NHL Rumours: Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators and San Jose Sharks

NHL Rumours

Your daily dose of NHL Rumours is ready for this fine Tuesday! We’re inching closer to the trade deadline and Last Word On Hockey is here to keep you up to date on all the latest whispers from around the rink. Grab a seat and relax, today’s NHL Rumours focus on the Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, and San Jose Sharks.

NHL Rumours

Montreal Canadiens

Rumour: Pierre LeBrun of the Athletic writes that Dale Weise and Nate Thompson are at the top of the list of rental players for the team. Either player could be moved before the trade deadline. 

Analysis: The Canadiens are heading for another drought of playoff hockey this year. The team needs to bust down the roster and revamp. They’ll be sellers at the deadline, despite their recent acquisitions of Marco Scandella and Ilya Kovalchuk. Sure, the Habs got the two veteran players for virtually chump change. But when you’re retooling the roster, those are not the assets that will draw other teams in.

The Canadiens had pretty much stashed Weise in the AHL since he failed to make the team this year. While he’s been up for five games so far, he’s basically destined to be sent back to the AHL once the team is back to full health. By the deadline, the team will have roughly $14.7 million in cap space. $7.09 million of that is currently available.

Kovalchuk might be finding a groove with the club, and with his cheap one-year deal, maybe Montreal can get something out of him. Thompson is an integral part of the Canadiens penalty kill unit. That might be a bit offset by the fact that he is currently on a 16 game scoreless streak.

For an organization that insists on pushing the narrative that they’re all about giving their young players a chance, they sure do seem to lean on their veterans. Now we’re debating if they’ll move a floundering veteran or a player they’ve buried in the AHL. Realistically, neither one of them is going to bring a huge return.

In any case, the Habs should sell whatever they can to bring in prospects and draft picks. Building toward the future is the best bet for the Canadiens at this point.

Ottawa Senators

Analysis: Further into Lebrun’s piece on the Athletic he mentions the Senators are waiting to finalize anything with Jean-Gabriel Pageau until February.

Analysis: Ottawa is clearly on the fence about Pageau. There are tons of teams courting him. While Ottawa hasn’t extended an official offer, they’re still open to contract talks with the forward. Pageau will hit free agency in July.

With his history, he could bring in a first-round pick for the Senators. Losing him would not sink the team either. He’s not shooting much, and not exactly lighting up the score sheet either. Pageau has just five points in the last 17 games.

The biggest sales point for Pageau is that he’s cheap. With his average annual value of $3.1 million, he’s an easily affordable piece. Pageau can add to any team’s lineup. If Ottawa plays their cards right, they could bring in at least two second-round picks and some change by offloading him.

San Jose Sharks

Rumours: Lebrun also touched on the Sharks being sellers at the deadline. He specifies that Melker Karlsson is up on the chopping block. 

Analysis: So, the team isn’t going to explode the team down to the core. BUT, they are ready to sell off assets. If they make the right tweaks, they’re hoping they can get back into the playoff race. With their core players reaching their prime, the team is looking to have one last big playoff push.

Karlsson is a strong presence on the Shark’s penalty-killing unit and would be a strong edition for any team’s fourth line. San Jose is already looking for a new coach. Should they be focused on the playoffs? Or does the team need to shift their focus to solidifying their roster to improve next year?

The team has eight players hitting free agency next year, with Karlsson being one of them. Brenden Dillon is another player rumoured to be moved before the deadline. Regardless of who they ship out, the Sharks will still need to address their issues between the pipes. They would also benefit from bringing in another strong forward to add to their five-on-five play.

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