NHL Rumors: Oilers, Canadiens, Blue Jackets, Panthers

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, there is talk that the Montreal Canadiens have begun reaching out to teams and candidates for the GM opening. Meanwhile, the Edmonton Oilers have sent Ryan Nugent-Hopkins back to Edmonton to get his injury looked at. How long will he be out? The Columbus Blue Jackets might be considering a trade to move Patrik Laine and the Florida Panthers might make a pitch for defenseman Ben Chiarot. Finally, how bad to some players want to go to the Olympics? Would they be willing to retire to go?

Canadiens Start Calling Potential GMs

According to Pierre LeBrun, the Canadiens have begun reaching out to teams asking permission to speak to GM candidates. He writes, “Believe they’ve done so with the likes of Roberto Luongo, Daniel Briere and Mathieu Darche, among others.” LeBrun adds that there is obviously a ways to go but the process has started and the GM search, along with the interview process is underway.

As has previously been reported, the Canadiens are looking for someone who can speak French and in many ways be the face of the franchise while Jeff Gorton does a lot of the behind-the-scenes team building. Don’t be surprised if the candidate that is ultimately hired has little GM experience.

Nugent-Hopkins Will Miss Remaining Road Trip

As per Daniel Nugent-Bowman of The Athletic, Edmonton Oilers coach Dave Tippett told media in New York after the game that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins flew back to Edmonton to have tests done on his injury. It’s not clear how serious the injury is, but Nugent-Bowman assumes the decision to fly him home means that he likely won’t play the last two games on the road trip.

Related: Oilers Have Better Options Than Shore on the 2nd Line

As for Mike Smith’s injury situation, he stayed with the team and is listed as day-to-day. The goaltender could be out for a very small period of time or longer based on the uncertainty of injuries with this player.

Could Blue Jackets Trade Laine?

As part of his three bold predictions article for 2022, Luke Fox of Sportsnet writes that the Columbus Blue Jackets could trade Patrik Laine at some point this year. Noting that the forward got off to a hot start, an injury and the tragic death of his father took him out of game action for some time. Fox didn’t think the Blue Jackets would sign him to another one-year deal and he wasn’t sure Laine would want to commit to a team that has been dumping good players for draft picks and prospects.

Patrik Laine Columbus Blue Jackets
Patrik Laine, Columbus Blue Jackets (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

It’s not clear when a trade would happen or how many teams would be interested considering Laine’s salary arbitration rights means he’ll be well paid. Many are suggesting that if the threat of a trade is real, it would be something that takes place during the offseason.

Are Panthers Looking at Ben Chiarot?

As per a story on RDS (translated from French), LeBrun reports the Florida Panthers have held internal discussions about the idea of trading for pending UFA defenseman Ben Chiarot from the Canadiens. The Panthers aren’t the only team that will have interest, but LeBrun believes the team could make a serious pitch for the player.

From his comments on Hockey 360, they quote LeBrun who said:

“Ben Chiarot is going to be a very popular player on the teams that will make the playoffs. The Panthers have already discussed internally whether they will make an offer to the Canadiens. I think the answer to this question is yes and that the Panthers will contact the Canadiens. But they won’t be the only ones. “

Players Trying to Find Way to Still Go to Olympics

As per Elliotte Friedman, during the 32 Thoughts segment of Saturday’s Hockey Night in Canada broadcast, NHL players were looking to find any loophole they could to play in the Olympics. One idea was they wondered if they could retire or find a way to void their contracts then re-sign after the Olympics were over. While it seems incredibly unlikely that would be possible, it goes to show how badly players wanted to attend.

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