NHL Rumors: Canadiens, Rangers, Blackhawks, Oilers

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin spoke with media on Wednesday and touched on a few topics. Among them, his future with the team, whether or not he’ll make any trades in the face of a tough start for the Habs and Shea Weber‘s future. Meanwhile, Vitali Kravtsov talks about why he refused AHL assignment with the New York Rangers, plus the Edmonton Oilers are going to have to make a decision with their goaltending.

Bergevin Won’t Be Making Trades to Help Canadiens

As per the Canadiens’ GM, he’s not about to panic with the team off to an 0-4 start. He did admit the team doesn’t look out of the gate but also said he likes his team and the players need to play their way out of this. He’s not about to make trades to improve a roster he believes is good enough.

“I don’t feel the need,” he said. He added:

“It has nothing to do with cap space, it has to do with the group we have. I do like our team, there are some pretty good hockey players … they are not playing up to their potential. And until they do there’s nothing that I’m gonna do to make a change just to make a change. Change a fourth-line player just to say I’m making a change? I don’t believe in that.”

Bergevin also said he absolutely wants to return to the Canadiens next season as the general manager. There has been speculation a contract extension has not been finalized because he’s thinking about leaving for another team. He said, “In a perfect world” he’d like to return as GM. That answer has many insiders saying that money is the key hurdle and that he might not be back.

Bergevin also said that he doesn’t think Shea Weber will ever be back in the NHL.

Kravtsov Upset About Long-Term Prospects With Rangers

Speculation that his relationship with GM Chris Drury has a lot to do with why Kravtsov is upset with the Rangers — apparently Kravtsov was called out a couple of times publicly — Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports this is not actually why Kravtsov remains in Russian, suspended as a player for not reporting the Rangers AHL team in Hartford.

Vitali Kravtsov, New York Rangers
Vitali Kravtsov, New York Rangers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Instead, Kravtsov relayed that he felt he would never get a permanent shot at the Rangers top-six. With Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider, Alexis Lafreniere, and Kaapo Kakko ahead of him on the depth chart, he doesn’t believe there’s a future there with the organization.

Related: Bergevin’s Impromptu Press Conference Further Highlights Uncertainty Surrounding Canadiens

Brooks adds that Kravtsov has received lukewarm interest from a handful of teams but the Rangers don’t have anything on the table that would be considered a trade they’re close to making. Interested teams include the Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets, and Ottawa Senators but there could be others.

Strome’s Value Decreasing for Blackhawks

Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that the more Dylan Strome is scratched by the Blackhawks (especially as they struggle) his trade value drops. Pope writes:

This situation is even steadily reducing Strome’s trade value, which makes particularly little sense because trade talks — which could be derailed by injury — are likely the true reason for Strome’s exclusion.

source: – ‘Blackhawks’ refusal to play Dylan Strome is unfair to him and the team’ – Ben Pope- Chicago Sun Times – 10/20/2021
Dylan Strome Chicago Blackhawks
Dylan Strome, Chicago Blackhawks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Apparently, the Chicago Blackhawks have spoken with the Rangers about Dylan Strome. There may or may not be a link between Strome and Kravtsov and but the connection for the Rangers seems logical considering Ryan Strome is already on the roster.

Oilers Might Start Koskinen in Back-to-Back Games

The Oilers learned that goaltender Mike Smith will be on the shelf for about a week. That means a decision about when and how often to play Mikko Koskinen will need to be made. Head coach Dave Tippett has already confirmed that Kosknine will get the start on Thursday night versus the Arizona Coyotes. But, will he start again versus the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday?

The Oilers have recalled Stuart Skinner from the AHL and Koskinen has shown over his career that playing too much is when he struggles. At the same time, the Oilers are 3-0 on the season, Koskinen has been well-rested and the travel for this first road trip was not very taxing.

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