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.
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.
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
I don’t think the Avs are in on Tyler Toffoli anymore. Not saying it might not still happen, but further talks with sources say it’s not likely
— Adrian Dater (@adater) January 7, 2020
It’s now my belief: Avs will be pretty quiet at the NHL trade deadline — Adrian Dater (@adater) January 7, 2020