Welcome back to another edition of NHL Rumours from the crew at Last Word On Hockey. We’re into the month of December which brings along the annual trade freeze. While some teams are just hoping to continue their solid play to close out the 2019 calendar year, others are hoping to make some changes and end the year with a bang. Last Word on Hockey will continue to be your one-stop spot for all NHL rumours. Today, we have rumours from the Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils and the Minnesota Wild.
All NHL rumours come from their original source and are subject to change.
Rumour: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun states that Marc Bergevin met with prospect Alexander Romanov today. While talks were positive, no decision has been made on his future. Speculation is that Romanov will wait until the end of the KHL season before deciding whether or not he will come to Montreal next season.
Habs GM Marc Bergevin met with defenceman Alexander Romanov today in Moscow. Positive meeting, though no decisions taken. Sense is Romanov will wait until after the KHL season to make his final decision as to whether or not he will make the NHL jump next season with the Canadiens
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) December 3, 2019
Analysis: Well the positive news is that the meeting went well. However, it is still yet to be determined if Montreal will have one of their top prospects over on their side of the globe next season. Romanov is looking like an absolute steal for the Canadiens after what looked like to be a reach in the second round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. While his point totals don’t scream at you, it’s his all-around play that stands out. Romanov is playing his second season in the KHL and playing top-line minutes against men at just the age of 19. This will serve him well in his development before coming over to the NHL.
Boy could the Habs use him. The Habs defence has been exposed recently as they have lost eight of their last 10 games. The left side of the defence, in particular, is the weakest part of the Canadiens lineup so Romanov would be a welcomed addition. Fans have been begging for a partner for Weber for years and although Mete has served fine as his partner dating back to the middle of last season, Romanov would be a step better. Romanov is just another elite-level prospect to add to the many the Canadiens already have on the way up.
New Jersey Devils
Rumour: In a recent interview with Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, Ray Shero does not confirm that the team has started listening to offers for Taylor Hall. However, he does say that Hall has not yet asked for a trade. He also compliments Hall by saying he has not checked out from the team and he really does care.
— The Athletic NHL (@TheAthleticNHL) December 2, 2019
Analysis: Just days after the rumours swirled that Shero has started listening to offers on Hall, he basically confirms it by not confirming it. Shero will obviously not want to come out and say “listen, Hall is available, send me some offers.” However, he has to do his due diligence.
Shero would not be doing his job if he was not at least entertaining trade offers for the star forward, especially given their placement in the standings. As well, Hall has already confirmed that he wants to play for a contender now and not be sitting through a rebuild. Which is essentially what the Devils after in the middle of doing. Yes, Shero made some big moves by picking up P.K. Subban and Wayne Simmonds this summer. He also won the draft lottery to select Jack Hughes. However, that’s still not enough to take this team from the bottom.
Hall is a professional and is not the type of player who would just completely check out from his team. He will continue to try to help his team win each and every night. That makes him even more valuable when you put that next to his skill set. He is a true leader and elite winger in the NHL. He will be a hot commodity leading up to the trade deadline.
Rumour: In a recent interview with Michael Russo of The Athletic, Wild general manager Bill Guerin was asked if he would have to trade anyone to fit Kirill Kaprizov in the lineup if he does, in fact, come to play in the NHL next season. Guerin said he would, as there are only so many roster spots available.
— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) December 4, 2019
Analysis: So stating the obvious, yes if the Wild add a player they would have to subtract a player. The only free agents the Wild have upcoming next season are captain Mikko Koivu as well as youngsters Jordan Greenway and Luke Kunin. All three players are certainly those the Wild would like to keep. So who would be the player the Wild would most likely look to move?
Looking at the roster and recent rumours, the two that make the most sense are Victor Rask or Jason Zucker. Zucker has been in trade rumours dating back to last season. However, that was when Paul Fenton was in charge. Now under Guerin, Zucker seems like he has settled in and is playing the way he is capable of playing. He currently has 10 goals and nine assists in 28 games.
So that leaves Victor Rask. Rask has a hefty cap hit at $4 million per season for another two years after this season. Given his poor play, scoring a total eight points in 41 games since joining the Wild last season, he seems like the most obvious choice for Guerin. While the market surely won’t be strong for Rask, just dumping the salary to get Kaprizov in the lineup is a win for the Wild.
Kaprizov is lighting up the KHL with 30 points in 30 games for CSKA Moscow. He is one of the best players outside of the NHL right now and would help bring some heavy offence to a Wild team who currently sits at 18th in goals scored for this season.
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