Rumor Rundown: Canadiens, Penguins, Capitals, Red Wings

In today’s Rumor Rundown we look at some of the NHL’s most popular franchises.

There is a domino effect that comes from the Red Wings getting Andreas Athanasiou signed. What will be the team’s next move? Are the Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens talking? Are the Habs thinking about trading one of their best forwards? Finally, why are the Washington Capitals panicking?

The Athanasiou Dominos

The Detroit Red Wings are happy to finally have Andreas Athanasiou under contract and coming back to the team. However, his signing creates a need to make a roster move to free up cap space so he can play. Ansar Khan reports Red Wings general manager Ken Holland must clear over $1.3 million in salary to make room for Athanasiou’s new one-year, $1.387 million deal before it becomes official.

(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Speculation is that the Wings will try trading center Riley Sheahan ($2.075-million cap hit) and potentially demote forward David Booth ($700k) or another player.  The Wings are expected to use a combination of trade and demotions at some point in the coming week to the puzzle pieces to fit.

Related: Red Wings Sign Andreas Athanasiou

Penguins Want a Center

TSN’s Darren Dreger is reporting that while it may not happen today, there is some speculation that the Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens might be a trade match.

(James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)

The Penguins are looking for a center and have had some previous interest in Alex Galchenyuk out of Montreal. Dreger said no one should be surprised given the fact Galchenyuk is in the doghouse and that and given how the Canadiens are playing a minor shakeup could be coming.

This is a tad surprising on two accounts. First, in Montreal, Galchenyuk isn’t considered a natural center. Second, Dreger contends that while the Canadiens might be looking to shake things up, they would not be looking at Matt Duchene for financial reasons. Duchene comes with a $6 million salary while Galchenyuk is in the first of a three-year $4.9 million per year deal. There’s quite a difference in talent and not a huge difference in salary, at least not one the Penguins can’t manage.

If the Habs can move out Galchenyuk, their ability to go after Duchene would change.

Montreal Feeling the Pinch

Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty
Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty (Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports)

Chris Nichols of FanRag Sports notes there is some speculation that with the Canadiens struggles, GM Marc Bergevin may be forced to make a more drastic move. Galchenyuk isn’t that move.

An appearance by TSN’s Darren Dreger on Buffalo’s WGR 550 saw Dreger asked if the Habs struggle enough, could Bergevin reach the stage where they might consider trading captain Max Pacioretty. Dreger admits that’s not out of the question but right now, it’s not something the Canadiens are considering.

If the losing continues, Dreger notes that teams like the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers would immediately put together strong offers.

Related: 5 Myths Surround the Canadiens’ Horrible Start

Washington Capitals Panicking?

Despite being above. 500, Matt Larkin of the Hockey News believes the window for the Washington Capitals is far too small for them to mess around with having a weak blue line. Larkin believes using depth defenders and unproven prospects like Taylor Chorney, Madison Bowey, and Christian Djoos is going to eventually hurt the team as the course of the season wears on. Because the Capitals didn’t replace Karl Alzner, Kevin Shattenkirk and Nate Schmidt and because Matt Niskanen is on injured reserve the Caps might consider moving top goalie prospect Ilya Samsonov.

Ilya Samsonov on Draft day 2015 (Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)

Larkin wonders if Samsonov would be enough to grab Chris Tanev out of Vancouver or Niklas Hjalmarsson out of Arizona. Whatever decision the Capitals make, they’ll need to consider their limited cap space.

This would be a pretty significant move by the Caps as Samsonov is considered a very respectable goaltending prospect.