NHL Rumors: Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Golden Knights

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Montreal Canadiens continue to be front and center when it comes to teams to watch and with each passing day it’s more likely trades start coming out of the organization. Two names popped into the rumor mill this week. Meanwhile, Morgan Rielly talks about why he decided to stay with the Toronto Maple Leafs and it’s ok if people don’t understand. Finally, Jack Eichel resumed skating. How far away is he from a return?

Canadiens Could Make Chiarot and Gallagher Available

According to Darren Dreger, who made an appearance on TSN 690, when asked if any teams might have interest in Brendan Gallagher out of Montreal, he responded that he would think so. He noted, “I do because of the character of the individual.” He adds, “It’s not an easy move to make though. If you’re a contending team chances are you’re a cap team, so what are the Canadiens taking back?”

Brendan Gallagher, Montreal Canadiens
Brendan Gallagher, Montreal Canadiens (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Dreger wonders if the Canadiens would have to give up a piece (a sweetener) they don’t want to in order to make a deal work where they can take a short-term, expiring contract back.

Chiarot Will Fetch a First-Round Pick

Meanwhile, defenseman Ben Chiarot knows it’s likely he’ll get moved by Jeff Gorton ahead of the trade deadline. He said, “You see it every year, guys on expiring contracts get moved.” One NHL executive said, “There’s been chatter in the market about Chiarot for weeks already.”

Speculation is that the Canadiens should be able to get a first-round pick in return for Chiarot. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun notes:

“… I spoke with a few contending teams today who value him greatly and here’s a guy who can absolutely fetch a first-round pick given the dearth of rental defencemen available. He was terrific during the Habs’ playoff run to the Stanley Cup Final last year.”

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Matthews, Campbell, Hyman & Dermott

In other Canadiens news, it was announced that head coach Dominique Ducharme will serve as coach of the team for the rest of the season. Gorton also told media during an avail on Friday that a GM won’t be hired until after Christmas. It also sounds like forward Josh Anderson will miss at least 2-4 weeks with an injury.

Rielly Talks His Extension with Maple Leafs

There was talk that Rielly might have done better financially on his next contract if he’d tested the free-agent waters. That said, the defenseman noted he didn’t feel the need. Saying, “I found myself getting really defensive about my teammates and Toronto,” he noted that being a Maple Leaf was important. “It’s arguably the most important thing to me,” he added.

Morgan Rielly Toronto Maple Leafs
Morgan Rielly, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Saying he constantly sees reminders of what it means to be on this team, ‘“It just grows on you. And it just becomes a part of your identity. I take a lot of pride in being a member of a team.” He explained:

“My heart is in Toronto, and I know there’s people close to me that don’t completely understand that because most people that grew up on the West Coast always had that kind of attachment and want to continue to go back. But for me, I’m a Toronto guy. That’s where I’m happiest.”

source – ‘One-on-one with Morgan Rielly: How off-ice lessons changed the Leafs defenceman — and kept him in Toronto long-term’ – Joshua Kloke – The Athletic – 12/01/2021

Jack Eichel Back on the Ice

The newest member of the Vegas Golden Knights, Jack Eichel, is making progress towards a return to the NHL. The center was seen back on the ice just three weeks after disc fusion surgery.

Eichel is still not close to a return and if he comes back for only the playoffs, the salary cap is not a concern for this season. However, if he’s ready before, the Golden Knights may have to start making a couple of moves to free up space to get his contract on the books.

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