NHL Rumors: Canadiens, Senators, Sabres, Oilers

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, while general manager Marc Bergevin has already said he won’t be making trades to help the Montreal Canadiens out of this current slump, even if he wanted to, it might not be that simple. Meanwhile, the Ottawa Senators are looking to add to their forward group. Is Jack Eichel making one last pitch to the Buffalo Sabres and are the Edmonton Oilers looking to test Jesse Puljujarvi away from Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl?

Canadiens Can’t Make a Trade that Can Help

Bergevin spoke with the media and noted this team will have to work its way out of its current funk. He said he believed in the players and gave them a vote of confidence, but behind the scenes, the realization is that the organization can’t really make a change anyways.

Montreal Canadiens Marc Bergevin
Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)

Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek talked about how the club is handcuffed because of the NHL Draft. With it taking place in Montreal this year, Bergevin can’t afford to give up the first-round pick and a shot at Shane Wright. If things continue to go south, the Canadiens likely can’t give up the second-round selection either. The team simply has to ride this out to ensure they don’t make a trade the franchise will be regretting in five years.

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Friedman also noted that if Bergevin makes the wrong move here, it could crush any leverage he has during contract negotiations with the Canadiens or another team as he navigates signing as the GM in Montreal or elsewhere. Of all the GMs in the league who can’t afford to panic, it’s Bergevin.

Senators Looking for Top-9 Forward

As per TSN’s Chris Johnston, he noted during the latest Insider Trading segment that the Senators are looking for help at center as well as some help on the wing if the right deal is out there. Specifically, they want a top-nine forward. Johnston notes:

“They’re looking to add a player to their top nine that can produce a little offensively and help out their group in that regard. That’s in addition to Brady Tkachuk joining their lineup. As for what they might give up? They have 11 draft picks in the upcoming draft, plus some prospects, so I think Pierre Dorian is open, and shopping, trying to add to his team.”

Eichel Taking One Last Shot to Convince Sabres

Emily Kaplan of ESPN.com reports that Jack Eichel’s camp is meeting with the Buffalo Sabres one last time to try and convince management to let him get his preferred surgery. The Sabres have held firm on him getting the fusion procedure while Eichel wants the disc replacement surgery and at least five NHL teams are interested in trading for him and allowing him to get the surgery he wants.

Jack Eichel Buffalo Sabres
Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Eichel’s camp is presenting that information from multiple medical visits with different doctors in the hopes it will show Sabres’ management that they’re not being open enough to something that is much safer than they think. If this doesn’t work — and many think it won’t — the next step would be for Eichel to file a grievance. That’s the last thing anyone wants to do, but it might be one of the few options remaining.

Oilers Looking to Test Puljujarvi?

With the Edmonton Oilers off to a strong start and with Jesse Puljujarvi on the top-ten leaderboard in points so far this season, talk about what the Oilers do with his contract has already begun. Allan Mitchell of The Athletic took a look at the next step for the team and the player and wonders if the Oilers need to find out quickly just how good Puljujarvi can actually be?

Related: First Regular Season Look at Oilers’ Hyman, McDavid, Puljujarvi Line

Mitchell writes:

Holland’s challenge? Signing a man who seems to have taken a major step forward and is arriving as a top-quality difference-maker. Puljujarvi will be a restricted free agent after this season, due (if early days of the season are any indication) a big raise over his current $1.175 million average annual value.

source – ‘Lowetide: Should Jesse Puljujarvi drive his own line for the Oilers in 2021-22?’ – Allan Mitchell – The Athletic – 10/22/2021
Jesse Puljujarvi Connor McDavid Edmonton Oilers
Jesse Puljujarvi, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

While there’s no truth to chatter that the Oilers would consider splitting Puljujarvi from Connor McDavid to lower his point totals and make an extension easier to get done, there might be some talk of moving the player into a position to see if he can drive his own line and be a difference-maker without the best player in the world.

Mitchell adds, “If there’s an audition opportunity later this season, a window where it makes sense, finding out more about Puljujarvi during the year could benefit the offseason move.”