NHL Rumors: Canadiens, Senators, Stars, Sabres, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is news out of Dallas where the Stars might be talking to the Montreal Canadiens about a free agent defenseman. There is word out of the Buffalo Sabres neck of the woods that Jason Pominville is done with the team and one Ottawa Senators forward has no desire to leave the organization. Finally, with the announcement by Justin Williams that he’s taking a break from the NHL, what are the odds he actually retires?

Canadiens Interested in Julius Honka?

Jimmy Murphy writes that he has heard that the Montreal Canadiens are potentially interested in Dallas Stars restricted free agent defenseman Julius Honka.

Julius Honka Dallas Stars
Julius Honka, Dallas Stars (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Honka has been in the rumor mill a ton and it is expected he’ll be moved out of Dallas as he doesn’t have a defined role with the team. Murphy says, the Stars would rather move someone other than Honka, but because they have only $970K in cap space, may not have much choice.

Hanzal on Injury Reserve?

Dallasnews.com’s Matthew DeFranks, says that there may be a way around the cap concerns for the Stars. Martin Hanzal hasn’t played any hockey since before last Christmas and has appeared in only 45 games since signing a three-year, $14.25 million deal back in 2017. There may be some discussion about seeing if he’s eligible for LTIR.

DeFrank’s writes:

While the rules surrounding LTIR are complicated, and depending on factors like the club’s overall cap hit and potential performance bonuses from callups, the overarching idea is that the Stars can use much but not all of Hanzal’s $4.75 million cap hit to add to their team during the season.

source – ’10 questions facing the Dallas Stars this season: What can they do with the money freed by Martin Hanzal?’ – Dallas News – Matthew DeFranks – 08/28/2019

Who would the Stars go get? DeFranks lists a number of potential targets, including T.J. Brodie, Chris Kreider, Tyler Toffoli, Craig Smith, Evgenii Dadonov, Vladislav Namestnikov and Jake Muzzin.

Related: Oilers History: The Importance of Jimmy Carson

Pageau No Desire to Leave Ottawa

Even with a number of players leaving Ottawa and the Senators going through a massive rebuild, Murray Pam of the Sporting News notes that Ottawa Senators forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau would like to stay a Senator as he enters the final year of his contract.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau Ottawa Senators
Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Ottawa Senators (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

When asked if he’s thought about his future.

“I’m an Ottawa Senator. This is where my career started. This is the team that showed confidence in me. I’m happy here. I love representing the Senators. Every time I wear the logo, I take pride.

He added that he’s got a lot of friends and family in the area and that he’s not focused on his contract, just on the team. He noted he’s only focused on “how we’re going to approach and start this year the right way.”

Sounds like possible captain material.

Related: Senators’ Right-Handed Defensemen Situation

Pominville Leaving Buffalo

In his most recent mailbag column, the Buffalo News’ Lance Lysowski writes that it appears unsigned unrestricted free agent Jason Pominville is done with the Buffalo Sabres.

Jason Pominville Sabres
Buffalo Sabres right wing Jason Pominville (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

After adding Jimmy Vesey and Marcus Johansson, having kept Johan Larsson and Zemgus Girgensons for depth, and with a number of young players ready to make a jump, there really isn’t space for Pominville.

Lysowski writes:

Barring injury, the Sabres don’t seem to have room to add Pominville, even on a tryout basis for training camp. The 36-year-old winger is still talented enough to play in the National Hockey League. That was evident last season when he finished fourth on the team with 16 goals.

source – ‘Sabres Mailbag: Is Victor Olofsson ready to make an impact?’ – Buffalo News – Lance Lysowski – 08/29/2019

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Is Justin Williams Actually Finished?

Justin Williams announced he’s taking a break from the Carolina Hurricanes and the NHL. He did not use the word “retire” when making his announcement, so the door is still very much open for him to return.

A player who produced last season, there’s still offense left in his tank and if the Hurricanes have any injury issues, or make a trade freeing up cap space, he could join them during the season.

That said, the Hurricanes are not shocked by this decision. General manager Don Waddell said: “He’s been an important part of our team, but we did prepare our roster with the understanding that he might step away. We are confident in the group we’ve assembled.”

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