In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Montreal Canadiens might be in the market to add a defenseman. Meanwhile, could the Pittsburgh Penguins try to acquire a former netminder if they believe they’re a playoff team this season? The Edmonton Oilers have a few goaltending options if GM Ken Holland wants to make an early-season trade and what conversations have the Arizona Coyotes had with Phil Kessel about possibly being traded this season?
Canadiens Looking to Add a Defenseman
According to Elliotte Friedman, he believes the Canadiens would be okay with adding a puck-moving defenseman. He doesn’t offer much detail as to who they might be targeting or how high up on the depth charts that defenseman would be asked to play, but there are a handful of pending unrestricted free agents out there that the Canadiens might be interested in as a rental option.
It sounds like Samuel Girard‘s name can be scratched off the list as a possible option as Pierre LeBrun has reported the Avs are not making a Girard available and a team would have to knock the socks off of the Avalanche to pry Girard out of Colorado.
It will be interesting to see if the Canadiens are a team that looks to add this season or waits until the offseason with a new general manager potentially in place. There could be a ton of changeover on this roster if the Canadiens continue to struggle and it appears Marc Bergevin might be moving on.
Could Fleury Make Sense for the Penguins?
Dan Rosen of NHL.com writes in a recent mailbag segment that goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury might be an option as a Penguins back up to close out this season, and potentially moving forward. If the Blackhawks decided to move Fleury, there will be interested teams but the goalie has a history in Pittsburgh and if the team could make the $7 million salary work, it is believed he would waive to return.
Current Penguins backup Casey DeSmith would be part of any deal and his $1.25 million cap hit would go the other way. That wouldn’t be enough and if the price would go up if the Blackhawks were asked to retain salary. Of course, Rosen acknowledges that all of this hinges on whether or not the Penguins believe they are a playoff team or not.
Early-Season Oilers Goaltending Options
As pointed out by Allan Mitchell of The Athletic, GM Ken Holland doesn’t have an extensive history of making mid-season trades, but if he were to go after a goaltender — should Mike Smith’s injury be more serious than originally anticipated — there are a few options.
Among them, Mitchell suggested a handful of veterans and players a couple of players that have a history with previously-managed Holland teams. He writes:
Trade targets who qualify as successful and older include Marc-Andre Fleury of the Chicago Blackhawks, although his $7 million cap hit would require some world-class maneuvering for Edmonton to accommodate this season. The Dallas Stars have two veteran goaltenders (Anton Khudobin, Braden Holtby) with a fine young goaltender (Jake Oettinger) waiting in the minors. All three men would be of interest to the Oilers, although the veterans would be best suited to the need.source – ‘Lowetide: Will Ken Holland make an early-season trade to bolster the Oilers? What history tells us’ – Allan Mitchell – The Athletic – 11/12/2021
There’s been some chatter by sources and a link between the Oilers and Fleury, but the Dallas Stars may be a team to watch here as they could have a three-headed goaltending issue on their hands. Ben Bishop has been practicing with the club and they can’t activate him off long-term injury reserve without first clearing some cap space. That could make one of their netminders available for cheap.
Coyotes Have Spoken With Kessel About a Trade
Arizona Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong said the team might look like a mess, but there’s a plan in place and the long-term goals for this team are of the utmost importance. The organization decided to sell assets in preparation for the 2022 NHL Draft where Arizona has three first-round picks and give second-round selections. The question of whether or not they can add more by moving Phil Kessel was addressed in a Pierre LeBrun piece in The Athletic.
“We’ve had honest conversations with Phil from the get-go. But Phil has been so good for us here. He’s come in and worked his butt off and played hard every single game for us. He’s someone that, as he gets older, still maintains his skating — that’s the greatest thing. He’s got that natural, goal-scoring ability. He continues to be good for us.’’source – ‘LeBrun: Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong on why they went scorched earth and the long road ahead’ – Pierre LeBrun – The Athletic – 11/18/2021
These don’t sound like the type of comments that suggest a move is imminent and that Kessel is being shopped. At the same time, he’s a pending unrestricted free agent and unless he signs a new extension at some point during the year, he’s likely to be traded to a team that needs a rental for a playoff push.
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.”