NHL Rumor Mill – April 4, 2023
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.
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.