In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is news out of Montreal in respect to the team’s plans for Ilya Kovalchuk, the New York Islanders have a surprised goaltender in their system and will David Backes retire instead of accept his assignment to the AHL? Finally, what will the Detroit Red Wings do at the deadline?
Re-Sign or Trade Ilya Kovalchuk?
Eight points in eight games has gotten a lot of people in Montreal talking when it comes to what the Canadiens should do with Ilya Kovalchuk. Most insiders believed that when Montreal acquired him, they’d either get some temporary much-needed scoring or, if he produced, they could flip him at the deadline for assets.
When asked about the prospect of Ilya Kovalchuk re-signing in Montreal, agent Pat Brisson told TVA Sports that it is too early to talk extension. He admits Kovalchuk is really enjoying this experience but he wants to think about the playoffs first, then maybe extension conversations can come later.
This is probably a smart play by Kovalchuk who, if he continues to play well, will only see his stock around the NHL rise and his value increase. Another agent said this is also a strong indication that he’ll test free agency if those things happen. The one reason Kovalchuk might look forward to a trade is if Montreal is not a playoff team and Kovalchuk is moved to a contender. His playoff numbers would then add to his value in free agency.
None of this probably equates to him getting another long-term deal with an NHL club but he will get signed and at a higher rate than the $700k he took from Montreal to stay in the NHL.
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Plans for Ilya Sorokin of the Islanders?
Ilya Sorokin is a New York Islanders goaltending prospect who has yet to play for the Islanders and has done extremely well in the KHL. Many believe he’s not joined New York because he’s not a fan of their continual desire to sign other netminders, thus limiting his chances at making the team.
Speculation has been that the Islanders might try to trade his rights before the NHL Trade Deadline however that’s a report that is apparently news to Sorokin. KHL insider Igor Eronko approached Sorokin about the rumors and Sorokin said he’d heard nothing about it. In fact, he was surprised to read that the impression was he’d been a difficult prospect to please or that he had made trade demands.
Sorokin doubts the two sides are on the same page but his understanding is that he’d not being shopped and will remain Islanders’ property through the trade deadline.
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Will David Backes Choose to Retire?
The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa writes that David Backes may elect not to accept his assignment in the AHL and instead choose to retire from the NHL. Shinzawa reports that Backes seriously considered retirement after his concussion earlier this season. Maybe he’ll rethink sticking it out.
The Minnesota native, however, has a wife and two young children to support. He lives in Minnesota during the offseason and owns his in-season home in suburban Boston. It would be a lot of dough to leave on the table, especially considering his next profession is unlikely to be as lucrative.source -‘What will David Backes do next? Here are his options’ – Fluto Shinzawa – The Athletic – 01/20/2020
$6 million is a lot of money to leave on the table. It make more sense for Backes to willingly accept his assignment to AHL Providence and request a trade if he feels he’s being slighted.
Red Wings Looking for More Picks
Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press writes that Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman wants to add more picks to the eight he already holds in the 2020 NHL Draft. That might not be easy considering the trade assets he has to move aren’t highly valued right now.
Struggling pending UFAs such as Mike Green, Trevor Daley, and Jimmy Howard will have limited value in the trade market. Perhaps the highest-valued asset, Andreas Athanasiou, might fetch Yzerman something but even that is questionable. Athansiou’s numbers are low compared to expectations and St. James feels it’s pointless to move him unless the 25-year-old unless the return boosts the rebuild.
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Edmonton Oilers have both been rumored as interested.
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.”