NHL Rumor Mill – March 26, 2022
In today’s NHL rumor mill: the Canadiens came close to moving Jeff Petry at the trade deadline, possible offseason goalie targets for the Devils, and what could be in store for the Ducks this summer.
THE CANADIENS ALMOST MOVED PETRY AT THE DEADLINE
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico cited Kent Hughes’ intermission appearance on TSN on Thursday during which the Canadiens general manager admitted a club was very interested in acquiring Jeff Petry before the trade deadline. However, a deal couldn’t be reached that would benefit both teams.
D’Amico also noted Hughes saying he’d had conversations “a group of teams” regarding Petry. Most of the teams interested in dealing for the 34-year-old defenseman were close to the salary cap, making it difficult to take on his contract. The Habs GM suggested trading Petry could be an offseason move.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Petry earns an annual average value of $6.25 million through 2024-25. He also carries a no-movement clause and a 15-team no-trade list.
It won’t be easy moving him this summer but Hughes could have a better opportunity to do so with teams carrying more cap space. He’ll have to do so before free agency begins on July 13 as most teams will quickly burn through their cap room soon after the market opens.
OFFSEASON GOALIE OPTIONS FOR THE DEVILS
THE ATHLETIC: Shayna Goldman recently examined potential offseason options for the New Jersey Devils to bolster their goaltending depth. Mackenzie Blackwood’s development as a starter has been slowed in part by injury while there’s no guarantee with backup Jonathan Bernier following his hip surgery. They could stick with Nico Daws in a backup role but that depends on how management wants to handle his development.
Goaltenders who could be available via this summer’s free-agent market include the St. Louis Blues Ville Husso, the Colorado Avalanche’s Darcy Kuemper, and the New York Rangers’ Alexandar Georgiev. Trade options could include the Blues’ Jordan Binnington or the Anaheim Ducks’ John Gibson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve singled out the more notable of Goldman’s suggested free-agent and trade targets for the Devils. Follow the above link for the full list and her detailed analysis of each goaltender.
Husso could be available if the Blues feel he’ll be too expensive to retain with Binnington already on the books. That seems more likely than moving Binnington, who’s struggled this season and has a full no-trade clause on a contract carrying a $6 million annual cap hit through 2026-27. Husso could be a more affordable option than some on this list but he only has this season as an NHL starter under his belt.
Kuemper could end up re-signed by the Avs if he backstops them on a deep playoff run. Signing with the Devils would cast Blackwood’s future as their starter into doubt. Georgiev could seek a starter’s job and might not be keen to fill a backup role in New Jersey.
Gibson’s situation with the Ducks could get interesting if he doesn’t want to be part of what could be a long rebuild. He’s signed through 2026-27 with an AAV of $6.4 million and a 10-team no-trade clause. The Devils have the cap space to absorb his cap hit and sufficient depth in prospects and young players to entice the Ducks but that would depend on whether he’d agree to trade to New Jersey.
DUCKS GM ANTICIPATES A BUSY OFFSEASON
THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens expects Anaheim Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek will be busy in the coming offseason as he embarks on a rebuild of his roster. With a number of draft picks acquired in recent trades, Verbeek indicated it’ll provide him with options to perhaps acquire players “that might be moved down the line in their development”.
Verbeek also indicated he’ll be looking at this summer’s free-agent market for players that can improve the roster. Stephens speculated the Ducks GM could also look to the trade market with his draft capital to perhaps acquire a player like the Arizona Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: NHL players like Chychrun who are 25-or-younger could be Verbeek’s offseason targets. I doubt he’ll pursue a big-ticket free agent this summer as he won’t want to invest expensive contracts in aging talent. It’ll also be interesting to see if he shops a veteran on a long-term deal like John Gibson or Cam Fowler.