Last Word on Hockey welcomes you back to our daily NHL Rumours series. Our team of writers works every day to bring you a detailed yet concise roundup of some of the league’s biggest potential stories. These articles are becoming ripe as the trade deadline approaches, and today’s piece is no different. Read on to discover what’s being said about the Montreal Canadiens, Carolina Hurricanes, and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Rumour: Via Elliotte Friedman’s Sportsnet-affiliated 31 Thoughts podcast, Montreal is not looking into moving either Jeff Petry or Tomas Tatar at this year’s deadline.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) January 29, 2020
Analysis: While Petry and Tatar are both very affordable trade chips, Montreal and general manager Marc Bergevin are choosing to keep the future in mind. It’s a wise choice, considering that the possible emergence of forwards Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi next year could help spark the team to another playoff berth if this year continues to go down the toilet. Bergevin has done many things to bolster this team since his arrival. If he does decide he wants to move any of his players, he won’t have a hard time, save for Carey Price and Shea Weber — though those moves are extremely unlikely anyway.
Tatar is the team’s second-highest-paid forward at only $4.8 million for this year and next. This gives Bergevin the flexibility to move him whenever. The same goes for Petry, who’s $5.5 million cap-hit is a great deal considering his consistent solid offensive game. So even if Bergevin decides to hold off now to try and play the waiting game, if things don’t work out next season, either, they’re still extremely moveable players.
Rumour: In a Sara Civian mailbag from The Athletic, she speculates that a culture divide between Erik Haula in the Hurricanes may cause a previously unexpected deal near the deadline.
All the Jerk questions you could squeeze in and all the answers @SaraCivian can get in one post (note: Part 2 later this week):
— The Athletic Carolina (@TheAthleticCAR) January 30, 2020
Analysis: Oh, how the mighty, albeit shortly, have fallen. Haula’s been good in terms of goal and point production this season, posting 11 goals and eight assists for 19 points in 30 games. However, he’s been limited due to injury, and most of those points came in the very early part of the season. Since returning from injury, he’s been largely ineffective and has even been a healthy scratch.
In the event Carolina does decide to move him, it shouldn’t be hard. Haula is a pending unrestricted free agent and only carries a cap hit of $2.75 million. In his last full season, 2017-18, he posted 55 points in 76 games. A contending team could easily get a mobile middle-six player at a very team-friendly price and walk away smiling. Haula can also play any forward position, adding to his attractiveness and versatility.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Rumour: In a trade deadline primer published in The Athletic, Blue Jackets beat writer Aaron Portzline looks at the trade-ability of defender Ryan Murray.
The Athletic: Blue Jackets trade deadline primer | With less than four weeks to go before the NHL trade deadline, #CBJ are expected to be buyers. But who are the possible targets, and who is possibly on the move? https://t.co/3imfXB3bQO pic.twitter.com/tRitF2lgW8
— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) January 29, 2020
Analysis: Murray, while never really living up to his second-overall-pick billing, has grown into an effective middle-pairing option and has seen his game blossom in recent years…
Murray has only played 24 games this season and hasn’t played a full season since 2015-16. The 26-year-old will probably have these injury issues follow him his whole career, unfortunately. However, a team willing to take a gamble on him could benefit from a year and a half of his services.
Murray has seven points in 24 games this year to complement his solid defensive play. He’s an ideal bottom-to-middle-pairing option for a contending team. (Looking at you, Toronto, if only you had space). While Columbus may not be able to get a lot in return for Murray, a fresh start may be the best option for both clubs.
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