(Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)
If Montreal needs to shore up its defense, what players could they deal away? Does an "Evander Kane for Max Pacioretty" swap make sense? And which defensemen are on the Ottawa Senators' radar?
A decline in the Montreal Canadiens offense prompted speculation GM Marc Bergevin will soon make a significant move.
TSN's Bob McKenzie recently reported Canadiens winger Max Pacioretty was mentioned in trade talks. McKenzie's colleague Pierre LeBrun said teams were enquiring about Pacioretty, but a Habs source “forcibly” denied he was being shopped.
Unless Bergevin's in the market for a healthier power forward, moving Pacioretty makes no sense. And don't expect him to trade youngsters like Lars Eller, Alex Galchenyuk or Brendan Gallagher. The trio are the Canadiens most productive forwards, combining for 46 points.
Winger Rene Bourque could be available, but his declining production and $3.3 million per season salary are a tough sell. Ditto center David Desharnais and his $3.5 million per. Captain Brian Gionta is an unrestricted free agent at season's end, but injuries and age have affected his performance and trade value.
If Bergevin wants to do something truly big he could trade 2013 Norris winner P.K. Subban. A restricted free agent with arbitration rights, Subban will cost in the ballpark of $7.5 million per season to re-sign. Moving him, however, would not only leave a gaping hole on their blueline, but would be hugely unpopular with Canadiens fans.
WHAT ABOUT KANE FOR PACIORETTY?
McKenzie also reported teams are monitoring what could be an uneasy relationship between Winnipeg Jets winger Evander Kane and coach Claude Noel to see if Kane will become available. As with Pacioretty, the Jets aren't shopping Kane and Kane hasn't requested a trade.
With 14 points in 25 games, Kane is off to a slow start, but he's usually among the Jets leading scorers and one of their most physical forwards. Only 22, Kane's best seasons are yet to come. His relationship with Noel would have to take a serious turn for the worse for management to consider moving him.
SENATORS CONTINUE TO SEARCH FOR DEFENSE
The Ottawa Senators ongoing defensive issues have GM Bryan Murray scouring the trade market for help. Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reports Murray seeks a top-four defenseman and could be forced to part with a forward to get a deal done.
Garrioch claims Murray has interest in New York Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto, but not if the asking price is hard-nosed winger Chris Neil or blueliner Marc Methot. TSN's Darren Dreger reports the Senators offered up names like Erik Condra, Colin Greening and Eric Gryba for Del Zotto, but they're of no interest to the Rangers.
Another option is Dmitry Kulikov of the Florida Panthers, but the asking price is reportedly high. There's also talk he could bolt for the Kontinental League this summer when his contract expires. It might take young forward Mika Zibanejad to land Del Zotto or Kulikov, provided the Rangers or Panthers take back additional salary in the deal.
The Carolina Hurricanes are reportedly shopping Tim Gleason, who has two more years at a cap hit of $4 million per season plus a modified no-trade clause. The Senators unwillingness to add salary means Murray won't have interest in Gleason unless the Hurricanes take back equivalent salary or absorb part of the defenseman's remaining contract. Gleason is also sidelined for a week with a lower-body injury, further dampening his trade value.
Rumor Roundup appears weekdays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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