NHL Rumor Mill – April 21, 2022
Could this be Brendan Gallagher’s final season with the Canadiens? Will the Ducks shop John Gibson this summer? Should the Flyers trade Travis Konecny and/or Travis Sanheim? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.
IS THIS GALLAGHER’S FINAL SEASON WITH THE CANADIENS?
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan wondered if Brendan Gallagher is playing his final games with the Canadiens. A lot of offseason changes are expected under first-year general manager Kent Hughes following one of the worst seasons in franchise history.
Cowan speculates Hughes would probably like to shed the final five seasons of Gallagher’s six-year, $39 million contract with its $6.5 million annual average value. He also thinks the 29-year-old winger might not mind being shipped to a team with a better chance of winning the Stanley Cup in the near future.
Looking at possible destinations, Cowan suggested reuniting Gallagher with former linemate Phillip Danault with the Los Angeles Kings. He noted they’ll garner some cap space with 37-year-old winger Dustin Brown completing the final season of his eight-year, $47 million deal. Cowan also pointed out that former Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin (who signed Gallagher to his current contract) is now a senior advisor to Kings GM Rob Blake.
SPECTOR’ S NOTE: Anything’s possible and I don’t dismiss the idea that the Kings aren’t on Gallagher’s six-team no-trade list. And yes, Bergevin could make the case to Blake to acquire the gritty Canadiens winger to help the Kings in their quest to return to perennial Stanley Cup contender status.
However, Gallagher’s contract remains a significant obstacle despite the Kings’ projected $21 million in cap space for next season as per Cap Friendly.
Part of their cap room will be taken up by signing restricted free agent winger (and 34-goal scorer) Adrian Kempe to a nice raise on a long-term deal. A big chunk of it could be sued to add one or two experienced defensemen to take some of the burden off blueline stalwart Drew Doughty, especially with Alexander Edler and Olli Maatta becoming UFAs and unlikely to be brought back.
Another playoff contender with cap space could be willing to take Gallagher off the Canadiens’ hands. However, his injury history and the remaining years on that deal could mean the Habs have to retain part of his cap hit to facilitate a deal.
WILL THE DUCK SHOP JOHN GIBSON THIS SUMMER?
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Eric Stephens was asked if the Anaheim Ducks are listening to trade offers for John Gibson. He indicated he would not say that the Ducks are actively shopping the 28-year-old goaltender.
Stephens believes Ducks GM Pat Verbeek will keep an ear open in case he’s blown away by an offer. Verbeek will also need to determine how much of this rebuild Gibson is willing to ride out.
Asked about possible trade destinations, Stephens suggested the Pittsburgh Penguins if Gibson wanted to return home and current Penguins starter Tristan Jarry struggles again in the playoffs. However, the Ducks would have to take back a contract so the Penguins can make cap space to address pending free agents Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Bryan Rust.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stephens takes pains to point out he’s merely spitballing regarding his suggested destination of Pittsburgh for Gibson. The Penguins wouldn’t be the only playoff contender that would have an interest in him if he hits this summer’s trade block.
For now, we don’t know what Gibson wants to do. His situation will be worth monitoring this summer. He could ask to be moved or stick around for another season to see what direction the rebuild takes. Maybe Verbeek gets an offer for him that’s too good to refuse.
SHOULD THE FLYERS PART WAYS WITH SANHEIM AND KONECNY?
NBC SPORTS: In a scathing critique of Chuck Fletcher’s management of the Philadelphia Flyers, James O’Brien believes the general manager should learn from his recent mistakes and not ship out Travis Sanheim or Travis Konecny.
O’Brien considers the 26-year-old Sanheim as the sort of steady and underrated defenseman in his playing prime that the Flyers have been trying to get. If they’re determined to trade Konecny, he advises against doing it now while his stock is at an all-time low.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers are among a handful of teams (hello there, Canadiens and Coyotes) enduring a “season from hell”. Fletcher’s faced considerable criticism from pundits and fans but ownership is sticking with him for another season.
Sanheim and Konecny have surfaced in trade speculation, especially the latter. Whether they still have futures with the Flyers depends on whatever moves Fletcher has in store for the offseason. That picture should become clearer once the playoffs end in June and the calendar flips to July.