Welcome back to another Thursday of NHL Rumours at Last Word on Hockey. Pre-season is starting to wrap up as opening night is now less than a week away. Teams are in a mad scramble to tie up loose ends contract-wise and determine who’ll step out onto the ice beginning October 2nd. Today we look at the Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, and Pittsburgh Penguins
Analysis: Drouin has always been a very interesting player to keep an eye on. After being drafted third overall in 2013 by the Tampa Bay Lightning, he struggled to stay consistent and ended up requesting a trade from the Lightning at points. In the summer of 2017, after a career year, he was dealt with the Habs in exchange for Mikhail Sergachev. Drouin’s worked out well for Montreal, posting 46 and 53 points in his two seasons there. However, Drouin hasn’t ever seemed like a solid fit in his tenure with either team. A player like Drouin is a logical choice to get shipped out as Montreal encounters a logjam at forward.
Montreal could net a solid return for Drouin, a solid offensive option with a 60-point ceiling. He is still a valuable asset, though, and Montreal general manager Marc Bergevin won’t pull the trigger unless a satisfactory trade is presented to him.
Rumour: After going back and forth all summer, Josh Yohe of The Athletic reports that the Penguins are deep in trade talks once again. Names mentioned are Tristan Jarry, Bryan Rust, Nick Bjugstad, and Jack Johnson.
— Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_PGH) September 25, 2019
Analysis: ‘Well-documented’ is a good phrase to describe the salary cap issues in Pittsburgh. As of right now, they still sit at about $350,000 over the $81.5 million Upper Limit. After signing restricted free agent Marcus Pettersson, the Penguins are a remarkably deep team at all positions and have plenty of expendable options to deal with. The most attractive option to Pittsburgh seems like Johnson. His bloated cap hit would be wonderful to get off the books. According to Yohe, Johnson has been supplanted by Juuso Riikola on the third defence pairing and could quite possibly start the season as a healthy scratch.
The other names mentioned are all not new. Bjugstad and Rust remain reliable middle-six options for teams around the league, and they could fetch a bit of value in return. Jarry is a complicated prospect. He’s played very well in the AHL but hasn’t quite been able to breakthrough in the top league. His training camp has been very impressive, however, which could boost his trade value.
New Jersey Devils
Analysis: The Taylor Hall storyline is something that will follow the Devils and the player in NHL Rumours all year up until its resolution, whether both parties like it or not. Hall is their best player and one of the top wingers in the NHL. Not too long ago, he won a Hart Trophy.
After the salary that Artemi Panarin commanded this summer, it’s reasonable to believe that Hall’s asking price will be around that $11 million area. Devils GM Ray Shero has been in contract with Hall’s agent, Darren Ferris (who just netted Mitch Marner his payday), but Hall says that no numbers have been exchanged. Hall is waiting to see if the unproven Devils gain traction and succeed this year. For a player with little playoff success, Hall has been around a long time. Hall will be more open to signing an extension if he truly believes the Devils can win.
Embed from Getty Images