In today’s NHL rumor rundown, the Montreal Canadiens might have to make a big decision when it comes to two of their centers. Meanwhile, the Edmonton Oilers could be looking at a top free agent defenseman. Finally, Frank Seravalli released his new top-ten UFA list and the NHL has released their new schedule.
Did Julien Just Offer a Glimpse at Domi’s Future?
Over the past couple of days, comments have been made on both the player’s and the organization’s side about the futures of two centers for the Montreal Canadiens. Those comments suggest that at least one trade could be in the works.
A recovering Claude Julien was asked about his roster after letting it be known he’d be back to coach the Canadiens next season. Specifically, he was asked about the future of Max Domi and his response (a quote translated from French) was that he’d prefer to play Domi at center. The problem is, Domi’s next contract and the other three centers the team has make it hard to imagine the Canadiens have a spot for him down the middle.
“We prefer Max Domi at centre. His production has been decent but he’s been shooting at the net a lot less this season. He likes to make plays more than shoot on goal. We put him on the wing sometimes in the playoffs because the other centres were playing very well.”
Domi is set to make more than the $3.1 million annual salary he made last season and with Phillip Danault, Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi taking the top three spots, how can Montreal justify that kind of money for a fourth-line center?
Does Danault Want To Be Traded?
At the same time, Phillip Danault has publicly stated he’s not happy with the direction the Canadiens are asking him to take his career. The emergence of Suzuki and Kotkaniemi means he potentially needs to take a back seat as the former No. 1 center and he’s not happy about being asked to take on a more defensive-minded role.
He told Marc Antoine Godin. “I saw my role change in the playoffs but with what I have proven, my role should not change in Montreal (translated).” and then answered “Yes” when asked if this new role would influence his desire to stay in Montreal.
Danault has a year left on his current contract and there is talk the Canadiens are interested in an extension. But, if he’s not thinking his long-term future is best served in Montreal because the team wants to limit the levels he can reach offensively, a trade might be best before he can walk away as a UFA.
NHL Releases New Schedule
The NHL has released the revised schedule after players decided to boycott Thursday’s games, leading to brief pause on all NHL action Thursday and Friday. The league will resume action on Saturday with the following games:
- 12 p.m. ET — Boston vs. Tampa
- 7 p.m. ET — N.Y. Islanders vs. Philadelphia
- 9:45 p.m. ET — Vancouver vs. Vegas
Frank Servalli of TSN also posted the completely revised schedule up until Saturday September 5.
Top Ten UFA’s This Offseason
Seravalli also recently amended his top-ten unrestricted free agents list. Taking the first three spots are Alex Pietrangelo, Taylor Hall and Torey Krug. Seravalli says Pietrangelo’s deal may be the only UFA contract not affected by the flattening of the cap.
Servalli then has two goaltenders at the No. 4 and No. 5 spots in Jacob Markstrom and Robin Lehner and he suggests both players will end up staying with their current teams.
The final four spots go to Mike Hoffamn, Evgenii Dadonov, Tyler Toffoli, Erik Haula, and Tyson Barrie. Seravalli suggests he could see Tyson Barrie on a one-year deal on the Edmonton Oilers power-play.
Oilers Defense Changes
If there is truth to the fact that the Oilers might look at Barrie, it does make sense when you consider Brian Lawton’s recent comments on Oilers Now that Edmonton might move two of their top-four blueliners.
Bringing in Barrie on a one-year deal would give rookies like Evan Bouchard and Philip Broberg time to develop while Barrie has an opportunity in an elevated role to improve his market value.
It could be a win/win for all parties while giving Edmonton a chance to find help for Connor McDavid at forward.
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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.”