NHL Rumor Mill – December 2, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – December 2, 2022

Could the Canadiens re-sign Sean Monahan or attempt to move him before the March 3 trade deadline? Which Sharks are the most likely to be traded this season? What’s next for unsigned Senators Alex Formenton? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

WILL THE CANADIENS SIGN OR TRADE MONAHAN?

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Montreal Canadiens are considering whether to trade Sean Monahan before the March 3 trade deadline or re-sign him. Having acquired the 28-year-old center last summer along with a first-round pick, it seems a foregone conclusion they’d flip him for another asset before the deadline.

Montreal Canadiens center Sean Monahan (NHL Images).

Monahan, however, has impressed Canadiens management with how well he’s fit in on and off the ice. There’s now talk within the organization over whether they should re-sign the pending unrestricted free agent. LeBrun believes Monahan is likely to be moved but considers the fact they’re talking about keeping him as an interesting development.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Montreal Hockey Now recently reported that Monahan is considered among the most popular targets in this season’s trade market. The Ottawa Senators have been scouting the Canadiens regularly of late, though they’re believed to be interested in Christian Dvorak and Josh Anderson. Then again, the Sens could be simply scouting the Habs for their upcoming game on Dec. 14. 

Monahan’s enjoying a strong bounce-back performance this season after hip injuries hampered his final seasons with the Calgary Flames. He’s fourth among the Canadiens’ scorers with a respectable 16 points in 23 games. Those are solid numbers on a rebuilding club.

How long Monahan stays in Montreal could depend on what type of contract he’s seeking. What type of offers he draws in the trade market will also be a determining factor. If a Cup contender comes calling with a first-round pick and/or a top prospect, that could be an offer that general manager Kent Hughes can’t refuse.

TOP FIVE SHARKS TRADE CANDIDATES

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Timo Meier and James Reimer top Sheng Peng’s list of the five most tradeable San Jose Sharks.

If Meier gets shopped he could command the highest return of any forward likely to be moved by the 2023 trade deadline. A restricted free agent next summer, the 26-year-old is a bona fide first-line winger in the prime of his playing career. It will cost $10 million to qualify his rights, however, which could make him a rental player unless he can be signed to a long-term extension with a lower annual cap hit.

Reimer would be invaluable for contenders looking for insurance between the pipes. He carries an affordable $2.25 million cap hit and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

Middle-six wingers Alexander Barabanov, Matt Nieto and Nico Sturm round out Peng’s list. Nieto is also a pending UFA while Barabanov has a year left on his deal with a $2.25 million cap hit and Sturm has two more seasons at $2 million per.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Peng doesn’t consider Meier getting traded as a certainty. That’s because the Sharks don’t have to peddle him at the trade deadline but could wait until the offseason if unable to get him signed to an extension. I can see them peddling Reimer and Nieto but they could hang onto Barabanov and Sturm unless they get some solid offers for those two.

WHAT NEXT FOR FORMENTON?

TSN: Darren Dreger looked at what could be next for restricted free-agent winger Alex Formenton. He and the Ottawa Senators failed to reach an agreement on a new contract by the Dec. 1 deadline and he’s now ineligible to play in the NHL for the rest of this season.

Dreger said there was some trade interest in Formenton and Senators GM Pierre Dorion worked on that until well past the deadline. The 23-year-old winger could play with a European club for the remainder of this season. The Senators could trade his rights or he could sign an offer sheet with another NHL club. In those two instances, however, he’d remain ineligible to play in the NHL this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dreger also said Formenton’s situation is “complicated.” He could be alluding to the winger being a member of Canada’s 2018 World Junior club currently under investigation on allegations of sexual assault.

That investigation is reportedly close to completion. Formenton has maintained his silence about this situation, which has been interpreted as guilt by some observers. Thus far, however, there’s nothing formally tying him to those allegations. We will learn more once the findings of the investigation are completed.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 2, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 2, 2022

The Lightning’s Steve Stamkos reaches a scoring milestone, the Stars’ Jason Robertson extends his points streak, the three stars and the rookie of the month for November are revealed, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos became the first player in franchise history to reach the 1,000-point plateau in a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Stamkos assisted on the second of Nick Paul’s two goals to reach the milestone while Andrei Vasilevskiy made 21 saves as the Lightning improved their record to 14-8-1. Travis Konecny replied for the Flyers as they fall to 8-11-5.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stamkos’ teammates poured off the bench to congratulate their captain on his achievement. The 32-year-old forward shows no signs of slowing down, leading his club with 13 goals and sitting second in points with 28.

Konecny and Tony DeAngelo returned to the Flyers’ lineup after being briefly sidelined by injuries. Earlier in the day, general manager Chuck Fletcher said Ryan Ellis will not play this season. He’s been sidelined since last November by what could be a career-threatening back injury.

Dallas Stars winger Jason Robertson extended his points streak to 17 games by tallying a hat trick as his club blanked the Anaheim Ducks 5-0. Jake Oettinger made 31 saves for the shutout while Miro Heiskanen collected three assists. The Stars (14-6-4) have 32 points and hold a three-point lead over the Winnipeg Jets for first place in the Central Division. The Ducks (6-16-2) sit dead last in the overall standings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Robertson is the first player to score 20 goals this season.

Colorado Avalanche center scored two goals and set up three others in a 6-4 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. J.T. Compher scored twice and collected two assists as the Avalanche improved to 13-7-1. Tage Thompson and Dylan Cozens each had a goal and two assists for the 10-13-1 Sabres.

The Nashville Predators blew a 2-0 lead but rallied to down the league-leading New Jersey Devils 4-3 in overtime. Ryan Johansen tallied twice, including the game-winner as the Predators improved to 11-9-2. Jack Hughes and Erik Haula each collected two assists for the Devils (19-4-1) as their 39 points put them one up on the Boston Bruins in the overall standings.

Third-period goals by Jake Guentzel and Kasperi Kapanen lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Vegas Golden Knights by a score of 4-3. Guentzel, Kapanen and Brock McGinn each had a goal and an assist for the Penguins (12-8-4). Logan Thompson made 43 saves and Jack Eichel had a goal and an assist for the 17-7-1 Golden Knights as they sit atop the Western Conference with 35 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins captain Sidney Crosby credited sidelined teammate Kris Letang as inspiration for his club’s win. Letang is sidelined indefinitely after suffering a minor stroke on Monday. Letang went for a brief skate on his own yesterday morning but it was more for his mental health than anything else. His condition is not considered career-threatening but there’s no timetable for his return.

The Seattle Kraken improved to 15-5-3 and moved to within two points of the Golden Knights with a 3-2 overtime victory over the Washington Capitals. Matty Beniers scored the winner as the Kraken overcame a 2-0 deficit while Andre Burakovsky and Vince Dunn each picked up two assists. Alex Ovechkin collected two assists as the Capitals fell to 10-11-4.

Carolina Hurricanes forward Jordan Martinook tallied a hat trick in a 6-4 win over the St. Louis Blues. Brent Burns picked up two assists for the 13-6-5 Hurricanes while Vladimir Tarasenko and Pavel Buchnevich each had two points for the Blues, who drop to 11-12-0.

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov had a goal and two assists to lead his club over the Edmonton Oilers 5-3. Kaprizov set a franchise record for consecutive games with assists (nine) while extending his points streak to 10 games while the Wild improve to 11-9-2. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl each had a goal and an assist for the 13-11-0 Oilers. McDavid leads all NHL scorers with 43 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Wild recalled defenseman Andrej Sustr to replace Jonas Brodin, who’s out indefinitely with a lower-body injury.

Montreal Canadiens center Sean Monahan collected two assists while Jake Allen kicked out 45 shots in a 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames. Juraj Slafkovsky and Cole Caufield scored for the Canadiens (12-10-1) while Elias Lindholm replied for the 10-10-3 Flames.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was Monahan’s first game in Calgary against the Flames since he was traded to the Canadiens in the offseason. He received a video tribute from his former club and a standing ovation from Flames fans. Earlier in the day, the Canadiens announced that winger Brendan Gallagher would miss the game with a lower-body injury while winger Mike Hoffman (lower body) was placed on injured reserve.

The Florida Panthers got two goals from Sam Bennett and three points from Matthew Tkachuk to beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-1 and improve their record to 11-9-4. Dakota Joshua replied for the Canucks (9-12-3), who also lost goaltender Thatcher Demko in the first period with an apparent injury to his right leg. No word as to the severity of Demko’s injury.

Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar scored twice, including the winning goal in the third period, to lead his club over the Arizona Coyotes 5-3. Kevin Fiala had a goal and an assist for the Kings (13-9-4). Rookies Dylan Guenther and Matias Macelli each collected two assists for the Coyotes, who fell to 7-11-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kings goaltender Cal Petersen cleared waivers yesterday and was sent to the Kings’ AHL affiliate.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Stars winger Jason Robertson, Devils goalie Vitek Vanecek and Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner are the NHL’s three stars for November 2022. Golden Knights goalie Logan Thompson is the rookie of the month for November.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The Red Wings placed forward Tyler Bertuzzi on injured reserve with a hand injury.

OTTAWA SUN: The deadline for the Senators to reach an agreement on a new contract with restricted free-agent winger Alex Formenton passed yesterday without a deal. Formenton, 23, is now ineligible to play in the NHL for the remainder of this season but his rights are still held by the Senators.

TSN: Maple Leafs forward Calle Jarnkrok is expected to miss some time after leaving Wednesday’s game against the San Jose Sharks with a groin injury.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks placed defenseman Jarred Tinordi (hip) on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 27 and recalled blueliner Ian Mitchell from their AHL affiliate in Rockford.

Former Buffalo Sabres center Riley Sheahan has signed with EHC Biel in Switzerland. Sheahan and the Sabres mutually agreed to terminate his contract earlier this week after he decline demotion to their AHL affiliate.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 25, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 25, 2022

Which forwards could the Golden Knights target in the trade market? Should the Oilers attempt to acquire Kasperi Kapanen? Are the Wild in the market for more scoring? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

TRADE TARGETS FOR THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Owen Krepps has Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat at the top of his list of six potential trade candidates for the Golden Knights to boost their forward depth. He admits, however, the Canucks could set an asking price that’s too expensive for Vegas.

Montreal Canadiens center Sean Monahan, Chicago Blackhawks forward Max Domi, Columbus Blue Jackets winger Gustav Nyquist, Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen round out Krepps’ list.

Chicago Blackhawks forward Max Domi (NHL Images).

Krepps acknowledged the cap-strapped Golden Knights will have to shed some salary. One way could be shopping goaltender Laurent Brossoit ($2.3 million) as Logan Thompson and Adin Hill are playing well as the goaltending tandem. Another option could be shopping defenseman Alec Martinez.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt the Golden Knights can free up sufficient cap space to acquire Horvat and they probably can’t afford the Canucks asking price in terms of picks and prospects. Monahan’s $6.4 million cap hit also probably prices him out of their market unless the Habs agree to retain some of his salary, and that will mean parting with a sweetener they probably can’t afford to give up. The same goes for Nyquist and his $5.5 million cap hit.

Domi ($3 million), Puljujarvi ($3 million) and Kapanen ($3.2 million) are more affordable and likely obtainable targets. Domi is the best of this bunch. While inconsistent, he’s putting up better stats this season (14 points) than Puljujarvi and Kapanen combined (nine points). However, the Golden Knights might not be able to outbid other clubs if he continues playing as well as he has for the rebuilding Blackhawks.

WOULD KAPANEN BE A FIT FOR THE OILERS?

THE ATHLETIC’S Jonathan Willis recently wondered if Pittsburgh Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen might be a worthwhile “change-of-scenery flip” for the Edmonton Oilers. He pointed out Kapanen makes around the same cap hit as Jesse Puljujarvi and is signed a year longer. Willis noted he’s “better 5v5 scoring & finishing history, worse possession metrics.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kapanen straight up for Puljujarvi. Both might benefit from a change of scenery. Who says no? Provide your answers in the comments section below.

THE WILD ARE SEEKING SOME SCORING HELP

THE ATHLETIC’S Michael Russo tweeted on Wednesday that Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin admitted he’s looking for scoring help. However, he’s hoping the issue can be addressed internally.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keep an eye on the Wild in the coming weeks. Guerin could be active in the trade market if he can’t find an internal fix for his scoring woes.










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 23, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 23, 2022

A look at the early season trade targets in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

ANALYSIS OF THE EARLY-SEASON TRADE TARGETS

DAILY FACEOFF: Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat top Frank Seravalli’s first list of trade targets for 2022-23. He pointed out there hasn’t been much talk about a contract extension between the pending free agent and Canucks management since prior to training camp. Seravalli suggests “Colorado, Detroit, Boston and Edmonton” among the clubs that could use a top-flight center like Horvat.

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford is in no hurry to decide what to do with Horvat. That’s understandable since the trade deadline isn’t until March 3 so there’s no reason for Rutherford to rush into a decision regarding his captain at this point.

Nevertheless, the longer Horvat remains unsigned the more speculation over his future will increase as the trade deadline approaches. We’ll find out in due course if those clubs mentioned by Seravalli actually get into the bidding for the Canucks captain.

Chicago Blackhawks forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews sit second and third on Servalli’s list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli indicated the Blackhawks are expected to start a conversation with Kane in December to gauge his interest in a trade. He and Toews have complete control over their fates given their no-movement clauses.

Friedman wonders whether the Los Angeles Kings would make a pitch for Kane. He indicates they have the picks and prospects to make this move. Provided Kane is willing to accept a trade to Los Angeles, I question whether the Kings can comfortably afford to pick up the remainder of his $10.5 million cap hit.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun and Anaheim Ducks blueliner John Klingberg sit fourth and fifth on this list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman reported the Coyotes are still asking for “two first-rounders (upcoming picks or recently-drafted prospects), plus something else.”

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun believes the Coyotes based their high asking price for Chychrun on what the Ducks received from the Boston Bruins last season for Hampus Lindholm. That package included a first-round pick and two second-rounders. He also cited the two first-round picks the Chicago Blackhawks received as part of the return from the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Brandon Hagel deal.

As for Klingberg, Seravalli reminds us that the pending UFA’s no-trade clause is lifted on Jan. 1. We can expect to hear his name more frequently in trade rumors between New Year’s Day and March 3.

San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier, Florida Panthers winger Anthony Duclair, Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov, Los Angeles Kings blueliner Sean Walker and Sharks rearguard Erik Karlsson fill positions six through 10.

Seravalli points out Meier’s expensive qualifying offer ($10 million) will have teams looking at him as a rental player than as a restricted free agent…Duclair is only on the list because the Panthers will have to shed salary when he’s ready to return from his offseason Achilles tear but he might not necessarily be the player who gets traded. He carries a $3 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Meier could be shopped unless he and the Sharks can agree to a new deal with a more affordable cap hit. Given his RFA status next summer, the Sharks can wait until the offseason to shop him if they don’t get any offers they like before the trade deadline.

As for Duclair, I think the Panthers intend to keep him after he rediscovered his game playing for them last season. They’ll have to shed around $3 million to become cap compliant.

Gavrikov is a pending UFA but I’m not convinced the Blue Jackets will move him unless contract talks go south before the trade deadline…Seravalli pointed out the Kings have a glut of defensemen. They don’t want to move Walker but he could be the odd man out given his injury history.

Karlsson would help any NHL club but, as Seravalli notes, his $11.5 million annual cap hit and full no-movement clause significantly limit the number of potential trade destinations. That could be a trade that happens in the offseason provided Karlsson is willing to waive his NMC and the Sharks retain a big chunk of his cap hit.

Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic, Washington Capitals defenseman Nick Jensen, Blackhawks winger Andreas Athanasiou, Coyotes blueliner Shayne Gostisbehere and Sharks goalie James Reimer coming in at spots 11 through 15.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Roslovic’s inconsistency really hurts his trade value…The Capitals could peddle Jensen if they’re out of playoff contention leading up to the trade deadline. The same goes for Athanasiou and Reimer…I would place Gotisbehere higher on this list, perhaps in the bottom half of the top 10. The puck-moving defenseman had 51 points in 82 games last season on the offensively anemic Coyotes and has 10 points in 17 games this season. He should draw plenty of interest near the trade deadline from teams seeking offense from the blueline.

Canucks winger Brock Boeser, Blackhawks center Max Domi, New York Rangers winger Ryan Reaves, Canadiens center Sean Monahan and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen round out the remainder of this list.

If the Canucks continue to spiral they could start unloading expensive contracts like Boeser’s…Reaves has been a healthy scratch in recent games. The Rangers wouldn’t want much in return as they’d prefer the cap flexibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boeser’s a scoring threat when healthy but his injury history could make him difficult to move…Domi would draw interest from contenders seeking a versatile depth rental…Reaves’ toughness should make him an affordable and enticing option for contenders seeking postseason grit…Monahan’s having a solid season (11 points in 17 games) with the Canadiens and would make a good depth center on a playoff contender…Kapanen’s trade value is so low right now that the Penguins probably couldn’t give him away at this point.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 14, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 14, 2022

Should the Canadiens trade Josh Anderson? Would the Flames be interested in him? Could Sean Monahan be an option for the Avalanche? Check out the latest in an all-Habs edition of the NHL Rumor Mill.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marc Dumont recently suggested the Canadiens would be wise to trade Josh Anderson soon. He expressed concern over whether the 28-year-old power forward can fit into the Habs’ new identity focused on puck control rather than chances off the rush.

Montreal Canadiens winger Josh Anderson (NHL Images).

Dumont also noted that Anderson is starting to slow down, pointing out that forwards tend to see a big drop in production as they approach their 30s’. Nevertheless, Anderson still has a solid reputation around the league for his style of play. With the winger still carrying five years on his contract at $5.5 million annually, it might be a good time for general manager Kent Hughes to gauge his value in the trade market.

Marco D’Amico cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported on Saturday that the Calgary Flames are still in the market for a scoring forward. He cited TSN’s Salim Valji reporting on Friday that Anderson was a player of interest for the Flames for some time but couldn’t find the right deal to get a trade done.

D’Amico suggested Anderson’s cap hit would be an issue and wondered if Hughes would consider parting with him. The Habs would have to take back a significant salary to make the dollars fit. The Canadiens GM might seek a return of a prospect such as Jakob Pelletier or Matthew Coronato plus the Flames’ 2023 first-round pick “as a starter”. However, Flames GM Brad Treliving is unlikely to be that desperate yet.

Mike Hoffman could be a more suitable alternative for the Flames. The 32-year-old winger’s production has improved following a slow start to this season. His contract ($4.5 million annually through 2023-24) is less of a long-term risk though it would still require some effort to fit him within the cap-strapped Flames’ payroll.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite the Canadiens’ better-than-expected start they’re still in rebuild mode. I don’t see Hughes just giving away Anderson but he could entertain serious offers if it’ll bring in assets that fit into the Habs’ short- and long-term plans.

Friedman suggested keeping an eye on the Blues regarding the Flames’ search for a scoring winger. Vladimir Tarasenko and/or Ryan O’Reilly are slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer. I think they might consider moving one or both if they’re out of playoff contention leading up to the March 3 trade deadline. However, that won’t provide any immediate relief for the Flames.

Maybe the Flames will kick tires on Anderson or Hoffman if they can’t find better options elsewhere. While the Flames are in “win-now” mode and they have a recent trade history with the Canadiens, I don’t see Treliving giving up one of his top prospects and a first-round pick for Anderson.

D’Amico also noted The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun included Sean Monahan on his recent list of notable centers who could be moved before this season’s trade deadline. LeBrun speculated a healthy and productive Monahan could be of interest to the Colorado Avalanche. D’Amico suggested the 28-year-old center could become a trade chip that lands the Canadiens a third first-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Monahan fetches a first for the Canadiens I doubt it’ll come from the Avalanche. They have their first-round pick for 2023 but traded away their second, third and fourth-rounders. If they are willing to part with their first, I daresay it would be for a more notable center such as Ryan O’Reilly or Jonathan Toews if they become available by the trade deadline.