Welcome back to another edition of NHL Rumours from the crew at Last Word On Hockey. Although the NHL season is on pause, rumours are still swirling. Today we will focus on NHL rumours from the Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers.
All NHL rumours come from their original source and are subject to change.
Rumour: Sportsnet’s Eric Engels did a mailbag and talked about Ilya Kovalchuk is all but assured to return to the Canadiens. Engels added that things could change, but the Russian forward should be back with the Habs for 2020-21.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) April 24, 2020
Analysis: Kovalchuk revived his career in his short time with the Canadiens. He was bought out after a sluggish start with the Los Angeles Kings. The Russian scored six goals in 22 games before being shipped to the Washington Capitals.
Kovalchuk endeared himself to the Montreal faithful and wants a return to the Bell Centre. He did scores four points in his seven games with the Capitals before the shutdown. The one-time scoring champion still can provide goals when needed.
The mailbag mentioned that the addition of Alexander Romanov could create a logjam of players vying for a spot on defence. Kulak makes $1.85 million through 2022.
Analysis: Moving Kulak would make the most sense for a couple of factors. It seems like Romanov would easily move into the third pair and push others. Players like Victor Mete could be in for make-or-break season and adding Romanov would help.
Kulak’s deal is a team-friendly one that could be moved out to another team in the off-season. That contract may be able to help the Habs get help at another spot. Uncertainty surrounding the salary cap may also force Montreal’s hand to make a deal.
Rumour: The Oilers are reportedly close to landing Swedish defender Theodor Lennstrom of Frolunda. He netted 15 points in 31 games in the Swedish Hockey League.
The Edmonton Oilers are reportedly close to signing Frölunda defender Theodor Lennstrom. The 25-year old is said to have attracted interest from multiple NHL clubs, and is set to leave the SHL after putting up a 3+12=15 in 31GP this season. #LetsGoOilers
— NHL News (@puck_report2) April 25, 2020
Analysis: It’s a low-risk shot at a defenceman that could yield good results. He may have to start in the AHL in order to gets used to the North American style of play. Lennstrom is an offensive-minded defenceman that is a solid skater but needs more defensively. He could also get some time on the power-play if he’s sent down to the Bakersfield Condors.
He would follow a line of Swedish defencemen like Oscar Klefbom and Adam Larsson. The young Swede was also a teammate of Joakim Nystrom. Things could get even more crowded if Phillip Broberg decides to make a move to North America.
Darren Dreger of TSN mentioned that Lennstrom was being looked at by teams over a year ago. The New Jersey Devils have also been courting the young Swedish player.