NHL Rumors Roundup: Habs close to hiring Jeff Gorton, Canes eyeing Klingberg, Murray in Buffalo, and Islanders

canadiens win draft lottery
Jul 2, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens logo statue outside of the arena prior to game three of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens are on the verge of making some sweeping changes in the organization.

Late last night, Elliotte Friedman reported that the Habs had received permission to speak with former Rangers GM, Jeff Gorton. Soon after that news broke, assistant GM Scott Mellanby resigned and current GM Marc Bergevin was upset with how all this transpired.

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NHL Rumors: Habs close to hiring Jeff Gorton

The Habs are 6-15-2 this season and very likely not making the playoffs after a miracle run to the Finals last season.

“They do have permission to talk to Gorton. I’ve been told he’s not going to be the GM, so don’t say he’s going to be GM,” Elliotte Friedman said of the situation. “But it’s possible he could be president of hockey ops or something along that role. Whatever the case is, it appears as if major changes are coming in Montreal and I think Jeff Gorton’s going to be a pretty big part of that.”

Gorton took over as the Rangers full time GM in July of 2015. He ushered in the biggest change in franchise history when they finally did the unthinkable in New York – announced a rebuild.

This morning, Darren Dreger reports that Gorton could be named President of Hockey Operations soon. His probable first order of business will be replacing Bergevin.

Hurricanes looking at John Klingberg

KLINGBERG
Oct 7, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg (3) in action during the game between the Dallas Stars and the Colorado Avalanche at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Klingberg, 29, 36 points in 53 games last year, and is headed towards UFA status next summer. According to reports, the two sides have been talking but so far they appear to be far apart on terms.

“I can safely report that [Klingberg] is looking for an 8 year contract around $62 to $66 million,” Jeff Marek noted.

The Dallas Stars opened up the vault for Miro Heiskanen at eight years for $8.45 million. They also have Esa Lindell with 4 years left on a deal that pays $5.8M and inked Ryan Suter for 4 years at $3.65M this summer. It’s possible that there just won’t be the money Klingberg is looking for.

According to Marek, the Hurricanes may be looking to trade for him.

“A few teams have expressed interest and contacted the Dallas Stars,” he said on Sportsnet. “The one team we know that has called are the Carolina Hurricanes. They are tops in the Metro and in the NHL and it’s a team that’s always looking for a quality hockey player.”

Matt Murray in Buffalo?

Matt Murray waivers
Nov 24, 2021; San Jose, California, USA; Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (30) reacts after the goal during the third period against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Murray, 27, was placed on waivers yesterday. He signed a 4 year extension worth $6.25 after he was acquired from the Penguins before the start of last season.

In his brief time with the Sens he is 10-18-1 with a GAA of 3.35 and SV% of just .892 in 33 appearances. Murray is also winless this season for Ottawa (0-5-0).

Will someone take a chance on Murray with his contract? According to Jeff Marek keep your eyes on the Buffalo Sabres and Arizona Coyotes to put in a claim for him today.

Will postponements keep Isles out of trade market?

This season has been a nightmare for a team many picked to be a top Cup contender. It all began with a unsuccessful 13 game road trip to start the season waiting for their new home to be complete. In the following 4 games at the UBS Arena they remain winless and have lost 8 in row.

Mounting COVID cases have led to a postponement of their remaining games this month and possibly longer.

“You can’t deal with things that are out of your hands,” GM Lou Lamoriello said last week. “Certainly, these are difficult times, but we will stay focused on the players we have, what our abilities are to replace players if necessary and just stay as positive as we possibly can.”

When asked if he is looking for help outside the organization, Lamoriello simply replied: “We are always looking to improve.”

If the Isles can get back several players from the COVID protocol list, it is unlikely Lamoriello will need to make a deal at this time.