Welcome back to another edition of NHL Rumours from the crew at Last Word On Hockey. We’re only a week away from the start of the NHL regular season. With that, rumours are really starting to pick up. Today, we will focus on rumours from the Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks.
All NHL rumours come from their original source and are subject to change.
Analysis: The Canadiens have been one of the busiest teams this offseason. They’ve improved every position in order to try to become a legitimate Stanley Cup contender. One area they specifically needed to improve in was goal scoring. Which they looked after early, trading for Josh Anderson and signing Tyler Toffoli. However, why not check in on arguably the best goal-scoring free agent on the market this off-season? Hoffman spent the last two seasons playing with the Florida Panthers where he enjoyed the most productive seasons of his career. Hoffman scored 65 goals and 129 points in 151 games over the span of two seasons. That’s more than any Canadiens player over the last two seasons. 28 of Hoffman’s 65 goals came on the man advantage as well. An area the Canadiens have struggled in specifically.
However, given all the moves the Canadiens made, there was strictly no cap left to even entertain offering Hoffman a contract. They are already over the cap as it is and will need to get creative to move around some cap before the beginning of the season. Regardless, the Canadiens improved their team in all aspects, including the powerplay with the moves they made this offseason.
As for Hoffman, he signed a PTO with the St. Louis Blues and is rumoured to already have a deal in place, however, the Blues need to wait to announce it until they can move cap to the LTIR at the beginning of the season. It will be a massive addition to the Blues’ lineup this season. Especially with Vladimir Tarasenko missing the start of the season. It’s also a move that could have set the Canadiens over the top had they been able to pull it off.
More From Montreal
Rumour: Arpon Basu tweeted that he was been told that Kaiden Guhle will be heading to Montreal after the World Juniors, however, will need to quarantine so he won’t be eligible to participate in the Canadiens training camp.
I’m told Kaiden Guhle will be heading to Montreal after the World Junior gold medal game, but that he will need to quarantine upon arrival and therefore won’t be able to participate in Canadiens camp. Should, however, be good for Laval Rocket training camp.
— Аrpon Basu (@ArponBasu) January 6, 2021
Analysis: However, Guhle will be able to participate in the Laval Rocket training with the AHL announcing a February 5th start date. Guhle played for Canada in the World Junior Championships over the last few weeks. So, he will certainly be in game shape once he arrives in Montreal in the coming days. The experience Guhle will gain playing against men in the AHL with be invaluable. We certainly won’t see him as a top-pairing defenceman in the AHL to start the year. However, even playing on a bottom pairing and being used on special teams will benefit the Canadiens 2020 first-round pick.
Guhle can do a little bit of everything. He is an outstanding skater and possesses a large frame at 6′-2”, 186 pounds. He likes to play physical and has the ability to run a powerplay. Guhle may actually benefit from the COVID-19 pandemic. In normal times, he would not be be eligible to play in the AHL. Getting this experience now may fast-track his development and help him earn a roster spot on the Canadiens quicker than expected.
Benning saying he wants to sign Podkolzin after April 30 and get him in the Canucks lineup ASAP.
— Blake Price (@BlakePriceTSN) January 5, 2021
Analysis: The Canucks are set to finish their regular season on May 8th. Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, that would not allow Podkolzin to play this season. He would most likely have to quarantine for 14 days upon his arrival into Canada. So, Podkolzin would not be available until the Stanley Cup Playoffs. That is, if the Canucks are able to make it. With the division realignment, the Canucks find themselves in an all Canadian Division, now labelled the Scotia NHL North Division. With the division being so tight and the Canucks losing so many key members of last year’s team in free agency, it’s possible we see the Canucks on the outside looking in.
Podkolzin is just finishing up playing in the World Junior Hockey Championships where he scored two goals and two assists in six games. He has scored two goals and six points in 24 KHL games for St. Petersburg SKA this season as well. If the Canucks can convince Podkolzin to come to North America after the KHL season, that could play a factor on how they approach the trade deadline. Giving up assets at the trade deadline, which is set for April 12th this season, is a common but not desirable move. That is especially true if you already have reinforcements on the way. The Canucks may elect to leave their forward group as is. Then hope Podkolzin can come in and make an instant impact, IF they are playing in the postseason. If not, he’ll be available for a fresh start with the club in the 2021-22 season.
That does it for today’s edition of NHL rumours. Be sure to check back tomorrow for the latest rumours from around the league.