With the NHL off-season in its dog days of what usually would be summer, things are starting to slow down. The NHL rumours, however, are still going strong. Even with nothing happening, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things moving in the background. Today we will look at the Calgary Flames, Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres.
Rumour: According to Emily Sadler of Sportsnet, the Montreal Canadiens could be a potential landing destination for Ilya Kovalchuk as both had a positive experience from his initial stint with the team.
Analysis: Ilya Kovalchuk is one of the many UFAs still without a team. He finished a resurgence of a season on a low note after an early playoff elimination with the Washington Capitals. It should come as no surprise that the Canadiens could be interested. The two were said to have left on good terms after the trade to Washington. Montreal was very impressed with Kovalchuk’s on-ice performance, and it appeared that Kovalchuk loved the Canadiens organization. The fit makes sense as well. The Canadiens are in an in-between phase after a retooling but are still letting their players grow. Kovalchuk can act both as a mentor to younger players again, but also contribute a bit in the lineup.
Kovalchuk isn’t the player he used to be. He was still was able to contribute a bit offensively when with Montreal, however. He could continue to fill this role on the team and potentially act as a trade chip at the deadline yet again if Montreal is not in a playoff position. If the Canadiens are in the playoff hunt, Kovalchuk could act as an “own rental”, and help with the playoff push for the Habs.
Sadler mentions this could be a signing that occurs around the time of training camp rather than sooner.
Analysis: Hamonic has stated that he wishes to stay in the Western Conference despite having plenty of offers from the Eastern Conference. With the loss of TJ Brodie, the Flames defence could look very different if they were to lose Hamonic as well. He would fill the need of a right-handed defenceman and is already familiar with the organization. The role that is filled by Hamonic is key, with him being one of the premier penalty killers on the team.
The Flames have gone out and made a few signings this season with Chris Tanev being one of them. This is what the Flames will hope to fill the hole left by Brodie. Should Hamonic leave as well, however, there is yet another hole that will need to be filled. The Flames would need to make a move to be able to keep Hamonic. Their limited cap space wouldn’t allow them to be able to sign him. Hamonic does provide lots of value to the Flames by being a great penalty killer on a team that struggles on the penalty kill. This is a big reason why the Flames should look to make this work.
Rumour: John Vogl of the Athletic took a look at the projected cap hit of the Buffalo Sabres for the 2021-22 season. In doing so, he estimated that Rasmus Dahlin could look to command near $7,000,000 on his next contract.
Analysis: Vogl uses Thomas Chabot, Zach Werenski, Ivan Provorov and Samuel Girard as comparables for a second contract for Dahlin. These are each excellent comparables, ranging from short term to long term options. They also offer higher-end comparables as well as lower-end. As it has been seen in the past, these excellent young defencemen tend to get less than is projected, as we’ve seen with Werenski and recently with Mikhail Sergachev, among others. The other variable is the term. If Dahlin is firm on going short term to get more on his following contract, that could push the AAV down.
The Sabres should be looking to go at 6-7 million if they can get him on a mid to long-term deal. If it is a shorter contract, then using Werenski at $5,000,000 for three years is an excellent option. The Sabres should be looking to lock Dahlin in for as long as possible, however. If they were to sign him for a long-term deal at a mid-level cost, that contract could look to age very well as he continues to emerge as a strong top pair defenceman.
This concludes the NHL rumours for today!