Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 23, 2023
Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 23, 2023
Check out the latest on the Canadiens and Red Wings in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
WHAT WILL THE CANADIENS DO THIS SUMMER?
SPORTSNET: In his recent mailbag segment, Eric Engels was asked if he expected anyone on the Montreal Canadiens to be bought out or traded this summer.
He sees Mike Hoffman and Joel Armia as the only two buyout candidates but admits he doesn’t anticipate the Canadiens will exercise that option. Trading both players could prove difficult given their contracts. Hoffman has a year remaining with a $4.5 million cap hit while Armia has two years remaining with an average annual value of $3.5 million.
The Canadiens could package Hoffman with one of their three fourth-round picks as an incentive to get teams to take on his full cap hit. They could also retain $1.5 million of his cap hit.
Engels is confident that defenseman Joel Edmundson will be traded this summer. He acknowledged winger Josh Anderson’s wish to remain in Montreal but doesn’t rule out the Canadiens trading him if the right opportunity presents itself.
The Canadiens will look at every opportunity to improve their goaltending. Engels doesn’t rule out the possibility of moving Jake Allen and bringing in a replacement who fits into their long-term plans. He doesn’t believe Sam Montembeault will be moved.
Engels speculates the Canadiens might want to attempt to acquire Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois this summer rather than wait until next summer when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. He thinks there’s no guarantee Dubois will walk to them next July and a lot can change between now and then. However, if the cost of acquiring him proves too expensive, they could wait until free agency.
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: In his recent mailbag, Marc Dumont would prefer the Canadiens retain as many assets as possible and rely on Dubois making his way to Montreal as a free agent rather than via trade. It’s risky but better than paying too high a price in a trade with Winnipeg.
Dumont doubts Hoffman will be traded this summer, suggesting the rebuilding Canadiens still need shooting talent. He felt Hoffman’s production was reasonable this season on the injury-ravaged Habs and it could improve on a hopefully healthier roster next season. He also hasn’t heard of much interest for the 33-year-old winger in the trade market.
As for other trade candidates, Dumont doesn’t think Edmundson will garner much interest given his struggles this season and nagging back injury. He believes Armia is headed toward a buyout. Center Christian Dvorak could have value if he returns to the form he displayed once Martin St. Louis took over as head coach but doubts a team will offer the Habs assets for him at the moment.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A couple of interesting takes regarding what moves the Canadiens might make this summer.
Regarding Dubois, I’m in the camp of waiting to sign him as a UFA if he’s determined to join the Canadiens next summer rather than waste assets acquiring him in a trade. That being said, we don’t know whether the Habs brain trust of Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes see Dubois as someone that fits into their rebuilding plans.
Everything tying Dubois to the Canadiens is speculation based on comments made by his agent last summer about his client wanting to play for Montreal one day. Gorton and Hughes wisely kept silent to avoid getting penalized by the league for tampering. Hughes has only made the generic statement that every GM makes about exploring every option to improve his team without mentioning any player on another club.
That doesn’t mean Hughes won’t make any significant moves this offseason given the deals he pulled off last summer. Maybe he’ll find a way to pry Dubois away from the Jets without giving up too much in return. Perhaps he’ll find takers for Edmundson, Hoffman and Armia. Maybe he’ll move Anderson or maybe he won’t. Your guess is as good as mine.
We won’t get a clearer picture of Hughes’ intentions until June. Even then, he’ll probably surprise us.
WHICH RED WINGS PLAYERS WILL BE MOVING ALONG THIS SUMMER?
THE ATHLETIC: Max Bultman recently looked at which Detroit Red Wings will be staying or going during the offseason.
The Wings could face decisions on Filip Zadina, Pius Suter, Alex Chiasson, Gustav Lindstrom and Jordan Oesterle.
The sixth overall pick in 2018, Zadina has struggled to reach his potential as a scoring winger. He’s signed through 2024-25 with an average annual value of $1.825 million. Bultman cautioned against giving up on the 23-year-old winger, citing Buffalo’s Casey Mittelstadt’s breakout performance this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zadina’s cap hit isn’t expensive and the Red Wings can easily afford to carry his contract for another season. Give him one more shot and if it doesn’t pan out they can peddle him at next season’s trade deadline.
Suter, Chiasson and Oesterle are unrestricted free agents this summer while Lindstrom is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. Some of them could be retained for the right price depending on whether the Wings see younger players in their system moving into the roster next season.
Bultman expects pending UFAs such as Alex Nedeljkovic, Robert Hagg, Adam Erne and Magnus Hellberg will be on their way out.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nedeljkovic, 27, is the most notable of this group. Acquired two years ago from the Carolina Hurricanes, he never panned out as hoped as the Wings’ starting goaltender. He spent most of this season with their AHL affiliate.