NHL Rumor Mill – October 24, 2022
In today’s NHL Rumor Mill: an update on John Klingberg plus a couple of suggested blueline targets for the Canadiens.
UPDATE ON KLINGBERG
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun recently interviewed Anaheim Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek regarding the state of the club’s rebuild. Among the topics was Verbeek’s plan for defenseman John Klingberg, who signed a one-year, $7 million contract with the Ducks as a free agent in July.
Verbeek doesn’t rule out re-signing the 30-year-old Klingberg if both sides are willing to agree to an extension. However, LeBrun suggested the blueliner could become a valuable trade deadline asset if the Ducks are out of playoff contentions by then.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Klingberg has two points in six games thus far with the Ducks, who are off to a sputtering start this season. Maybe he’ll be interested in sticking around and being part of their rebuild. That will depend upon his role and what type of contract the Ducks are willing to offer.
I think Klingberg gets shopped at the deadline just like Lindholm, Manson and Rakell. While it’s worthwhile for a rebuilding club to have some veterans in the lineup to take some of the burdens off their promising young players, Klingberg’s UFA status next summer likely means he’ll be moving on next summer. Best to get something for him by the trade deadline.
LATEST CANADIENS SPECULATION
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico recently cited an NHL source claiming the Los Angeles Kings are looking to resolve the logjam on the right side of their defense corps. That could draw the interest of the Montreal Canadiens given their need for some veteran help on their blueline. D’Amico suggested Sean Walker as a possible trade target, noting the Canadiens could draw upon their excess of forwards to help the Kings boost their bottom-six forward lines.
D’Amico also noted the potential availability of Carolina Hurricanes rearguard Ethan Bear as Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculated he could be traded or waived. The Canadiens still have priority on waivers for another week, giving them first crack at Bear if he becomes available.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear is on a one-year contract earning $2.2 million. Friedman said the Hurricanes came close to moving him a couple of times but interested parties wanted them to retain part of his salary. That could be a sticking point for the Canadiens.
Canadiens GM Kent Hughes has said he’d like to add a veteran right-side defenseman and could draw upon his forward depth for trade bait. So far, he’s yet to swing that deal, perhaps because his club is playing better than expected through their first six games of this season. We’ll find out soon enough if Hughes is interested in Bear or one of the Kings’ surplus blueliners.