In today’s NHL rumors rundown, there are more updates when it comes to the status of Evgeni Malkin. Is he a player the Pittsburgh Penguins would trade or is he practically untouchable? Still with the Penguins, might the team be looking at a goaltender like John Gibson? Meanwhile, with the recent improved play by Sam Bennett, are the Calgary Flames still considering trading the forward? Paul Byron has cleared waivers for the Montreal Canadiens and will head to the team’s taxi squad. Finally, were people quick to jump the gun on a Jack Campbell return to the Toronto Maple Leafs?
Malkin Wants to Stay, Not Untouchable
Tim Benz of the Pittsburgh Tribune pointed to a report by radio host Mark Madden that stated Malkin and the Penguins had previously spoken about him staying with the team and getting a contract extension offer. Now, it sounds like a review regarding his future with the team needs to happen first.
“I’ve since got a bit of a disclaimer from somebody who would know, saying that Geno is not likely to be traded. Mario (Lemieux) doesn’t want to. But that could be up for review. The only true untouchable is Sid (Crosby).”
Madden then made a connection between the Florida Panthers and Malkin, noting that his wife is from Miami. The problem is that Crosby make take issue with the team moving Malkin. In the end, Madden thinks Malkin will stay with the Penguins, but there will be a few conversations before things ultimately get sorted out.
In other Penguins news, Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now notes a source who thinks that Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson might be concerned about where his team is headed and would potentially liked to be moved. Murphy points out that the Penguins might be interested with Brian Burke now the President of Hockey Operations.
Trade Talk on Bennett Understandably Cooling
Daniel Austin of the Calgary Sun wrote about how trade chatter involving Bennett has cooled since he was placed on a line where he had a chance to show his skills and start producing. The forward has looked pretty good of late and Austin writes:
A week-and-a-half ago, it seemed like the Flames were going to accommodate Sam Bennett’s trade request and show him the door. Then, they plunked him on a line with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan and the three seemed to find some instant chemistry.source – ‘Flames 3 Things We Know, 3 Things We Don’t’ – Daniel Austin – Calgary Sun – 02/14/2021
Austin also notes that injuries to forwards on the Flames roster is keeping Bennett in the mix and he’s now more important to the team than he has been in a long time. The recent losses of Derek Ryan, Mikael Backlund and Elias Lindholm have opened up opportunities for Bennett and this would be a terrible time for the Flames to move him.
Canadiens Get Cap Space With Byron on Taxi Squad
On Sunday, the Canadiens put Byron on waivers and he cleared Monday. He will now head to the team’s taxi squad and the Canadiens will accrue $9,267 in cap space for every day he is off the active roster.
GM Marc Bergevin said placing Byron on waivers was a business decision based on Montreal’s salary cap situation. Essentially, it was a calculated play that Byron wouldn’t get claimed considering he’s got a $3.4 million salary per season over the next three seasons.
Bergevin also noted that the Canadiens are still not prepared to trade Victor Mete. He said, “We have no intention of moving Victor and I was clear with the agent on that.”
Campbell Still at Least a Week Away
With Campbell’s return to the ice this week, there were some that believed this was a sign he was nearly ready to return. Unfortunately, head coach Sheldon Keefe notes the goaltender is not quite there and the Maple Leafs will have to get through a tough stretch of games without him.
On Monday, Keefe was quick to temper any excitement and say the netminder was still more than a week away from being able to slot back into the lineup.
While Frederik Andersen has been playing well, it would have been helpful to get Campbell back. Since he won’t be returning, it eliminates any chance the club will have their regular backup for Wednesday or Thursday when the Maple Leafs will play the Ottawa Senators in back-to-back games (he would have been ruled out for Wednesday thanks to his LTIR status anyways).
If there’s a silver lining here for Leafs fans, it’s that the team is going up against the worst team in the NHL.
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.”