NHL Rumors Roundup: Olympic concerns; Tomas Hertl contract; Mark Giordano trade; Avalanche; and Canadiens

The NHL has been dealing with COVID-19 all season. Several teams have already been hit hard because of it. The Penguins, Blackhawks, Blues, and Sharks all had multiple players on the COVID protocol list at one time.

No one has been hit harder by COVID than the Ottawa Senators, who currently have 9 players out.

With this being an Olympic year, is it possible that the NHL may opt not to go?

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NHL Rumors: Olympic concerns

On the latest edition of TSN’s Insider Trading, it was noted that Hockey Canada and others were monitoring the situation in Ottawa.

“Hockey Canada, like all of the federations, are watching what’s going on in Ottawa. There’s still concern over COVID-19, it very much threatens the Olympics and some of these international events,” Darren Dreger said. “Canada plans on sending a team to the Channel One Cup in Russia; likewise to the Spengler Cup in Switzerland. The Channel One Cup, the Canadian team primarily using KHL players, and at the Spengler Cup, Canada will likely use mostly Swiss or European players.”

While we are still months away from the Olympics, the caution flag is clearly up.

Tomas Hertl contract

San Jose Sharks center, Tomas Hertl is #4 on our NHL Trade Bait Board.

However, during the offseason, San Jose told inquiring teams that they were still hopeful to work things out. What remains to be seen is if the Sharks will be a contender come the NHL Trade Deadline.

Kevin Kurz, who covers the team for The Athletic still thinks extending Hertl is a 50/50 proposition.

I know this might sound like a bit of a cop-out, but I still tend to think they are 50-50 at best. While I do believe that Hertl is much happier this season, particularly after speaking with him before the Sharks’ game in Boston a couple weeks ago, that doesn’t necessarily mean he wants to stay here for the rest of his career — and it doesn’t necessarily mean that the Sharks want to sign him to a lengthy, expensive contract, either.

The Athletic

Mark Giordano trade

Mark Giordano
Oct 31, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Kraken defenseman Mark Giordano (5) moves the puck while being defended by New York Rangers defenseman Patrik Nemeth (12) during the third period at Climate Pledge Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Kraken are sitting dead last in the Pacific Division at 4-10-1 (9 pts). GM Ron Francis was asked by Pierre LeBrun in October if he would consider trading Mark Giordano this season.

“I think that’s a decision we make a little bit down the road here,” Francis said. “Mark is a terrific pro, been in the game a while, and a great leader for us and the organization, representing us not only on the ice but in the community as well. We’ll see where things go moving forward with the franchise overall.’’

After yet another loss, the timetable for trading the 38 year-old pending UFA defenseman may be moving up.

One team that was rumored to be interested in making a deal for the defenseman at the expansion draft was the New York Rangers. It’s possible that they could be involved when he’s made available again.

Montreal Canadiens looking for a goalie again?

Last night, goaltender Jake Allen was blasted by Red Wings’ captain Dylan Larkin in the first period.

On the play, it appeared Jeff Petry pushed him into his own goaltender. Allen can be seen whipping back and losing his helmet on the play. He left for the locker room and did not return. He was replaced by backup Samuel Montembeault.

Head coach Dominique Ducharme admitted that Allen was in concussion protocol and things didn’t look good. Montreal has already recalled Cayden Primeau. The 31 year-old Allen is 4-8-1 on the season with a 2.86 GAA and a .902 SV%.

With Carey Price still not ready to return, GM Marc Bergevin could be scouring the market for another goaltender. If Allen is out for an extended period of time, the Habs could very well be looking to make a bigger move than just a temporary replacement.

Joonas Korpisalo was recently linked to Montreal prior to Price’s return.

Avalanche shopping Sam Girard?

The Avs were sniffing around Buffalo to try and acquire Jack Eichel. GM Joe Sakic is said to be in the market for a legit top six forward to ease the pressure off his top line.

Mike Chambers of The Denver Post was recently on The Jeff Marek Show and said he believed that Girard was part of the offer for Eichel.

“I believe that Sam Girard was the big piece in the efforts to get Jack Eichel here,” Chambers said. “I still think that Girard is going to get traded… the Avs want a forward for him and they want to lose his $5M cap hit.”

Girard, 23, is a left shot defenseman drafted in the 2nd round of the 2016 NHL Draft. He has recorded 9 points in 10 games with the Avs this season.

Girard is currently in the second year of a seven-year deal signed in 2020-21. A young, cost controlled defenseman should fetch a good forward on the market.