We’ve made it to the end of another work week and we’ve got plenty of NHL rumours to sift through. Teams are trying to figure out who to put in the front office and what moves to make. There’s already been two big front office shakeups with the Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks. We also look at how a New York Islanders defender might be calling it a career.
All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.
Rumour: TSN’s trade bait board came out and defenceman Ben Chiarot is at the top of the list.
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) December 8, 2021
Analysis: Our rumours piece earlier in the week speculated on fellow Habs defenceman Jeff Petry being moved. However, Chiarot might be an easier player to deal. His contract isn’t as much of a burden as Petry’s would be. The Hamilton, Ontario native is in the final year of his contract that sees him get $3.5 million a season.
Chiarot does have a modified no-trade clause in his deal where he submits a 10-team no-trade list. He could become a rental for a contender and the Canadiens would likely get something in return for him.
The 30-year-old left-handed defenceman has five goals and one assist for six points in 27 games. Montreal’s defence has been racked up injuries to Shea Weber and others, so Chiarot is seeing 23:23 of ice time this season. If the Habs do tear it down, he could be on the move.
Rumour: The Athletic’s Harman Dayal and Thomas Drance took a look at how could be general manager for the newly hired Jim Rutherford.
Jim Rutherford and the #Canucks will begin the process of searching for a new GM.
— Harman Dayal (@harmandayal2) December 9, 2021
Analysis: The pair gave a large list of names that could fill Jim Benning‘s shoes. Rutherford will serve as the interim GM until he finds a successor. One of the names at the top of the list includes former Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill.
He’s with the Seattle Kraken at this time, but many remember his disastrous tenure in Western New York. (Ryan O’Reilly trade, anyone?) Botterill did have a bad run with Buffalo, but he was a key figure for the Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup runs. Dayal also singled out Penguins director of scouting Randy Sexton.
Former interim general manager and Canucks great Stan Smyl was on the list as well as Mike Gillis. Former Montreal GM was also tossed out as a name, but there were some off-the-board choices in the article. Hayley Wickenheiser would be a huge move because she would be the first female GM in league history. Agent Eustace King was also mentioned as an out-of-left-field selection.
Rutherford will do his homework and make sure his right choice takes the job. However, there’s a big mess to fix in Vancouver.
New York Islanders
Rumour: Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun said that it could have been Zdeno Chara‘s last game in Ottawa earlier this week.
Zdeno Chara says it could be his last game in Ottawa. Hasn't made a decision on next year #Sens
— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) December 7, 2021
Analysis: It’s not been a pleasant year for the former Norris Trophy winner. The Slovak has only two assists in 18 games this season on a defence that’s struggled due to injuries and departures. He’s looked every bit of the 44 years at times this season.
Chara looked like his old self last year with the Washington Capitals, but this year has been a different story. He’ll still show his toughness on the ice but hasn’t looked like the force that terrorized opposing teams over the last two-plus decades.
The 24-year veteran played a significant part in his early career in Ottawa and has an attachment to the place. He should be a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame, but he’s struggled mightily this season. However, it should sully his great legacy too much. He’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer and one of the most fearsome blueliners of the past two decades.