In today’s NHL rumor rundown, Montreal Canadiens coach Kirk Muller provides an update on head coach Claude Julien. For the Calgary Flames, what is the status of Matthew Tkachuk? Will the Ottawa Senators look at trading up in the this year’s NHL Entry Draft? Finally, what type of defenseman will the Toronto Maple Leafs be able to land via trade?
Julien Slowly Recovering
Kirk Muller has taken over the coaching duties for the Montreal Canadiens in the absence of Claude Julien who was taken to hospital last week with chest pains. Muller provided an update on Julien’s condition when speaking with media.
“Yes, yeah I spoke to him yesterday and he told me he’s getting our for a few walks, which is great news. So, again the most important thing is his health, so that was really good to hear. We had a good chat yesterday to get caught up.”
The news of Julien recovering is wonderful. The reality is, however, it is not likely he will be back with the team this season. Between the fact he’s still recovering, the quarantine rules about reentering the NHL bubble and that Montreal is down 2-1 in the series to the Philadelphia Flyers, Muller will likely steer the ship the rest of the way.
The Canadiens will meet the Flyers Tuesday in a critical Game 4.
Tkachuk’s Health a Day-to-Day Thing
Eric Francis of Sportsnet writes that Calgary Flames assistant coach Ryan Huska said yesterday regarding Matthew Tkachuk: “He’s a day-to-day situation and each day we feel he’s close.”
The early speculation was that he was out with a concussion. If accurate, Ryan Pike of Flames Nation points out that it takes about six days (from date of injury) to work through the protocol… if everything goes smoothly.
Senators Won’t Trade Up in Draft
After the draft lottery, the Ottawa Senators wound up landing the No. 3 and No. 5 picks in this year’s draft. Because the odds were in their favor to land the top pick and it didn’t work out that way, there’s been some talk that the team might try to package those two picks to move up into the top spot.
Senators owner Eugene Melnyk told Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch that they won’t be entertaining the idea of trying to move up in this year’s draft. Melnyk says:
The idea of trading our 3rd and 5th picks for the No. 1 pick is nonsensical. We’re very excited to welcome our many new Ottawa Senators that will come to us via the upcoming draft.source – ‘GARRIOCH: The Ottawa Senators won’t be moving their No. 3 and No. 5 selections’ – Bruce Garrioch- Ottawa Sun – 08/17/2020
Ottawa seems happy to land either OHL center Quinton Byfield or German forward Tim Stutzle with the third pick. Both could be ready to play in the NHL next season.
What Kind of Defenseman Will Toronto Land?
Sportsnet’s Rory Boylen took a look at all eight teams that were eliminated from the play-in rounds and examined one question per club. In Toronto’s case, it was what kind of defenseman will they go after in the offseason?
He suggested that given the flat cap, the trade market is more likely than free agency but that moving Kaspari Kapanen or Alex Kerfoot might be an option. Unfortunately for the Maple Leafs, it also might not completely solve the problem.
Kapanen or Kerfoot might bring a second-pairing right-side defenseman, but not a top-pairing blueliner. GM Kyle Dubas would have to package a first-round pick and/or a top prospect with one of those players and target a team need to clear cap space.
There’s still a belief by many members of the media that the Edmonton Oilers and Maple Leafs are potentially natural trade partners.
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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.”