Bill Guerin had 45 points in 78 games with Pittsburgh last season and is currently a UFA. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Montreal Canadiens’ recent trade of defenseman Ryan O’Byrne to the Colorado Avalanche and the Habs placing center Dustin Boyd on waivers had some in the blogosphere suggesting the club was clearing cap space to add a veteran scoring forward via free agency.
Winger Bill Guerin had been mentioned as a possible candidate, but his agent claimed they hadn’t been contacted by the Habs or anyone else for two or three weeks.
Another rumor late last week claimed Miroslav Satan might be close to signing with the Canadiens. His agent admitted to a Montreal radio station he’d been talking with several NHL teams, but never said the Canadiens were among them. The rumor was subsequently dismissed by Tony Marinaro of The Team 990, who said the Habs had no interest in Satan.
It’s apparent the Canadiens’ anemic offense needs work, but with the club currently perched atop the Northeast Division, management isn’t in any rush to bolster their forward lines. The money saved by trading O’Byrne’s $941,000 cap hit could be banked to address future roster issues that might arise via injury or call-ups.
Indeed, if star defenseman Andrei Markov is out for three months with a knee injury, as reported over the weekend by RDS.ca, their focus could be upon bolstering their blueline rather than their forward lines.
The eventual return of forwards Marc Savard and Marco Sturm generated considerable attention in recent days over potential moves Boston Bruins management could make to free up the necessary cap space to absorb the pair’s combined $7.5 million salaries.
Bruins coach Claude Julien, however, dismissed reports Savard might be returning soon, reminding Boston reporters the center will still need time to return to playing form. Savard is expected to begin skating with his teammates soon, but his return to action is still weeks away. Sturm also isn’t expected back for several weeks.
In addition, Julien reminded reporters David Krejci is also sidelined and the club isn’t carrying any spare forwards.
It’s believed winger Michael Ryder could be the prime trade candidate, but Julien appeared miffed about Ryder’s name coming up, saying there’s no reason at this point to bring up any names as trade bait.
It’s understandable why Julien doesn’t want to discuss it. Ryder’s playing well and the team has played fine despite losing three key forwards plus defenseman Johnny Boychuk to injury. It seems Savard and Sturm won’t be back this month, so GM Peter Chiarelli isn’t in a hurry to swing a trade. He’ll have to face this cap conundrum eventually, however, perhaps by the Christmas trade freeze in mid-December.
Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported the Vancouver Canucks – having recently made defenseman Keith Ballard a healthy scratch – wouldn’t mind moving a blueliner, suggesting either Kevin Bieksa or Christian Ehrhoff might be on the way out later this season.
ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun, however, reported the Canucks would prefer to re-sign Ehrhoff, who’ll be an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Both sides reportedly made offers, but talks are currently on hold. Though it appears they’ll revisit the situation later in the season.
LeBrun reports Canucks management cannot afford to match what Ehrhoff – currently on pace for 45 points – could make on the open market next summer, but hope to convince him to accept what LeBrun calls “the pitch players receive in Detroit: Take a little less, but stay with a great team.”
It remains to be seen if Ehrhoff will accept fewer dollars to remain with the Canucks or pursues the riches of free agency, but it’s doubtful the club would shop him by the trade deadline if they’re unable to re-sign him. They’ll likely prefer to retain him in the hope he can contribute to a Cup run this spring.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Foxsports.com and Eishockey Magazine.