In this week’s Montreal Canadiens news and rumors rundown, we’ll break down trade rumors, Canadiens roster updates, and much more.
Tarasenko Wants Out
Vladimir Tarasenko reportedly wants out of St-Louis due to how the team handled his shoulder surgeries.
“He is upset with the team’s handling of his shoulder surgeries in 2018 and 2019 – his first two of three such surgeries, which were both performed by Blues physicians – and feels there’s no trust left between him and the organization.”Jeremy Rutherford (from “Blues Winger Vladimir Tarasenko requests a trade, per sources: Why he wants out, possible destinations and more,” The Athletic, 7 Jul 2021)
Rutherford also names Montreal as a possible destination. With the Canadiens as Stanley Cup Finalists, the emergence of their young core, the stellar play of their veterans such as Carey Price, their profile league-wide has improved. It would make selling the city, and the team’s future, to potential free agents or star players in trade scenarios, a little easier for general manager Marc Bergevin.
Tarasenko is in year seven of an eight-year deal making $7.5 million AAV, with $9.5 million in actual salary this year. When healthy Tarasenko is a sure-fire 30 goal scorer, the problem is, he has suffered two consecutive injury-shortened seasons. He has a history of a damaged shoulder and he’s owed $9.5 million this season. Any team taking him on is making a gamble that he will play and be his best self. A flat salary cap will make it difficult to move, even if his skill set is needed.
Seth Jones on the Move?
According to Aaron Portzline of The Athletic, Seth Jones will have at least three major players for his services next season, one of them, the Canadiens.
Montreal has a stockpile of prospects, picks and young centers, such as fellow his fellow countryman Jesperi Kotkaniemi, that could all interest Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen.
The rumors are that Jones, who is in the last year of his six-year deal, wants to test the market and he would be looking at a hefty raise on his current $5.4 million salary. For the Canadiens to add the 6-foot-4 209-pound right-handed puck-moving defenceman, the cost would be a young center, picks and then a cap hit that could reach close to $10 million if he tries to get a deal similar to that of Drew Doughty or PK Subban.
While it’s a fun exercise for fans to add a star player to the Canadiens roster, the realistic costs in assets and cap space will bring the chances of Jones joining the Canadiens crashing down.
Perry Wants Montreal Experience
The end-of-season interviews for the Canadiens revealed some raw emotions, just days after losing in the Stanley Cup Final to the Tampa Bay Lighting. The veteran winger, with his own Cup ring from 2007 with the Anaheim Ducks was no exception. Corey Perry made it clear he wants to stay in Montreal.
Perry grew up a Canadiens fan, and after coming close to another championship, in a pandemic, he wants to stay in Montreal to experience the atmosphere of the Bell Center and the city of Montreal as the city opens up and relaxes its pandemic response.
No negotiations have happened yet, but it wouldn’t be hard to see Perry return with a one-year contract under $1 million.
Bouchard Wanted Credit
Joel Bouchard, formerly the head coach of the Laval Rocket, has left the Canadiens organization to join the AHL San Diego Gulls of the Ducks organization.
Bouchard chose to leave for new challenges. This sparked disappointment amongst Canadiens fans as they saw him as capable of developing young players and wondered if there was more to it.
According to Anthony Marcotte, the voice of the Laval Rocket and contributor to 91.9 Sports in Quebec, it seems that Bouchard and upper management may not have seen eye to eye in how player development was approached and in the credit being given to Bouchard.
During the exit interviews, Bergevin confirms that Bouchard was offered a choice of positions. He could return as the head coach for Laval or return as an assistant coach with the Habs.
However, it would be difficult for Montreal to offer Bouchard more control after only three years in the position considering he was splitting his time coaching in Laval with managing the hockey operations of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, a QMJHL franchise he partially owns.
Burrows to Laval?
With Bouchard now gone, Laval is in need of a new head coach. According to Elliotte Friedman, Alex Burrows could be that person. Burrows spent three seasons as an assistant coach in Laval and was promoted to the role of assistant coach in Montreal after Kirk Muller was fired.
Burrows has no experience as a head coach at any level, however, he did gain experience as an assistant and had a successful playing career. As a Pincourt, QC native, he is also very aware of the unique demands of the Montreal market and is fluent in both French and English, an asset that will help in that market. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him back in Laval as a head coach. That being said, there are also dozens of qualified candidates that could be interested.
Expansion Draft Protection Lists
For those hockey fans tracking the NHL Expansion Draft, to be held on 21 July, the guessing game on which players will be protected will be over soon. According to Pierre Lebrun, the NHL will release the lists on 18 July.
This will give fans a chance to see if their team could lose a player they covet to the Seattle Kraken.
As the NHL off-season begins, keep an eye on The Hockey Writers and our new THW Podcast Network for the latest Canadiens news, notes and rumors.
Blain is a regular contributor as a THW Writer. For over 7 years he has been a part time journalist and podcaster covering the NHL, the Montreal Canadiens and its affiliates. He has made appearances on various television and radio stations as well as podcasts to discuss the Canadiens, and the NHL. Blain has taken the lessons on integrity, ethics, values and honesty that he has learned as a 28 year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces and applied them to his work as a journalist to guide him in informing his readers and his goal of being a trusted source of information and entertainment.