NHL Rumours: Anaheim Ducks, Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning

NHL rumours

Welcome to NHL Rumours. Today, we will be exploring whether the Anaheim Ducks will trade John Gibson. We’ll also talk about Marc Bergevin‘s contract negotiations with the Montreal Canadiens. Finally, we will touch on Ondrej Palat‘s contract negotiations with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Let’s dive in!

NHL Rumours

Anaheim Ducks

Rumour: Could this season be the last for the Anaheim Ducks John Gibson? Lyle Richardson of si.com/The Hockey News weighs in on Gibson’s future. 

Analysis: John Gibson is under contract with Anaheim for the next six seasons. He has a  cap hit of $6.4 million, so there is no need to trade him. The issue Anaheim has is Gibson is 28-years-old and that contract works him through his prime years. But Gibson’s prime and the prime of the rebuilding Ducks don’t match. Therefore, it would be worth trading him if they get a return that lines up better with their timeline. He could be the topic of NHL rumours going forward.

I think if Gibson goes anywhere this season, it will be to the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers will probably push on him if Carter Hart struggles again. It makes sense for both teams to swap goalies. Gibson better helps the Flyers win now, which they are obviously trying to do with their flashy offseason. Hart better fits the young timeline of the Anaheim Ducks. I think the Flyers will have to add a draft pick or a few sweeteners, but that would be a trade I could see happening. The Edmonton Oilers and Pittsburgh Penguins would really want Gibson, but I don’t see where the pieces come from to make that work.

Montreal Canadiens

Rumour: Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin held a press conference to address the team’s poor start. In it, he was asked would he like to remain as the general manager of the Canadiens, he said, “In a perfect world, yes.” 

Analysis: Montreal’s Athletic writer Arpon Basu wrote, “now, Bergevin’s comments make it clear that the reason he does not have a contract extension in place has nothing to do with his desire to leave, and everything to do with how his negotiations have gone with team president and owner Geoff Molson.” Signalling that he won’t stay on with the team if he doesn’t get the contract he feels he deserves, which hasn’t been offered yet.

Elliotte Friedman on last week’s 32 Thoughts blog added some more context to this. He wrote, “When the Rangers hired (Chris Drury) as President & general manager, he signed a contract believed to be in the mid-$4 million range…It leap-frogged him above many of his peers, including Montreal’s Marc Bergevin, who just went to the Stanley Cup Final. I’m not saying Bergevin is asking for $4.5 million… but, whatever the case, it’s a factor in the lack of an extension in Montreal.”

What we can take away from this is it looks like Bergevin is looking for around or a bit higher than Drury’s salary and Molson doesn’t want to go that high. I don’t think there is a reason for anyone to panic about this yet, there is still lots of time between now and when Bergevin’s contract expires in the summer. Now is a fine time to play hardball, but once we sneak closer to the deadline, each side’s true colours will start to come out.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Rumour: David Pagnotta of the Fourth Period’s Market Rumblings said Ondrej Palat and the Lightning, “(the Lightning) have not engaged in meaningful conversations with Palat for an extension at this point. Neither side is concerned by any stretch, but they haven’t gotten there yet.”

Analysis: As Pagnotta said, there’s no reason for concern about this negotiation right now. The Lightning have had quite a bit of business to do since they won the Stanley Cup, like trying to fit under the cap, sign general manager Julien BriseBois and coach Jon Cooper. Now the season has started and Nikita Kucherov is out for a while, so there’s a lot going on. When things settle they should start working on a contract. Evolving Hockey projects Palat’s next contract to be five years with a cap hit of $5.532 million, which is a jump of about $200,000, not a lot of money in the cap world. The Lightning can certainly fit him into their tight cap and I think they will considering he’s been a core player for nine seasons by the time his contract ends.

There is one big snag, while Palat is the biggest free agent next summer, the following summer is going to be mightily expensive because Mikhail Sergachev, Anthony Cirelli and Erik Cernak and Alex Killorn are all owed new deals. Older players will have to go to make room for the younger players. I think Alex Killorn and Ryan McDonagh are likely candidates to go.  Evolving Hockey’s contract projection tool has him making a $200,000 raise, certainly not catastrophic. They should be able to sign Palat.

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