In today’s NHL rumor rundown, is there any chance the Montreal Canadiens will look at Dustin Byfuglien as an option on their blue line? In Vancouver, what are the Canucks planning on doing with Loui Eriksson? Lias Andersson’s fate has been decided in New York, and there is more detail coming to light about the firings in Buffalo and just how ugly the situation got.
Montreal a Fit for Byfuglien?
In a recent mailbag segment, Andrew Berkshire of Sportsnet was asked if the Montreal Canadiens should or would attempt to sign recently available defenseman Dustin Byfuglien. Berkshire doesn’t see a fit in Montreal.
While the Canadiens will look to bolster their blue line depth next season, there has been some doubt the 35-year-old defenseman will even return to the NHL now that his contract with the Winnipeg Jets is over. His age, injury history, and questions about his commitment to play aren’t something the Canadiens should ignore. In short, Byfuglien is likely not the answer.
I don’t think there’s any question that if Byfuglien wants to play that he’ll have a place in the NHL, but with the Canadiens already deep on the right side with Shea Weber and Jeff Petry, I don’t see a fit there.
Canucks to Waive Eriksson in Attempt to Move On?
Sportsnet’s Iain MacIntyre posts that the Vancouver Canucks may attempt to go down a similar path with winger Loui Eriksson that the Buffalo Sabres did with Zach Bogosian when they sent him to the AHL. Instead of the AHL, Bogosian opted for a contract termination with hopes he could resume his NHL career elsewhere. He wound up in Tampa Bay.
Once Eriksson’s upcoming $3 million signing bonus is paid, he is due just $5 million in salary over the final two years of the deal which might be enough to walk away from. He may not make $2.5 million per season on a two-year deal with another team, but he might get close with a better opportunity to play.
In other Canucks news, Rick Dhaliwal reports that Canucks forward Michael Ferland is back skating. Any potential return is still step-by-step.
Lias Andersson Will Not Return to Rangers
There was talk that disgruntled New York Rangers prospect Lias Andersson was thinking about working through his beef with the team and returning to help the club through the playoffs. That is not going to be the case. He is apparently still upset.
Andersson was loaned to the SHL’s HV71 in his native Sweden in late January after he had requested a trade out of New York. As the NHL season went on pause and the Rangers were named as one of the play-in teams, Andersson was offered spot at training camp and on their playoff roster, according to the New York Post’s Larry Brooks. He has declined.
It now seems like the Rangers and Andersson are done in terms of working together. Brooks expects that he will remain in Sweden until he is traded.
Details Behind Sabres Mass Changes
Elliotte Friedman has reported from his latest 31 Thoughts column that there is some nastiness behind the Buffalo Sabres firings of a number of employees earlier this week.
According to Friedman, the numbers of those who have been terminated reach 22 people and he writes:
The other thing that happened in Buffalo was the Pegulas did a top-to-bottom review of their organization. It was, from what I understand, very in-depth. They went over everyone’s schedule. How many games did you see? Where did you go? There is word they considered some of those schedules “light.”
Another exec said an agent told him he was having a conversation with Botterill about a Buffalo free agent minutes before the Sabres announced the firing.
Needless to say, that organization is anything but healthy and it will take a lot to rebuild it.
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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.”