Welcome back to NHL Rumours where we look at the latest going around the league each day. Even though the playoffs are still going on, lots of eliminated teams are already starting to look forward due to a shortened offseason. That leads to lots of NHL rumours from around the league. This morning, we are looking at three rumours from two teams in NHL rumours. We’ll be taking a look at the Montreal Canadiens and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Rumour: Brendan Gallagher and the Montreal Canadiens have started contract talks, but haven’t gotten too far yet. This comes from Arpon Basu of The Athletic. Eric Engels of Sportsnet also quoted Gallagher in saying that the dollar amount will be apart of the decision, but winning is more important.
Brendan Gallagher says his agent has had very preliminary discussions with the Canadiens about his next contract, but nothing too detailed.
— Аrpon Basu (@ArponBasu) September 14, 2020
Analysis: For starters, Habs fans don’t have to worry about not seeing Gallagher this upcoming season as he still has one year left on his deal. However, Montreal can extend him this offseason and will likely try to as he is part of the heartbeat that drives the team. Gallagher is one of the most underrated players in the league, and his contract reflects that. Gallagher currently makes just 3.75 million dollars against the cap and will surely be in for a pretty solid raise.
How much of a raise will be the real question that comes into play, as well as the length of the contract. Currently, Gallagher is one of the quite better wingers in the league. However, he also plays a style of game that can be rough on the body and at 29-years-old the team needs to be careful about giving too many years. Gallagher has already made it clear that he won’t be asking for the entire bank, and would rather win. The Habs have tons of cap space to work with right now so getting a dollar amount really shouldn’t be an issue.
The biggest hurdles will be most likely be the term of the contract. Another one is making sure Gallagher feels Montreal can win in his window. However, given the quotes above that seems to be not too much of a worry. Montreal has some very intriguing rookies on the way in the next season or two. If they can find the right match between their two cores, they could be a very interesting team to watch.
Montreal Canadiens Rumour Two
Rumour: We stay with the Canadiens, where this time it is NBC’s Pierre McGuire on TSN1200 where he mentions the Canadiens have talked about UFA defenceman Torey Krug. He suspects they will be one of the teams in on him if he hits the open market.
Analysis: As mentioned above, the Habs have a bunch of cap space relative to some other teams to work with. They need to be somewhat conservative with it as younger players and guys like Gallagher will need raises. However, if Krug is interested in Montreal, there could be a fit there. Another legit top-four defenceman could make this team look really solid. Especially if it is mixed with a scoring boost from the young players. However, the thing Montreal needs to be careful with is overpaying Krug.
Krug is a better player than Karl Alzner, but that Alzner contract is all too recent for Montreal. Torey Krug is probably slightly overrated around the league. He is a solid second pair guy who can help play in just about any situation. With Shea Weber still eating huge minutes, Montreal might have a nice fit for Krug. Giving them a top-four that features three of Weber, Krug, and Jeff Petry and they would look really solid. They may even be able to flip someone else for an asset if they needed to.
If Krug does hit the market, watch for Montreal to be a player. The fit there seems very reasonable and both sides could benefit.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Rumour: We end NHL Rumours with The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline reporting that Josh Anderson is looking for a new deal from the Columbus Blue Jackets. The two sides hope that things go better this time.
Analysis: Anderson and the Jackets have had a history of negotiations already as last time, Josh Anderson held out. He even requested a trade but it was denied. In the end, he ended up signing a three-year deal with the Jackets and has become a crucial part of their team. Well, crucial when he can stay healthy, that is. Anderson has struggled to stay on the ice throughout his career. His only time playing 82 games was last season. This year, he played just 26 and had four points.
Normally, those numbers would be someone you really wouldn’t worry much about. However, when he is even reasonably healthy, Anderson is a 20 goal scorer. The 26-year-old and the team now have to decide what the future holds for each other. With all the injuries Columbus dealt with this season, lots of potential NHL players have stepped up. Does that make Anderson expendable? Before the pandemic, there may have been a team willing to spend the money on him if needed. Now, that market may be lesser. Anderson is an RFA so the Jackets would have to deal his rights to a team unless an offer sheet came about, which seems unlikely.
Columbus also has some big contracts this offseason so Anderson may not be a top priority. Regardless, the two sides will have to decide if they can come together for mutual benefit. If Anderson wants to get all that he is worth, he may be looking at a new home next season. Time will tell where the two sides land, but the contract negotiation will be something to keep an eye on.