NHL Rumor Mill – April 11, 2020

by | Apr 11, 2020 | Rumors | 25 comments

Check out the recent Montreal Canadiens speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien recently examined the Montreal Canadiens’ long-term needs. He feels they need to pay a handsome fee to bring in a suitable backup goaltender for starter Carey Price. The market could include such notables as Anton Khudobin, Thomas Greiss, Cam Talbot, and former Habs playoff hero Jaroslav Halak.

Could next season be Brendan Gallagher’s last with the Montreal Canadiens? (Photo via NHL Images)

The Canadiens also lack proven snipers and more NHL-ready defensemen. O’Brien wondered if they should at least try a mini-reboot and sell off the likes of Tomas Tatar, Jeff Petry, Jonathan Drouin, and perhaps Brendan Gallagher.

THE ATHLETIC: Arpon Basu and Marc-Antoine Godin recently suggested the Canadiens are in a good position to take advantage of a potentially flat salary-cap for 2020-21. They would have flexibility other clubs wouldn’t have, making it possible to target cap-strapped clubs in need of shedding salary before next season. They could also attempt to sign a rival club’s top restricted free agent with an offer sheet.

TVA SPORTS: Louis-André Larivière recently wondered if Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin might target Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev with an offer sheet. Bergevin traded Sergachev three years ago to the Lightning for Drouin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Canadiens have over $63 million invested in 16 players for 2020-21, with restricted free agents Max Domi and Victor Mete their only notable players to be re-signed. Assuming both are inked for a combined $7 million, Bergevin will have around $11 million at his disposal. He could have more if each club gets a compliance buyout because of the effect upon league revenue by the coronavirus, or if the league and PA agree to a slightly higher artificial cap.

Bergevin must use that cap space to improve his roster. There will be teams looking to sell in the off-season. He would be wise to exploit that opportunity. Landing a quality player probably won’t cost a roster player. The Canadiens have considerable depth in draft picks to draw upon for trade bait. They hold 13 picks in rounds two through seven of this year’s draft, and seven picks in rounds three through five in 2021.

I agree with O’Brien regarding the need for a reliable backup. They’ve gone cheap in that department in recent years and it’s cost them whenever Price was struggling or sidelined. They cannot make that mistake again. Signing one of those UFA goalies listed by O’Brien would address that need.

Bringing back Sergachev via trade or offer sheet would go a long way toward boosting the Canadiens’ defense corps. However, I doubt Lightning GM Julien BriseBois has any intention of parting with him. An offer sheet only works if the targeted player is interested. Sergachev probably prefers playing on a Stanley Cup contender in a warm-weather, low-tax state. 

Bergevin resisted the temptation to shop Tatar and Petry at this year’s trade deadline. If the Canadiens are still outside the playoff picture before next season’s deadline, those two will likely hit the trade block. Gallagher, too, if the Habs aren’t willing to pony up big bucks to keep him in the fold. Drouin’s struggles and $5.5-million AAV through 2022-23 won’t be easy to move.

I believe 2020-21 is a make-or-break season for Bergevin. If the Habs aren’t in playoff contention by the middle of next season, he could be out of a job. Team president Geoff Molson has been very patient but I daresay he could reach his limit if the Habs remain outside the postseason picture.


  1. Bergevin should have been sh*tcanned ages ago.

    • NO!!!! Give him a long term extension!

  2. Regarding cap space, what’s the economy going to look like, once things start to get back to some kind of normality?

    Will teams want to spend to the cap, can they expect full arenas?

    Just because you can spend doesn’t mean you should or will.

    • @Caper most teams will still spend to cap. The nhl will want to make sure that we put the best product on the ice. These are billionaire owners who will do what it takes to put butts back in the seats. Betteman is also a very smart business person. They will figure something out and most teams will still spend the cap whatever that might be. The top players will still get paid and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are compliance buy outside allowed to help teams with bad contracts. The fans miss there sports and can’t wait to see a game.

      • RL there is already NHL that have their own salary cap structure in place and I dont see them spending to the cap if anything some of them might move out higher price players.

        The NHL was hoping to score big on their next TV deal, is this now impacted? Will they get as much as they were hoping for?

        I agree teams like Toronto, Montreal and NYR maybe willing to spend to the cap

        While other like Anahiem, LA, Arizona, Winnipeg, NJ, Fl may not.

      • Whatever works for US market, Bettman will do it. Yes he is a good businessman

      • Re: The TV Deal.
        If the NHL starts back up and has to play without fans in attendance the TV Deal could be worth even more if we all have to watch from home.

    • If they can spend. They will. Nothing will deter that. Nothing.

  3. The habs need a full rebuild. Petry, Tatar and Weber were having great seasons and will probably never have a higher value than this offseason. If you traded 1 of those players and took a bad contract from the other team to make the salaries work you could be looking at an nhl ready young player, a 1st rounder and an a level prospect and that’s for each of those players. That could be a really quick rebuild if done correctly. You’re stuck with price and you won’t get much for Drouin so you might as well keep him. Domi and Mete will cost you more than 7 million. They are both talented, young and have upside. If you believe in them then try to sign them long term. Might cost 4.5 to 5.0 each but could be a bargain in a couple years. The leafs went through this, we just hovered around the middle of the pack with no future until the fans finally accepted a rebuild. Habs are in the same place. Use the cap space and the few talented older players you have and get on with a quick rebuild. It would be nice to bring the cup back to Canada so the more Canadian teams in the hunt the better.

    • If Winnipeg wins the Cup great; otherwise it can stay south of the border.

    • None of those players bring back that type of return. Unless you mistakenly put and instead of or. Even the worst contact dumps coming back wouldn’t jack the price of any of those players up that high.

    • The Habs will not be helped by another draft pick (they have lots), or prospects (they have enough).

      What they need is just what has been discussed above: a quality backup which will give Price a breather and improve his consistency.

      They need a first line center, a quality scorer and a solid d. Anything less than 2 of these 4 needs will mean the Habs go nowhere. Kotkaniemi, Suzuki, Poehling and Fleury need to take a step forward next season, or they go nowhere.

      Petry’s excellent skating means he will play at a high level for several more years. Letting him go would be a huge mistake.

      • Basically Habs needs the whole new team. Petry, Tatar, maybe Domi should be gone for picks and prospects.
        They have low draft picks, which won’t matter tbh. How many Jamie Benn you can find in the 5th round?
        Prospect pool it’s ok, nothing fancy but definitely overrated.
        They need a decent rebuild, not what they are doing right now.
        If Weber wants to leave, let him go, this guy deserve to play in a contender, but he’s the only one which i would keep.

      • That’s just it LJ. The habs have no top end prospects. You will not win with the team or prospect pool that the Haba have. When they’ve had a top 3 pick they messed it up. They need a full rebuild. The pieces you are saying they need. How do you supposed they get those. A front line center good luck with that. You have to draft them. Tank a year or 2 really build the prospect pool for potential trades. You can always just keep barely missing the playoffs getting no high end talent in the draft and wallow in mediocrity I guess. No top end free agent is signing there so good luck.

  4. Goldin opportunity to get rid of Drouin and free up extra cap space if you include one of the many pics the extra cash could be used to re tool quicker and maybe get a decent dman

    • I think we will see a lot of strange deals due to the upcoming UNKNOWN about the virus and don’t forget a year from now teams will lose a player due to expansion draft. If Montreal is looking for a “D” man then Anaheim might be a good place to shop.
      Fowler 28 6,5 mil 6 years left on contract
      Lindholm 26 5.2 mil 2 years left on contract
      Manson 28 4.1 mil 2 years left on contact

      Ducks desperately need to rebuild. Montreal has 10 1st-2nd-3rd picks in next two drafts, Anaheim has announced they would take back a bad contract and did when they got Bostons 1st + prospect + Backes for Kase.
      That’s not nearly enough for Ducks to rebuild, they need to make some trades for picks before the draft if they plan to rebuild

    • What raises a question with your statement is when you say “get rid of Drouin” which succinctly implies what you think of him. And that can’t be much.

      And when you look at the on-ice performance of this 25 t/o F (who thinks he’s a C) you can see why

      349gp 67g 142a 209 pts for averages of 0.2gpg 0.4apg 0.6ptspg

      And this costs $5.5 mil off the cap for 3 more years. Hardly good value for sure. So, if he is indeed someone to “get rid of” don’t you think the other 30GMs will see it that way too? Especially with the stark uncertainty about the entire economics of the game that will certainly impact next season – at least.

      This trade will NOT happen, not even with 2nd round picks thrown in (I assume you’re not advocating this year’s 1st round pick). Bergevin gave it to him – now he must live with the consequences

  5. Colby Cave passed away this morning RIP Colby life isn’t fair.

    • Damn. God bless him.

    • sad , sad news

    • Awe that’s heartbreaking. God love him and his family. RIP Colby

    • Terrible news.
      So sad for his family.
      Good Hockey player.
      Great kid.

    • yeah sad news, RIP Colby

    • Sad, far too young.

  6. Tough news about Cave. Condolences to his family, friends and Oiler nation.

    I do not believe the Habs should trade (until the trade deadline that is) those players suggested,return dependent of course. Both Weber and Price should be talked to/encouraged to make themselves available for the expansion draft. Neither will probably be picked which means another player gets protected. Sergachev MIGHT sign an offer sheet from Mtl due to past relationships &yrs at 7.5 per. That would wipe out TBs ap space, assuming they match. It would force them, a rival to make some serious roster changes.

    Mete and Domi I think are trade bait. Return dependent of course but if the Habs get Sergachev, a no brainer. Signing other free agents, Like TJ Brodie instead would also have the same effect.

    If the Sergachev thing fails/does not happen, and offer to Mikheyev would be interesting, IMO

    Gallagher will be a Canadien for life unless he demands a trade or salary demands get crazy. He has exactly the attitude the Habs want in all players.

    I think MB’s is to create a team made up of three lines of the hardest working second line forwards, a fourth line of the hardest working 3rd liners a top for D of the best #2s they can find and a 3rd pair of #3s. All top players are then drafted and developed, traded for if possible. This would make for a really entertaining team to watch and a playoff contender for sure.