NHL Rumors: Kovalchuk, Hextall, Canadiens, More

In today’s rumor rundown, there are whispers the Kings are looking at moving Ilya Kovalchuk, there are names already being tossed around to take over for Ron Hextall after a power struggle saw him lose his GM job in Philadelphia on Monday, the Panthers have an eye on a netminder out of Montreal and the Canadiens are looking at big changes on their blue line.

Kings Looking at Kovalchuk Trade?

Kovalchuk came over to the Los Angeles Kings this summer from the KHL but so far, his tenure with the Kings has not been going as planned. While was effective under John Stevens, he’s found himself in new coach Willie Desjardin’s doghouse and relegated to the fourth line. There have been whispers of the Kings considering a trade.

Ilya Kovalchuk
Ilya Kovalchuk (s.yume via Wikimedia Commons)

Dennis Bernstein tweeted that if “coaching staff and management are aligned in thinking their best chance to win is playing Ilya Kovalchuk less than 10 min game on the 4th line, Rob Blake should be actively shopping him.” Berstein can see a scenario where Kovalchuk doesn’t finish the season in LA but to make a trade work the Kings will have to retain salary. He signed a $6.25 million per year contract for three years.

Related: NHL Rumors: Nylander, Puljujarvi, Coaching Jobs, More

Hextall Firing a Power Struggle? New Names in the Mix?

The Philadelphia Flyers’ season just got a lot more interesting as the team announced today that they have fired General Manager Ron Hextall, and will begin a search immediately for his replacement. Team president Paul Holmgren will be spearheading the search and there is some speculation this release was a power struggle that didn’t go in Hextall’s favor.

Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall
FILE – In this April 11, 2016, file photo, Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall speaks with members of the media during a NHL hockey news conference in Voorhees, N.J. The Flyers fired Hextall on Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, FIle)

Rumors Hextall either refused to fire Dave Hakstol or wanted to and was not allowed by upper management. Whichever one is accurate, it became clear there were issues and a difference of opinion on how to turn things around. The tipping point appears to be the 6-0 loss to the Maple Leafs where the Flyers got scored on repeatedly but were never killing a penalty. Every goal was a 5-on-5 goal.

Darren Dreger of TSN tweets that former Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher and former Carolina Hurricanes GM Ron Francis are early candidates to take over in Philadelphia. Despite both losing their jobs, both are well respected.

Related: NHL Rumors: Skinner, Bobrovsky, Blackhawks, More

Canadiens Making Changes on Defense

Monday morning the Canadiens waived Karl Alzner but this isn’t the only change the team might be looking at making to their blue line.

Nick Kypreos said on Sportsnet that Shea Weber’s return has stirred up questions about who he’ll be playing with. The Canadiens have injury issues and a lot of players with little experience. If Montreal stays a playoff team, Kypreos thinks the Habs might reach out to the Los Angeles Kings or St. Louis Blues about one of their experienced defenseman.

Panthers Reaching Out to Canadiens?

Elliotte Friedman was on Sportsnet 960 and was talking about the Florida Panthers working on a deal that might include Montreal Canadiens goaltender Charlie Lindgren. Friedman said the pressure to do something in Florida is there and Lindgren is a netminder the Panthers have had their eye on for a long time.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Charlie Lindgren
(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

It might not take a lot to convince the Canadiens to consider a trade since they don’t want to Lindgren being a backup with them and only playing 20 games. They already have Antti Niemi. But, the Canadiens wouldn’t treat Lindgren as a throwaway. He’s got a reasonable three-year contract and the ask will be high.

Related: If the Oilers Won’t Play Ty Rattie, Trade Ty Rattie

Oilers to Shop Ty Rattie?

This one hasn’t been confirmed by a source, but logically, it makes sense the Edmonton Oilers might be looking at moving forward Ty Rattie. In Sunday night’s 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, Rattie played all of 3:32 minutes, highlighted by a total of 0:46 seconds in the second period and one shift in the third.

As Sportsnet’s Mark Spector wrote, “The Ken Hitchcock era predictably does not favour Ty Rattie.” and others are wondering if his history with Hitchcock and lack of playing time might mean the Oilers will look to move him if there’s a GM that will take a chance on him after a strong preseason.