NHL Rumor Mill – June 27, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 27, 2022

What next for the Avalanche and Lightning following the Stanley Cup Final? What’s the latest on the Islanders and Sabres? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE AVALANCHE AND LIGHTNING?

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski and Kristen Shilton looked at what the offseason could hold for the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning following the 2022 Stanley Cup Final.

Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic has some notable free agents to deal with, starting with forwards Nazem Kadri and Valeri Nichushkin. Both are slated to become unrestricted free agents on July 13 and are coming off strong regular-season and playoff performances.

Goaltender Darcy Kuemper, winger Andre Burakovsky and defenseman Josh Manson could receive lucrative offers from other clubs in the upcoming free-agent market. Trade deadline acquisition Artturi Lehkonen is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’s a year away from UFA eligibility.

Hanging over all of his is the knowledge that superstar center Nathan MacKinnon is a year away from UFA eligibility. Sakic must manage his future cap space carefully and might have to get creative if they hope to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche have a solid core next season in MacKinnon, Cale Makar, Gabriel Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen, Samuel Girard and Bowen Byram. However, maintaining their supporting cast could be challenging.

Cap Friendly shows the Avalanche with over $25 million in salary cap space with 14 players under contract for 2022-23. They’re enough room to re-sign Kadri, Nichushkin, Kuemper and Manson but it will eat up most of that cap space as well as bite deeply into their available space for 2023-24 when MacKinnon will be due for a big raise on a long-term deal.

Sakic might keep one of those key UFAs. It could be Kadri to ensure their depth at center but he could price himself out of their market. It could be Kuemper to maintain their solid goalie tandem with Pavel Francouz. I don’t think Burakovsky and Manson will be back.

My guess is Nichushkin is the most likely to return. Sakic took a chance on him after the Dallas Stars bought him out and he found his game with the Avs. He’s completing a two-year deal worth $2.5 million per season and should be the more affordable to retain.

The Lightning’s decisions start with pending UFAs Ondrej Palat, Nick Paul and Jan Rutta. They’re up against the salary cap once again with 19 players under contract for next season. That makes a major roster overhaul unlikely.

Like Sakic, GM Julien BriseBois will have to use some creativity to maximize his bargaining power. He’ll need to decide if he’s happy with the club’s current depth, especially on the blueline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: BriseBois has proven skillful at finding inventive ways to maintain a championship roster. That ability will once again be put to the test.

The Lightning will get some wiggle room with Brent Seabrook ($6.875 million) on permanent long-term injury reserve. Still, it’s unlikely BriseBois be able to bring back all three of those UFAs. I expect BriseBois will put his efforts into signing Palat.

COULD THE ISLES SHOP BEAUVILLIER FOR A DEFENSEMAN?

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz recently pondered the possibility of the New York Islanders shopping Anthony Beauvillier for help on their blueline. While the 25-year-old winger’s development has stalled, he’s still young enough to improve. He also carries a reasonable $4.15 million annual cap hit for the next two seasons and lacks no-trade protection.

Zdeno Chara, Andy Greene, Sebastian Aho and Grant Hutton have likely played their final games for the Islanders. There are questions over whether those in the system, such as Robin Salo and Samuel Bolduc, are ready to move up.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun could be a trade target. Most Isles fans polled by Kurz would be fine with bundling Beauvillier with their first-round pick (13th overall) in this year’s draft for Chychrun, though Kurz believes the Coyotes would want a prospect included in the deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders aren’t the only team expected to have an interest in Chychrun. However, the Coyotes have set a very high asking price. Beauvillier, a first and a prospect might not be enough to land him. I suspect GM Lou Lamoriello will explore more affordable options if he uses the winger as trade bait for a blueliner.

LATEST ON THE SABRES

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington doesn’t see the Sabres using their plentiful salary-cap space to pursue a big-ticket UFA like Johnny Gaudreau, Evgeni Malkin or Kris Letang. He also doesn’t see them pursuing Marc-Andre Fleury to bolster their goaltending depth if Craig Anderson decides he’s not returning.

He doesn’t see the Sabres being interested in Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper. Toronto’s Jack Campbell might want a deal of three or four years and the Sabres aren’t interested in that type of term. He also believes St. Louis’ Ville Husso will want dollars and term that the Sabres aren’t interested in handing out.

Harrington advocates pursuing Braden Holtby to share the goalie duties and mentor promising Ukka-Pekka Luukkonen, suggesting they offer up a two-year, $8 million deal. It would also help the Sabres reach the $61 million salary-cap minimum.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see who the Sabres bring in to share the goalie duties with Luukkonen if Anderson hangs up his pads. The focus seems to remain on building up with their younger players, though I do see them adding affordable veterans to provide depth and leadership for next season.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 22, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 22, 2022

Are the Canucks listening to offers for J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser? What’s the latest on Johnny Gaudreau, Jack Campbell, Marc-Andre Fleury and Martin Necas? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON MILLER AND BOESER

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Vancouver Canucks are interested in listening to offers for J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser. Miller, 29, is coming off a career-best 99-point season and is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. Meanwhile, the 25-year-old Boeser is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller (NHL Images).

Dreger said there isn’t a Stanley Cup playoff team (including the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning) who wouldn’t consider Miller a good addition. The Canucks aren’t interested in draft picks as they need good young NHL players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin and president of hockey ops Jim Rutherford appear intent on putting their stamp on this team right away, perhaps by retooling with an eye on the shortest possible turnaround. They won’t want offers of castoffs or struggling young players for Miller or Boeser.

Miller will have the best value but Boeser will also draw interest despite his struggles last season as he dealt with injuries, COVID-19 and his father’s declining health. Rutherford has indicated they intend to qualify Boeser’s rights (at a cost of $7.5 million) rather than let him walk away as a UFA.

Those two aren’t the only Canucks who could be shopped this summer. The Province’s Ben Kuzma wondered if they’ll find trade partners for wingers Tanner Pearson and Conor Garland in cost-cutting moves. He pointed out that the Boston Bruins were interested last summer in Garland before the Arizona Coyotes shipped him to the Canucks.

UPDATES ON GAUDREAU, CAMPBELL, FLEURY AND MANSON

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reported the Calgary Flames already sent a contract offer to Johnny Gaudreau and there’s been ongoing dialogue between the two sides. He felt it won’t be about money if the 28-year-old left winger departs via free agency on July 13 as the Flames can offer up an extra year.

Chris Johnston reports the Toronto Maple Leafs seemingly haven’t reached out to Jack Campbell and Ilya Mikheyev. There have been ongoing discussions but no numbers offered up yet and no real negotiation. Mikheyev seeks between $4 million to $5 million annually while Campbell could go higher than that depending on the goalie market on July 13.

Darren Dreger said Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin would love to bring back goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to tandem with Cam Talbot for another season. Those talks haven’t started yet as the 37-year-old Fleury just returned from vacation with his family.

LeBrun also reported Colorado Avalanche defenseman Josh Manson is expected to hit the UFA market as they’ve got other key free agents such as Nazem Kadri, Valeri Nichushkin and Darcy Kuemper to deal with. Manson’s former club, the Anaheim Ducks, would like to speak to him when he hit the open market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Everything’s still in the talking stage for most of this summer’s notable unrestricted free agents. With three weeks until the market opens on July 13, there’s still plenty of time for those negotiations to intensify and work out a deal. Nevertheless, the closer we get to that date with those players still unsigned, the more speculation will grow over their respective futures.

COULD THE HURRICANES MOVE NECAS?

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports teams are calling the Carolina Hurricanes about Martin Necas. The promising 23-year-old forward is coming off his entry-level contract and had an inconsistent 40-point performance. LeBrun doesn’t know if the Hurricanes really want to move him but didn’t rule it out if they can get an offer of a good defenseman.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 23, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 23, 2022

How could the Penguins’ re-signing Bryan Rust affect efforts to retain Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang? Could they bring back Marc-Andre Fleury? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Matt Vensel believes the Penguins’ recent signing of Bryan Rust to a contract extension is confirmation the club isn’t going into a rebuild under their new owners. It’s also an indication they don’t intend to replace Ron Hextall as general manager.

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (NHL Images).

The Rust signing leaves the Penguins with 15 players under contract and $24 million in salary-cap space for 2022-23. Vensel suggests there’s room to bring back Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang if the pending unrestricted free agents are willing to compromise with management.

However, it could close the door on Rickard Rakell’s return and also make it difficult to sign Evan Rodrigues. Restricted free agent Kaspari Kapanen should receive his modest qualifying offer but things could get dicey if arbitration is required to settle his contract situation.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien also wondered if the Penguins can afford to sign Malkin, Letang or both. He felt the possibility of what happens if they lose both to free agency is a debate worth having.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If it comes down to a choice between Malkin and Letang I believe they’ll keep the latter because they’ll need his puck-moving skills on the blueline.

That’ll depend, of course, on how much Letang wants on his next contract and for how long. There’s talk he seeks a four-year deal for slightly less than his current $7.5 million cap hit, which is a hefty investment for a 35-year-old player even if he’s playing well at an age when most players’ skills deteriorate.

Malkin, meanwhile, reportedly sought a three-year deal but he and management are said to be far apart on salary. His current cap hit is $9.5 million and while he obviously knows he won’t get that much again from anyone he could seek something in the $7 million neighborhood.

NHL WATCHER: recently cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman on his “32 Thoughts” podcast talking about a possible reunion between the Penguins and Marc-Andre Fleury.

Friedman believes there’s been an understanding it could happen. He said one of the reasons Fleury didn’t accept a trade to the Washington Capitals before the trade deadline was that he wanted to return to Pittsburgh. The veteran goalie felt that wouldn’t happen if he agreed to a move to Washington.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Never say never, I guess. Fleury, 37, earned an annual average value of $7 million on his current contract and won’t get that much on the open market. He’ll have to accept a significant pay cut and perhaps a backup role behind Tristan Jarry, who silenced his doubters with a solid performance as the Penguins’ starter this season.

That decision, however, will also depend on the outcome of the Penguins’ negotiations with Malkin and Letang. If both return, there might not be enough cap space for a possible Fleury reunion.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 17, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 17, 2022

Will the Wild re-sign winger Kevin Fiala and who will be their starting goalie next season? What’s next for the Golden Knights? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE LATEST ON THE WILD

TWINCITIES.COM: Dane Mizutani listed Kevin Fiala’s contract situation and sorting out the starting goaltender position among the five things he believes Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin needs to address this summer. He also expects late-season acquisition Jacob Middleton will be re-signed but the restricted free agent defenseman will require a big raise.

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo also considers Fiala’s contract status and choosing between goalies Marc-Andre Fleury and Cam Talbot to be among Guerin’s offseason priorities. The 25-year-old Fiala is due for a big raise following his 85-point season but his poor performance against the St. Louis Blues in the first round could affect his negotiations with the Wild GM.

Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala (NHL Images).

The Wild’s limited salary-cap space also complicates Fiala’s contract negotiations. If Guerin decides to trade him, Russo noted the Ottawa Senators have long had an interest in the winger while the New Jersey Devils are seeking an impact forward.

Fleury, meanwhile, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Russo pointed out Guerin has a long history with the goaltender going back to 2009 when they were teammates on the Pittsburgh Penguins. He could bring back the Fleury-Talbot tandem for another season or trade Talbot and bring in a more affordable backup.

If promising Calen Addison is ready to play next season, Russo suggested they could shop a defenseman like Matt Dumba or Dmitry Kulikov. Forward Tyson Jost could also be a trade candidate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hanging over the Wild’s offseason plans is the salary-cap crunch they’ll face over the next three seasons because of last summer’s buyout of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. NBC Sports’ James O’Brien has the breakdown of its effect on their cap payroll. It could also force them to part ways with Fiala, Talbot or Dumba.

Following his playoff struggles, Fiala isn’t sure what the future holds. “There’s no other answer other than, ‘We’ll see’,” he said. “I don’t know.” Guerin could reach an agreement with the winger’s camp on a new contract, but it wouldn’t be shocking if he trades him this summer.

As for the goaltenders, Russo recently suggested Guerin must repair the relationship with Talbot after he was benched for all but one playoff game or trade him this summer. Following the Wild’s elimination by the Blues, Mizutani reported Talbot isn’t holding a grudge and wants to stick with the team. He also noted Fleury’s interest in re-signing with the Wild if the price is right.

That limited cap room for next season means someone – Fiala, Fleury, Talbot or Dumba – won’t be returning with the Wild. It’s shaping up to be an interesting summer for the Wild.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS?

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Prior to the Golden Knights’ sacking head coach Pete DeBoer, Owen Krepps examined some of the important questions facing the club in the offseason.

He wondered who the starting goaltender will be after Robin Lehner’s inconsistent, injury-riddled performance this season. Late-season call-up Logan Thompson’s solid play raised eyebrows, leading Krepps to wonder if Thompson will back up Leher next season or take over as the starter with Laurent Brossoit or someone else in the backup role.

Krepps also wondered how Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon will free up much-needed salary-cap space for next season. He could attempt to trade Evgenii Dadonov again, or try to peddle Lehner, Alec Martinez or William Karlsson. They also risk losing long-time Golden Knight winger Reilly Smith to unrestricted free agency in July.

THE ATHLETIC: Jesse Granger suggested Max Pacioretty could also become a salary-cap casualty. He remains the Golden Knights’ best pure scorer and his trade value could be done following an injury-plagued season. Nevertheless, they’ve shown they’re not shy about unloading expensive contracts for little-to-no value in return, and shedding his $7 million cap hit would free up a lot of room.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lehner, Pacioretty, Karlsson, Dadonov and Martinez each earn $5 million or more per season. Pacioretty, Karlsson and Dadonov each have 10-team no-trade lists, Martinez has a 12-team no-trade list and Lehner has an eight-team no-trade list. It’s going to take considerable skill on McCrimmon’s part to find a suitable trade partner for one of them given the flattened salary cap for next season and the high number of teams with cap issues of their own.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 20, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 20, 2022

Jonathan Huberdeau takes over the scoring race, Matt Duchene sets a Predators record, the battle for the Western Conference wild-card berths continues and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau collected three assists to take over the lead in the NHL scoring race as his club downed the New York Islanders 3-2. Huberdeau (111 points) sits one point ahead of Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid. Aleksander Barkov tallied a hat trick for the Eastern Conference-leading Panthers, who’ve won 11 straight games. With 116 points, they’re tied with the Colorado Avalanche but the latter holds first place on the basis of regulation wins.

Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Islanders honored their late Hall-of-Famer Mike Bossy with a video tribute and a moment of silence. Bossy passed away last Thursday at age 65 of lung cancer.

A shootout goal by Mikael Granlund gave the Nashville Predators a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames. Matt Duchene set a personal and franchise record with his 40th goal of the season while teammate Filip Forsberg tallied his 39th. The Predators sit in the first Western Conference wild-card berth with 93 points, two up on the Dallas Stars. Andrew Mangiapane tallied twice for the Flames (104 points) as they hold a 10-point lead over the Edmonton Oilers atop the Pacific Division.

A third-period goal by Phillip Danault lifted the Los Angeles Kings over the Anaheim Ducks 2-1. Jonathan Quick made 29 saves for the win as the Kings (93 points) sit two behind the second-place Oilers in the Pacific Division and five points ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights.

The Vancouver Canucks’ playoff hopes suffered a setback following a 4-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators. Drake Batherson and Adam Gaudette scored in the shootout to give Ottawa the win. Alex Formenton tallied twice in regulation for the Senators as they ended Vancouver’s six-game win streak. The Canucks gained a point to move into a tie with the Golden Knights (87 points) and sit four behind the Stars for the final Western wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks goaltender Jaroslav Halak left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury. He won’t be traveling with the club during its upcoming road trip.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell kicked out 37 shots to backstop his club over the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2. William Nylander and Ilya Mikheyev each had two points for the Leafs, who’ve won 11 of their last 13 and hold the second-best record in the Eastern Conference with 108 points. Leafs star Auston Matthews missed his second straight game dealing with what’s described as a minor injury but took part in practice yesterday with his other injured teammates.

An overtime goal by Charlie McAvoy gave the Boston Bruins a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues, snapping the latter’s nine-game win streak. Jake DeBrusk scored and had the assist on McAvoy’s game-winner as the Bruins (99 points) moved within one point of the third-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division. Pavel Buchnevich and Robert Thomas scored for the Blues, who sit in third place in the Central Division with 103 points.

Minnesota Wild goaltender Cam Talbot made 26 saves to shut out the Montreal Canadiens 2-0. Kevin Fiala and Matt Boldy were the goal scorers as the Wild (103 points) hold second place in the Central with a game in hand. Canadiens goalie Carey Price made 28 saves in his second game of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens forward Paul Byron left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury. Earlier in the day, the club announced that forward Joel Armia has been granted a leave of absence to attend to a family matter in Finland.

Speaking of the Lightning, they were upset by the Detroit Red Wings 4-3 on a third-period goal by Jakub Vrana. Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos collected three assists to tie Martin St. Louis as the franchise career points leader with 953.

The New York Rangers picked up their third consecutive shutout and 50th win over the season by blanking the Winnipeg Jets 3-0. Igor Shesterkin stopped 31 shots, Ryan Strome tallied twice and Artemi Panarin reached the 70 assist mark.

San Jose Sharks netminder Kaapo Kahkonen made 22 saves as his club held off the Columbus Blue Jackets for a 3-2 victory, snapping a 10-game losing skid. Scott Reedy scored twice for the Sharks while Jack Roslovic netted both Jackets’ goals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks coach Bob Boughner said sidelined winger Kevin Labanc won’t play in the club’s final seven games. He’s been sidelined by a shoulder injury since Dec. 11. Boughner also doubted goalie Adin Hill will return to action from the lower-body injury that’s kept him out of the lineup since March 12.

HEADLINES

THE SCORE: Marc-Andre Fleury isn’t ready to hang up his skates yet. The 37-year-old Minnesota Wild goaltender said he hopes to play “at least another season.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Will he re-sign with the Wild if they can afford him? Is a reunion with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the cards? Let’s get the speculation started early.

TSN: Evander Kane’s grievance hearing over the termination of his contract in January by the San Jose Sharks was held on Tuesday. He was in the fourth year of a seven-year deal with the Sharks and stands to lose over $22 million.

The Sharks placed him on unconditional waivers on Jan. 8 citing breach of contract over a violation of the AHL’s COVID-19 protocols. Kane was skating with the Sharks AHL affiliate at the time. In late January, he signed a one-year deal with the Edmonton Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Chris Johnston reported this isn’t expected to end quickly. He points out there could be significant salary-cap ramifications for the Sharks. The outcome could take months before a settlement is reached.

THE ATHLETIC: Kane also settled a seven-year-old lawsuit filed against him by a Buffalo woman who accused him of assault while he was a member of the Sabres.

GOPHNX.com’s Craig Morgan reports Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun and forward Christian Fischer will be sidelined for the remainder of the season.

LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: The Canadiens issued a statement in full support of Hall-of-Famer Guy Lafleur during his ongoing battle with lung cancer. They asked fans to respect the privacy of Lafleur and his family and indicated they would not issue any further comment on the matter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Lafleur, who issued a statement last week mourning the passing of Mike Bossy.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 14, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – April 14, 2022

In today’s NHL rumor, a look at this summer’s free-agent goaltending market plus a possible conundrum between the pipes for the Canadiens.

WILL THIS SUMMER’S TOP UFA GOALIES STAY PUT OR TEST THE MARKET?

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun considers the Minnesota Wild’s Marc-Andre Fleury, Colorado Avalanche’s Darcy Kuemper, St. Louis Blues’ Ville Husso and the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Jack Campbell as the top tier of UFA goalies this summer. All four could improve their value with solid performances in the upcoming playoffs.

Sources indicated the Wild would like to keep Fleury despite their limited salary-cap space for 2022-23 but there’ve been no discussions yet. LeBrun said the Blues aren’t giving up on struggling starter Jordan Binnington and believed Husso will be heading to free agency in July.

There haven’t been many contract discussions between Avalanche management and Kuemper’s camp. The Avs offered a one-year extension last summer but it was rejected by his agent.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell (NHL Images).

Campbell had a strong start to this season but struggled and was sidelined in the second half. His agent said it was status quo on the contract front.

Teams that could be in the market for a starter this summer could include the Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals, New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres. The Leafs and Avs could also seek help in goal if their respective starters hit the open market in July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury, Kuemper, Husso and Campbell will draw considerable interest if they hit the UFA market on July 13. It will be interesting to see how their value is affected by their performances in the 2022 playoffs and whether they stay with their current clubs or test the market.

LATEST ON THE CANADIENS’ GOALTENDING SITUATION

THE ATHLETIC: LeBrun pondered whether Carey Price wants to continue his playing career and if it would be with the Montreal Canadiens. If he wants to join a Cup contender, the Canadiens would have to absorb part of his $10.5 million cap hit to make it happen.

LeBrun also wondered if clubs come calling for Jake Allen. The Canadiens backup has a year left on his contract with an affordable $2.875 million cap hit. He was playing well until suffering a season-ending groin injury.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico also weighed in on the potential offseason goalie conundrum facing the Canadiens. He cited RDS’ Francois Gagnon indicating it’s a complex question given the 34-year-old Price’s contract, injury history and stated intent to play in Montreal for the long term. He also holds a full no-movement clause.

Should Price agree to accept a trade, D’Amico believes they’ll need to find a long-term replacement. UFA options could include Ville Husso or Darcy Kuemper.

LeBrun’s fellow TSN insider, Darren Dreger, said Allen was a much sought-after asset leading up to last month’s trade deadline. D’Amico pointed to the improved play of Samuel Montembeault, suggesting the Canadiens could opt for a more affordable backup and put Allen on the trade block.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price’s age, hefty contract, NMC and his long list of injuries make him seemingly untradeable but it could be folly to assume it won’t happen. That being said, the Canadiens would have to retain between $4 million and $5.25 million of his cap hit to make his contract palatable to interested parties. His movement clause would also complicate matters by limiting potential trade suitors.

Allen would be much easier for the Canadiens to trade. However, that depends on whether management sees the 25-year-old Montembeault as a reliable backup for Price, who has a good working relationship with Allen.

Montembeault is a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights coming off a one-year, $750K contract. He would be an affordable re-signing for the Habs at a cap rate lower than Allen’s.