NHL Rumor Mill – November 27, 2021

by | Nov 27, 2021 | Rumors | 19 comments

Should the Rangers attempt to acquire Phil Kessel or Reilly Smith? What free agents should the Canadiens pursue next summer? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NHL.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Dan Rosen was asked if the New York Rangers might kick tires on Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel or Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith to add a scorer to play alongside Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider.

Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel (NHL Images).

Rosen likes the idea of Smith as he’s more versatile than Kessel and previously played for Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant. The Golden Knights will need to shed salary to make room for recently-acquired Jack Eichel when he returns to action from neck surgery in February.

The Rangers don’t have to rush into finding a winger for Zibanejad and Kreider. They’re winning games while using the time to determine what they have in young forwards Julian Gauthier, Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One of those young forwards could improve in the coming weeks to the point where the Rangers won’t need to pursue a top-six winger. If not, they’ll go shopping for one leading up to the March 21 trade deadline, maybe for Kessel, Smith, or whoever else could be useful to them at a reasonable price.

TVA SPORTS: Anthony Martineau and Nicolas Cloutier discussed possible offseason free-agent targets for the Montreal Canadiens next summer. Martineau suggested pursuing San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl while Cloutier recommended Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman (and Quebec native) Kris Letang.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens aren’t in any position financially to pursue any of next summer’s noteworthy unrestricted free agents. Cap Friendly shows them with a projected $84.8 million invested in just 14 players for 2022-23. They’ll get some cap relief if Shea Weber ($7.857 million annual average value) remains on long-term injury reserve, but they’ll still have to shed considerably more to free up cap space to fill out the remainder of their roster.

The Canadiens’ poor performance this season and the fishbowl existence for Habs players in Montreal won’t be enticing to any of next summer’s notable UFAs. It’s a pipe dream. Moving on…


  1. With less than 1m left in actual salary and Arizona being in position to retain cap space, Kessel would probably be the better option for Rangers. Would leave them space if they decide to add another player. Kakko has been in top 6 since day 1. He recently was moved off Strome/Panarin line to Zib/Kreider. Hunt is currently other RW now in top 6. As Lyle said, there’s probably no reason to change anything right now. Playing well.

  2. Yeah, the future seems quite bleak, for Montreal hockey fans. Bergevin kinda “closed” the future, with the Price’s, Gallagher’s, Petry’s contracts.
    Were I Geoff Molson, I’d bring Vinnie Damphousse in as GM, tear the place down, retaining salary , and start some kind of “Yzerplan”.
    Look at the Wings ! Nobody will be calling ’em “the Dead Wings”, for a long, long time

    • .500 brag. Now I’ve seen it all. Yes Montreal should aim to at least that.

  3. R Strome on a 12 game point streak . Panarin has another level. Don’t change anything.

    I think the parade of coaches will continue in Montreal and a trade of some sort. They have to do something . If that’s doesn’t work MB …bb

  4. THings appear well but if there is another key injury then nyr will be in trouble so might as well go.

    To nyr: kessel salary 50% retained
    To arz: hajek and gorgi

    Then have Murray mutually terminate his Ottawa contract then sign him as back up

    • Then have Moose come out of retirement and win the scoring race. All very sound suggestions.

    • IHC , maybe I am missing something. Why would Murray agree to terminate his contract? he is owed 18+million. Send him to Belleville , hope he can re-discover his game in time to be moved the TDL which would not doubt require Ottawa to retain salary or take back a bad contract. If not he gets bought out next summer.

      • you aren’t missing anything, ILoveCrosby is delusional …

    • Then have Murray mutually terminate his contract … everyone can stop reading after that gem …

      • Murray was put on waivers today. Sens claimed Gaudette. Good pick up by them.

      • To me the Gaudette pick-up signals another move coming up front.

        Murray will clear, of course, then it’s off to Belleville where he should stay through the holiday period. If he hasn’t gotten his act together in the AHL by then, bury him there and buy him out next season. Enough is enough with this sieve.

    • IHC. Not sure anyone wants Gorgiev. Hajek and Kravtsov are both kind of in limbo. Baring injuries, no reason to do anything right now. Vegas will lose leverage the closer they get to an Eichel return. Will be forced to make a move. Not sure I’d want Smith. Rather have someone who is or has been a goal scorer. Dadinov? Kessel?

  5. What qualifications does Vinnie Damphousse have to be handed the position of Montreal GM? I know he’s Francophone and s former hockey player but you brought his name up as if he brings some level of noteworthy experience. Please advise.

  6. Gladly will, Frank. My opinion is that, even though he has no experience , he seems to be a calm man, and always of sound judgement, whenever I hear him commenting. Same could be said of Stéphane Quintal, by the way. And yes the fact that they are French speaking is kinda relevant, to us Frenchies. Look at all the French speaking coaches and GM s around the league : they almost all started here. If we don’t give a chance to “our” guys, who else will ? I the same vein, there are more players from Quebec in the Tampa and Pittsburgh organisations than the Habs’s. I’m on nationalist fanatic, but hey , Trevor Timmins could start looking in our own yard . Tampa does !

    • Mathieu Darche, Pat Brisson, Martin Madden Jr all have more experience than Damphousse and meet the criteria.

      • True HabsFan ! “Chose certaine’ (a sure fact ), Bergevin now has to go.
        My two cents.

      • I would bring in a guy like Damphousse as VP of Hockey Operations – sort of like the Shanny situation in Toronto. And have a GM who’s been working in hockey these past several years to make the hockey moves. Brisson would be great but I doubt he’s giving up his lucrative agency. Madden or Darche would be my choices. Possibly Jeff Gorton on the theory that having Damphousse on board allows for a non-French speaking GM. He did pretty well rebuilding the Rangers.

    • Hi Patrick. As a fellow Habs fan I have to disagree. The way I look at it, you have to decide whether you want to win or if you want to be spoken to and communicate in French. If you want to win, then you have to pick the best possible candidate and if that person speaks French, then consider it a bonus – if he doesn’t then hire a translator. Same with drafting – pick the best player available. Do you think GMMB would have made the Sergachev trade if the guy he was trading for was named John Smith and not Jonathan Drouin? I’m not getting any younger and I would like to celebrate another Cup win before I go!!

      • I also think language is a bonus for the GM position in Mtl. Let”s bring someone who has a plan, a clear vision for the future. French, English, Russian, we don’t mind. Let’s build a winning team.