NHL Rumor Mill – November 22, 2021
What will the Sharks do with Evander Kane? What are some possible trade destinations for Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot? Should the Rangers shop Alexandar Georgiev? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.
THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz wondered what the San Jose Sharks will do with Evander Kane when the 30-year-old winger’s 21-game suspension ends in about a week. General manager Doug Wilson has kept his plans for Kane under wraps. It would take some time for the winger to return to game shape as it appears he didn’t spend much time on the ice during his suspension.
Kane was the Sharks leading scorer last season. However, his troublesome personality upset several of his teammates. Bringing him back into the lineup could disrupt team chemistry.
It’s unknown if Kane wants to return to the Sharks. Given his off-ice issues, trying to trade him if he wants out could prove almost impossible. The Sharks could buy him out but that would leave considerable dead cap space on their books for the next six seasons.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It will be interesting to see how Wilson handles this situation. He attempted to trade Kane in the offseason but couldn’t find any takers. Factor in his contract with its $7 million annual average value over the next three years and it’s doubtful Wilson will have better luck moving him during the season.
A contract buyout would have to wait until the offseason. Cap Friendly indicates that will cause some salary-cap headaches over the next six years but it would clear a big chunk of his current cap hit from their books while ridding themselves of a divisive player from their dressing room. However, that doesn’t address the immediate issue of what to do with him once his suspension is over.
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Mitch Gallo listed the New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers and Colorado Avalanche as potential trade destinations for Ben Chiarot. The 30-year-old Montreal Canadiens defenseman has become a recent subject of trade speculation by several pundits. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes Chiarot could fetch a first-round pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring a comeback for the ages, the Canadiens will be sellers leading up to the March 21 trade deadline. Pending unrestricted free agents like Chiarot could be dangled in the trade market but I don’t see that happening this early in the season despite the Habs’ current woes. They’ll likely wait until after the February Olympic break to move him in order to maximize the potential return.
The Islanders could use Chiarot right now but I’ll be surprised if general manager Lou Lamoriello parts with a first-rounder to get him. The Avalanche got off to a stumbling start but seem to have righted their ship and don’t appear in any hurry to swing a deal. The Oilers and Leafs are playing well so they’ll likely wait until the second half of the season to consider any significant moves.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the Rangers have a backup goaltending problem after watching Alexandar Georgiev give up four goals on 18 shots in yesterday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres before being relieved by starter Igor Shesterkin. The Rangers would win the game 5-4.
Brooks observed something seems wrong with Georgiev’s performance this season. He indicated the 25-year-old netminder has been unhappy as a backup and has wanted out for a while even if he hasn’t formally requested a trade. He claimed the Rangers made Georgiev available this summer but couldn’t get a nibble.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Brooks pointed out, Georgiev’s poor play this season will further diminish his trade value. The Rangers need a more reliable backup for Shesterkin to avoid overworking their starter. If Georgiev wants out he’ll have to perform better in order to entice a rival club into acquiring him.