The NHL trade deadline is inching closer and closer, and with that, the trade talk is heating up. We take a look at some of the latest NHL rumours and analyze what they mean going forward. Today we look into the latest on Montreal Canadiens forwards Alex Galchenyuk and Max Pacioretty; the suitors for New York Rangers forward Rick Nash; Arizona Coyotes winger Max Domi; and the Ottawa Senators fire-sale.
NHL Rumour Mill
Rumour: Pierre Lebrun reported on Montreal Radio (TSN 690) that things seem to be quieter around Alex Galchenyuk. While he was heavily involved in rumours during the off-season it would appear that he is no longer on the market, at least for now. One team’s general manager told Lebrun that the Canadiens are not taking calls on the forward.
Analysis: It has obviously been a chaotic and disappointing year for the Montreal Canadiens, and many are using the word re-tool. However, at just 24-years-old, the Canadiens may see Galchenyuk as part of the future, rather than as a piece that needs to be moved. The Canadiens struggle scoring goals, and Galchenyuk might be their most purely talented forward. Marc Bergevin may be realizing that the Habs are better off keeping the talented forward. Now to figure out what position to play him at?
Rumour: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculates that the Florida Panthers could be a suitor for the Canadiens captain. He indicates that centre Henrik Borgstrom could be ready for primetime after his season with Denver in the NCAA.
Analysis: There have been plenty of Pacioretty rumours in this column and elsewhere, but this may be the first time the Panthers have been mentioned. Bergevin has to get a centre out of any deal involving Pacioretty. Borgstrom is one of the top prospects in the NCAA, and is a centre, he would be a good place to start if the Panthers have interest in the Habs captain. Expect another piece or two to be added though, as Pacioretty is a proven 30-goal scorer with a year and a half left on a bargain contract.
Rumour: With the Coyotes reported to be willing to move on from Max Domi, the Montreal Canadiens could be interested.
Analysis: Domi has struggled since his rookie season. However, there is talent there. With the Habs inability to score goals, he could be a good addition to the line-up and brings some skill. Wing is not really a position of need though, and the Canadiens continue to focus on centre help.
Analysis: Nash may not be the player he was a few years ago, but he has a proven pedigree as a power forward and goal scorer. His size and ability to get to the front of the net would be an added dimension for the Lightning and Preds, and would boost either team’s Stanley Cup chances.
Analysis: Michal Neuvirth is a capable goalie, and should be able to hold the fort in the meantime. However, back-up Alex Lyon is very much a question mark. If the Flyers are looking for insurance in goal, Robin Lehner, Petr Mrazek, Antti Niemi, Jimmy Howard, Michael Hutchinson and others should be available.
Rumour: On TSN’s Insider Trading, Darren Dreger reports that the Senators believe that Derick Brassard is the top centre on the market, and Mike Hoffman is the top winger on the market. They are willing to part with the players but seeking a high return.
Analysis: Its hard to argue that Brassard is the top centre on the market, and with one year left on his deal after this one, should command good trade value. Hoffman is also a valuable piece and has this year, plus two more on a cheap contract. However, with wingers like Pacioretty, Nash, and Evander Kane also available, it is less clear that he is the number one option at wing. This is debatable though.
Main Photo: MONTREAL, QC – NOVEMBER 08: Alex Galchenyuk #27 of the Montreal Canadiens looks on during the warmup prior to the NHL game against the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre on November 8, 2016 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Boston Bruins 3-2. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)