In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there are whispers out of Montreal that the Canadiens could be aggressive this summer, the Vancouver Canucks are starting to think about their goaltending situation, and the Los Angeles Kings feel stuck with a certain forward not named Ilya Kovalchuk who didn’t produce.
Canadiens to Be Aggressive
Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette is writing that the Montreal Canadiens may look to spend to the salary cap this coming season despite being $8 million under it over the past two seasons. GM Marc Bergevin confirmed he has the go-ahead from ownership to spend for next year. “I always have permission to go to the cap. I always keep a small cushion, but I do have it and I’m willing to go there,” the GM explained.
While there are some big names available on the market this summer and Bergevin will look, he said he also proceeds with caution on July 1.
Meanwhile, any rumors that the Canadiens are willing to trade Jonathan Drouin are “absurd” according to Brendan Kelly of the Montreal Gazette. The return wouldn’t be as good as he played to end the season. They certainly won’t trade him to free up more cash.
One player that won’t be back according to Cowan is 35-year old goaltender Antti Niemi. After posting a 3.78 GAA and a .887 save percentage, his NHL playing days could be over.
Jacob Markstrom Hopes to Stay in Vancouver
Despite the fact the Vancouver Canucks have two really good goaltenders coming up through their pipeline in Thatcher Demko and Michael DiPietro,the current starter is hoping there’s a place for him with the team.
Jacob Markstrom is the team’s best goalie and another strong season in Vancouver made him a legit starter this past year. That said, he has just a single year left on his current deal and can become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2020. Markstrom may become an expensive player if he continues to play well and his agent knows the Canucks may look to their younger talent if that happens.
Markstrom’s agent Pat Morris told Sportsnet radio (via Rick Dhaliwal) today:
He would like to be a part of it long term. That’s where his instructions will lean, to try and get something done.
It takes two to get a deal done, it takes term and it takes dollars. The player has to be willing and Jacob has enjoyed his time in Vancouver and wants it to continue.
One of the things Vancouver will need to consider is the NHL Expansion Draft. If they have three good goaltenders on the payroll, Seattle can snag either Markstrom or Demko and the Canucks may choose to move on from one instead of losing one for nothing.
Jeff Carter Wants to Stay With Kings
There was some behind-the-scenes desire out of Los Angeles that Jeff Carter would look at his most recent season, his age and the fact he might be traded and simply retire. An interview with Josh Cooper of The Athletic suggests that’s not likely to happen.
When asked about rumors of his retirement, Carter said:
“I’m 20 games from 1,000, so I don’t think I’m retiring. I got three years left on my contract. I want to be an L.A. King. I want to help change things around here, but I don’t have no-trade protection so whatever happens, happens. And I never talked about retiring either. Never came out of my mouth.source – ‘Jeff Carter won’t retire, so what are the Kings’ options with him?’ – The Athletic – Josh Cooper – 04/08/2019
The questions in LA will be if Carter doesn’t want to retire, and he can’t be traded because of his age, salary and diminishing skill set, what are their options? A buyout is one.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”