NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 30, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 30, 2022

Nazem Kadri hoping to remain with the Avalanche, the aftermath of the Kevin Fiala trade, Anthony Duclair suffers a major Achilles injury, an update on Ryan Ellis, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: Nazem Kadri said he’d love to return with the Colorado Avalanche. The 31-year-old center is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13 and is coming off a career-best 87-point regular season. He was also a key contributor to the Avs’ march to the 2022 Stanley Cup.

Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

Kadri indicated his first choice is signing with the Avalanche. He called the club’s ownership “great supporters of mine”, going on to say both sides will try to work together toward a new contract. However, he intends to make the most of his free-agent opportunity. “I’ve shown what my worth is and I’m just looking forward to watching this all develop,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kadri is completing a six-year contract worth an annual average value of $4.5 million. He’s set to cash in next month either with the Avalanche or another club, perhaps landing a five-year deal worth over $7 million per season on the open market.

Kadri could price himself out of Colorado. Cap Friendly shows the Avalanche with over $25 million in cap space and 14 players under contract for 2022-23. Darcy Kuemper, Valeri Nichushkin and Josh Manson are also slated to become UFAs while Artturi Lehkonen is a restricted free agent who’s also a year away from UFA status. The Avs must also ensure long-term cap space to pay Nathan MacKinnon the massive raise it’ll take to keep him out of next summer’s UFA market.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin explained why he traded Kevin Fiala yesterday to the Los Angeles Kings for a 2022 first-round pick and University of Minnesota defenseman Brock Faber.

Guerin admitted a lack of salary-cap space made it impossible for the Wild to sign Fiala to the big raise he would seek coming off a career-best 85-point season. While other clubs were also interested in the 25-year-old winger, the Wild GM said only the Kings were willing to meet his asking price.

We need younger guys,” said Guerin. “We need guys that don’t make millions and millions of dollars. We just have to do it that way.”

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo reported the New Jersey Devils, Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders also showed interest in Fiala. With only $7.8 million in cap space, they need to add two forwards (one could be promising Marco Rossi), sign defenseman Jake Middleton and either bring back Marc-Andre Fleury or find another goaltender to share the duties with Cam Talbot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That limited cap space is due to the $12 million in dead cap space from buying out Zach Parise and Ryan Suter last summer. It jumps to $14 million for 2023-24 and again for 2024-25. That means Guerin might not be done trading some key players over the next two years.

TSN: Florida Panthers winger Anthony Duclair faces potential surgery for an Achilles tendon injury suffered during his offseason training. The recovery would require several months.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Duclair could end up missing the opening weeks of the 2022-23 season. That might force the Panthers to find a short-term replacement via trade or free agency.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher provided an update on Ryan Ellis’ lengthy rehab from a “multilayered” core injury. While the 31-year-old defenseman is progressing with his recovery, there’s still no timeline as to when he’ll return to action next season.

Fletcher also indicated Sean Couturier (back injury) and Kevin Hayes (groin) are doing well and are expected to be ready for training camp in September.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fletcher is hoping for a clearer picture of Ellis’ return before the start of next season. I anticipate he’ll miss the opening weeks of the 2022-23 campaign if he hasn’t recovered by the time training camp opens.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell is pleased with what he’s heard regarding upgrades to his club’s home arena. The team would like to add a sportsbook into the arena plans but an online gambling bill failed to pass last week in the state’s general assembly.

Waddell indicated the Hurricanes definitely want to bring back restricted free agent defenseman Tony DeAngelo. He sounded less certain over whether UFA forwards Vincent Trocheck and Nino Niederreiter will return.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Kraken intend to lower their entry-level ticket pricing following “listening sessions” with their fans. They intend to make more single-game seats available at $40 and lower to broaden the team’s appeal.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Saint John Sea Dogs are the 2002 Memorial Cup champions. The tournament hosts defeated the OHL champion Hamilton Bulldogs 6-3 in the championship game. Eight NHL prospects make up the Sea Dogs, including tournament MVP (and New York Islanders prospect) William Dufour.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Sea Dogs on winning the Memorial Cup for the second time in franchise history.

SPORTSNET: Former NHL forward Jim Pappin died Wednesday at age 82. He spent 14 seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks, California Golden Seals and Cleveland Barons from 1963-64 to 1976-77.

Pappin won two Stanley Cups with the Leafs in 1964 and 1967. His best seasons were with the Blackhawks on a line with Pit Martin and Dennis Hull. He reached or exceeded 70 points three times with the Hawks, including a career-best 92 points in 1972-73. In 767 career regular-season games, Pappin scored 278 goals and 573 points, as well as 33 goals and 67 points in 92 playoff contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Pappin’s family, friends and former teammates.










Wild Trade Kevin Fiala To The Kings

Wild Trade Kevin Fiala To The Kings

The Minnesota Wild today traded Kevin Fiala to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for defenseman prospect Brock Faber and the Kings’ first-round pick (19th overall) in the 2022 NHL Draft.

Cap Friendly reports the 25-year-old winger also signed a seven-year contract with the Kings worth an annual average value of $7.875 million. The deal includes a full no-movement clause that begins in 2023-24 through 2025-26, becoming a modified no-trade clause from 2026-27 through the remainder of the deal.

Minnesota Wild trade winger Kevin Fiala to the Los Angeles Kings (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt anyone’s surprised the Wild traded Fiala. Completing a one-year, $5.1 million contract, his career-best 85-point performance put the restricted free agent in line for a significant raise. However, the Wild couldn’t afford it with over $12 million in dead cap space from last year’s buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter biting into their cap room for 2022-23.

Fiala will likely become the Kings’ first-line left wing skating alongside center Anze Kopitar and right wing Adrian Kempe. He could also skate on their second line with center Phillip Danault and right winger Viktor Arvidsson. He’ll be expected to provide a boost to a Kings’ offense whose 2.87 goals-per-game average ranked 20th overall and a powerplay percentage (16.1) that was 27th overall.

Despite Fiala’s impressive stats this season, it remains to be seen if he’s truly elevated his play to the next level. His previous career-best was a 54-point effort in 62 games during the 2019-20 season before it was ended by COVID-19. If his play regresses, the Kings will have an expensive mistake on their hands. On the other hand, it could be money well-spent if he performs up to expectations.

The move leaves the Kings with nearly $12 million in cap space with 16 players under contract for 2022-23. Kempe, Michael Anderson and Sean Durzi are their notable restricted free agents, with Kempe due for a big raise himself after a career-high 35-goal performance this season.

As for the Wild, they now have two picks in the first round (19th and 24th overall) and a promising blueliner in the 19-year-old Faber, who spent this season with the University of Minnesota. The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler ranked him seventh among Kings prospects during his 2022 ranking of their prospect pool. He believed Faber had the makings of “a very effective, three-zone five-on-five player.”

The Wild still has limited salary-cap space, with just $6.6 million remaining and 19 players signed for next season. It’s believed they hope to bring back goalie Marc-Andre Fleury next season but that could require shedding a salary to make it happen. They’ll also have to find someone to replace Fiala’s offense. That won’t be easy given their salary limitations.

This trade could signal the start of a potentially active trade market leading up to the 2022 NHL Draft in Montreal on July 7 and 8. Some clubs could attempt to wheel and deal before the opening round next Thursday.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 10, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 10, 2022

A look at Daily Faceoff’s top offseason trade targets in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DAILY FACEOFF: Alex DeBrincat tops Frank Seravalli’s list of this summer’s top-25 trade targets. He considers it a question of “when”, not “if” the Chicago Blackhawks trade the 24-year-old left winger. Seravalli believes he’d be their best trade chip to stockpile futures for their rebuilding process. It will also cost them $9 million to qualify his rights at the end of next season.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NBC Sports Chicago’s Charlie Roumeliotis believes Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson could seek a return comparable to the two first-round picks and two NHL players he got from the Tampa Bay Lightning for Brandon Hagel. A high first-round pick and/or an A-level prospect would have to be a priority. He suggested the New Jersey Devils could be worth watching as they’re willing to part with their first-round pick (second overall) in this year’s draft.

Whoever pursues DeBrincat must be prepared to pony up big bucks to re-sign him after next season. He’ll be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’ll also be a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility.

Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala, Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun, Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller and the Devils’ second-overall draft pick sit Nos. 2 through 5 on Seravalli’s list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fiala, Chychrun and Miller have been fixtures in this year’s rumor mill. Seravalli thinks Fiala could be a good fit with the Devils alongside Swiss countryman Nico Hischier. The Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders have also been linked to Fiala.

The Coyotes’ expensive asking price for Chychrun remains a sticking point. The Canucks are expected to try and sign Miller to a contract extension this summer but could end up shopping him if that’s not possible.

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo, Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson, Edmonton Oilers defenseman Tyson Barrie, Devils forward Pavel Zacha and Nashville Predators defenseman Philippe Myers come in at Nos. 6 through 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeAngelo enjoyed a bounce-back performance this season but the Hurricanes might end up shopping him if they can’t re-sign him. Seravalli said Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek quietly floated Gibson’s name before the trade deadline. However, his contract could be difficult to move. He carries a $6.4 million annual salary cap hit through 2026-27 with a 10-team no-trade clause.

Barrie could be shopped by the Oilers to free up cap room for other moves. Seravalli suggests Zacha, a restricted free agent with arbitration rights, could be used as a trade chip by the Devils to bring in help elsewhere in their lineup. He also thinks Myers could be useful for a cap-strapped team to acquire and buy out because of the way his deal is backloaded.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry, Pittsburgh Penguins blueliner John Marino, Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov, Vegas Golden Knights winger Evgenii Dadonov and either Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi or Kailer Yamamoto come in at Nos. 11 to 15.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The cap-strapped Canadiens tried to fulfill Petry’s trade request before the trade deadline and could shop him this summer to free up cap room. Seravalli suggested he could be a solid backup plan for the Penguins if Kris Letang departs via free agency. He’s also been linked to the Dallas Stars. However, the three years left on his deal at $6.25 million could be a stumbling block.

Marino, Varlamov and Dadonov would also be cost-cutting trade candidates. There’s speculation the Canucks could be interested in Marino. Varlamov’s 16-team no-trade clause could complicate attempts to move him. The Golden Knights unsuccessfully attempted to move Dadonov before the trade deadline. They will likely try again this summer.

Seravalli believes the Oilers’ limited cap space could force GM Ken Holland to choose between Puljujarvi and Yamamoto. Both are restricted free agents with arbitration rights.

Florida Panthers winger Patric Hornqvist, Seattle Kraken defenseman Carson Soucy, Canucks forwards Tanner Pearson and Jason Dickinson, Detroit Red Wings forward Filip Zadina, and the contracts of Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom and Canadiens blueliner Shea Weber are shoehorned into Nos. 16 through 21.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers need to free up cap space and Hornqvist has only a year left on his contract. Seravalli believes GM Bill Zito will be able to find a taker for the veteran forward as he did with Anton Stralman and Brett Connolly last season.

Seravalli doesn’t see any push by the Kraken to move Soucy but could listen to offers if they won’t re-sign him after next season. Pearson and Dickinson would be salary-dumping moves by the Canucks. Zadina might need a fresh start after struggling with the Red Wings.

Klefbom and Weber are on permanent long-term injury reserve. Seravalli points out that the Oilers and Canadiens would like to move those contracts as having them on LTIR prevents them from accruing cap space during the season.

There’s an assumption the Canadiens will try again to peddle Weber’s contract to the Arizona Coyotes after a rumored deal fell apart before the trade deadline. He carries a $7.857 million annual cap hit for four more seasons but will be paid just $6 million total in actual salary over that period.

Montreal Hockey Now’s Marco D’Amico explains that would allow the Coyotes’ ownership to save millions in payroll, especially as they’ll be playing in a tiny university arena over the next three or four years while awaiting construction of their new arena. However, they could insist on draft picks in the 2023 and 2025 drafts be included in the deal if they’re still willing to take on Weber’s contract.

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Justin Holl, Hurricanes blueliner Ethan Bear, Canadiens winger Josh Anderson and Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele round up the remainder of the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like so many on this list, Holl would be moved in an effort to trim payroll. Bear, meanwhile, fell out of favor in Carolina and was a healthy scratch in the playoffs. I don’t see the Canadiens shopping Anderson though it wouldn’t hurt the rebuilding club to at least listen to trade offers.

Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff last week indicated he expected Scheifele to be back next season. Seravalli acknowledged moving him probably isn’t high on Cheveldayoff’s list and considers it difficult for the Jets to get equal value in return.










Sunday NHL Rumor Mill – June 5, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Mill – June 5, 2022

The Blackhawks could test this summer’s trade market, what a Kevin Fiala-to-Islanders trade might look like, and some Canadiens’ speculation in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

BLACKHAWKS TO TEST THE TRADE MARKET

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Chicago Blackhawks could be a team to watch over the next few weeks in the trade market.

Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Seth Jones are off the table given their no-move clauses. However, management is testing the market for anyone on their roster that other teams are willing to ask about.

Friedman said another general manager compared this to when they moved Brandon Hagel before the trade deadline. “Can you make them an offer that makes them want to seriously think about it?”

Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That report could make Blackhawks fans nervous about Alex DeBrincat’s future in Chicago. He’s a year away from becoming a restricted free agent with arbitration rights, carries a $6.4 million cap hit and lacks no-trade protection. The 24-year-old winger also set a career-high in points this season with 78 and matched his career-high of 41 goals.

Of everyone on the Blackhawks roster who could be available, DeBrincat is the guy who’ll garner the most interest and fetch the best return. However, the rebuilding Hawks won’t just give him away. The asking price will consist of at least a first-round pick and either a top prospect or a good young (and affordable) NHL player.

Any club acquiring him should ensure they have the cap space to sign him to a big raise after this season. Another 40-goal performance will push his value up into the $9 million per season range.

WHAT WOULD A “FIALA-TO-ISLANDERS” TRADE LOOK LIKE?

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz recently mused over what it might cost the New York Islanders to make a pitch for Kevin Fiala. The Minnesota Wild winger is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights coming off a one-year, $5.1 million contract. The Wild could have difficulty signing him because of their limited salary-cap space for next season.

Kurz believes any potential trade for Fiala would have to start with the Isles’ first-round pick in either this year’s draft or next year’s. He also believes they’d have to throw in a young player or prospect. He rules out Anthony Beauvillier because of his $4.15 million cap hit but suggested Oliver Wahlstrom as an alternative. If the Islanders don’t want to part with their first-round pick, perhaps a prospect such as Aatu Raty might push the deal over the finish line.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind that Kurz is merely speculating here. There’s no indication the Islanders are interested in Fiala, especially with the secretive Lou Lamoriello as their general manager. Nevertheless, this provides at least some idea of what it might take to acquire him. The Wild can’t afford to take back much salary in a Fiala deal.

LATEST CANADIENS SPECULATION

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy recently reported Joel Armia’s performance for Finland in the World Championships has generated some trade buzz about the Canadiens winger.

Armia was said to be a popular name in the market leading up to the March trade deadline. He has three years remaining on his contract with a $3.4 million cap hit, which could mean the Canadiens take back a smaller contract in order to get a draft pick in return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes made no secret of his intention to free up some salary-cap space this summer by shopping a veteran or two. Armia could be among his cost-cutting trade candidates.

Murphy also wondered if Ethan Bear might be a fit with the Canadiens. The 24-year-old Carolina Hurricanes defenseman is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer.

Bear saw action in 58 regular-season games with the Hurricanes but was a healthy scratch in the playoffs. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculated the blueliner might not want to return, though a lot depends on what happens with fellow RFA Tony DeAngelo and pending UFA Ian Cole this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t rule out an interest in Bear if he’s available by the Canadiens. He could be among several affordable young options Hughes could be seeking this summer for his blueline. Murphy’s source cited Bear’s conditioning as an issue, which could hurt his trade value.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 31, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 31, 2022

More speculation over whether the Oilers can afford to retain Evander Kane, some potential trade destinations for Kevin Fiala and the latest on the Leafs in today’s NHL rumor mill.

CAN THE OILERS AFFORD TO RE-SIGN EVANDER KANE?

SPORTSNET/THE EDMONTON JOURNAL: Mark Spector and Jim Matheson wonder if the Oilers can afford to re-sign Evander Kane after this season.

Edmonton Oilers winger Evander Kane (NHL.com).

Signed in January by the Oilers as a free agent to a one-year, $2.1 million contract after the San Jose Sharks terminated his previous deal, the 30-year-old Kane had 22 goals and 39 points in 43 regular-season games and 12 goals in as many postseason contests thus far.

Asked during a recent press conference about re-signing Kane, Oilers general manager Ken Holland said he can sign anybody but someone else would have to go.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Oilers with just $7.1 million in cap space for 2022-23 with 15 players under contract. Restricted free agents Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto need new contracts, UFA goaltender MIkko Koskinen must be replaced and pending UFA defensemen Brett Kulak and Kris Russell must be re-signed or replaced.

As I’ve mentioned before, the outcome of Kane’s grievance with the Sharks over his contract termination could determine how much it could cost the Oilers to keep him. His previous contract was worth $7 million annually. If the arbitrator’s ruling goes in Kane’s favor and he gets, say, $5 million annually, perhaps he’ll give the Oilers a break and agree to a multi-year deal worth between $2 million and $3 million.

Kane’s off-ice financial problems are well-documented and he could seek the biggest contract he can find to pay off his creditors. On the other hand, the chance to ride shotgun on Connor McDavid’s line in Edmonton for the next four years could be a strong incentive to accept a lesser deal.

WHAT’S THE MARKET FOR KEVIN FIALA?

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo and Harman Dayal recently examined the trade market for Kevin Fiala. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights coming off a one-year, $5.1 million contract and due for a big raise following his career-best 85-point performance. However, Wild’s limited cap space for 2022-23 could see him get traded if they can’t afford to keep him.

Looking at recent trades involving comparable players such as Florida’s Sam Reinhart, Russo and Dayal believe the Wild’s asking price would involve a first-round pick and a quality prospect. Clubs with potential interest could include the Ottawa Senators, New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wild general manager Bill Guerin could attempt to make a cost-cutting trade to free up the necessary cap room to re-sign Fiala. Failing that, he’ll have no choice but to shop the winger, whose production this season significantly boosts his trade value. A first-rounder would likely be the centerpiece of the return along with a top prospect or a good, young (and affordable) NHL-ready player.

Those clubs mentioned by Russo and Dayal are all in need of a top-six scoring winger. The Senators reportedly had a prior interest in Fiala. They could try again if they believe they can get him signed to a reasonable long-term deal.

RECENT LEAFS SPECULATION

THE ATHLETIC: Jonas Siegel and James Mirtle are uncertain over whether Jack Campbell and Jake Muzzin will return with the Toronto Maple Leafs next season. Campbell is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July while they recently suggested Muzzin as a possible cost-cutting candidate.

Campbell loves playing in Toronto but the thin market for goaltenders this summer could make it difficult for the cap-strapped Leafs to outbid other clubs, like the New Jersey Devils, for his services. Moving Muzzin, meanwhile, would remove some key elements that he brings to their defense corps.

Justin Holl, Alex Kerfoot, Wayne Simmonds, Colin Blackwell and Ilya Lyubushkin are others the Leafs could part ways with this summer. Simmonds, Holl and Kerfoot are signed through next season while the others are pending UFAs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Campbell and the Leafs will reach an agreement on a new contract. If they don’t, GM Kyle Dubas could try to land Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper, Minnesota’s Marc-Andre Fleury or St. Louis’ Ville Husso via free agency.

Muzzin has two more years left on his contract with an annual cap hit of $5.625 million and a full no-trade clause. He could waive it if asked to do so depending on the destinations but I don’t think that’s going to happen. The Leafs will ride it out with him for another season and see how things shake out after that.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 21, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 21, 2022

What teams could the Canadiens ship Jeff Petry to this summer? Should they pursue Kris Letang, Kevin Fiala or Jakob Chychrun this summer? Check out the latest collection of Habs speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Marc Antoine Godin recently looked at possible trade destinations for Jeff Petry if the Montreal Canadiens intend to shop the 34-year-old defenseman this summer.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry (NHL Images).

He suggested the Pittsburgh Penguins as a salary-dump destination if they lose Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Bryan Rust to free agency. The Seattle Kraken could be an option for a return of futures if the Habs retain some of Petry’s $6.25 million cap hit. The Nashville Predators were also among his proposed destinations if the Habs agree to take on Philippe Myers’ $2.25 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes is expected to gauge Petry’s value in this summer’s trade market. However, he’s made it clear he’s not moving him unless he can find a deal that’s fair for both sides. We already saw examples of that this season with his trades of Tyler Toffoli, Ben Chiarot, Artturi Lehkonen and Brett Kulak.

The Habs need to clear some cap space if they’re going ahead with a rebuild and Petry would be a prime cost-cutting candidate. Whether he ends up with the aforementioned teams or is peddled elsewhere remains to be determined. His 15-team no-trade list and his cap hit will limit where the Canadiens can send him.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico believes the Canadiens should steer clear of Kris Letang if the 35-year-old Penguins defenseman hits the open market. He doesn’t believe it’s worthwhile to invest over $7 million annually for multiple years given the uncertainty over Carey Price’s future, the glut of young defensemen in the system and management’s intent to build for the long-term future.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Letang’s been linked to the Canadiens because he’s from Montreal and Hughes is his former agent. None of those factors, however, means he wants to become a Hab or that Hughes sees him as a piece for the future. The Canadiens’ limited cap space should put the kibosh on the notion of them signing a big-ticket UFA like Letang.

Jimmy Murphy wondered if the Canadiens will make a pitch for Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala if he hits this summer’s trade block. He also pondered if they might pursue defenseman Jakob Chychrun if the Arizona Coyotes lower their asking price.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fiala and Chychrun will draw plenty of attention if they’re available in this summer’s trade market. The Canadiens possess considerable depth in draft picks and prospects to offer up as trade bait. Of the two, Chychrun would address their more pressing need for skilled blueliners.

Hughes could conduct his due diligence here. However, I’ll be surprised if either guy ends up in Montreal.

Fiala is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer coming off a career-best 85-point performance. He’ll seek a big raise over his $5.1 million salary for this season on a long-term deal. I don’t think he’s a fit with the Canadiens’ rebuilding plans.

Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong isn’t likely to reduce his high asking price for Chychrun. He’s got the blueliner under contract for three more seasons so he can take his time and wait for the right offer. If he doesn’t get it during this summer, he’ll try again around next season’s trade deadline or next summer.

Murphy also listed Washington’s Ilya Samsonov, St. Louis’ Ville Husso and the New York Rangers’ Alexandar Georgiev as possible trade targets if Carey Price isn’t able to return next season. Meanwhile, D’Amico listed Arizona’s Anton Stralman, Tampa Bay’s Jan Rutta and the Rangers’ Justin Braun as possible blueline free-agent targets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Samsonov and Georgiev are restricted free agents with arbitration rights while Husso is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Stralman, Rutta and Braun are all UFAs.

The Canadiens were linked to Samsonov before the trade deadline so perhaps Hughes revisits his rumored interest in the Capitals netminder. Georgiev is a year away from UFA eligibility and could be a decent short-term fit while the Habs await word on Price. Husso played well with a strong Blues team but we don’t know how he’d fare with a rebuilding club like the Canadiens.

Stralman has indicated he’d like to return with the Coyotes next season. They’re also rebuilding but could keep an affordable veteran like him. Rutta or Braun could be reasonable short-term options for the Habs but they could be looking at signing with playoff contenders if they hit the open market in July.