NHL Rumors: Canadiens, Avalanche, Hurricanes, Blues, Oilers

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, Martin St. Louis has signed on to be the head coach of the Montreal Canadiens. What took so long and why this particular deal? Meanwhile, Darcy Kumper suffered an injury in Game 1 for the Colorado Avalanche. How much time will he miss?

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Vincent Trocheck’s name has been out there in rumors, but the forward would like to stay with the Carolina Hurricanes. Finally, are David Perron and Ryan O’Reilly both going to sign extensions with the St. Louis Blues?

St. Louis Gets Three-Year Deal with Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens have officially signed interim head Martin St. Louis to an extension, giving the former NHL player a three-year deal and making him the 32nd head coach in franchise history. He will stay behind the bench until at least the 2024-25 season and Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes said of the signing:

Martin is a proven leader, a great communicator with a deep understanding of and passion for the game of hockey. His arrival brought a renewed energy to our group, and we look forward to him returning behind the bench to continue guiding our team for the foreseeable future.

When asked about the length of the term, he said he signed a three-year deal because “It gives me time to build something.” Early in his tenure, there was some chatter that this could be a short-lived coaching run as he had long talks with his family about taking time away from them. They were open to him trying out the NHL coaching thing but no one knew at the time if this would become a long-term gig. He wanted to see how things played out before committing, even though the team was ready and willing to bring him in on a longer-term deal much earlier than this. It appears all parties are happy with the way things turned out and St. Louis was given the green light by his family to commit to the team.

Darcy Kuemper’s Injury Could Force Him to Miss Time

Asked whether goaltender Darcy Kuemper would be out day-to-day or longer, Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said “we’ll see.” Kuemper left Game 1 of the Edmonton Oilers versus Colorado Avalanche with a mysterious upper-body injury. It wasn’t and isn’t clear what the issue is, but he was apparently dealing with it most of the game and had played in the first period with whatever was bugging him.

Darcy Kuemper Colorado Avalanche
Darcy Kuemper, Colorado Avalanche (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

At this point, it’s too early to say Kuemper is out for Game 2. “I don’t know how long he’ll be out,” head coach Jared Bednar said on Altitude Sports Radio on Wednesday. “He could be back tomorrow for us.”

Trocheck Wants to Return to Carolina, But Team Needs Elite Scorer

When asked about whether he’d like to stay in Carolina, Vincent Trocheck told Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer that he feels like the team has “some unfinished business” and that he would like to be back with the Hurricanes next season. Trocheck is a UFA and the Hurricanes are believed to be ready to give Jesperi Kotkaniemi a larger role with the club. The two sides have talked about a new contract, but nothing is imminent.

Related: NHL Rumors: Oilers, Maple Leafs, Barry Trotz Coaching Update

The fact the Hurricanes have some big names coming up that will require extensions — Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen, Brett Pesce, and Seth Jarvis — means Trocheck is someone who might not fit into the long-term plans for the team.

Vincent Trocheck Carolina Hurricanes
Vincent Trocheck, Carolina Hurricanes (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

As per The Athletic’s Sara Civian, the Hurricanes might actually explore the “elite goal scorer” market this summer. Saying the team lacked a scorer in the top-20 this season, they still managed to be one of the league’s better teams and could take the next step if they add someone who can score at a high level. She writes:

It’s a testament to the Canes that they got so far through their defensive effort, but the front office needs to reward them for that with a shiny new toy.

The options are a story for a different day, but “we like our group” isn’t good enough headed into next season.

source – ‘The Hurricanes’ 6 biggest priorities as an offseason of huge changes begins

Perron and O’Reilly Want To Return to Blues

The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford is reporting that David Perron said he’d love to be back with the Blues, while Elliotte Friedman noted in his 32 Thoughts podcast that he’s heard Perron would like to return and make quick work of an extension. GM Doug Armstrong also indicated he’d like to have Perron back and most believe this extension will get done in short order.

Rutherford also talked about Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly who would like to be back as well. O’Reilly has one more season on his current deal and can sign an extension as early as this summer. He writes:

The Blues and O’Reilly can’t officially announce an extension until July 13, the first day of free agency, but rest assured, he wants to stay in St. Louis. “Oh, absolutely,” O’Reilly said. “It’s a place I want to be.”

source – ‘Blues interview-day takeaways: Binnington on water bottle-gate, Perron on re-signing, more’ – Jeremy Rutherford – The Athletic – 06/01/2022

Could Koskinen Get Start in Game 2?

As per TSN’s Ryan Rishaugh, Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft wouldn’t commit to which goalie starts Game 2 but said he thought Mike Smith was excellent. Smith was pulled in Game 1 and Mikko Koskinen looked sharp in relief. Smith has had a history of poor Game 1 performances but Tuesday’s loss against Colorado wasn’t actually is fault.

Smith tends to play well in Game 2, especially after he’s embarrassed in Game 1. Odds are he has a bounce-back performance and the Oilers play much better in front of him.

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