In today’s NHL rumors rundown, there is news from around the NHL, but a number of updates come from NHL insider Elliotte Friedman who dropped a 33 Thoughts post Friday evening. In it, he talks about the Montreal Canadiens, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings and Toronto Maple Leafs, among other teams.
Bergevin Moving Up in Canadiens Organization?
As per Friedman’s column, he wonders if Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin and owner Geoff Molson are discussing a new front office structure where he moves up to Pres. of Hockey Operations and either Scott Mellanby or Martin Lapointe take on the GM role after next season.
During his end-of-season media availability on Friday, there was talk about his future and perhaps signing another deal. He noted, “I have one more year under contract, and I will honour that.” He added the last 16 months were “tough on me. Mentally, it was very difficult.” These were interesting comments that many wondered about. There has been talk that Bergevin was burnt out and may not want to return as GM.
Perry, Danault, and the Expansion Draft
Over the course of whatever is left in his time as GM, Bergevin has a couple key decisions to make. The first is what to do with the expansion draft, the second is the future of Phillip Danault. The third is signing depth pieces like Corey Perry, who absolutely says he wants to keep playing in the NHL and would love to return to the Canadiens next season.
As far as expansion goes, there’s a chance he doesn’t protect one of the “big four” defencemen, which could mean losing a good player. Some have wondered if he’ll try to swing a deal with the Seattle Kraken to keep everyone. In respect to Danault, it was confirmed the player turned down a long-term deal before the season but Bergevin noted, “He’s still in our plans and we hope he remains with our team.” What a deal looks like is unclear and whether or not the old offer is still on the table isn’t either. At the time Danault said now, it was believed the two sides were about $500,000-$750,000 per year apart.
Flames and Gaudreau Working on Extension
Despite numerous rumors over the past year that Johnny Gaudreau might be a trade candidate out of Calgary, Friedman mentions the Flames and Gaudreau are working on an a contract extension. Term and money isn’t clear but Friedman’s guess is that the Flames would probably have to go higher than Matthew Tkachuk’s $7M AAV to get the deal done.
That represents a raise for Gaudreau’s who has one more year remaining on a $6.75 million per season contract.
Oilers Have “Take It Or Leave It” Deal for Duncan Keith
Frank Seravalli reported in a recent article for The Daily Faceoff that the Oilers might be at a point now where they are playing hardball with the Chicago Blackhawks regarding Keith. Seravalli said, “To touch on the Duncan Keith situation for a second with the Oilers, my understanding is that there is definite interest there, but I think that interest and paying a certain price has waned in the last week or so.”
The Oilers have had discussions with the Chicago Blackhawks. First off, there’s two things in play. One, Chicago is not willing to retain any salary, And the second thing is, whatever pieces the Oilers had on the table to try and make something happen, and I believe it centred around Caleb Jones plus something else, and you can understand why Jones was part of the picture because Chicago wants to also try and bring in Seth Jones, my understanding is one or more of those pieces has since been removed.
Friedman agrees that perhaps the Oilers have stepped back a little. He believes the Blackhawks started by asking for players Ken Holland was absolutely not giving up, including names like Ethan Bear and/or Ryan McLeod. The “and” part of that statement from Friedman is sure to have fans concerned because it suggests Chicago believes Keith and his $5.5 million salary is worth two important pieces of the Oilers future.
In other Oilers news, Friedman added “I also believe the Oilers have begun talking to Darnell Nurse about an extension.” Noting the defenseman is eligible this summer to sign a new deal, with one more season before unrestricted free agency. In goal, it sounds like they are juggling multiple balls, from Mike Smith to someone younger.
Maple Leafs Have Reached Out to Rich Tocchet
Friedman writes, “There’s a lot of linkage with Toronto and Rick Tocchet for the open assistant coaching job. It sounds like the Maple Leafs reached out pretty quickly.” Toronto fans quickly jumped on board the Bruce Boudreau train when Dave Hakstol was picked up by Seattle, but there’s not been much mention of Boudreau in hockey circles.
Friedman also doubled down on his recent comments about the Leafs possibly being interested in Tyler Bertuzzi. He wrote:
Don’t know if it still works, but Toronto liked Tyler Bertuzzi this season — moving elsewhere when it became obvious he wasn’t going to be healthy. Barring a major change, Zach Hyman won’t be back with the Maple Leafs, a big loss for them. It’s expected Detroit will be among his pursuers, although the Red Wings won’t be the only ones.
Kings Going Hunting for a Winger
Even with the addition of Viktor Arvidsson from the Nashville Predators, there some thought that the Los Angeles Kings will try to add another high-ticket winger this offseason. Names like Brandon Saad or Jaden Schwartz are ones to watch.
Friedman also believes that a Gabriel Landeskog deal gets done in Colorado but he could see the Kings trying to get in on that conversation. Friedman says the St. Louis Blues would absolutely love to add Landeskog, but need to move Vladimir Tarasenko first.
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.”