NHL Rumor Mill – December 7, 2021

by | Dec 7, 2021 | Rumors | 42 comments

Which players could the Canadiens trade? Will the Canucks make big roster changes? Should the Bruins sign Tuukka Rask? Read on for the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TVA SPORTS: Jonathan Bernier examined which Montreal Canadiens players with long-term contracts could be traded if executive VP of hockey operations Jeff Gorton decides a rebuild is in order. Gorten recently told Bernier’s colleague Renaud Lavoie he and the club’s next general manager will initiate discussions with several players to take stock of their careers.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (NHL Images).

Bernier believes Carey Price should be traded. While he has a no-movement clause, he might lift it for an opportunity to join a Stanley Cup contender. Given his $10.5 million contract over the next four seasons, the Canadiens will have to absorb part of it to facilitate a trade or take back a bad contract.

Shea Weber’s career is likely over. His $7.857 million annual cap hit could be placed on long-term injury reserve again if the club remains near the cap ceiling should they attempt to sign an unrestricted free agent or re-sign one of their promising players next summer.

Defenseman Jeff Petry likely won’t want to be part of a rebuild. He has three seasons remaining on his contract with an annual cap hit of $6.25 million and a 15-team no-trade clause. His struggles this season could also make him difficult to move.

Bernier also suggests shopping wingers Brendan Gallagher and Joel Armia and defenseman David Savard. Gallagher has five years remaining on his deal at $6.5 million annually with a six-team no-trade clause. Armia could be easier to shop with three years left on his contract at an AAV of $3.4 million. Savard has three years at $3.5 million and Bernier believes his fate could be tied to Petry and pending UFA blueliner Ben Chiarot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how Gorton and his GM handle this situation. If it’s to be a rebuild, it has to start with moving Price. That means picking up half of his cap hit and perhaps getting a third team involved that’s willing to pick up another portion of his salary in exchange for a decent draft pick or prospect.

Gallagher would also involve some salary retention or taking back a comparable contract. Petry’s age and struggles this season could affect his trade value but there could be a general manager out there willing to bet he’ll regain his 40-point form on a better club. Armia could be the easiest to move of the bunch. Bernier said there’s speculation the Boston Bruins are interested in him.

Renaud Lavoie, meanwhile, spoke with player agent Kent Hughes, who was mentioned by Sportsnet’s Elliott Friedman as a possible GM candidate for the Canadiens. “I don’t control speculations,” said Hughes. “I had no discussions regarding the GM job.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman also said the Canadiens hadn’t held any talks yet with Hughes but he was believed high on their list of potential candidates. That could still be the case even though they haven’t had any discussions yet. Hughes also didn’t say he had no interest in the job.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ryan Kennedy reports former Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin is said to be high on the Vancouver Canucks’ list of candidates to replace Jim Benning as general manager. Bergevin was fired as Canadiens GM over a week ago.

SPORTSNET: Iain MacIntyre reports Canucks chairman Francesco Aquilini said he hasn’t yet spoken to Bergevin. He also hasn’t ruled out bringing back a former employee such as former GM Mike Gillis.

Aquilini indicated the club will conduct a thorough and exhaustive search for the club’s next general manager. He also suggested the possibility of hiring a president of hockey operations.

MacIntyre doubts the Canucks will embark on a rebuild and sell off assets even if the new general manager decides a rebuild is necessary. He pointed to the club’s handful of core players 26-and-younger including Bo Horvat, Thatcher Demko, Conor Garland, Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes. They also have promising youngsters such as Vasily Podkolzin and Nils Hoglander.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A lot will depend upon the club’s performance over the remainder of this season under new head coach Bruce Boudreau. I don’t see there being many changes if they show significant improvement and claw their way back into playoff contention. As MacIntyre points out, their young core gives them plenty for the next GM to work with going forward.


NBC SPORTS BOSTON: D.J. Bean observes it’s becoming increasingly likely the Bruins will sign goaltender Tuukka Rask once he’s ready to return to action next month. Doing so, however, would mean demoting Jeremy Swayman to the minors as Linus Ullmark has a no-movement clause.

Bean suggests the Bruins should pass on Rask and stick with their current tandem of Swayman and Ullmark. They’re a fringe playoff team and not a Cup contender. Swayman has a solid .918 save percentage and sending him back to the minors could be a step backward for him. If they still want to sign Rask, they should find another way to make room for him.

There’s a slim possibility the Bruins could trade Swayman for help at forward or defense but Bean doesn’t expect they’ll go that route. He believes it would be a stupid move that would be harmful to the team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve encapsulated Bean’s article and I suggest folks read the entire thing before piling on him for daring to suggest the Bruins pass on Rask. He makes a good point given Swayman’s development and where the Bruins are this season as a playoff contender. However, even he acknowledges they’re probably going to bring Rask back and Swayman will likely be demoted to make room for him.


  1. Trading Price is almost impossible. Who is going to pony up assets or picks for an injury prone aging goalie fresh out of rehab making 10 million a season?

    Montreal is going to have to retain a large chunk of salary and include picks to move him.

    • I disagree with the premise that Price must be traded. If MON is going through a rebuild, I can assume it would be with younger/cheaper players and draft picks. Therefore not a cap team. Having an albatross of a contract on the books at that point becomes irrelevant outside of owner’s wallets.

    • Ask the exec’s and players about price. Not personal fan opinions. The first holds much more weight.

    • @ Ron Jull….I didn’t realize Petry was having such a bad year on;ly 2 assists, injured, and on the 1st year of a $6.4 million per 4 year deal.

      He was so good 2 years ago hence Bergevin signing him he will be tough to move..

      I would Gallagher on the Penguins and I know Montreal wants to move his contract what will it take in your mind>

  2. If healthy the Bruins should sign Rask & free up $$$ to get it done …. Package Ullmark,DeBrusk and Moore and see what they could get for them in return and please no more depth players …. Try the Oilers

    • Ullmark has a full no-movement clause, Joe. Try again.

      • Thanks to the Best GM in the NHL

      • Yes but he can always waive it if he were to go to the oilers for example! Always possible!!!

      • Keep dreaming. You’re assuming the Oilers want him.

    • As an Oilers fan, Ullmark and DeBrusk interest me but not Moore. Moore isn’t better than what the Oilers already have. Especially seeing Niemeläinen the last couple of games. The only issue is any deal involving the Oilers will have to be dollar in for dollar out. So it won’t free up any money for the Bruins.
      Lyle is also right. Would Ullmark waive his NMC to go from Boston to Edmonton?

      • I had a closer look at Ullmark’s number. He actually no longer interests me. Not worth it.
        Ullmark – .911 save percentage. HDSV% .735
        Koskinen – .911 save percentage. HDSV% .857
        He’s no better than Koskinen.

      • Right now I would waive my NMC to play for the Oilers … to you own reply your right

    • And they will never trade Swayman if they sign Rask!
      Best case scenario is to trade him to the oilers for a pick and dump his $$$.
      Then trade Debrusk, Erik Haula and Vaakininan to Calgary for Monohan and Lucic . Calgary retains 25% of Milan’s salary.

      Bruins need to get a bit tougher and Milan game is still good!

      This opens up to get a defenseman for the playoff push and plus maybe Chara as to finish his career in Boston!

      Just saying. 👍

      • When I say trade him, I mean Linus Ullmark of course!

        The future is in good hands with Swayman!

  3. Read the DJ Bean article what he’s saying is if signing Rask mean either trading or demoting Swayman then the Bruins should pass because even with a healthy Rask the team is not competing.

    Boston won’t be trading Swayman and are most definitely signing Rask who was on the ice with the boys in practice.

    I would argue passing on signing Rask would be a mistake. If fully recover and regains his form he offers the best chance to win and he only cost money and is going to play for less.

    So yes lets pass on signing a better goaltender who is going to sign for less money and give you a better chance at winning.

    I don’t believe Boston has the team to win, but I’ve said i believe this team is built for a good cup run.

    Just need to get in and see what happens from there.

    Sweeney will do what he can for Marchand and Bergeron; no doubt in my mind Rask is signed.

    • Couldn’t the Bruins send Ullmark to Providence to force him to give up his no-movement clause? Then they could sign Rask and keep Swayman and trade Ullmark for a puck-moving defenseman they desperately need.

      • Ulmark s. NMC. Means you cannot move him anywhere he does not agree with including Ahl
        The NMC was a very bad error by Sweeney

      • Ntc means you can’t be traded. Nmc means you ain’t going anywhere. A nmc prevents a team from burying the player in the minors as well as prevents a trade.

      • Barry, yes the could send Ullmark to the minors; but i don’t see that happening that would put 3 players in the minors on NHL contracts, plus Sweeney would have to admit he made a mistake.

        The bigger question when Sweeney sign Rask how long will it be for?

      • Ullmarks’ full no-movement clause says no to demotion to the minors.

      • I looked it up.A player with a no movement clause in his contract would have to pass through waivers first and then according to what I read he could then be sent down.

      • As per Cap Friendly’s CBA section about NMC’s.
        – A player cannot be assigned to the minors without his consent
        – A player cannot be placed on waivers without his consent
        A No Move Clause is just that. A player can not be moved without consent.
        Usually the only time a player will consent to be assigned to the AHL with a NMC, is if they are coming off a lengthy injury for a conditioning stint.

      • My bad, i forget Ullmark had a nmc, thanks for the correction.

        Why did Sweeney feel the need to give out NMC. Glass half full the NMC is just for two seasons.

  4. Rask gives the Bruins a parting gift and agrees to signing a 1 year budget friendly deal and to be dealt to Colorado with Debrusk for Girard + ?.

    • Girard is not going anywhere with Byram having concussion issues.

      • just briefed myself and man I did not know Byram was dealing with his 3rd concussion this year. He may need to shut it down for this year if he hopes to keep playing in the future. I hope the kid can get healthy.

  5. I think Carolina will add a defenseman before the deadline. Petry would be a good fit in Carolina if they could work out the salary cap. Savard is more affordable and would give Carolina the flexibility to play Pesce and Slavin together.

    • Carolina and Montreal make a trade? With the recent history of b\hurt feelings I doubt it.

      • business before butthurt… no reason these 2 teams can’t make a trade if it is in their best interest… Petry for KK??? 🙂

      • Edmundson was traded to Montreal after they signed the Aho offer sheet.

    • Good thoughts, GP, i just don’t see where the Cap $’s come from.

      There’s not a cap fluff on the roster, anymore, thankfully.

      • …lot of.. cap fluff.

  6. Hey Ullmark the Oilers want you ( just saying ) so would you waive your NMC to play for them or stay here and play for the Bruins ….. BTW Ullmark the Bruins are signing T Rask

    • I don’t think the Oilers want Ullmark (just saying).
      Koskinen .911 save percentage, .857 HDSV%
      Skinner(23 years old) .916 save percentage, .818 HDSV%
      Ullmark .911 save percentage, .735 HDSV%
      He’s no better than what they already have. Plus it’s reported that Smith will be back before Christmas.

  7. A difficulty with assessing what ails the Habs is that the Habs all ail.

    Half their team is on IR at any one time and some that have been playing have been playing hurt. How does one evaluate players and their cohesion or lack thereof as a team under these circumstances?

    A reason to include Price in trade speculation is the supposed issue of his mental health (I say supposed as addiction to pain killers might be the issue). Same could be said for Drouin. The basis for trading them would be to move them to a less intense market for their own good.

    Otherwise, why worry now? The Habs’ season was done weeks ago. The off season is a good time to move players (though, sadly, impending UFA Chiarot is one more exception).

    • This season is over for the Habs in terms of playoff aspirations, but man so much of the new team starts now. Personally, if Weber is a permanent LTIR contract, that’s the one contract you can easily dump for great assets. This year and next should be purge years and why it might be better to keep Price the goaltender and person (experience). The gritty players on the team wouldn’t be too hard to trade to teams looking for that come playoffs. Evaluate, rinse and repeat until your team takes shape…in about 6-10…that doesn’t mean a non competitive team until then, I’m saying by then your team will hopefully be regarded as perennial contenders not pretenders.

  8. The Habs have already spent Weber’s LTIR saving on Nick Suzuki, hence the need to move other long-term contracts…

    • Fair, point Habsfan1. They do have a few problem contracts. I’d start with Drouin. Some games I wonder if he’s ever hit the ice, and this has been his story since he got to Montreal.

  9. Price – still owed 42 million.

    Matt Murray- still owed 10ish
    Colin White – still owed 14ish
    Zaitsev still owed 9 ish
    ———————– 33 million.

    Sens get Price. It’ll be LTIR or bust.
    Habs get three players who can still play…albeit at uncertain levels.
    Risks to both parties. Montreal adds a sweatener unprotected 1st, this year or next.

    • Dark G. I get where you are going with the money in and money out but if they are going to do a rebuild, none of those players would be of interest. The big question is how will Carey play once he returns. If he plays like he did in the playoffs then teams will be interested and will send prospects and draft choices in return for Price with salary retained by the Habs, If he stinks, then he is untradeable and we play him so we can finish as low as we can in the standings for better draft picks. Now that GMMB and Timmins are gone, maybe will have better fortune with our picks.

  10. Re Price on Oil…. Not impossible

    If Kosk has Habs on his available trade list (15…. No idea which 15)… Koskinen and Ryan for Price at 50%….. it comes down to what Oil would need to add…. Starts with a 1st; and then adds

    Again…. This surmises Price returns in form; and kosk can be traded to Habs

    Wait until next summer (after SB paid)… only owed $24.5 M…. 50% retained by Habs, $5.25 M Cap hit; ~ $3 M per cash…. That would increase the potential bidding pool of gMs