Welcome back to another edition of NHL Rumours from the crew at Last Word on Hockey. We’re just over a month away from the trade deadline and rumours are starting to heat up. Teams are starting to figure out whether they’re going to be buyers or sellers at this year’s deadline, so expect even more rumours from around the league as we get closer and closer to the big day. As always, Last Word on Hockey will continue to keep you up to date on the latest NHL Rumours each and every day. Today, we focus on rumours surrounding the Montreal Canadiens, Columbus Blue Jackets and Carolina Hurricanes
All NHL Rumours come from their original source and are subject to change.
Analysis: Friedman mentions that no team spent as much money in the offseason as the Canadiens. And despite being the best team statistically at five-on-five situations, Bergevin felt he had to stop the bleeding and make a coaching change as the Canadiens were struggling to win games. The Canadiens appointed Dominique Ducharme as the new interim head coach which seemed inevitable. Many felt it was going to be his team once Julien’s time was up regardless.
However, with the recent news of the Canadiens firing long-time goaltending coach Stephane Waite late Tuesday night after, that adds even more speculation that Bergevin is on the hot seat. He feels the pressure and after spending so much money in the offseason, now firing Julien and still having to pay his salary as well, Bergevin is doing whatever he can to right the ship. The Canadiens were able to pull out a victory on Tuesday night against the Ottawa Senators and Carey Price was able to bounce back from multiple poor performances.
However, they’re not out of the woods yet. They are currently holding on to the fourth and final playoff spot in the North Division, with a three-point lead over the Calgary Flames with two games in hand, the Canadiens still need a more consistent effort. Especially from Carey Price.
If Bergevin is truly on the hot seat, we expect he isn’t done making moves yet. He has proven time and time again he isn’t afraid to make big moves. This would hold even more true if his job is truly on the line. The Canadiens cannot afford to miss the playoffs after the work Bergevin has done in the offseason. So expect more from the Habs GM in the coming weeks.
If they do miss the playoffs, whether it’s a mistake or not, we could see Bergevin’s tenure as Habs GM come to an end.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Rumour: Also from 31 Thoughts, Elliotte Friedman states that Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen confirms that the club is in the market for a centre.
Analysis: You know, it’s strange. A team in search of a centreman, after just dealing their best centreman. And a centreman who has established himself as a true number one centre in Pierre-Luc Dubois. However, that’s where the Blue Jackets find themselves. Of course, the Blue Jackets were in a sticky situation. Dubois forced their hand by asking for a trade. As well, coach John Tortorella decided he had enough of Dubois, benching him on multiple occasions.
So here we are. After losing Matt Duchene to the open market just a season ago, and trading Dubois, the Blue Jackets find themselves, once again, looking for a centreman. They did acquire one in Jack Roslovic in the blockbuster deal that sent Dubois to the Winnipeg Jets for Roslovic and Patrik Laine. However, they do not have a bonafide number one. Which honestly, is tough to find via trade. Not many teams are willing to give up top centreman. Unless of course, they’re about to enter a rebuild. Usually, teams have to draft their top centres. As Friedman mentions, the Blue Jackets have talented players at the position but they need time to grow. And immediate help is needed.
What the Blue Jackets could be looking at, is a deal like they made when they sent Ryan Johansen to the Nashville Predators for Seth Jones. Of course, not of the same magnitude mind you. However, looking at Frank Seravalli’s trade bait board, number two on the list is Blue Jackets defenceman David Savard. They could look at dealing Savard in exchange for a centreman. It’s definitely a situation to keep an eye on as we get closer to the trade deadline.
Rumour: On the latest Insider Trading, Pierre LeBrun states that contract talks between the Hurricanes and defenceman Dougie Hamilton have stalled.
ICYMI, INSIDER TRADING: #TSNHockey Insiders discuss…
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) March 3, 2021
Analysis: LeBrun mentions that the Hurricanes will certainly not trade Hamilton at the trade deadline and will definitely try to get a deal done before July 28th. However, as he states, Hamilton is looking for Alex Pietrangelo money, which brings an $8.8 million cap hit, the team is looking to sign him to the same type of contract which Torey Krug accepted with the St. Louis Blues, which brings a cap hit of $6.5 million. That’s a pretty significant gap between the two sides. Hamilton might not be just looking at Pietrangelo money. He might be following down the same road and Pietrangelo if the two sides are really that far apart on a deal.
Dougie Hamilton as established himself as one of the better defencemen in the NHL. Hamilton was putting together a Norris Trophy calibre season during the 2019-20 campaign. However, a fractured fibula held him to just 47 games and kept him out until the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This season, his production hasn’t been as strong to start the year. However, he still finds himself tied for 16th with 14 points in 22 games. Solid production from the defenceman.
Regardless of this, Hamilton is still one of the premier defenders in the NHL. And he should be paid as such. While surely he is willing to come down a little from his initial asking price, accepting $6.5 million would be cutting himself short. Hamilton would certainly fetch more in the open market and if the Hurricanes are not willing to budge on their price, that’s where Hamilton could be headed.
That does it for today’s NHL Rumours segment. Be sure to check back tomorrow for all the latest rumours from around the league.