NHL Rumor Mill – January 24, 2022
Which Canadiens could draw interest at the trade deadline? What moves should the Flames make to improve their roster? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.
LATEST CANADIENS SPECULATION
SPORTSNET: Eric Engels reports Montreal Canadiens forward Tyler Toffoli is looking better after returning from an eight-week absence due to a hand injury suffered on Dec. 4. With 21 points in 29 games this season with the lowly Canadiens, Engels expects clubs like the Calgary Flames and Carolina Hurricanes could come calling for the proven playoff performer with an affordable $4.25 million cap hit for two more seasons. However, the Canadiens aren’t facing any urgency to move him and new general manager Kent Hughes could prefer to keep him on the roster.
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reports there appear to be teams in the NHL trade market interested in Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry if he’ll waive his modified no-trade clause. Despite the 34-year-old’s struggles this season and his $6.5 million cap hit, an NHL executive told Murphy that several teams he’s spoken with have an interest in Petry if he regains his 40-point form before the trade deadline. Murphy wondered if the Detroit Red Wings might be among them, citing their cap space and previous interest in the Ann Arbor, Michigan native.
TVA SPORTS: cites Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli saying winger Artturi Lehkonen is the Canadiens’ most in-demand player in the trade market. He said teams see the 26-year-old restricted free agent as this year’s version of Blake Coleman, who helped the Tampa Bay Lightning win two Stanley Cups. Seravalli said he knows of at least three teams “begging” the Canadiens to part with Lehkonen.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toffoli would draw considerable interest in the trade market but the very things that would make him an attractive trade chip are also what makes him valuable to the Canadiens going forward. He recently indicated he wants to stay in Montreal and be part of the solution going forward.
Petry’s age (34) and contract make moving him a difficult challenge, especially given his struggles this season. Retaining part of his annual cap hit would help but Hughes could prefer moving out the blueliner’s entire contract.
Hughes isn’t under pressure to move Lehkonen. However, the winger has arbitration rights and is a year away from eligibility for unrestricted free agent status. He could end up on the trade block if he only wants a one-year deal.
LATEST ON THE FLAMES
NHL.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Dan Rosen was asked what moves Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving should make to address their roster needs. He believes they should be looking for a No. 1 defenseman and a top-six forward.
Rosen wondered if Treliving will attempt to bring back former captain Mark Giordano from the Seattle Kraken or try to acquire John Klingberg from the Dallas Stars. Given the uncertainty over Johnny Gaudreau’s contract status, Rosen recommends acquiring a forward with term remaining on his contract. Montreal’s Tyler Toffoli, the New York Islanders Josh Bailey, Seattle Kraken’s Jordan Eberle, New Jersey Devils’ Tomas Tatar and the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Gustav Nyquist fall into that category.
THE ATHLETIC: Hailey Salvian was also asked about realistic trade targets for the Flames to bolster their scoring. She considers San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl as a player who could provide immediate help but she doesn’t think it’s all that realistic to target him.
Other options include the Canadiens’ Tyler Toffoli and Christian Dvorak, the Vegas Golden Knights Reilly Smith, and the Detroit Red Wings’ Vladislav Namestnikov. She noted Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat might be available and wondered about J.T. Miller’s future with the Vancouver Canucks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect Treliving will be a buyer if his club remains in the playoff chase by the deadline. More than a few pundits believe he’ll make a pitch to bring back Giordano, who would be a more affordable blueline option than Klingberg.
As for forwards, I don’t see the Sharks parting with Hertl while they’re still in the postseason hunt. The Flames will be hard-pressed to outbid other clubs plus he has a three-team trade list.
Toffoli and Dvorak are likely staying put in Montreal. DeBrincat’s not going anywhere unless it’s for a massive return. The Canucks will likely hang onto Miller for the remainder of this season if they stay in the playoff chase.
Smith could be a more realistic option for the Flames. However, he will also draw a lot of interest if the Golden Knights move him to free up cap space for Jack Eichel. Namestnikov would be another decent option as he’s tallied 11 goals and 20 points in 42 games this season. He’s a good two-way player who could be an affordable rental option.
Bailey and Eberle carry an annual average value of $5 million and $5.5 million respectively through 2023-24. Nyquist’s is $5.5 million and Tatar’s is $4.5 million through 2022-23. They’re in the early-30s and are declining assets. Probably not the best options for the Flames up front.