NHL Rumor Mill – October 21, 2022
In today’s NHL Rumor Mill: the latest Canadiens speculation, a look at which defensemen the Canucks might target, and the Golden Knights owner weighs in on how his club could invest next season’s cap space.
LATEST ON THE CANADIENS
The club will likely try to identify future starting goalies in the 2023 draft while attempting to develop the prospects within their system. However, Engels anticipates a trade is the most likely way to bolster that position.
With Jake Allen signed for two more seasons, Engels felt there was no immediate need to address that position. Given the type of team they’re trying to develop, they might not need to depend on a goalie the way they did in the past with Price.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, they might only need a reliable goalie who can rise to the occasion in big-game situations rather than one who can dominate at that position.
That strategy worked for the Colorado Avalanche last season as well as the St. Louis Blues in 2019 and the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017. Those clubs, of course, were loaded with stars at other positions. They needed a good goaltender, not a great one.
Asked about Sean Monahan’s future with the Canadiens, Engels believes it’ll be a short one. He speculated the Habs could get a first-round pick for the 28-year-old center at the trade deadline if he stays healthy and plays well.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Monahan’s looked good in the early going for the Canadiens. He could fetch a first-rounder at the trade deadline from a playoff contender provided he maintains his current level of performance throughout this season.
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico recently reported the Canadiens are still searching for a right-shot defenseman despite the recent addition of Jonathan Kovacevic off waivers. They’re still seeking a veteran presence on the blueline for at least the short term.
D’Amico believes they’re not going after a big fish like the Arizona Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun. They are exploring various options as their lineup is too congested at forward to provide any roster flexibility.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe they’ll consider shopping Monahan for that defenseman? Or perhaps Jonathan Drouin if he also has a healthy and productive early season? Granted, their respective cap hits make them expensive to move at this point in the season. Monahan’s is $6.375 million while Drouin’s is $5.5 million.
WHICH DEFENSEMEN COULD THE CANUCKS TARGET?
Dreger said the problem is so many teams are looking at the same type of defenseman, namely the Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun. However, Chychrun is currently unavailable as he’s still recovering from off-season surgery. Teams will want to see him play before making offers but the Coyotes are still setting a high asking price.
Short-term options could include Danny DeKeyser, Thomas Hickey or Jason Demers. In the long-term, perhaps Chychrun becomes more affordable at the trade deadline. The Anaheim Ducks’ John Klingberg could be another deadline option as well as the Ducks’ Kevin Shattenkirk or Dmitry Kulikov, the Coyotes’ Shayne Gostisbehere and Troy Stecher, the Seattle Kraken’s Carson Soucy, and the New Jersey Devils’ Damon Severson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It doesn’t appear as though there are any quality options available right now to the Canucks or any other club in the market for blueline help. Many of those players Dreger rattled off could certainly become obtainable at the deadline but that could be too late to help the struggling Canucks.
HOW WILL THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS INVEST THEIR FUTURE CAP SPACE?
THE ATHLETIC: Jesse Granger recently interviewed Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley. At one point, Granger indicated that next season’s salary cap could rise by $4 million and asked Foley how that might affect the club’s plans.
The Golden Knights owner replied that it would give them the opportunity to pursue “another really quality forward.” He felt they were fine at center but could use more depth among their top-nine forwards.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Something for Golden Knights fans to keep in mind if the cap does rise by $4 million next summer.