenzie Blackwood and Jesper Bratt and to bring in some much-needed depth in the off-season.
They also have three picks in the first round of this year’s draft, though two of those are conditional. I don’t see them moving their own first-rounder, but they could shop the other two if it fetches a return that provides immediate help. As for Palmieri, he could wait and see what management does this summer before committing to an extension.