NHL Rumors: Lightning, Senators, Maple Leafs, Canadiens

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Tampa Bay Lightning have lost defenseman Victor Hedman to injury. How long will he be out of action? Meanwhile, there’s some talk about what the holdup in Ottawa is when it comes to a contract extension for Alex Formenton. How is the relationship between Mitch Marner and Sheldon Keefe in Toronto? Finally, are the Montreal Canadiens getting set to demote Evgenii Dadonov?

Hedman Injury Day-to-Day

Defenseman Victor Hedman has an upper-body injury and is day-to-day, according to Lightning play-by-play commentator Dave Randorf. He was injured during the win Saturday against the San Jose Sharks, leaving in the third period and not returning.

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He’s a huge part of their lineup so the hope is that he’s back on the ice as soon as possible.

No Contract News on Alex Formenton

TSN’s Darren Dreger reported on the most recent episode of Insider Trading that there are no real contract negotiation updates between the Ottawa Senators and forward Alex Formenton, who remains the only unsigned RFA in the league. The two sides are running out of time as Formenton needs to sign before December 1, otherwise, he cannot play in the NHL this season. Dreger notes a potential trade as an option for Formenton, and also floats the option of playing in Europe if a deal can’t be reached.

Alex Formenton Ottawa Senators
Alex Formenton, Ottawa Senators (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Speculation that part of the delay in this deal getting done has to do with a link between Formenton and the sexual assault allegations leveled against members of Canada’s 2018 World Junior team. Formenton didn’t attend training camp and hasn’t made any statements or conducted any interviews.

Marner and Trotz Talk in Toronto

Dreger also notes that there are no issues between the player and the coach when it comes to Mitch Marner and Sheldon Keefe. Dreger explains that neither loves the fact the team isn’t playing great hockey, but Marner doesn’t have a personal issue with Keefe.

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Dreger adds:

But there are some wondering whether or not the tinkering by Sheldon Keefe specific to Marner might include managing his ice time a little bit. Mitch Marner averages anywhere from 20 minutes per game to 27 minutes per game, so perhaps by backing that off a little bit he’s more fresh, you invest some of that ice time into your bottom six and it turns out to be a win-win for all.

As for the coach himself, there is talk about Barry Trotz taking over in Toronto should Keefe be relieved of his duties. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun notes that Trotz said he wasn’t ready to return to coaching yet as he still has some personal things he needs to look after. Trotz may not be ready until December. Even still, the Maple Leafs are paying a lot of money to coaches. “…they’re still paying a former coach in Mike Babcock $5.8 million this season, the last year of that eight-year deal going back to 2015 they’re paying him through June 30,” LeBrun said.

There is also talk that Trotz only wants to return if he can see himself moving from coaching to a general manager’s position with the organization that hires him.

Trade Or Dadonov Demotion Expected in Montreal

Arpon Basu of The Athletic reports the Montreal Canadiens are likely going to have to trade one of their 15 forwards when injured defenseman Joel Edmundson is ready to return to the team. The team isn’t likely to send Juraj Slafkovsky down to the AHL or place forward Michael Pezzetta on waivers to make room, so a trade or the demotion of a veteran forward seems most likely.

Kent Hughes, Montreal Canadiens GM
Kent Hughes, Montreal Canadiens general manager (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

He writes:

“…they could opt to put a forward with a less digestible contract on waivers and ultimately send that player to Laval to alleviate the current situation. Whoever that winds up being, whether it’s Evgenii Dadonov or Mike Hoffman or Jonathan Drouin or whoever, that’s going to be a difficult conversation.”

source – ‘Canadiens observations: 3 things we think we know after 10 games’ – Apron Basu – The Athletic – 11/01/2022

Because the Canadiens can’t exactly offload a forward via trade without taking money back, Eric Engels of Sportsnet writes, “Naturally, Evgenii Dadonov’s sudden need for treatment on consecutive days after being scratched is fuelling a lot of reasonable speculation…” He adds, “That won’t die down until Edmundson is cleared and a move has to get made. Doesn’t have to be Dadonov to waivers, but with the unlikelihood he’ll be claimed and the potential desire to keep all the kids with the Canadiens, that’s why it can be termed “reasonable speculation.”