Welcome back to another edition of NHL Rumours from the crew at Last Word on Hockey. After a long wait, we’re finally at opening day for the NHL regular season. Teams have trimmed their rosters and filled their taxi squads to get themselves ready for what promises to be a very different but exciting season. Despite the NHL regular season set to get underway, rumours are still swirling as teams are still looking to improve their rosters. In today’s segment, we’ll check in on rumours surrounding the Montreal Canadiens, Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks.
All NHL Rumours come from their original source and are subject to change.
Analysis: This shouldn’t come as a surprise whatsoever. Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin previously showed interest in Dubois in his draft year and was rumoured to have a deal on the table with the Edmonton Oilers to trade up so they could draft Dubois at fourth overall. However, when Dubois was drafted third, the deal fell through and the Oilers drafted Jesse Puljujarvi.
Fast forward almost five years later, Dubois is now looking for a change of scenery. Dubois wants to play on a bigger stage and what bigger stage then Montreal for the Quebec native. Dubois would be right in the middle of the spotlight playing in his home province for the Canadiens.
So what would it take to get a deal done? If the Columbus Blue Jackets are going to be trading away their top centre, they’re going to be looking for a centreman in return. So you look instantly at Nick Suzuki, Jesperi Kotkaniemi or Phillip Danault. Suzuki would most likely be off the table for Bergevin so you look at that latter two. This also wouldn’t be a straight up one for one trade, so Columbus will certainly ask for another piece or two to go along with it.
For the Canadiens, they got to stay cap compliant. With Dubois just signing a new two year, $10 million deal, with a cap hit of $5 million, the Canadiens would need to send at least that much back the other way. What would make the most sense for the Canadiens is packaging Danault with one of their depth forwards or defenceman to clear the salary and then adding another top prospect and/or pick to the equation. It might seem like a lot to give up, however, you have to trade something to get something. You can’t get a player like Pierre-Luc Dubois for peanuts. Bergevin will certainly have to give up quite a bit to acquire his services.
Analysis: As Dreger mentions, for Kevin Cheveldayoff, the fit needs to be absolutely perfect to move Laine in-season. Laine is such a huge part of the Jets offence. The return would need to be massive and help them not just this season but moving forward. The Jets were the other team Friedman had mentioned in his 31 Thoughts article as a team who is interested in Dubois, and Dreger confirmed that as well. However, there’s no deal close there. As well, as mentioned, Columbus would most certainly want a centre in return as it would leave only Max Domi as the only true top six centre for the Blue Jackets. At this point, it would be surprising to see Laine dealt in season. There’s a better chance we’ll see him moved in the offseason. If at all.
Roslovic on the other hand is a different story. Roslovic is not at camp as he does not currently have a contract with the Jets. So they would like to move him if the right deal comes up. However, they are not just going to give him away. Roslovic is a former first round pick in 2015 and is a very promising offensive player. However, just hasn’t been able to break out with the Jets. A change of scenery would do him wonders.
Roslovic has produced 26 goals and 67 points in 180 games thus far in his career. This, while mostly playing bottom six minutes. If he could find himself in a top six role, he would certainly flourish. His versatility is very intriguing as he can play both centre and wing and move up and down the lineup as needed creating a spark for any line he is on. While Cheveldayoff is being patient with his young forward, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him moved during the season.
Rumour: Another hit from TSN’s Insider Trading, Dreger states that Jim Benning is still searching for a top six winger for his club.
Analysis: As Dreger states, the club has been impressed with Nils Hoglander and wonder if he can fill that role this season for the Canucks. They also have Vasily Podkolzin who they will be looking to sign in April when the KHL season comes to an end. However, many think the Canucks have took a step back during the offseason after losing Tyler Toffoli and essentially not replacing him. However, Dreger states that Benning says that’s not the case. They’re all in and still looking to improve the roster.
In terms of free agents, there is not much available on the market. Also, any move the Canucks make will require them to shed some cap. They are right up against the cap as it is. The massive contracts of Loui Eriksson and Tyler Myers are becoming a bit of a burden for the club. While Myers is serviceable, paying him $6 million to play a bottom pair role isn’t. Given the cap situation of most teams, it’s a deal thats going to be tough to make for the Canucks. It will most likely be a deal that we will see a couple of months into the season, once teams understand where they stand against the competition.
One name to keep an eye out for would be Kyle Palmieri of the New Jersey Devils. If the Devils struggle during the first few months of the season and given his UFA status, he is a prime candidate for the Canucks. The Devils are also a team that has cap space available. They could take on a contract for the Canucks as well as grab some assets in the process. Palmieri would hold the final as he hold an eight team no-trade list. So it’s unsure if he would even accept a trade there. However, he would be a prime target for a Canucks team looking to bolster their lineup.
That does it for today’s NHL Rumours. Be sure to check back tomorrow for the latest rumours from around the league.