NHL Rumor Mill – March 28, 2023
NHL Rumor Mill – March 28, 2023
More chatter linking the Jets’ Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Canadiens, the latest on the Flames’ Nazem Kadri, and the Capitals’ Evgeny Kuznetsov addresses recent rumors in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
MORE “DUBOIS TO THE CANADIENS” SPECULATION
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marc Dumont cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculating about Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois ending up with the Montreal Canadiens this summer.
In his latest “32 Thoughts” podcast episode, Friedman pointed out Dubois is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility “and we all know how he feels”, implying that he’ll likely join the Montreal Canadiens as a free agent in 2024 rather than re-sign with the Jets. He signed a one-year, $6 million contract last summer and is a restricted free agent again this summer.
Given the Jets’ struggles over the second half of this season, Friedman wonders if changes could be coming to their roster this summer. Trade rumors have linked Dubois to the Canadiens for months.
Friedman believes the Jets have spoken to the Canadiens off and on about Dubois for some time. He thinks they could be looking into seeing if a deal is possible whereby the Canadiens get him earlier while the Jets can get something for him.
Dumont points out that the Canadiens hold all the cards here if Dubois has made Montreal his prime destination. If the Habs were to inquire about a trade, it would come down to what the Jets would want in return. He considers it unlikely that Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes would part with significant assets for a player he could wait a year to sign.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens must also determine if Dubois actually fits into their long-term plans and if he’s worth the expense of a long and lucrative contract. He could help them accelerate their rebuild, and it would be a popular move among a number of Canadiens fans.
Nevertheless, I don’t see Hughes parting with a young core player and a top prospect as part of the return. After all, if Dubois has his sights set solely on joining the Canadiens, they can afford to wait until next summer to sign him without giving up any assets in a trade.
COULD THE FLAMES TRY TO TRADE NAZEM KADRI THIS SUMMER?
THE ATHLETIC: Eric Duhatschek noted that a reader asked him if the Calgary Flames should trade Nazem Kadri this offseason because he isn’t producing at last season’s levels and seem a poor fit with the Flames.
Duhatschek said the short answer on trading Kadri is “not yet.” That’s because what we’re seeing of the 32-year-old center this season is typical for most expensive free agents in the first season of their contract with their new clubs. They usually need a season to adjust and often perform better in the second season.
Further complicating things is Kadri has a full no-movement clause in his contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Calgary has plenty of disappointment over the Flames’ performance that isn’t just limited to Kadri. Unless they hire a new general manager with an agenda to shake up the roster, I expect we’ll see him skating with the Flames next season.
KUZNETSOV DISMISSES TRADE RUMORS
Washington Capitals beat reporter Sammi Silber reported yesterday that Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov dismissed reports and rumors claiming he’d requested a trade through his agent.
“You know how this is. It’s just people trying to put whatever they want to get the likes and Instagram or Twitter, whatever,” said Kuznetsov. He added that he spoke to “those people” and asked them where the rumors were coming from.