Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 26, 2022
Does the Jets’ Pierre-Luc Dubois hope to one day play for Montreal? What will the Canadiens do with Evgenii Dadonov? Could the Devils pursue Leafs goalie Jack Campbell if he goes to free agency? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
IS DUBOIS HOPING TO JOIN THE CANADIENS ONE DAY?
THE ATHLETIC: Murat Ates believes Pierre-Luc Dubois sincerely wants to test the 2024 unrestricted free agent market as was reported last week by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. He felt the 24-year-old Winnipeg Jets center hopes to play for the Montreal Canadiens in the long run and hasn’t been shy about expressing that within team circles.
“I don’t think telling the Jets about his UFA plans is posturing in the slightest; I think it’s the truth,” wrote Ates. He doesn’t see them trading Dubois this summer unless they get a mind-blowing offer. He envisions the young center getting a one-year contract this summer, playing hard through 2022-23 as the Jets try to convince him to accept a longer-term deal, and trading him next summer if he doesn’t change his mind.
Under that scenario, the Jets allow Dubois’ agent to speak to other clubs about a contract extension prior to a trade. Ates doesn’t see the Canadiens or another club signing Dubois to an offer sheet this summer as the Jets can easily match it.
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Prior to Ates’ report, Marco D’Amico weighed in on the possibility of Dubois being linked to the Canadiens. He recommends the Habs be patient in this situation, pointing out the Jets would seek an expensive asking price such as a top prospect like Kaiden Guhle, Calgary’s 2022 first-round pick, a center like Christian Dvorak and more. It would be better if they continue to replenish their already respectable prospect pool.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens could attempt to acquire Dubois this summer. However, the high asking price as envisioned by D’Amico isn’t worth it at this juncture when management is in the midst of rebuilding.
They could be among the suitors under Ates’ scenario for next summer. They could have more depth in promising assets to part with by that point if they want to make a competitive pitch. Then again, rather than give up assets in a trade, they could wait until free agency in 2024 to sign him if they have sufficient cap space to do so.
WHAT WILL THE CANADIENS DO WITH DADONOV?
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: D’Amico recently examined the Canadiens’ options to maximize the value of Evgenii Dadonov. They recently acquired the 33-year-old winger from the Vegas Golden Knights in return for sending them Shea Weber’s contract.
One option could be trading Dadonov before the free-agent market opens on July 13. That would enable them to shed his $5 million cap hit and perhaps use the savings to put toward signing a free agent or two.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t rule out Dadonov getting moved during the offseason. However, I think he’s more likely to be shopped as a playoff rental player at next season’s trade deadline.
COULD THE DEVILS PURSUE CAMPBELL?
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports there’s chatter among NHL sources suggesting the New Jersey Devils could be in on Jack Campbell if the 30-year-old goaltender doesn’t re-sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs before the free-agent market opens on July 13.
One source speculated the Devils could try to get a head start by trading for Campbell’s rights if the Leafs can’t or won’t sign him. The idea would be offering up Mackenzie Blackwood, who struggled over the past two seasons.
TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan recently reported on the possibility of the Maple Leafs starting next season with a new goalie tandem. Right now, the Leafs lack the $5 million per season to keep Campbell out of the UFA market. General manager Kyle Dubas must also find a way to shed Petr Mrazek’s contract.
Koshan observed Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper, Minnesota’s Marc-Andre Fleury and St. Louis’ Ville Husso as possible free-agent options for the Leafs. Trade targets could include Anaheim’s John Gibson, the New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov, the Rangers’ Alexandar Georgiev and Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Over two weeks remain for the Leafs and Campbell to work out a new contract. However, as Koshan points out, the closer they get to July 13 without a new deal, the more likely it is that Campbell tests the market.
Cap Friendly shows the Devils with over $25 million in cap space for 2022-23 with Jesper Bratt, Pavel Zacha and Miles Wood as their notable restricted free agents. They’ll have sufficient room to sign Campbell, especially if they were to ship out Blackwood and his $2.8 million cap hit to the Leafs or another club.
The Leafs could acquire Blackwood if they can find a way to shed Mrazek’s $3.8 million annual average value through 2023-24. However, I think they would see him as a backup rather than a starter.
Of those UFA options listed by Koshan, Kuemper and Husso might be willing to join the Leafs. I don’t think Fleury is keen to come to Toronto. There’s talk the Minnesota Wild wants to bring him back for another season.
As for the trade targets, Gibson shot down recent rumors claiming he wants out of Anaheim, Varlamov has a 16-team no-trade list and all seven Canadian teams could be on it, and the Kings could retain Quick after his solid performance this season. Georgiev will be available as the Rangers are believed to be seeking another backup for Igor Shesterkin.