NHL Rumor Mill – November 24, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 24, 2022

Check out the latest Canadiens speculation plus a look at some other potential blueline trade targets for the Leafs in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

LATEST ON THE CANADIENS

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The New Jersey Devils’ rumored interest in Josh Anderson apparently hasn’t waned since the offseason. Canadiens podcaster and former broadcaster Tony Marinaro reports Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald wants the 28-year-old Canadiens winger badly.

Montreal Canadiens winger Josh Anderson (NHL Images).

Marinaro wonders if the Devils would part with a promising youngster such as Luke Hughes, Simon Nemec or Alexander Holtz in a package deal. It remains to be seen if Canadiens GM Kent Hughes (no relation to Luke or Devils winger Jack Hughes) would be willing to move Anderson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marinaro also claims there are a couple of teams besides the Devils who would take Anderson. Assuming the Canadiens are willing to move him, they probably aren’t in any rush to do so at this stage in the season.

If there is interest in Anderson, it might be best to wait until the March 3 trade deadline approaches to start considering serious offers. His value in the trade market could be much higher by that point.

Marco D’Amico recently listed Sean Monahan, Joel Edmundson and Christian Dvorak as the Canadiens’ top-three most valuable trade chips.

D’Amico noted TSN’s Pierre LeBrun recently linked Monahan to the Colorado Avalanche, who could be among several clubs that will be in the market for a second-line center. Edmundson has apparently been the subject of conversations between Hughes and his peers, while the recent improvement of Dvorak could bolster his trade value.

Speaking of Anderson, D’Amico speculated the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers could present irresistible offers to Hughes at some point.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Monahan, Edmundson or Dvorak could be moved before Anderson. Much will depend on where the Canadiens are in the standings leading up to the March 3 trade deadline and what the market is for those players. Given the plethora of defensemen the Canadiens are carrying, maybe Edmundson gets traded first.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan reports the Canadiens possess a logjam of defensemen with Mike Matheson’s recent return from injury and the rise of promising blueliners like Kaiden Guhle, Jordan Harris, Arber Xhekaj and Johnathan Kovacevic. He also noted there were 19 scouts at Tuesday’s game between the Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some of those scouts would’ve been there simply because their teams will be playing the Canadiens or Sabres in the near future. However, I daresay some could be there to check out some potential trade bait.

LIST OF POTENTIAL BLUELINE TRADE TARGETS FOR THE LEAFS

THE SCORE: Sean O’Leary recently published a list of 10 defensemen the Toronto Maple Leafs could target to bolster their injury-ravaged blueline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: O’Leary’s list came out before the Leafs acquired promising rearguard Conor Timmins from the Arizona Coyotes on Nov. 23. However, they could perhaps pursue one of his suggested trade targets if Timmins doesn’t pan out or if Morgan Rielly, Jake Muzzin and TJ Brodie are sidelined longer than expected.

Pending unrestricted free agent options include the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Vladislav Gavrikov, the Washington Capitals’ Dmitry Orlov, the Minnesota Wild’s Matt Dumba, the New Jersey Devils’ Damon Severson, the Seattle Kraken’s Carson Soucy and the Vancouver Canucks’ Luke Schenn.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t see Orlov, Dumba, Severson and Soucy going anywhere as long as their respective teams remain in playoff contention. Gavrikov could be shopped if he hasn’t signed a contract extension before the trade deadline. Schenn will likely become available if the Canucks fail to gain ground in the standings.

Notable defensemen with term remaining on their contracts include the Arizona Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun, the Boston Bruins’ Mike Reilly and Matt Roy and Sean Walker of the Los Angeles Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The high asking price for Chychrun is likely too rich for the Leafs. Reilly could be a good option but the Bruins may be reluctant to trade him to a division rival. Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas has a trade history with Kings GM Rob Blake so perhaps Roy or Walker would be more likely options here.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 7, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 7, 2022

What’s the latest on the Canadiens’ efforts to shop a surplus forward? Could the Golden Knights become a trade target for teams seeking a goalie? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

THE LATEST ON THE CANADIENS

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico recently listed Evgenii Dadonov, Jonathan Drouin and Christian Dvorak as the Canadiens’ most likely trade candidates.

Montreal Canadiens center Christian Dvorak (NHL Images).

Dadonov and Drouin are both pending unrestricted free agents who are struggling with the Canadiens and might benefit from a change of scenery. Dvorak could be more enticing to other clubs. He carries an affordable $4.45 million average annual value through 2024-25 and his play is improving after a slow start.

D’Amico suggested Dvorak’s strengths as a penalty killer and winning faceoffs could interest the Ottawa Senators and Philadelphia Flyers. The Senators apparently had an interest in Dvorak during the offseason and recently lost center Josh Norris to shoulder surgery while Flyers center Sean Couturier is out for at least four months due to back surgery.

Dadonov or Drouin could be a fit with the injury-ravaged Capitals’ forward lines if young Connor McMichael or call-up Sonny Milano fail to stick. The rebuilding Anaheim Ducks could also be a destination for either guy. The Canadiens have the luxury of retaining 50 percent of Dadonov’s or Drouin’s salary to facilitate a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dvorak is the best of this bunch but I think Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes prefers to retain him for the time being. The very things that could make him attractive in the trade market also make him a key player as their second-line center.

Washington Hockey Now’s Sammi Silber acknowledged TSN’s Pierre LeBrun’s recent report of the Canadiens talking trade with the Capitals. However, she doubts they’ll be enticed by Dadonov, Drouin or the equally struggling Mike Hoffman. The Capitals’ recent claim of Nicolas Aube-Kubel off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs probably brings any further trade discussion with the Habs to a close for now.

WILL TEAMS COME CALLING FOR A GOLDEN KNIGHTS GOALTENDER?

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Owen Krepps speculates the Golden Knights could draw interest from clubs in need of goaltending depth. They currently using Logan Thompson and Adin Hill as their goalie tandem while Laurent Brossoit is with their AHL affiliate on a conditioning stint after returning from offseason hip surgery.

The Golden Knights currently lack sufficient cap space to bring Brossoit back into the lineup. They could decide to trade him.

Krepps believes there are several clubs in need of help between the pipes. The Toronto Maple Leafs are relying on AHL call-ups with Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov sidelined. So are the Chicago Blackhawks with Petr Mrazek and Alex Stalock on the shelf. Boston Bruins netminder Jeremy Swayman is week-to-week while the Minnesota Wild tandem of Marc-Andre Fleury and Filip Gustafsson has struggled through the early going.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs recently indicated Murray could return within the next few days while the Blackhawks expect Mrazek back in the lineup soon. The Bruins will likely ride things out with Linus Ullmark and call-up Keith Kinkaid for the time being while Fleury and Gustafsson have improved since their shaky starts in October.

Nevertheless, one of those clubs could express an interest in Brossoit if their injured players suffer a setback or their regular tandems continue to struggle.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 25, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 25, 2022

Could the Leafs make a pitch for Patrick Kane? What’s the latest on the Canadiens? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

COULD THE LEAFS PURSUE PATRICK KANE?

TORONTO STAR: Damien Cox observes that Patrick Kane has become the latest contestant in the annual “Will he be a Leaf or won’t he?” speculation that grips Toronto sports fans. The 33-year-old Chicago Blackhawks winger is due to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

Cox noted that there have been “reports” claiming the Leafs and Blackhawks have discussed Kane. Paul Bissonnette of the “Spittin’ Chiclets” podcast believes Kane will be playing with the Leafs this season. It’s uncertain whether he or fellow long-time Blackhawks star Jonathan Toews want to be part of the club’s rebuilding plans.

The Edmonton Oilers might also be keen on Kane. They won two playoff rounds last season so they might be closer to taking a title run than the Leafs.

Cox pointed out the Leafs lack blue-chip prospects and they aren’t loaded with draft picks over the next three years. Meanwhile, folks in Edmonton are envisioning a package deal for Kane revolving around winger Jesse Puljujarvi.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s easy to tell we’re in the dog days of the NHL offseason. The UFA market is depleted of prime talent and the trade market has been mostly quiet for the past month. It’s only natural that some observers are turning to speculation over where next summer’s biggest potential free agents could end up by the trade deadline.

I’m also guilty of playing this guessing game about Kane and other notable members of the 2023 UFA class. I believe the New York Rangers could be in the best position to acquire him if he agrees to be moved between now and the 2023 trade deadline.

The Blueshirts are a team on the rise but could need scoring depth at right wing if Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko fail to improve this season. They don’t have a lot of projected trade deadline cap space but they do have more than the Leafs or Oilers. The Rangers also have more depth in promising prospects to tempt the Blackhawks.

Anyway, that’s my choice. I could be wrong but so what? It’s the dog days of summer and we’ve gotta have something to talk about until training camp starts next month.

LATEST ON THE CANADIENS

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico expects the Canadiens will have around $4.4 million in cap relief to work with once Carey Price and his $10.5 million cap hit is moved to long-term injury reserve for the coming season. That could provide them some flexibility to re-sign center Kirby Dach and perhaps make another move.

Once Dach is signed, the Canadiens will have 15 forwards under NHL contracts for the coming season without counting first-overall pick Juraj Slafkovsky or other promising prospects. D’Amico anticipates they could move Christian Dvorak, Mike Hoffman or Joel Armia to free up a roster spot and some additional salary to perhaps add a right-side defenseman. He speculates they could make that move before the season opens in October.

Dvorak could be the odd man out at center following the additions of Dach and Sean Monahan. The Habs would be seeking a young right-shot blueliner or a veteran on a short-term deal along with some futures.

D’Amico cites sources suggesting the trade market isn’t optimal for Dvorak right now. If the Canadiens remain patient, however, his value could improve.

SPECTOR’ S NOTE: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes has proven to be a savvy wheeler-dealer in his short time playing the trade market. He’s shipped out veterans who no longer fit into his club’s long-term plans for promising youngsters and quality draft picks. If he is shopping Dvorak, he’ll wait for the right moment and the right return just as he did with some of his earlier deals.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 30, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 30, 2022

Check out the latest on Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin plus a look at some potential Canadiens’ salary-cap casualties in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

NO TRADE DISCUSSIONS FOR PATRICK KANE

THE ATHLETIC’s Mark Lazerus took to Twitter citing a source saying the Chicago Blackhawks have had “NO discussions with any teams involving Patrick Kane.” He believes there are probably “plenty of teams” interested in the 33-year-old winger, “but nothing is happening”.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks beat writer Jay Zawaski quickly swatted down a rumor floating around yesterday claiming they were engaged in trade talks with several teams and the Dallas Stars were among them. Earlier this month, speculation linked Kane to the Edmonton Oilers before that one died away.

Like Lazerus, I don’t doubt that there are contenders with an interest in Kane. He’s in the final year of his contract, the Blackhawks are rebuilding, and he might not be keen to be part of that process.

Kane’s contract, however, will be difficult to move. He’s carrying a $10.5 million cap hit plus a full no-movement clause.

In actual salary, Kane’s earning $6.9 million, of which the Blackhawks have already paid out $4 million as a signing bonus. Nevertheless, they’ll probably have to retain perhaps up to half of Kane’s cap hit to facilitate a trade. That’s why some observers expect he’ll be moved closer to next season’s trade deadline. His movement clause and the Blackhawks’ asking price will also limit the potential destinations.

COULD PANARIN WAIVE HIS NO-MOVEMENT CLAUSE?

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Arthur Staple was asked if New York Rangers general manager Chris Drury would trade Artemi Panarin if the winger agreed to waive his no-movement clause.

Staple believes Drury would be interested in moving Panarin under that scenario but doesn’t expect it will happen. He anticipates the winger’s hefty contract would make him difficult to move. “It would either be a swap of bad contracts or just a massive salary dump by the Rangers,” he writes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In June, Staple cited sources claiming Drury was unhappy over Panarin’s postseason performance. He speculated the winger could seek a trade if the rift persisted.

Then as now, there’s no indication that Panarin wants out or that Drury wants to move him. I’m not doubting the veracity of Staple’s sources. Perhaps there is tension between the two behind the scenes.

Nevertheless, Staple makes a good point about Panarin’s contract making him tough to move. I wouldn’t hold my breath anticipating a big trade involving him.

CANADIENS’ COST-CUTTING CANDIDATES

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico recently examined some potential cost-cutting candidates for the Canadiens. Despite shipping out Shea Weber’s contract and sending Jeff Petry to Pittsburgh for Mike Matheson, the Habs are still pressed against the $82.5 million cap for the coming season.

Christian Dvorak was D’Amico’s top candidate, citing the frequency in which the 26-year-old center has surfaced in trade speculation this summer. Joel Armia and Mike Hoffman are his other trade possibilities.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens GM Kent Hughes has had a busy summer making moves to free up salary-cap space. Dvorak could draw the most interest given his age and reasonable $4.45 million cap hit through 2023-24. If Hughes is going to move him, the coming season is his best opportunity. Dvorak’s eight-team no-trade list kicks in next summer.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 23, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 23, 2022

The speculation linking Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Canadiens won’t go away. Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs face a cost-cutting trade. Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

LATEST DUBOIS SPECULATION

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy suggests that Pierre-Luc Dubois accepting a one-year, $6 million qualifying offer with the Winnipeg Jets creases the skids for a potential trade to the Montreal Canadiens.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images).

Dubois, 24, will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights again next summer. Murphy felt his new contract sets up what the center’s qualifying offer will be for 2023-24. It would also allow the Canadiens to sign him to an eight-year contract if they can acquire him before the 2023 free-agent market opens next July.

A source told Murphy that Dubois’ agent, Pat Brisson, is doing everything he can to make a trade to Montreal happen.

TVA SPORTS: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes’ recent trade activity has Canadiens fans expecting another deal, perhaps one that brings Dubois to Montreal.

Within a 10-day period earlier this month, Hughes shipped Alexander Romanov to the New York Islanders for the 13th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, flipped that pick to the Chicago Blackhawks for center Kirby Dach, and traded Jeff Petry and Ryan Poehling to the Pittsburgh Penguins for defenseman Mike Matheson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets don’t have to move Dubois this summer. However, they risk having the uncertainty over his future becoming an unwelcome distraction at a time when they’re trying to rebound from a disappointing performance last season.

Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is said to be listening to offers for Dubois. However, he’s also set a high asking price. He won’t waiver after seeing what the Calgary Flames got from the Florida Panthers for Matthew Tkachuk.

It’s rumored Cheveldayoff sought Nick Suzuki or Cole Caufield as part of the return from the Canadiens. Both are believed to be off-limits in trade discussions. There’s also talk suggesting Hughes could part with center Christian Dvorak but it’ll take more than him as the centerpiece of a deal to pry Dubois away from the Jets.

Limited salary-cap space is also an issue for the Canadiens. They’re pressed against the $82.5 million cap and continue to await clarity over Carey Price’s recovery from complications arising from last summer’s knee surgery.

Hughes, however, isn’t under any pressure here to acquire Dubois. He was in the middle of rebuilding the roster long before the reports emerged of the center’s desire to one day play for the Canadiens. The Canadiens GM can afford to wait until next summer to try again or kick this down the road to 2024 and attempt to sign Dubois as an unrestricted free agent.

MAPLE LEAFS FACING A TRADE

THE ATHLETIC: James Mirtle believes the Toronto Maple Leafs need to make a trade after their recent free-agent signings of Calle Jarnkrok and Pierre Engvall. Sitting a projected $1.4 million over the $82.5 million cap, they must make room to re-sign restricted free agent defenseman Rasmus Sandin.

Signing Sandin would also create a logjam on the blueline. Mirtle doesn’t see Jake Muzzin, Morgan Rielly, Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie or Timothy Liljegren going anywhere.

Mirtle examines whether the Leafs will consider moving Sandin or fellow blueliner. He also suggested forward Alex Kerfoot as the only other cost-cutting candidate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Holl is the more likely trade candidate. What do you think, Leafs fans? Sandin, Holl or Kerfoot? Or is there a better trade option? Weigh in with your thoughts.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 30, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 30, 2022

More speculation over the Blues’ offseason plan, the Canadiens’ Christian Dvorak could be a trade candidate and the latest on the Penguins in today’s NHL rumor mill.

MORE SPECULATION OVER POTENTIAL BLUES MOVES

STLTODAY.COM: Ben Frederickson reports it’s been whispered Vladimir Tarasenko has decided he wants to remain with the St. Louis Blues after last summer’s drama following his trade request led to a solid bounce-back season for the 30-year-old winger. He believes Tarasenko and the Blues belong together and hopes the winger and general manager Doug Armstrong agree.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Armstrong had difficulty finding a suitable trade partner last summer for Tarasenko, who’d been hampered by shoulder injuries the previous two years. His team-leading, career-best 82-point performance this season should considerably improve his trade value if he still wants out.

Tarasenko has one season remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $7.5 million but with an actual salary of $5.5 million, which could also make him enticing in the trade market. He also carries a full no-trade clause, giving him control over potential destinations.

Armstrong could hang onto Tarasenko for another run at the Stanley Cup next season. Given the winger’s UFA status next summer, however, he could quietly revisit his trade conversations from last summer if Tarasenko’s future in St. Louis remains uncertain.

Frederickson suggests the Blues thank goaltender Ville Husso for his service during the regular season and allow him to depart via free agency. With limited salary-cap space and Jordan Binnington having salvaged his season with a strong playoff performance, it may be time for Charlie Lindgren to sink or swim as his backup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Frederickson’s colleague Jim Thomas disagrees, believing the Blues should prioritize re-signing Husso given their lack of a clear-cut replacement within their organization. He noted the 27-year-old saved the Blues season when Binnington was floundering. The club has also invested a lot of time in his development. We’ll find out by July 13 which way Armstrong goes with his goaltending.

Regarding pending UFA David Perron, Frederickson believes the Blues should do all they can to keep him in the fold. He also recommended shopping forward Ivan Barbashev while the 60-point winger’s value is high if it’ll free up cap room given their depth up front.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Blues with $9.775 million in projected cap space. Perron and Husso are their main UFAs while Scott Perunovich and Niko Mikkola are restricted free agents.

Shipping out Tarasenko would clear considerable cap room to retain most of their key free agents and perhaps bolster their defense corps. Moving Barbashev would help if they keep Tarasenko but there won’t be much for other additions unless it’s a dollar-for-dollar swap for another player.

LATEST ON THE CANADIENS

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy recently cited a source saying Christian Dvorak’s name is out there in the trade market. He isn’t saying the Canadiens will trade the 26-year-old center but it sounds like teams are making inquiries.

It’s also no secret Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry is also being shopped and has been since requesting a trade during the regular season. If Petry and his $6.25 million annual cap hit gets moved this summer, Murphy wonders if GM Ken Hughes will attempt to do the same with Dvorak and his $4.4 million AAV.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A lot will depend upon whether the Canadiens can divest themselves of the remainder of the permanently-sidelined Shea Weber’s contract. There were reports claiming they were close to moving it to the Arizona Coyotes at the trade deadline but it fell through because of the delay in sorting out the insurance issues.

Recent speculation suggests Hughes and the Coyotes could revisit that deal. If so, there might not be as much pressure to shed Dvorak’s contract, especially if Petry gets moved.

SHOULD THE PENGUINS BLOW UP THEIR BLUELINE TO RE-SIGN LETANG?

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski believes the Penguins’ objective shouldn’t be finding a way to replace Kris Letang. Instead, they should re-sign the pending UFA defenseman but replace others on the blueline corps.

Kingerski believes the Penguins can’t afford to lose Letang’s offense considering the lack of production among their other defensemen. He recommended retaining Mike Matheson following his bounce-back performance this season and the affordable Mark Friedman. He called on management to shop blueliners such as Marcus Pettersson and John Marino and use the cap savings to improve the defense.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An interesting suggestion but Penguins management might not see it that way. Then again, there has been speculation linking Marino to the Vancouver Canucks, so maybe they can shed him and perhaps Pettersson and find suitable replacements via trade or free agency.