NHL Rumors: Matthews, Hall, Canadiens & More

For today’s NHL rumors, there is news out of Toronto surrounding Auston Matthews and Taylor Hall has downplayed the progress of an extension with the New Jersey Devils. Plus, will the Pittsburgh Penguins move a goaltender to get under the salary cap? Are the Montreal Canadiens looking to move a forward? And finally, how does the Justin Faulk trade impact the Anaheim Ducks?

Matthews Facing Disorderly Conduct Charges

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews is facing a disruptive behavior charge in his home state of Arizona from an incident that occurred on May 26, 2019. According to the police report, Matthews attempted to enter an occupied security car outside of a condo building. The female security guard inside the car confronted Matthews and, as he walked away, he pulled down his pants.

Related: NHL Rumors: Jets, Devils, Maple Leafs, More

A summons was issued on July 23 and he had a pretrial conference scheduled for this morning. The Maple Leafs are aware of the complaint and won’t be commenting on the incident any more moving forward. Whether this incident has an impact on which direction the team goes with regards to naming a captain will be worth following.

Penguins Looking to Trade a Goaltender?

With the Penguins still more than $300,000 over the salary cap and the regular season beginning in one week, general manager Jim Rutherford must do something to get the team cap compliant. According to Josh Yohe of The Athletic, one option Rutherford is looking at is dealing a goaltender, of which the Penguins have an excess. (from, ‘Jim Rutherford: Trade talks are ‘heating up’,’ The Athletic, 09/24/2019) With Matt Murray as the clear-cut, starter, it leaves Casey DeSmith and Tristan Jarry to battle for the backup job.

However, over the past two seasons DeSmith has put a stranglehold on the role, making 41 starts with a .917 save percentage (SV%) and a 2.66 goals-against average (GAA) compared to Jarry’s 25 starts, .907 SV% and 2.83 GAA over the same time period. Despite Jarry being a second-round pick and DeSmith being an undrafted free agent, DeSmith is also the one to whom the Penguins gave a three-year contract extension in January. 

Tristan Jarry Penguins
Tristan Jarry, Pittsburgh Penguins, January 2, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Over the summer Rutherford acknowledged that he was considering moving Jarry, however, the goalie market was quiet. Now, with the season rapidly approaching, that market is beginning to heat up and Jarry could soon be on the move. Neither goalie is waiver exempt anymore, so it’d be in the team’s best interest to trade one of them rather than lose one to a waiver claim. It’s unknown what the Penguins will be looking for in a return, but there are certainly teams that would like to strengthen their depth in net. Another, and more ideal, trade option is defenseman Jack Johnson, who signed a five-year deal in July 2018. Getting his $3.25 million cap hit off the books would certainly help the Penguins, however it’s unlikely a team agrees to take on the contract without needing an additional asset thrown in.

Hall Pours Water on Extension Rumors

TSN’s Darren Dreger commented on Tuesday that the Devils and Hall were closing the gap on a contract extension after Hall’s agent and the team met over the weekend. Tuesday evening, though, Hall denied those reports and said that the two sides aren’t any closer to an extension than they were before the meeting. (from ‘Taylor Hall disputes new rumors of possible contract extension with Devils, NorthJersey.com, 09/24/2019)

Taylor Hall #9, New Jersey Devils
Taylor Hall #9, New Jersey Devils, October 20, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Pouring water on the rumor that a deal was imminent, Hall stated that no numbers were discussed and that he himself wasn’t even in the meeting. The 2018 Hart Trophy winner has one year left on his deal before becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer and has promised transparency with the media when it comes to extension talks. It should be noted that in Tuesday’s 31 Thoughts, Elliotte Friedman mentioned that he feels Hall and the Devils are underselling the progress a bit and that both sides are “trying to make a serious run at an extension.”

Canadiens Moving a Forward?

In the same 31 Thoughts, Friedman reported that the Canadiens are interested in moving an NHL-caliber forward. The reasoning? Prospects Nick Suzuki, Jake Evans, and Ryan Poehling are all showing enough in the preseason to garner an NHL roster spot in the regular season. The only problem is that the Canadiens already have a full crop of forwards and they’ll need to trade at least one to give any of the prospects a shot. Friedman suggests that Jonathan Drouin could be that player. In Monday’s game against the Maple Leafs, he played just 11:57 and his tenure with the Canadiens hasn’t been the smoothest since they acquired him from the Tampa Bay Lightning in June 2017.

Jonathan Drouin, Montreal Canadiens
Jonathan Drouin, Montreal Canadiens (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Other forwards who could be on the move, according to The Journal de Montreal, are Nick Cousins and Charles Hudon. Both have played well in the preseason but a lack of space means neither are a lock to make the roster.

Ducks Still Interested in a Right-Shot Defenseman

A few weeks ago it was reported that the Ducks were close to acquiring defenseman Justin Faulk from the Carolina Hurricanes. With a need for a right-shot blueliner, it made sense and Ondrej Kase was the centerpiece of the suggested return. However, on Tuesday, when the Hurricanes dealt Faulk to the St. Louis Blues, the Ducks’ plan to trade for Faulk went out the window, while their need for a defenseman did not. Friedman believes that the Ducks are still interested in acquiring a right shot defenseman, and with Buffalo Sabre Rasmus Ristolainen likely still available, there could be a fit as THW’s Anthony Ciardelli suggested in August.