Every year, NHL Insiders are busy at this time of year working their phones getting scoops from their sources around the league. Here at Cheering The Logo, we like keeping track of the most notable Insiders and avoid your basement dweller rumouroids. We follow closely guys like Elliotte Friedman, Pierre LeBrun, Darren Dreger and Frank Seravalli (amongst others) and through our Rumour Mill section, try to keep you up to date on rumours around the Montreal Canadiens.
Here today, we’ll be extending this a little bit by taking names off the TSN Top-25 trade baits and the Daily Faceoff Top-20 trade baits. As the Canadiens are definitely not going to make the playoffs, we left out the pending UFAs and focussed on players either with term left to their contracts, or pending restricted free agents (RFAs). Here is the combined lists from both sites making the qualification:
While not impossible, we can pretty much forget about Jakob Chychrun, in my opinion. The Canadiens will try to unload costly veterans. Most of them have trade protection and likely would want nothing to do with going to Arizona. Further, the Coyotes will want players on whom they have control over for several years due to the fact that that the desert dogs aren’t a big draw amongst NHL players. And I don’t think that the Habs have a young player, traded one for one, who matches the return Arizona is seeking for Chychrun.
I have loved Crouse for a few years. If you don’t know him, he’s a bit in the mold of Josh Anderson, perhaps not quite as fast. I’m surprised to see him on Seravalli’s list to be truthful. We’re hearing two conflicting reports, one that the Yotes are trying to sign him, and this one where he’s on the block. If the Habs go with skills, they’ll need a few guys like Crouse and Anderson to play a more physical style on the top-9.
In February 2018, Gorton traded Miller and Ryan McDonagh to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Vladislav Namestnikov, Brett Howden, Libor Hájek, a 2018 1st round pick (Nils Lundkvist) and a 2019 2nd round pick (Karl Henriksson). Not Gorton’s brightest trade for sure. Miller isn’t the same player since joining the Vancouver Canucks (164Pts in 168GP, 55.5% FO), granted. The Canucks’ asking price is reportedly very steep, likely too much, but if the Habs trade Dvorak as rumoured, Miller could be very interesting. Suzuki and Miller as top-2 centers? Where do I sign?
Roslovic, Strome and Borgstrom are all depth options at center in the event the Canadiens trade Dvorak and can’t make it work for Miller. Cheaper, younger, they are skilled players who fit the mold of playing fast. Much cheaper to acquire as well.
Depending on the status of Carey Price and Jake Allen, Georgiev could be an interesting option in net to bridge the gap until Primeau or another young goalie is ready. Will Price return healthy? Will the Canadiens decide to trade one of its goaltenders currently on the injured list? First, those questions must be answered.
Speaking of goaltenders, I thought about Khudobin to allow the Canadiens to send Primeau down to Laval but the trade for Andrew Hammond showed that Hughes wanted to go a cheaper way. That being said, Khudobin could be included as a cap dump with a possible buyout, in a deal sending a scoring winger to Dallas as part of a bigger deal. I’d qualify this one as more unlikely…
Gorton was with the Rangers when they drafted Kravtsov 9th overall back in 2018. Big, skilled winger, I always thought that it would be a natural fit for the Habs based on the style of play Gorton mentioned seeking in his first press conference. I still feel like this one is quite likely if the two teams can agree on his value.
Florida needs a top-4 left defenseman and are rumoured to be one of the teams highly interested in Ben Chiarot. While there’s not much use for Hornqvist on the Canadiens, he could serve as a cap dump by the Panthers. Say the Habs could get a first for Chiarot. Freeing cap space could give the Canadiens either another pick or prospect. If the trade is done early enough, Montreal could flip Hornqvist to another contender or buy him out in the summer.
Of course, there are many more options than the players mentioned above. But I wanted to focus on our top Insiders who have connections in the league. As you can see, many of them would be good fits on the Canadiens. We are exactly five weeks away from trade deadline and that’s usually when things are heating up. Waiting for the first big trade to start the annual domino effect.