Welcome back to another edition of NHL Rumours from the crew at Last Word on Hockey. Preseason is underway and teams are looking to finalize their roster before the start of the NHL season. With that, rumours are starting to swirl around the league. In today’s NHL rumour segment, we focus on rumours surrounding the Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks.
All NHL rumours come from their original source and are subject to change.
Rumour: On a recent Insider Trading segment on TSN, Pierre LeBrun spoke about Marc Bergevin’s next contract.
ICYMI, INSIDER TRADING: #TSNHockey Insiders discuss…
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) September 29, 2021
Analysis: Marc Bergevin is in the final year of his contract and his 10th season as the Canadiens general manager. During that time he has built some solid teams who have found some success. They have won three division titles and have made an Eastern Conference Final appearance along with a recent Stanley Cup Final appearance in last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. This has Canadiens fans eager to get the season started to try to make another run, but also has to have Bergevin salivating for a chance to continue this journey he is on to turn the Canadiens into a legitimate Stanley Cup contender and finish what he started.
LeBrun stated that Bergevin was offered a deal from Canadiens owner Geoff Molson, however, there has not been an agreement at this time. LeBrun believes Bergevin does want to stay with the Canadiens organization. He also believes that there is some pressure to get a deal done so it’s not hanging over the Canadiens season. There is a strong chance we see Bergevin get locked up to a similar number that Julien Brisebois got in Tampa, despite not having the Stanley Cup wins, simply because of the body of work the Habs general manager has done, especially in recent years to turn around the club’s fortunes.
Rumour: Rick Dhaliwal spoke about the Travis Hamonic situation recently on the Donnie and Dhali show. He said as of now, Hamonic is going through all his options, including retirement or taking the season off.
— Donnie & Dhali (@DonnieandDhali) September 27, 2021
Analysis: Travis Hamonic elected to sit out during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dhaliwal doesn’t say whether Hamonic is an anti-vaxxer or not, however states that he’s a family man first. Every decision he makes is all about his family. He has a young daughter that he has to look out for and will do whatever he believes is best for him and his family when it comes to the upcoming season.
Hamonic just recently signed a two-year deal with the Canucks worth $3 million per season. So what has changed from then until now regarding his plans for the upcoming season? No one really has those answers. Jim Benning recently stated that he believed Hamonic would eventually show up for the Canucks, but that has yet to happen. With the deadline to opt-out of the 2021-22 season coming up on Friday, we should certainly get an answer prior to the deadline on his future.
Opening Up Cash for Hughes or Pettersson
If Hamonic does elect to opt-out of the season, that opens up $3 million that the team could use to sign Quinn Hughes or Elias Pettersson. However, it also leaves a gaping hole on the right side that they would need to fill in the absence of Hamonic. Do the Canucks try to find a replacement via free agency or trade? Or do they look within the organization for someone to step up into a top-pairing role? There is so many questions left unanswered and not much time left before the regular season gets underway. Jim Benning has his work cut out for him in the coming weeks.
Canucks Looking at Demers?
Rumour: Rick Dhaliwal stated on the Donnie and Dhali show that if Travis Hamonic does opt-out of the NHL season, keep an eye on Jason Demers.
Analysis: If Hamonic does opt-out of the season, that leaves a massive void on the right side for the Canucks. However, as we already mentioned, it opens up $3 million in cap space. Demers would be a much cheaper and viable option to help fill the void left by Hamonic. Demers spent the last four seasons with the Arizona Coyotes, where he registered 43 points in 195 games. Dhaliwal states that Demers did, in fact, nix a trade to Vancouver a couple of seasons ago but surely his feelings have changed since then now that he is unsigned. Demers would give the Canucks another veteran depth option if Hamonic does opt-out. We’d expect Demers to sign for around $750,000 leaving $2.25 million of Hamonic’s contract left to use to sign Hughes or Pettersson.