In today’s NHL rumor rundown, the Vancouver Canucks have signed defenseman Travis Hamonic to a PTO, while the Winnipeg Jets are still looking to trade Jack Roslovic and finding more than a few interested parties. The Montreal Canadiens were interested in Zdeno Chara and the Toronto Maple Leafs have some serious roster battles brewing at camp. Finally, the Tampa Bay Lightning aren’t looking at Sami Vatanen, but could the New York Islanders be revisiting the idea of a Zach Parise trade?
Hamonic Signs PTO With Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks have signed Travis Hamonic to a professional tryout contract. After speculation he could join the Winnipeg Jets or return to the Calgary Flames, it appears speculation of Canucks head coach Travis Green really pushing the Canucks to find a way to add him has won out.
The right-shot defenseman ranked 2nd in TOI with the Flames last year, scored three goals and added nine assists. Part of the reason it might have taken so long for a team to commit to Hamonic was his decision to bow out of the play-in round with the Flames despite being deemed healthy after a February injury.
TSN’s Darren Dreger is reporting that the belief is that Hamonic will sign a one-year deal once the Canucks place Michael Ferland on LTIR.
Half Dozen Teams Ask About Jack Roslovic
We reported last week that Winnipeg Jets Jack Roslovic’s agent Claude Lemieux had informed the Jets that Roslovic would like to be traded, a message that was passed on to the masses by TSN’s Pierre LeBrun on Tuesday. The Daily Goal Horn is reporting they’ve followed up with Lemieux who is confident that Roslovic will be moved.
They write: “Being that Roslovic is an RFA, I was informed at least half a dozen teams have expressed interest in him.” They also note that the Chicago Blackhawks may be a team that has interest in his services, especially considering they’ve lost some key pieces to their lineup in Kirby Dach, Alexander Nylander and potentially Jonathan Toews.
Canadiens Were Interested in Signing Chara
He ultimately went to the Washington Capitals, but according to Renaud Levoie, the Montreal Canadiens did kick tires on Zdeno Chara. He reports that he “Chara liked the way the Canadiens have been built.”
The reason he elected not to sign with Montreal was to keep his family closer to home and that he’d ruled out all Canadian teams because of the COVID issues and restrictions.
Sportsnet’s Eric Engels also confirmed the connection but was told that the Canadiens had some interest in Chara. “Didn’t get very far when trying to confirm it.”
Roster Battles at Leafs Camp
Jonas Siegel of The Athletic is reporting that some interesting battles are brewing at Maple Leafs camp when it comes to a handful of roster spot openings. Those that don’t make the cut will be destined for the Leafs taxi squad.
“A whole new batch of players has been added, mostly around the edges (with T.J. Brodie the obvious exception), which means a hearty and hurried competition is coming.”sources – ‘Maple Leafs training camp: Forecasting the big roster battles’ Jonas Siegel – The Athletic – 01/02/2021
Siegel writes that there’s one spot open for a top-six winger role. The contenders for that final spot boil down to Alex Kerfoot, Ilya Mikheyev, Jimmy Vesey, Joe Thornton. He notes Kerfoot is the favorite and Thornton is a dark horse.
Siegel adds that there are two open slots to fill the bottom-pair of the Leafs defense corps. Travis Dermott, Mikko Lehtonen, Zach Bogosian, and Rasmus Sandin are the contenders with Bogosian and Dermott the favorites.
There will be a battle for one open third-line left wing spot between Jimmy Vesey, Wayne Simmonds, and Nic Robertson and the fourth-line forwards mix is still completely up for grabs.
Islanders to Revisit Parise Trade?
As per Arthur Staple of The Athletic, expect some talk to surround the New York Islanders who have the ability to revisit the idea of a Zach Parise trade. This is not to say they will, only that they have the potential freedom to make the previous cap situation work now.
There’s been no chatter indicating that the Zach Parise deadline deal with the Wild has been revisited at all since then, but with Johnny Boychuk’s retirement and the freeing up of his cap hit, there’s a way to make that trade work once more.sources – ‘Prospect? Trade? All of the Islanders’ options to fill Derick Brassard’s spot’ – Arthur Staple – The Athletic – 12/30/2020
Parise has five years left on his deal at $7.54 million, which is a huge commitment from an Islanders team that still need to sign Mathew Barzal. It doesn’t seem like the most likely of plans, but his name has been connected to the Islanders before so there’s certainly some interest there. Just not sure how serious.
Lightning Not in on Vatanen
Joe Smith of The Athletic tweets, “There have been several teams interested in UFA defenseman Sami Vatanen, but I’m told #tblightning isn’t one of them.”
He adds, that he still thinks the Lightning could look to add NHL-ready depth on blueline, even if it’s just to add depth and that player will wind up on the taxi squad.
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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.”