NHL Rumor Mill – December 17, 2021

by | Dec 17, 2021 | Rumors | 31 comments

The latest Canadiens speculation and an update on Evander Kane in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Marc Antoine Godin spoke with several NHL scouts regarding the potential trade value of several notable Montreal Canadiens players.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (NHL Images).

Several clubs could have an interest in goaltender Carey Price but his hefty contract and no-movement clause make him difficult to trade. It could be worthwhile testing Jake Allen’s trade value if Price returns from offseason knee surgery later this season as they already have Sam Montembault and Cayden Primeau as backups. Allen could fetch a first-round pick.

Jeff Petry could draw some interest from clubs seeking a second-pairing defenseman and could bring in perhaps a couple of draft picks. His $6.25 million annual salary cap hit and no-trade clause are stumbling blocks.

Ben Chiarot is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. The 30-year-old defenseman could be worth a first-round pick if he remains healthy.

Left winger Brendan Gallagher is another who would draw interest but whose expensive contract and no-trade clause could make him difficult to move.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Godin touched on several other Canadiens (including Jonathan Drouin and Tyler Toffoli) but I’m focusing on those who’ve surfaced most frequently in the rumor mill. The piece is also behind a paywall so you’ll need a subscription to read the entire thing. I’ve also encapsulated the takes on the aforementioned as Godin and the scouts he spoke with go into great detail over each player’s potential value.

Changes will be coming for the Canadiens, most likely starting around the time of the March 21 trade deadline. Pending UFAs like Chiarot, Brett Kulak, Mathieu Perreault, Cedric Paquette and Chris Wideman will be shopped. I wouldn’t be surprised if a restricted free agent with arbitration rights like Artturi Lehkonen ends up on the trade block if they’re unwilling to sign a long-term deal.

The biggest changes could occur in the offseason. One or two could involve an expensive core player such as Price, Petry or Gallagher. Maybe one or two players with a year or two left on their contracts, such as Drouin or Toffoli, get peddled this summer. We’ll just have to wait and see what executive VP of hockey ops Jeff Gorten and his new general manager have in store.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Kevin Allen observed several NHL clubs sent scouts to follow scandal-plagued San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane as he works on his conditioning and timing with their AHL affiliate.

A Red Wings scout was in attendance at one of Kane’s AHL games but there’s no confirmation he was there to follow the 30-year-old winger. Allan doesn’t believe Kane is the type of player the Wings need given his age and expensive contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s well-documented off-ice issues and reputation for being a dressing-room hasn’t dissuaded some clubs from considering the possibility of adding him to their roster. He’s a reliable scorer who plays with a physical edge.

The Sharks are said to be willing to retain part of his salary to facilitate a trade. I’m with the camp that believes it could take a three-team deal to spread his $7 million cap hit around to get it done. We’ll see if there’s any serious interest in him in the coming weeks.


  1. Re Kane…. can in no way see him ever playing for Sharks again; and they won’t be paying him all that $’s for balance of contract to play for Barracudas

    The trade at 50% retained is for all intents and purposes… a done deal (sunk costs for this year and last three after escrow of $13.8 M)… for him to never play another game with Sharks

    A buyout (after escrow) …. Sunk costs of $19.3 M

    Re Kane on Pens (if he has turned his off ice game around)….

    A flip of Zucker for Kane (50 %) at TDL…. after escrow ….Only costs $860 K more (over buyout option) …, to get zero NHL player replaced by Zucker for 1 1/3 year… the only downside is an extra Cap hit of $2M (22/23 only) over current situation

    Take it one step further…. Make Cap hits equal this for Sharks …. 50% retained on Kane; 36% retained on Zucker…. The net result is zero Cap change this year or next for Sharks … 7, 7 …. But they Actually SAVE (after escrow) $1.5 M (over buyout ) AND get Zucker (over nothing as Kane was not going to play) for 1 1/3 rd years)

    Pens new owners save substantially in cash for 3 1/3 years; no change to Cap this year; increase of Cap hit of only $1.5 M next year; and $2M REDUCTION in Cap hit for 23/24 and 24/25…. and are replacing JZ with Kane

    Again…. Only a go if Pens are convinced that Kane has put his baggage behind him (which is exactly what 5 or 6 other teams are weighing in on right now)

    Per many in media…. Strong confidence that no matter what…. He’s on good behaviour for the balance of year through the playoffs

    So worst case…., great production this year; then he falters off ice after playoffs…..Buyout then …. Only $6.8 M cash (over 6 years)… new Pens owners have deep pockets … and Cap hit then only …. $1.8M, $1.3 M; $2.4 M (negligible in rebuild years) followed by $0.8 M for 3 years (basically nothing when at that time Cap will be at $90M)

    • I was wondering if trading Kane to a, for lack of a better term, “less active city” like a Detroit or Ottawa. I was going to add Winnipeg and Buffalo, but he’s been there and done that. So maybe there is no help for him. I just don’t know about this guy. How many chances can one guy get?
      I understand that his wife or girlfriend fabricated a bunch of the stuff she claimed he did, but that just shows what type of characters this guy attracts.

    • How would the media be privy to Kanes mental state or future behavioral health?

      That’s a bit ridiculous. The media can’t get anything right. Now they’re mental health experts?

      The 50% on Kane for Zucker straight up is out the window. As I mentioned the other day, that essentially puts Zucker at an 8.5 cap hit next year.regardless of actual dollars owed, Zucker isn’t living up to his current cap hit, never mind an additional 3 per tacked on.

      I think Jack Johnson for Zucker 50% retained is more likely than your suggestion.

    • Captain, if you don’t trust the media you consume, perhaps subscribe to an organization that still practices high journalistic standards. They exist.

      Regarding Kane, I agree with who the heck knows. If I had to bet, he will be on his best behavior when he comes to a new team. Just seems natural for most folks in that situation.

      The remaining 3 years of that contract? Who knows, and that is the part that makes this risky as his history with team mates isn’t great to say the least.

      Really good player, so I get the interest, and maybe it’s worth the risk, only time will tell. I would try other options first if it was me, but it isn’t up to me.

      • Hi Ray

        I believe low risk high reward this year

        Out year risk is 50% of a buyout cost….after escrow …. Only ~ $6.8 M (over 6 years)

        That, in a nutshell is the big equation rationale for any team looking to acquire him

        If at same time , your team flips out a current underperforming contract ( mmmmm let’s say $5.5 M for only 10 points 1/3rd of season gone; and that at the same time also has negative production impact on top 2 Cs) 👍👍👍👍

      • Ray,

        I do agree there are multiple reliable sources. But we’re talking about hockey journalists here. Not only are they hockey journalists, but now we have hockey journalists speculating on someone’s mental health? A little out of their realm I’d say.

        The mainstream media generally speaking are sensationalists. Sports media is even more click bait garbage they have to come up with on a daily basis.

  2. Those associated with the Habs seem to me to over value the individual players. Not by a lot but consistently. My guess the root of this is misjudging how much last year’s run was a chain link of luck and fate not of talent. Example, Colefield went from a lock for rookie of the year to Laval. What his real value is I’m not sure.

    I agree that the Habs should rebuild and think Gorton was a very good choice. I agree as well that they should trade almost all guys over 28 or 30 get draft picks while the draft is in Montreal. But I think almost all those choices, some currently in Montreal and all previous draft choices should if there is any doubt spend more time in Montreal.

    This from a Leaf fan who does not cheer for the Habs at all.

    • Fair take OBD, and agree on Gorton. If he decides to go full rebuild, it will take a while as first he needs to tear it down and shed $$. 5 years minimum before they push for a playoff spot if he goes down to the studs.

      MTL fans; you guys got the patience for that?

    • Not having Price, Webber, and Edmundson would be a big part of their troubles this season. The Canadians played a big heavy defensive type of system. Not having their top two d-men who are the best on the team at getting the puck out of their own zone and up to the forwards would have a big effect on the young forwards production. Plus not having their number one goalie. No team can “luck” their way to the Stanley Cup finals. There is also this saying “you have to be good to be lucky.” This is probably why bad teams don’t get too much luck and is why they are bad.
      Because of their injured d-men, the Canadians have defencemen playing too high up in the lineup. With a good backup goalie, who is just that, a backup goalie.

      • @ Kevjam explain to me how the Habs even make the playoffs the last 2 years without covid rules. They were in 24th place 2 years ago and selling off there team at the trade deadline before covid rules got them in. Last year who were they beating to get into the playoffs with normal division alignment. Florida, Tampa, Boston, Toronto. That alone puts them in 5th place in the division. The Habs
        Did what Ottawa and Edmonton did not that long ago. Yiu know what happened to both those teams. Montreal has not had a very good team for over 5 years and Bergevin and his team were really bad at drafting. Montreal is playing exactly the way they have been trending over the last 5 years. Covid rules just created a misguided allusion that Montreal fans ate up ,and still can’t believe, even though the evidence is obvious.

      • Hi KevJam

        Agree that Price, Weber, Edmunson out has had a significant impact on results

        Weber is effectively retired, so that has to factor in to future expectations

        Price with high Cap and full NMC…. Tough to move

        Retention of 50% pretty well a must (AND he has to agree) and possibly a 3rd team retaining more

        A buyout virtually out of the question as he is still owed over $24 M in SBs (which are not crimped at all in buyout)… and he’d still have Cap hits of $10.1, 9.1, 9.1, 9.1, then 4 @ $0.6 M

        After 50% retained…. Owed (@TDL) ~ $15.5 M

        Let’s say there is a miracle and a middle club (would also have to be in “rebuild” with Cap space for next 4 years, and willing to hold $2.6 M in cap for 4 years AND pony up almost $7.8 M in cash…. That is a ton and will require a ton in return…. Hard to see that happening

        What is it worth to Oil to flip Koskinen (he’d have to have this on his trade list) for Price at a slightly lower cap hit…. And improve big time at D and improve at depth C….

        Montreal retains 50% on Price; get Smith; retains 1/3rd on Chairot; saves Cap and loads of cash (out years)

        Sabres retain 10% on Price; retain 50% on Eakin ; get Kosk (needs to be on trade list)… per media …. Looking for goalie with term; and get Ryan

        Oil get Price at $4.2 M but free up $6.5 M (net $2.3 M in Cap); Eakin at 50% for Ryan is a saw-off cap-wise; Chairot at 1/3rd off (same as net savings above)… basically no change to cap this year…

        Oil save Cap, upgrade big time at G, upgrade big time at D; upgrade at depth Centre…. March up ranks on cup probabilities …..What’s that worth…

        To Habs…. 1st (‘22 lottery protected) + Lavoie

        To Sabres…. 2nd (‘23) and Lagaesson

      • What the Heck: I don’t give a rat’s behind that you don’t like the Habs. Many do not. I don’t like the Leafs or Bruins. Comes with the territory.

        But your constant moaning about the Habs making the playoffs due to covid rules goes beyond partisanship to drivel. They made the playoffs based on the rules in place. The rules weren’t made for the Habs specifically, nor were the results. Teams qualified, or did not, fair and square, based on their performance against the rules.

        I have yet to read a post by Habs fans who have been thrilled by their performance the past several years. Yes, expectations were heightened after their Cup run, but what fan base would not have been?

        As for their Cup run, they got hot in the playoffs and beat three good teams to get to the finals. There is no diminishing the accomplishment. The fact that your team didn’t do well is just another example of sour grapes by you, chased with vinegar.

        How about for a change of pace you whine about the advantage the Bolts got two years ago with Kucherov’s LTIR situation. That was within the rules too, but such facts don’t seem to matter to you.

    • Yeah. First it was bc for a first. Now Allen too!?!? Oh Lordy.

  3. I know Josh Anderson is injured but he is so frustrating to watch, he has all the tools to be a premiere powerful and yet seem to take more nights off, then he shows up for. Some games he just dominates and other just invisible.

    Gorton being the new president of hockey ops has no ties to the contracts just handed out by MB is that is a good things for Habs as there is no commitment to keep them if his new gm see a reason to move one or more of them.

  4. Any team would have to be more than desperate to put evander kane’s name in place to destroy their locker room.

    • Disagree Nasdaq40 NHL is littered with teams that have player clashing all the time; just not reported.

      Laine and Ehlers didn’t like Wheeler in Winnipeg; reportedly Wheeler was like a bully always in their face.

      O’Reilly and Echel didn’t like each other.

      Some Bruins didn’t care for Tim Thomas

      the list goes on and on

      It’s hard to get 23 people in a room and think everyone will like each other.

      However, I will agree they need to be professional with each other and respect the rules and regulations.

      I’m all about giving people opportunity to grow and yes that opportunity maybe more then once or twice.

  5. The speculation about the Habs changes and trades in a time when the team as a whole and most players are underperforming is like watching a circular firing squad.

    The idea of trading away key veterans for draft picks might make sense if the Habs didn’t have a boatload of picks already and an abundance of picks moving through the system as is.

    The Habs went through a similar fate the last time Price missed most of a season and its compounded by a non existent D.

    The big 4 is a big 2, and pundits want to trade one of them away.

    • Kevjam, Caper and HF30: Insights worth reading. Well done, and a refreshing push back on nattering pundits needing to fill a column.

      I don’t see the logic in trading good players paid decent $ and with good term to get draft picks in the hope that the picks turn out to be good NHL players who can be signed for decent $ and good term. Draft picks are statistically risky.

      Moreover, if a team hits the jack pot with a # of good young players, they tend to mature around the same time, creating issues with contracts and cap space. The result is fans putting up with a rebuild for several years to get to the point of a cap crunch and good players having to go.

      Do the Habs have some bad contracts? Sure. I personally would move Armia, Drouin and Gallagher (good player, too much term). But why people want to move Chiarot, a bonafide top 4 D baffles me. Same for Petry, whose performance has been hobbled by injuries personally, and a revolving door of forwards injured themselves – zero line up continuity.

      So Ray, it is not just a lack of patience for a rebuild, it’s how some pundits are proposing the Habs get there.

      As for Price, great goalie on a mediocre team for a long time. Way overpaid now. Sad to see a team favourite move but, at this point I am ok with that.

      • LJ, I like Chiarot and Petry as well, but the fact is that the Habs need a large turnover that will take a few years and both of them are over 30. They need to ship out a lot of veterans for younger players or picks. Granted, a few veterans have to be retained, but several will be traded, either before the deadline or in the offseason. Chiarot will have to go, I’d trade Drouin, Byron, Armia and a couple of others too.

    • Ya LJ, not sure what Gorton will do.
      As a casual observer of the Habs, they seem to be stuck in the mushy middle when healthy, and when the injuries hit started to sink.

      Nice run last year, but IMO rode a red hot Price as well.

      Just not sure the current core can ever be anything other than just OK, and Price isn’t getting any younger so how many more heroic playoff runs does he have left in the tank.

      See how the rest of the team performs for remainder of the year, and if they keep under performing, I would have to think Gorton might take more drastic measures.

      Right guy for the job IMO.

    • The problem is, the Habs haven’t had multiple first round picks. They need to try to get a couple of extras so they could pick up top, blue-chip prospects.

      • To Habs: Strome (50% retained) Lafreniere, Nemeth and Gautier
        To NYR: Toffoli (50% retained), Suzuki, and a 5th (becomes a 2nd if Strome re-signs)

      • Couldn’t agree more Howard. Also love the Maurice and the ventriloquist idea!! I’ll throw my two cents in (although not sure it’s worth that much). The core of this team got Therrien and Julien fired and the firing of Ducharme is coming. I will say it again, but for Covid, Montreal would not have made the playoffs in 2020 or 2021. They missed the playoffs in 2018 and 2019. So that’s 4 years in a row. Price and Weber were active members of those teams. Yes they missed games because of injuries but all teams have to deal with that so it’s no excuse. The Cup run last year was well earned and they came together and played with a purpose. Having said that, the same group got Julien fired a few months earlier. So there is something fundamentally wrong with the makeup of this team. GMMB tried a “retool” and it did not work. So IMO a full blown rebuild is needed. And yes, you will lose some useful players in the process but the goal in a rebuild is to get high draft picks and in order to do so you need to lose hockey games so having a depleted/AHL lineup is a good thing. Also, although we have lots of prospects, at this time none of them (maybe Guhle?) are game changers. So we need to draft them and now that Timmins is gone maybe we can. There is no guarantee that a rebuild will be work. What is guaranteed though is this group will never be successful. Yes there are injuries but your leading goal scorer after 30 games has 7 goals? Caufield and Armia have 1 goal each? Gallagher has 4? Not sure what Price and Edmundson could have done to change that as neither is offensively blessed.

    • The Habs have 11 picks this year in what is supposed to be a strong draft so the team doesn’t “need” picks.

      Price is more than a goaltender for the Habs, he’s a 3rd D and the calming port in the storm.

      People like to point out covid rules as if they applied only to the Habs and they benefited exclusively….as if none of these people recall the Habs missing the playoffs despite having more points than wild card teams that made it.

      The rules weren’t made to exclude the Habs nor were they made to benefit them so please stop riding that tired old horse.

      The team’s backup goalie is the starter all year, Edmundson hasn’t played, Petry is underperforming to such a degree its assume he’s injured, obviously most of the D are playing out of position and more minutes than they should.

      All to say the Gorton is aware of all this and more and his evaluation of players will dictate the moves if any he will make.

  6. Bringing a cancer like Kane into a rebuilding club like Detroit would be disastrous. The Wings have been so far back, they’ve had to pipe in sunlight into the locker room the last few years. They are just beginning to come out of the darkness, and Kane would be the dark rain cloud that could set them back years. Stevie Y is way smarter than that (gosh I hope I don’t eat those words).

  7. Paul Maurice has stepped down as Jets coach. He’s from Northern Ontario (Sault Ste. Marie), which has a large French-Canadian population. Anyone know if he speaks French? Lyle? I’d love for the Habs to hire him.

    • Paul Maurice doesn’t speak French.

      • In that case, I’d suggest convincing everyone that Maurice is a French surname (after all, it was the name of the great Rocket Richard) and hiring a French speaking ventriloquist.

  8. Always enjoyed listening to Paul Maurice when he coached the Leafs. He made a good move today imo, one that will help the team right away and help his career down the road. He’ll be back.

  9. Some speculation has Murice going to Detroit. I would rather a fresh face like Yzerman’s pal, Lane Lambert. And then draft his nephew, Brad Lambert with an early 2nd rounder. (He has fallen off sharply like Attu Ratty did last year).

  10. E Kane will have 3 good boy years and then fall offer the wagon. It’s kind of like musical chairs with that guy

    Watch Brad Lambert in the WJ.
    Maybe the OlympicsIs he Switzerland ?