NHL Rumors: Habs likely to trade Toffoli, Rangers cap crunch, and scheduling updates

tyler toffoli trade
Jun 7, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Tyler Toffoli (73) reacts with teammates after scoring the game and series winning goal against the Winnipeg Jets during the overtime period in game four of the second round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens are fairly consigned that this is a lost season. With just 18 points on the year they are competing with the Coyotes (15) for dead last. In March, the Habs will have some big decisions to make.

As new head of hockey ops Jeff Gorton continues to interview candidates to be the team’s next GM, several players will likely be moved at the deadline.

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NHL Rumors: Canadiens trade candidates

One name that has been on the block for weeks is defenseman Ben Chiarot. However, others have been mentioned over the last several weeks including Ben Gallagher and Tyler Toffoli.

Eric Engels of Sportsnet does not believe that Gallagher will be moved, but feels Toffoli is a likely candidate.

Toffoli has two years left under contract after this one and he hardly fits in the guaranteed-to-be-traded category like, say, pending unrestricted free agent Ben Chiarot. And considering the 29-year-old is out another six weeks, after undergoing hand surgery on Dec. 11, he’s probably under the radar as a trade target.. He’s a player who helps get you to the playoffs and helps get you through them, so you have to think teams making a push for the playoffs—and Cup contenders—will be interested.

Sportsnet

Two other big keys that Engels notes is Toffoli has a good contract with an AAV of only $4.25M, plus he does not have any trade protection in his contract. This would allow the acquiring team flexibility to move him after this season.

Toffoli has recorded 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in 26 games this season.

A Stanley Cup winner with Los Angeles in 2014, Toffoli has 361 points (178 goals, 183 assists) in 603 career games with the Kings, Vancouver Canucks and Canadiens.

New York Rangers trading one of the kids?

nhl rumors rangers
May 5, 2021; New York, New York, USA; K’Andre Miller #79 of the New York Rangers takes down Trevor van Riemsdyk #57 of the Washington Capitals during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

The Athletic’s Arthur Staple continued his end-of-year mailbag and was asked about the Rangers future cap situation. In particular, if the team re-signs Kaapo Kakko and opts to keep Ryan Strome this summer what that means for the kids in 2023.

You probably have to focus on the young players who would draw the most interest in a trade and are in line for decent pay upgrades on their next contracts in 2023: Chytil, Lafrenière and Miller. If the Rangers can get away with moving only one of them to keep their core intact, that would be a huge win.

The Athletic (subscription required)

Staple goes on to breakdown if they keep only one it would Alexis Lafreniére. His reason being that K’Andre Miller has legit replacements behind him in Zac Jones, Matthew Robertson, and possibly Braden Schneider if he switches sides.

To the best of my knowledge, both Miller and Lafrenière are unlikely to go anywhere. The same can’t be said for Chytil, especially if Strome is retained.

NHL has already rescheduled a majority of postponed games

The NHL believes that they will be able to get a full 82 game schedule in for all teams. When they opted out of the Olympics, it allowed them to use the February break to reschedule those postponed contests.

“We’ve worked and been working on the revised schedule and filling in February for what would have been the Olympic break,” Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told The Athletic. “We still have plenty of cushion; plenty being a relative term. We have additional cushion to accommodate additional postponed games.”

Of course, there are still challenges and additional games have been postponed since the return from the holiday break.

“At some point we hope to see a normalization of games and cases and I think that’ll happen. It’s not going to be overnight, it’s not going to be next week, it’s probably not going to be two weeks from now,” Daly added. “But I think by the middle to the end of January we’ll start to see a more normalized setting, a more normalized schedule and we’ll be in OK shape.”