NHL Rumor Mill – January 9, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – January 9, 2020

The latest on the Canadiens, Islanders, Flames, Predators, Penguins, and Avalanche in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD THE CANADIENS BECOME SELLERS?

SPORTSNET: If the Montreal Canadiens fail to climb back into playoff contention, Elliotte Friedman wonders if general manager Marc Bergevin will move some of his veterans by the Feb. 24 trade deadline.

LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Jean-Francois Chaumont examined Bergevin’s options if he goes into sell mode. The expensive contracts of goaltender Carey Price and defenseman Shea Weber makes them unlikely to be dealt. Weber’s leadership remains invaluable to the Habs.

Could Canadiens forward Max Domi price his way out of Montreal? (Photo via NHL Images)

Tomas Tatar and Jeff Petry are playing well and could fetch solid returns, but Petry’s value to the Habs blueline means it’ll take a significant offer to part with him. Chaumont also speculates Bergevin could listen to offers for Max Domi if the pending RFA proves too expensive to re-sign. It would be surprising if the Habs part ways with winger Artturi Lehkonen.

Chaumont suggests depth players such as Nate Thompson, Nick Cousins, and Brett Kulak could be peddled for draft picks. Recent acquisitions Ilya Kovalchuk and Marco Scandella could also have some value if they play well for the Habs in the coming weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens are nine points out of an Eastern Conference wild-card spot. Barring a miraculous turnaround between now and the trade deadline, they’re not going to reach the playoffs this season.

I don’t see Bergevin getting into a massive sell-off of assets but he could put UFAs like Kovalchuk, Scandella, and Thompson on the trade block. Price, Weber, Domi, and Petry aren’t going anywhere. Tatar has a year left on his contract, but Bergevin could gauge his value in the trade market. He’s not shopping any of his promising youngsters.

LATEST ON THE ISLANDERS

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports defenseman Adam Pelech’s season-ending Achilles injury is a huge loss for the New York Islanders.

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple recently reported Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello was succinct when asked about trade options to replace Pelech. “You don’t replace an Adam Pelech at the trade deadline,” he said.

Nevertheless, Staple speculates Lamoriello may still have to consider adding a veteran blueliner. Options could include San Jose’s Brenden Dillon, New Jersey’s Andy Greene, or Toronto’s Ben Harpur.

Staple also examined how the Islanders could address their scoring drought on the wing. He suggested Ottawa’s Tyler Ennis and Vladislav Namestnikov, Los Angeles’ Tyler Toffoli, Buffalo’s Conor Sheary, and Nashville’s Mikael Granlund as possible trade targets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lamoriello will assess his roster over the next several weeks to determine if a move or two is necessary. For now, they’re using Noah Dobson as a third-pairing defenseman, while coach Barry Trotz continues juggling his forward lines. If there’s no significant improvement, the Isles GM could enter the trade market in February.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST 31 THOUGHTS

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving has told potential trade partners he prefers players with term on their contract over rentals. If Elias Lindholm stays at center, Treliving will seek a winger. If not, he could go in a different direction.

Friedman also said there’s a sense change is coming to the Flames if they don’t improve. They’re happy with younger players like Rasmus Andersson, Dillon Dube, and Andrew Mangiapane but not as thrilled with some of their top dogs like Johnny Gaudreau.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Treliving wants a player with term, perhaps he’ll look at Chicago Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad once he returns from his recent ankle injury. Friedman recently claimed there’s talk Saad could be available.

If the Flames fail to improve this season, a major change such as moving Gaudreau won’t happen until the offseason. That’s assuming Treliving wants to go that route.

Friedman also reports the Pittsburgh Penguins are in the market for a replacement for sidelined winger Jake Guentzel.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And you can read my take here and here.

He also reports Nashville Predators GM David Poile could become a seller at the trade deadline if his club fails to gain ground in the standings. Center Kyle Turris has been shopped. Others could include Craig Smith, Mikael Granlund, and perhaps Nick Bonino.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My take on the Predators here.

UPDATE ON THE AVALANCHE

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 3, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 3, 2020

Three stars and top rookie of the month for December, Canadiens, Sabres, and Flames get busy in the trade market, milestones reached by Zdeno Chara, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COMNathan MacKinnon’s four-point performance (one goal, three assists) led the Colorado Avalanche to a 7-3 thumping of the St. Louis Blues. Nazem Kadri scored twice and Samuel Girard collected four assists. Robert Thomas scored twice for the Blues.

Nathan MacKinnon’s four-point effort carried the Colorado Avalanche over the St. Louis Blues 7-3 (Photo via NHL Images).

The Vancouver Canucks picked up their sixth straight win by holding off the Chicago Blackhawks 7-5. J.T. Miller had a four-point effort while teammates Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat, and Tanner Pearson each collected three points. Patrick Kane scored two goals for the Blackhawks while teammate Adam DeBrincat had three helpers.

The San Jose Sharks defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 on an overtime tally by Brent Burns. Joe Thornton picked up his 1,080th career NHL assist to move into seventh on the all-time assists leader list. Patric Hornqvist scored both Penguins goals.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are unbeaten in their last nine games (8-0-1) after downing the Winnipeg Jets 6-3. William Nylander scored two goals and set up another while teammate Frederik Andersen kicked out 45 shots. Earlier in the day, the Jets announced defenseman Nathan Beaulieu will miss at least a month with a lower-body injury.

Sean Monahan’s third-period goal gave the Calgary Flames a 4-3 win over the New York Rangers. Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and an assist for the Flames while Rangers defenseman Adam Fox collected three assists.

The Vegas Golden Knights scored four first-period goals and hung on to beat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4. Max Pacioretty scored twice for the Golden Knights, who killed off a 6-on-3 Flyers power-play in the final 90 seconds of the third period. Vegas winger Jonathan Marchessault missed the game with a lower-body injury.

A four-goal second period carried the Florida Panthers to a 6-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Evgenii Dadonov tallied twice and added an assist for the Panthers.

The Columbus Blue Jackets edged the Boston Bruins 2-1 on an overtime goal by Pierre-Luc Dubois. The Jackets’ point streak has reached 12 games (8-0-4). Bruins winger David Pastrnak tallied his league-leading 30th goal of the season.

Jack Eichel’s penalty-shot goal in overtime completed a 3-2 comeback by the Buffalo Sabres over the Edmonton Oilers. The Sabres overcame a 2-0 deficit on regulation goals by Curtis Lazar and Sam Reinhart. Sabres rookie winger Victor Olofsson left the game in the third period with a lower-body injury.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy’s 38-save performance carried his club over the Montreal Canadiens 2-1. The Habs played without winger Brendan Gallagher, who’s out indefinitely with a concussion.

Nico Hischier tallied the game-winner as the New Jersey Devils nipped the New York Islanders 2-1. The Devils are 4-0-1 in their last five games. New Jersey center Jack Hughes missed the game with an upper-body injury and is listed as day-to-day. Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech (lower-body injury) also missed this contest.

The Arizona Coyotes doubled up the Anaheim Ducks 4-2 following a three-goal third period. Goaltender Antti Raanta made 26 saves for the win.

HEADLINES

Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau, Pittsburgh Penguins goatender Tristan Jarry, and New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin are the NHL’s three stars for December 2019. Buffalo Sabres winger Victor Olofsson is rookie of the month for December.

Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara and San Jose Sharks forwards Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are the 12th, 13th, and 14th players in NHL history to play at least one game in four or more different decades.

TSN: The Montreal Canadiens yesterday traded defenseman Mike Reilly to the Ottawa Senators for a fifth-round pick in 2021 and minor-leaguer Andrew Sturtz. They also acquired defenseman Marco Scandella from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2020.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With these moves, the Canadiens add some much-needed veteran experience to their blueline in Scandella while shedding a $1.5-million salary-cap hit for 2020-21 by moving out the frequently-scratched Reilly. Eligible for UFA status this summer, Scandella can be considered a rental to keep the Habs’ flickering playoff hopes alive. The Senators, meanwhile, needed defensive depth with Dylan DeMelo, Nikita Zaitsev and Ron Hainsey sidelined by injuries.

The Sabres, meanwhile, flipped that draft pick they received from the Canadiens to the Calgary Flames for winger Michael Frolik.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres needed help up front. That they only had to part with a fourth-rounder speaks to the decline in Frolik’s stock. The Flames were reportedly close to moving Frolik at last year’s trade deadline to the Minnesota Wild in a deal for winger Jason Zucker but it fell through at the last minutes. Frolik might not be the only move the Sabres have in store, while the Flames could also be active in the trade market leading up to this year’s deadline. I’ll have more later this morning in my daily Rumors update.

THE ATHLETIC: Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown returned to practice yesterday following a stint in hospital recovering from pneumonia.

USA TODAY: Carolina Hurricanes center Erik Haula and his wife, Kristen, released a statement yesterday mourning the passing of their unborn daughter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My sincere condolences to the Haulas.