Welcome back to NHL Rumours. Where each and every day, we break down the latest going around the NHL. We take a look at NHL Rumours focused on trades, signings, and more. Today, we have a trio of NHL Rumours from the Montreal Canadiens, St. Louis Blues, and Vegas Golden Knights. Make sure to tune in each day for more.
Analysis: There has been some speculation that Laine might be on the move for a little while now. The worry about his next contract for the Winnipeg Jets seems to be clear. As well as his fit with the team in the long-term. Rumours being he wants to play with Mark Scheifele but the team isn’t sure that’s the best fit. Regardless, it appears the Habs won’t jump in on these trade rumours.
Montreal has a ton of assets but understandably doesn’t want or need to spend them all. That being said, their team really could use a scorer in the top-six. It is possible they would rather address this either internally or via free agency. Internally would be the cheaper but riskier option. They have some young promising names coming, but will any of them be ready to take a huge step this season?
The free-agent market is a very intriguing option as well. A name like Mike Hoffman is likely to be available. He isn’t the best 200-foot player but he can do what the Habs need, and that is put the puck in the net. Hoffman has one of the best shots in the entire league and if he could fit in Claude Julien‘s system, he might be a perfect addition to the roster. His predicted contact is in the neighbourhood of 6.5×5 or so, which could work for both sides. The age of Hoffman makes it risky too, but he would help right away.
Whatever Montreal does, they are sure to be active. Catch them here as the offseason progresses.
St. Louis Blues
Rumour: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was on ESPN102.5 Radio and reported that the St. Louis Blues and captain Alex Pietrangelo are going to try and take one more run at a contract. However, the Blues aren’t expected to budge much at all.
— ESPN 102.5 The Game 😷 (@1025TheGame) September 24, 2020
Analysis: Things aren’t looking good if you’re a St. Louis fan. The holdup appears to be signing bonus money, which many teams give out these days. However, the Blues never have and don’t appear willing to change with that. They also don’t seem to want to adjust the AAV at all to make up for that. As a team, they have that right too. They can choose to walk away and if Pietrangelo wants the bonuses other stars have received, he may have to go elsewhere.
There will clearly be a market for him. He is one of the best defencemen in the entire league. However, with the cap situation and COVID-19, it might be smaller than in past offseasons. His age is also a factor too. Any team signing him will be signing him into his late 30s. These types of contracts always have risks that come with them due to the potential of regression. However, there is no doubt he would help any team right now.
The Blues still have a cup window open and would no doubt like to re-sign their Norris calibre defenceman. However, the cap is a thing they must consider too. If the two can’t come to an agreement, look for Pietrangelo to be a much-wanted commodity this offseason.
Vegas Golden Knights
Rumour: Finally, The Athletic’s Jesse Granger sat down with Vegas Golden Knights Marc-Andre Fleury for an interview the other day. Fleury says that he hasn’t requested a trade and wants to be a Golden Knight for the rest of his career.
EXCLUSIVE: “I want to stay in Vegas … I don’t know what the future holds, but I’ve loved every moment since I got here.”
— The Athletic NHL (@TheAthleticNHL) September 24, 2020
Analysis: It is obvious Fleury loves Vegas, and why wouldn’t he? In their first year, he helped take them all the way to a Stanley Cup Final. He has been a fan favourite since day one and the franchise player since they started. This is the tough part of a business, however. Fleury is older and doesn’t quite have the numbers he did even a few seasons ago. On top of that, his cap hit is one that Vegas would like to get rid of.
In a perfect world, these two do stay together. But seeing as Vegas is in a Stanley Cup window, as weird as that may seem, they might have a better, cheaper, and younger option in Robin Lehner. Lehner signing for even $5 million would make Fleury expendable. Especially because of the cap hit too. If they had space, a Fleury/Lehner tandem would be amazing. But because they are so close to the cap, it doesn’t seem reasonable.
Despite the pandemic, there still may be teams willing to take on Fleury. He isn’t a bad goalie by any means. However, it is also possible Vegas would have to eat part of his cap hit to move him. As hard as it is to see, this is the business. Sometimes players who don’t want to leave are forced out the door for the betterment of the team. It’s also why no one should feel bad for doing what’s best for them, like Pietrangelo may have to do soon too.