NHL Rumor Mill – December 2, 2022

by | Dec 2, 2022 | Rumors | 25 comments

Could the Canadiens re-sign Sean Monahan or attempt to move him before the March 3 trade deadline? Which Sharks are the most likely to be traded this season? What’s next for unsigned Senators Alex Formenton? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Montreal Canadiens are considering whether to trade Sean Monahan before the March 3 trade deadline or re-sign him. Having acquired the 28-year-old center last summer along with a first-round pick, it seems a foregone conclusion they’d flip him for another asset before the deadline.

Montreal Canadiens center Sean Monahan (NHL Images).

Monahan, however, has impressed Canadiens management with how well he’s fit in on and off the ice. There’s now talk within the organization over whether they should re-sign the pending unrestricted free agent. LeBrun believes Monahan is likely to be moved but considers the fact they’re talking about keeping him as an interesting development.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Montreal Hockey Now recently reported that Monahan is considered among the most popular targets in this season’s trade market. The Ottawa Senators have been scouting the Canadiens regularly of late, though they’re believed to be interested in Christian Dvorak and Josh Anderson. Then again, the Sens could be simply scouting the Habs for their upcoming game on Dec. 14. 

Monahan’s enjoying a strong bounce-back performance this season after hip injuries hampered his final seasons with the Calgary Flames. He’s fourth among the Canadiens’ scorers with a respectable 16 points in 23 games. Those are solid numbers on a rebuilding club.

How long Monahan stays in Montreal could depend on what type of contract he’s seeking. What type of offers he draws in the trade market will also be a determining factor. If a Cup contender comes calling with a first-round pick and/or a top prospect, that could be an offer that general manager Kent Hughes can’t refuse.


NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Timo Meier and James Reimer top Sheng Peng’s list of the five most tradeable San Jose Sharks.

If Meier gets shopped he could command the highest return of any forward likely to be moved by the 2023 trade deadline. A restricted free agent next summer, the 26-year-old is a bona fide first-line winger in the prime of his playing career. It will cost $10 million to qualify his rights, however, which could make him a rental player unless he can be signed to a long-term extension with a lower annual cap hit.

Reimer would be invaluable for contenders looking for insurance between the pipes. He carries an affordable $2.25 million cap hit and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

Middle-six wingers Alexander Barabanov, Matt Nieto and Nico Sturm round out Peng’s list. Nieto is also a pending UFA while Barabanov has a year left on his deal with a $2.25 million cap hit and Sturm has two more seasons at $2 million per.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Peng doesn’t consider Meier getting traded as a certainty. That’s because the Sharks don’t have to peddle him at the trade deadline but could wait until the offseason if unable to get him signed to an extension. I can see them peddling Reimer and Nieto but they could hang onto Barabanov and Sturm unless they get some solid offers for those two.


TSN: Darren Dreger looked at what could be next for restricted free-agent winger Alex Formenton. He and the Ottawa Senators failed to reach an agreement on a new contract by the Dec. 1 deadline and he’s now ineligible to play in the NHL for the rest of this season.

Dreger said there was some trade interest in Formenton and Senators GM Pierre Dorion worked on that until well past the deadline. The 23-year-old winger could play with a European club for the remainder of this season. The Senators could trade his rights or he could sign an offer sheet with another NHL club. In those two instances, however, he’d remain ineligible to play in the NHL this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dreger also said Formenton’s situation is “complicated.” He could be alluding to the winger being a member of Canada’s 2018 World Junior club currently under investigation on allegations of sexual assault.

That investigation is reportedly close to completion. Formenton has maintained his silence about this situation, which has been interpreted as guilt by some observers. Thus far, however, there’s nothing formally tying him to those allegations. We will learn more once the findings of the investigation are completed.


  1. The Habs have over 3 months to the TD. That’s a lot of thinking time on Monahan . ..Slow news day

    Reported Sens looking for a second for Formenton . I think they should have done something anything. Whatever the situation

    • Agreed. No need to rush this. Let’s see how the next few months go.
      That being said, if the next 3 months go like the past 2, I’d certainly hope the Habs make an effort to sign Monahan. They will certainly need veteran presence to guide the young players and a solid #2 Center. That’s what he’s been. He’s scoring at a 57 point pace over 82 games and winning 55% of draws. If he keeps that up, the team should make an effort to extend him. Though I wouldn’t go beyond five years and the money obviously has to work.
      Lyle is correct that a potential return is important. Any first rounder picked up at the deadline is likely to be in the bottom third of the round – which odds are won’t turn into a front line player. But if a team offers a first and a top prospect, it’ll be tempting.

      • I’m not sure that a 57 point pace and a -5 +/- adds up to a first and a top prospect for Monahan.

      • Ya, Habs aren’t getting a 1st & top prospect for Monaghan. Get real.

      • While I agree that possibility seems unlikely, don’t forget that the Canadiens got a first-round pick with Monahan when they acquired him from Calgary. It depends on how desperate the other team is.

  2. Agree with Spector’s assessment on Monahan. I think another determining factor for how long Monahan stays in Montreal is how the Habs are doing by the TDL. If Hughes sees this team developing ahead of schedule then maybe that changes the rebuild plan and they decide to re-sign him. Perhaps Hughes gets better offers on Dvorak and/or Anderson and likes the idea of keeping Monahan?

    • FD, remember what the Habs got for Ben Chiarot ? and then for Tyler Toffoli ? Never say never. There is a difference between saying ”They won’t get” and I hope they don’t get” 😉

  3. “Dreger also said Formenton’s situation is “complicated.”

    I don’t think he’s “alluding” to anything – he’s coming right out and saying there is some considerable doubt about his “innocence” in that whole sordid affair. There was more than one involved – 8 to be exact – and, so far, he’s said absolutely nothing to disassociate himself from the event in spite of all the speculation – which is becoming more widespread.

    To say it’s “complicated” cannot have anything to do with any contract negotiations. His expired ELC was rock-bottom to begin with, and while he has had modest results in his 109 NHL games, there’s absolutely nothing there to suggest he’s entitled to anything more than a modest bridge-deal. What’s complicated about that?

    • It’s funny to me that Dreg doesn’t know as much as we in Ottawa “know”. The Sens were told by the NHL not to sign or trade the player. It wasn’t in writing officially but it was implied. There was no deal for a 2nd. There were no teams interested. There was nothing. There are “3” not 8. And one of them is actually playing because he had a contract and the NHLPA in very plain language told Bettman, innocent until proven guilty. Which is legally accurate. Still. I think Formenton is done playing pro hockey in north america. Jake Vertanen is tarnished example here. The courts found him innocent. The court of public opinion did not. Agree or disagree with that—-is irrelevant. It happens.

      • Sure.

    • I don’t think any publication or website that has journalistic integrity is willing to state for a fact that Formenton’s situation is a direct result of the assault allegations. You can’t put your reputation or career on the line like that without corroborated proof, even if you believe it to be true.
      Having said that, fans like us can read the tea leaves and make an educated guess. 1+1 clearly seems to equal 2 in this case.
      To steal a Taylor Swift lyric, “I’ve never heard silence quite this loud.”.

      • Exactly foleyd7. This isn’t about what Dreger thinks or has heard. It is OK to speculate on possible TDL moves all day, that is not what this is. You better have the receipts if you print something like that.

        It is obviously odd, as the last time this happened was Puljujarvi, and it was speculated regularly what the issues were with him signing or not.

        Not just Dreger, but TSN as an organization. It may be out there from a reputable organization, but I haven’t seen it, if someone has, please share.

  4. Habs would be better just collecting more assets. If want to resign offer contract in off season

    • That’s where we can sneak in and get Mohnny.
      Really good player, and a Great person to boot.

    • Exactly. Get any picks you can for Monahan, but before trading him, talk to him and let him know that you are interested in him for the future and will be on contract offers for the next season. Make him feel wanted, but also let him know you need the picks.
      Honestly if Monahan (or any player in this situation) likes their existing team and wants to stay, they should totally understand the value of acquiring picks now to strengthen the overall team with the potential to still return next year. It would be a win-win for the player and team in the following year if he did return.

    • Problem is, if the Habs do that, they can’t talk to him till July 1, after which he’s anybody’s game. If the team he’s traded to goes far in the playoffs, he may just decide to sign there before he hits UFA. If the Habs decide they want to keep him, it’s best to lock him up before trading him.

      • Ya, tough call Howard. Agree on the takes on Monahan, great to see a great guy come back and do well.

        It’s that whole injury history thing, will it continue to happen to him or not? Lots of scar tissue in that body now.

        Even if they get another quality asset back, what a steal by MTL. The conditions on the Calgary pick are something. If you haven’t read them, have a look.


  5. Maybe the Sens are concerned about extending DeBrincat for $9M+ for 8 yrs!!! Maybe they wish to trade him for help on D and at least 2 more assets!
    Montreal wished to get rid of salary and supply the Sens with 2 NHLers and a pick or prospect.
    DeBrincat + Bolts 2024 2nd for Dvorak + Savard + FLA ’23 1st + Pens ’23 4th
    Ott gets help on D and sends Z to the moon, a cheap reliable forward with term, and a couple of ’23 picks for their future. Habs get a winger to play w/ Suzi on the 1wt line and sign him for 8 x $9.75M and retain Monahan for 5x $5M. Sens save big$$$$ Everybody is happy but George.

    • Could be a tough negotiation with DeBrincat. Sounds like his strategy is to sign short term to get him to free agency then sign with a team in the location and term of his preference.

    • IMO that is to much to give up for Debrincat plus you have to sign him for $9.75 mil, don’t think the Habs will bite on that deal.

    • I’m not now – nor have been – in a DeBrincat or else position. Yeah, coming off 46 goals was encouraging, but in the back of my mind was always the knowledge that a lot of that came courtesy of playing with Kane. Would I like to see him remain in Ottawa? Sure. Would I want to have to fork over $9.5 mil to do so? No bleeding way.

      If his presence, and the other changes made, don’t result in – if not contention for a playoff spot then at least a significantly better record than last season, then either a coaching change is in order, or the GM erred in some of the roster changes made. Not sure who assesses all that with ownership in a bit of a state of flux, but something needs to be done. It would be bone stupid to give DeBrincat that sort of contract when you also need to re-sign an RFA like Pinto as well as make up your mind to re-up UFA Talbot – or get another goalie.

      If the right deal surfaces involving DeBrincat as we get closer to TD day then by all means go for it. The status quo isn’t working.

  6. The NHL seems to have a much higher standard when it come to personal behaviour verses the NFL.
    The NFL will allow anyone to play, doesn’t matter what crimes or reprehensible behaviour.
    With that in mind, I agree with Dark G
    If Formenton is found guilty his NHL career is over.

    • We agree on that 100% MB4.
      While well intentioned the war on drugs has not decreased usage. You would think 50 years of results would suggest a different approach is required.

      On another note, I knew Lindholm was a good d-man, I didn’t know he was this good. Now that I watch him regularly I have a great appreciation for the game he plays. Him and Ullmark have been our 2 best players, with a stick tap to the big 3 forwards. McAvoy is just getting his legs now too.

      While I have resisted getting too pumped about this start, I am starting to think we may just have a legit shot this year.

  7. Love to see Monahan as a leaf TD pickup. 3rd line centre or move JT to wing to form a very strong 2nd line. Leafs would need to add a decent pock for Habs to retain $$.

    • I don’t see him on the Leafs at all. Kampf and Holmberg have that well and truly covered. They also have guys who can step into a 3rd line role should need arise like Kerfoot and Jankrok. Engvall can also play center.
      IF they are going to spend assets on a forward then they have to first make sure that Robertson and eventually Knies aren’t capable of filling that role. If it’s not an impact LW, there is no need to get a fwd.