NHL Rumours: Montreal Canadiens, Buffalo Sabres, Anaheim Ducks

Brendan Gallagher; NHL Rumours

It’s almost the weekend, but we’ve got some NHL rumours ready to go. The three teams in this edition are out of Stanley Cup Playoff contention, so changes will are needed. There will be some hard decisions coming for these three clubs in this edition of NHL rumours. We focus on the Montreal Canadiens, Buffalo Sabres and Anaheim Ducks in this edition.

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

NHL Rumours

Montreal Canadiens

Rumour: Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette speculated on if Brendan Gallagher will be part of the Canadiens’ rebuild.

Analysis: Gallagher just signed a six-year deal worth $6.5 million per year in the last off-season. However, the new brain trust of Kent Hughes and Jeff Gorton are looking to give the team a new identity.

It’s been a trying season for the 29-year-old, who has battled injuries most of the season. Gallagher only had six goals in 51 games this season and he’d fit in well on a contender. That cap hit of $6.5 million might be tough for some teams to digest. However, other clubs would regain their appetite if the Habs eat some of the salary.

One team that could be a fit is the Los Angeles Kings, who have former Montreal GM, Marc Bergevin, in the front office. Bergevin was the one that signed Gallagher to that mammoth deal. Los Angeles does have solid prospects that could be packaged into a deal for the scorer.

Buffalo Sabres

Rumour: Lance Lysowski of the Buffalo News took a look at what the Sabres may have planned in goal for the next season and beyond.

Analysis: Buffalo has gone through plenty of goalies this season thanks to injuries and other struggles.  Craig AndersonDustin TokarskiAaron Dell and Malcolm Subban are all unrestricted free agents at the end of the season. Anderson has played well in spurts and Sabres’ management has indicated they’d like him to come back. There’s an air of uncertainty around the other three veteran netminders.

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is in the AHL getting valuable playing time but could get the majority of the starts next season. Injuries have prevented him from getting an extended look as the team’s top goalie.

The big two questions are the futures of college goalies Devon Levi and Erik Portillo. Both goalies decided to go back to the NCAA for another season. Levi has another two seasons before he has to sign with the Sabres, so there’s time. Portillo can become a free agent if he doesn’t sign in Aug. 2023. Both goalies will likely battle it out to be the team’s goalie of the future. Buffalo will make a full-court press on getting these two under contract next spring.

Another path could be signing a UFA goalie like Braden Holtby, Mikko Koskinen, Joonas Korpisalo and others as a short-term solution. The Sabres will have $40 million cap space, so they can be a factor.

Anaheim Ducks

Rumour: Eric Stephens of The Athletic said trading goalie John Gibson is unlikely, but the team will listen to offers.

Analysis: Stephens quickly shot down talk that the Ducks and new GM Pat Verbeek would deal Gibson. He still has five more seasons at $6.5 million per season and a modified no-trade clause. Verbeek realizes No. 1 goalies are hard to find, so he’s going to let him go away for nothing.

There’s really only one scenario that Gibson leaves and Stephens said that’s if the Pittsburgh Penguins come calling. Gibson is a Pittsburgh native, but Tristan Jarry has been solid for the Pens. The only way Gibson may go home is if Pittsburgh management doesn’t think Jarry can cut it. However, the asking price would be a steep one.

Anaheim would likely want Jarry and a prospect while Pittsburgh would also make the Ducks take a bad contract. However, Stephens was merely spitballing this idea as an unlikely scenario.

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