In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Montreal Canadiens will be without one of their top forwards for the next three games and there’s talk about whether or not to believe GM Marc Bergevin when he says he likely won’t be making a trade. The Edmonton Oilers are reuniting the dynamic duo and the New York Islanders could be interested in a forward from New Jersey. Finally, there’s talk about why the Toronto Maple Leafs waived Travis Boyd and what their plans are for their questionable goaltending.
Canadiens Without Toffoli, Trade Plans
Montreal will have to try and get past the Oilers in a three-game series without one of their top scoring forwards. Tyler Toffoli is out with a lower-body injury and interim head coach Dominique Ducharme announced on Monday that the winger remains day-to-day. Toffoli will be re-evaluated closer to the weekend.
As for what the Canadiens do at the trade deadline, Elliotte Friedman said during Saturdays Headlines report that many are doubting Bergevin will stay quiet at the deadline as he has stated. The GM has a lot of picks and good young players and the team is struggling. If they lose two or three out of the three games against Edmonton, Montreal is going to need the help. Friedman suggests that if there’s a GM in Canada capable of doing something big, it’s Bergevin.
Oilers to Reunite Dynamic Duo
Speaking of that series, it is interesting to see Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid are starting on the same line against the Canadiens tonight. The Oilers are back on a winning streak and the team likes to split the offense to make sure they have two strong lines. That said, the pair was outstanding on Saturday in the comeback over the Winnipeg Jets.
The Oilers still won’t have access to Kailer Yamamoto so perhaps this is weakening the second line which will likely consist of Dominik Kahun, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Josh Archibald.
As for the trade deadline, Chris Johnston says not to expect the Oilers to be very busy.
Why the Maple Leafs Waived Travis Boyd
The Maple Leafs lost Travis Boyd to Vancouver on waivers Monday. Interestingly, James Mirtle wrote in a recent column for The Athletic that it’s likely the Leafs did this so that they could make a play in the trade market and he specifically thinks this was done to go after Mikael Granlund. Mirtle figured the Boyd move would happen after a trade, but either way, the move to waive a player was apparently done to avoid a dollar in, dollar out deal.
Mirtle went into great detail about how the Leafs could juggle some players on their roster and work with the taxi squad to fit a Granlund’s prorated salary in. The scribe wrote:
With Granlund joining the roster, the Leafs could use him to replace one of the forwards listed on the depth chart above. They would then be able to place someone like Travis Boyd on waivers and move him to the taxi squad and still have a minimum 20 players on the roster.
That would free up an additional $265,517 on top of the $631,726 space listed above, meaning that, as of next Friday, the Leafs would be on track to have roughly $900,000 in cap space to work with. (But that number changes based on when the trade and demotion take place.)source – ‘Mirtle: How the Maple Leafs can trade for a big money player despite minimal cap space’ James Mirtle – The Athletic – 03/19/2021
Goaltender Market Heating Up
NHL Network’s Kevin Weekes recently reported that the goaltender market is getting interesting. He writes, “Per my sources, interest is heating up in [Jonathan] Quick, [Jonathan] Bernier (injured last night), Johansson (who was moved to Colorado), [Devan] Dubnyk among others for teams seeking goaltending depth.”
As for whether or not the Leafs would be interested in any of those players, potentially trading Frederik Andersen before the deadline as Toronto Star reporter Mark Zwolinski suggests, it’s not as likely Dubas makes a goaltender trade as he does one to land a forward.
Toronto Sun scribe Lance Hornby writes:
But Andersen, whether or not his poor play is linked to a lower-body issue of his own, won’t just disappear.
There’s no experienced third option in the chain as seen by Michael Hutchinson’s mercurial path. And with a shrinking trade deadline window because of a two-week COVID-19 quarantine for any new arrivals, general manager Kyle Dubas’ efforts with a tight salary cap are already focused on a top-six forward and depth on defence.source – ‘Maple Leafs starter Andersen now in Campbell’s shadow’ – Lance hornby – Toronto Sun – 03/22/2021
Darren Dreger said on TSN 1050: “I don’t think goaltending is a big issue for the Toronto Maple Leafs, I don’t think that there is any reason for Kyle Dubas to spend quality assets in trying to shore up that position. I think they have to work with what they got.”
Islanders Interested in Palmieri?
The Islanders have been linked to left-winger Taylor Hall as the NHL Trade Deadline approaches, but there’s another player to potentially watch when it comes to the Isles. Newsday’s Andrew Gross wonders if GM Lou Lamoriello will target Kyle Palmieri before the trade deadline.
Palmieri is one of the many Devils’ players rumored to potentially be on the move as the winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. Gross writes:
He plays the hard-edged game coach Barry Trotz prefers. He has scored at least 24 goals in each of his five full seasons with the Devils, with a career-high of 30 in 2015-16. His reasonable cap figure of $4.65 million would also allow the Islanders to pursue a defenseman. Off the ice, Palmieri’s foundation Squad 21 has afforded military members the chance to attend Devils games and interact with him.source – ‘Could Devils’ Kyle Palmieri be Lou Lamoriello’s trade target?’ Andrew Gross – Newsday – 03/20/2021
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.”