NHL Rumor Mill – November 2, 2022
How will the Canadiens address their surplus of forwards? What’s the latest on the Senators’ contract talks with Alex Formenton? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
LATEST ON THE CANADIENS
THE ATHLETIC: Arpon Basu reports the Montreal Canadiens will face a delicate balancing act of managing their surplus of forwards this season. They’re currently carrying 15 forwards but will have to move one of them once defenseman Joel Edmundson returns from injury.
The Canadiens could send rookie Juraj Slafkovsky to their AHL affiliate as he’s exempt from waivers. However, the 18-year-old winger’s performance thus far doesn’t merit demotion.
Basu believes they don’t want to put affordable forward Michael Pezzetta on waivers because he’d likely be claimed by another club. He speculates it could instead be a veteran such as Jonathan Drouin, Evgenii Dadonov or Mike Hoffman who could get waived and demoted.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan believes Dadonov could become the odd man out among the Canadiens forwards. He suggested a trade would be best for the 33-year-old winger as he clearly doesn’t have a future in Montreal.
Dadonov was a healthy scratch during their 7-4 win over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday and didn’t practice or play with the club against Minnesota on Tuesday. Cowan points out the Russian winger has no points in eight games and carries a cap hit of $5 million for this season, though he’ll earn $6.5 million in actual salary.
TVA SPORTS: Marc-Andre Perreault reports Dadonov’s absence was due to a non-COVID-related illness.
Perreault also spoke with Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes during last night’s game against the Wild. Hughes told him Dadonov’s agent called him on Friday to discuss his client’s situation, something he understood as a former agent himself. Perreault reported Dadonov met with Hughes on Saturday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dadonov hasn’t really done much this season to earn more playing time with the Canadiens. As Cowan pointed out, his performance combined with his contract makes him tough to move at this stage of the season. The Habs will have to retain part of his cap hit if they want to do that right now.
Slafkovsky has made steady improvement thus far but the Canadiens will soon have to reach a decision with the 18-year-old winger. He’s played seven games and can only play two more before the Canadiens can send him down to Laval if they want to push the start of his entry-level contract ahead to next season. That would be the easiest way to address the issue but Basu doesn’t believe that would be the right decision.
They could put Dadonov, Drouin or Hoffman on waivers and demote one of them, though that means they’ll only get $1.125 million in cap relief by doing so. Those three have been disappointing thus far with a grand total of four points between them. Finding a taker for one of them in the trade market is a daunting challenge.
UPDATE ON FORMENTON’S CONTRACT TALKS WITH THE SENATORS
TSN: Darren Dreger reports there hasn’t been much progress in contract talks between the Ottawa Senators and Alex Formenton. He claimed the Senators “have reasons for slow-playing this situation”. However, they have until Dec. 1 to sign Formenton or else he becomes unavailable to play the remainder of this season.
Dreger said some believe a trade is more likely. He also suggested, “Europe, long term, could be an option as well”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Formenton is a 23-year-old winger who completed his entry-level contract last season. He’s a restricted free agent lacking arbitration rights who showed promise last season with 18 goals and 32 points in 79 games.
It’s been radio silence from the Senators and Formenton’s camp on this situation. That’s sparked speculation that he could be one of the players involved in the sexual assault allegations leveled against members of Canada’s 2018 World Junior team. Formenton didn’t attend training camp and hasn’t made any statements or conducted any interviews.
Whatever the reason behind the stalemate, the clock is ticking regarding his playing status in the NHL for this season.