In today’s NHL rumors rundown, Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin makes a statement on the Jonathan Drouin trade rumors. Are the Pittsburgh Penguins willing to do what is necessary to trade Jack Johnson? Will Columbus Blue Jackets forward Sonny Milano be playing elsewhere to start the season? Plus, the latest on Nolan Patrick’s injury situation.
Bergevin Dismisses Drouin Rumors
Rumors out of Montreal surrounding polarizing forward Jonathan Drouin continue as GM Marc Bergevin has addressed the situation. Earlier this week Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Eric Engels both reported that the Canadiens may be shopping Drouin after the 24-year-old forward has struggled in Montreal. Engels even mentioned that an Eastern Conference team executive texted him to confirm that Drouin’s name is out there. However, on Thursday afternoon, Bergevin shut down those rumors. According to the Montreal Gazette’s Stu Cowan, Bergevin is uncertain where those rumors started and even went on the attack about them:
“I don’t know where they come from. Most of those reports are from somebody in his basement in Toronto. So I don’t pay attention to them, to be honest with you.”
There are two ways to interpret Bergevin’s reaction. One is that he is correct and that Friedman and Engels were just reporting on the information they were receiving. That seems difficult to believe, though, as both are far from being “somebody in his basement.” The other interpretation is that Bergevin is simply trying to draw attention elsewhere as he’s a general manager who rarely reveals more than the bare minimum. The latter option is what NBCSports’ James O’Brien thinks is happening.
In an article published on Thursday, O’Brien wrote an in-depth look at Drouin’s 2018-19 season and pointed out his questionable two-way play and perceived lack of hard work. He also points out that with Drouin’s $5.5 million cap hit that runs through 2022-23, the Canadiens will have a difficult time moving him unless they retain salary or take a questionable contract back. A one-for-one trade with the Buffalo Sabres for defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen is a specific example O’Brien points out.
Penguins Committed to Trading Jack Johnson?
Another rumor that appears to be gaining traction is that the Penguins are looking to make a trade. Earlier this week those rumors surrounded goaltender Tristan Jarry. Recently, however, it looks like they may be trying to trade veteran defenseman Jack Johnson. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Matt Vensel considers that because Johnson was a healthy scratch for the team’s preseason game against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday, there’s also a chance he could be a healthy scratch to start the regular season. (from ‘How secure is Jack Johnson’s spot in the Penguins lineup?,’ Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 09/26/2019)
…there appears to be a legitimate chance that Johnson, who is owed $13 million over the next four seasons, will remain in formal wear and not be one of six Penguins defensemen in uniform.
There’s definitely reason to believe this considering Johnson was scratched in Game 1 of their first-round series against the New York Islanders. All of this, plus the fact that he was part of the proposed Phil Kessel trade to the Minnesota Wild this summer, leads many to think the Penguins are actively shopping Johnson. But, trading him won’t be easy. Sure, his $3.25 million cap hit isn’t bad, but it has four more years on it and his play is already on the decline.
For the Penguins to move him, they’ll almost certainly have to either sweeten the deal with a draft pick/prospect or retain a portion of the salary. The second option seems the more likely one because it’d still get the team under the salary cap and they wouldn’t be required to give up an asset to do so.
Will Milano Be a Blue Jacket to Start the Season?
Sonny Milano, the Blue Jackets’ 23-year-old and former first-round pick, isn’t guaranteed an NHL roster spot this season after only appearing in eight games last season. He remains one of the final 15 forwards in camp but nothing is assured. So how does this relate to him not being in the Blue Jackets organization to start the season?
Because he now has to pass through waivers to be sent down to the American Hockey League. And given his talent level and skillset, it’s all but a guarantee that he’d be claimed if placed on waivers. In fact, Aaron Portzline of The Athletic asked members of five different NHL teams and all five believed that Milano would be claimed. (from ‘Blue Jackets, former first-round pick Sonny Milano likely at a crossroads,’ The Athletic, 09/24/2019)
While there’s still a chance he isn’t cut and makes the NHL roster, there’s also a chance he’ll be wearing a new jersey when the regular season starts. If the Blue Jackets decide to not keep him in the NHL and don’t want to risk losing him via waivers, they could always attempt to trade him, but it’s unknown how much Milano’s July arrest for assault could impact his trade value.
Flyers’ Nolan Patrick Out Week-to-Week
Flyers center and 2017 second-overall pick Nolan Patrick has been listed as week-to-week and will miss the team’s season opener on Oct. 4 due to a migraine disorder. According NBCSports Philadelphia’s Jordan Hall, Patrick began feeling concussion symptoms over the summer and the team has worked with him during the offseason. He has been kept out of the team’s preseason games and didn’t participate in training camp practices, instead doing solo on-ice work.
After consultation with the Flyers’ medical staff and with specialist Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher from the University of Michigan, forward Nolan Patrick has been diagnosed with migraine disorder. Patrick will not be going to Europe and we will provide additional information once the team returns. He will not be ready to start the season and is listed as week to week.Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher
Dating back to before he was drafted, Patrick has had a lengthy injury history that has included a sports hernia, concussion, and upper-body issues. Fletcher doesn’t believe Patrick’s migraine disorder is related to any hit he took but did mention that he took a slapshot to the back of the head near the end of the 2018-19 season. It remains unknown when he’ll be able to return to game action.