The Montreal Canadiens’ front-office shakeup, while coming with a wind of hope, has created a great amount of uncertainty. And not having the new Vice-President of Hockey Operations available to the media until likely tomorrow hasn’t helped with rampant speculations about the team’s future. Of course, there’s the eternal debate about potential bilingual candidates for the position of General Manager and the future of the coaching staff, but players are also on edge as rumours are involving the Canadiens in just about everything.
Here’s a summary of what reputable NHL Insiders are currently reporting about our beloved Habs.
Darren Dreger reports Jake DeBrusk is generating a lot of interest. He listed the New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, Arizona Coyotes, St. Louis Blues and, of course, the Montreal Canadiens as potential suitors.
Jimmy Murphy adds the Seattle Kraken as a possibility for DeBrusk while Nick Kypreos (remember him?) mentioned the Carolina Hurricanes as a potential destination.
For most of those teams, they would have to either clear cap space to pick up DeBrusk’s $3.65 million salary or the trade would have to be dollar for dollar.
Pierre LeBrun raised the question about Carey Price’s future in Montreal following the front-office shakeup. He wondered where the 34-year-old future Hall of Fame goaltender would fit into a rebuilding plan if that’s what Jeff Gorton has in mind.
Georges Laraque feels like the Edmonton Oilers would win the Stanley Cup, possibly even this season, if they added Price in net. Seeing how the Colorado Avalanche allowed eight goals to the Toronto Maple Leafs last night, they might sniff around for Price if he became available. But fans would be nervous trading a star goalie to Colorado, wouldn’t they?
Price has a full no-movement clause and he’s not going anywhere unless he wants to. Even if he does, he will be the one deciding where he would accept to go, limiting the potential for a trade. Already, trading his $10.5 million contract wouldn’t be easy in the best of time.
The same question was asked to Brendan Gallagher and here’s what he had to say about the potential of a “rebuild” in Montreal, and being part of it:
“This is my 10th season now. I’ve always come in with the expectations to win. I felt like my teammates had the same goal, I felt like management had the same goal and sometimes organizations go through those things. I guess those are conversations that would probably need to be had down the road. But for me, I play this game to win. It’s really the only way I can enjoy it.
You don’t always have to win every game, but the important thing is I need to feel like we’re trying to win. I need to feel like it’s important. If that’s the decision that they want to make, those are probably conversations that you have to have going forward. But for now, it’s not really something I’ve put a lot of thought in. I still feel like this is an organization I love dearly … that’s probably not being strong enough with it. I love this city, I love everything about it. … It would definitely be a tough decision and, like I said, a conversation that you have to have. But I love being here and that’s first and foremost.”
Pierre LeBrun suggests a rebuild could complicate things not only for Gallagher, but for Jeff Petry, Josh Anderson, Tyler Toffoli, Joel Edmundson and Mike Hoffman, who all signed in Montreal under the promise from Marc Bergevin that they were trying to win the Cup now.
Let’s be honest here. All of this is happening before Jeff Gorton has even set foot in Montreal. He hasn’t had a time to look at his new team, let alone evaluate the players he has on hand. This is all speculation at this point but things should start heating up fairly soon, particularly if the Canadiens decide to wait until this summer to hire a GM. Then, Gorton will act as GM until then and we can look into trades.