NHL Rumor Mill – July 23, 2022
The speculation linking Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Canadiens won’t go away. Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs face a cost-cutting trade. Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
LATEST DUBOIS SPECULATION
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy suggests that Pierre-Luc Dubois accepting a one-year, $6 million qualifying offer with the Winnipeg Jets creases the skids for a potential trade to the Montreal Canadiens.
Dubois, 24, will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights again next summer. Murphy felt his new contract sets up what the center’s qualifying offer will be for 2023-24. It would also allow the Canadiens to sign him to an eight-year contract if they can acquire him before the 2023 free-agent market opens next July.
A source told Murphy that Dubois’ agent, Pat Brisson, is doing everything he can to make a trade to Montreal happen.
TVA SPORTS: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes’ recent trade activity has Canadiens fans expecting another deal, perhaps one that brings Dubois to Montreal.
Within a 10-day period earlier this month, Hughes shipped Alexander Romanov to the New York Islanders for the 13th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, flipped that pick to the Chicago Blackhawks for center Kirby Dach, and traded Jeff Petry and Ryan Poehling to the Pittsburgh Penguins for defenseman Mike Matheson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets don’t have to move Dubois this summer. However, they risk having the uncertainty over his future becoming an unwelcome distraction at a time when they’re trying to rebound from a disappointing performance last season.
Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is said to be listening to offers for Dubois. However, he’s also set a high asking price. He won’t waiver after seeing what the Calgary Flames got from the Florida Panthers for Matthew Tkachuk.
It’s rumored Cheveldayoff sought Nick Suzuki or Cole Caufield as part of the return from the Canadiens. Both are believed to be off-limits in trade discussions. There’s also talk suggesting Hughes could part with center Christian Dvorak but it’ll take more than him as the centerpiece of a deal to pry Dubois away from the Jets.
Limited salary-cap space is also an issue for the Canadiens. They’re pressed against the $82.5 million cap and continue to await clarity over Carey Price’s recovery from complications arising from last summer’s knee surgery.
Hughes, however, isn’t under any pressure here to acquire Dubois. He was in the middle of rebuilding the roster long before the reports emerged of the center’s desire to one day play for the Canadiens. The Canadiens GM can afford to wait until next summer to try again or kick this down the road to 2024 and attempt to sign Dubois as an unrestricted free agent.
MAPLE LEAFS FACING A TRADE
THE ATHLETIC: James Mirtle believes the Toronto Maple Leafs need to make a trade after their recent free-agent signings of Calle Jarnkrok and Pierre Engvall. Sitting a projected $1.4 million over the $82.5 million cap, they must make room to re-sign restricted free agent defenseman Rasmus Sandin.
Mirtle examines whether the Leafs will consider moving Sandin or fellow blueliner. He also suggested forward Alex Kerfoot as the only other cost-cutting candidate.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Holl is the more likely trade candidate. What do you think, Leafs fans? Sandin, Holl or Kerfoot? Or is there a better trade option? Weigh in with your thoughts.