NHL Rumors: Rangers, Sabres, Jets, Canadiens

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the New York Rangers likely won’t bring back Vitali Kravtsov even though his KHL season is over. Meanwhile, the Montreal Canadiens got bad news as two players are being shut down for the rest of the season.

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The Buffalo Sabres might be willing to trade one of their first-round draft picks and the Winnipeg Jets need to make a plan to solve their blue line issues.

Rangers Won’t Rock the Boat With Kravtsov

Despite Kravtsov being a player who could help the Rangers during a playoff run, the team isn’t contemplating his return from the KHL this season. Vince Mercogliano of USA Today Sports writes, “Now that his season is over, don’t expect the #NYR to recall him. They added ample depth at the deadline & aren’t going to risk rocking the boat at this late stage. All signs are they’ll reassess this summer.”

Vitali Kravtsov, New York Rangers
Vitali Kravtsov, New York Rangers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Kravtsov finished the KHL playoffs with seven goals in 15 games.

The more likely scenario is that the Rangers revisit the idea of trading him over the summer and potentially around the NHL Entry Draft.

Sabres Might Consider Trading a First-Round Pick

According to John Vogl of The Athletic, it isn’t likely the Buffalo Sabres move their first-round draft picks at this year’s NHL Entry Draft. The team has three first-rounders, their own, plus ones from Florida and Vegas (the Vegas pick is Top 10 protected).

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Ellis, Slaggert, Sandin, Kallgren & Kase

If the Sabres even consider moving one of those selections it will be the Panthers’ pick that will land near the end of the first round and only for a player who could be ready to play. They could use a right-handed defenseman, a top-six winger and a goaltender. Vogl writes:

Seven teams don’t own a first-round pick: Boston, Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Florida and Vegas. Using only those rosters, the Sabres might be able to work out a deal for the Bruins’ Jake DeBrusk, Chicago’s Dylan Strome or Dominik Kubalik, Vegas’ Chandler Stephenson or the Hurricanes’ Antti Raanta or Teuvo Teravainen.

source: ‘Who should the Sabres target at the draft? Will Craig Anderson return? Could Patrick Kane land in Buffalo? Mailbag’ – John Vogl – The Athletic – 03/28/2022

Jets May Have to Make Big Sacrifice to Improve Blue Line

As per Mark McIntyre of The Winnipeg Free Press, the Jets’ offseason priority must be fixing a blue line that is both comical and painful to watch. They do have a number of promising youngsters making their way up the system, but McIntyre writes that an immediate solution needs to be found.

Brenden Dillon Winnipeg Jets
Brenden Dillon, Winnipeg Jets (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

He explains:

Because if you can’t defend in the NHL, you have little to no chance. And a Winnipeg team that is spending to the salary cap ceiling, with Kyle Connor among the game’s elite scorers and Mark Scheifele, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Nikolaj Ehlers all potentially joining him in the 30-plus goal club, is going to continue to spin its wheels.

source – ‘Jets ‘D’ comically painful to watch: Derisive laughter the norm these days’ – Mark McIntyre – Winnipeg Free Press – 04/11/2022

The scribe adds that GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has to seriously consider moving one or two of his veteran core players. Josh Morrissey should be untouchable, but moving one of Brenden Dillon, Nate Schmidt, Dylan DeMelo and Neal Pionk might be on the table.

Canadiens Lose Allen and Justin Barron for the Season

After suffering a groin injury, goaltender Jake Allen is reportedly out for the season with the Canadiens. Justin Barron, who the Canadiens acquired in a trade with the Colorado Avalanch, is going to get surgery on an ankle injury. He played in five games this season for the Habs and put up one goal and one assist.

This is now the third player the Canadiens are shutting down for the season as they announced that Jonathan Drouin was out due to wrist surgery.

Meanwhile, the Canadiens are keeping tabs on Emil Heineman who is in Montreal being evaluated by team medical staff and treated for an upper-body injury. There’s no timeline for when he’ll return.

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