NHL Rumours: Montreal Canadiens, Vegas Golden Knights, Nashville Predators

NHL Rumours
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It’s the middle of the work week, but we got plenty of NHL rumours. We’re still over a month from the NHL trade deadline, but there’s still plenty of chatter going on. Teams are going to be active to start rebuilds or nail down key pieces. Today’s NHL rumours focus on the Montreal Canadiens, Vegas Golden Knights and Nashville Predators.

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

NHL free agent frenzy

NHL Rumours

Montreal Canadiens

Rumour: Frank Seravalli of The Daily Faceoff went through his Atlantic Division war room breakdowns. He said the Canadiens will likely be in full-send mode at the March 21 deadline.

Analysis: Montreal knows it has some assets it can move to other teams to picks, players and prospects back. The Habs also have good young players like Cole Caufield that will likely be the team’s focus. Montreal may also be in the Wright position to land the first overall pick at the upcoming NHL Draft.

Seravalli mentioned that players like Ben Chiarot, Artturi Lehkonen, Jeff Petry, Tyler Toffoli and Brett Kulak could be on the move. Chiarot, Kulak and Petry could be useful to teams looking to bolster their respective bluelines. Lehkonen and Toffoli would be quality additions to any forward group.

Any Canadiens fans worried about an extended rebuild only need to look at Jeff Gorton’s former employer for encouraging signs. Jeff Gorton made the decision in 2018 to tear down the New York Rangers after being a post-season fixture. Pending unrestricted free agents that season like  Rick Nash, Michael Grabner and Nick Holden were traded away. Those eventually turned into players like Ryan Strome and K’Andre Miller.

There may be a couple of seasons of pain, but Montreal fans may not have to endure a Buffalo Sabres like rebuild to have a winner again. However, new General Manager Kent Hughes and company will have to make the right moves.

Vegas Golden Knights

Rumour: TSN’s latest Insider Trading talked about how the Golden Knights will have to clear space for Jack Eichel‘s return.

Analysis: Eichel has been on long term injured reserve while recovering from neck surgery. Eichel was finally cleared for contact at practice, but the club wants to see how he’ll react to any physical play. Insider Pierre LeBrun said Eichel’s return could be coming in the next couple of weeks if all goes to plan.

The main issue is Vegas would have to clear out cap space to accommodate his $10 million salary. General Manager Kelly McCrimmon would have to make a couple of deals so the former Sabres’ captain can take the ice. There have been rumours that Reilly Smith and others could be on the move.

Smith currently makes $5 million and is a UFA at the end of the season, so he’d be a logical choice. However, teams might be able to squeeze the Knights for picks and other pieces due to Vegas’ position.

Nashville Predators

Rumour: David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period was on NHL Network and talked about the Filip Forsberg contract situation.

Analysis: Pagnotta said there haven’t been any talks since the fall, but they’ll likely talk before the deadline. Forsberg is in the final year of his deal that has him making $6 million. He’ll likely want a raise since he’s been part of the Predators’ somewhat surprising surge.

Nashville General Manager David Poile did say on 102.5 The Game that him and Forsberg’s group will talk. Poile added that it would be nice to Forsberg in the Music City for a long time.

The Predators do have $10 million in cap space and have managed their affairs quite well. Nashville was a team that tried shedding salary by exposing Matt Duchene in the expansion draft, but both he and Ryan Johansen have had bounce-back seasons. Locking down Forsberg would mean the Predators have secured three important scorers for a while.

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