In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is buzz the Toronto Maple Leafs might have an interest in a St. Louis Blues defenseman, a couple of newsworthy items coming out of Montreal and more updates on the Taylor Hall situation and how close one team might be to landing him in trade.
Maple Leafs to Pursue Pietrangelo?
James Mirtle of The Athletic recently wondered if the Toronto Maple Leafs should go after St. Louis Blues captain and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo to fix their blueline issues this season or over the summer? This is, of course, going under the assumption they will be pursuing Pietrangelo.
Mirtle points out that with limited salary-cap space for next season, the Blues could find it difficult to re-sign him. He writes:
… negotiations with the Blues have basically been nonexistent. They didn’t go anywhere in the offseason and they haven’t continued during the year. And Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston has reported that GM Doug Armstrong and his staff have been sniffing around Leafs games of late.source – ‘Mirtle: Should the Maple Leafs pursue Alex Pietrangelo to fix their blue line, now or in the summer?’ – James Mirtle – The Athletic – 12/06/2019
Despite the Maple Leafs interest in the elite defenseman, it’s hard to imagine the Blues would be willing to move him this season as they try and compete to win back-to-back Stanley Cups. And, if the team goes after Pietrangelo in the summer, they’ll need to move out salary and Mirtle wonders if they would subtract all of Jake Muzzin, Tyson Barrie and Cody Ceci to open up more than $11-million in cap space. Speculation is that Pietrangelo will want $8.5 million per season on a long-term deal at the minimum.
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Hartley Definitely Not Coming to Canadiens
Despite rumors that Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin might have traveled to Russia to speak with Bob Hartley about possibly coaching the Habs, those rumors were shot down. They are especially not true now that a report is out there that Hartley is sticking in the KHL.
Eronko also reports that the former NHL head coach is closing in on signing a two-year extension with Omsk Avangard in the KHL. Hartley has his team currently in second place in the Eastern division with 18 wins and 50 points in 37 games. He’s been with the team since May of 2018.
In other Canadiens news, Michel Bergeron of TVA SPORTS recently revisited the idea of moving Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price and defenseman Shea Weber. While most people don’t believe Montreal will or could move Price at his salary, Bergeron believes Price may be inclined to move if the right destination becomes and option and would waive his no-move clause to do so.
Bergeron suggests either the Colorado Avalanche, who are considered by many strong candidates to make a Stanley Cup run or the Vancouver Canucks, a team close to the small North BC town where he was raised.
At the very best, this is unlikely considering the difficulty Montreal would have in moving Price and the fact the Avalanche seem content with their current goalie tandem of Philipp Graubauer and Pavel Francouz.
Latest Hall Trade News
Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reports some teams believe it might take as many as four pieces to acquire Taylor Hall from the New Jersey Devils. So far, any conversations have been fairly one-sided as the Devils are just telling teams to put their best packages together and they’ll review them.
Johnston notes that the teams sniffing around are all getting the sense the Colorado Avalanche are the favorites to land Hall and that they may push to do so as early as the Dec. 19 Christmas break. It could cost the Avs one of Conor Timmins, Bo Byram or Alex Newhook to get a deal done.