NHL Rumor Roundup: Canadiens, Oilers could save biggest trades for the offseason

Alex Galchenyuk (Getty Pictures)

It is NHL commerce rumor season. Every week earlier than the Feb. 26 commerce deadline, Lyle Richardson’s Rumor Roundup column serves as a one-cease information to the newest rumblings round the league. 

With the Feb. 26 NHL commerce deadline quick approaching, the Canadiens are anticipated to be sellers. Left wing Max Pacioretty, who’s slated to turn out to be an unrestricted free agent in July 2019, stays the focus of Montreal’s commerce chatter. 

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun believes Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin will probably take heed to gives for the 29-yr-previous Pacioretty as much as deadline day, however he is not satisfied the Habs captain will get dealt. LeBrun stated it’s going to depend upon whether or not a membership makes a pitch that features a younger middle in the package deal. Pacioretty is signed via subsequent season with a $four.5 million wage cap hit. 

The Canadiens’ solely unrestricted free agent of observe this season is middle Tomas Plekanec. Whereas it is anticipated the 35-yr-previous can be dealt on deadline day, LeBrun suggests he could be re-signed if he is prepared to simply accept an affordable deal. Plekanec is finishing a two-yr, $12 million contract. He’ll have to simply accept a big pay minimize to remain in Montreal. 

Pacioretty and Plekanec aren’t the solely Canadiens who’ve surfaced on this season’s rumor mill. On Jan. 12, LeBrun’s colleague Darren Dreger famous forwards Alex Galchenyuk and Andrew Shaw have come up as commerce choices. 

Like Pacioretty, each gamers are beneath contract past this season. The 23-yr-previous Galchenyuk is signed by way of 2019-20 with an annual wage cap hit of $four.9 million. Shaw, 26, is in the second season of a six-yr, $23.four million deal. 

Galchenyuk has a 30-aim season on his resume (2015-sixteen), however he is struggled with consistency all through his profession. Shaw has appreciable playoff expertise, profitable two Stanley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks. Nevertheless, he is presently sidelined four-6 weeks with a decrease-physique damage.

Aside from Plekanec, Bergevin can afford to be affected person with Pacioretty, Galchenyuk and Shaw. If there is no respectable gives for these three at the commerce deadline, he can wait till the offseason when groups are flush with cap dollars and maybe extra prepared to tackle salaried gamers. 

Jets could be deadline consumers

Of Canada’s seven NHL franchises, the Jets stand the greatest probability of ending the nation’s 25-yr Stanley Cup drought.

Following Tuesday’s three-1 win over the Lightning, the Jets (sixty eight factors) held a 3-level lead over the Predators in the very aggressive Central Division. Additionally they sat two factors again of the Golden Knights for the prime spot in the Western Convention. 

Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff does not have a fame as a commerce-deadline purchaser. This yr, nevertheless, could be totally different. Together with his membership wanting like a professional Stanley Cup contender with every passing week, Cheveldayoff could usher in a rental participant or two to bolster his membership’s depth for the postseason.

MORE: Henrik Lundqvist not involved with Rangers’ reported hearth sale plans

Current accidents to first-line middle Mark Scheifele and prime-pairing defenseman Jacob Trouba solely highlights that want. Scheifele (shoulder) has been out since Dec. 28 whereas a current ankle damage will sideline Trouba for six-to-eight weeks. 

The Jets have achieved nicely dealing with their absences. Nonetheless, it would not harm to usher in some veteran playoff expertise. 

Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculated Cheveldayoff could buy groceries for a defenseman, however not a alternative for Trouba. He factors out the Jets nonetheless have two strong proper-aspect blueliners in Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers. With Trouba returning someday in March, they could as an alternative concentrate on a left-aspect rearguard. 

Scheifele’s eventual return will deliver a welcome offensive increase to their ahead strains. Nonetheless, Cheveldayoff may additionally think about including a checking-line middle. Targets could embrace Edmonton’s Mark Letestu or Montreal’s Tomas Plekanec.

No blockbuster coming for the Oilers

The Oilers are additionally dealing with some roster selections main as much as the commerce deadline. After final season’s 103-level efficiency, expectations have been excessive getting into 2017-18. Their disappointing efficiency has sparked appreciable hypothesis that modifications could be coming. 

Acknowledging his membership’s difficulties this season, Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli final week advised The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun he does not intend to explode his roster with a blockbuster deal. He additionally gave a vote of confidence to go coach Todd McLellan, who’s come beneath criticism by Oilers followers for his dealing with of the lineup this season. 

Chiarelli’s refusal to swing an enormous commerce could be tied partially to his obvious reluctance to maneuver Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The 24-yr-previous middle has become a high quality two-method ahead. Earlier than being just lately sidelined with cracked ribs, he was amongst the few vibrant spots in the Oilers’ in any other case depressing season. 

Whereas there can be curiosity in Nugent-Hopkins if he hit the commerce block, Chiarelli would face vital strain to land a top quality return. SN’s Darren Dreger final Thursday stated that is a deal the Oilers GM can’t afford to lose. He added most of the commerce chatter surrounding the middle did not make sense. 

Chiarelli’s choice could be retaining Nugent-Hopkins, however with over $60 million invested in simply thirteen gamers for 2018-19, he could face the have to unencumber some cap area to be able to handle different roster wants. Nugent-Hopkins’ contract ($6 million per season via 2020-21) could find yourself on the chop block this summer time.