The St. Louis Blues are the Stanley Cup Champs. Now that the season is over, teams will be positioning themselves to be successful next season. This means fans can look forward to plenty of NHL rumours. There will be some moves made soon with free agency opening up on July 1. Today we’ll look at NHL rumours featuring the Montreal Canadiens, Minnesota Wild, and Chicago Blackhawks.
NHL Rumours: According to Darren Dreger, who was on Montreal 690 on June 11th, the Montreal Canadiens are looking to upgrade their blueline with a good young defenceman. Likely candidates may be Philadelphia Flyers Shayne Gostisbehere or the Calgary Flames Travis Hamonic or even T.J. Brodie.
Analysis: We all know that Montreal Canadien general manager Marc Bergevin is not afraid to pull off major trades. He has done so in the last two Junes. Is he looking to do it once again? Philadelphia Flyers general manager, Chuck Fletcher, has also shown he won’t shy away from improving his lineup. They are really trying to turn the team around and this could mean trading Gostisbehere if things come to it. Dreger commented he could see it happening.
The Fourth Period’s Dave Pagnotta commented on Saturday’s 690 show that the Flyers would want someone like Andrew Shaw in exchange. For this prospective trade to work the Flyers would also want a high-end prospect or draft pick. Gee, the Canadiens do hold the 15th overall selection in the upcoming draft next Friday. Could they send it to Philly who would then hold the 11th and the 15th picks? Stranger things have happened.
NHL Rumours: It was mentioned in Elliotte Friedman‘s 31 Thoughts that the Minnesota Wild were looking at Brock Nelson who recently re-signed with the New York Islanders. The team can’t acquire Nelson now but if either Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks or Anders Lee of the Islanders go to free agency, the Wild will be wildly interested in talking to them.
Analysis: It’s been reported that Wild general manager Paul Fenton is looking to make some major changes. He wants to improve upon their lack of postseason play lately. The Wild did not make the playoffs this past season and were eliminated in the first round in each of the last three seasons.
Adding a veteran like Pavelski would make sense. He is a proven leader and a skilled scorer. Whether the Sharks will have enough cap space to re-sign Pavelski depends on if they offer Erik Karlsson an eight-year $88 million contract as has been reported.
Pavelski tallied 38 goals and 26 assists last season, throwing in 12 power play goals as well. Sure, he will be 35-years-old next month, but adding him would infuse some instant offence to the Wild’s lineup. Pavelski doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon, making his age of little worry.
Lee is another forward who can help any team who signs him if he goes to free agency. Lee is a good scorer with 28 goals, 23 assists this past season. He added 10 power play goals. Whether the Islanders sign him after signing Jordan Eberle to a five-year $27.5 million contract is up for discussion. Could the Islanders afford to lose two captains in two consecutive seasons to free agency? Doubtful. It would seem that the Islanders won’t make that mistake again, but if they do the Wild will be all over that.
NHL Rumours: Chicago Blackhawks
Analysis: Murray, who will turn 26 before the start of next season, is a strong stay-at-home defenseman. This is exactly what the Hawks need. The only down-side to dealing for Murray is his left-handed shot. The Hawks have a major backlog at the left-defense position. Duncan Keith, Erik Gustafson, and the newly-acquired Olli Maatta are all left-handed shots and will likely be the three lefties this next season. Murray is also very injury-prone. Yet, his style is exactly what the Hawks need so he can’t be ruled out indefinitely.
If the Blackhawks can acquire his signing rights, they may be able to get him somewhere in the $3.5-4.5 million AAV range on his next deal. They would be hoping to swing a deal similar to what the Flyers did when they sent a fifth-round pick to Winnipeg for the signing rights to Kevin Hayes.
Of course, the Blackhawks may very well draft an outstanding defenceman in Bowen Byram on Friday. Byram just turned 18-years-old and comes with quite a resume. In 2017-18, he won the Vancouver Giant’s Rookie of the Year and the WHL’s Western Conference Rookie of the Year honours. Last year, Byram’s sophomore season in the WHL, Byram impressed again. He put up 26 goals and 71 points in 67 games, including a WHL record six overtime-winning goals.
Let’s just say the Blackhawks are looking to get younger on the blueline with aging D-men Keith (soon-to-be 36) and Brent Seabrook (34) stunting the team’s lineup. We’ll see how this one turns out.