NHL Rumors: Canadiens, Lightning, Sabres, Bruins, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Montreal Canadiens have reportedly offered general manager Marc Bergevin an extension, while the Tampa Bay Lightning have signed Julien BriseBois to a new multi-year deal. NHL insider Elliotte Friedman wonders if this mess between the Buffalo Sabres and Jack Eichel could wind up in court and what is Jake DeBrusk doing to give himself the best chance to succeed this season?

Bergevin Offered Extension, Yet to Accept

Pierre LeBrun noted during the most recent episode of TSN’s Insider Trading that the Canadiens have extended a formal offer to their current GM to remain their GM. That contract extension was offered back in July, according to LeBrun’s sources.

Marc Bergevin
Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz)

Pointing out some of the bigger GM names that are coming up to the end of their current deals, Bergevin may be among the most interesting since the Canadiens had a stellar 2020-21 season but he’s got a polarizing past. LeBrun said:

What I can tell you is this. He has talked to owner Geoff Molson about his future dating back to last January. I’m told they spoke again last March. I’m told in July Molson made an offer. There has not been an agreement, read into that what you will. I believe Marc Bergevin wants to stay, but they obviously have to reach a deal that works for both sides. Both sides continue to talk, and there’s a lot of pressure on this situation.

What’s so interesting about Bergevin, is that while he built a team that went to the Stanley Cup Final, he’s also been the man behind some strange and controversial decisions for the organization. He made a bold choice to draft Logan Mailloux after Mailloux pulled himself from the draft in the face of backlash over inappropriate conduct. Bergevin was criticized for the public departures of Alexander Radulov and Andrei Markov and he just recently failed to lock up Jesperi Kotkaniemi, resulting in the player heading to Carolina via an offer sheet. It was an offer the Hurricanes publicly pointed out that came, in part, because of Bergevin’s offer sheet flop to Sebastian Aho in 2019.

Lightning Extend BriseBois

LeBrun also points out that the Lightning have agreed to an extension with Julien Brisebois and he has signed a new multi-year contract to remain in Tampa. The TSN panel called this a no-brainer of a signing as Brisebois has been one of the most successful GMs over the past few seasons and is just 44 years old. He became the GM of the Lightning in 2018 and has led the team to two Stanley Cups.

Sabres and Eichel Could Wind Up in Court

Elliotte Friedman noted during his new 32 Thoughts podcast that Jack Eichel and the Buffalo Sabres could wind up battling out the legalities of his contract if this stalemate between the two sides continues. He explained, “The longer this goes on the worse it’s going to get, you know what’s going to happen someday, Jeff? It’s going to end up in court…”

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

Friedman did add: “I’ve had plenty of lawyers tell me that the CBA probably supersedes everything, but that doesn’t mean you don’t get that challenge. I mean that’s going to be Eichel’s only recourse at some point is to go to court.” Nothing has changed in that Eichel wants a certain type of surgery, the Sabres are saying no and teams aren’t interested in trading for this mess of a situation without some sort of guarantee they are covered in the event that Eichel is damaged goods.

Morning Skate newsletter Click To Subscribe

As far as where the NHL as a league sits on all of this… Friedman notes they want to protect the rules of the CBA, but they are starting to feel this situation isn’t a good look for the NHL as a whole. Having one of its star players being held back from playing because they can’t agree on a surgery seems like a bad PR move.

Bruins’ DeBrusk Starting Over

There was a lot of talk about Jake DeBrusk this summer and speculation he might be traded after underperforming based upon expectations. He wasn’t moved and DeBrusk will be back for another season with a clean slate and a new attitude.

Jake Debrusk Boston Bruins
Jake Debrusk, Boston Bruins (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

He told the media this weekend that he’s basically wiping his entire NHL history from his memory. “I pretty much forgot my whole career,” said DeBrusk. “I’m clean-slating it. I think it’s a pivotal point in my career as well, so just trying to do the little things every day, take it day by day, and not look too far in advance or at anything in the past.”

DeBrusk explained that the lonely nature of a COVID-focused last season weighed on him. He said this summer was big for him since he used the time to reconnect with his teammates and friends away from the rink. He didn’t travel home to Edmonton where there were quarantine guidelines.

DeBrusk is slated to play the left-wing position alongside newcomers Erik Haula and Nick Foligno. This will likely be Boston’s third line to begin the year.