NHL Rumors: New Habs GM sees changes, Kane likely heading to Oilers, and hold up on that Eichel debut

montreal canadiens rumors
May 8, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Montreal Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme speaks to forward Johs Anderson in the third period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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The Montreal Canadiens introduced longtime player agent, Kent Hughes as their new GM on Tuesday.

Hughes, 51, signed a five-year contract with the team and replaces Marc Bergevin, who was fired as the club’s general manager on Nov. 28. The Canadiens also dismissed assistant general manager Trevor Timmins on the same day and hired Jeff Gorton as the team’s executive vice president.

NHL Rumors: Hughes sees changes for Habs

The Habs are heading for a lottery pick in this summer’s NHL Draft. They have some pending UFA’s, and veteran contracts they will need to move.

“In a perfect world, we would be an offensive minded hockey club,” Hughes said. “I don’t think you could be a successful team in the NHL today without being defensively responsible. I envision a team that plays fast, but plays fast with the puck that’s a possession hockey team.”

“I also understand you have to build a team around the players that you have and that’s going to be a process for us,” he said hinting at possible changes.

One in particular could be head coach Dominique Ducharme.

“Dom’s the coach of this team, and again, arriving here today with … I haven’t had a lot of opportunity to think about everything,” said Hughes. “I certainly have beliefs about what a modern-day coach should be or have in terms of qualities, and I’m anxious to speak to Dom and learn more about him, and ultimately, we’ll see where things take us from there.” 

Evander Kane still likely heading to the Oilers

Darren Dreger noted that if Kane is not suspended, he is very likely going to sign with the Oilers.

This continues to be the party line among the rumor mill since he became an unrestricted free agent.

The Edmonton Oilers supposedly have a deal in place to sign unrestricted free agent Evander Kane. Even if that is the case, the NHL’s probe into Kane’s COVID protocol violation is causing pause.

Enough so that the 30 year-old forward is pumping the brakes himself.

Kane received a 21-game NHL suspension in October for submitting a fake vaccination card. He appeared in five games with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda this season and tallied two goals and six assists before being placed in the protocol on Dec. 22.

Kane led the Sharks in goals (22) and assists (27) while appearing in all 56 games last season.

Pump the brakes on Eichel

Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley recently told the “Vegas Hockey Hotline Podcast” that Jack Eichel is just “weeks away” from making his debut after neck surgery.

Yesterday, head coach Pete DeBoer poured some serious cold water on that dream.

“It’s going to be at least a month or two months before he plays,” DeBoer said. “(Being) around the guys every day, he’s going to be coming on the road with us, on the trip at the end of the month here and start traveling with us, which provides great team-building opportunities.”

NHL.com

Of course, when Eichel does return the team will have to find ways to fit him under the cap. With Max Pacioretty still injured there is no immediate rush.

“We’re going to have to make some adjustments, but we do have a lot of guys that are kind of hurt,” Foley said via NHL.com. “And we’re kind of looking at that and making sure we don’t do something prematurely with whoever’s hurt and when they come back. We’ve had bad luck this year in terms of people getting injured. So, we do have a plan, some alternatives, but we’re trying to hold off until we just really see how the injuries sort out over the next 25-30 days.”

One player that Vegas would like to retain is pending UFA Reilly Smith. He has a $5M cap hit and is considered the most likely cap casualty. Depending on when Pacioretty and Eichel return, he could be kept for their expected long playoff run.