SPECTOR’S NOTE: Allen is among the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal season for the Canadiens. He’s signed through 2022-23 with an affordable $2.875 million cap hit. Clubs seeking experienced depth between the pipes could have an interest in Allen. However, I doubt the Habs would consider moving him until Carey Price returns to action. Even then, his affordable contract and reliability as Price’s backup make it likely that they’ll hang onto him.
Montreal Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher (NHL Images).
Teams love Gallagher’s work ethic and feisty style but they won’t be enamored of his $6.5 million cap hit through 2026-27. The Habs would have to pick up a healthy chunk of his annual average value to move him. His six-team no-trade list could also be a bit of a sticking point. Moving Gallagher seems like something that would occur in the offseason than at the trade deadline when teams have more salary-cap space to work with.
Drouin has had consistency issues but he could flourish on a deeper club. He’s got a $5.5 million cap hit but only one season left on his deal plus a three-team no-trade list. It could be worth exploring the trade market to gauge his value.
Suzuki’s not going anywhere unless he demands a trade. The Canadiens signed the 22-year-old to an eight-year deal that kicks in next season at an annual cap hit of $7.875 million. He remains a key part of the Canadiens’ future despite the recent management change.
Armia has three more seasons at $3.5 million annually on his contract. He’s affordable but his streaky play could hurt his trade value. .
Lehkonen is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer who will also be a year away from UFA eligibility. The Canadiens could try to move him at the trade deadline if he’s only seeking a one-year deal. However, they can afford to wait until the summer or next season’s trade deadline.
Louis Jean recommended trading Carey Price and retaining head coach Dominique Ducharme.
Price won’t be going anywhere at the trade deadline. He’s still rehabbing his way back from offseason knee surgery. His $10.5 million cap hit through 2025-26 and full no-movement clause makes it very difficult to move him during the season.
Trading Price might have to wait until the offseason and could require the Habs retaining half of his cap hit. They might also need to get a third team involved willing to pick up half of the remainder for a sweetener like a draft pick to facilitate shipping him to any interested club.
Jean believes Ducharme deserves another chance after having little time to prepare last season and a shortened offseason heading into 2021-22. Canadien executive VP of hockey ops Jeff Gorton said Ducharme would remain as head coach for the rest of the season. Whether he’s still behind the bench next season isn’t a certainty.
Petry has had a horrible season but the 34-year-old defenseman reached 40 points last season for the fourth straight year. He carries a $6.25 million annual cap hit through 2024-25 and a 15-team no-trade clause. Still, there could be a playoff contender willing to bet on Petry regaining his form on a better blueline.
Poehling had difficulty cracking the Canadiens roster in the past but the 22-year-old has shown potential this season. He’s signed through 2022-23 at a very affordable $750K. He’ll be staying put.
Connor McDavid achieves a points milestone while Ryan Getzlaf is on the verge of reaching one of his own. Check out the details in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid became the sixth-fastest player to reach 600 points during his club’s 5-4 win over the St. Louis Blues. McDavid had a goal and an assist to reach that milestone in 421 games and now has 601 points. Leon Draisaitl had a goal and two assists and Kailer Yamamoto netted the game-winner with 28 seconds remaining in regulation. Robert Thomas collected three helpers for the Blues.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Drasaitl (31 points) opened a four-point lead over McDavid atop the NHL points leader board.
The Anaheim Ducks won their seventh straight game by downing the Vancouver Canucks 5-1. Trevor Zegras scored twice, Troy Terry (one assist) extended his points streak to 14 games, and Ryan Getzlaf collected two assists to reach 999 career points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Getzlaf had 17 points in 48 games last season. The 36-year-old center has the same number of points in just 16 games thus far this season.
A shootout goal by Chris Kreider gave the New York Rangers a 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. Rangers winger Kaapo Kakko picked up his first points of the season with a goal and an assist. Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood left the game in the third period and entered concussion protocol. Rangers forward Sammy Blais suffered an injured leg following a collision with Devils defenseman P.K. Subban.
The Washington Capitals scored twice in the second period and two more in the third in a 6-1 drubbing of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Alex Ovechkin, Tom Wilson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Conor Sheary Garnet Hathaway and Daniel Sprong all collected two points. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was held scoreless in his first game since returning from COVID protocol. Earlier in the day, the Capitals announced center Nic Dowd signed a three-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $1.3 million.
A four-goal third period lifted the Boston Bruins over the Montreal Canadiens 5-2. Charlie McAvoy and Charlie Coyle each scored twice for the Bruins while teammate Taylor Hall had a goal and an assist. Earlier in the day, the Canadiens announced goaltender Jake Allen was listed as day-to-day with a head injury.
Calgary Flames goaltender Dan Vladar made 27 saves for his first career NHL shutout in a 4-0 win over the Ottawa Senators. Elias Lindholm and Sean Monahan each had two points. The Senators were playing with 10 regulars on COVID protocol as Drake Batherson was the latest to make the list yesterday.
The NHL department of player safety fined Minnesota Wild defenseman Alex Goligoski $5,000.00 for high-sticking Seattle Kraken winger Jordan Eberle on Saturday. Buffalo Sabres forward Evan Rodrigues was fined $2,500.00 for a dangerous trip of Ottawa Senators forward Zach Sanford.
Check out the recaps from Saturday’s action in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi had a hand in all of his club’s goals in a 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Josi scored two goals and assisted on two others. The Coyotes have lost 14 of their first 15 games of this season. Before the game, Coyotes winger Andrew Ladd entered COVID-19 protocol.
Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi (NHL Images).
A four-point performance by Drake Batherson (two goals, two assists) powered the depleted Ottawa Senators over the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3. Evan Rodrigues scored twice for the Penguins. Nikita Zaitsev was placed on COVID protocol before game time after coming off the list early Saturday. The Senators have nine players on the list. They also lost center Shane Pinto as he left the game during the second period with a possible shoulder surgery.
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard scored a goal and set up three others in a 6-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Nazem Kadri had a goal and two assists for the Avs. Erik Karlsson and Timo Meier were among seven Sharks players to return to the lineup from COVID protocols. Earlier in the day, the Avs claimed forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel off waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers.
Rookie Rem Pitlick netted a natural hat trick as the Minnesota Wild doubled up the Seattle Kraken 4-2, handing the latter their fourth straight loss. Ryan Hartman collected assists on each of Pitlick’s goals.
Brad Marchand scored twice as the Boston Bruins downed the New Jersey Devils 5-2 to snap the latter’s four-game points streak. Charlie McAvoy collected three assists while Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak each had two points for the Bruins.
The New York Rangers scored three goals in 62 seconds in the second period to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-3. Rangers forward Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider each scored twice. Blueshirts goalie Igor Shesterkin left in the third period following a collision with Blue Jackets forward Alexandre Texier but got a clean bill of health after the game. Earlier in the day, the Rangers placed center Filip Chytil on injured reserve with an upper-body injury retroactive to Nov. 6.
Vegas Golden Knights forwards Jonathan Marchessault and Evgenii Dadonov both scored twice as their club rolled to a 7-4 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Vegas captain Mark Stone picked up an assist as he returned to action after several weeks on injured reserve. The Golden Knights have won three straight. Canucks forward Nils Hoglander scored twice and collected an assist.
Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin scored twice, including the winner in overtime to down the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. Canadiens goalie Jake Allen left the game with a concussion following a first-period collision with Larkin after the latter was shoved from behind by Habs defenseman Jeff Petry. Following the game, the Canadiens called up netminder Cayden Primeau from their AHL affiliate in Laval.
Mark Scheifele’s first goal of the season came in overtime in the Winnipeg Jets’ 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings, ending the latter’s seven-game win streak. Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck made 27 saves for the win.
Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Joseph Woll made 23 saves to win his NHL debut 5-4 over the Buffalo Sabres. Morgan Rielly tallied the winning goal with 12 seconds remaining in the game. Rielly and John Tavares each had a goal and an assist. Jeff Skinner scored twice for the Sabres.
Brayden Point’s overtime tally lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers, extending the latter’s winless skid to four games. The Panthers overcame a 2-0 deficit to force the extra frame. The Lightning’s point streak is now at seven games.
A late goal by Brendan Smith gave the Carolina Hurricanes a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues. Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov and Tony DeAngelo each collected two points for the Hurricanes while Robert Thomas had two assists for the Blues.
The Dallas Stars picked up their first regulation victory of the season by defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2. Roope Hintz and Luke Glendening each had a goal and an assist for the Stars while Anton Khudobin kicked out 31 shots for the win. Kevin Hayes and Ryan Ellis returned to the Flyers lineup after injuries sidelined them for several weeks.
An update on Seth Jones, the latest on the Canadiens, possible destinations for Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, and recent Canucks speculation in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
NOTE: A freeze on trades, waivers and contract signings goes into effect at 3 pm ET today and runs through 1 pm ET on Thursday, July 22. Teams are required to submit their expansion draft protections lists by 5 pm ET today.
COULD THE BLUE JACKETS RETAIN JONES?
THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports the Columbus Blue Jackets are letting it be known they don’t have to trade Seth Jones this summer. They’ve set a high asking price, seeking a combination of young NHL players, prospects and draft picks. However, it doesn’t appear they’re getting any offers to their liking for the 26-year-old defenseman.
Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones (NHL Images).
Portzline, however, still believes Jones will be moved this summer, in part to avoid the risk of a season-ending injury before next season’s trade deadline. The Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers are said to be interested in the blueliner, who’s a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. The Jackets have not yet granted any team permission to speak with Jones about a contract extension.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring something significant today, the earliest Jones could get traded is heading into next weekend’s NHL draft following the expansion draft on Wednesday.
LATEST CANADIENS SPECULATION
TVA SPORTS: listed six candidates for the Montreal Canadiens to pursue as a potential replacement for Shea Weber. The 35-year-old defenseman could miss all of next season recovering from various injuries.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jones, Giordano and Ristolainen would be available in the trade market. Barrie, Hamilton and Larsson are eligible to become unrestricted free agents on July 28.
Jones would be the best option but Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin could balk at their asking price. Jones’ apparent unwillingness to ink a contract extension takes him out of the equation.
Giordano would be a worthwhile short-term addition but his status remains uncertain. The Flames could leave him exposed in the expansion draft, where the Seattle Kraken could claim him. That’s assuming he isn’t moved before today’s trade freeze.
Barrie and Hamilton would provide plenty of offense from the blueline but their respective defensive games are average at best. Each will cost a lot to sign. Larsson would be a good fit defensively but the Oilers are said to be working on a new contract for him. Ristolainen could be available but it’s uncertain if he could handle the pressure of playing in Montreal. Like Jones, he’s slated to become a UFA next summer.
TSN 690 reported it could prove expensive for the Canadiens to swing a side deal to ensure the Seattle Kraken don’t select Jake Allen. The asking price is said to be a quality prospect and a second or a third-round pick. The Kraken would also accept a first-round pick and a selection later in the draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be shocked if Bergevin paid either price to keep Allen in the fold. He could also attempt to trade the backup to another club before today’s trade freeze if he’s that concerned about losing him to the Kraken.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reported Thursday he thinks the Canadiens will let Phillip Danault test the free-agent market. They’re willing to keep the door open to him to come back after he’s heard from other clubs. They made an offer last offseason but it was rejected.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That offer was reportedly a six-year, $30 million contract extension. He might get more than that on the open market after his strong defensive play in the postseason.
Russo believes former Wild defenseman Ryan Suter will have more options via free agency than Parise. He’s still a capable top-four defenseman who can log big minutes. Suter’s a proud American so it would be surprising if he signed with a Canadian team.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Russo also speculated over the possibility of the Pittsburgh Penguins reuniting Parise and Suter with Brian Burke in their front office. However, I don’t think that’s something GM Ron Hextall will pursue.
The Islanders attempted to acquire Parise at the 2020 trade deadline but the deal fell through because they couldn’t get the dollars to work with the Wild. I can see him inking an affordable one-year deal with the Isles provided there’s enough cap space after re-signing Anthony Beauvillier, Adam Pelech, Ilya Sorokin and perhaps Casey Cizikas.
Suter won’t lack suitors. He’ll want to sign with a Stanley Cup contender and could be a fit for those with limited cap space. I’ll be surprised if he hasn’t signed with someone by the end of the opening day of free agency on July 28.
UPDATE ON THE CANUCKS
THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance and Rick Dhaliwal report Vancouver Canucks goaltender Braden Holtby is drawing interest from the Seattle Kraken and other teams around the league. At least one team from the Eastern Conference and one from the Western Conference are believed among the suitors.
Holtby’s salary for next season could be a stumbling block. He carries an annual average value of $4.3 million but he’ll earn $5.7 million in actual salary in 2021-22. The Kraken are said to have inquired if the Canucks will retain some salary in a side deal.
The Canucks are said to have a real interest in Zach Hyman. The Toronto Maple Leafs left winger is slated to become a UFA on July 28 and has been granted permission to speak with other clubs. Contract term, however, is said to be an issue.
THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston reports Canucks GM Jim Benning said he’s looking to make a trade to “move some money.” It’s understood the Canucks are trying to find a new home for defenseman Nate Schmidt, who was acquired last fall from the Vegas Golden Knights. Holtby and perhaps Loui Eriksson could be trade options.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holtby’s performance has declined in recent years but some clubs could see him as an experienced backup option. The Canucks might have to absorb some salary or take back a bad contract to move him. Maybe they can swing a three-team deal where they bundle a draft pick with Holtby to another team to pick up part of his cap hit.
Hyman, 29, could seek a maximum seven-year contract. That’s a risky signing for any team given his age. Schmidt should have some value among clubs seeking blueline depth but his contract ($5.95 million annual cap hit through 2024-25 and 10-team no-trade list) could be a tough sell.
Will the Wild pursue Jack Eichel after buying out Parise and Suter? What’s the latest on Gabriel Landeskog and Jake Allen? Are big decisions coming for the Blackhawks, Predators and Panthers? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.
Dreger said the Wild would love to add a first-line center. He believes they’ll make a trade offer to the Buffalo Sabres for Jack Eichel. However, general manager Bill Guerin won’t blow their cap space or overpay with trade assets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild’s buyouts of Parise and Suter give them over $26 million in projected salary-cap space for 2021-22. Nearly half of that could be invested in Kaprizov and Fiala.
They’ll have less room beyond next season when they’ll have between $12.7 million and $14.7 million in dead cap space from 2022-23 to 2024-25. I don’t think Eichel’s a fit in Minnesota unless Guerin convinces the Sabres to absorb a healthy chunk of his $10 million annual cap hit for the next five seasons.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE BLACKHAWKS FOLLOWING THE KEITH TRADE?
THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers reports the Blackhawks are also open to improving their goaltending. He cited a league source saying they could be in play for Vegas Golden Knights netminder Marc-Andre Fleury. With just one season left on his contract, the Blackhawks can afford his $7 million cap hit for next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman is believed keen to add a top-pairing right-side defenseman. His preference could be for Jones if the Jackets blueliner is willing to sign a long-term contract extension. If not, that focus could shift to Hamilton.
The Golden Knights are pressed for cap space and probably won’t take back much salary if they decide to move Fleury. He could be had for a draft pick. That depends on whether Golden Knights owner Bill Foley has changed his mind about Fleury finishing his career in Vegas and if the Blackhawks are on Fleury’s list of trade destinations.
Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog (NHL Images).
COULD AVALANCHE PART WAYS WITH LANDESKOG?
Dreger said the Colorado Avalanche and captain Gabriel Landeskog aren’t even close in their contract talks. The 28-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28. He pointed out it’s still early in the process.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Landeskog is completing a seven-year deal with an annual cap hit of $5.57 million. He could seek over $7 million on a long-term deal. The Avalanche has over $25 million in cap room but they must also re-sign Vezina Trophy finalist Philipp Grubauer and Norris Trophy finalist Cale Makar. Both are in line for big raises.
Rival clubs will be ready to pounce if Landeskog hits the open market. The St. Louis Blues are reportedly preparing a “full pitch effort” to sign him. They have over $17 million in cap space but could be $7.5 million more if they can trade unhappy right wing Vladimir Tarasenko.
He thinks the Predators have had a discussion about a side deal with the Seattle Kraken. They could also trade a defenseman to another club before the draft. They could opt to protect those five by protecting eight skaters but LeBrun doubts they’ll do that. He also speculated they could expose center Matt Duchene.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe the side deal is trying to convince the Kraken to select Duchene. Given his declining production and $8 million annual average value for the next five seasons, they’ll have to toss in a significant sweetener.
Richards hasn’t been able to confirm if the Panthers have approached Yandle about it. He said he’d heard whispers of a handshake agreement between the two sides but nothing’s been substantiated. He thinks Yandle won’t be back with the team one way or another.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports half a dozen teams have contacted the Panthers with a serious interest in pending UFA goaltender Chris Driedger. That level of interest could boost the cost of his next contract to $3.5 million per season. LeBrun believes the Seattle Kraken are among the interested parties.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The deadline for teams to ask players to waive their NMCs was yesterday at 5 pm ET. Any players asked to do so have until Friday to reach a decision. We’ll learn by then if Yandle was among them.
Yandle is signed through 2022-23 with an annual cap hit of $6.35 million. His full no-move becomes a modified 12-team no-trade list next summer. Buying him out would could as $2.3 million this season against the Panthers cap but it jumps to $5.3 million in 2022-23 before dropping to $1.2 million per season for the final two years of the buyout.
If Yandle won’t waive his clause for the Kraken (or they don’t take him if he does), the Panthers’ best option is to try to trade him to a team if he’s willing to waive his clause for certain teams. That’ll likely mean taking back a toxic contract or absorbing a chunk of his cap hit to facilitate a deal.
Keep an eye on Driedger. He could be traded before the expansion draft next Wednesday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will depend on whether Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin can convince his Kraken counterpart to pass over Allen for another unprotected Hab. Failing that, maybe Bergevin can swing a deal with a club seeking reliable goalie depth before the expansion draft.