NHL Rumours: Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks

NHL Rumours

Welcome back to NHL Rumours with the Last Word on Hockey team. As the weeks roll on, we collect the biggest and most impactful rumours from around the NHL during its pause. Teams are certainly still keeping an eye on the future, even with all that the current events bring. Today, we turn a keen eye to the Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, and Vancouver Canucks.

NHL Rumours

Montreal Canadiens

Rumour: In an interview with Sportsnet’s Dan Riccio and Randip Janda, Canadiens forward Dale Weise mentions the possibility of heading overseas for next season.

Analysis: If this is it for Dale Weise in the NHL, you can’t say that he didn’t have a respectable career. A veteran of over 500 games, Weise has bounced around the league for years. He’s currently in his second stint with the Habs, but he’s also played for the New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks, and Canucks. But with only five points in 23 games with Montreal this season, he’s become expendable at the NHL level.

Weise is 31 years old and unlikely to carve out a significant role in the NHL next season. If he’s insistent on continuing to play meaningful, top-level hockey, finding a job in Russia, Finland, or Sweden are solid options for the veteran forward. He’d be an important role player on most teams overseas, and it may give him a chance to partially rediscover his offensive game.

While no European teams have specifically mentioned an interest in Weise, it’s unlikely that his pedigree of a long NHL career won’t get him a job somewhere.

Boston Bruins

Rumour: In a short piece on NESN.com written by Logan Mullen, he mentions that Torey Krug‘s preferred option as he nears free agency is to stay with the Bruins.

Analysis: As the decline of Zdeno Chara continues, Krug becomes a much more important part of Boston’s strong blueline. He’s been an offensive dynamo for years in Boston and he’s grown into one of the most revered players in the city. Once you make a home for yourself in Boston, it’s uncommon to leave, and Krug seems to be well-aware of this.

As the article mentions, he’s grown roots in the city. It’s not often you get to hear a player’s thoughts directly on contract negotiations, but Krug’s been open about his desire to stay for a long time. How much of a hometown discount he’s willing to take becomes the question here, though. Uncertainty now looms surrounding the salary cap for next season.

In an interview on the NHL’s SiriusXM channel, Joe MacDonald mentions that there’s currently a discrepancy of about $0.5-1 million between the two sides. Krug is looking at between $7-$7.5 million per year, while the Bruins are aiming for $6.5 million. Being that close this early in negotiations is a good sign for Bruins fans. However, nothing is guaranteed until pen hits paper.

Vancouver Canucks

Rumour: In line with Krug, Vancouver goalie Jacob Markstrom has now iterated his desire to stay in B.C. as he approaches free agency, as reported by Iain MacIntyre.

Analysis: Originally looking like a bust drafted by the Florida Panthers, Markstrom sits in the middle of the most impressive season of his career. He’s one of the biggest reasons Vancouver looks primed to return to the playoffs sooner rather than later, save for the trio of Elias PetterssonJ.T. Miller, and Brock Boeser. It took him long enough to get here. This is his seventh year in Vancouver and his tenth year of NHL play. And while he wants to stay, his will might be tested. A few factors are working against him here.

One is age. Markstrom is already 30 years old and his probably playing the best hockey he’ll play. Although, one can never truly tell with goaltenders.  However, it’s going to affect general manager Jim Benning‘s willingness to hand him a long-term contract.

The other reason Vancouver may not want to invest in Markstrom is purely their goaltending pipeline. Keeping Markstrom around long-term may end up forcing their hand to deal either Thatcher Demko or Michael DiPietro down the road. That’s something they want to avoid as Markstrom enters decline. The Canucks may be better off finding someone in free agency to form a tandem with Demko in the short term.

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