It’s another weekend edition of NHL Rumours here at Last Word on Hockey. Daily, we take the hottest rumblings from around the NHL and package them in an article to break them down. With the season rolling along and trade season approaching, things are starting to heat up once again. Today’s piece features the Montreal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks, and Los Angeles Kings.
Rumour: A recent mailbag by The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun says that Montreal could be looking towards Gerard Gallant as their next non-interim head coach.
Analysis: Despite an illustrious playing and coaching career with many accomplishments, Gallant will always be known for taking the Vegas Golden Knights to the 2018 Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season. Gallant has been on the open market since the end of 2019, however, Vegas fired him after a middling 24-19-6 start to the season. He’s undoubtedly, next to Bruce Boudreau, the most desirable free agent coach right now.
Gallant’s history with the Montreal organization takes a step back to 2012, where he was hired as an assistant coach and served under Michel Therrien for two seasons. Montreal experienced a multitude of success in the early 2010’s, and Gallant was there for part of it. General manager Marc Bergevin knows this, and his search will only intensify as the team continues to lose games under interim coach Dominique Ducharme. Gallant would certainly be the best option for this team.
Rumour: Despite a horrific start, general manager Jim Benning is still looking to add a young top-nine forward at some point this season
ICYMI, INSIDER TRADING: #TSNHockey Insiders discuss…
– Update on Matthews’ ailment
– #Canucks seek young top 9 F; Kings want young, dynamic left-shot D
– NHL plans for 🇨🇦 team that goes to CF
– Could Seattle approach Panthers about Driedger?
WATCH 🌍: https://t.co/wPLNbOn8bN pic.twitter.com/0bA3DKAfvx
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) February 26, 2021
Analysis: Something needs to change quickly for Vancouver, a team that’s found themselves in a lot of recent NHL rumours. After appearing to finally have emerged from a long rebuild after the glory days of the early 2010’s, the Canucks are actually off to their worst start to a season in the 21st century. They’re hemorrhaging goals and their stars are struggling to score. The team lost a great deal of depth this offseason and it’s showing itself in spades. Benning is trying to reclaim some of that depth on the trade market.
One name that lends itself to being interesting is Kevin Labanc. The young Sharks’ forward has nine points in 17 games this season. He’s 25 years old and in the first year of a four-year deal paying him $4.725 million per season. It could be a deal worth making for the Canucks, as Labanc would likely fit in their top-six with his 50-point upside. Anything to spark their offence at this point would be appreciated.
Los Angeles Kings
Rumour: As the Kings continue to surge, TSN’s Insider Trading also says that they’re looking to add a young left-shot defenceman this season.
Analysis: The Kings are in quite an interesting spot right now. On one hand, they’re in a winning mode right now and sit in third place in the Honda West Division. Their points percentage of .583 is fourth. Either way, the Kings sit in playoff positioning at the moment. On the other hand, though, they’re still a very young team beginning to turn the corner of a rebuild. It’s unlikely that the Kings would be major buyers at the trade deadline this season.
However, a low-risk, smaller-scale transaction like what’s being referenced here could be extremely helpful. One rather obvious name is the Toronto Maple Leafs‘ Travis Dermott. The Kings and Leafs have been frequent trading partners in the past, with names like Jake Muzzin, Jack Campbell, Trevor Moore, and Carl Grundstrom changing hands in the past few seasons. Dermott’s value isn’t sky-high, and Toronto may be looking to deal him for the right price with a rush of younger defencemen coming soon. Dermott would slide into a top-four role on the Kings and would be a solid defensive defenceman for a team that struggles to limit chances.
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