NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Canadiens, Blackhawks, Oilers, Avs

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, there are a few media members speculating as to what the Toronto Maple Leafs might do ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline. Meanwhile, will the Montreal Canadiens get their asking price for some of the forwards they’re looking to move?

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The Chicago Blackhawks are likely to be in the middle of all the action after the New Year and are the Edmonton Oilers and Colorado Avalanche eagerly waiting for the Blackhawks to start selling?

Who Might Maple Leafs Be Thinking About Adding?

A number of media members chimed in on the Toronto Maple Leafs trade plans this week, with many trying to speculate as to what the Leafs might be looking to do. The Toronto Star’s Nick Kypreos wondered if GM Kyle Dubas would wait to sign Matthew Knies before seeing if he’ll make a big splash in the NHL. If he doesn’t, Kypreos believes Dubas might target Arizona Coyotes’ forward Lawson Crouse or Montreal Canadiens’ winger Josh Anderson.

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He writes:

There is no question Dubas’s favourite trading partner resides in Arizona. If we set aside Jakob Chychrun for a second, would a six-foot-four, 220-pound Lawson Crouse be more favourable? Crouse is not currently being shopped by the Coyotes but that doesn’t mean Bill Armstrong can’t be talked into it.

source – ‘The Leafs’ defence has been the focal point but another NHL trade deadline priority has emerged’ – Nick Kypreos – Toronto Star – 12/22/2022
Kyle Dubas Toronto Maple Leafs
Kyle Dubas, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Meanwhile, Michael Traikos of The Toronto Sun thinks the Leafs might look at bringing back James van Riemsdyk. He says the 33-year-old winger enjoyed the best seasons of his career with the Leafs and loved playing in Toronto. Traikos writes:

As a pending free agent who is in the final year of his contract, he understands that he will probably get moved before the March trade deadline. And while the Leafs probably have more pressing needs at defence, adding a 6-foot-3 power forward who has 13 points in 14 games this season — and plenty of familiarity with Toronto’s top players — might be too good to pass up.

source – ‘TRAIKOS: Would the Leafs ever bring back James van Riemsdyk for another playoff run?’ – Michael Traikos – Toronto Sun – 12/23/2022

This all comes after Darren Dreger wondered if the Leafs might look at Ryan O’Reilly and Joshua Kloke and Harman Dayal explained why Bo Horvat might be a good fit. Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff says the Leafs have the salary cap flexibility to go out and add something major ahead of the deadline. “Status quo is not an option,” argues Seravalli.

Canadiens Could Have Trouble Moving Forwards

According to TSN Insider Pierre LeBrun, the Canadiens could struggle to move some of their forwards at the deadline, especially when you consider the bigger names other teams are making available. While on TSN That’s Hockey, LeBrun explained that the likes of Jonathan Drouin and Evgenii Dadonov don’t really measure up to names like Patrick Kane, Vladimir Tarasenko, Horvat, or O’Reilly. That could mean not getting a great return for trading those pieces off the roster.

Josh Anderson Montreal Canadiens
Josh Anderson, Montreal Canadiens (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

LeBrun adds, “The guy with the most interest among their pending UFAs is Sean Monahan for sure. He’s had a renaissance season with the Habs. Teams are already calling on him.” What’s interesting about that is that the Canadiens might not want to move Monahan.

Related: 3 Reasons Oilers’ Top 4 Is Miles Better Than the Maple Leafs’ Core

Where they could get a decent return is if they trade Joel Edmundson or Josh Anderson. Neither are rentals as both have term remaining on their current deals. These would be trades the team doesn’t want to move but LeBrun notes, “I think at the end of the day if there are teams that persist in either Edmundson or Anderson, who knows?”

Blackhawks to Be Busiest Team in January

Seravalli says that both Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are likely to be traded this season and he believes the Edmonton Oilers and Colorado Avalanche are two teams frothing at the mouth about potentially adding one of these two players.

He also notes that it won’t be just Kane and Toews that the Blackhawks are thinking about sending out. Andreas Athanasiou, Max Domi, and Sam Lafferty could all be players who find new homes. Not to mention, Seravalli says the Blackhawks will be right in the middle of all the conversations that happen when it comes to trades that include salary retention.