NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 8, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 8, 2022

The Canadiens will place Carey Price on LTIR after announcing the signing of Kirby Dach, the Senators ink Tim Stutzle to an eight-year extension, Disney and Turner announce their 2022-23 NHL schedules and more in today’s Morning Coffee Headlines.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens will garner salary cap relief for the coming season by placing Carey Price on long-term injury reserve. The 35-year-old goaltender has four years remaining on his contract with an average annual value of $10.5 million.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (NHL Images).

Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes said he’d have more news about Price after the netminder meets with team doctors prior to training camp later this month. He continues to be plagued by a nagging knee injury that shows no sign of improvement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hughes signaled last month that he would likely place Price on LTIR. I wouldn’t be surprised if the long-time Canadiens starter has played his final NHL game.

The Canadiens can exceed the $82.5 million salary cap by 10 percent during the offseason but must be cap compliant when the season starts next month. Putting Price on LTIR now means they can exceed the cap by the equivalent of his $10.5 million AAV. Cap Friendly shows them at $10.24 million. It also allowed them to sign Kirby Dach to a new contract.

Hughes also indicated that forward Paul Byron might also start the season on LTIR as he returns from hip surgery. There are also questions over whether Sean Monahan (hip surgery) and Jonathan Drouin (wrist) will be ready to start the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Monahan and Drouin probably won’t be sidelined for much longer as they seem close to being cleared to play. It sounds like Byron could require more time.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The Canadiens also announced they reached an agreement with Kirby Dach on a four-year, $13.5 million contract. The 21-year-old center was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks in July and was the Habs’ final remaining free agent of the summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dach’s average annual value is just over $3.36 million. It’s a reasonable amount that could benefit the Canadiens’ cap payroll if he can play up to expectations.

The third-overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, Dach is looking forward to a fresh start in Montreal after struggling through injuries and inconsistent play during his brief tenure with the Blackhawks. He could start the season as their third-line center or shift to right wing depending on Monahan’s status.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators announced they’d signed Tim Stutzle to an eight-year, $66.8 million contract extension. Stutzle, 20, is in the final season of his entry-level contract. His annual cap hit starting in 2023-24 will be $8.35 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We shouldn’t be shocked by this signing. Senators GM Pierre Dorion had already locked up young core players such as Brady Tkachuk, Josh Norris, Drake Batherson and Thomas Chabot so it’s fitting that he followed suit with Stutzle.

The third-overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, Stutzle has the makings of a superstar. He followed up a promising rookie performance of 29 points in 53 games during the COVID-shortened 2020-21 season with a 22-goal, 58-point effort in 79 games in 2021-22.

Stutzle, Tkachuk, Norris, Chabot and Batherson are all 25-or-younger. Locking up that core on long-term deals should provide roster stability as Dorion continues to build around them. Those expensive contracts could become bargains over the long term if they play up to their potential.

NHL.COM: Disney and Turner Sports announced their 2022-23 NHL broadcast schedules. ESPN will open the season on Oct. 11 with a doubleheader featuring the New York Rangers hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning before the Vegas Golden Knights meet the Kings in Los Angeles. TNT will host the 2023 NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 2 in Boston at Fenway Park between the Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

ESPN.COM: The Arizona Coyotes expect to sell out every home game this season at Arizona State University’s Mullett Arena. They indicated their season-ticket sales have surpassed what they were making in their former arena in Glendale.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes had better sell out every home game at the 5,000-seat Mullett Arena. Failure to do so would be the latest embarrassment for a franchise that has had more than its share of them.

NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers announced the establishment of its Hall of Fame yesterday. It may include former players, coaches, trainers, staff, executives “or any other person whose role or service in the organization since its founding in 1972 is recognized as extraordinary.”

DAILY FACEOFF: Speaking of the Oilers, they signed former Vancouver Canucks forward Justin Bailey to a professional tryout offer.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 7, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – September 7, 2022

The latest on Bo Horvat’s contract status with the Canucks plus an update on the Canadiens’ efforts to re-sign Kirby Dach in today’s NHL rumor mill.

CANUCKS TURN FOCUS TO RE-SIGNING HORVAT

SPORTSNET: Iain MacIntyre reports the Vancouver Canucks are shifting their focus toward re-signing captain Bo Horvat after signing J.T. Miller last week to a seven-year contract extension. Horvat, 27, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat (NHL Images).

MacIntyre points out that the constraints under the salary cap could make it difficult for the Canucks to invest heavily in their top-three centers such as Miller, Horvat and Elias Pettersson. It could limit their efforts to address their need to improve their defense corps.

General manager Patrik Allvin acknowledged this but also noted that Pettersson can play on the wing. He also felt a good team needs that depth at center. “But moving forward, we need to be aware of the cap situation and potentially some roster decisions coming into next summer,” said Allvin.

MacIntyre believes it’ll be surprising if the Canucks open their season next month with Horvat still unsigned after reaching an agreement with Miller. Still, he wonders if they’ll be able to afford Pettersson when he’s due for a new contract in 2024 and how they’ll upgrade their blueline.

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston also wondered if the Canucks can really afford Miller, Horvat and Pettersson.

Allvin admitted multi-year contracts have proven difficult to trade. Johnston believes he’s referring to Tanner Pearson (two years at $3.25 million annually), Tyler Myers (two years, $6 million per season) and Oliver Ekman-Larsson (five years at $6.75 million per).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Allvin understands the importance of getting Horvat signed before the start of the season. “Hopefully we can figure something out here,” he said.

Miller’s new contract and an extension for Horvat won’t affect the Canucks’ salary-cap payroll for this season. However, with over $68 million invested in 14 players for 2022-23, a new deal for Horvat could push that to over $75 million, leaving little room to fill out the rest of the roster next summer.

At some point, the Canucks must free up cap space to accommodate new contracts for Horvat and Pettersson as well as address their roster weaknesses. Perhaps that means contract buyouts for Pearson and Myers next summer. Maybe it means retaining part of their salaries to facilitate a trade.

For this season, the Canucks are above the cap by $2.75 million. They should get cap relief by placing sidelined winger Micheal Ferland (concussion) and his $3.5 million AAV on long-term injury reserve. They could also attempt to a valuable player on a long-term contract such as winger Conor Garland.

ARE THE CANADIENS CLOSE TO SIGNING DACH?

TVA SPORTS: cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculating the Montreal Canadiens could be close to signing Kirby Dach. He believes it will be a four-year contract worth an average annual value of $3.5 million.

Friedman even suggested the Canadiens may have already reached an agreement with Dach. He felt the Habs might be trying to conclude a few things before formally announcing the new contract.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico also took note of Friedman’s remarks. He pointed out it’s no secret the Canadiens have been trying to move a forward. General manager Kent Hughes recently indicated he’d like to add another defenseman.

**UPDATE** The Canadiens announced they’ve signed Dach to a four-year, $13.5 million contract. The average annual value is $3.35 million

SPECTOR’S NOTE: D’Amico noted that Mike Hoffman, Joel Armia and Christian Dvorak have been frequently mentioned as trade candidates. He believes their excess of wingers could see them try to move Hoffman or Armia.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 2, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 2, 2022

The Stars sign Jake Oettinger to a three-year contract, an update on the Canadiens’ contract talks with Kirby Dach, Rangers defenseman Nil Lundkvist requests a trade, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars signed Jake Oettinger to a three-year contract worth $4 million annually. The 23-year-old goaltender was a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract.

Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger (NHL Images).

Oettinger took over as their starting goaltender midway through last season. He backstopped them to the seventh game of the first round of the 2022 NHL playoffs, making a franchise-record 64 saves in a 3-2 overtime loss.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a reasonable bridge deal, giving Oettinger a well-deserved raise that doesn’t break the bank for the Stars. It also sets him up for a more lucrative new contract if he can build upon last season’s promising performance.

SPORTSNET: Eric Engels reports the Montreal Canadiens are discussing a new contract with Kirby Dach. The 21-year-old restricted free agent was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks in July. One of the options being discussed is a four-year contract with an average annual value of around $3.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dach, a third-overall pick of the Blackhawks in 2019, struggled through injury and inconsistency in his years in Chicago. However, he still has plenty of time to regain his promising form. Perhaps the move to the rebuilding Canadiens will help.

Habs management could be banking on it if they’re willing to sign him to a four-year deal. The $3.5 million wouldn’t be extravagant but it could be argued that he hasn’t earned that pay level yet.

NEW YORK POST: Multiple sources claim the Rangers are attempting to trade Nils Lundkvist. The 22-year-old defenseman informed management that he’s unlikely to report to training camp in the absence of a deal.

Rangers general manager Chris Drury is working with Claude Lemieux (Lundkvist’s agent) to find a trade to a club that will give his client an opportunity to see top-four minutes and powerplay time. It’s believed Drury is seeking a young, top-nine center who can grow within the Rangers’ organization.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report adds that Lundkvist has no issues with the Rangers. He just doesn’t see an opportunity to develop on their deep blueline.

This situation resembles Vitali Kravtsov’s standoff with the Rangers last season when he went to Russia to await a trade rather than report to their AHL affiliate. He still remains with the Rangers, however, and will try to earn a roster spot in training camp.

Time will tell if Lundkvist suffers the same fate. He could have more value in the trade market than Kravtsov given his position as a puck-moving, right-shot defenseman. Perhaps the Vancouver Canucks, Arizona Coyotes or Detroit Red Wings will be among his suitors.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Columbus Blue Jackets signed James Neal to a professional tryout offer. Neal, 34, spent most of last season with the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Neal has reached or exceeded the 20-goal plateau 10 times in his NHL career. However, his best seasons are now well behind him. This is probably his last chance to stay in the big league.

THE ATHLETIC/WINNIPEG SUN: Leah Hextall is speaking about her difficult first season calling nationally televised NHL games for ESPN. She was subjected to sexist and misogynistic threats on social media and phone messages.

The worst came from someone threatening to track her down in her hometown of Winnipeg to sexually assault and kill her. “It was that shocking, more than anything, that someone would have that much anger towards me because I was calling a hockey game,” she said. “A hockey game. I’m not saving lives here. I’m just calling a hockey game, and you were willing to threaten my physical and sexual safety?”

Despite the abuse, Hextall will be returning behind the mike this season with ESPN. She wants to inspire girls and women who hope to one day follow her path into hockey broadcasting. She also hopes hockey will bring more women into the game.

Hextall has been covering the NHL since 2012 with several major sports networks before joining ESPN’s NHL broadcast team last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I encourage everyone to read the links attached for the full details of Hextall’s story.

It’s one thing to be critical of how someone reports or broadcasts the game. I’ve faced it myself and it’s part of the job.

However, the abuse and threats Hextall faced, mainly because she’s a woman, were uncalled for and shocking. There’s no need for it at all and no one should have to face that.

I hope Hextall perseveres and becomes a role model for everyone who wants to get into the industry.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 8, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 8, 2022

The aftermath of a chaotic first round of the 2022 Draft, Joe Sakic was named GM of the Year, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Montreal Canadiens surprised the hockey world and made history by selecting winger Juraj Slavkovsky with the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, making him the first player from Slovakia to go first overall. The Canadiens bypassed center Shane Wright of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, who had been ranked as the top prospect by NHL Central Scouting.

Further history was made when the New Jersey Devils chose defenseman Simon Nemec with the second-overall selection. Slavkovsky and Nemec are the first Slovakians to become the top-two players selected in an NHL draft.

Center Logan Cooley of the U.S. National Team Development Program (USNTDP) was selected by the Arizona Coyotes with the third-overall pick. Wright was chosen fourth overall by the Seattle Kraken.

The Canadiens also chose Slovakian winger Filip Mesar with the No. 26 pick. Meanwhile, the Coyotes selected center Conor Geekie (11th overall) from the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice and Maveric Lamoureux from the QMJHL’s Drummondville Voltigeurs at No. 29.

After starting Thursday with no picks in the first round, the Chicago Blackhawks wound up with three after shipping winger Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators, center Kirby Dach to the Canadiens and acquiring goalie Petr Mrazek as part of a return from the Toronto Maple Leafs. They chose defenseman Kevin Korchinski from the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds at No. 7, center Frank Nazar from the USNTDP at No. 13 and defenseman Sam Rinzel from Chaska High School at No. 25.

With two picks in the first round, the Columbus Blue Jackets selected Czechia defenseman David Jiricek sixth overall and blueliner Denton Mateychuk from the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors with the No. 12 pick.

The Buffalo Sabres had three selections in the first round, choosing Winnipeg Ice center Matthew Savoie ninth overall, Swedish center Noah Ostlund with the No. 16 selection and Czechia center Jiri Kulich at No. 28.

With two first-rounders, the Anaheim Ducks selected Pavel Mintyukov of the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit at No. 10 and center Nathan Gaucher of the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts at No. 22. The Minnesota Wild used their two first-round picks to choose Swedish winger Liam Ohgren at No. 19 and Russian winger Danila Yurov at No. 24.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can see the full results from the first round by following the link above.

That was one of the wilder drafts regarding surprising selections and player movement via trades. You can read my take on those moves involving NHL players here.

Slafkovsky was as surprised as most in the Bell Centre by his selection as the first-overall pick. The big winger has the potential to become a scoring star in the NHL. He was named tournament MVP in the 2022 Beijing Olympics helping Slovakia win its first-ever medal (bronze) in men’s hockey with a tournament-leading seven goals.

Wright, meanwhile, admitted he’ll have a chip on his shoulder from this outcome which he intends to use as motivation in the future. His style of play drew comparisons to Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron. The Kraken will have a future Selke Trophy center on their hands if he plays up to projections.

Rounds 2 through 7 will be held today at the Bell Centre in Montreal at 11 am ET.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Center Jagger Firkus of the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors, defenseman Ryan Chesley of the USNTDP and blueliner Calle Odelius of Djurgardens in the Swedish Hockey League are among Tony Ferrari’s top-five prospects remaining after the first round. Center Jack Hughes of Northeastern University in the NCAA and winger Julian Lutz of EHC Munchen in Germany round out his list.

Joe Sakic of the Colorado Avalanche is the 2021-22 winner of the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A well-deserved honor for Sakic who did a fine job building the Avalanche into the 2022 Stanley Cup champions.

TSN: Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland said he’s given defenseman Duncan Keith until Saturday whether he intends to play next season or retire. Keith, 38, has one year remaining on his contract. His retirement would free up $5.54 million in salary-cap space.

TSN: The Los Angeles Kings hired former goaltender Manon Rheaume as a hockey operations advisor focusing on prospect development. She’s among several women hired to prominent positions among NHL teams in recent weeks.










Notable NHL Trades and Free Agent Signings – July 7, 2022

Notable NHL Trades and Free Agent Signings – July 7, 2022

Check out my take on the notable trades and free-agent signings leading up to and including the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft. This list will be updated as new trades and signings occur.

Edmonton Oilers trade winger Zack Kassian, the 29th overall pick in this year’s draft, a second-round pick in 2025 and a third-round pick in 2024 to the Arizona Coyotes for the 32nd overall pick in this year’s draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers need to shed salary to acquire a starting goaltender and have enough space to re-sign or replace winger Evander Kane. It cost them two draft picks and dropped them down three places in the remainder of the first round but it sheds Kassian’s $3.2 million annual salary-cap hit through 2023-24.

The Toronto Maple Leafs traded goaltender Petr Mrazek and their first-round pick (25th overall) in this year’s draft to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for the 38th overall pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Such is the price necessary for the Leafs to ship out Mrazek and free up his $3.8 million annual average value through 2023-24. They’ll put those savings toward finding a suitable replacement for starting goalie Jack Campbell if they fail to re-sign him before the free-agent market opens next week.

As for the Blackhawks, GM Kyle Davidson is once again making moves to garner more first-round picks for his rebuilding club. He started the day without a pick in this round. He finished the night with three. He also takes on a goaltender in Mrazek but will need to find another if he doesn’t re-sign Kevin Lankinen or Colin Delia.

Montreal Canadiens trade defenseman Alexander Romanov and a fourth-round pick in 2022 to the New York Islanders in exchange for the 13th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.

The Canadiens flip that pick and a third-rounder in this year’s draft to the Chicago Blackhawks for center Kirby Dach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to reports, the Canadiens wanted more size up front. After selecting big Slovakian winger Juraj Slafkovsky with the first-overall pick, they acquired the 6’4”, 197-pound Dach, who was chosen third overall in 2019 by the Blackhawks.

To get Dach, however, the Canadiens needed another first-round pick, which is why they sent Romanov to the Islanders. This move leaves a gap on their blueline that they’ll have to fill at some point in the offseason. It could come from within by promoting one of their promising young defenseman like Kaiden Guhle or Justin Barron or from another trade or a free-agent signing if they’re looking for experience.

The Canadiens have added more size to their forward lines but they need to address that gap left by Romanov’s absence. The 22-year-old Russian moves the puck well and doesn’t shy away from making big hits. However, he’s had difficulties adjusting to the NHL game. The Isles gave up quite a bit to get him but it could be worth it if he plays up to his potential with his new club.

Dach showed flashes of promise during his three seasons in Chicago but was plagued by injuries and inconsistency. Still, he had time on his side to find his game. Perhaps a change of scenery will benefit him.

For the Blackhawks, it’s their second significant trade today, having shipped Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators this afternoon. These moves gave the rebuilding club two picks within the top 15 in this year’s draft, which they used to select defenseman Kevin Korchinski (sixth overall) and center Frank Nazar (13th overall). However, it came at the cost of shipping out their best goal scorer in DeBrincat and a promising center in Dach from their lineup.

Bold moves by the Canadiens and Blackhawks today. Time will tell if they pan out.

Minnesota Wild signed goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to a two-year contract with an annual average value of $3.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s quite a pay cut for the 37-year-old Fleury from the $7 million annual average value of his previous contract. At this stage of his career, however, that should be expected. Earlier reports had the Wild trying to sign him to a one-year deal so he managed to squeeze an extra year out of the. With Cam Talbot under contract for $3.6 million next season, the Wild return with their tandem from the 2022 postseason.

The Chicago Blackhawks trade winger Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for the seventh and 39th overall picks in the 2022 NHL draft plus the Senators’ third-round pick in 2024.

Chicago Blackhawks trade winger Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators wanted a top-six winger to skate alongside Tim Stuetzle on the second line. DeBrincat should provide a big boost to their offense, coming off his second 41-goal season within the past five years.

The question now is whether the Senators can sign the 24-year-old DeBrincat to a contract extension. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer with a $6.4 million cap hit but will earn $9 million in actual salary. That’s also how much it’ll cost the Senators to qualify his rights because he signed his current contract in 2019 before the changes to the rate for qualifying offers. He’ll also be a year away from UFA eligibility next summer.

The Blackhawks wanted to get a top-10 pick after former general manager Stan Bowman traded away their pick last summer to Columbus in the Seth Jones trades. Some observers expected they’d get a bigger return than a first and a second in this year’s draft and a third in two years’ time. Nevertheless, if current GM Kyle Davidson can secure at least one future star out of those picks it could prove worthwhile for the rebuilding Hawks over the long term.

Pittsburgh Penguins sign Kris Letang to a six-year, $36.6-million contract extension. The 35-year-old defenseman was slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the one hand, this isn’t the five-year deal between $8 million and $9 million annually that some sources had speculated. On the other, the Pens are paying an average of $6.1 million per season for a blueliner approaching his late-30s.

It’s a gamble by general manager Ron Hextall. Letang is coming off a career-best 68-point performance and should have around three more good seasons left. It’s those final three years that could make this contract burdensome down the road.

Hextall’s focus will shift toward Evgeni Malkin, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13. Recent speculation had the two sides discussing a three-year contract but they’re apparently far apart on the dollars.

New York Rangers trade goaltender Alexandar Georgiev to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for a third and a fifth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft plus a third-rounder in 2023.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This means Darcy Kuemper will be departing the Avalanche as a free agent on July 13. Georgiev struggled at times during his tenure with the Rangers. However, he did play well filling in for starter Igor Shesterkin this season when he missed 11 games with a lower-body injury and a bout with COVID-19. Maybe he’ll have better luck in Colorado establishing himself as a starter than he did in New York.

 










NHL Rumor Mill – May 25, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 25, 2022

Check out the latest roundup of Bruins and Canadiens speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE BOSTON GLOBE: On Sunday, Kevin Paul Dupont speculated this could be the summer Bruins general manager Don Sweeney takes some bold risks to address his depth at center, especially if it appears captain Patrice Bergeron intends to retire.

Colorado’s Nazem Kadri, Florida’s Claude Giroux and Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin could be available in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market. The best fit would be Kadri as the 31-year-old is coming off a career-best 87 points this season. Dupont felt it almost unfathomable that the fiery ex-Maple Leaf would be considered a fix for the Bruins’ depth at center but he doesn’t dismiss the possibility.

Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk (NHL Images).

Winger Jake DeBrusk and defenseman Brandon Carlo could be used as trade chips in pursuit of a prime center in his mid-twenties. Dupont also suggested the Bruins look into acquiring promising Kirby Dach from the Chicago Blackhawks.

Dupont pointed out the Bruins had an interest in Alec Martinez last summer before the left-shot defenseman signed with the Vega Golden Knights. The 35-year-old Martinez carries a $5.25 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Bruins with $80.1 million invested in 22 players for 2022-23. They’ll have to shed salary to re-sign Bergeron or ink his replacement via free agency.

Packaging DeBrusk and Carlo would free up $8.1 million and could bring in a quality center in his playing prime. Nevertheless, I don’t see any team willing to part with that type of player for that package. This is why I wouldn’t be surprised if Bergeron returns for at least one more season to buy the Bruins time to find a suitable replacement.

As Dupont observed, the Blackhawks haven’t re-signed Dach yet. However, they’re not in any hurry to do so. He’s coming off his entry-level contract and lacks arbitration rights. I can see the rebuilding Hawks signing the 21-year-old center to an affordable bridge contract.

The Bruins addressed their need for a top-four left-shot defenseman by acquiring Hampus Lindholm. I don’t see them going after Martinez, especially if they need cap space to address their greater need at center.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of Dach, Jimmy Murphy referenced Dupont’s suggestion that the Bruins should look into acquiring the young Blackhawks center. He felt that’s something the Canadiens should also consider.

While they’re expected to select top prospect Shane Wright with this year’s first-overall pick and recently signed promising Riley Kidney to an entry-level deal, their NHL roster still isn’t that deep at center and they could use someone of Dach’s size and skill. Murphy suggested offering up the Calgary Flames’ first-round pick that they received in February’s Tyler Toffoli trade bundled with a roster player like Jeff Petry, Josh Anderson or Mike Hoffman and a top prospect.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson said he’s in the market for a first-round pick as his predecessor traded away this year’s selection as part of last summer’s Seth Jones trade. If the Blackhawks were looking at playoff contention next season, perhaps Davidson would be enticed to acquire a veteran player like one of those mentioned by Murphy. However, the Hawks GM has frequently indicated he’s rebuilding the roster, so I don’t see him parting with Dach for that offer.

Murphy colleague Marco D’Amico points out why the Canadiens don’t need to worry about a rival club attempting to sign away Alexander Romanov this summer with an offer sheet. As per the collective bargaining agreement, he hasn’t accrued three professional seasons, making him ineligible to receive an offer sheet coming out of his entry-level contract.