NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Oilers, Canadiens, Flyers, Flames

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, one scribe asks if the Toronto Maple Leafs will consider moving their first-round draft pick this season to add to a roster that is performing extremely well. The Montreal Canadiens are extremely short-handed, but the game today is going on as scheduled. The Philadelphia Flyers aren’t quite ready to dump off pieces and hit rock bottom and the Calgary Flames are likely to add a significant piece at this year’s deadline. Finally, goaltender Mike Smith is injured… again.

Maple Leafs Have First-Rounder on the Table

According to Jonas Siegle of The Athletic, he believes the Maple Leafs will keep their pick in the seventh-round pick in the upcoming draft and won’t have to send it to Minnesota because Brennan Menell likely won’t play in 30 games (he hasn’t suited up in even one.) That said, there are questions about whether or not the team will trade the first-round pick they do have, knowing they’ve already given up their third, fourth, fifth and sixth-rounders.

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas
Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov)

The Leafs have a history of trading their first-round picks and Siegel says it’s possible GM Kyle Dubas does so again. He writes:

First-rounders were sent elsewhere in 2019 and 2021. For now, at least, the Leafs have a first-round pick in the 2022 draft. … Might that first-rounder get moved ahead of the deadline? It sure is possible. The Leafs are in win-now mode. Nothing should be off the table.

source – ‘Twenty-two reasons to be optimistic about the Maple Leafs in 2022’ -Jonas Siegel – The Athletic – 12/30/2021

Canadiens Will Play Shorthanded

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun writes that the Montreal Canadiens will play with 11 forwards and five defensemen this afternoon. He adds that league doctors are comfortable with the game going forward despite the team having 16 players and one coach unavailable for the game due to COVID. It is very unlikely to be postponed even though 9 other games were changed yesterday by the NHL.

Related: NHL Rumors: Rangers, Golden Knights, Bruins, Hurricanes

LeBrun explains that the Canadiens have an extended break coming up, and the team was consulted and I believe expressed a preference to push forward. Brendan Gallagher is now out, and the team only has five players from their opening-night roster dressed for today’s game.

Mike Smith Injured Again

The Edmonton Oilers have listed goaltender Mike Smith as injured again. He’s day-to-day after making a save in a game Friday where he stretched out and a pile-up ensued in his crease. He finished the game but is not going to play versus the New York Islanders.

The problem for the Oilers is that day-to-day injuries with Smith have a tendency to turn into much bigger problems. Ilya Konovalov will back up Mikko Koskinen this afternoon because Stuart Skinner was loaned to the Bakersfield Condors.

Flyers Aren’t Selling Off Pieces Just Yet

As per Charlie O’Connor of The Athletic, don’t expect the Flyers to start selling off major assets, specifically someone like Claude Giroux just yet. The scribe notes that these types of trades typically don’t happen at this time of the season and the front office for the Flyers aren’t ready to write off the season.

Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers (a href=httpswww.facebook.com38PhotographyAmy Irvina The Hockey Writers)

Saying the team still has time to work their way out of their funk, O’Connor also writes:

The market isn’t exactly chock-full of buyers at the moment. Sell-offs just don’t happen in early December, for the obvious reason that it’s much harder to create the kind of bidding war necessary for a rebuilding club to receive maximum return on their assets. That won’t happen until closer to the deadline, when urgency in the form of the looming playoffs is at its peak.

source – ‘Keith Yandle’s ironman streak, Mike Yeo’s impact and can the Flyers actually turn their season around? Mailbag’ – Charlie O’Connor – The Athletic – 12/23/2021

Flames Will Bring in at Least One Significant Player

According to TSN’s Salim Valji, the Calgary Flames will be active at the March 21, 2021 deadline and will bring in at least one significant player. Valji made six predictions for the Flames in 2022 and noted:

“I could easily see the organization repatriate former captain Mark Giordano from the Seattle Kraken. Darryl Sutter has said several times that the team needs more puck movement from the back end, and Giordano’s skillset (plus ties to the city) make him an ideal fit.”

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He also mentioned Tyler Toffoli as a target for Calgary and says the team might move out Nikita Zadorov and/or Dillon Dube to get the additional cap space they might need to add.