NHL Rumor Mill – August 16, 2023

by | Aug 16, 2023 | Rumors | 12 comments

The Canadiens might not be done making trades after shipping Jeff Petry plus the latest on UFA winger Tomas Tatar in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marc Dumont recently cited TVA Sports’ Anthony Martineau claiming the Canadiens are “open for business” regarding their goaltending.

The Canadiens currently have Sam Montembeault, Jake Allen and Casey DeSmith on the roster. Martineau claimed they’re listening to offers in the hope of getting the biggest return for their assets.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Casey DeSmith (NHL Images).

Dumont doubted the Canadiens will get more than a very late-round draft pick or future considerations even in this summer’s tepid goalie market. Montembeault, Allen and DeSmith are far from being considered prospects.

Montembeault has put up decent NHL numbers but is far from an established starter. Allen and DeSmith have been relegated to backup roles.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I realize that the impressive trade record of Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes has made some Habs followers believe he’s going to hit a home run on almost every deal.

Hughes is very good but even he’s at the mercy of the market. If you were disappointed in the Petry return without looking at the larger picture, don’t get your hopes up that he’ll get something better for one of his three NHL goalies.

THE ATHLETIC: Arpon Basu noted the Canadiens remain over the $83.5 million salary cap for this season following their recent cost-cutting moves.

During his media availability discussing Tuesday’s Jeff Petry trade, general manager Kent Hughes hinted at more moves to come to clear up cap space without putting permanently sidelined goalie Carey Price on offseason long-term injury reserve.

Trading DeSmith could be one option. “I told Casey to be patient,” said Hughes. “The idea is not to bury him in the AHL, so we’ll continue looking at opportunities to either trade him or maybe changes a few things, but it might take some time because the goalie market doesn’t move very quickly.”

Basu also noted the Canadiens could use their six waiver-exempt players (Juraj Slafkovsky, Rafael Harvey-Pinard, Arber Xhekaj, Kaiden Guhle, Justin Barron and Jordan Harris) to send some of them to the AHL as a paper transaction to be cap compliant to start the season, then recall them once Price is placed on LTIR.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Basu points out that it’s about garnering salary-cap flexibility. He noted that the Petry trade allows the Canadiens to start the regular season with Price on their books and then place him on LTIR when the roster deadline has passed.

Basu goes on to explain that offseason LTIR means the Canadiens get locked into a cap number leaving them with zero cap space. In-season LTIR means the closer they are to the cap as possible, the more cap flexibility they’ll have once they place Price on it.


TSN: Travis Yost looked at how free agent Tomas Tatar could help an NHL club. He noted that the 32-year-old winger has been a reliable middle-six point producer, including his 20 goals and 48 points last season with the New Jersey Devils.

Yost believes a team that plays a similar up-tempo attacking style like the Devils could benefit from Tatar’s speed and scoring abilities. The Pittsburgh Penguins, Buffalo Sabres and Winnipeg Jets could be possible destinations. It could take training camp to open up more possibilities for Tatar.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dave Molinari noted the recent rumors linking the Penguins to Tatar. He examined whether he was worth adding to the roster.

Molinari believes the Penguins should pursue Tatar if sidelined winger Jake Guentzel is out longer than anticipated and if he’ll accept a team-friendly contract. The downside, however, is his addition would complicate their salary-cap flexibility, costing them a valuable role player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tatar recently admitted he’s had talks with the Penguins but didn’t indicate whether they’re close to a deal. Penguins GM Kyle Dubas last week said Guentzel might only miss the opening five games of the regular season. That could alleviate the need to find a short-term replacement for him.

It’s believed Tatar could be seeking a guaranteed contract longer than one season. The Penguins might only be interested in signing him to a PTO deal and see how he performs in training camp and preseason play.


  1. I think DeSmith is as good as gone. The Habs won’t trade Montembeault because he’s the youngest of the three and the only one whose game May continue to grow. And Allen’s cap hit is too high. I won’t be disappointed in the return because I’m not expecting more than a late round pick at this point.

    Tatar can forget about a multi year deal. At this point even a one year deal at more than $1.5-2m. won’t be easy. Still better than a PTO if he can get one year guaranteed

  2. I don’t mind once in awhile my steak Tatar …the player not so much

    Wings are sure making it difficult for Edvinsson to make the lineup.

    • Edvinsson is rehabbing post shoulder surgery, there is no rush to find him a slot on the Wings. He can start in Grand rapids and move up when ready.

    • Considering he had shoulder surgery in May, Edvisson wasn’t going to make the NHL roster anyway. Getting Petry for a spare part and a late round pick at a cheap cap hit was a steal.

    • I agree SilverSeven. In Stevie Y I trust…but I’m a little confused about his current roster.
      My thoughts are he’s gonna make all the players fight for roster spots, then trade off the excess to the highest bidder for peanuts and pucks?

  3. Penguins chasing another senior citizen?

    Scooby Dubas will never learn.

  4. MTL has a considerable amount of depth on the back end and in the crease. But…they don’t have any game breakers. I think they might go into camp with said depth and see who’s left standing.

    I think guys like Wideman and Kovacevic are the odd ones out. I think you can recoup assets for those 2 (mid round picks) given their low cap hits and depth value. As it stands, even without those 2 on the roster, MTL has 7 regular D-men.

    If it were up to me, I would go Montenbeault and Primeau and move on from Allen and desmith.

    • Unfortunately it doesn’t look like Primeau will be an NHLer

      • Howard-based on? Primeau is still only 24, Montenbeault was 25 when he started coming into his own. Goalies are late bloomers by nature. Just ask a guy they used to call The Dominator.

  5. any chance the pens could ship out carter & 3rd rounder to a team with cap room

    • The long answer is no

  6. No offense to Carter, but nobody’s clamouring to get him. Especially give up assets.