NHL Rumors: Canadiens, Penguins, and Bruins

nhl rumors martin st. louis
Feb 21, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens interim head coach Martin St-Louis talks to defenseman Chris Wideman (20) during the second period against Toronto Maple Leafs at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s NHL Rumors looks at the Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Boston Bruins.

The Canadiens are reportedly close to taking care of a major piece of offseason business.

Darren Dreger of TSN is indicating that the Habs are very close to announcing a contract extension for Martin St. Louis.

NHL Rumors: Canadiens and Martin St. Louis

When the Habs hired Martin St. Louis to replace Dominique Ducharme, they did so by giving him the interim tag. As soon as he took over, things starting changing for the better and talk shifted quickly to making him the permanent head coach.

“There’s no reason to question the reality of Marty St. Louis becoming the full-time head coach of the Montreal Canadiens. I believe that’s what Hughes and the Canadiens want,” Darren Dreger said on TSN Insider Trading. “We know St. Louis has done a terrific job on the bench of the Habs. We know that the coaching staff has helped refresh this group.”

St. Louis, 46, went 14-19-4 in the 37 games he coached this season.

NHL Rumors: Penguins big UFA’s

nhl rumors
Mar 27, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Bryan Rust (17) and defenseman Kris Letang (58) congratulate center Evgeni Malkin (71) on his goal against the Detroit Red Wings during the second period at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang are both slated for unrestricted free agency on July 13. A recent report said that Pittsburgh offered them a 3 year-deal worth $5M AAV each. Both considered the offer to be too low.

Penguins’ GM Ron Hextall recently addressed the media and stated that he’s had talks with both big UFA’s and that he wants them both to finish their careers in Pittsburgh.

Letang, 34, completed the final season of a contract that came with an AAV of $7.25 million. This year, he’s registered 68 points in 78 games.

Malkin, 35, finished the year with 42 points in 41 games. He wrapped up a deal worth $9.5M AAV against the cap.

According to CapFriendly, the Penguins have around $23.9 million in cap space to sign those players.

Replacing Patrice Bergeron

Bergeron, 36, is coming off an 8 year-deal with a cap hit of $6.75 million. He finished this past season with 65 points in 73 games.

“I’m going to need time to think about a lot of things and come up with the best decision for myself and my family,” he said at season’s end.

President Cam Neely is hoping that his star center decides to give it a go for one more year.

“I hope that he feels good about his game still because he had a pretty damn good year,” Neely said on Thursday. “Hopefully, he does come back but if he doesn’t, we’ve got to go to work.”

Of course, there’s the distinct possibility that he could retire leaving the Bruins looking for a new number 1 center.

Some potential options can be found on our NHL Free Agent Tracker and they include:

PLAYERTEAMAGEPOSCAP HIT
Claude GirouxFLA34C$8,275,000 
Ryan StromeNYR28C$4,500,000 
Nazem KadriCOL31C$4,500,000