NHL Rumours: Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers, Chicago Blackhawks

NHL Rumours

Welcome back to another edition of NHL Rumours. We’re just about a month into the 2021-22 NHL season and we’re already hearing rumblings of teams looking to make moves to improve their roster. In today’s NHL Rumours segment, we focus on rumours surrounding the Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks.

All NHL rumours come from their original source and are subject to change.

NHL Rumours

Montreal Canadiens

Rumour: In Frank Seravalli’s most recent Ice Breakers article for dailyfaceoff.com, he mentions that the Montreal Canadiens have shown interest in New York Rangers prospect Vitali Kravtsov.

Analysis: Kravtsov made headlines after he refused his assignment to the Rangers AHL affiliate Hartford Wolfpack. Kravtsov wowed the hockey world in his return to the KHL scoring two goals in his first game, one that was absolutely stunning. It’s that skillset that teams are salivating over and of course, had Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin picking up the phone to inquire about the disgruntled forward.

The Canadiens could certainly use a player with the skillset of Kravtsov. Especially considering they’re the fourth lowest-scoring team in the entire league. They’re also off to a horrendous start going just 3-10-1 in their first 14 games to open the season. This is largely due to the fact the Canadiens are playing without Carey Price, Shea Weber and Joel Edmundson, as well as recently injured Jonathan Drouin. However, those players don’t drive the offence (outside of Drouin). While Kravtsov wouldn’t solve all the Canadiens problems, the youngster would certainly provide an extra offensive punch now and more importantly in the future for the Canadiens.

The Ask for Kravtsov?

The Rangers gave Kravtsov’s agent, Dan Milstein, permission to seek a trade for his client. While it’s hard to say what exactly the Rangers would expect in return for Kravtsov, we would expect to see a deal much like we saw for Lias Andersson last season. The Kings acquired Andersson for a second-round pick. Given he was the seventh overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft and Kravtsov was the ninth pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, it would be a safe bet to think the ask would be somewhat similar.

Edmonton Oilers

Rumour: On the latest 32 Thoughts podcast, Elliotte Friedman mentioned that he believes the Edmonton Oilers are going to look for another goaltender as well as a left-shot defenceman.

Analysis: It’s no surprise that Friedman expects to Oilers to go out an add pieces to better their roster. The club is off to an outstanding start, going 9-2 in their first 11 games. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are playing as expected. Lighting up the league and sitting tied for first in league scoring. Newcomer Zach Hyman has been as advertised and earning that hefty contract he signed in the offseason. And Jesse Puljujarvi has finally come into his own scoring six goals and 13 points in the first 11 games. The Oilers are looking like a Stanley Cup Contender early in the season and general manager Ken Holland needs to make sure that doesn’t change.

In order to do that, he will need to solidify the back end. Specifically the goaltending. Mikko Koskinen has looked solid in the early going, but he hasn’t shown the ability since coming into the league that he is able to sustain that for a whole season. Mike Smith isn’t getting any younger either, so the Oilers main objective this season should be to acquire a solidified number one netminder.

Potential Targets?

Luckily for the Oilers, there could be one available. Names like John Gibson, Marc-Andre Fleury and Joonas Korpisalo come to mind as potential suitors for the Oilers. John Gibson is one of the best goaltenders in the game. At just 28-years-old and locked up long-term with a cap hit of $6.4 million, Gibson would solve the Oilers goaltending situation for years to come. However, it will cost a pretty penny to acquire his services. He also carries a 10 team no-trade clause, which could include in the Oilers. But who doesn’t want to play with McDavid and have a chance at a Stanley Cup?

Fleury also has a 10 team no-trade clause in his contract. So he may not be an option strictly due to that. Though he would come at a much cheaper cost than Gibson. Given that he is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end and is 36-years-old.

Korpisalo might make the most sense. There is nothing in his contract stopping him from being dealt to the Oilers. He is also an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and comes will a low cap hit of just $2.8 million. With the Oilers cap situation, Korpisalo would be the easiest to fit into their current cap without having to disrupt the roster too much. He obviously isn’t as proven as the other two names. However, if he performs well, he could earn himself a nice contract at the end of the season. He would be locked in as the number one goaltender moving forward.

One thing is for sure, the Oilers have options. And we would definitely expect them to make a play for one of these netminders at some point during the season.

Chicago Blackhawks

Rumour: Also from Frank Seravalli’s Ice Breakers article, he mentions that the Blackhawks are in no rush to replace former general manager Stan Bowman.

Analysis: As it stands, the Blackhawks have placed the interim tag on Kyle Davidson. And it seems as though he has full reign of the position, firing former head coach Jeremy Colliton as well as looking to make some moves by shopping forwards Dylan Strome and Adam Gaudette. As Seravalli mentions, Davidson has been working his way up the ladder, starting as an intern 11 years ago. According to Seravalli, he has held nearly every front-office position during that time. So he clearly has the trust of the ownership group. Davidson has jumped right into the role. It will be interesting to see how he fairs during the rest of the remainder of the season. But it looks as though Davidson will get a long look for the open position. He will have every opportunity to prove he deserves it moving forward.

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