NHL Rumor Mill – January 31, 2022
Could the Canadiens trade Jeff Petry or Brendan Gallagher? What are some possible trade targets for the Bruins? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.
LATEST ON THE CANADIENS
LA PRESSE: Guillaume Lefrancois reports Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes said he was willing to trade Jeff Petry if it works out for both sides. The 34-year-old defenseman has not requested a trade but he’s struggling through his worst season on the ice while his family has returned to the United States due to the COVID measures in place in the province of Quebec.
Hughes met with Petry during the club’s recent road trip. He told the blueliner he was aware of what was happening in his life, saying if there’s a chance it will work out on both sides to trade him they would do so. Until then, he expects Petry to play his best for the Canadiens.
Lafrancois suggested Hughes might want to do Petry a favor by trading him to an American club. However, his $6.25 million annual cap hit through 2024-25 combined with the flattened NHL cap makes that contract difficult for some teams to absorb.
Hughes also mentioned he’d like to add more leadership to his roster. Ideally, he’d like to add another center to provide support for Nick Suzuki. Francois suggested it would be interesting if the Habs GM pursued former client Patrice Bergeron during the offseason. The Boston Bruins captain is an unrestricted free agent this summer.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan suggests Brendan Gallagher faces an uncertain future with the Canadiens. Though he’s in the first season of a six-year, $39 million contract, Cowan believes it would be understandable if the 29-year-old winger didn’t want to stick around for a rebuild at this stage in his career.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Petry certainly seems unhappy this season. There’s also conjecture he hates playing for Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme. It was telling that he no longer had the assistant captain’s “A” on his jersey when the Habs played the Columbus Blue Jackets last night. The blueliner was also singled out by the press and on social media for not coming to the defense of Sam Montembeault when the Canadiens goalie was run by Edmonton Oilers winger Zack Kassian on Saturday.
The decline in Petry’s performance would hurt his trade value but I daresay there would be teams willing to gamble on a change of scenery helping him regain his usual 40-point production. However, his contract is a serious sticking point. In addition to his cap hit, he has a 15-team no-trade clause and a no-movement clause to prevent any demotion to the minors. The Canadiens will either have to retain some salary, take on a toxic contract, or try to spread around that cap hit with a three-team deal.
Gallagher is in the same boat contract-wise, though his no-trade list consists of six teams. His feisty style would be enticing for some clubs but not his $6.5 million cap hit through 2026-27.
The bottom line is it will require considerable management skills by Hughes and hockey ops VP Jeff Gorton to swing deals that move one or both players without leaving the Canadiens carrying too much dead cap space.
SUGGESTED BRUINS TRADE TARGETS
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss listed five forwards he believes the Bruins should target before the March 21 trade deadline.
Topping his list is the Vancouver Canucks J.T. Miller as he’d be a great fit as the Bruins’ second-line center. The cost would be high, leading Goss to wonder if they would consider parting with Jeremy Swayman or Mason Lohrei as part of the deal for Miller.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind Miller is signed through next season. The Canucks could listen to offers but they’re under no pressure to move him now. The Bruins lack sufficient asset depth to win a bidding war for his services against clubs like the New York Rangers, who have more cap space and promising young talent to draw upon for trade bait.
Goss also listed the Arizona Coyotes Lawson Crouse and Phil Kessel, the Vegas Golden Knights’ Reilly Smith and the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Max Domi.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those players could be more realistic trade options for the Bruins. Kessel, however, has an eight-team no-trade clause and might not prefer returning to Boston. Crouse would certainly be more affordable as a depth addition plus he’s a restricted free agent this summer.
Smith lacks no-trade protection and could be a good fit. Like Miller, however, there could be other clubs who could outbid the Bruins. Domi’s inconsistency has been an issue throughout his career.