In today’s NHL rumors rundown, might the Montreal Canadiens consider sitting some of their bigger trade pieces ahead of this year’s deadline? Meanwhile, what is the status of the relationship between the St. Louis Blues and Vladimir Tarasenko? Do the Philadelphia Flyers any untouchable players? The Chicago Blackhawks are going to interview Peter Chiarelli about their vacant GM position and are the Toronto Maple Leafs ready to move on from Jake Muzzin if Rasmus Sandin can take on a more elevated role?
Should Canadiens Sit Ben Chiarot?
Eric Macramella of TSN writes that the Canadiens might want to consider protecting their most valuable asset ahead of this year’s NHL trade deadline and sit defenseman Ben Chiarot in preparation for a deadline trade.
The NHL trade deadline is March 21. Given how snakebitten the Canadiens have been this year, it may be wise to sit Ben Chariot until he’s traded. It may take some time, but the Canadiens must get a return on Big Ben. Hughes can try and set his own deadline for a trade.
There’s some risk in both situations. First, Macramella is right to suggest that playing Chiarot in meaningless games and seeing him potentially get hurt is a risk the Canadiens don’t need to take. At the same time, does sitting him lower his value? If he’s out for over a month before a trade actually goes down, does a team look at the player and wonder if he’ll be rusty? Some might suggest the Canadiens trade him sooner than later to avoid all of that, but the value of a rental player is theoretically at its highest nearest the deadline.
Latest on Blues and Tarasenko
In a recent mailbag segment, The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford was asked if Vladimir Tarasenko still wants to be traded by the St. Louis Blues. Rutherford’s understanding is that the forward still does want to be moved but that both sides are aware that this is a deal that will likely be done in the offseason.
While the Blues are playing well and there’s a playoff spot on the line, the team isn’t going to trade a player who has 40 points in 40 games. Rutherford adds:
Has Tarasenko had a change of heart? Has his performance caused Armstrong’s phone to ring? Both are possible. But if something is going to happen, it’s almost certain that it will be after the season.source – ‘Updates on a Craig Berube extension? Does Vladimir Tarasenko still want out? The next Blues captain? Mailbag, part 2’ – Jeremy Rutherford – The Athletic – 02/03/2022
Rutherford did note that the Blues might actually be looking to add prior to the deadline and said the team has scouted Chiarot, Anaheim Ducks blueliner Hampus Lindholm.
While talk in Philadelphia continues to circulate around the future of Claude Giroux, Giana Han, Olivia Reiner and Gus Elvin of Philly.com took a look at some of the Flyers’ potentially untouchable players. Among them, they mention goaltender Carter Hart, Joel Farabee, Cam York, Sean Couturier, and Ryan Ellis. They also believe that Cam Atkinson, Scott Laughton, James van Riemsdyk and Kevin Hayes are all likely to return next season.
It’s a bit more up in the air when it comes to players like Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny, Travis Sanheim, and Oskar Lindblom. All have been inconsistent over the past couple of seasons but are signed with term remaining on their contracts, many at reasonable rates.
Chiarelli to Get Interview with Blackhawks
TSN’s Darren Dreger is reporting that former Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli could be the next GM of the Chicago Blackhawks. He will be interviewing for the position and speculation is that Blackhawks reached out to him and requested he apply for the job.
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Dreger notes that a decision could come quickly based on how close the NHL trade deadline is and if Chiarelli is deemed the Blackhawks’ first choice he could be named the new GM within a matter of weeks.
Could Maple Leafs Move on From Muzzin?
While taking a close look at the progression of Rasmus Sandin in Toronto, Jonas Siegel of The Athletic noted that if the Maple Leafs deem Sandin ready for a regular role in the top four, the team might move Jake Muzzin.
The Leafs will have to prepare for the possibility and determine what it means specifically for Muzzin — the team’s No. 2 defender on the left side after Rielly. They could decide to keep Muzzin and slide Sandin over to the off side, a la Brodie. They could also scale Muzzin’s minutes back and have him eat only the slimiest defensive minutes. Alternatively, they could move on from Muzzin and his $5.625 million cap hit because of Sandin’s readiness for more and/or more pronounced fears of decline.source – ‘How soon before Rasmus Sandin is ready for a full-time role in the Maple Leafs top four?’ – Jonas Siegel – The Athletic – 02/02/022
If Sandin continues to prove himself this season and perform well in the playoffs, the Leafs might deem Muzzin expendable.
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.”