NHL Rumor Mill – September 15, 2023
COULD THE AVALANCHE TARGET A CANADIENS GOALTENDER?
DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports the Colorado Avalanche appear to be exploring their options in the trade market seeking a potential replacement for Pavel Francouz. The 33-year-old backup goaltender is expected to miss training camp and the start of the season as he recovers from offseason adductor surgery.
Seravalli’s colleague Mike Gould suggested Casey DeSmith as an obvious trade target. He was acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins by the Montreal Canadiens in last month’s three-team trade that sent Erik Karlsson to the Penguins.
Salary cap space could be an issue for the Avalanche. Gould pointed out that they are projected to start the season with $525K in long-term injury reserve space, though they might be able to add more by placing Francouz and his $2 million cap hit on LTIR. DeSmith, 32, carries an average annual value of $1.8 million.
TVA SPORTS: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes recently said he was okay with his club starting the season with Casey DeSmith, Samuel Montembeault and Jake Allen as his goaltenders. However, he has also said that he’s open to moving DeSmith before the start of the season if an opportunity presents itself.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeSmith has plenty of backup experience with the Pittsburgh Penguins. That could make him enticing to the Avalanche if Francouz appears to be sidelined long-term. Putting him on LTIR would cover DeSmith’s cap hit for this season.
Montreal Hockey Now’s Marc Dumont doesn’t expect DeSmith, Montembeault or Allen would fetch much of a return in the trade market. Still, Hughes might be able to get a decent draft pick or prospect from the Avs if he agreed to retain part of DeSmith’s salary.
SENATORS GETTING CLOSER TO SIGNING PINTO?
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators general manager Pierre Dorion acknowledged he still has to re-sign Shane Pinto. The 22-year-old restricted free agent has yet to reach an agreement with the club on a new contract.
Dorion remains hopeful of getting a deal in place before training camp opens next week. The two sides don’t want Pinto to miss any playing time because he’s expected to play a key role on the Senators this season.
Garrioch pointed out that the Senators are pressed for salary cap space. He believes they’ll have to shed a contract to accommodate a new deal for Pinto.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pinto’s current contract situation has generated some trade speculation suggesting he could be moved if the two sides fail to hammer out an agreement. Dorion’s comments suggest that isn’t the case.
LATEST ON KESSEL
TSN’s Chris Johnston reports there’s some “percolating interest” from NHL teams on signing Phil Kessel to a contract this season. He indicates the 35-year-old forward isn’t in PTO (professional tryout offer) territory yet.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL’s ongoing Ironman record holder, Kessel recently said that he’s willing to accept a secondary role even if it brings his consecutive games streak to an end. That might account for the recent interest in his services.