Surveying the NHL Trade Sellers – Montreal Canadiens
Stars of the week, more stories of abusive behavior by former coaches, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: A five-goal first period powered the Buffalo Sabres to a 7-1 romp over the New Jersey Devils. Jack Eichel and Johan Larsson each had three points while Conor Sheary scored two goals. The Devils have dropped five of their last seven games.
Vegas Golden Knights winger Alex Tuch tallied two first-period goals as his club downed the New York Rangers 4-1. Malcolm Subban made 29 saves for the win. Following the game, the Golden Knights announced they’d sent a fifth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft to the Washington Capitals for forward Chandler Stephenson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The cap-strapped Capitals had to free up some salary to make room for sidelined winger Carl Hagelin’s imminent return. Stephenson should provide a bit of a boost to the Golden Knight’s penalty kill.
The New York Islanders beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-1, leaving the latter winless in their last 10 contests. Jordan Eberle tallied twice for the Islanders.
St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen turned in a 38-save performance to blank the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0. The Blues are unbeaten (8-0-2) in their last ten games. Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane’s 15-game points streak has come to an end.
Derek Grant scored two goals and Ryan Miller made 34 saves (15 in the final period) as the Anaheim Ducks doubled up the Los Angeles Kings 4-2.
Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, Calgary Flames goaltender David Rittich, and San Jose Sharks netminder Martin Jones are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Dec. 1.
SPORTSNET: Hall of Famer Chris Chelios revealed former NHL coach Mike Babcock was ” a tough guy to play for” if you were a veteran player. He said Babcock told him his role during his sixth season with the Wings was to “babysit” blueliner Brett Lebda. He claims Babcock told him, ‘If you don’t like it, you can go see Kenny Holland — I’m sure he’ll trade you.”
Chelios also said Babcock attempted to scratch him from the 2009 Winter Classic. He claims the coach was disrespectful toward Mike Modano, making Modano a healthy scratch late in the 2010-11 season, thus preventing him from playing his 1,500th career game.
THE DETROIT NEWS: Chelios also said Babcock “verbally assaulted” Red Wings forward Johan Franzen during Game 5 of the 2012 playoffs against the Nashville Predators, causing the latter to have a nervous breakdown. Franzen confirmed the encounter, saying “I get shivers when I think about it. … It was coarse, nasty and shocking. But that was just one out of a hundred things he did. The tip of the iceberg.” He went on to call Babcock a “terrible person” and “a bully who was always attacking people.”
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Chelios claimed the players informed Red Wings GM Ken Holland of the incident and he came into the room, make a speech and defended Babcock. Holland, who’s now the GM of the Edmonton Oilers, said no player came forward to complain about Babcock’s behavior. Holland said he’s spoken to Chelios about the incident and the blueliner admitted it didn’t take place following the Nashville game. He said he was in the room when Holland told the players to come and see him if they had a problem with Babcock.
“The situation Chelios described had nothing to do with Franzen,” Holland said. “They were separate situations. That happened after a game in San Jose when someone had said something on a telecast about there being unrest in the locker room. I told players they could come to me if they had anything to say. No one did.”
THE SCORE: The Chicago Blackhawks announced they will be conducting a thorough review of assistant coach Marc Crawford after former NHL player Sean Avery claimed Crawford kicked him during a game while both were with the Los Angeles Kings.
Former NHLer Daniel Carcillo posted a transcript of former Vancouver Canucks defenseman Brent Sopel talking about Crawford’s troubling behavior during a Spittin Chiclets podcast last year. Sopel claimed Crawford kicked and choked him and attacked players personally.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Babcock’s firing opened the floodgates of stories from former players of his abusive behavior and those of Crawford and now-former Calgary Flames bench boss Bill Peters. I don’t think we’ve heard the last of these tales.
SPORTSNET: The Vancouver Canucks have granted goaltender Jacob Markstrom a leave of absence to attend his father’s memorial service.
OTTAWA SUN: Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki foiled a robbery attempt in Vancouver. He clotheslined a thief off his bicycle, wrestled him to the ground, and retrieved the backpack the man had stolen from a car.
TSN: The Montreal Canadiens placed goaltender Keith Kinkaid on waivers and recalled goalie Cayden Primeau and forward Matthew Peca. They also announced defenseman Victor Mete will be sidelined for two weeks with an injured ankle.
The Penguins have agreed to terms with forward Stefan Noesen on a one-year contract.
The two-way deal runs through the end of this season and has a value of $700,000 at the NHL level.
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) December 2, 2019
Here’s the list of today’s notable deals heading toward the 3 pm ET deadline. This list will be updated frequently throughout the day. Following the deadline, I’ll examine the day’s biggest moves in the Soapbox section.
Florida Panthers trade defenseman Chris Wideman to the Pittsburgh Penguins for forward Sebastian Dea.
Winnipeg Jets trade left wing Nic Petan to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for center Par Lindholm.
Florida Panthers trade defenseman Bogdan Kiselevich to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a seventh-round draft pick.
Buffalo Sabres trade defenseman Nathan Beaulieu to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a sixth-round pick.
Vancouver Canucks trade defenseman Erik Gudbranson to the Pittsburgh Penguins for winger Tanner Pearson.
Minnesota Wild trade center Matt Hendricks to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a seventh-round pick.
Anaheim Ducks traded defenseman Michael Del Zotto to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a sixth-round pick.
New Jersey Devils trade winger Marcus Johansson to the Boston Bruins in exchange for a 2019 second-round pick and a fourth-round pick in 2020.
Minnesota Wild trade forward Mikael Granlund to the Nashville Predators in exchange for winger Kevin Fiala.
Los Angeles Kings trade defenseman Oscar Fantenberg to the Calgary Flames for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2020.
New York Rangers trade defenseman Adam McQuaid to the Columbus Blue Jackets for a fourth- and a seventh-round draft pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.
Florida Panthers trade forward Tomas Jurco to the Carolina Hurricanes for future considerations. The Hurricanes trade prospect Cliff Pu to the Panthers for future considerations.
Arizona Coyotes trade center Jordan Weal to the Montreal Canadiens for center Michael Chaput
TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports the New York Rangers trade center Kevin Hayes to the Winnipeg Jets for Brendan Lemieux, the Jets’ 2019 first-round pick and a conditional pick.
New Jersey Devils trade goaltender Keith Kinkaid to the Columbus Blue Jackets in return for a fifth-round pick in 2022.
Detroit Red Wings trade forward Gustav Nyquist to the San Jose Sharks for a second-round pick in the 2019 NHL draft and a conditional third-round pick in 2020.
Updates on Sergei Bobrovsky, Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds, Micheal Ferland and the latest on the Devils in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
WHAT NEXT FOR BOBROVSKY?
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will meet with management today after he was told to stay away from the club Thursday after an undisclosed incident following Tuesday’s 4-0 loss to Tampa Bay. Asked if Bobrovsky’s relationship with the club is souring, LeBrun noted the goalie controls his fate because of his full no-movement clause in his contract. He said general manager Jarmo Kekalainen told him this incident had nothing to do with the goalie’s relationship with head coach John Tortorella.
THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports if the meeting goes well Bobrovsky will return to practice today and will travel with the team for their game in Washington on Saturday. He is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Before the incident, the Jackets intended to carry him for the remainder of the season. However, Portzline speculates that plan might have changed now. If Bobrovsky hits the open market, Portzline listed the Philadelphia Flyers, Florida Panthers, St. Louis Blues, Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders among the clubs believed to have interest in the goaltender.
NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. If the Jackets decide to part ways with Bobrovsky, his no-movement clause will give him full control over the situation. If he agrees to be traded he will attract plenty of suitors. While he’s struggled this season there will be general managers willing to bet a change of scenery will help him recover the form that won him two Vezina Trophies. The Blue Jackets won’t just give him away but the pressure to move him quickly could affect their efforts to get a big return.
LATEST ON THE HURRICANES, FLYERS, AND BLUES.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Carolina Hurricanes winger Micheal Ferland is on the trade market. While that doesn’t necessarily mean Ferland will be traded, the Hurricanes don’t intend to lose him to free agency this summer for nothing. The two sides haven’t talked contract in over a month.
NOTE: I believe the Hurricanes will move Ferland before the trade deadline if they can’t get him re-signed by mid-February.
Bob McKenzie reports the Philadelphia Flyers will be a club to watch leading up to the trade deadline. GM Chuck Fletcher seeks a starting goaltender, a top-four defenseman, and a top-two or top-three line center. A veteran such as Wayne Simmonds could be traded. Simmonds is slated to become a free agent in July.
NOTE: There’s increasing speculation suggesting Simmonds will be moved by the trade deadline. While McKenzie said that’s not a certainty, it seems more and more likely he’ll be on the move to a playoff contender in the coming weeks.
LeBrun reports St. Louis Blues center Brayden Schenn is drawing interest around the league. The Boston Bruins have been linked to Schenn. LeBrun suggests GM Doug Armstrong could afford to wait until the offseason to make that move.
NOTE: Schenn is signed through next season so Armstrong isn’t under pressure to move him by the trade deadline. If he can’t find a return he likes, he’ll wait until the summer when the trade market should improve.
DEVILS COULD GET BUSY IN THE TRADE MARKET
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: cites NHL insider Darren Dreger telling Winnipeg’s TSN 1290 that he feels the New Jersey Devils could be close to “moving out some pieces.” He doesn’t see GM Ray Shero moving out stars such as Taylor Hall or Kyle Palmieri. “Maybe he wants to dip into the market, or take advantage of someone else who wants to dip into the market early,” said Dreger.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: Abbey Mastracco reports goaltending, organizational depth and consistency are the biggest issues plaguing the Devils this season. Goalie Keith Kinkaid’s play has declined since early in the season, noting he was overplayed because of necessity and could be again if promising Mackenzie Blackwood should be sidelined long-term. She also noted they need another top-pairing defenseman like Sami Vatanen. They’re also lacking depth elsewhere in the roster and they don’t appear to have anyone ready on their AHL farm team to call up.
NJ.COM: In a recent mailbag, Chris Ryan was asked about the trade value of Marcus Johansson, Brian Boyle, Keith Kinkaid, and Ben Lovejoy. He felt Johansson might have the best trade value despite his injury history. He doesn’t expect Boyle to be traded, while MacKenzie Blackwood’s performance could make moving Kinkaid plausible. Lovejoy could have the second-most value as he’s “a smart, veteran blueliner with playoff experience who could provide plenty of penalty killing value to any team.”
NOTE: Shero might be a seller but he won’t be trading away his best players. I expect he’ll try to re-sign Boyle before his UFA eligibility this summer. He’s a popular team leader worth keeping around. There might be a market for Johansson, who’s also slated to become a UFA, but his injury history could dampen his trade value. Lovejoy could attract interest but Shero won’t get much for him. With Blackwood currently sidelined and Cory Schneider on injured reserve, I don’t see Kinkaid going anywhere for now.
Latest on the Sharks, Canucks, and Canadiens in today’s NHL rumor mill.
COULD THE SHARKS BE IN THE GOALIE MARKET?
TSN: cited The Mercury New’s Paul Gackle citing the poor stats of San Jose Sharks goaltenders Martin Jones (.897 save percentage entering last night’s game against the LA Kings) and Aaron Dell (.890) and speculating they could get into the rental market for help. “Gackle points to Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard, Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth of the Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils starter Keith Kinkaid and Carolina Hurricanes netminder Petr Mrazek as potential options for the Sharks.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks could be forced to stick with their current tandem or seek help from within their system. Howard is the best of the bunch but the asking price is reportedly a first-round pick, something the Sharks don’t have in this year’s draft or next year’s. Elliott and Neuvirth are frequently sidelined by injuries. Concerns over Cory Schneider’s health could make the Devils reluctant to part with Kinkaid. Mrazek’s done a good job backing up Curtis McElhinney and the Hurricanes could be reluctant to part with him.
CANUCKS FACE A DECISION WITH EDLER
VANCOUVER SUN: With the trade deadline on the horizon, Ben Kuzma reports the Canucks will have to make a decision on pending free agent defenseman Alex Edler. They could re-sign him or ask him to waive his no-trade clause, try to move him for “a considerable draft pick or prospect”, and then attempt to bring him back as a free agent this summer. Contract discussions between the two sides haven’t begun yet.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Edler’s asking price could be the determining factor. The 32-year-old blueliner is in the final season of a six-year, $30-million contract. If he’s willing to accept a short-term deal for the same cap hit ($5 million per season) or a little less, they could re-sign him before the deadline to ensure an experienced veteran presence on their defense.
CANADIENS WON’T TRADE ASSETS FOR QUICK FIXES
SPORTSNET: Eric Engels reports Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin doesn’t intend to be busy in the rental market leading up to the Feb. 25 trade deadline. He said he won’t part with future assets for a short-term addition. “Again, if there’s a young player available and there’s assets that need to go [to acquire that player], I get it. But I don’t think I’ll be in the rental business, ” said Bergevin. He also didn’t rule out shipping out some veterans to bring in futures.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Canadiens jockeying for a wild-card berth this season there’s speculation Bergevin could be a buyer at the trade deadline. Maybe he’d be interested in someone with some term on his contract, like LA Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin. However, if the asking price is a first-round pick or top prospect, it appears the Habs GM won’t be interested.
A NOTE ON THE CHANGE IN TODAY’S RUMOR MILL.
Earlier today, I posted a summary of a piece by The Athletic’s Craig Custance listing 20 players who could be moved by the trade deadline. As always, I linked to the story, attempted to summarize his main points and provided my analysis. Unfortunately, some followers accused me of plagiarizing Custance or attempting to circumvent The Athletic’s paywall and provide their content to my readers for free.
This was never my intention and I am sorry if that’s how it came across. I decided to remove the post and resubmit new material for today’s rumor roundup. I’ve also provided the link to Custance’s list if you wish to check it out.
In my coverage of media-generated NHL trade speculation, I’ve always tried to be as accurate as possible. I cite the media source by name with a link to their work and a summary of their rumors followed by my own take. I have never attempted to pass off their work as my own and didn’t mean for my detailed summary of Custance’s list to be construed as bypassing a paywall.
If I make a mistake, even inadvertently, I feel it’s best to admit it and strive not to repeat it. My apologies to Custance, The Athletic, and its readers.
Latest on the Sharks, Canadiens, Canucks and more in today’s updated NHL rumor mill.
COULD THE SHARKS GET INTO THE GOALIE MARKET?
TSN: yesterday cited The Mercury News’ Paul Gackle speculating the San Jose Sharks could be forced to look for a rental goaltender. Starter Martin Jones (.897 save percentage) and backup Aaron Dell’s (.890) numbers aren’t that good this season. One option Gackle suggests is swapping Dell for an experienced netminder. Possible targets could include Detroit’s Jimmy Howard, Philadelphia’s Brian Elliott or Michal Neuvirth, New Jersey’s Keith Kinkaid, or Carolina’s Petr Mrazek.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: All of those suggested trade options are slated to become unrestricted free agents. Howard is the best of the bunch but the rumored asking price is a first-round draft pick, which the Sharks no longer have for 2019 or 2020.
Elliott and Neuvirth are oft-injured and likely won’t be very enticing. Given the concerns over Cory Schneider’s health, the Devils could retain Kinkaid. The Hurricanes could be reluctant to part with Mrazek, who’s been a good backup for Curtis McElhinney.
Unless the market for goalies improves, the Sharks could be forced to stick with their current tandem for the remainder of the season.
CANADIENS GM NOT SELLING THE FARM FOR QUICK FIXES
SPORTSNET: Eric Engels reports Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin doesn’t intend to give up assets for a short-term fix leading up to the trade deadline. “Again, if there’s a young player available and there’s assets that need to go [to acquire that player], I get it. But I don’t think I’ll be in the rental business,” said Bergevin. He also didn’t rule out moving out some veterans at the deadline for futures.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Canadiens jockeying for a wild-card berth, some followers feel Bergevin could become a buyer at the deadline. If he had the option of landing a quality player for, say, a third-round pick, I think he could consider it. He’s obviously not going to part with his promising prospects or a first- or second-rounder to do it.
The Canadiens need additional skilled blueline depth, but Bergevin’s unwillingness to part with significant assets could put him out of the market for someone such as the LA Kings’ Jake Muzzin.
WHAT WILL THE CANUCKS DO WITH EDLER?
VANCOUVER SUN: Ben Kuzma reports the Canucks must soon decide if they’re going to re-sign pending UFA defenseman Alex Edler or attempt to move him for “a considerable draft pick or prospect” at the trade deadline and try to bring him back this summer via free agency. Edler would have to agree to waive his no-trade clause.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Much could also depend on how much the 32-year-old Edler would want to re-sign with the Canucks. He’s completing a six-year, $30-milion contract. If he wants a short-term deal for a little less than his current rate, the Canucks might keep him to provide experience and leadership for their rebuilding club.
THE ATHLETIC: Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin, Ottawa Senators forwards Matt Duchene and Mark Stone, and New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes are among Craig Custance’s list of 20 players who could be moved by the Feb. 25 trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier today, I posted a summary of Custance’s complete list, highlighting the key points he cited for each player and offering up my own brief summary of each. Unfortunately, some followers accused me of plagiarizing Custance or ripping off paid content and posting it for free.
This was not my intention and I am sorry if this is how it came across. I’ve removed the post but I’ve left the link for those of you who might be interested in reading the full list.
In tracking media-generated NHL trade speculation, I always strive for accuracy. I name the source and provide a link to their work along with a brief overview of their main points followed by my own analysis. I’ve never attempted to pass off anyone else’s work as my own nor was I deliberately trying to circumvent The Athletic’s paywall to provide my readers with free access to their content.
If I make a mistake, even inadvertent, I feel it’s best to own up to it and try to avoid repeating it in the future. My apologies to Custance, The Athletic, and their readers.