NHL Rumours: Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils and CBA Talks

NHL Rumours

We are inching closer and closer to the resumption of the NHL season. Only a few more weeks before training camps start. As things to ramp up on the ice, the NHL rumours continue to swirl off the ice. The team here at the Last Word On Hockey will keep fans up to date on the latest NHL rumours and rumblings around the league. Today’s NHL Rumours feature the Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, and CBA Talks.

NHL Rumours:

Montreal Canadiens

Rumour: In this week’s edition of his mailbag Eric Engels of Sportsnet was asked about the possibility of the Montreal Canadiens trading for Columbus Blue Jackets forward Josh Anderson

Analysis: Anderson is an interesting player for the Canadiens. He’s a big player standing at six-foot-three, 222 pounds. Anderson plays a bigger game but has the speed of a smaller player to break the offence wide open. In 223 games from 2016-2019, Anderson produced 63 goals. That is an area, the Canadiens desperately need help in. However, there is a catch with Anderson, he is injury prone. He was coming off a good season but only had one goal this season before suffering a shoulder injury on December 14th. In addition, Anderson also had shoulder surgery right before the March 2nd trade deadline. There is something else going on with him.

Anderson is 26-years old and is an expiring contract that is paying him $1.85 million. He will be an RFA for one more season. Engels believes the cost could be a player like Max Domi. Domi is a heart and soul type player and embraces playing in Montreal. Those players are hard to find. Plus if the Canadiens were to trade for Anderson, they will have to lock him down to a long-term deal. The risk does not justify the reward. Even though the Canadiens need a player like that. With Domi, Tomas Tatar, Brendan Gallagher, Phillip Danault, and Jeff Petry all in need of new contracts at the end of next season, the Canadiens would be wise to spend their money there.

New Jersey Devils

Rumour: There has been a lot of rumours recently about the New Jersey Devils coaching situation. The Devils were down to four candidates plus a mystery candidate. Elliotte Friedman announced the mystery candidate the Devils interviewed was Lindy Ruff.

Analysis: Ruff is currently an assistant coach with the New York Rangers and is the former head coach of the Buffalo Sabres (1997-2013) and Dallas Stars (2013-2017). Ruff like Peter Laviolette and Gerard Gallant has a good track as a head coach in the NHL. He brings a defensive style of the Devils desperately need. New Jersey was near the bottom of the league in goal difference so they need to clean that area up. While he may not be the sexy pick amongst Devils fans, he knows how to get teams to the playoffs. Something the Devils have done only twice since 2010. Plus like Gallant and Laviolette, he has brought a team to a Stanley Cup Final. In addition, Ruff has the ability to coach players with high offensive talent. Just look at what he did with players like Chris Drury, Daniel Briere, Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, and others.

Ruff turned them into solid players and let their offensive ability shine. Under Ruff, Benn won the Art Ross Trophy in 2015. Who knows he could turn Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes into the players they can be. There is something about having a proven NHL head coach behind the bench. The Devils made a serious play for Rickard Gronborg, but it fell short. It feels like it is a three-man race between Laviolette, Gallant, and Alain Nasreddine. But the Devils could shock the world go in a completely different direction and choose Ruff to coach this young but talented team. One thing is for sure the Devils do not make things easy.

CBA Talks

Rumour: St. Louis Blues rinkside reporter Andy Strickland reported the NHL and the NHLPA are inching closer to a new six-year CBA extension that could be announced as early as the first week of July.

Analysis: This is good news if you are a fan of the National Hockey League. Prior to COVID-19 suspending play, the NHL and NHLPA were working on a CBA extension. Even as the two sides work together in harmony to put together the league’s return to play plan, they were still working on extending the CBA. Having a six-year extension between the owners and players is great. Considering have much dysfunction the two sides had over the past 20 or so years, this is a positive sign. Three lockouts, one lost season, and only now are they are seeing the fruits of their labour. As the NHL continues to grow in the United States, having labour peace ensures the sport is in a good spot as it climbs the rankings amongst the four major pro sports.

As part of the agreement, there is potential to have a two-three year flat salary cap to adjust for the paused season. That will be huge especially with Seattle entering league after the 2020-21 season. Having labour peace also allows the NHL to show stability to the television networks as they try to get a new TV deal in the United States. The NHL has seen what labour disputes have done in the past to the league. The owners and players know the game has never been better so why not just make a deal and continue having success on and off the ice.

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