In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Arizona Coyotes comment on the Christian Dvorak trade that sent the player to the Montreal Canadiens after the Canadiens lost Jesperi Kotkaniemi via an offer sheet. Did Arizona have other options and what’s next for them? Meanwhile, are the Canadiens happy with the way things turned out? Some would argue this is an upgrade, while others aren’t sure. Finally, the Carolina Hurricanes have a plan for Kotkaniemi, and it’s not to play him in the same way the Canadiens were.
Armstrong on Dvorak Trade
As per NHL.com, the GM of the Coyotes, Bill Armstrong spoke on the Dvorak trade and noted:
“After the season ended, we explored, and that was my job to go and see what the value again was. I felt Christian had a lot of value, not only for our club but also on the open market because centers, this year, seem to be hard to find, so we tried to maximize that. We had to look at obviously improving our team down the road, and this move did that.”
The Coyotes are in full rebuild mode and are going to have boatloads of cap space heading into next year’s offseason. They have very few forwards actually signed to contracts over the long haul and where they go from here will be interesting to watch.
Canadiens Happy But Likely Need to Make Another Move
Many believe the Canadiens are actually quite happy with the way things worked out. A franchise that appeared to be stuck in a tough position might have made a different choice and matched if Dvorak wasn’t available, but getting a second-line center to replace Kotkaniemi is being seen as a win internally.
Targeted by the Carolina Hurricanes, Andy Strickland writes:
“So Carolina does Montreal a favor, overpays for a player who didn’t want to be in Montreal and hasn’t really earned the offer sheet he was given. Montreal gets a better player for less money. Montreal probably may have matched if they weren’t able to pull off a trade for a C.”
According to Puck Pedia, the Canadiens are now $6 million over the salary cap after acquiring Dvorak in the trade and his $4.45 million salary for the next four seasons. They have 22 players on the roster and it’s likely the team will need to make some decisions before the regular season begins. With Shea Weber on the LTIR, they are able to go over the cap by $7.9 million.
The one thing this trade does confirm is that the Canadiens are completely out of the running to land center Jack Eichel from the Buffalo Sabres — assuming they were ever really seriously involved in any discussions.
Hurricanes Have a Plan For Kotkaniemi
Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell stated in his press conference this morning that the team’s plan is to start Kotkaniemi at the left-wing position in Carolina. It will be interesting to see if there is any pressure on the team to place him in a top-six role consider the price tag of $6.1 million that comes with the player this season.
This move does suggest that the Hurricanes are looking to give him opportunities to produce and that’s not necessarily something Kotkaniemi was going to get in Montreal.
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes also have additional moves to make. The team currently sits at $1.5 million over the cap after the Kotkaniemi deal became official but they got the news that defenseman Jake Gardiner will have back and hip surgery and will be placed on long-term injured reserve. This will give the team and bit of cap flexibility.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”