NHL Rumor Mill – June 11, 2022
Check out the latest on the Canadiens and the Canucks in today’s NHL rumor mill.
LATEST CANADIENS SPECULATION
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Pat Hickey reports there’s still no word on Jeff Petry’s future with the Canadiens. If the club is still intent on moving him (and he’s still intent on being traded), there could be some news before next month’s NHL draft (July 7 and 8) and the start of free agency (July 13) the following week. General manager Kent Hughes has indicated he’d be in the market for an experienced defenseman if Petry is moved.
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico cites The Athletic’s interview with Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill in which the latter indicated he’d be in the market for a right-shot defenseman this summer. He also cited The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun speculating Hughes could call Nill to gauge the latter’s interest in Petry if the Stars lose John Klingberg to free agency.
D’Amico noted there had been trade talks between the Canadiens and Stars before the trade deadline. He also stated some sources made the same suggestion as LeBrun.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Two factors working against a “Petry-to-Dallas” trade are the blueliner’s age (34) and his $6.25 million annual average value through 2024-25. Still, he would be more affordable than re-signing Klingberg, who could seek over $8 million annually on an eight-year deal.
Marek’s colleague Elliotte Friedman speculated Barrie’s name could be out there in the trade market because of the growth of young blueliner Evan Bouchard. The Oilers must clear some cap space to address their glaring need for a goaltender.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barrie to Montreal works only if they trade away Jeff Petry. The 30-year-old Oilers rearguard is younger than Petryand carries a more affordable $4.5 million annual cap hit through 2023-24. He also lacks no-trade protection, giving the Habs the option of shopping him if he doesn’t pan out or if a rival club makes a tempting offer.
D’Amico cited TVA hockey analyst Maxim Lapierre saying the Canadiens should do all they can to acquire the second-overall pick in this year’s draft from the New Jersey Devils. With the top two picks, the Canadiens could select top prospects Shane Wright and Juraj Slafkovsky.
Lapierre suggested the Canadiens offer up some of the veterans on their roster. However, D’Amico said sources claim Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald isn’t interested in the Canadiens’ more tradeable assets like Jeff Petry and Christian Dvorak. Ultimately, he doesn’t believe the Habs have what the Devils would want in return for the second-overall selection.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fitzgerald has said he’d part with that pick to bring in an impact player to help his club become a contender. His most pressing needs are a scoring winger and a starting goalie.
The Canadiens aren’t parting with Cole Caufield and I don’t see Josh Anderson as the type of impact player Fitzgerald has in mind. The Habs also have goaltending issues of their own to deal with. Speaking of which…
Jimmy Murphy suggested Ville Husso as a possible option for the Canadiens if Carey Price doesn’t return from his knee injury next season. The St. Louis Blues netminder is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13 and it’s uncertain if they can afford to re-sign him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nobody is in this summer’s free-agent and trade markets is comparable to Price. Nevertheless, the Canadiens will need to find a suitable short-term replacement if he can’t play next season.
The 27-year-old Husso would be considerably more affordable than Price, perhaps coming in at between $4 and $5 million annually. However, there’s no certainty he’ll want to come to Montreal and could seek more than a short-term deal. The Canadiens won’t be the only club interested in him as the Oilers and Devils are among the clubs in need of help between the pipes next season.
UPDATE ON THE CANUCKS
VANCOUVER IS AWESOME: Daniel Wagner cited insiders Nick Kypreos and John Shannon telling Bob McCown they believe Canucks president of hockey ops Jim Rutherford has some big changes in store for the Canucks.
Kypreos said Rutherford doesn’t like what he considers a “country club” atmosphere in the dressing room, expecting him to “make a splash” this summer. Shannon agreed, suggesting the only untouchables are Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, Thatcher Demko and Bo Horvat, leaving out stars J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser.
Wagner pointed out it’s Patrik Allvin who is the Canucks GM, though Rutherford would hold great influence over his decisions. He also cited Rutherford having gone on record claiming the Canucks don’t need a full rebuild and has said the Canucks will try to sign Miller to a contract extension.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A lot will depend on how much it’ll cost to sign Miller and Boeser. The former is coming off a career-best 99-point performance and is a year away from UFA eligibility while the latter is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights eligible for a $7.5 million qualifying offer. If they prove too expensive to retain, one or both could be on the move this summer.