NHL Rumor Mill – April 4, 2023

by | Apr 4, 2023 | Rumors | 48 comments

Check out the latest Canadiens speculation in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: In his March 31 mailbag, Marc Dumont was asked if Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin will be playing in the NHL next season. He doesn’t see the Habs re-signing the pending UFA winger but thinks he could land with another club as a free agent based on his recent surge of production.

Montreal Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Drouin struggled through injuries and high expectations in Montreal. With the Canadiens rebuilding with promising youngsters, I agree that the 27-year-old winger will be better off moving on to another organization.

He’ll likely have to settle for a significant pay cut on a one-year “show-me” contract. Nevertheless, I think there will be teams in need of playmaking skills willing to take the chance on him.

One reader wondered what the Canadiens could do to move up in this year’s draft into the second-overall position as whoever wins the first-overall pick won’t be trading it. Dumont doesn’t see any of the clubs ahead of the Habs in the draft order agreeing to move down unless they get a very enticing offer, such as prospect Lane Hutson or the first-rounder they received from the Florida Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Assuming the Canadiens don’t rise in the draft lottery, general manager Kent Hughes could make inquiries with the teams ahead of him in the order. However, I agree that it will cost a lot to do so and I don’t see the Canadiens parting with someone like Hutson to do so.

Hughes could be willing to move the Panthers’ pick as that’s now likely to be middle of the pack. I wouldn’t be shocked if he used that to land an established young NHL player as he did to get Kirby Dach last summer. Dumont’s colleague Marco D’Amico suggested using that pick in a package deal for Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois.

Dumont was asked which of the following players – Joel Edmundson, Mike Hoffman, Joel Armia or Brendan Gallagher – would be on the Canadiens roster on opening night next season. He believes all four could be back for various reasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: D’Amico suggested otherwise regarding Edmundson. He claimed the Canadiens tried to move the veteran defenseman at the trade deadline but his health worried a few prospective teams and prices tanked once he returned to action. He noted the Canadiens have too much depth on the left side of their blueline.

Those are good points but Hughes could decide to hang onto Edmundson for at least the start of next season in the hope that his trade value improves. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a trade this summer for the right price.


  1. Adam Fantilli May not be Connor Bedard but he has all the makings of an elite center. Whoever lands the #2 overall pick won’t be trading it unless they’re offered a king’s ransom.

    Drouin will not be back with the Habs. He needs to move on. Edmundson will be traded in the offseason if Hughes can get a fair return. If not, he’ll try his luck at the deadline. I don’t see anyone looking to pick up Hoffman. The Habs will obviously hope that he picks up his game and can garner a good return at the deadline. Gallagher will be back. Armia will not be. He’ll likely be bought out. The cap hit to the Habs for doing so is quite reasonable.

    • Hi Howard

      Stranger things have happened…. And it all depends on who gets 2nd Pick

      Per Tankathon lottery odds as at today…. Habs have 8.5 % of landing Bedard; 8.8 % Fantilli

      If 1 or 2 teams currently behind (pick level) Habs, move up… but their needs at 2nd OA are for a D or winger…. Then Habs 6th or 7th pick; plus Cats 15th-17th OA pick plus ??? just may move thr needle

      As a fan of the game… my hopes and prayers re this draft are that Bedard goes anywhere but to Yotes…. That would be just cruel and inhumane punishment for Bedard…, is his parents talking to Lindros’ parents?

      Maybe the Bedard camp has already decided (as they should) to refuse to sign with Yotes if they get the pick…, forcing a trade…. Will be quite a few teams lining up for that

      As a Canadian….If Bedard can’t land at PPG arena…. Then I’m hoping he lands with Habs or Sens or Jets or Flames or ‘Nucks

      George et al

      Can you imagine Bedard as a Sen AND RRR as a part owner?

      • Pengy,
        Most teams Will take the best player available. Obviously we don’t know yet what’ll happen, as last years draft showed, but the gap between Bedard and everyone else is so large that he’s going #1 no matter who’s picking. And the gap between Fantilli and those that follow is large enough that I don’t see him dropping.
        I’m with you in hoping that Bedard doesn’t get stuck in the desert.

      • Hey Howard, hope you are doing well

        I agree that the gap between Bedard and the others is huge, but I don’t know about Fantili with Michkov and Carlsson. Don’t get me wrong Fantili est a great hockey player but I wasn’t that impressed by him in the World juniors. As for the Panthers pick, I surely hope Eduard Sale will still be available by then, that kid is a competitor.

        Well we’ll see I guess

        Have a great one !

      • Mike, Fantilli seems to be far and away the consensus #2. He’s a lock for the Hobey as an 18 year old. His play at the WJC was certainly solid enough when you consider that he was one of the team’s younger players. Anything can happen, but all of the experts have him as the solid #2.
        Stay well Mike and a Happy-Whatever-You-Celebrate this week.

      • Hi Howard

        Agree…. Bedard….. then huge gap…. Then the rest

        Fantilli likely at 2…. But not a done deal…. And one might argue that Carlsson or Michov are better fits for some teams

        Fantilli is likely to go at 2; but not guaranteed to IMHO

        If Habs stay at 5….. the above are gone…. Why not trade (pick up an extra asset) and get Barlow in the 8-12 slot; then pick up Ritchie (C) with the Panthers selection (15th-16th)

      • Don’t forget that Ottawa HAS no pick in the first couple rounds this year. That’s a total nonstarter there.

      • Pengy, if the Habs were to get another 1st or even a solid prospect or young NHLer to drop down to 8-12, I’d do it. But I don’t expect that to happen. It just doesn’t in the NHL. Barlow is a solid player, but I’m hoping for Will Smith or Zachary Benson (assuming they stay at 5 or 6), who are better regarded as prospects and I don’t think there will be anything worth trading down for.

    • Howard, here is an excerpt from cap friendly on buy out rules, applicable to Armia:

      2/3 of the remaining contract value, if the player is 26 or older at the time of the buyout

      the buyout is spread out over a period of twice the remaining length of the contract.

      Using LJ math, the savings to the Habs isn’t worth the buy out hit for 4 years.

      Armia at 3.4 is neither prohibitively expensive to keep. If the Habs want to trade him, it would be easier to retain some of his salary the first year, or to include a mid to later round draft pick.

      I have posted a few times that it would not make sense for the Habs to trade for PLD. I see that the Jets have no 2nd, 4th or 6th round pick this year. As such I’ve come to conclude that trading the Panthers’ pick at 16 or 17 does make sense for the Habs, provided the Habs can sign PLD to an absorbable cost. Makes sense for the Jets if they can get a prospect or a mid level draft pick as well.

      • Crap grammer. Bad editing on my part. Grrr!

      • A trade of Armia while retaining 50% salary may work, but I don’t see it happening. A team would want a sweetener as well and I don’t see Hughes doing that.
        Per CapFriendly, a buyout would create a cap hit of only $33,333 next season and $1,033,333 the following season in what would have been the final year of his contract. Quite the savings. Of course then there would be 2 additional seasons at $1,433,333, but the cap is expected to be a lot higher by then. Likely the best of a bunch of not-that-great options.

      • Howard, this isn’t a thing with me but using your math, which I don’t question, the total cap hit is nearly 4 million. Given the Habs would also have to pay a player to replace Armia, I can’t see the savings when one includes the buy out penalty .

        The only logic in this via my eyes is creating a roster spot for another player, and there are sure to be a few new spots without creating one via Armia.

        But … who knows … either way I think Armia has worn out his utility in Montreal. Lots of talent, and even more inconsistency.

  2. There’s no shame in playing in Europe, Drouin.

  3. Re Drouin

    Why wouldn’t any team offer him a $1M , 1 year, show me contract

    Owners are Billionaires

    He’d get $200 K anyway in AHL

    Offering him $1M , is not much over league min; AND if hdd we sucks…. Bury him…. Nothing against Cap…. Owner shells out an extra $800 K (rounding error to owners) for the gamble

    If the gamble pays off….you get a 3rd line C/W that is producing; AND if somehow he upticks… maybe he could sub in top 6

    Low risk move with no risk to Cap and potential very good return on just over league minimum cap hit

    I wouldn’t mind this move by either Leafs or Pens

    Watch Oil pick him up for $1M for 1 year…. And him shine

    Stevie Y maybe???

    Worst case for Drouin…. He’ll sign 1 year league min to play in the desert barn in front of the massive 4,600 “fans” …. Yotes can’t pay him less or they would

    • Would Drouin play for Stevie Y? He did not the 1wt time! 😏

      • You never know

        Anything can happen

        To me…. $1M , 1 Year show me…. Easy peezy… sign on the dotted line

        It’s only $225 K more than league min….AND can be buried

        I’m hoping for Carter to wear Hossa’s gloves in a practice …. Get the Hossa itch; Retire LTIR; get Drouin at $1 M…. Pens get better; faster; younger, and save $2.1 M in Cap space

        They could also buy out Granlund; sign Drouin for $1M…. Get faster, younger; better …. AND here’s the kicker…, NET $3.2 M cap in 23/24, and $2.2 M Cap in 24/25…. with Deadcap coming when they are rebuilding and not needing space 👍😃

  4. Drouin will get signed in Nashville….

    • Lol, why Nashville ? 🙂

  5. I can state with complete authority that, should the Jackets get the 2nd overall pick, the only way they’ll trade it is if they get a young #1C in return.

    • Hi Paul

      Will you accept Granlund and a selfie with Mario?

      • Nope. Maybe Pinto and a draft pick if Ottawa is interested.

      • Hi Paul

        I up my offer ….,

        Granlund (50% retained) Selfie with Mario; Selfie with Sid; and the topper…. Chad the directionally challenged Ruhweedel

      • Everything I have read about Fantilli is that most years he would be a solid candidate for #1 overall.
        He checks a whole bunch of boxes in the physical and skill department and may be the best skater in the draft. Plus big and a C.

        While you never know with 18 yr old kids, he has #1 C written all over him. Heck, he may even end up being better than Bedard or at least keeping up to him.

        Would take a lot to pry that pick away from a team like CLB in my opinion. Wouldn’t do it for Pinto and a pick, and Pinto is a good young player. From the scouting reports I have read, his upside is really high.

        Would be nice to see CLB get a player of that caliber.

      • Ray Bark,
        Did you notice I didn’t specify which pick? But I honestly don’t expect Jarmo to trade away a top 4 pick for anything less than a Godfather deal. You know, make him an offer he can’t refuse.

      • Godfather 1 and 2 are both in the top 10 movies of all time!

        I wouldn’t want to see that happen to Jarmo either…

  6. I remember all the post, Habs where going to get a 1st for Monahan, Edmundson

    going to trade Hoffman and Armia

    Now the whole team is on IR, they been to competitive lately can’t have that. I think they have the Bedard flue.

    • Had Monahan stayed healthy and continued to play as he had been playing the Habs would’ve gotten a first for him. Maybe Edmundson also. Injuries are the one thing that can’t be predicted.

    • Howard, it’s funny that the same folks who said the Habs would’ve got a 1st for Monahan are the same folks who say he needs to sign a one year show me contract in Montreal.

      • These folks haven’t given up on him bouncing back next year and being traded for a 1st at the deadline. Hope always springs eternal.

      • Caper, the 1st round draft pick “talk” was based on a healthy Monahan. He was producing at a fair clip before his string of injuries and if healthy would have provided some depth to a contending team. Whether he was worth a first or second we will never know. The show me contract is for IF he can stay healthy which given his history in Calgary and now in Montreal is doubtful.

  7. Some believe going into this season that Matvei Michkov would be contending with Bedard for the top spot he has slipped to the 4th spot on some rankings.

    Michkov is signed for 3 season in the KHL how far down will the affect his draft position?

    Which team on the bottom could say “yes we can wait”

    • Caper, you would have to add at least another year to the wait for Michkov. The KHL and the NHL are quite different in their playing styles. Rare is the player who, even one who is in his early 20s, doesn’t need a season in the NHL to adjust.

      Given this kid is still prospect, is there really a team that is going to take a chance with him as a first rounder only to have to wait 4 years to see if he is a bona fide star?

      • LJ,
        Kirill Marchenko. Played a few weeks in Cleveland before being promoted to Columbus. He has 21 goals. If it weren’t for Berniers, he’d probably be challenging for the Calder.

      • Paul, fair enough, but I did say success is rare and such success is an exception. We can, I think, agree that most teams would want to groom their draft picks in their own farm system, rather than have develop in another league.

        Caper, bizarre news. Not sure what else to say.

    • Lj just read a headline the they found Michkov father dead in a pond. Sad story.

    • Hey Caper,

      I think The Russian go’s too a Team that has 2-3 picks in the first round….❓

      He Wont go in the Top 10… Nobody wants to wait 3+ years for him Matvei Michkov…. He is VERY Small.. 5ft-9 & 160lbs…🤔

      He Cant get out of that Russian Contract So you Dont have controll of him or his development for
      3 year’s…… and that way to late Maybe, If they are picking in the 11to 20th pick…..❓ like
      Red Wings

      in the 20 to 32nd picks…..⁉️
      The Blues

    • Arizona is perfect. A few years from now is exactly their window. That could apply to San Jose, maybe Chicago.

  8. 🍁Re; the Habs and the Draft, Some real nice players in the Top 10,…. They have the Panthers pick around 13-15th pick maybe they use that to get a Starting Goaltender… as that’s there weak area with no good young goaltender coming…..🤔


    Connor Bedard RHC Canada 5′ 10″ 1832/

    Its 50-50 who go’s 2nd pick over all they are both Close
    Adam Fantilli LHC Canada 6′ 2″ 182

    Leo Carlsson LHRW Sweden 6′ 3″194

    Matvei Michkov LHRW Russia 5′ 9″ 160
    The Russian has been floating around 4th pick all years….🤔 lots of hipe, But he is locked up in a Russian contract for 3 or 4 more years…⁉️
    I dont think he gos top 4.. may be between 10 & 20?

    Zach Benson LW Canada 5′ 10″ 155

    William Will Smith RHC United States 6′ 0″ 172

    Eduard Sale LHRW Czechia 6′ 1″ 166

    Colby Barlow LHRW Canada 6′ 1″199

    Nate Danielson RHC Canada 6′ 1″ 181

    Brayden Yager RHC Canada 6′ 0″ 170

    Picks 7 through 14 are all close some Great Picks there for teams with 2-3 pick in the First Round…..

    • “With the 16th overall pick in this year’s draft; the Pittsburgh Penguins are proud to select, from the Owen Sound Attack of the Ontario hockey league; the man-child known as Colby Barlow”

      • Pengy

        Pens trade that pic to bruins. For gryzlick and a signed Orr puck

      • Pengy, Great Pick at 16….👍
        but he maybe gone by then…..🤔

      • MB4

        Pens will trade that Pick for a time-machine and Orr himself!!

      • Hi Willie

        Pens will be picking in the narrow window of 15th to 18th

        If Barlow lasts until then…. They absolutely should snag him

        If not available…. Then snag Ritchie ; or maybe Wood

  9. Te Habs and draft

    If they don’t win lottery; and stay at 5th..,.

    Maybe trade down just a bit (3 -5 spots) gain a pick or get a prospect; and choose Barlow (8th-10th) and then Grab Ritchie with Cats pick; then maybe one of Bjarnsom or Hrsbal or Hellnemo with their early 2nd round pick for a future goaltender

    Ritchie and Barlow on a line in 2-3 years sounds good!!

    • Hughes will not trade down. Unless he’s blown away with an offer that’s way too good. And that won’t happen. He won’t want to drop too low and no one will give up much to go up a few spots. This ain’t the NFL

    • Hey Pengy,

      If the Habs stay put in 5th position, I suspect they’d go with Will Smith as Hughes and Gorton said they wanted to build a speedy talented team and Smith is fast, really, really fast…

      • Hi Mike

        I would go with Will Smith @4,th or 5,th or 6th pick in that order……100%👌

      • Hi Mike

        Yes Smith is fast

        Faster still; and I think better hands ….. Yaeger

        Yaeger (on most rankings) is 4-6 slots lower than smith; but they say the knock is his size…. Which is strange in that there is only 5 pounds difference between Yaeger and Smith; and Yaeger plays strong on the puck

        Dvorsky does not have the lightning speed of Yaeger/Smith…. But string; great hands; and bonus of being already an inch taller and at LEAST 30 pounds heavier than either of them

        They expect he’ll play (eventually) in the NHL at about 215- 220; and perhaps 6’ 2” …. Right now at 17 he’s 6’1” and 205

        With Ghallager; Caufield; and RHP being well below league average…. Maybe Habs will go for strength/beef over speed and diminutive stature